TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 19, 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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CAST Science Writer - CAST, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
  
Get help writing science reports. Follow the steps of a science report, already broken down to show where all the information goes. This tool includes sentence starters and checklists...more
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Get help writing science reports. Follow the steps of a science report, already broken down to show where all the information goes. This tool includes sentence starters and checklists that are helpful when editing and revising a report. Follow the process of creating a draft, revising the report, and final editing. Use the text to speech tool found in the resource to hear your report being read back to you, a powerful way to hear whether it makes sense. The site states "This tool is geared toward middle school and high school students." However, there are activities applicable to upper elementary grades.

tag(s): science fairs (25), scientific method (64)

In the Classroom

Be sure to place this link on the school blog, wiki, or class website for easy access throughout the year. Demonstrate in class or use as a group. Share the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Students will find it a great resource. Knowing when to discuss information is difficult for most to decide when writing a lab report. After creating a report, have students discuss or create a display that shows where information needs to be placed in a lab report.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

This resource is described as being for students in grades 6 through 12, but the interface has animated "helpers" that would be more appropriate for younger students. The breakdown of report writing into sections also seems a bit simplistic--also more appropriate for younger students. I think it would be better to describe this resource as being for grades 2-5. Note from the editorial team: The site states that this tool is designed for middle school and high school students. However, after further review, we agree that it would be useful in the elementary grades. We have adjusted our review based on your recommendations. Rita, WA, Grades: 6 - 12

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Writing to Persuade - Mrs. Travis' Classroom

Grades
4 to 8
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Looking for a way to explain and practice persuasive writing? Find examples on how to include evidence, show differing viewpoints, organize writing, and focus on the target audience....more
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Looking for a way to explain and practice persuasive writing? Find examples on how to include evidence, show differing viewpoints, organize writing, and focus on the target audience. Don't miss the links at the bottom to an interactive persuasive essay map and a persuasive writing leaflets practice site.

tag(s): persuasive writing (54)

In the Classroom

Share information from the site on your interactive whiteboard when teaching persuasive writing. Print the charts and information from the site for students to include in writing journals as a handy review. Share a link to the site on your classroom website or newsletter for students to use as a resource at home. Have students try out one of the links (interactives) at the bottom to help organize their writing.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Show(R) USA - SHOW(R)

Grades
6 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
See a new way to look at the USA (or the World, or Japan). This site resizes countries on the map in relation to various issues: population, resources, employment, religion, ...more
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See a new way to look at the USA (or the World, or Japan). This site resizes countries on the map in relation to various issues: population, resources, employment, religion, death, business, the environment, and more. Each main topic also has numerous sub-topics to explore. Maps adjust to correspond to data. For example, click on "unemployed" on the U.S. map and you see the states in proportion to the number of unemployed workers. Mouse over the state and you can see the percentage of unemployed workers. A list on the right ranks states from 1 to 50 for the percentage of unemployed (or other specified topic). New maps/topics are constantly being added, and you can make suggestions as to what types of maps you would like to see.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): agriculture (54), elections (73), energy (197), environment (317), infographics (42), maps (287), politics (98), population (60), religions (61), resources (111), sports (95)

In the Classroom

When studying a specific topic in class (unemployment, AIDS, drunk driving, religion, energy resources, crops, etc.), share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Ask students why certain state or countries might differ from others. Are there issues that appear to be related, such as alcoholism and unemployment? Is it cause/effect or simply a coincidence? During election years, explore political leanings/polls and other statistics from this site. Have cooperative learning groups explore a specific topic (or state) and possible reasons for the data. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge groups to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Remember that you can always take screenshots of a map using PrtScrn key in Windows (then paste it where you want it) or using Command+Shift+4 on a Mac to save the image on your computer. Use the screenshots in explanations and presentations.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Circle the Cat - Chat Noir

Grades
K to 5
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This addictive logic game challenges you to click on circles in order to trap the cat so it won't escape. No reading required! Each game starts with a few circles; ...more
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This addictive logic game challenges you to click on circles in order to trap the cat so it won't escape. No reading required! Each game starts with a few circles; pay attention to those and utilize that information. Games can be reset at anytime or will restart when the cat is trapped (or escapes).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): logic (229), problem solving (258)

In the Classroom

Use this on your interactive whiteboard, as a center, or a class activity. This works well with young students as a springboard for discussing problem-solving strategies and teaching how to think ahead for multiple steps. Even the very young students will enjoy it, though you may need to play as a group. Provide this link on your class website for some at-home logic practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Bigbot - Merriam-Webster

Grades
5 to 10
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Find antonyms and synonyms for different words with this easy to follow interactive. You see a word and must choose the best synonym or antonym from a list of five ...more
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Find antonyms and synonyms for different words with this easy to follow interactive. You see a word and must choose the best synonym or antonym from a list of five words. Some of the words are quite challenging. Choose the correct response; then launch the word into the robot's mouth. If the choice is incorrect, the robot shakes his head no, and you choose a new answer.

tag(s): antonyms (26), synonyms (38), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers and use this site as a center activity for synonym and antonym practice. Use on your interactive whiteboard as a center activity. Share the site with parents on your classroom website or blog as a resource for practice at home. Have students do the interactive and record responses onto a sheet separating antonyms and synonyms found.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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GE Data Visualization - General Electric

Grades
7 to 12
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View data visualizations (infographics) about GE's initiatives. Click or rollover each interactive graph and review the data that can be found within it. Share these data visualizations...more
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View data visualizations (infographics) about GE's initiatives. Click or rollover each interactive graph and review the data that can be found within it. Share these data visualizations by email, twitter, or Facebook, as well as downloading each for further use. The topics range from energy use to health issues to innovation. Don't miss the retrospective of the year 2011 shown through data visualizations!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (149), energy (197), infographics (42)

In the Classroom

Use for basic information about energy and economic issues that can be discussed in class and researched even further. Share the graphs and information on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge cooperative learning groups to explore different graphs and report back to the class. Use this site to inspire infographic projects in any social studies or science class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ALTs altastic - Altastic.com

Grades
K to 5
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Find useful, interactive whiteboard resources, downloads, and lesson ideas (aimed at the elementary levels). These resources are divided into categories such as Flashcards, Scorers,...more
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Find useful, interactive whiteboard resources, downloads, and lesson ideas (aimed at the elementary levels). These resources are divided into categories such as Flashcards, Scorers, Interactive Stuff, Time Killers and the Lab. Each of the resources can be downloaded or accessed directly from the site by clicking the image next to the title. They will run on computers or any brand of interactive whiteboard or projector. Flashcard sets include handwriting practice, number practice, the Verbinator, mysteries, flags of the world, and more. Scorers are different forms of scoreboards use keeping track of game play. The Lab section is a very nice interactive demonstrating proper formation of letters in block, basic, or cursive script. Click on the color link on this page to break each of the letters into colored sections to help visualize the proper letter formation. Be sure to check out the interactive clock and dice located under Interactive Stuff. This site appears to be updated often, so be sure to check back. The downloads are JAVA applets that can run offline. Unfortunately, the activities do not work on iOs devices like iPads.

tag(s): alphabet (92), flags (21), flash cards (45), handwriting (18), iwb (31), numbers (203), verbs (41)

In the Classroom

Display the handwriting flashcards on your interactive whiteboard as a student-operated center to practice letter writing skills. Choose random letters, and have students make a list of words beginning with that letter. The What's This activity would be great vocabulary practice for ELL students or speech/language students. Use the Timekillers on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) for a quick 5 or 10 minute class or center activity.

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Party Designer - Mathplayground.com

Grades
2 to 7
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This great area and perimeter resource lets you set the design for a party. Follow the directions about the size of the area needed to house each of the items ...more
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This great area and perimeter resource lets you set the design for a party. Follow the directions about the size of the area needed to house each of the items for the party. Drag the corners of the icon to create the space needed. You have three tries to get the correct area and perimeter before you receive a different puzzle (same difficulty level). As you complete each party room, move up to more difficult levels. Incorrect choices are explained briefly. There is also a "?" button to click to learn HOW to manipulate this activity. One unfortunate drawback: there is no easy "return to start" button on this activity. You have to hold down your browser Back button or finish the game.

tag(s): area (65), perimeter (32)

In the Classroom

Use this as drill and practice for area and perimeter. Have students work as individuals or groups to understand these concepts. Have students create a similar exercise for classmates using different scenarios and objects. Provide this link on your class website for students to access (and practice) at home. This activity would be easy to duplicate as a student-created challenge on interactive whiteboard using the grid background that comes in the whiteboard software. What other challenges could students create to practice area and perimeter? Save their student-made challenges on a class wiki for future use with other classes or as review.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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My Susthouse - Mysusthouse

Grades
3 to 9
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Explore the concept of sustainability interactively. Listen to information about sustainability and then play one of two games: Environment game (ages 8+) or Building game (ages 12+)....more
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Explore the concept of sustainability interactively. Listen to information about sustainability and then play one of two games: Environment game (ages 8+) or Building game (ages 12+). Follow the information in the videos to help you make decisions on where to live, how to save energy, and other decisions that impact our energy use. Learn how to build a house with alternative energies and materials to increase the sustainability.

tag(s): ecosystems (88), energy (197), environment (317), nuclear energy (24), population (60), solar energy (38), STEM (123), sustainability (19), water (130)

In the Classroom

Use as an introduction and discussion starter to a unit on environment, energy, population, or other topics in art, science, or STEM programs. Allow students the time to peruse the information and games on the site and return to the entire class to share what they have learned. Have students identify information used in the student's own homes, or what they would need to change to make their home more sustainable. Have your students create a public service announcement that can help others save energy and the environment. Consider using Tildee, reviewed here. With Tildee students can use text, screen shots, and video to develop their public service announcement.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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IndyKids - IndyKids

Grades
3 to 8
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IndyKids is an online newspaper for kids. This online version is the same as the printable version that produces 10,000 copies of each issue, reaching kids in 36 states of ...more
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IndyKids is an online newspaper for kids. This online version is the same as the printable version that produces 10,000 copies of each issue, reaching kids in 36 states of the US. Articles are written by both kids and adults, featuring topics related to current events and topics of interest to kids. Articles written by kids are noted as such and include the writer's age. At the time of this review, some of the "kid written articles" included Growing Poverty: Hard to Ignore At Home, Wasps: Do I Know You, and several others. Be sure to check out the category search on the lower right-hand portion of the site with topics such as: Kids Around the World, Culture and Activism, Education, and much more. Newspapers are archived in PDF format for easy printing and dated back several years.

tag(s): creative writing (167), expository writing (44), journalism (45), persuasive writing (54), writing (356)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students and have students choose an article to read, summarize, or expand upon. After reading articles on the site, have students choose a current topic that interests them and have them write an article as practice of informational writing. In science or social studies, study the newspaper format as students write articles reporting on scientific discoveries or famous people. Use the format of this newsletter as a resource for creating and publishing your own classroom newsletter online. During newspapers in education month, use this site to findaccessible articles for any age. Create a newspaper using a site such as Zinepal (reviewed here). Click to "Start with a blank e-Book."
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Infographics archive - Infographics Archive

Grades
7 to 12
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Find fascinating Infographics on a variety of topics: Technology, Environment, Business, Food Facts, Politics, Health Safety, and even Interesting Facts. What are Infographics? A graphic...more
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Find fascinating Infographics on a variety of topics: Technology, Environment, Business, Food Facts, Politics, Health Safety, and even Interesting Facts. What are Infographics? A graphic visual representation of information, data, or knowledge.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (149), graphic design (34), infographics (42)

In the Classroom

Use as an introduction to a lesson or unit. Use Think-Pair-Share to list and share information provided by the graphic. Develop questions to be answered to understand the information or questions that they just wonder. Allow students or groups of students to choose an Infographic that interests them and report on the information given. Consider assigning the creation of an Infographic as an assignment to understand content and connect it with the real world, such as showing the many ways electricity is used in the world or the impact of slavery on an economy. Or have them explain an experiment and report the results with graphical information to provide meaning. Since infographics are often key to understanding an article, reading teachers will appreciate this large collection to use in teaching/practicing how to interpret informational graphics within a text. Share one each day for students to practice telling you the "main idea" of the graphic.

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BBC - Sing - Learn to Sing - BBC

Grades
2 to 12
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"BBC- Sing- Learn to Sing" gives you a step by step tutorial on how to properly stand, warm up, sing, and improve your singing explained through text instructions, images, and ...more
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"BBC- Sing- Learn to Sing" gives you a step by step tutorial on how to properly stand, warm up, sing, and improve your singing explained through text instructions, images, and videos. This videos give you the basics; what you do with them is up to you! This a fun and interesting way to bring singing into your schools, especially where funding cuts have eliminated staffing for music.

tag(s): music theory (41), sound (100)

In the Classroom

This site would be great for music, choral teachers, musical directors, or individual students hoping to improve their singing. Use the tutorial with students who are new to singing and group performance. The more students know and practice, the more comfortable they will be with their own abilities. Assign this link from your webpage or wiki so that students may access the lessons from home to practice in their own comfort zone. This would also be great if you are the adviser of a musical club or group. Guitar clubs could even benefit from this, as they could learn how to sing better along with their instruments. In science class, include this site in a unit on sound as you investigate how human anatomy creates and adjusts sounds in singing.

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Tricider - tricider.com

Grades
3 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Tricider is an exciting tool to help people brainstorm and make decisions. You put a question in the appropriate box and then select who is eligible to comment and vote. ...more
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Tricider is an exciting tool to help people brainstorm and make decisions. You put a question in the appropriate box and then select who is eligible to comment and vote. Invite people to join in making decisions via Facebook, Twitter, or email. Options include setting a time limit, or closing down the question or discussion. There is no registration required, and the site is completely free.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), conflict resolution (8), debate (41), persuasive writing (54), polls and surveys (47), questioning (33)

In the Classroom

Introduce Tricider on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site to develop arguments sides for an upcoming debate or persuasive writing assignment. Promote higher level thinking by asking students to brainstorm options and set criteria to choose. Build mental flexibility as they see alternate points of view on an issue. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects, decision making, and organization.

If you have students create book ads in your class, or projects, your students can vote on which book they want to read next or which project they would like to investigate further, etc. Teachers can also use Tricider to survey students about what resources on your website are the best, what further explanation they may need about a unit in math or science, which project students would like to do as a summative assessment, or ways to encourage "green" practices in your community. Be sure to have your students use a code or number instead of an actual name.

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