TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 26, 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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Mr. Thorne Does Phonics - Christopher Thorne

Grades
K to 5
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Learn grammar and phonics using short video clips. Videos are divided into categories based on phases of learning (phonics/reading levels), high frequency words, and other criteria....more
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Learn grammar and phonics using short video clips. Videos are divided into categories based on phases of learning (phonics/reading levels), high frequency words, and other criteria. Videos are engaging and short enough to keep students interested (most run 2-4 minutes). This site includes everything from learning the alphabet to consonant blends to pronouns and much more. Note that the speaker is not American, so the accent may be different from what young students have heard before. There are app versions of many of the activities.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (92), alphabetical order (19), grammar (217), phonics (75), pronunciation (45), sight words (37), spelling (168), verbs (41), vowels (13)

In the Classroom

Use this site to practice word recognition, pronunciation, and phonics rules. The Mr. Thorne Does Phonics site would be a wonderful site to have available for students on classroom computers as a reading/learning center. Or share specific video clips with your entire class on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Challenge your students to make their own Mr. Thorne inspired videos for phonics or grammar. Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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wickED - Science Interactives - Ministry of Education, Wellington, New Zealand

Grades
4 to 8
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Enjoy learning about the earth's geography with these engaging interactives. This site includes six different interactives that show the earth's make-up and more about plate tectonics...more
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Enjoy learning about the earth's geography with these engaging interactives. This site includes six different interactives that show the earth's make-up and more about plate tectonics and rock formation. Explore about the rock cycle or a lab to find out what the earth is made of. Each activity gives just enough information to pique interest and allow for further exploration. If you are using a Mac, you will need to download the free Shockwave plugins to make the interactives work on your Mac. Download the Shockwave plugin here.

tag(s): plate tectonics (23), rock cycle (9), rocks (49), volcanoes (61)

In the Classroom

This site would be perfect to use when introducing a unit on rocks and the rock cycle, plate tectonics, or heat and pressure within the earth. Allow students to explore the interactives and compose questions that they would like to have answered. Challenge students to create a word cloud of terms from one of the interactives using a tool such as Wordle reviewed here. Continue to add to the Wordle throughout your unit.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Cookie - Cookie.com

Grades
K to 3
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Cookie is a large collection of learning games, videos, worksheets, and arts&crafts for preschool to early elementary. Find math, science, art, and language activities in many different...more
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Cookie is a large collection of learning games, videos, worksheets, and arts&crafts for preschool to early elementary. Find math, science, art, and language activities in many different formats. Search by subject, top games, and new releases. Pre-school and early elementary teachers will appreciate the many videos on the site for learning to write numbers and letters, learning body parts, and days of the week. There are interactives for students related to addition, colors, alphabet letters, and more.

tag(s): alphabet (92), audio books (32), colors (79), geometric shapes (159), matching (24), numbers (203), preK (275), puzzles (208), songs (52), worksheets (58)

In the Classroom

These interactives make great center activities to support learning. Or if individual computers aren't available, use your interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider using the IWB as a student-run center for pairs to take turns. There are numerous activities to choose from and differentiate for your students' needs. This is definitely one to save in your favorites (or bookmark). Be sure to share this link via your newsletter or list it on your class website, blog, or wiki. Use your TeachersFirst public page (part of free membership) to share with a single click!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Educreations - Educreations, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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Use Educreations' simple web-based whiteboard (works in any browser that supports flash) or the iPad app to record lessons and share with your students. Create your course(s) and control...more
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Use Educreations' simple web-based whiteboard (works in any browser that supports flash) or the iPad app to record lessons and share with your students. Create your course(s) and control privacy settings from the beginning. Make the content pubic, private to your students, or private to all within the school. Create a lesson by using the online whiteboard and your microphone. Easily upload images from your computer and switch between whiteboard screens. Click on the Students tab to provide a link for students to be able to find your course. Students can self-register using the unique classroom code. Each lesson has a unique URL you can share, as well. Students can access your lessons via the web or an iPad. You can remove students from registration lists in this section.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): homework (43), video (251)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to create homework help for students to peruse when they are stuck on their own trying to complete assignments. Create mini lessons for students to review or learn the material they may have missed. Consider allowing students to use your account to write a script and record mini lessons for use by other students. Even two recordings of the same lesson is valuable as information can be explained differently from more than one person. Be sure to include this link on your class website for students (and parents) to access at home.

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Walter and Eliza Hall Institute TV - Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Grades
9 to 12
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Excellent videos explain the discoveries made in this Institute using 3D animation: Origin of Breast Cancer, Molecular Visualizations of DNA, Colony Stimulating Factor, and many other...more
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Excellent videos explain the discoveries made in this Institute using 3D animation: Origin of Breast Cancer, Molecular Visualizations of DNA, Colony Stimulating Factor, and many other topics. These 3D videos are housed at You Tube. If your district blocks You Tube, you will need to ask for it to be unblocked to show. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): diseases (66), dna (69), human body (119), medicine (67)

In the Classroom

Use these videos as an introduction or as a way to review material covered in class. Make theoretical biology concepts more concrete through visuals and real diseases. Share these video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide this link on your class website for students to view both in and out of the classroom. Be sure to check out the videos on the Malarial life cycle for a great application of many different biological concepts.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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QR Treasure Hunt Generator - Classtools.net

Grades
4 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Interested in using QR codes in an engaging way? Try this Treasure Hunt Generator that uses QR codes. It's simple. Enter your questions and answers. Then click Create the QR ...more
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Interested in using QR codes in an engaging way? Try this Treasure Hunt Generator that uses QR codes. It's simple. Enter your questions and answers. Then click Create the QR Challenge. These are generated as text files which can be printed and posted wherever you want. Students use a QR reader (such as on iTouches, iPads, or phones) to scan and open the question and directions. Students then continue on by finding and answering the questions.

Note: QR code readers exist for every type of phone and are easily found on the Internet. For computers, add-ons exist for Firefox and Chrome as well as a desktop application from Adobe.

tag(s): game based learning (101), gamification (63), qr codes (21)

In the Classroom

Use to make any class content into a treasure hunt for knowledge. Keep students engaged by creating learning centers that have a question requiring an answer and perhaps another activity at the center before going on to the next. Have students learn and answer questions about mystery objects, art prints, or books/authors with accompanying QR codes. Identify trees by creating a QR code with a question about the tree and perhaps another link taking them to specific information. Create a scavenger hunt around the school asking questions about activities in the school or certain student projects found in showcases. (The first QR code could be printed in the school newsletter.) Create a treasure hunt with books in the library to test library search skills or to find a specific book and answer questions from the index, table of contents, etc. Use QR codes on objects in Geometry to ask questions about the shapes or solve a problem based on a physical object. Any subject area and content could find a use for this Treasure Hunt Generator. Challenge students to create their own QR treasure hunts as a way to "present" research projects. Use in social studies for the entire class to create a QR code hunt around your community to bring local history to life for all residents.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Search Team - Zakta LLC

Grades
5 to 12
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This search engine is designed for you to search collaboratively with others. Avoid duplicate search results and record comments and "likes." Once you register (requires email), click...more
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This search engine is designed for you to search collaboratively with others. Avoid duplicate search results and record comments and "likes." Once you register (requires email), click Contacts (or Invite Friends To Search Together) to add others with whom you can collaborate on searches. All collaborators must have email and be registered. Be aware: as with most search engines, inappropriate words can be used/searched. Be sure your students know the rules, expectations, and consequences for inappropriate searches.

tag(s): search engines (64), search strategies (30)

In the Classroom

Use this resource for any project or other classroom research where students can benefit from collaborative research. This is a great alternative to meeting at a group member's house or the library. And it saves gas! For students under age 13, use a whole class account and have each group use a different TAB that you set up for them. A how-to video on the site will guide you through set up.

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Animaps - Animaps

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Use Animaps to go beyond Google's My Maps, adding animation. You can add text, multiple location stops, and images to maps. Maps that you make can be shared with anyone ...more
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Use Animaps to go beyond Google's My Maps, adding animation. You can add text, multiple location stops, and images to maps. Maps that you make can be shared with anyone or kept private. Connect your Animaps to Facebook and Twitter for direct photo and map sharing. This tool's major advantage is that it adds the factor of time to the map.

tag(s): map skills (80), maps (287), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

To use this tool, create an account and start playing with the features. There are also tutorials and showcases featured on the site to show what can be done. This would be great for creating time lines in social studies class, showing different places and teaching geography and social studies together. Foreign language students could create maps explaining culture aspects of the language or trace the origins of language. Assign students in math or family consumer sciences to be travel agents and plan vacations, including the costs of the trip.

As part of a book project, have your students show the setting of a novel they are reading, with images that annotate their impression of what the setting looks like. Have students create visual current events, especially for events that take place over time, such as the primaries and Presidential Elections.

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Wridea - Octeth Ltd.

Grades
4 to 12
6 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Wridea is an idea management, brainstorming, and collaboration tool. It's a place to organize and categorize your ideas, share them with others for input, and store them. To collaborate...more
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Wridea is an idea management, brainstorming, and collaboration tool. It's a place to organize and categorize your ideas, share them with others for input, and store them. To collaborate using this tool, you must have individual memberships (email required). Note that maps that are shared can be seen by the public, but not altered. You specify the members who may collaborate and make alterations. At this time, this site does not work properly in Internet Explorer. However, it is a great tool to use in Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or other browsers.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), concept mapping (22), graphic organizers (42), mind map (24), organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to create their own Wridea tool. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group study guides or review charts before a test. Have students use Wridea as a study guide by brainstorming all the important concepts they remember about the unit being studied in history or science, and then have them share their Wridea with another student who will add concepts that were left out. Build student creative fluency by having them use Wridea to create categories of wonder, question, and answers for research; map out a story or plot line, or map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings based on pivotal points.

Comments

This resources looks like it has a wide variety of applications suitable to upper elementary and secondary classrooms. Sign up was quick and easy, but I received a message upon completing those steps that Wridea doesn't support Internet Explorer. It "suggested" using Mozilla Firefox instead. I'm a strong advocate for being comfortable with using several browsers, so, this doesn't throw up any huge roadblocks to me, but if you do not have or use Firefox, you will need to take that extra step as well before actually making use of this tool.

Editor's Note: the review has been updated to reflect this new information.
Rita, WA, Grades: 6 - 12

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Sound Cloud - SoundCloud Ltd.

Grades
K to 12
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SoundCloud is a sound sharing site. Upload your favorite sounds and share using your sound cloud free account. Share via a link or a choice of embed widgets to add ...more
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SoundCloud is a sound sharing site. Upload your favorite sounds and share using your sound cloud free account. Share via a link or a choice of embed widgets to add into a website, blog, podcast, Wordpress, email, instant message, or social network. You can choose to use previously recorded sounds or record your own sounds using this site. Share the sounds on the web, with your group, or privately between users. Use your drop box to receive recorded material from others.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (167), descriptive writing (41), expository writing (44), sound (100), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

Add the dimension of sound into your language arts classes with SoundCloud! Turn written stories or poetry into works of spoken art. Use SoundCloud recordings of places such as; the city, the forest, the beach, or a cafeteria to bring settings to life. Make and share audio writing prompts. Challenge students to create their own story using sounds. Add sound into projects such as webquests, PowerPoints, podcasts, or blogging to hear the results! Emphasize important messages to your parent or student emails using sound. What a practical solution for ESL/ELL learners. Record and share poetry readings during Poetry Month. Save quarterly recordings of speech articulation students s they can hear their own progress (and you can share it with parents). Check school policies, of course, before uploading any student recordings to the web. Instrumental music teachers can share clips of musical pieces for students to emulate during at-home practice.

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