TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Apr 29, 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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Paying For College - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Figuring out the TRUE cost of college is tricky. One college may appear to be out of financial range, but once financial aid is applied, the same college may actually ...more
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Figuring out the TRUE cost of college is tricky. One college may appear to be out of financial range, but once financial aid is applied, the same college may actually require fewer out-of-pocket dollars for a prospective student and family. Comparing the true cost of one college to another has been even trickier when college describe their costs and financial aid awards using different terminology. Beginning in 2011, colleges are now required to include standardized college cost calculators on their websites. This site is working toward a centralized utility that would permit students to aggregate this information and do a meaningful cost comparison. At this point, the site is in its earliest stages, and families are asked to give it a test drive and provide feedback so the site will continue to improve. During the test drive, however, families will surely discover information that will help them in the short run as they evaluate college costs and financial aid award packages.

tag(s): college (43), financial literacy (80)

In the Classroom

Teachers who work with high school students, regardless of their curriculum specialties, would do their students a great service by recommending this site, and sites like it, that offer concrete financial data about the actual cost of attending college. If you teach in a field that touches personal financial planning or consumer awareness, asking students to give this site a try would make a great class, group, or individual project.

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ICT Games - Literacy - James Barrett

Grades
K to 5
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Check out these free interactive literacy games for the emergent learner. Practicing basic skills is an entertaining experience at ICT Games. The skills include: spelling patterns,...more
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Check out these free interactive literacy games for the emergent learner. Practicing basic skills is an entertaining experience at ICT Games. The skills include: spelling patterns, phoneme patterns, blending sounds, high frequency words, beginning science vocabulary, using rhyming to read new and unfamiliar words, and reading for understanding. It also has interactive dictionaries for the beginner through upper elementary learner. There is no registration required. Note that the site is from England, so there are minor spelling and terminology differences from U.S. English in a few games. Preview the specific game to be sure.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dictionaries (56), literacy (103), preK (281), reading comprehension (116), rhymes (33), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

Use your projector and interactive whiteboard to introduce the site. You might start with "The Wordy Woods," an interactive resource for displaying useful words. Start by checking the lists, and have students identify words they've already learned in class. Populate the "woods" with those first. Save this! Then, as students learn new words have them fill in the forest.

ESL/ELL students with emergent literacy skills will benefit from this site by practicing spelling and reading skills. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Use a program like Symbaloo, reviewed here, to create link shortcuts on your student computers. Include a link to the ITC Games on your classroom website or blog for students to practice at home. This is a great site for students to use for additional practice on a skill that is difficult.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Super Thinkers - SuperPages.com

Grades
4 to 6
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
SuperThinkers encourages you to become a thinker, not a memorizer. The goal of SuperThinkers is to teach how to think by creating connections, looking for meaning behind facts, and...more
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SuperThinkers encourages you to become a thinker, not a memorizer. The goal of SuperThinkers is to teach how to think by creating connections, looking for meaning behind facts, and analyzing to understand. Choose a game from the Peetnik Mysteries, watch a short video, then begin using information on the site to solve the mystery. In addition to games, the site includes a Creativity Workshop that features short online books with ideas for creating a book, making a movie, or making a jigsaw puzzle. Many of the mystery pages include an audio button that will read the text for you.

tag(s): creativity (109), logic (235), mysteries (25), patterns (85), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Use SuperThinkers as part of a larger mystery unit or as a reading activity to encourage logic, problem solving, critical thinking, cooperative learning, analysis, pattern interpretation, mystery solving, writing, observation, sharing, discovery, imagination, self determination, reflection, and self expression. The mysteries take about 30 minutes to solve and would be best utilized in a computer lab 1-1 setting or as a whole class with a projector (or interactive whiteboard). The Peetnik Mysteries can also be used to teach students how to create a time line, to compare and contrast, or as story starters.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Skloog - Skloog, LLC

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this visual bookmarking program to help you keep your online favorites/bookmarks organized. Choose to make shortcuts (tiles with the logo of the site you are bookmarking) for places...more
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Use this visual bookmarking program to help you keep your online favorites/bookmarks organized. Choose to make shortcuts (tiles with the logo of the site you are bookmarking) for places you visit repeatedly. The tiles make it visual and so easy to use! Can't find the logo? Submit a site by clicking on a button at the bottom of the home page. Access and add to your Skloog bookmarks from anywhere using any computer, your mobile phone, or email. Make Skloog one of the tools on your browser's tool bar in order to add to your favorites quickly and easily. Add or change the preset category tabs that show at the top. Search your favorites by tags, URL, or website name. An added feature is the Skloog tab in the upper right corner of the menu on your short cut page. Click to find some of Skloog's favorite sites.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), resources (112)

In the Classroom

This resource is best used as a teacher sharing tool for sharing links, RSS feeds, and other resources for students to use on specific projects or as general course links. Use this site to share with other professionals, team members, or parents. Use the categories to save bookmarks for different units you have in your classroom. Make your Skloog page the homepage for your computer, too.

Consider having a category for student use for webquests, tools you want them to use, and creative commons images, music, etc. Also, create a category where students update with suggestions from class members. Use different colored alphabet tiles on a Skloog for younger, non-reader students. For example, give each subject its own distinctive color. They will also recognize logos well before they read!

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Math Zapper! - SingingWhale.com

Grades
3 to 8
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Math Zapper is a collection of Flash-based activities that provide practice with fractions, decimals, and percents. View the short tutorial to learn how to play. Choose one of those...more
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Math Zapper is a collection of Flash-based activities that provide practice with fractions, decimals, and percents. View the short tutorial to learn how to play. Choose one of those items from the menu bar, then choose a specific activity such as intro to decimals or adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing by decimals to begin. Pause or continue the program as necessary to view at an individual pace. Progress is displayed with lights on the left side of the display.

tag(s): decimals (133), fractions (239), percent (82)

In the Classroom

Share a link to the site with students and parents for review at home. Show portions of activities on your interactive whiteboard pausing as necessary as an introduction or review of these concepts. Create a learning station using this site. Allow students to differentiate based on what they currently know/understand.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Using Primary Sources in the Classroom: World War I Unit - Alabama Department of Archives and History

Grades
6 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This museum site provides five different lessons plans about World War I. It offers learning objectives, activities, and links to primary documents. Though the site focuses on Alabama...more
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This museum site provides five different lessons plans about World War I. It offers learning objectives, activities, and links to primary documents. Though the site focuses on Alabama history, it is a good way to show multiple perspectives about the war. The site itself is no visual treat, but the activity ideas can bring a hundred-year old era to life.

tag(s): primary sources (86), world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

Use the activities to help your students better understand World War I. Be sure to check out the activity in the Selective Service lesson. The activity has each student being assigned to a role. The students write a letter to Senator Bankhead which would explain their positions concerning conscription prior to the declaration of war. To extend the activity, have your students dress as their character and read their letters to the class. Or 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!

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How To Make Digital Flashcards With Google Docs Spreadsheets - MakeUseOf

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Want to make flashcards using tools you already know? Follow these step by step directions for making flashcards from a Google Spreadsheet. Directions also include screenshots, making...more
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Want to make flashcards using tools you already know? Follow these step by step directions for making flashcards from a Google Spreadsheet. Directions also include screenshots, making the process much easier. You need a Google Doc account and some familiarity with using spreadsheets. This site does include comments. At the time of this review, all comments were appropriate for classroom use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): flash cards (46)

In the Classroom

Create flashcards to share with your students. Students can run them from a computer or download an app that can read the two column format of a spreadsheet to view on the go. All information for using the flashcards is explained in this resource. Use for any subject matter for any age. Challenge students to create their own flashcards to use to study for the big test! This tool can be used in ALL subject areas.

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Mugeda - mugeda.com

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Try this high interest animation tool without expensive programs, downloads, or installations. Mugeda is a free, cloud-based HTML5 animation platform, where you can create, share, and...more
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Try this high interest animation tool without expensive programs, downloads, or installations. Mugeda is a free, cloud-based HTML5 animation platform, where you can create, share, and publish HTML5 animation. Basic tutorials guide you to create content with easy to follow instructions. Animation applications include; games, ads, cartoons, tutorials, or persuasive commercials. Use tablets, PCs, smartphones, or tablets. Note that HTML5 works on iPads and iTouches, where most Flash-based sites do not.

tag(s): animation (63), comics and cartoons (74), DAT device agnostic tool (199)

In the Classroom

Bring along Mugeda in your bag of tricks to capture and intrigue all of your students. Use Mugeda to illustrate class content, support debate, persuade, and entertain. The possibilities are endless! Add the creations to your website to share with your community. Use on school news programs to add student content without cost, and make information available for all levels of student abilities. Create commercials for your content or to convey information. In history classes go back in time to envision popular opinion that made history happen. Use during campaigns to promote your side of the debate. Science fairs will never be the same. Highlight projects to create anticipation. Send messages to students using the embedded tool. This programming tool has applications in all subject areas. Gifted students, ELL/ESL students, and remedial students will be captivated by this high interest way of expressing themselves.

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Inside Story Flashcards - Inside Story, LLC

Grades
2 to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Stunning pictures, audio of each word, and short definitions all make this online vocabulary flashcard site visually stimulating and interesting. As a bonus, you can print all cards....more
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Stunning pictures, audio of each word, and short definitions all make this online vocabulary flashcard site visually stimulating and interesting. As a bonus, you can print all cards. Choose from basic, easy, medium, or hard levels of vocabulary to find and listen to words. Definitions can also be turned off for practice with word recall or guessing what the image represents. When ready to print the cards, choose the print button; then select words for the flashcards (or all). There is a paid portion of the site for other flashcards, but the free printable section contains more than enough words to make this site worth a visit.

tag(s): dictionaries (56), flash cards (46), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Display the site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector), turn off the definition under the flashcard and have students try to guess the meaning of the word. Split students into teams to see who can come up with the most creative sentence using the vocabulary word. Print out cards on card stock to use at a writing center as a resource for writing. Print out cards and have students separate by nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Have a word of the day and challenge students to use the word correctly throughout the day in the classroom. Secondary teachers may want to share this site with students preparing for ACT/SAT testing.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Box - Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith

Grades
4 to 12
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Save files to the cloud and access them on a variety of computers and devices. Download Box on the computers and devices you wish to use. Save a document in ...more
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Save files to the cloud and access them on a variety of computers and devices. Download Box on the computers and devices you wish to use. Save a document in Box and it is accessible everywhere you use it. Copy, save, or move the document simply and easily. Syncing and sharing is simple. No access to Internet at one of your locations? No problem! Your Box file stays in your Box account, and the next time you are online it will upload it for you. Share Box files with others for easy collaboration. Apps for Box are available (at the time of this review) for Windows, iOS, iPod touch, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. They can easily make documents public or private and share with others through the tabs in the Account Settings. Though not a complete back up of all your documents, Box can be used to collaborate and to finish work easily when on different computers. Any item you can work with using Word can be used with Box. Teams of teachers can also use this download to save tests, share activities, and more.

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Physics animations - physics-animations.com

Grades
11 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Watch easy to understand animations to explain even the most complex ideas of Physics. Choose from Waves, Optics, Mechanics, Thermodynamics, and Electricity. View an animated image,...more
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Watch easy to understand animations to explain even the most complex ideas of Physics. Choose from Waves, Optics, Mechanics, Thermodynamics, and Electricity. View an animated image, the explanation of the theory, and a video for each concept. Some of the videos require specific plug-ins, depending on your browser. So preview before you share.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): electricity (89), heat (15), optics (13), waves (21)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Save this link on your class webpage for students to access both in and out of the classroom. Use this site to help explain many physics concepts that may be difficult to understand. Use in conjunction with other interactives, animations, and laboratory experiences to provide better understanding of the concept.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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