TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Apr 8, 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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What's Going On Now - John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Grades
8 to 12
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Are we living in the worst of times? Or is history simply repeating? This site looks at the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s through the lens of Marvin Gaye's 1971 album ...more
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Are we living in the worst of times? Or is history simply repeating? This site looks at the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s through the lens of Marvin Gaye's 1971 album "What's Going On." But more importantly, the site challenges us to examine the similarities between those days and the world the youth of today has inherited. The French have a saying, "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose," or the more things change, the more they remain the same. Compare the unrest related to the environment, to social change, to veterans issues. What about drugs, poverty, and faith? How are these issues expressed through popular music? This site presents compelling resources in music, video, and historical commentary, as well as strong teacher guidance to enable you to create powerful, involved lessons based on these questions. Fifty years ago, it was a call for "relevance" in the classroom; today, we search for "authentic" instruction. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

tag(s): 1960s (30), civil rights (117), cross cultural understanding (115), ecology (135), racism (18), veterans (19), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

History teachers struggle for "coverage," or the ability to teach across all eras. U.S. History teachers often don't get to the Vietnam era, but these resources are a superb reason for pressing forward. Teacher resources include a number of guided investigations and classroom listening guides that can be incorporated in their entirety or adapted to complement lessons on the Vietnam era in a recent U.S. History class, on social change for a Sociology class, or on contemporary music as an agent of political protest for a music class. For independent or gifted learners, this site could provide the basis for sustained small group inquiry as part of curriculum differentiation. Start by asking students to explore the site and write a blog post about their initial impressions.
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Just for Kids Who Stutter - The Stuttering Foundation

Grades
1 to 8
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Read stories written by children who have problems with stuttering. One selection is available in pdf book form, and offers crayon colored drawings to go with the complete story of...more
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Read stories written by children who have problems with stuttering. One selection is available in pdf book form, and offers crayon colored drawings to go with the complete story of one child's experiences. Other offerings include poems, drawings, cartoons, and short essays, and FAQ information about stuttering. Students of any age are welcome to contribute here. Offerings are written in English and French.

tag(s): disabilities (20), speaking (24), speech (93)

In the Classroom

Share these stories during an anti-bullying lesson. Talk about how you would feel if you stuttered or were bullied for another reason. Make a list of ways to react to bullies. Encourage students to add their own experiences to this site, if appropriate permissible under school policies (check with your administrator). Get parent permission before posting any student work on this sharing site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Ship-2-Shore Education/ Mapping Plastic Marine Pollution - Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Grades
4 to 12
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Explore plastic pollution in the North Pacific Ocean at this terrific site. Take a virtual journey on one of the ships that measures and keeps track of marine pollution. You ...more
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Explore plastic pollution in the North Pacific Ocean at this terrific site. Take a virtual journey on one of the ships that measures and keeps track of marine pollution. You will find complete lessons to use in free Google Earth software. There are separate lessons for each grade level 4 through 12. Download PDF Activity Sheets and print for students or students can open the activity sheet on computers and type their responses into the form fields. If you cannot use Google Earth to your school computers, have no fear! Use portions of the lessons online in Google Maps (reviewed here). Voyage files are on Google Maps, and students can access them there. Access the current voyage (2012) through the site's blog. Note that the downloads are "zipped" files you must unzip THEN open in Google Earth or Google Maps. Each placemarker (KML) file has little sailboat icons that open to very detailed information about what was found at that location.

tag(s): environment (317), oceans (147), plastics (9), pollution (66)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard and projector to introduce this site and one voyage. Point out all the little sail boat icons. Click to see text and images. Use these lessons as is or adapt for your own use. Consider having students work in groups of four, and have each group explore a different voyage (listed by year). There are a lot of sail boat placemarkers for each voyage. Have the small groups of students investigate the first several days of each voyage together. After that, suggest they split the placemarkers up, take notes about what they learn, and inform each other about what happened on the days they investigated. Once they've investigated their voyage, remix the groups so you have one student from each of the different voyages together. Have them share information and determine what was alike and different for each year. Use a graphic organizer or mind mapping tool such as WiseMapping reviewed here, or Exploratree reviewed here to help students keep track of the information. Once done have students access the additional resources page and click on the comparison mapping button. Have them compare their information to the maps provided. Older students may want to investigate information about careers related to GIS, Conservation, and Marine Biology by using the link at the bottom of the page.
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TES Interactive Whiteboard Activities - TSL Education

Grades
K to 6
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Explore a wonderful resource of interactive, Flash-based whiteboard activities for preschool and elementary students. Choose from EYFS (early childhood), KS1 (approximately ages 6-8)...more
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Explore a wonderful resource of interactive, Flash-based whiteboard activities for preschool and elementary students. Choose from EYFS (early childhood), KS1 (approximately ages 6-8) or KS2 (approximately ages 8-11). Subjects include math, literacy, science, geography, and more. Each activity includes a short explanation with suggestions for classroom use. Many of the literacy activities relate to familiar children's stories such as Goldilocks, Cinderella, and the Three Little Pigs. All resources can be sorted by subject or grade level and include a link to copy for embedding in classroom blogs, websites, or as a bookmark on classroom computers. The site originates in the UK, so it uses British English.

tag(s): animals (277), characterization (16), charts and graphs (195), communities (35), counting (119), data (149), human body (119), numbers (203), plants (143), preK (275), setting (11)

In the Classroom

Use activities on this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as whole class activities or in classroom computer centers. Share the site with parents through your classroom website or newsletter as a resource for skills practice at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Faces of Learning - Q.E.D. Foundation

Grades
8 to 12
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Discover a community about how people learn. Attractively packaged, the site encourages you to share your experiences and thoughts about what makes a learning environment and how you...more
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Discover a community about how people learn. Attractively packaged, the site encourages you to share your experiences and thoughts about what makes a learning environment and how you learn. Don't miss the self-assessment activity called "Your Learner Sketch" to discover strengths about your own learning and potential problem areas. This is a wonderful site to find others with similar experiences and concerns. After joining the website community, you can submit sketches and photos, add to blogs, and learn about other resources and activities. Record stories orally for others to hear. Explore stories via tags in a tag cloud. Explore links to other sharing stories experiences like Story Corps.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): communities (35), learning styles (19)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to do a project about learning and post their results here, if policies permit. Share this link on your class web page and/or in a parent newsletter so they can better understand the nature of learning and its challenges. Use the self-assessment with any class -- without joining the site -- as you talk about study skills and finding individual strengths for studying and learning. Consider letting students form study groups based on the results. This is an ideal activity for early in the school year.

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Wolfram Tones - Wolfram Research Labs

Grades
6 to 12
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Wolfram Tones is a different and dynamic approach to thinking about music. Instantly create music and download it to your computer. Choose tone style, select a variation, and adjust...more
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Wolfram Tones is a different and dynamic approach to thinking about music. Instantly create music and download it to your computer. Choose tone style, select a variation, and adjust the tone by using the generator, instrumentation, pitch mapping, or time controls. Save your "tone" to your collection or email it to friends. Your collection is associated to the computer where you make it using web browser cookies so no registration is necessary. Tones are packaged as midi files. Mathematical rules create these complex forms of music on Wolfram Tones. The program takes the mathematical pattern and turns it onto its side to produce a musical score. Here, the height of the pattern is the pitch of the note. More than just a musical resource, this website allows you to see and hear math. This site requires Real Player.

tag(s): music theory (41), musical instruments (47), patterns (84), sound (100), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

In math class, have students choose and analyze a musical pattern as part of a unit on algorithms. Have them change the parameters using the program controls to produce a sound that they like. Then have them relate the changes they hear to the changes in the math. In music class, have students create their own portfolio of music using Wolfram Tones. Encourage students to replicate their tones with their own musical instruments. Your talented math/music students and gifted students will love this site! Be sure to share the link on your class web page for easy access.

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LearnZillion - Eric Westendorf and Alix Guerrier

Grades
2 to 10
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LearnZillion is a video platform that combines video lessons, assessments, and progress reporting. Lessons highlight Common Core Standards in Math for grades 3 - 9. Each lesson is given...more
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LearnZillion is a video platform that combines video lessons, assessments, and progress reporting. Lessons highlight Common Core Standards in Math for grades 3 - 9. Each lesson is given in a video format, generally about 5 minutes per lesson. The lesson ends with a practice video. You are also presented with practice problems, and the answers are demonstrated and discussed. Teachers can sign up for a free account offering many special features of the site. Create customized playlists for students by dragging and dropping videos onto your playlist. Many lessons have a behind the scenes commentary just for teachers to watch before teaching a lesson to explain the rationale behind what is included. Featured materials can be downloaded for use in class. Short quizzes at the end of each lesson are scored and updated in student profiles, providing you with quick assessment information. Create individualized playlists for students to customize and differentiate instruction. Find lessons by using the Explore link on the site, choosing a general topic, then a more specific category. Each lesson includes the Common Core Standard addressed above the video lesson.

tag(s): data (149), equations (155), fractions (239), functions (70), measurement (163), number sense (97), numbers (203), problem solving (258), ratios (52), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom account and create playlists for different instructional content. Assign content as stuednts move along in the curriculum. Assign videos for students to use for review and remediation, or assign videos for self-motivated students who are ready to move ahead. Share this site with parents (on your class website or wiki) to use as review when helping their student with homework.
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Viral Vinnie Presents Gut Instinct - BBC

Grades
3 to 6
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Practice Math, Science and English with Viral Vinnie. Choose one of the topics to get started; then put in initials, choose an avatar, and decide to play against all players ...more
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Practice Math, Science and English with Viral Vinnie. Choose one of the topics to get started; then put in initials, choose an avatar, and decide to play against all players or just known players. There is an option to create a league name with known players. After submitting this information, the questions will start. All questions are multiple choice and earn points for correct answers. Also, the player with the fastest time will be indicated after each question. The questions encompass a wide variety of subjects and difficulty levels. The site originates in the UK, so spellings and word choices are British.

tag(s): animal homes (41), animals (277), cells (102), grammar (217), operations (126), order of operations (33), planets (122), plants (143), problem solving (258), root words (13), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (126), word choice (26), word study (80)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect to use on your interactive whiteboard as a center or quick review activity. Create a link on classroom computers and allow students to "test themselves" during free time. Send a link to the site home on your class website or newsletter for students to play at home. This is a great site to visit during the summer to keep students fresh. Use the site as an example, and have students create their own multiple choice game for any subject or based on individual research topics.
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ClassDojo - Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don

Grades
K to 8
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Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet connected...more
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Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet connected device in your classroom: computer, smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad, or tablet. There are app versions for both iOS and Android. You can choose an avatar for each student. Student behavior records are automatically created, updated, and reports generated with just one click by you. You can even write comments to parents about why a student lost a point. Weekly summaries are automatically emailed to parents. The wording on their site indicates that ClassDojo is free and will stay free for "early adopters," so start your account (and parent accounts) before they change their minds! Please be aware that ClassDojo falls under the FERPA laws for "directory information" and "educational records." Any school getting funds from the Department of Education (public schools) is required to disclose to parents and get written consent to use ClassDojo with their child. Be sure to click the Privacy Center or Terms of Service link at the bottom of any page and read more about FERPA and ClassDojo.

tag(s): behavior (46), classroom management (129), DAT device agnostic tool (192), game based learning (101), gamification (63)

In the Classroom

Consider using this program to reward a group of the week. Award points for positive behaviors such as participation, helping others, creativity, hard work, or create your own categories. Using ClassDojo for group behaviors will give immediate feedback to students if projected on your whiteboard or your projector. Use this tool to help your unfocused students stay on task. Share this site with students on the first day of school as you go over class expectations and your behavior plan for your classroom. Use ClassDojo to offer both negative and positive feedback to parents and students.

Are you a regular education teacher with special education students mainstreamed into your classroom? Use Class Dojo to privately keep track of student behaviors and send a report to special education teachers or parents. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, gifted, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students as part of an IEP/GIEP. Alternative ed programs may find this tool very useful, as well, even up through high school.

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Charts Bin - Chartsbin.com

Grades
9 to 12
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Find great Infographics about a variety of topics. Use the beautiful arrangement of data to uncover relationships between various pieces of information. Easily share or embed the chart...more
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Find great Infographics about a variety of topics. Use the beautiful arrangement of data to uncover relationships between various pieces of information. Easily share or embed the chart where needed. Click on References and Data Table to look at the raw data and origins of the information. Choose from major topics in the tabs above such as Country Information, Environment, Food and Agriculture, and more. Search your own topics with the search bar.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): business (57), charts and graphs (195), data (149), infographics (42), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Introduce a topic by sharing the Infographic and allowing time for students to identify various items that they notice about the chart. Allow time to think-pair-share in class and list questions for further understanding. Consider creating Infographics of material learned in class and for better understanding and connection with other topics and the world around them. Make curriculum content more real with infographics that students can relate to.
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Succeeding with Science - Sellafield Ltd.

Grades
1 to 12
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Take a look at this great science site with animations about a variety of topics. Find new interactive modules in the "Latest New" section of the website. Choose an age ...more
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Take a look at this great science site with animations about a variety of topics. Find new interactive modules in the "Latest New" section of the website. Choose an age range to find age-appropriate information and/or simulations. Roll your mouse over the results to see more information about each activity. Be sure to check out the animation about heat and insulation to really understand kinetic theory and movement of heat. The Energy and the Environment module is a great way to understand current and future sources of energy for our needs.

tag(s): adaptations (17), carbon footprint (11), chemicals (40), ecology (135), electricity (88), energy (197), environment (317), friction (11), heat (15), light (46), motion (58), nuclear energy (24), safety (96), senses (28), solar energy (38), waves (21)

In the Classroom

Share some of the animations on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Early elementary teachers may want to set up a science center with one of the interactives for students to watch with a partner. Challenge individual groups to explore specific facets of this site and create a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
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Quintura for Kids - Quintura.com

Grades
2 to 8
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Quintura is a search engine designed for early elementary through middle school students. Clicking on the kite icons will give you ready-made search results (not related to the topic...more
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Quintura is a search engine designed for early elementary through middle school students. Clicking on the kite icons will give you ready-made search results (not related to the topic you enter). Ready-made topics include history, video games, animals, sports and recreation, and music. This is perfect for ESL/ELL students or non-readers and beginning readers. Enter a search term, and you will see a word cloud that has the related, narrower searches. You can select one or more items in the cloud to see search results. There is a limited number of items in the vocabulary, so not all searches result in success. The kids search does filter out "adult" material. It is based on Yahoo kids content, but displayed in a more visual format. The Quick Tour shows how Quintura for Kids works, but you may have to allow the pop-up to open. There is an App available for the iPad and iPhone.

tag(s): search engines (64)

In the Classroom

Introduce the Quick Tour on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Stop the tour at some points to make students aware of certain features. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Younger students can benefit from using this site because it does feature links to student versions of popular informational websites. Consider using this site to to create a word cloud search for a project assignment. Embed the results on your webpage for easy access by students and parents.
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