TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 5, 2012

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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We Give Books - Pearson Foundation

Grades
K to 4
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Find award winning digital picture books for students through age ten. There is a mix of fiction and non-fiction, a variety of authors, and a balance of read-aloud books and ...more
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Find award winning digital picture books for students through age ten. There is a mix of fiction and non-fiction, a variety of authors, and a balance of read-aloud books and independent readers. New books are added every month along with special, seasonal books. Now any student has access to high-quality picture books! The more books you read, the more books that are made available for everyone. After finishing a book, choose the Give a Book option for a hard-back book to be donated to a needy child. All that you need to provide is a valid email address. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here.

Choose books several ways: latest additions, popular books, classics, or by clicking on keyword tags at the right side. Creating an account isn't necessary, but it does provide the option of saving books to your library. You can also choose the campaign to receive book donations from their account. What an excellent way to give without spending a penny!

tag(s): folktales (66), independent reading (125)

In the Classroom

Use this site on your interactive whiteboard as you read aloud for students to follow along; stop occasionally and allow students to read portions of the book. With younger students, share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, and read the story to the class. Use this site as a resource for additional reading materials in the classroom by creating a link on classroom computers. Encourage students to read books and enjoy giving books to others in need. Set a goal for books to read using the site as a way of developing a sense of giving back to the community. Share this link on your class website for families to learn how to "read and give." Maybe even set a year long goal for a donated book total for your class.
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History of Medical Discoveries - The New England Journal of Medicine

Grades
9 to 12
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Explore this interactive timeline about the history of modern medicine. Click on images in the timeline to find historical information and articles. The information pops up so as not...more
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Explore this interactive timeline about the history of modern medicine. Click on images in the timeline to find historical information and articles. The information pops up so as not to be taken away from the timeline. Related articles and other milestones appear along the side of the information. Move the slider at the top to find various time periods or search various fields of medicine.

tag(s): medicine (67), resources (111), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for use on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have the students open the site and use the whiteboard tools to do a general overview of the history of medicine. Students can then select specific areas of medicine and find articles to get more information. Have them do an online poster project combining information from here and from their own research using a tool such as Zoho Show (reviewed here). Or have students create their own interactive timelines using a site such as TimeRime (reviewed here).

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Brightstorm English - Brightstorm, Inc.

Grades
3 to 9
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Find FREE English videos covering every topic in Grammar and Writing. Categories include: parts of speech, sentence basics, sentence style, voice, and style with multiple videos for...more
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Find FREE English videos covering every topic in Grammar and Writing. Categories include: parts of speech, sentence basics, sentence style, voice, and style with multiple videos for each topic. The Writing topics include: Parts of an Essay, Types of Essays, Writing Terms, and Writing Process.

tag(s): essays (21), expository writing (44), grammar (217), grammar review (37), parts of speech (68), process writing (40), sentences (52)

In the Classroom

Do your students tune out when you start explaining grammar? Bring another teacher into your room by using these videos. Put on the Nouns video and have your students take notes. They will learn about common nouns, proper nouns, concrete nouns, abstract nouns, etc. Pause the video at the beginning so students can write notes on the whiteboard. Then when you start the video have the students fill in the information in their notes as the designated "teacher" fills in the information on the whiteboard. You can follow-up by having students write sentences of their own using the different types of nouns and share them on your interactive whiteboard. (Alternatively, "flip" your classroom bay assigning students to watch the video as homework, then come to class prepared to apply and practice the concepts.)

Put the URL for a video on a classroom computer for students, or pairs of students to rotate through. You can even have a follow-up activity stored there for the students to complete after watching the video. To show what they have learned from the video, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. You could do this on a weekly basis. If you have two computers available, students could rotate through one of the grammar videos and one of the writing videos weekly. Put the URL for the videos on your website for students and parents to use as homework help or review.
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Get Your Walk Score - Front Seat

Grades
3 to 12
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Type in an address and determine the walkability of any location. A map of the address entered displays nearby restaurants, coffee shops, and more that are within one mile of ...more
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Type in an address and determine the walkability of any location. A map of the address entered displays nearby restaurants, coffee shops, and more that are within one mile of that location. The list can be personalized by choosing the Other Amenities tab and choosing more. Many, but not all, addresses will also display a walk score rating demonstrating how walkable that area is with a score from 0-100. What a fun way to workout "around the town." More "green" communities often have a better walkability score.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): fitness (49), map skills (80), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use this site as part of a school-wide physical fitness program to determine places that students can walk to instead of driving. Have students use their home address to determine walkability and locate destinations nearby. Physical Education teachers may want to use this site to demonstrate easy ways students can improve fitness by walking to nearby locations. Compare different communities around the country for walkability. Have student groups research to discover the fitness level of these communities and/or the importance of environmental concerns to the citizens there. For a big challenge, have student create an infographic that shows the relationship between walkability and health or pollution data. Or have them design a "dream" walkable neighborhood to practice map skills. Share this link on your website for families to view together.
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Storybooks - Math/Science Nucleus

Grades
K to 6
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Looking for some FREE, animated storybooks about science? Here you will find storybooks on electricity, the life cycle, the solar system, technology, weather (such as earthquakes and...more
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Looking for some FREE, animated storybooks about science? Here you will find storybooks on electricity, the life cycle, the solar system, technology, weather (such as earthquakes and volcanoes), the rock cycle, the water cycle, and more! The lessons even have a recommended grade level (K-6). Depending on your curriculum, you may find useful materials at other grade levels. Some have audio; others have video; and a few are just simple animations. This is a MUST-SEE site for any elementary (and early middle school) science class.

tag(s): animals (277), ecology (135), electricity (88), environment (317), human body (119), life cycles (25), light (46), plants (143), plate tectonics (23), rocks (49), space (206), stars (61), water cycle (33)

In the Classroom

Try incorporating some of these interactive stories in your existing science lessons, especially ones where you need to make a stronger connection between the content and life. Have older students read the story via a link on your website. With younger children, display stories on the interactive whiteboard and read through the story with them or have them partner read at a center. Talk about the stories relevance to the science that they are learning, and have students look for proof that the stories are scientifically accurate.

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Quarked! - The Quarked! Project and Professor Alice Bean

Grades
2 to 12
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QUARKED! Adventures in the Subatomic Universe has a wide range of engaging multimedia and hands-on materials to introduce the exciting world of particle physics to students...more
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QUARKED! Adventures in the Subatomic Universe has a wide range of engaging multimedia and hands-on materials to introduce the exciting world of particle physics to students ages 7 and up (and their families). This highly interactive site offers videos, games, and a club with downloads based on three themes. Themes include "How Small is Small", "Quarks: Ups, Downs, and the Universe", and "How Do You Find Out About Something You Can't See?" Topics vary from electricity to matter to shapes and much more. Lesson plans, organized by theme, can be done in any order. Some of the featured "games" include Matter Mechanics, Photon Invaders, and Height Chart. Videos even explain connections between subatomic particles and healthy eating! Many other interactives are also available.

tag(s): atoms (55), electricity (88), geometric shapes (159), matter (56), measurement (163), molecules (43), nutrition (154), solar energy (38)

In the Classroom

Visit the site as part of your classroom study of physics. Share videos and/or interactives from the site on your interactive whiteboard to complement existing lesson plans or plans from the site. Then allow students to explore on their own. Provide the link to this site on your desktop for students to visit during indoor recess (in elementary school). In older grades, be sure to list this helpful link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the class. Have students investigate specific activities or information available on this site and create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
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FIT from WebMD - WebMD and Sanford Health

Grades
K to 12
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FIT by WebMD is a great website to promote health and healthy opportunities for students of all ages. This is a health/fitness site that is designed for three different stages ...more
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FIT by WebMD is a great website to promote health and healthy opportunities for students of all ages. This is a health/fitness site that is designed for three different stages of childhood: Fit Jr. (PreK- elementary) , Fit Kids (upper elementary and middle school) , and Fit Teen (secondary). Explore four different areas of health: Food, Move, Recharge, and Mood. The site offers a far healthier approach to fitness than simply weight. Highlights include an age appropriate body mass index calculator, video clips, audio books, recipes, interactive challenges, age-appropriate articles, and more. There are also quizzes and many ways to earn FitQ points. There is an entire Parents area so everyone can be involved together.

A free registration process allows kids and teens to track personal accomplishments. Email is required ONLY for teen accounts, not "kids." The registration information required is minimal and is legally appropriate for the age level.

tag(s): cooking (34), fitness (49), heart (42), myplate (28), obesity (19)

In the Classroom

Check school policy on setting up student accounts or work together with parents on this. Parents (or teachers) can use the Fit Jr. with younger students. Read the audio books together, try the interactives, and read the articles together. The Fit Kids portion of this website would be great for fifth and sixth grade physical education or health classes. Set up a classroom challenge for students to gain at least 30,000 fit points per week for four weeks. Include families for greater success. Have students track and monitor their progress over that time with the site. Tracking their own progress will be educational and fun! Keep a class "Workout Wiki" that can serve as a meeting place and neutral location to store exercise goals and nutritional changes. Maybe even include a recipe area for fit foods.
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Lose It! - FitNow, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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"Lose It!" is a comprehensive calorie counting and activity tracking tool; this website provides a free way to monitor calorie intake and output to lose, maintain, or manage health...more
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"Lose It!" is a comprehensive calorie counting and activity tracking tool; this website provides a free way to monitor calorie intake and output to lose, maintain, or manage health and weight. With great graphics and an available phone application, this tool is so versatile and easy that even younger students could learn to use it. The database of food includes restaurant, grocery, and generic food brands and types.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calories (9), DAT device agnostic tool (192), fitness (49), nutrition (154), obesity (19), social networking (113)

In the Classroom

Try using "Lose It!" in health classes as early as fifth grade to help students become aware of how they spend their calories in a day and just how much they are consuming. Sometimes just this awareness is enough to help some kids stay healthier. Have students do a baseline record what they eat and do with no set rules for three days to a week. Have students analyze with their free weekly reports: what they consumed, how much, and what vitamins and other nutrients that they may need to increase. If students are comfortable sharing information with each other, have them compare reports to get a better and more realistic view of their intake. Have students create a plan to make small changes to diet and activity for a week at a time and then have them check their reports again. This could be a year long, month long, or two week long process. Depending on the incidence of childhood obesity or malnutrition in your area, you can adjust this to fit your needs. If you are concerned about student privacy, create an account for a fictitious person that the entire class can use to analyze hypothetical food intake and more.

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Melting Pot Math - Franklin Institute

Grades
5 to 8
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This site shares different problem sets based in different countries and cultures across the world. Each set of problems comes with all of the necessary information to solve the questions....more
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This site shares different problem sets based in different countries and cultures across the world. Each set of problems comes with all of the necessary information to solve the questions. The problems focus on arithmetic, and many of them are story problems that provide information about the culture from which they are drawn. At the end of each set of problems is a link to answers. Countries included are China, India, England, Mexico, Italy, Ivory Coast and Kenya, Ireland, Russia, Germany, and Caribbean Nations. There are many science related problems on topics such as earthquakes and animals.

tag(s): architecture (83), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), problem solving (258)

In the Classroom

Share these problems with students when studying different geographic locations around the world. Use the problems on this site as examples and have students create their own math word problems with a multicultural foundation. Build social studies into limited class time by doing it during math!

When studying different geographic locations or cultures introduce students to word problems from that area and have individual students use a program such as Evernote reviewed here, to take notes about what they learn about the culture from the problem. Or, have small groups of students use Titanpad reviewed here to collaborate for note taking about what they are learning about the culture.
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Pearltrees - pearltrees

Grades
6 to 12
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Pearltrees.com is a great place to organize, share, and store websites for current, future, or collaborative use. More than a standard social bookmarking website, Pearltrees allows...more
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Pearltrees.com is a great place to organize, share, and store websites for current, future, or collaborative use. More than a standard social bookmarking website, Pearltrees allows you to create trees of sites to show relationships or even the order in which to browse websites. It is extremely simple to sign up, free, and easy to use once you have joined. To use it, you can install an add-on to your browser, use a bookmarklet, or just use your home spot to paste in websites that you want to add to your own pearl tree. There are "big pearls" that function as folders for multiple strands of Internet pearls. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): bookmarks (59), DAT device agnostic tool (192), webquests (29)

In the Classroom

In the simplest form, Pearltrees could be used to store links for classes that you are teaching or taking. More creatively, however, you could use this site to create a guided online field trip from one site to another. Even try pairing Pearltrees with the use of a highlighting style website such as Webklipper reviewed here, to direct students to the information on the site that you, as their teacher, want them to see. Try turning the tables on your students, and have them create a Pearltree for short research projects or as a working bibliography for their research papers. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

Comments

This is my favorite bookmark tool for my use. I have not used it with students but I love it for organizing things I want to go back to over and over. Charity, MD, Grades: 9 - 12

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Yummy Math - Brian Marks

Grades
5 to 9
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Yummy Math shares mathematics problems and scenarios based on things happening in the world today. In January, some of the topics related to the NFL playoffs. Yummy Math lists activities...more
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Yummy Math shares mathematics problems and scenarios based on things happening in the world today. In January, some of the topics related to the NFL playoffs. Yummy Math lists activities chronologically as well as by mathematics topic. Topics include Algebra, Number Sense, Geometry, Food Math, Sports, and many more. The site is sure to be highly motivational for students as they complete math problems based on items of current interest such as the Super Bowl, American Idol, and American candy sales. Most problems contain a printable word or pdf document with questions. Some also include video or audio clips. Especially helpful is the Contents link which provides an alphabetical listing of all activities on the site.

tag(s): number sense (97), problem solving (258), puzzles (208), sports (95)

In the Classroom

Make math relevant to any student. Assign weekly problems from the site for homework or daily classwork. Ask students to create new problems to be solved by classmates using the topic of the week or local topics of interest. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Use the archives to find problems available from previous months.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Wilderness Downtown - Chris Milk

Grades
4 to 12
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This interactive music video will bring in a street view of any address you enter. The pop group, Arcade Fire, worked with Google to develop this video for its song ...more
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This interactive music video will bring in a street view of any address you enter. The pop group, Arcade Fire, worked with Google to develop this video for its song "We Used To Wait." The video is best viewed in Chrome, but can also be viewed in Safari, and most of it on Internet Explorer. It uses Google Maps and Google Street View to bring the address you entered directly into the movie. You don't have to enter an exact address for the interaction to happen. You can put in a city, state, and country and get some very good results. A warning will appear that the information isn't complete, but click on "continue anyway" to see the results. Not only is this a sentimental trip down memory lane for you, but there are a myriad of ways to use this video with your students. Note: the video actually launches in multiple smaller windows, so allow all of them to montage on your screen! The final "postcard" that prompts you to write to your younger self uses the same artistic font as the title page. Take a screen shot of it to preserve what your message.

tag(s): creative writing (167), descriptive writing (41), poetry (229), video (251), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

World history, and world culture teachers could use this video by putting in a city and country where you know there are historical buildings from the time period you are studying. Science and math teachers could put in cities and countries for the origins of famous scientists or mathematicians or locations of major environmental events. And, of course, world language and geography teachers can input any city and country you are studying.

Any student, but especially ESL/ELL students, will discover forgotten memories after putting in an address and watching the film. Students who have always lived in the same home may want to put in the address of a favorite relative or vacation spot. At the end there is a prompt to write a postcard; however, it cannot be mailed to anyone in particular. So, have students jot memories ignited by the video on paper or in an open word processing document. Have them use one of the memories as a prompt for a memoir. Have students create blogs using Throwww (reviewed here). This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. There is no registration necessary!

During Poetry Month or a poetry unit, talk about the song lyrics as poetry, then have students write their own poems and read them along with their personal location video (with sound muted). Make poetry a personal performance piece!

Have you ever wanted to show your students the setting of a novel you are reading as a class? Imagine using the setting for Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet and putting in the street, city, and zipcode for Hyde Park and the University of Chicago. Powerful! At the end of the book there is a chase scene, and the students will really be able to visualize this section of the book. You might want to show the setting at the beginning and ask the students to write about why the person is running. After reading the novel, students could select different music to fit their impression of the book. Just mute the music in the video and allow their selection to play. Have students explain why they felt their choice fit that part of the novel better. Have students do this and vote on the musical selection they think fits best by using a tool such as Thinkmeter reviewed here.

This video could also be used as a prompt for a creative writing. Ask the students to listen carefully to the words in the music and connect the runner with the words, and explain why the figure is running? What might the figure be running from? Toward? Or, students could create a poem for the video, and even put the poem to music, or use the music from a favorite song for their poem. This site invites creativity and multimedia responses.

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