TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Mar 25, 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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Let's pocket - madebyloren.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Like sticky notes but tired of keeping track of them? Create digital sticky notes that can be shared across multiple devices including cellular phones. Manage your notes by tagging...more
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Like sticky notes but tired of keeping track of them? Create digital sticky notes that can be shared across multiple devices including cellular phones. Manage your notes by tagging them with #. For example, use #homework to manage all notes for homework. Drag and drop to arrange notes the way you want them. Delete notes by hovering or mousing over a note and clicking Delete. To make a new note from your phone, text your note to the phone number provided by the site (messaging fees apply).

tag(s): homework (46), organizational skills (77)

In the Classroom

Students can use this as a way to organize their reminders and homework. Have students use this site to organize a major research project. Keep track (or share) sites to help students study for the big test. Provide this link on your class website for students (or parents) to access at home. Help students build organizational skills with this engaging and useful tool. If your class is allowed to txt from school, use a class Pocket to display ideas that student brainstorm or respond by text from their phones. With the "pocket" open on a projector, their ideas will appear instantaneously.

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Festisite Money - Festisite

Grades
K to 12
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Have you ever wanted to see your own face on a dollar bill? Use this online image editor to personalized bills with your own picture. Just upload your picture (or ...more
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Have you ever wanted to see your own face on a dollar bill? Use this online image editor to personalized bills with your own picture. Just upload your picture (or any image) using the photo link at the bottom of the page. Images can be moved around within the picture frame, and there is an option to adjust the image size by zooming in or out. Save the edited image by right-clicking the image and selecting "save" to download the output image to your computer. Then print the dollar bill with your image. The site offers currency from many different countries from Antarctica to Yugoslavia.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): currency (17), financial literacy (54), money (167)

In the Classroom

Have fun creating personalized money for students to practice counting! Allow students to buy classroom rewards using your own classroom dollars generated using this site. Use class-made manipulatives from this site to teach basic economic concepts with simulations: running a small business, supply and demand, or simply making change. Use custom made currency as a behavior incentive system to help emotional support students build self-control. If students study different cultures, why not have them design their own country, complete with currency? Share this site with parents to use at home with their students or for the PTO/PTA to create fun money for school events.
 
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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BoomWriter - BoomWriter Corp

Grades
2 to 8
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Encourage your students to do their best writing at BoomWriter. Once students submit their writing, share it with the class or a small group to create a book. Here's how ...more
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Encourage your students to do their best writing at BoomWriter. Once students submit their writing, share it with the class or a small group to create a book. Here's how it works: Provided with a "starter chapter," students continue the story by writing additional chapters. Students vote on chapters submitted (anonymously), and the chapters receiving the most votes are included into a book that students, teachers, and parents can choose to have published by BoomWriter. After registration, students can see and begin contributions to a project with teachers able to oversee each student's writing, comments, and edits of other students' work. When all contributions are complete, the class reads the submissions and votes. Writers' names aren't revealed until after the voting, thereby eliminating any "classroom politics" that could happen in the voting stage. There is a short video on the home page introducing BoomWriter and how to get started with the program.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (123), digital storytelling (79), interactive stories (27), short stories (19)

In the Classroom

Use this site to excite students as writers. Encourage students to read other students' writing for ideas about what makes a story interesting. Create a friendly competition within your grade level by starting a book and choosing a winner. Create new books as different writing concepts are introduced such as dialogue, foreshadowing, etc. to help making learning fun. Have students create online posters using Check This (reviewed here). Science and other curricula teachers could have students review a unit just studied by creating their own texts or story books on the curriculum topic.

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Ribbot - Ribbot

Grades
9 to 12
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Create your own discussion forum that looks much like Twitter. Use this resource as an excellent tool for interaction. Ribbot is free to use and allows...more
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Create your own discussion forum that looks much like Twitter. Use this resource as an excellent tool for interaction. Ribbot is free to use and allows you to quickly and easily create an online forum. Be sure to name your forum carefully since the forum name is part of the URL under the Ribbot domain. Anyone who visits the forum can view all posts made there. Visitors to the forum can create new posts once they have created an account. If someone posts unwelcome material on your forum, you can ban them from posting again.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chat (31), forum (17), microblogging (31)

In the Classroom

Create a forum when watching a video in class where student commenting is necessary, and hold students accountable for responding actively using laptops. Use this tool as a book (or character) study group. Set up a "homework help" desk using this forum. Be sure to enlist student assistance to guide the commenting in the right direction. Be sure to discuss good forum etiquette and communicate the use of the forum for the classroom activity, as well as spelling out consequences for inappropriate use.

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Kadoo - Kadoo, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Kadoo is a video sharing cloud used to share your videos privately or publicly. Once an account is created, the main page provides links to upload a video, invite a ...more
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Kadoo is a video sharing cloud used to share your videos privately or publicly. Once an account is created, the main page provides links to upload a video, invite a friend, create a group, or share a file. Different uploading options are available: flash, classic, and air. Air uploading is quicker for larger files and can be used once the account is activated by responding to an account confirmation email. Video file formats accepted are AVI, WMV, MOV, MPG, MPEG, ASF, MP4, FLV, M2TS, and M4V. The maximum file size for a Kadoo Basic account is 200MB and storage is 5GB. Files can be uploaded from smartphone devices through the app available on the site.

tag(s): video (164)

In the Classroom

Use this site to store and share classroom video projects and collaborate with other classrooms safely. Challenge students to create a culminating project using this site. Have students create projects on current events (Olympics, elections, weather trends, etc..). Create projects to share with your class when a substitute is teaching. Use this site for reviewing class rules on the first day of school, to "meet the teacher," or even at back to school night. Be sure to be aware of your school's policies on sharing student work.

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Tweet Topic Explorer - Neoformix

Grades
8 to 12
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Use this resource to see what the NYTimes, Wall street Journal, or any other source (Twitter account) is currently tweeting about. A blend between Twitter...more
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Use this resource to see what the NYTimes, Wall street Journal, or any other source (Twitter account) is currently tweeting about. A blend between Twitter and word clouds, this resource can provide current information about many topics. Enter a Twitter username in the lower left to begin. Click on a circle in the word cloud to see the tweets listed along the side. Try entering @teachersfirst to see an example.

tag(s): charts and graphs (176), chat (31), microblogging (31), twitter (40)

In the Classroom

This would be fantastic projected on a whiteboard (or projector) for the class to see. Use this resource by entering a Twitter username (such as a politician's) to stay up to date about what they are discussing (or to realize the overuse of certain talking points!) Enter an author's user name to follow current discussions. Use this resource over a period of several weeks to identify the changing trends or changes in stories over time. Follow any Twitter name that can shed light on any academic topic for use in a class. Does your class use twitter? Enter the username(s) to create a word cloud of what your class has done. Use the word cloud and Tweets to reflect on what has been learned in the class. Follow what a famous person or writer is tweeting. See this list of tweeting authors for some possibilities.

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QR Voice - Marcel Duran

Grades
7 to 12
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Use this simple QR code site to type a 100 character message and hear it read by a voice synthesizer when the code is scanned. You can also read/record your ...more
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Use this simple QR code site to type a 100 character message and hear it read by a voice synthesizer when the code is scanned. You can also read/record your own voice. Type or dictate text and click to generate a QR code that will say the text aloud. Simply type text or click the microphone to dictate text. Use a QR reader on a mobile device or on a school computer or laptop in order to prepare the generated QR code. Try scanning the audible QR code here audible QR code here to hear an example we created. At the time of this review, the languages available included Portugese, Spanish, French, Japanese, English, and Italian.

tag(s): qr codes (19), text to speech (16)

In the Classroom

The use of QR Codes in the classroom is limitless, and adding an audio option makes them even more accessible. QR Codes can be used with portable devices or webcams on desktop computers. Create QR codes for assignments with quick directions, rubric information, editing instructions, or web resources. This would be great fun for a digital scavenger hunt. Embed QR codes that "tell" important audible information for your students or parents on a classroom website. Create a QR code to go home on student planners reminding them to do their homework. Add a QR Code to tell your schedule or learning goals. Share QR code audio announcements of special events to your families. For study guides, provide QR codes for answers so students can self-check. Create a living history museum of any time period, with simple explanations or fast facts. For vocabulary words in English or any other language, provide correct pronunciations or sample sentences and definitions of each word. If you work with non-readers or students learning English or another language, prepare recordings that will play when students scan the QR code with an iTouch or mobile phone. Have students practice spoken language skills and create their own audible QR codes for others to try. With very young children, you can put a QR code on signs labeling classroom objects and have them scan with mobile device cameras to hear (as well as see) the words for the object. This could be very helpful for nonreaders or English language learners.
 

Edge Features:

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Icon Finder - Iconfinder

Grades
1 to 12
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Looking for the perfect icon? Find it on Icon Finder! Find a variety of plug ins and tools to help create your own icons. Give feedback on existing icons. There ...more
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Looking for the perfect icon? Find it on Icon Finder! Find a variety of plug ins and tools to help create your own icons. Give feedback on existing icons. There is no sign-up required. Click "info" on each icon to find out the copyright/ creative commons/citations and permissions. Narrow your search to icons allowed to be used without citations using the dropdown menu for license filtering.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (201), infographics (37)

In the Classroom

Add spice (and icons) to your website, presentations, or files. This free tool adds interest and variety to give your special signature. Have students write rebus stories using icons to stand for certain words or use icons to help others navigate through their web-based presentations. Use icons to create infographics that communicate findings from research or to depict major concepts your class studies. Icons are also very useful for creating pictographs. In word language classes, use icons to create visual flash cards for vocabulary.

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Evil Mad Scientist - Evil Mad Science

Grades
6 to 12
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Discover irreverent, creative new projects featured every week in Evil Mad Scientist blog. This blog features applied science and math concepts in unique or unusual ways. A few of them...more
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Discover irreverent, creative new projects featured every week in Evil Mad Scientist blog. This blog features applied science and math concepts in unique or unusual ways. A few of them push the envelope, but all will get you thinking. Every Wednesday, new projects tickle your imagination. Watch videos, read the latest stories, or comment on existing projects. Browse the shop,-- not to buy, but to see and analyze remarkable inventions. Join a mailing list to never miss new projects. Note: a few of the ideas involve hacking electronics and computers, so the site may be blocked by school filters. Preview to know for sure. See notes below on ways to share specific articles.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creativity (88), inventors and inventions (97), scientific method (46), STEM (50)

In the Classroom

Inspire creativity and original thinking with Evil Mad Scientist. Use as inspiration or examples for student projects in art, science, or music, research, or applied creativity. If you share a link with students, you may want to link to a specific post or use Readability (reviewed here) to provide a "clean view" of the post. Evaluate projects together on the IWB to help students identify characteristics of creativity and talk about how the ideas may have come to be. Use this site during a unit on scientific method so students connect the discipline of research with the creative results. What kind of experimenting took place? What principles of science? Compare the inventions available in the Shop with inventions from the Industrial Revolution. How is today a different environment for inventors (or is it?) Begin your own Evil Mad Scientist blog to feature your students' creativity or slightly irreverent ideas in a safe and school-appropriate environment, almost as an STEM graffiti wall.

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The Story Home - Purple Button Media

Grades
K to 8
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This award-winning site contains both original and classic short stories and children's tales in audio form. On the left sidebar you can choose the genre. Each selection has a brief...more
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This award-winning site contains both original and classic short stories and children's tales in audio form. On the left sidebar you can choose the genre. Each selection has a brief summary on the opening page, so you can decide whichever story appeals to you. In addition to the mostly shorter selections, there is a fairly extensive list of stories that are around 10 minutes in length. Some stories are audio only (no text). You do NOT need to pay to simply listen from the website. Click the "play" button to play. Downloads cost money.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): listening (77), preK (220), reading comprehension (81), short stories (19)

In the Classroom

Have students try out this site with headphones on individual computers. Turn up your speakers and share this on your projector or interactive whiteboard as a listening activity. Use this site as extra listening practice for ELL/ESL students or any class. Create some reading/listening comprehension questions for students. Or better yet, have cooperative learning groups listen to DIFFERENT short stories and create 3-4 comprehension questions. Then have students rotate stories and try out the comprehension questions created by their classmates. Since nearly all stories are audio only, this site is excellent for listening practice. If you have print versions of these classics, be sure to have them handy at a listening center for beginning readers to follow along.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Zac Browser - People CD

Grades
K to 12
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Zacbrowser is a free, downloadable and customizable browser specifically designed to help students with autism, autism spectrum disorder, and other special needs so they have usable...more
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Zacbrowser is a free, downloadable and customizable browser specifically designed to help students with autism, autism spectrum disorder, and other special needs so they have usable access to the Internet. At this time, ZacBrowser is WIndows ONLY. The browser simplifies and controls what you can reach when you click on items on the screens. Many testimonials of families with children with special needs affirm the browser's usability for children who may be confused, distracted, overwhelmed, or frustrated by normal web browsers.

tag(s): autism (18), browser (5)

In the Classroom

Ask your tech department to Install this on your classroom computer if you have students with special needs such as autism. Provide this link to parents who may benefit from the browser. Note that this download is Windows only at this time.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Chartle - Dieter Krachtus

Grades
6 to 12
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Create various types of graphs and charts - easily! Input data quickly, and explore multiple ways to show the data using the various types of graphs available. Easily see the ...more
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Create various types of graphs and charts - easily! Input data quickly, and explore multiple ways to show the data using the various types of graphs available. Easily see the relationships between the data as you play with the graphic. Note: Take (and save) a screen shot of your chart as not all charts have been saved correctly. Once a chart has been published, it can no longer be edited. There is a short video tutorial on the homepage explaining how to use this site. This site uses Java.

tag(s): charts and graphs (176)

In the Classroom

You will want to play with this tool before using it in class. Use anywhere numerical data is collected and is best shown in a chart. Collect data in a science, survey, or math class and display it using different graphs to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using each graph type. Use for quick creation and sharing of created graphs. Create charts together easily on an interactive whiteboard when introducing the different types. Have students operate the board while others offer instructions on what to do next. Use graphs to portray different sets of data about a topic in a new and unique way. Use this tool to create graphs and charts for presentations and reports. Make quick charts students can share with others such as "How I spend my time" and "Places I have visited." During political campaign seasons, create charts to better visualize what the pollsters are saying.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Respondo! - Ian Byrdseed

Grades
4 to 12
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Bring some creativity into your literature lessons using this site that goes way beyond rote answers. Choose skills from drop boxes, identify one or two stories to analyze/compare,...more
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Bring some creativity into your literature lessons using this site that goes way beyond rote answers. Choose skills from drop boxes, identify one or two stories to analyze/compare, choose your thinking skills, and decide what the final product will be. For example, "Substitute The Giver's setting for A Wrinkle In Time's setting. Dramatize how this would affect A Wrinkle In Time's plot. Create a skit," or "Rearrange Oh The Places You Will Go's plot. Analyze how this would affect its tone. Create a photo essay ." Choose whatever book(s) are relevant to your class. Experiment with different ideas easily until coming up with the perfect response question for your class or individualize easily for different student responses. The creator of this site does admit that it is a rather new site with a few kinks. His email is provided if you see any issues. Our review team noticed nothing unusual, and all options were functioning properly, at the time of this review.

tag(s): blooms taxonomy (8), characterization (14), creative fluency (8), creativity (88), critical thinking (64), debate (32), flexibility (6), literary devices (6), literature (218), plot (10), setting (8), stories and storytelling (24)

In the Classroom

Use this site to create unique lessons and literature responses that require critical thinking responses from your students. Share with students and allow them to create their own response at the end of a unit when comparing two books or reflecting on one book. Use this site as a resource for incorporating different levels of Blooms Taxonomy into your classroom and for differentiation among students. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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