TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jun 24, 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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Nature Works Everywhere - The Nature Conservancy

Grades
3 to 9
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Explore and understand nature through the use of these great videos, interactives, and lessons. Learn the science behind nature and why it is very important for every living thing on...more
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Explore and understand nature through the use of these great videos, interactives, and lessons. Learn the science behind nature and why it is very important for every living thing on this planet. Find overarching topics such as Water, Stuff (how nature creates the stuff that we use), and more! View featured educational games, scientist biographies, and featured videos on the homepage. Take a video tour of the site, find lesson plans, and read about scientists involved in the project through the tabs along the top.

tag(s): conservation (127), natural resources (59), scientists (69), water (130)

In the Classroom

Be sure to save (bookmark) this page on your blog, wiki, or class website for easy access. Provide a link on a classroom computer for ease of access during an ecology unit. Allow opportunity for students to look at the information on the site to find a topic of interest to them for further research. Or choose a project to do together as a class or school in connection with Earth Day. Create an awareness campaign for students to educate others in the community about the science behind nature, why it is important to conserve, and simple actions that everyone can do. 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. Connect the science learned in your class with the nature around your students lives.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Venngage - Venngage

Grades
7 to 12
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Like the looks of Infographics but wish it were as easy as creating a Powerpoint? This website aims to empower you to easily create infographics in a short time. It ...more
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Like the looks of Infographics but wish it were as easy as creating a Powerpoint? This website aims to empower you to easily create infographics in a short time. It is worth the free registration to gain access. Create beautiful Infographics by creating a title and then choosing a template or color scheme. Create your own templates using a range of color, label, and font choices. Click on the elements on the template to change the words, add widgets, create charts, and more. Use the slider along the top right to move between edit mode and preview mode. Go beyond traditional charts by including word clouds, treemaps, bubble charts, and more. Click Save as Template (helpful in creating labels and examples for students to follow) to save your style for later. Click Publish to make the Infographic public or private. You can save the Infographic as an image, share via URL, or use an embed code to place on a wiki, site, or blog. Click on your dashboard to view additional templates shared by creators and to find your Infographics.

tag(s): data (148), infographics (42), posters (36), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Consider creating Infographics of material learned in class and for better understanding and connection with other topics and the "real world." Make curriculum content more real with infographics that students can relate to. Have students create their own infographics with this site to display what they have learned from a unit of study, how vocabulary words are related to the unit content, or as a review before a test. It could even be a replacement for the test! Connect data found on the Internet to information needed to understand that data. (Consider looking at different ways to show the data which can generate bias.) Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to allow student groups to present an Infographic about a book they've read, related news article, etc. Create Infographics about events such as Earth Day, D-Day, Take Your Child to Work Day, and other observances.

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Privacy Pirates: An Interactive Unit on Online Privacy - Media Smarts

Grades
2 to 4
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Learn about online privacy and how to distinguish between information that is appropriate to give out and information that is not. You are required to collect map pieces that will ...more
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Learn about online privacy and how to distinguish between information that is appropriate to give out and information that is not. You are required to collect map pieces that will lead you to the pirate's treasure! The site is broken down into two sections. A tutorial offers a step by step guide and a free play area where you can explore on your own.

tag(s): cyberbullying (43), internet safety (109)

In the Classroom

This site would be perfect to use during an Internet safety unit. Using an interactive whiteboard (or projector) have your students work their way through the tutorial. Allow groups of students to discuss the answers before submitting them on the game. Once the tutorial is complete put the link to the game on your classroom computers and let the students try the interactive during center time. Have students create their own Internet treasure hunt using the information learned on the site. Use one of the multimedia tools reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Teacher Tipster - Mr. Smith

Grades
K to 3
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Find some creative, entertaining, and downright amazing videos, worksheets, and more. See how to teach math (geometric shapes, money, addition, and more) using Angry Birds. Learn about...more
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Find some creative, entertaining, and downright amazing videos, worksheets, and more. See how to teach math (geometric shapes, money, addition, and more) using Angry Birds. Learn about place value using a swim noodle! Use stacking cups to learn phonics, and much more! There are also printable behavior charts, long vowel worksheets, and a lot more printable pages available FREE. This is one creative teacher offering a multitude of free ideas and printables. If your school blocks YouTube, it is worth opening this site at home to see the great videos.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): behavior (46), calendars (44), classroom management (135), counting (120), estimation (46), geometric shapes (163), holidays (147), money (193), operations (126), phonics (75), place value (56), verbs (41)

In the Classroom

If you can't re-create some of the lessons demonstrated on the videos, share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Not all videos are created to share with students. Some videos are more instructional ideas for teachers - so preview before you share. Scroll through the many videos for some ideas to spice up your primary grades classroom. 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 and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Make an Animation - ABCya!

Grades
2 to 8
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This cool tool, developed especially for older elementary to middle school students, allows you to create simple animations. You are provided with 40 frames. Click to choose your color,...more
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This cool tool, developed especially for older elementary to middle school students, allows you to create simple animations. You are provided with 40 frames. Click to choose your color, brush size, and more. The site includes the options to copy a frame, draw with a pencil instead of a brush, save, undo, clear and start over, and more. This is a simple to use tool. More in-depth instructions are provided on the site. Animations are saved as a .gif file. Read the tips on the home page to learn how to open your downloaded .gif.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (63), creativity (109)

In the Classroom

This site is useful for both teachers and students. During the first day of school, create a simple animation to share with your class. Highlight information about yourself, class rules, highlights from the year, and more. Create math animations showing different geometric shapes on 2-3 slides (just click to copy a frame, rather than remaking the slide) and giving the students a chance to guess the shape before the answer is provided on the next slide. Challenge students to create their own animations "introducing themselves" to the class. Students could also create animations to demonstrate what they have learned about a piece of literature, a science unit, social studies theme or unit, or more. Save the students' work and share the animations on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge your gifted students to create animations about their in-depth interests or curriculum concepts they have pretested out of so others in the class can learn from them. This tool is simple enough for bright students in early elementary to navigate on their own, a real asset when your gifted ones are working alone while you teach others.

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ScanUrl.net - ScanURL.net

Grades
K to 12
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This tool provides a way to scan a URL to see if it contains a virus or links to malware that can destroy your computer. ScanURL will provide you with ...more
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This tool provides a way to scan a URL to see if it contains a virus or links to malware that can destroy your computer. ScanURL will provide you with a checklist letting you know how safe a site is to visit.

tag(s): computers (95), internet safety (109)

In the Classroom

Use this site as part of your Internet safety unit. Scan various websites to see how safe they are. Use this site when you receive an email with an unfamiliar web address. This is one you will want to keep in your favorites, for sure. Parents would like to know about it, too!

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Wikipedia Race - Wikipedia

Grades
6 to 12
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Concerned that Wikipedia doesn't encourage higher-level thinking or is just the lazy way out? Here is a novel use for Wikipedia that teaches intellectual flexibility and creativity,...more
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Concerned that Wikipedia doesn't encourage higher-level thinking or is just the lazy way out? Here is a novel use for Wikipedia that teaches intellectual flexibility and creativity, and it's a whole lot of fun! While the site does all the set up for you, Wikipedia races require only a couple of computers and the Internet. Here's how it works. Choose as the destination a topic or word that has its own Wikipedia page. Try things like "apple pie" or "quilts" or nearly anything. Each "racer" goes to the Wikipedia main page and chooses "random article," and this page becomes his or her start page. The object of the challenge is to get from the random start page to the destination page by clicking on the hyperlinks within Wikipedia pages. No searching, just clicking. To make it more challenging, make some of the most broadly aggregated pages (like "United States" for example) off limits. First racer to the destination page wins. An example? Imagine your random start page is the biography page of a NASCAR driver, and your destination is "flashlight." One possible pathway might go from driver to automobile to car battery, to C battery, to flashlight.

tag(s): creative fluency (8), creativity (109), trivia (17)

In the Classroom

Wikipedia Races reward thinking that is divergent and flexible. Rather than having to narrowly focus on one right answer, racers win when they can generate lots of different associations among disparate ideas or items. Use Wikipedia Races when you have a little time left at the end of the period. A single race will last only 3 to 5 minutes for older students. It can be an individual competition among two or more racers, or students can work in small teams with one student at the mouse taking suggestions from the team. Consider being strategic with your destination pages, choosing topics related to your unit lesson, so students will need to have a broad understanding of those topics. ESL/ELL teachers can use this as a vocabulary development activity.

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Course hero - Course Hero, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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Take note of Course Hero with your class. Course Hero looks at various note-taking methods and explores each (using infographics and more). The featured infographic here shows results...more
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Take note of Course Hero with your class. Course Hero looks at various note-taking methods and explores each (using infographics and more). The featured infographic here shows results on written vs. computer note-taking. Discover different types of note taking and research for each. Find the most effective ways to take notes. Caution: this is a public blog, so you may want to preview comments before allowing students to explore on their own. Or simply share this site together with your class rather than using it for individual exploration.

tag(s): infographics (42), note taking (32)

In the Classroom

Use Course Hero to introduce note taking for your study skills class or integrate into any subject. After introducing each note-taking strategy mentioned, have your students try each type and decide which works best for each individual. Immediately after your first audio lecture, give a pop quiz. Let students try note taking and discover the value for success. Use as a remediation tool for learners who need more reinforcement. Introduce in gifted classes, when these learners can no longer rely on simply remembering. At your parent orientation, give this site as a resource. And be sure to provide this link on your class website.

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Film Story - Mnemonic Productions

Grades
3 to 12
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Film Story is a great listing of history films searchable by country, era, subject, and film type (feature film, documentary, or mini-series). Another helpful feature is when you roll...more
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Film Story is a great listing of history films searchable by country, era, subject, and film type (feature film, documentary, or mini-series). Another helpful feature is when you roll your cursor over the map, the region and how many films are available will pop up. Film Story's goal is to help you learn more about historical people, places, and events through film. Once you click on a film, you see the era, type of film, etc. and several themes. All of these are links to other films in these categories. Film story is simply a directory. Search out the films you find on your favorite search engine and borrow them from a library or video store. No registration required to use this site.

tag(s): afghanistan (7), africa (180), asia (73), black history (59), central america (13), china (66), cross cultural understanding (115), europe (75), middle east (30), movies (65), north america (19)

In the Classroom

Discover videos on Film Story to help build prior knowledge and illustrate what students are learning in history or world languages/cultures classes. Find several films and have small groups of students view them. Have students become "eyewitnesses" to history and watch the video assigned to them before they have a context for it. Then have them write or blog about what they think they are witnessing. Afterward they can research the event in more depth and write a follow-up reflection on what was actually happening in the video. Challenge your students to use a site such as Timetoast reviewed here, to create timelines of topics researched on the site. Use images from public domain sites, such as the collections reviewed here, to illustrate the events.

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Watch2gether - Sailer Interactive

Grades
3 to 12
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Use this free site to create a private chat room where you can watch videos with others at multiple locations in real time. Create a chat room and use the ...more
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Use this free site to create a private chat room where you can watch videos with others at multiple locations in real time. Create a chat room and use the link to send to others. Use the Facebook app to post to Facebook. Watch the video synchronously while making comments in the chat window. Note: members of the chat can change the video at any time, and it will change for all those in the private room. There is no way to lock this function. Want to save the chat? Copy and paste to share later or use screen shots (command/shift/4 on a Mac or print screen on PC.) Save your room and go back later to view the chat and watch more videos with your friends. Note that the videos are from YouTube so may not be accessible in schools. There is no way for adults to monitor the chat other than being part of it.

tag(s): chat (51), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use for teaching a concept with others by viewing portions of videos and chatting content and main points with each other. Use for reviewing materials for exams or to prepare for project creation. Be sure to set rules on changing videos when in sessions with others. Set up a snow day or evening video viewing time and url to watch and discuss videos together with the teacher for extra help or enrichment. As an online back to school night, share a video at a specified time and invite parents to join you and chat their questions. Offer video/chat how-to sessions for major projects, such as science fair or other major independent work. Enhance video instructions for any major assignment by scheduling a watch together session. Use together with Khan Academy videos for math class. Make your "flipped" classroom more social using watch together.

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I Speak Math - Julie Reulbach

Grades
5 to 10
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I Speak Math is an sidea-filled and informative blog from a math teacher currently at a project-based private school in North Carolina. Posts are updated often and include pictures...more
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I Speak Math is an sidea-filled and informative blog from a math teacher currently at a project-based private school in North Carolina. Posts are updated often and include pictures of classroom projects along with links to resources used. Examples include a kinesthetic box and whisk-ers plot activity, foldables for functions and graphing, and reflections upon students grading their own tests. Explore the site further by viewing top posts through the link on the side bar. Search the site using the search box on the top of the page. Most posts include several tags. Click on a tag to find other posts with the same topic or click on popular tags located in the tag cloud on the side bar.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for finding varied math activities for your class. Search the site for math stations to find tips for running math stations in your classroom.

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Peter Rabbit Fun and Games - Frederick Warne & Co.

Grades
K to 4
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Bring Beatrix Potter's incredible artistry to life. This whole site is fashioned into a virtual popup book where you can meet the characters, watch videos of the stories, play games,...more
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Bring Beatrix Potter's incredible artistry to life. This whole site is fashioned into a virtual popup book where you can meet the characters, watch videos of the stories, play games, and find fun things to make and do offline. Try to "Find Peter" (before Mr. McGregor does!), take part in an Easter egg hunt, collect snowflakes to earn special downloads, help Peter find his way through a maze, and play a vegetable picking game. Read character descriptions of each of Beatrix Potter's characters and even watch video clips of Peter Rabbit. Create an interactive Peter Rabbit puppet show and star in the puppet show by uploading a picture. Teacher's resources include six learning modules and printable posters and certificates.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): authors (120), literature (275), preK (281)

In the Classroom

Invite your students to star in their own puppet show. Each show will be unique as students make decisions about what will happen to their characters. Share the activities and stories on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Allow students to view each other's puppet shows. After reading through character descriptions, students can write their own Peter Rabbit tale, staying true to the character traits they read about on the site. Create a class book of the students stories (each student contributing 1-2 pages). Use an online tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Magic Tree House - Random House Children's Books

Grades
K to 4
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Explore Magic Tree House Books online. Enter the Tree House and collect stamps for your passport by answering questions about each of the books or learn more about the Magic ...more
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Explore Magic Tree House Books online. Enter the Tree House and collect stamps for your passport by answering questions about each of the books or learn more about the Magic Tree House books by reading excerpts. There are engaging online games and printable activities to play and screen savers and wallpapers to download. Most are educational; however some are just "for fun" games. Print many lesson ideas and activities from the teacher tree located on the site. Registration with email is required to receive a passport that can be stamped as each book is completed. Complete individual activities without a passport or registration.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): book lists (128), guided reading (47), literature (275), quizzes (96)

In the Classroom

Use quizzes from the site for a fun way for students to check comprehension and reflect on reading. Print passports from the site and stamp student passports as they finish reading each book. Use one email address to register all students. Or read tips for safely managing email registrations here. If you are reading the Magic Tree House books to your students, create a class passport for the year. Your whole class can help answer the questions to earn the stamps.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Sozo Exchange - Sozo Exchange

Grades
9 to 12
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Sozo offers daily online broadcasts for learning English. Older teens and adults will enjoy learning English through daily feature videos, pronunciation assists, and interview clips...more
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Sozo offers daily online broadcasts for learning English. Older teens and adults will enjoy learning English through daily feature videos, pronunciation assists, and interview clips which include lesson features and online review exercises. You can contribute to online surveys, learn idioms, and take quizzes with free registration. Subject matter is designed for teens and adults.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): figurative language (16), idioms (44), listening (91), news (261), pronunciation (44), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

This is a great find for independent ESL/ELL students who want to improve their oral comprehension and knowledge of vocabulary along with its idiomatic language and slang expressions. Keep the link to this program on your computers at school and on your web page for home use, too. Parents wanting to learn English could use this site too!
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