TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jun 10, 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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History Engine: Tools for Collaborative Education and Research - The University of Richmond

Grades
8 to 12
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Contribute to ongoing historical research by submitting your own 500-word (or so) "episodes" to the History Engine. Each episode is designed to analyze and examine a particular event...more
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Contribute to ongoing historical research by submitting your own 500-word (or so) "episodes" to the History Engine. Each episode is designed to analyze and examine a particular event or small story, using primary sources and supporting research. The study of history is an ever-evolving process of continuing research and collaboration. While younger students may see history as something that has already been discovered, settled, written down and agreed upon, more advanced learners recognize that history is really much more interpretive and contextual.

The site is designed for use by college professors in designing research projects for individual students or student groups, but there is nothing here that would prevent advanced high school students from using the site or its materials as the basis for a research project. As the site is designed, instructors are to register prior to assigning research so that students can use an authorization code when submitting their research. If you decide to use the resources without submitting student work to the site, no registration is required. It should be noted that the terms of submission make the work the property of the University of Richmond; be sure that's consistent with your goals before you decide to submit.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): advanced placement (21), history day (23), local history (13)

In the Classroom

The site and the research it encourages is designed for college students, so secondary school use would need to be either in an upper level or Advanced Placement course, or perhaps for a student doing research for a National History Day project. As an alternative, the site can be used even in less advanced classes simply as a resource to explore the "episodes" already submitted by others.
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Medical Animation Library - Penn Medicine

Grades
6 to 12
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Use this site to view animated videos about medical disorders and interventions. Browse categories such as Allergy and Immunology, Cancer, Fitness, Neurology, and more. Browse topics...more
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Use this site to view animated videos about medical disorders and interventions. Browse categories such as Allergy and Immunology, Cancer, Fitness, Neurology, and more. Browse topics in the categories to learn about specific disorders, interventions, and treatments, and other helpful information. Find a description beneath each video. Note: A link to create an appointment is also found on these pages.
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tag(s): brain (70), diseases (66), fitness (49), medicine (67)

In the Classroom

Use this site for easy to understand information about diseases and disorders. Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have groups of students investigate specific medical disorders (using this site and others). Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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2ePub - 2epub.com

Grades
6 to 12
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This site easily converts one type of eBook format to another. This is perfect for those with more than one device using different formats or when sharing eBook resources with ...more
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This site easily converts one type of eBook format to another. This is perfect for those with more than one device using different formats or when sharing eBook resources with others. Use many formats such as doc, pdf, mobi, html and more to convert. Set the author, attributes, and title during the process. Note that only five ebooks can be selected and processed at a time. When finished, download the finished book to your desktop.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): ebooks (40)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to convert eBooks that are useful for sharing in a class using a variety of devices. Engage kids by making pdfs, docs or any format that is readable on the devices being used. Use for students to "publish" their own works easily. Write and collaborate using Google Docs, download the document, and then convert using this tool. Use in elementary reading to make instant ebooks from kids writing or from vocabulary words in upcoming units. Use for whole-class collaboration and create a book to share on ebook readers. The possibilities for creating ans sharing are endless!
 

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All My Tweets - AirTight Interactive

Grades
9 to 12
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All My Tweets is an easy way to see the tweets of a certain user. The result of the search is a list of tweets through time. It loads a ...more
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All My Tweets is an easy way to see the tweets of a certain user. The result of the search is a list of tweets through time. It loads a maximum of 3,200 tweets. Try entering teachersfirst in the search bar to see an example. Note: adults should preview results before using this tool with students, since unintended results may include inappropriate content.

tag(s): twitter (51)

In the Classroom

Use on an Interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce a class topic or follow current events. This site could be used for students to submit an assignment of their own tweets they did over a period of time. Or use this site during a presentation on how Twitter works, showing the information contained in a succession of tweets. Have students submit a record of tweets that show their learning over time. Follow a Twitter user who often shares resource links for a diary of resources that have been shared. Trace the tweets from the White House, any high profile political figure, or author over a period of time. Follow discussions about current events or new events in science or medicine. See this list of tweeting authors for some possibilities.

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Floor Planner - Small Blue Printer

Grades
3 to 12
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Floor Planner is a 2D online floor planning tool that allows you to create a room or entire home. It includes many common household items to use in floor plan ...more
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Floor Planner is a 2D online floor planning tool that allows you to create a room or entire home. It includes many common household items to use in floor plan and allows you to change the dimensions of objects. Note that you do not need an account to create a plan, but you do need one to save.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): architecture (83), design (84), measurement (163)

In the Classroom

Use this tool in your math class when discussing scale and measurement. Project it on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) and demonstrate how to use the tools. Have students use it to create a model of their classroom or have them choose a room from their home to recreate. Another fun activity to try is to have students design a room for a favorite book character.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Turn-O-Phrase - Ilya Bagrak

Grades
3 to 8
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At this site, you see two pictures that, when combined, create a word or phrase that is unlike the two pictures. You are unlikely to guess the phrase unless you ...more
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At this site, you see two pictures that, when combined, create a word or phrase that is unlike the two pictures. You are unlikely to guess the phrase unless you are already familiar with the idiom. Receive one point for each correct answer. However, if you ask for a hint, you forfeit one of the points. One variation of the activity allows you to type in your own short idiom, and the site will come up with pictures for the idiom. You can also choose your own pictures. A very brief challenge is available without signing up. To participate in all features, you must register using email, Facebook, or Twitter.

tag(s): figurative language (16), idioms (44), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Share the quick sample on your interactive whiteboard or projector. After checking with your school administrator to be sure participation is permitted, have your students create their own idiom and figurative language challenge with the site. Encourage learners of other languages to create a similar game in their preferred language. Read tips for safely managing student email registrations here. If you are not allowed to have students join ( or prefer not to), try having students make similar idiom challenges for each other offline and post them on a wiki with the "answers" in the discussion tab.

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The Number Warrior - Jason Dyer

Grades
6 to 12
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This blog, created by Jason Dyer, is all about teaching mathematics. There is discussions of interesting aspects of math, lessons, video clips, puzzles, and other activities. The site...more
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This blog, created by Jason Dyer, is all about teaching mathematics. There is discussions of interesting aspects of math, lessons, video clips, puzzles, and other activities. The site includes a search bar to use when looking for specific topics such as fractions or algebra. Be sure to check out the links to puzzles to find many different logic puzzles for classroom use. Subscribe to the blog using your RSS feed such as Google Reader to keep track of ongoing posts. Don't miss the links on the site to the Annotated Blogroll to find other math blogs of interest.

tag(s): logic (229), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Share puzzles from the sites for students to complete weekly or as homework. Then challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to explain steps and logic used to complete puzzles. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here).
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WDCS Kids - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

Grades
2 to 9
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Learn about and explore the world of dolphins and whales with this educational site. Find out if your schools serves "whale-friendly" lunches, make an origami dolphin, or watch a video...more
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Learn about and explore the world of dolphins and whales with this educational site. Find out if your schools serves "whale-friendly" lunches, make an origami dolphin, or watch a video demonstrating how dolphins get caught in fishing nets. Be sure not to miss the life size whale animation that provides an up-close perspective on just how large whales are. Lesson plans are available on the site under the Info Box and include PDF lesson plans and worksheets for students.

tag(s): ecology (135), habitats (84), marine biology (33), whales (16)

In the Classroom

The life size whale animation is perfect for use on interactive whiteboards or projectors. Display the animation and move the box around to give different perspective on the size of a whale. The red box on the whale on the right-hand corner of the screen shows what part of the whale is being displayed. Challenge cooperative learning groups to research dolphins or whales and create a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Floating Junkyard - Scholastic

Grades
5 to 12
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Floating Junkyard is a great Scholastic lesson plan for introducing plastic pollution in the North Pacific Ocean. Here you will find an article from Science World, discussion starter...more
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Floating Junkyard is a great Scholastic lesson plan for introducing plastic pollution in the North Pacific Ocean. Here you will find an article from Science World, discussion starter questions, a video (which uses Flash), and worksheets. You can also download the teachers edition for Science World Magazine that will give you more information and ideas for activities.
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tag(s): environment (317), oceans (147), plastics (9), pollution (66)

In the Classroom

The video and activities on this site make it the perfect introduction to the plastic pollution problem in the North Pacific. Be sure to click on the picture of the seal and enlarge it to make it readable. Once you've completed the video and worksheets, consider challenging your students with one of the activities suggested in the teachers edition either under project based learning or additional resources. For older and gifted students you may want to continue this unit by taking a virtual journey on one of the ships that measures and keeps track of marine pollution. You will find this site, Ship-2-Shore Education/ Mapping Plastic Marine Pollution, reviewed here. Set up an RSS feed or Google News search for news of the debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami to add to the discussion.
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Welcome to the Discovery- Interactive Whales Game for Kids - Australian Government

Grades
2 to 6
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Climb aboard the Discovery to learn more about the scientists and their activities on board a research vessel. Explore the five different rooms on the ship through the eyes of ...more
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Climb aboard the Discovery to learn more about the scientists and their activities on board a research vessel. Explore the five different rooms on the ship through the eyes of an expert, taking notes by saving text to a clipboard. Learn about whale migration, whale sounds, rules for viewing whales from land, facts about whales, and much more. View video footage of whales and watch whales through a portal.

tag(s): animal homes (41), marine biology (33), whales (16)

In the Classroom

This is a great place for students to begin a research project about whales. Students can save notes to the virtual clipboard as they learn and explore each room. The clipboard can be printed out and used as research notes. Set up your room so that as students enter, they feel like they are boarding the Discovery ship. Choose students to act as tour guides for each of the 5 rooms. Using a projector or interactive whiteboard, have the tour guides lead the class through each room. Students who are at their seats can take notes about whales and ask the tour guides questions. Create a scavenger hunt with items for students to search for while exploring the site. Three teaching units are available to download for use in the classroom.
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Planet in Action - Dinther Product Design

Grades
6 to 12
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Planet in Action offers the opportunity to take virtual field trips such as a helicopter ride above the Grand Canyon, an expedition to Mount St. Helens, or a helicopter tour ...more
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Planet in Action offers the opportunity to take virtual field trips such as a helicopter ride above the Grand Canyon, an expedition to Mount St. Helens, or a helicopter tour of Manhattan all with the help of Google Earth and some tools that Planet in Action has created. On the main page you can scroll down to view the recent additions. At the time of this review, many involve current events. Just click the play button to view the Google Earth presentation/tour. These tours do not require that you install Google Earth. Why not view the Choose the games link on the site to explore the world as a helicopter pilot in San Francisco, land on the moon with Neil Armstrong, navigate through Manhattan, and more. The most adventurous technology users may want to learn more about the tools used to create these tours-- and even try them, but they are not simple. The tools offer additional features beyond what Google Earth can do (which is a LOT!).
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tag(s): cities (25), landforms (45), landmarks (26), map skills (80), maps (287), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

Take your class on a virtual helicopter ride above famous landmarks that they are learning about in class. Share the videos (tours) or games on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Watch the recorded tour and discuss the different landmarks as you see them. 'Hire' a student helicopter 'pilot' who can navigate a trip for the class. On individual computers, students can create postcards of their virtual field trip or create their own virtual tour that can be saved and shared with others or with Planet in Action. As students fly above the landmarks, a Google Map will show them exactly where they are in the virtual tour. To learn more about Google Earth, see the TeachersFirst review (here). Inspire your code-writing "tech geeks" by challenging them to learn more about the specialized tools demonstrated here and to create tours of their own.
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NfbKids - The National Film Board of Canada

Grades
K to 4
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Explore, learn, and have some fun at this engaging site create by the National Film Board of Canada. The site is divided into seven different sections, each offering activities based...more
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Explore, learn, and have some fun at this engaging site create by the National Film Board of Canada. The site is divided into seven different sections, each offering activities based on themes such as seasons, story telling, and experiments. Learn more about the site by following the tutorial on the Cuckoo section. Learn about the seasons as you explore Ludovic's area. Dog Run teaches about pet ownership and dogs in general. Be sure to check out the Fun Stuff section that contains a wonderful story boarding activity as well as several "create a character" options for storytelling fun! Account registration isn't required to use the site; however, creating an account allows you to save and access activities at a later time.

tag(s): digital storytelling (135), interactive stories (31), preK (275), puzzles (208), seasons (37), stories and storytelling (30)

In the Classroom

Use the Fun Stuff portion of the site for creative writing activities. Have students create characters then write stories based on their adventures. Use the story board portion of the site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to create a story as a class. Challenge students to create their own stories incorporating different elements discussed on the story board. Share stories and create videos of students reading their creations. Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. If you teach an animal unit or have pets week, be sure to include Dog Run!

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Grand Challenges for Engineering - National Academy of Engineering

Grades
9 to 12
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Grand Challenges for Engineering shares information on several engineering problems that are just waiting for 21st century solutions. Engineering challenge information is presented...more
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Grand Challenges for Engineering shares information on several engineering problems that are just waiting for 21st century solutions. Engineering challenge information is presented and followed by a moderated response forum. Anyone may submit ideas, and no registration is required. Share your name and location on the planet, and your comments may be featured in the forum. There are video clips, interactives, ready to go activities, and more. Information about world needs and next steps towards solutions are available. These topics can be controversial, so preview before you share with the class.

tag(s): carbon (21), critical thinking (92), engineering (118), mars (41), medicine (67), nuclear energy (24), problem solving (258), scientific method (64), STEM (123)

In the Classroom

Use Grand Challenges for Engineering topics as class conversation starters in science, biology, and engineering classes and an inspiration to make STEM a possible career choice. Stimulate a rich discussion by previewing the topic to students at the beginning of a week and discussing at the end of the week. Share the videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Encourage them to research the idea outside of class, and provide this website as a major source. Have students summarize the concept and the new things that they have learned through the discussion on an exit slip before they leave for the week. Challenge your students to think of other Grand Challenges that we face. In a gifted program these challenges could serve as themes for extended investigations or individual projects.
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