TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jun 17, 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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Four Directions Teaching - 4D Interactive Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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A Canadian site focused on five "first nations" central to Canada's history, Four Directions Teaching, uses Flash technology to create a visually beautiful site about the Blackfoot,...more
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A Canadian site focused on five "first nations" central to Canada's history, Four Directions Teaching, uses Flash technology to create a visually beautiful site about the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi'kmaq tribes. There are also extensive teacher resources, sorted by challenge level, to download, a photo collection, audio narration, and printables. These resources are appropriate not only for use by Canadians, but also for understanding the development of Native American culture throughout North America. (The Native Americans preceded any national boundaries!). Technical notes point out that you need to allow pop=ups from this site.

tag(s): canada (30), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

The series of animated mini lessons are perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) and help anchor the learning activities available for download. They could also be used as stand-alone resources to complement lessons you have designed. You might choose to look at creation myths across the various tribes or how each culture constructed shelters or conducted ceremonies. These themes make the lessons useful even for those not studying specifically Canadian history. Have students make a multimedia presentation on a chosen topic 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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The Olympics: Math Puzzles and a Game - Lets Play Math!

Grades
1 to 8
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Find a collection of wonderful math resources for elementary students related to the Olympic games. Although the blog was originally created in 2008, many of the activities and sites...more
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Find a collection of wonderful math resources for elementary students related to the Olympic games. Although the blog was originally created in 2008, many of the activities and sites have been updated. Find word games sorted by event and grade level (such as Summer Olympic Swimming for grades 1 and 2). Many of the lesson plans include national math standards. Some great research ideas are also offered, such as exploring the Olympics through time. Explore previous medal counts before predicting this year's medals through the Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger link.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148), estimation (46), logic (235), mean (25), median (22), mode (15), olympics (47), operations (126)

In the Classroom

Explore previous medal counts with your students and ask them to predict this year's counts and graph as the games occur. Compare all three sets of data to find trends and abnormalities. Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here or PicLits (reviewed here. Create posters of favorite Olympic athletes, sports, or competing nations. Create a link on classroom computers to the Math Playground Olympics game and challenge students to find out how much they know about the Olympics.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Long Jump Challenge - eChalk

Grades
3 to 6
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Practice math facts with this easy to use interactive featuring long jumpers (perfect during Olympic years). Choose from three different levels of difficulty and from addition, subtraction,...more
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Practice math facts with this easy to use interactive featuring long jumpers (perfect during Olympic years). Choose from three different levels of difficulty and from addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or a mix of all operations. Before beginning, decide to play with 5 or 10 questions for each round and you are ready to begin. Correct responses move the jumper one meter and quick responses add an additional meter to score. When finished, the length of the jump is displayed along with a prompt to play again at the same level or move up in difficulty.

tag(s): addition (251), division (172), multiplication (227), olympics (47), operations (126), subtraction (208)

In the Classroom

This site is great for using on the interactive whiteboard or classroom computers as a center activity. Use during the Summer Olympics as a fun way to incorporate math into current events. Create a chart of long jumps performed during the Olympics and compare student results from the game to actual jumps. Create a class chart of students' scores at different levels of difficulty and challenge students to move up in difficulty levels for each concept. Create a link to the site on your classroom website or blog to share with parents for at-home practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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TalkMiner - FXPAL

Grades
4 to 12
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Talkminer is a search engine specifically for video lectures, webinars, webcasts, and presentations. Save time searching for videos that contain exactly the information you need! Search...more
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Talkminer is a search engine specifically for video lectures, webinars, webcasts, and presentations. Save time searching for videos that contain exactly the information you need! Search for the exact phrase you need (cell mutation, for example). Talkminer will not only list all the videos, webcasts, etc. that have that phrase, but when you view the item, it will display each frame that has your keywords. Talkminer searches WITHIN the video, webcast, etc. identifying your keywords. No more searching by title, hoping the video will have what you need. Better yet, no more watching the entire video just to find out it doesn't HAVE exactly what you need!

tag(s): search engines (65), slides (63), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use short clips in any grade level to provide background knowledge to your students. Use Talkminer to illustrate a concept you are teaching. If you use PowerPoint or another presentation tool, embed the clip you want directly into your presentation. You can use a tool like Clip Nabber reviewed here to do this. During student research, have them use Talkminer and keywords for their topic to hear expert opinions and take notes for their report. This will give you the opportunity to teach them how to cite a video or webcast for their Works Cited. Students could also embed clips from the videos in their own presentations. You might want them to create their presentation using authorSTREAM reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Free Language Stuff - Paul Morris

Grades
1 to 8
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Find extra practice for a wide variety of English topics, especially for ESL/ELL. Many of the worksheets and activities would be useful to any student learning the basics of the ...more
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Find extra practice for a wide variety of English topics, especially for ESL/ELL. Many of the worksheets and activities would be useful to any student learning the basics of the English language (adjectives, adverbs, etc.). Although it is not visually exciting, the practice comes in a great variety of formats: PowerPoints, Bingo games, mazes, and grid activities. Especially interesting is the Attributes section where vocabulary is described by function rather than definition, a helpful approach for language learners. Don't miss the combined word list section.

tag(s): antonyms (26), grammar (216), idioms (44), questioning (31), synonyms (38), verbs (41), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Use items on this site to introduce a specific unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Print homework activities and individualize extra practice from this site. Have students make similar activities once they have mastered a particular grammar point or vocabulary list. Send some of these printables home for summer (or snow day) practice.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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noredink - Jeff Scheur

Grades
3 to 12
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Have fun while improving your writing and grammar. At the time of this review, noredink's grammatical categories include apostrophes, subject-verb agreement, comma issues, sentence...more
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Have fun while improving your writing and grammar. At the time of this review, noredink's grammatical categories include apostrophes, subject-verb agreement, comma issues, sentence fragments, and run-on sentences. The program provides differentiated instruction based on the questions you answer right or wrong. There are tutorials to help you correct mistakes. Sign up with your name, username, email address, gender, school name, and a password.

So, what's fun about learning this type of grammar? noredink asks you to pick your interests from Sports, TV shows, Musicians, and Miscellaneous. You will also be asked if you want them to use your friends from Facebook. When you are practicing or are taking quizzes, the program will use your interests and friends, and generate the questions around your interests and friends. The hope is that the content will be more interesting by including sentences with favorite celebrities, hobbies, TV shows, or even personal friends. Be sure to watch the introductory video which is the only item on the site that requires Flash. The program works on iPads as well as your regular computer. There is a 90 second intro video at the bottom of the landing page.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): capitalization (19), grammar (216), homonyms (12), homophones (17), punctuation (43), quiz (85), quizzes (97), sentences (52), verbs (41)

In the Classroom

Teachers sign up and create a class. You will receive a class code for your students to use (optional). With the class code you will be able to track student's progress, differentiate, assign quizzes and assignments, and see class trends. The program has color-coded "heat maps" to track progress easily. Your assignments and quizzes will be uniquely generated according to each student's interests. Also, students don't have to wait for you to give them an assignment. With their account, they can practice at any time. A student does NOT have to provide an email address to create an account. It will work without it! Since students are providing some personal information about interests, etc., we strongly advise parent permission.

Challenge (and excel) your gifted students with the concepts practiced at this site. Since student assignments are at their own level, students can find great acceleration in practicing these necessary skills. ESL/ELL students will especially benefit from the practice using correct English, in their writing, over a continuous time period. Student assignments are at their own level. You can also create your own quizzes. Use this site as part of your rotation during learning stations. Put your class' URL on your website so students can practice at home, too.

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Knovio - Online Video Presentations Made Easy - Knowledge Vision

Grades
3 to 12
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Knovio takes the pain out of PowerPoint presentations by bringing them to life with webcam and audio enhancement. Create a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, upload the file, press...more
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Knovio takes the pain out of PowerPoint presentations by bringing them to life with webcam and audio enhancement. Create a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, upload the file, press record, and present to your audience. If you are camera shy, disable the defaulted webcam to just audio! Share with people you select through the site's private spaces or share to the world via your social network. When sharing through private spaces, you will need your audience's email addresses. Additionally, when your recipients view your presentation, you will receive an email confirmation of when the presentation was viewed.

tag(s): slides (63), video (254)

In the Classroom

If you have students who are uncomfortable presenting in front of a group or who must be absent on presentation day, they can package their presentations using Knovio. High school students can share "packaged" projects as part of their student portfolio or college applications.

Knovio could take the lecture out of the classroom and free time for hands-on activities. Use this tool to record a presentation that you would normally share with your students in class, add it to your website or wiki, and assign it as homework for students. This allows you the ability to "flip" your classroom. Create student accounts using Google tools so that you can easily share your presentations privately and securely. With the email confirmation, you can be sure that your students have opened the presentation. To ensure that they have viewed the presentation, assign them to take notes from it or write a summary of it as an entry ticket to your classroom on the day after it is to be viewed. Students still have access to the "traditional" way of learning from the teacher; however now you have maximized learning time by allowing for extended thinking activities, laboratory activities, and other higher order thinking activities in your room. This allows you time to facilitate more group projects, student choice assignments, and a deeper level of understanding of the concepts that you are teaching. Knovio could enhance any online teaching, too! This way, your students can see, hear, and learn from you even when they are not in a real-time environment. Knovio would be a great professional tool as well. Administrators could use this to create presentations to share with faculty. Faculty could view on their own time so that when they get to a meeting, the discussion can begin immediately. You can even share information from Back To School night and know which parents actually viewed it.

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Chemistry Regents Exams with Explanation - Kent Chemistry

Grades
9 to 12
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Review and practice for Chemistry Regents exam with this site that contains over 1000 questions with answers and explanations. Choose from previous exams beginning in 2002 on up to...more
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Review and practice for Chemistry Regents exam with this site that contains over 1000 questions with answers and explanations. Choose from previous exams beginning in 2002 on up to current exams. Questions are displayed, answers are provided in the same color as the background making them invisible when first viewing the page. To find some answers, you must click a link, depending on how new the practice test is. Highlight the answer or explanation box to see the correct response along with are short explanation. Each page contains 10 questions. Be sure to follow links to view all of the questions from each exam.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): test prep (96)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students to use when preparing for Regents exams. Display sample questions on your interactive whiteboard or projector and practice together. Share this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the class.

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Track My T - Anvil Knitwear

Grades
5 to 12
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Learn all about cotton. Type in the unique lot number on a t-shirt and follow your shirt through an amazing interactive journey from its very beginning as a cotton seed ...more
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Learn all about cotton. Type in the unique lot number on a t-shirt and follow your shirt through an amazing interactive journey from its very beginning as a cotton seed on a farm! If you don't have a tracking number, simply click the "choose a random t-shirt" option. Learn about picking cotton, the cotton gin, yarn spinners, textile mills, cut and sew factories, and distribution centers. This is an incredible journey teaching the process that goods go through before ending up in the local store. Each stop on the journey includes video, images, and information about what happens during that part of the t-shirt creation process. In addition, you encounter historical figures such as Eli Whitney. Click on the house at the bottom right-hand side of the screen to download many lesson plans to use with the site. Click the music note in the bottom right to turn music on/off.

tag(s): consumers (21), producers (8)

In the Classroom

Use this activity as a whole class with an interactive whiteboard or projector as you teach about the industrial revolution, basic economics (raw materials, factories, etc.), or even plants/agriculture. Create a center focusing on this activity in the classroom or individually in the computer lab setting. As a follow up activity, have students put placemarks on a Google Earth map (reviewed here) on the location where their t-shirt/pants/shoes were made. This activity could easily be expanded to the geography classroom where students could do additional research about the country where their t-shirt originated from. Extend the activity by having students research and map other products and their origins.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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My Botanic Planet - Trugreen

Grades
2 to 6
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Enter this digital world by Trugreen to discover a planet of flowers, interactives, flavorful mysteries, and waterways. Explore the planet to learn about botany. Try the interactives...more
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Enter this digital world by Trugreen to discover a planet of flowers, interactives, flavorful mysteries, and waterways. Explore the planet to learn about botany. Try the interactives designed to clarify botanical concepts. Teacher lesson plans include water cycle information and waterways, activities for flowers, pollination, and blooming, and information about flavors found in plants.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): plants (145), water cycle (33)

In the Classroom

Add a digital world twist to your unit on flowers, the water cycle, or senses. On your interactive whiteboard (or projector) choose your character, and explore your world. Teacher lesson plans give creative ideas for projects and lessons. Add to your class website as an extra enrichment activity. Capture your ESL/ELL students with sounds, pictures, and games to clarify concepts. Ask your gifted class to add concepts to expand into an earth science unit, creating a wiki to follow the structure provided. To learn more about wikis, check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Use as an option during centers to catch kids digging into the world! Create a story for the characters on the planet. The world is blooming with fun and learning!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Where's George? - Where's George?, LLC

Grades
2 to 12
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Where's George? lets you track the travel of dollar bills through circulation. Enter the serial number on the bill, enter a current zip code, and learn where their bill has ...more
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Where's George? lets you track the travel of dollar bills through circulation. Enter the serial number on the bill, enter a current zip code, and learn where their bill has been. Choose from two options on the site: find out where a bill has been or enter a current bill to begin tracking from its current location. Finding where a bill has been gives a list of known cities, states, and countries. It also includes travel time, distance, and speed of its journey. Email registration is necessary to follow the travels of a bill and receive notification of current location. One word of caution: it may be wise to enter serial numbers of bills before sharing with the class in case they have been in locations that may need to be screened. Also, be aware this site contains advertisements. At the time of this review, there was a questionable advertisement. Please preview and OPEN, before sharing with your class .
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): currency (20)

In the Classroom

Use this site to make basic economic concepts real. Let your students track their money and watch the journey unfold. Students can track their lunch money, donation money, or sports club money. Track a dollar with your class for an entire school year. Enter the dollar serial number as a class at the beginning of the school year, record information about it, and write the Where's George web address on the dollar. Use a class or teacher email address to track the bill throughout the year. Toward the end of the year, have your students write a story about the adventures their dollar has had, including the places it has visited, and the kind of people they imagine it met on its travels. Challenge your students to use a site such as TimeRime reviewed here to create an interactive timeline of your dollar's travels. With older students, discuss the role of the Fed and banks in the flow of currency.

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Nova Science Now Education - WGBH Educational Foundation

Grades
3 to 12
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Discover a reorganized, teacher-packaged collection of Nova resources for bringing science, technology, and engineering to the classroom. Find standards based, classroom resources based...more
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Discover a reorganized, teacher-packaged collection of Nova resources for bringing science, technology, and engineering to the classroom. Find standards based, classroom resources based on programs from Nova and other PBS programs. There are teacher guides, teacher interactives, and teacher videos. Topics include anthropology, archaeology, earth science, engineering, environmental science, forensic science, geography, health science, history, life science, math, paleontology, physical science, science and society, space science, and technology. At the time of this review, the website is still in BETA version and is not all inclusive in each subject. Find a TV programming schedule to help planning and resource gathering.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): archeology (32), engineering (125), environment (317), forensics (27), paleontology (41), space (205)

In the Classroom

Enjoy the interactives, videos, and text together on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use selected activities as a center (station). Include as resources for your curriculum. Use as a model to make a wiki for your current topic of study for a group project or classroom project. Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Use this format to spice up your classroom blog.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Word Confusion - FunBrain

Grades
3 to 9
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Word Confusion challenges you to choose the correct word to complete the sentence from the pair of homonyms. There is no log in or password required, so just go to ...more
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Word Confusion challenges you to choose the correct word to complete the sentence from the pair of homonyms. There is no log in or password required, so just go to the site and get started. Do you hope for a lot of presents or presence? Do sentences have a clause or claws? There are two levels of difficulty to choose from which provide examples that might even stump the class wizards.
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tag(s): editing (61), homonyms (12), spelling (168), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

This is a fun, useful interactive to practice frequently misused words like principal and principle or there and their. Project it on your classroom projector or interactive whiteboard. Students tend to remember homonyms better when they practice them in a fun context rather than repeated drills. Save (or bookmark) this site in your favorites and link it to your class web page for students to access it easily from home or classroom computers. Assign it for independent practice while in the computer lab or as a go-to-activity when students finish an assignment ahead of time.

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Answer Garden - Creative Heroes

Grades
2 to 12
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Plant a question and watch it grow! This is a very easy to use poll creator that can be linked through class websites, blogs, wikis or any other online application. ...more
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Plant a question and watch it grow! This is a very easy to use poll creator that can be linked through class websites, blogs, wikis or any other online application. Simply type in a short question then copy the link to your site. All responses show up in the answer box below the question in a word cloud type of format. AnswerGardens can be customized to allow unlimited responses and a password. Although anyone with the link can answer a question, polls can be edited by the owner if any unwanted content is added. So watch carefully!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): antonyms (26), polls and surveys (48), speech (92), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Create online polls of virtually anything! Build creative fluency. Ask students to type in an adjective, noun, or part of speech for language review. When learning about states, students can type in attributes associated with that particular states. Studying plants? Students can type in processes associated with plant growth. Studying fractions? On your interactive whiteboard add vocabulary terms associated with fractions to your AnswerGarden or assign students to add a term for homework. Embed your AnswerGarden question on your website or wiki, or share a direct link with the url by email. Finished polls can be exported to Wordle reviewed here or Tagxedo reviewed here to make beautiful word clouds for printing and displaying.

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