TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jun 3, 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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Stencyl - Stencyl, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Stencyl allows you to design and build your own and Flash games without any knowledge of programming. Download the program and use their Photo Shop "like" toolset to create ...more
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Stencyl allows you to design and build your own and Flash games without any knowledge of programming. Download the program and use their Photo Shop "like" toolset to create the game of your dreams. Visit Stencylpedia to get started by viewing videos, demos, and sample projects. Stencyl also has a library for backgrounds and actors, or you can import graphics from your Mac or P.C. The click and drag capability empowers those with a creative game idea to see it come to reality without knowing any code. Share your game with Stencyl, or on your own site or blog. Stencyl also has tools for creating iOS (iPhone, iTouch, iPad) games, but they are not free (rats!).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), game based learning (101), gamification (63), quizzes (95)

In the Classroom

Create games for student review and/or practice, or use to assess knowledge before and after a unit. View example games for an idea of what you can create using this tool. One of the best learning tools for kids is to have them create their OWN games. Use your own teacher account so you do not need student emails at school. Ideally, students can create games for either learning or review for their fellow classmates. Assign a small group of students to create a game and then act as "host" to present their research information on a topic and keep the "audience" engaged. Learning support teachers might want to work together with a small group of students to create review games on a projector or interactive whiteboard. The process of creating the game provides another layer of review/practice before students play the game for more repetition.

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Moreganize - Stay Organized - Tom Frey, Attila Frey and Dominik Skrobala

Grades
K to 12
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Moreganize is a tool for scheduling and organizing collaborative events around busy time schedules. Create an event with a title and description. Add an optional deadline for responses....more
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Moreganize is a tool for scheduling and organizing collaborative events around busy time schedules. Create an event with a title and description. Add an optional deadline for responses. Other options include adding a map or files. Provide contact information. Add possible dates and times for the event. There is an option to include multiple times on each date offered. Send the completed information via url, on Facebook, or via the email link provided on the site. The link takes you to the appointment survey page where you enter your name and e-mail address (kept private from all other attendees). Select which dates and times work for others and which selections are preferred. After confirming choices, a page gives the opportunity to change/correct details. A link is sent via email so your responses can be revisited and changed at a later date.

tag(s): calendars (44), organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

Use this site to schedule staff meetings, PTA events, Science or Math fairs, club or student council events, parent volunteer meetings, and more. Student groups of busy high schoolers may want to use it to schedule work sessions. Create a potential list of dates and send a survey using Moreganize to gather data for the best time for all involved. This is a great tool for teams of teachers to use to stay on the same page!

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Steve Spangler Science Videos - Steve Spangler

Grades
K to 12
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Steve Spangler has brought his fun and educational science experiments to his YouTube page. At the time of this review, the channel had over 400 science experiments in short (approx....more
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Steve Spangler has brought his fun and educational science experiments to his YouTube page. At the time of this review, the channel had over 400 science experiments in short (approx. one minute) videos. Each video demonstrates step by step how to conduct the experiment but leaves it up to the you to decide the science involved. Choose from the featured playlist, browse through uploaded videos, view by fan favorites, or search the channel using a keyword or term to find experiments. Videos can also be sorted by newest or oldest additions. Subscribe to the channel (using your YouTube login) to receive updates when new videos are added. Many include links to further detail and experiment how-tos on Steve's regular web site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): experiments (71), optical illusions (11), solar energy (38), water (130)

In the Classroom

Show a video on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as an introduction before conducting an experiment in class. Stop the video before the ending and have students predict what will happen. Have students journal their thoughts to the science at work in the video. Have students create their own comics to explain a topic using comic-creation tools from this collection. Share this site as a resource for science fair projects or for a school science night. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Twitter4Teachers - Gina Hartman

Grades
K to 12
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Are you looking for fellow educators to follow on Twitter? If so, this wiki is a great starting point. Choose from many different categories of educators such as librarians, early ...more
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Are you looking for fellow educators to follow on Twitter? If so, this wiki is a great starting point. Choose from many different categories of educators such as librarians, early childhood, professional development, and much more to begin your search. Each link leads to a list of educators to follow on Twitter along with a short description about themselves, simply click on the Twitter handle to go to Twitter and begin following. Be aware: there is a warning on the top of the main page that the wiki is now "locked down" due to spamming. You are still able to access all the links. You are not able to edit without joining.

tag(s): social networking (112), twitter (51)

In the Classroom

Explore the site to discover and follow educators who match your interests and needs. Read the Tweets about what is happening in other classrooms to gain some new/fresh ideas. Want to know more about Twitter? See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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The Children's University of Manchester: Interactive Learning for Key Stage Two - The University of Manchester

Grades
3 to 6
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The Children's University of Manchester contains excellent mini-lessons and interactive lessons for students on a variety of science, history, literacy, and art topics. Key stage 2...more
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The Children's University of Manchester contains excellent mini-lessons and interactive lessons for students on a variety of science, history, literacy, and art topics. Key stage 2 is roughly equivalent to grades 3-6. Topics include the body and medicines, energy and the environment, ancient Egypt, the earth and beyond, teeth and eating, micro organisms, the brain and senses, talking textiles, and words. Choose a topic to learn more about (explained by a professor at the university). Then explore by choosing from activities on the side bar. Activities include short videos, matching activities, slide shows, and more. Since this site was created in the UK, you may notice some slight spelling and/or pronunciation differences than in American English.

tag(s): body systems (56), brain (70), dental health (23), egypt (66), energy (197), environment (317), human body (119), medicine (67), organisms (21), root words (13), senses (28)

In the Classroom

The interactive lessons on this site are perfect for your whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. During the interactive lesson, students can operate the board/mouse to interact with the material. Most lessons will have enough opportunities to involve the whole class. The site is also ideal for individual instruction in the computer lab setting. Introduce students to a new topic with these mini lessons, videos, and educational games that can be expanded on as part of a larger unit.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Potato Story - McCain Food, Ltd.

Grades
2 to 7
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Learn how food (specifically potatoes) gets from the field to your fork at this interactive site. Focus is on how the potato is grown and harvested and its journey from ...more
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Learn how food (specifically potatoes) gets from the field to your fork at this interactive site. Focus is on how the potato is grown and harvested and its journey from the farm to the table. The nutritional values of the potato and the part they play in a balanced diet are taught through activities such as The Potato Detective and The Great Potato Quiz. Download a Potato Passport from the teachers portion. The teacher's section of the site also includes many other lesson ideas and activities for the classroom, but are a little hard to find. After going to the teachers section, choose from the headings of Lifecycles, Healthy Potatoes, Growing Potatoes, or Healthy Meals to find all of the wonderful ideas and printables. Of course, this site is created by a company that sells potatoes, so you could have an interesting discussion about class web sites and watching for bias! Since this site was created by the UK, you may notice some slight spelling and/or pronunciation differences than American English.

tag(s): agriculture (54), myplate (28), nutrition (154), plants (143)

In the Classroom

The Potato Story interactives are perfect as a center in a science or health class, completing individually in a lab setting, or completing as a class with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to visit the teachers section of the site for complete access to all of the activities, quizzes, and videos provided. Print a potato passport for each of your students to complete as you explore the journey of potatoes from field to fork. If you have parents willing to volunteer, maybe you can have a healthy potato tasting celebration?
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Beyond Little House - Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association

Grades
2 to 6
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This site was created by a group of expert Laura and Rose enthusiasts as a crossroads for everything you want to know about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Learn about Laura's different ...more
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This site was created by a group of expert Laura and Rose enthusiasts as a crossroads for everything you want to know about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Learn about Laura's different hometowns through links about each city. View videos of participants in Laurapalooza as they chronicle their visit to places mentioned in the Little House book series. Follow the Readalong of "The Golden Years" book as participants summarize each chapter and discuss contents and events taking place. One interesting portion of the site is the "Ask the Experts" section where you can ask about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books. There are archives of previous question to read and explore.

tag(s): authors (118), book reports (36), literature (275), minnesota (4), prairie (10)

In the Classroom

Use the Readalong portion of The Golden Years as a guide to creating your own summary of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book and share through a class wiki with all comments. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. View videos of the Laurapalooza conference as a class to learn about the Mankato area of Laura's youth and listen to insights from experts.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Money Island - Young Americans Bank

Grades
4 to 9
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This enchanting virtual world teaches about money and how the economy works while taking quests to destinations like the Eiffel Tower and Atlantis. Build knowledge and skills in three...more
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This enchanting virtual world teaches about money and how the economy works while taking quests to destinations like the Eiffel Tower and Atlantis. Build knowledge and skills in three major areas: saving and spending, earning and investing, and using credit wisely. Further financial literacy topics include how to spend, grow, and give money. Learn the difference between wants, needs, and taxes. Discover different types of income; gain an understanding of interest; how to use credit wisely; and how to build wealth. Detailed lesson plans and activity suggestions for the classroom are included, as well as a specialized area within Money Island where teachers and parents can see what students are learning and track progress. Teachers can create an account stating the number of students in the classroom. Each student will receive an access code allowing him to save a game and continue playing at a different time.

tag(s): financial literacy (78)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to use the site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and then allow students to explore on their own. Before using the site, challenge students to create a word cloud of terms about [a topic on this site] using a tool such as Wordle reviewed here and then create a new Wordle at the end of the unit. Use the lesson plans and articles on the site as a supplement to current curriculum. Share articles from the site with groups of students. Have each group present content from the articles through "talking pictures" to illustrate content using Fotobabble reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Storyboard Generator - Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Grades
4 to 12
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Try out this interactive tool demonstrating storyboarding concepts. You can build your own storyboard using resources from the free media library. In the 'Choose Your Script' version,...more
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Try out this interactive tool demonstrating storyboarding concepts. You can build your own storyboard using resources from the free media library. In the 'Choose Your Script' version, select from three genres: horror, comedy or romance. This storyboard can then be published and saved, shared, embedded, or linked. In the 'Build your own' version, photographs can be uploaded or used from the Free Media Library to build personalized visuals using silhouette characters. Your created script that can be embedded, linked, or shared. Be sure to check out the many instruction videos included on the site for tips on creating storyboards. Registration with email is required to share and save storyboards.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), digital storytelling (135), images (261)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to create and use a storyboard using this tool on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). View stories from the gallery for inspiration before attempting to have students create their own. Create a storyboard and share when teaching creative writing techniques or story mapping. Have students tell the story they have viewed. Challenge students to create a storyboard of readings recently finished in class as a review of characters and story plot. Use storyboards as the first step in planning larger projects from plays to videos.

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KizClub Learning Resources for Kids - KizClub.com

Grades
K to 3
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Practice alphabet recognition, sound/symbol relationships, and early reading skills through printable activities. Activities are geared towards the preschool and young elementary school...more
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Practice alphabet recognition, sound/symbol relationships, and early reading skills through printable activities. Activities are geared towards the preschool and young elementary school child. Print games that practice rhyming and upper and lowercase letter matching. Print and share stories or use the phonics lessons and activities about consonants, vowels, and more. Additionally, the site provides activities for early education topics such as animals, colors, and shapes. All activities are in PDF format and most are available to print in either black and white or color. Printables are certainly not "high tech," but sometimes they are just what you need.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (92), phonics (75), preK (275), printables (37), sight words (37), sounds (68), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

Print and use activities from the site in your classroom as a supplement to current materials, for centers, or individualized activities. Send home activities from the site for extra practice. Share the site with parents through your classroom website or newsletter for additional home practice with language arts skills.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Pottermore - Harry Potter and Pottermore Publishing Rights '''''''''''© J.K. Rowlin

Grades
3 to 12
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Attnetion Muggles! Join JK Rowling in Pottermore, a unique online experience. Pottermore is an online place to explore the magical places of Harry Potter. Find new content, insider...more
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Attnetion Muggles! Join JK Rowling in Pottermore, a unique online experience. Pottermore is an online place to explore the magical places of Harry Potter. Find new content, insider information, videos, and a game with Pottermore. With an email, sign up for a free account and begin exploring the world of the books. Most of the website is accessible without registering. Discover special objects, people, and places to collect. You can blog with others on your thoughts and ideas. After meeting J.K.Rowling, begin your online exploration and dig into the scenes, characters, and places of the magical world of Harry Potter. Along the way, questions ask you to reflect and talk with others. Collect magical pieces and collect your wand. Learn different spells for your wand.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): harry potter (12)

In the Classroom

Make your Harry Potter study come alive with Pottermore. Bring your book study into the digital age. Use scenes and information from the website for your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to pull your students in. Share the video clips. Looking for even more Harry Potter Fun? Check out creative chapter by chapter activities for three of the books, beginning with Deathly Hallows, offered by imaginative muggles at TeachersFirst.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Culture Talk - Five College Center for the Study of World Languages

Grades
2 to 12
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Explore culture through interviews and discussions taped by people from countries around the world. The interviewees vary in age and social economic status. Find cultural snippets...more
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Explore culture through interviews and discussions taped by people from countries around the world. The interviewees vary in age and social economic status. Find cultural snippets by area of the world; each country has many offerings organized by subject. The index also offers the same pages organized by topic. Video pieces are also divided into different grade levels: elementary, middle, and high school. Written text accompanies each video clip so you can read what you are hearing. Some interviews are in English. However, most are in the language of the country and translated into English. There is a disclaimer on the site that reads, "... be aware that these videos reflect actual authentic speech, with all the stops, starts, and hesitations that come with everyday conversation. We have not corrected grammatical errors, and the videos sometimes show highly colloquial language, local slang, and region-specific speech patterns."

tag(s): cultures (105), interviews (15), journalism (45), video (251)

In the Classroom

Explore world cultures in today's vernacular: video.Challenge students to write a comparative essay, contrasting information from similar culture talks about different countries. Have cooperative learning groups make a Livebinder, reviewed here to compile and share information from all over the web on one or more countries once they gain an overview from this site. Be sure to require they critique the sources they find and annotate/organize them into subtopics, etc. to show their understanding of how the pieces fit together. Of course you will want to model and teach appropriate documentation of any sources of images and media you use. Be sure to use copyrighted works legally. To help your students with this, try using a site such as Bibme, reviewed here. Challenge ESL/ELL (or any) students to make similar culture videos about their countries of origin or their family heritage as part of a world cultures exploration.
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Negro Leagues Baseball Museum - Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas State University

Grades
6 to 12
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This site has strong content focused on the historical importance of the Negro Leagues Baseball teams. It also has a very rich assortment of lesson plans for teaching about the ...more
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This site has strong content focused on the historical importance of the Negro Leagues Baseball teams. It also has a very rich assortment of lesson plans for teaching about the Negro Leagues. There is an introductory video for a good overview of the Leagues themselves, the offerings of the NLB Museum, and a searchable archive of photographs and multimedia resources that can be used either in conjunction with the lesson plans (which include national standards benchmarks), or independently.

tag(s): baseball (36), black history (59), civil rights (117), sports (95)

In the Classroom

This is a great resource for "hooking" students who are interested in sports into the study of the Civil Rights Movement or modern US History. Consider including the resources here in your recognition of Black History Month as well. Share the introductory video on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Challenge cooperative learning groups to explore a specific part of this site and create an online poster on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here.
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PSToM - Parents, Students, Teachers of Mathematics - Mindstretch Learning Lab

Grades
7 to 10
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PSToM is an online portal for Algebra 1, and they plan to add more courses. Follow a student's progress and know exactly what the student is learning in math. ...more
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PSToM is an online portal for Algebra 1, and they plan to add more courses. Follow a student's progress and know exactly what the student is learning in math. Students can learn at their own pace, assess their own learning, and know how well they are doing in math (and why!). Recommend math videos tailored to each students strengths and weaknesses. PSToM has built-in math problems with an area to solve them, math videos, built-in tests, and a place to discuss learning.

tag(s): equations (155), exponents (42), factoring (31), inequalities (29), integers (41), order of operations (33), polynomials (32), quadratics (32)

In the Classroom

Set up classroom accounts and activities for students. Use PSToM as a supplement to your math classroom and to customize math lessons or extra help for your students. Give students the opportunity to work on math at their own level in a computer lab setting or as a center on classroom computers. Share the site with parents through your class website or newsletter as a resource to use at home.
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