TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 29, 2012

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Wunderlist - 6 Wunderkinder GmbH

Grades
7 to 12
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Wunderlist is more than a to-do list. Use it as a project management tool to develop plans, store resources, and arrange group collaboration or planning. It works on all devices ...more
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Wunderlist is more than a to-do list. Use it as a project management tool to develop plans, store resources, and arrange group collaboration or planning. It works on all devices and in your browser on the web. Sync all of your devices with this one tool. Teachers, students, and parents can all use this tool to help improve organization. Assign, track, and follow your groups. Be sure to sync to the cloud to keep school, home, kids, and more together in one place. The free version has some limitations, so click Pro to see how much your free account can do.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

Use Wunderlist to stay on top of everything you do or even for communicating with parents. Students can use this resource as a way to stay organized in all tasks or to plan intermediate steps of a long-term project. Even disorganized students will love getting organized with the help of technology! Begin by demonstrating how to use Wunderlist on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a whole group activity. In primary grades, use this tool as a class to introduce and reinforce time management. Demonstrate how to use the program to stay on top of long-term assignments or projects. Be sure to include checking off the task when finished. Since membership requires an email account, you probably will not be able to use this with individual student accounts in lower grades. Older students with individual accounts (if permitted by school policy) can keep their school year organized by adding assignments and tasks, uploading work, taking/keeping notes, and sharing their board. As students work on and complete tasks, they can move items from one column to the next. Use Wunderlist as a collaboration tool during group projects to track responsibilities, resources, and progress. Have each group invite you as the teacher so you can monitor group progress and each student's participation. Use the program as a unique way to keep track of homework. Learning support teachers and teachers of gifted-but-disorganized students will want to include this as a tool to meet IEP organizational goals. Add reminders, due dates, reoccurring to dos, or notes to each task.

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Forensics - Nancy Clark

Grades
7 to 12
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This teacher-created Forensics site is a stunning compilation of ideas, resources, and laboratory activities to keep you supplied in forensic thinking for a good long time....more
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This teacher-created Forensics site is a stunning compilation of ideas, resources, and laboratory activities to keep you supplied in forensic thinking for a good long time. Lesson plans, worksheets, and even puzzles are available for downloading and printing here. Fuel your interest in forensics and increase your scientific background knowledge at the same time.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): forensics (27)

In the Classroom

Whether teaching a course that is purely forensic science or seeking a hook to capture student interest in science through the topic of forensics, this resource is extremely useful. Why do all that searching for yourself? Nancy Clark has taken the time and done all the work. Science and language arts teachers can team up together to use this site. Most students love a compelling mystery and the chance to solve it! There is nonfiction reading here that will fit both curricula. The science teacher can answer questions about DNA, fingerprinting, etc., and the language arts teacher can help students with strategies for reading nonfiction. First, try something short like a video clip, and if you like it, dig deeper and incorporate more into your lessons. The lessons here would integrate nicely into biology or chemistry. Looking for more? Try this TeachersFirst Exclusive unit for more science inquiry lessons using forensics.

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Congressional Timeline - Congressional Timeline

Grades
8 to 12
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Use The Congressional Timeline to look each Congress's activity beginning with the 73rd (in 1933) up until the present. We sometimes forget "Congress" is not a single entity, and ...more
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Use The Congressional Timeline to look each Congress's activity beginning with the 73rd (in 1933) up until the present. We sometimes forget "Congress" is not a single entity, and there have been over 110 Congresses since the founding of the United States. This is a fairly bare bones site, but with some helpful components. The most interesting is the ability to compare the actions of congress along the top timeline, with major events in history along the bottom timeline. What happened? What did Congress do? The events are all click-able and provide either a brief explanation or links to further information. Another useful function is the ability to filter results by keyword, which eliminates everything not associated with that keyword from the timelines. Also helpful is the ability to highlight events along the timelines by keyword. The keyword fields are completely open, so you will need to experiment a little with your word choice in order to return the most useful results. The timeline is also convenient for research in that it reduces legislative activity to an easy to access summary.

tag(s): branches of government (48), congress (33)

In the Classroom

Although this site is not the most visually exciting, it would still be useful on an interactive whiteboard, particularly when you are discussing a defined time period. Select the relevant Congress, then compare the legislative activity with world events. For example, choose a Congress during wartime, and highlight events related to war or the military. As elections approach, use the timelines to compare the activities of a previous Congress during "election season" to see if there are patterns of Congressional behavior.

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The HTML5 Gendered Advertising Remixer - Jonathan McIntosh

Grades
6 to 12
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Do advertisers market to boys and girls differently? The answer is obvious: Yes! Beyond that, how does that affect children's development and society in general? This site does not...more
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Do advertisers market to boys and girls differently? The answer is obvious: Yes! Beyond that, how does that affect children's development and society in general? This site does not offer a specific answer to those questions, but can make distinctions between boy-girl-centric advertising painfully clear. It is a simple concept: run the audio portion of an ad targeting boys under the video of an ad targeted to girls, or vice versa. Then consider what this "mashup" now communicates. The directions ask you to drag and drop icons; do not drag them to the big open box in the center of the page. Instead, drop one ad on the "audio" icon, and the other ad on the "video" icon; the mashup plays in the middle. If you go to the home page for the project, there are other "mashups" available focused on certain kinds of toys and advertising. You can view in either HTML 5 or Flash.

tag(s): advertising (33), consumers (21), media literacy (56), psychology (64), sociology (22), women (101)

In the Classroom

One of the truisms about analyzing culture is that it is difficult to see the impact of cultural norms and practices from the inside. Students will probably agree that advertising targets boys differently than girls, but they may have serious difficulty considering what impact it has had on them. This site may help them see the subtle messages in advertising, and how those messages constrain or empower them. Project the mashups on an interactive whiteboard and then ask students how the audio changes the message on the video portion. Reverse the two and ask the same question. What does this say about the girls' gender roles? What does this say about boys' gender roles? What does this say about the impact of play on learning adult roles? Have student groups create digital "collections" of examples of gender-targeted ads using a tool such as Evernote (reviewed herehttp://www.teachersfirst.com/single.cfm?id=10550) or turn them into mosaics of ad images using Mosaic Maker (reviewed here). Note: Since students are specifically studying advertising and critiquing the ads, it would not be a copyright violation to add images as part of a media project to illustrate gender targeting.

Comments

This is fascinating but somewhat difficult to know how to use. A rich resource. I found the key to making it usable was the list of questions for discussion which are here: http://www.genderremixer.com/curriculum/ Sandra, , Grades: 0 - 5

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Projeqt - Dynamic Presentations for a Real-Time World - Pilot.is.

Grades
8 to 12
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Looking for a quick and easy way to share dynamic presentations? Try Projeqt! This is a simple tool with onscreen, embedded instruction (i.e.drag here). Update previously created presentations...more
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Looking for a quick and easy way to share dynamic presentations? Try Projeqt! This is a simple tool with onscreen, embedded instruction (i.e.drag here). Update previously created presentations by uploading images, documents, and PDF files, video, or create slides from scratch. See your Projeqt as a film strip or in grid view, and there's a full-screen option, too. Add a Google map, Flickr page, and more! Projeqt aims to establish itself above other presentation tools through the direct integration of social media dynamics, and that it certainly does! Unlike many web tools, this one works on mobile devices, including iPads and iPhones. Here is a simple sample Projeqt.

tag(s): multimedia (52), slides (60), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Use this presentation tool to have students express themselves creatively in your classroom. Have them share their projects with Projeqt as an alternative to a writing assignment or other traditional method. Set requirements for how much and what types of information they must have, and watch what they develop. They may just surprise you! Have students create end of year portfolios to share during spring fairs or open houses. Save Projeqts for fall open house to share the work students will be doing! Students can present in person or link their presentations to a media site that has a recording of them giving a summary. This could also be used to showcase a long-term community service project or show off a season's accomplishments for a sports team.

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GeoCube - GeoCube

Grades
3 to 12
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GeoCube is a delightful, online, interactive resource about world geography. Based on the principle of the Rubik Cube, GeoCube has six sides, each with a topic and nine sub-topics....more
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GeoCube is a delightful, online, interactive resource about world geography. Based on the principle of the Rubik Cube, GeoCube has six sides, each with a topic and nine sub-topics. Click on each sub-topic to find a gallery of videos and images with accompanying text explaining different concepts in geography. The topics explored are living together, earth from all angles, shrinking planet, exploring our world, fascinating earth, and useful geographies. Be sure to watch the How to Use intro video (uses Quick Time) to see how your mouse navigates GeoCube. Clicking on downloads will allow you to view and print PDFs of each topic as well as a colorful GeoCube template with photos to fold and assemble. GeoCube is viewable in several languages: English, Spanish, German, and Italian.

tag(s): earth (228), earthquakes (48), ecology (135), energy (197), environment (317), extinction (4), forests (29), hurricanes (35), landforms (45), maps (287), mountains (13), natural disasters (20), natural resources (59), ozone (10), pollution (66), religions (61), transportation (40), tsunamis (16), volcanoes (61), water (130), wetlands (9)

In the Classroom

Explore one of the subtopics on GeoCube with your class on the interactive whiteboard. Discover different aspects of the world through the subtopics. Use the text as a basis to find another text, either narrative or expository, and compare and contrast the knowledge. You might want to allow students to investigate the different topics on their own at a learning station. Language arts, social studies, and science teachers can use the information found on GeoCube to build background knowledge for students before studying a unit. Introduce a unit on the environment by reading and viewing the videos for waste and pollution, water resources, energy resources, deforestation, species extinction, and climate change. Physical science teachers can use GeoCube as a unique way to introduce volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and conflicts in the earth's systems. These are just a few of the 54 subtopics your will find on GeoCube. ESL/ELL and learning support will all enjoy and benefit from viewing and reading GeoCube.

Use the GeoCube idea for students to present information they research on any science or social studies topic. Adapt it slightly, having students create foldable visual aids using FoldPlay, reviewed here, or interactive video cubes using YouCube, reviewed here. YouCube needs to access YouTube, so may not be accessible at school.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Rhymes.net - STANDS4 LLC

Grades
K to 12
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Rhymes.net is a simple site that offers words that rhyme with whatever you enter in the search field. Indicated in the rhyming word are syllables for ease of use, and ...more
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Rhymes.net is a simple site that offers words that rhyme with whatever you enter in the search field. Indicated in the rhyming word are syllables for ease of use, and there is a set of photos for words searched. Choose from the dropdown box to translate the word into several languages from Arab through Turkish. Listen to the word by clicking on the speaker icon next to your word. The right sidebar lists popular nursery rhymes. Click to show the text of the rhyme.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): nursery rhymes (18), poetry (229), preK (275), rhymes (33)

In the Classroom

This would be a great site to share during your poetry unit as a resource for rhyming words. Create a list of student-generated rhyming words before using this site to discover words missed. Challenge students to use lesser-known words found through the site. Share with your school's music teacher to use when writing songs with students. Have students create rhyming word clouds using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Hang printed word clouds on the classroom walls during poetry units so students see many choices or share them on a class wiki.

Use the text of nursery rhymes to create class interactive books using Bookemon reviewed here, or make student-illustrated "big books" using PowerPoint to create and print. (Copyright is NOT an issue for this public domain text.)

In world language classes, share a translated nursery rhyme each day as a challenge for students to decipher and guess the "real" nursery classic

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Art of Science - Jonathan Harris and Grady Klein, Princeton University

Grades
5 to 12
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This site offers a highly visual way to draw people of any age into science and a fascination with materials, living things, and forces that make up our world. The ...more
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This site offers a highly visual way to draw people of any age into science and a fascination with materials, living things, and forces that make up our world. The collections are the result of an annual competition at Princeton University and were produced as a result of actual scientific research. Click on each image to view a description of the background of the image. Click on other years at the bottom of the screen. These images are simply stunning!

tag(s): images (261), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Share these images as inspiration to begin a related curriculum unit or to draw students into the powerful world of scientific discovery. Explore and discuss "What is science?" by viewing these images. Consider taking up close pictures of what your students see when they are looking at their labs in your science class. Include the arts in your science class by asking your arts-oriented students to talk about why the images are artistically appealing as an avenue into the world of science. Challenge students to watch for similar art/science photos-- or perhaps take their own -- and add them to a class art or science wiki page. Invite your art teacher (if you have one) to share these photos in art class, as well.

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Think - Cathy Sheafor

Grades
K to 8
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This blog shares many creative activities to encourage thinking outside the box. The activities use many easy to find materials. If you want to make a sculpture out of Twinkies, ...more
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This blog shares many creative activities to encourage thinking outside the box. The activities use many easy to find materials. If you want to make a sculpture out of Twinkies, or create a one man band, then this site is for you. Find links to other creative thinking blogs, too. Promote 21st century design thinking and innovation with activities that look like pure "fun." The sidebar include links to many engineering sites and activities to connect creativity as an important aspect of design and science. Don't miss the sidebar tips to parents and teachers, as well.

tag(s): creativity (108), critical thinking (92)

In the Classroom

Use this site to create a "think outside of the box" space in your classroom. Keep the area stocked with materials and activity sheets. Use the area as a place for students to go when they finish up work. Better yet, make design thinking part of your science curriculum by tying in some of these challenges with curriculum topics such as gravity, forces, materials, and more. Set one Friday a month aside as "think outside of the box" day, and use the activities from the site. Send home an activity as extra credit homework and create a museum of student's creations. Make this link available on your class web page for parents to access during school breaks or snow days.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Symmetry Activity - Haelmedia.com

Grades
3 to 7
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Practice with symmetry by completing or creating symmetric patterns. Select from three levels of difficulty then click and drag boxes to create the mirror image. Check for accuracy...more
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Practice with symmetry by completing or creating symmetric patterns. Select from three levels of difficulty then click and drag boxes to create the mirror image. Check for accuracy using the "check" button. Create a pattern using either a vertical or horizontal line of symmetry then check for accuracy. Be sure to check out the suggestions for expanding the activities at the bottom of the page. Included are prompts for writing and other activities.

tag(s): symmetry (54)

In the Classroom

This activity is perfect for use on interactive whiteboards and classroom computers as a center activity. Have one student create one side of a symmetric figure, and have another student make the mirror image. Ask the first student to check for accuracy. Provide one part of a symmetric figure and have students recreate it using this program. Have students reproduce creations using graph paper and use as a classroom display. Art teachers will also want to try the symmetry activities to build visual design skills or to design letter forms and shapes that have symmetry.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Little Animation for Kids - Kids' Stories International

Grades
K to 2
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Little Animation for Kids provides children with resources to make them better stewards of the environment and citizens of the world while learning many other topics. This site has...more
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Little Animation for Kids provides children with resources to make them better stewards of the environment and citizens of the world while learning many other topics. This site has songs, games, stories, and activities to teach children how they can save the earth. Stories come from 'round the world. Even non-readers can navigate using the sound prompts.

tag(s): audio books (32), conservation (127), earth day (112), environment (317), preK (275), recycling (57)

In the Classroom

Use the story section to model how to write a story. Have students create their own environmental stories and submit them to the website. Using an interactive whiteboard, have students play one of many games. Bookmark the site on your classroom computer, and use it as a center during language arts time. Be sure to click Guide for additional classroom activities.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

Magic Town is no longer available, as of 5 May 2013 when I looked. There is a new App called My Story World for ipad.

Note from the editor: we checked this site on May 6, 2013 and it appears to be working fine. Thank you for your comment and we will keep our eyes on this site to make sure all is working properly.
Donna, IN, Grades: 0 - 8

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Today's Document - Jon White Studio

Grades
6 to 12
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Today's Document is an excellent daily history site based on an RSS feed from the National Archives. This specific page comes up on Constitution Day. Cartoons illustrate the history...more
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Today's Document is an excellent daily history site based on an RSS feed from the National Archives. This specific page comes up on Constitution Day. Cartoons illustrate the history of the document, and link each drawing to the original, primary source document on National Archives with an invitation to dig deeper. Search the archives for previous entries or scroll back through daily cartoons. Explanations often include links to further historical information or click on included tags for similar resources. This site includes documents for several days each month. The site seems to have stopped in 2010, but you can browse back through many valuable documents and explanations, since the "originals" being discussed are historic, not current.

tag(s): american revolution (86), civil war (145), constitution (79), jefferson (19), lincoln (85), presidents (129), segregation (15), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Today's Document would make a fantastic discussion starter in any classroom. It is an interesting, visual way for students to acquire background knowledge about American history and/or the Constitution and government. You may want to display a document on your interactive whiteboard as a bell-ringer (opener) activity, or as a story starter in English class. Cover up the cartoon explanation, and ask students to discuss events that they think took place. In U.S.history, government, or civics classes, use the site as an example, then challenge students to create their own comics to explain a topic using comic-creation tools from this TeachersFirst collection.

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Classroom Earth - National Environmental Education Foundation

Grades
9 to 12
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This tool is an online resource created to help teachers of all subject areas include lessons on the environment. Find terrific lessons and ideas for any subject. Join the community...more
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This tool is an online resource created to help teachers of all subject areas include lessons on the environment. Find terrific lessons and ideas for any subject. Join the community or click on Professional Development for even more first-rate ideas. Use many activities with special calendar days such as Earth Day and World Water Day.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), natural resources (59), water (130), watersheds (16)

In the Classroom

Open a new world or way of thinking by using these activities. Show students how environmental content is useful in understanding the world around them. Students can use these ideas to teach each other and present to the class. Click on the Resources tab and have small groups of students choose a topic from the list. Have them conduct their research and then present their findings using one of the presentation tools suggested on the TeachersFirst Presentation page here. If you are preparing students for reading tests, try using some of the informational texts and activities found on this site to double dip classroom time: learn reading and environmental topics.

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