TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Aug 5, 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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Grockit Answers - Farbood Nivi

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Grockit is a tool for hosting timely Q&A discussions around web videos, and it works with any YouTube or Vimeo hosted videos. You can create a Q&A page about a ...more
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Grockit is a tool for hosting timely Q&A discussions around web videos, and it works with any YouTube or Vimeo hosted videos. You can create a Q&A page about a video that only you and the people you choose can access. You can moderate the conversation to get additional controls and deeper insight into what's happening. To begin, search for any YouTube or Vimeo video, or put in the URL of a video you want to use. Then, choose to make a public or private question and answer session. The video will appear framed on the page, and you just need to add a few questions to get things started. Type these into the field on the top left of your screen. If you play through the video and pause at certain moments, the question will appear at that point in the video. Share the video by clicking on 'Share this page." This will give you a URL that you can share with others. If you click on 'Moderate Q&A on this video' at the bottom of the page, you can create playlists, moderate submissions to the Q&A, and even get an embed code to add it to other materials.

Note that the general public can write and answer PUBLIC Q/A sessions, so preview for appropriateness before sharing with others. If you create a private Q/A you can avoid this problem.

tag(s): video (253)

In the Classroom

Begin by searching for pre-existing public videos that already have questions. Preview and share these with students as you begin a unit or for review. Create your own videos for students to use for review or have students generate questions for a video you choose. Assign videos for students to view at home, in the computer lab, or on laptops. You can even have students post their questions and responses within the video. Learning Support teachers could have students write questions and test each other using videos to reinforce topics they are studying without using loads of reading material.

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PieColor - Create a Pie Chart - Piecolor.com

Grades
3 to 7
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Easily create and download a colorful pie chart with PieColor. Enter the number of slices you want, the percent for each slice, and a label (example - 48% girls, 52% ...more
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Easily create and download a colorful pie chart with PieColor. Enter the number of slices you want, the percent for each slice, and a label (example - 48% girls, 52% boys). Adjust colors as you like by clicking on the color wheel for each slice. Options include a title, background color, and size of text. Download or embed in your blog using links at the bottom of your pie chart.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148), percent (82)

In the Classroom

Collect data in your classroom and quickly create a graph to represent it. Share through links or adding images to blogs, wikis, or websites. Graphs can also be shared on an interactive whiteboard or projector for better analysis of data by the class. Graph results of a test, answers from students, favorite foods, fictitious budgets, class schedules, and whatever else is applicable in your classroom. Use the pie charts students create to teach their peers how to read charts that accompany informational texts. Have cooperative learning groups create their own graphs to share with the class on the class wiki. Use this tool to create quick pie charts on your interactive whiteboard whenever you count class votes or encounter other data so students "see" data on a regular basis and visual students have another way to absorb the information. Keep the link handy on your web page to access it quickly in or out of class.
 

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Around the World with 80 Schools - Silvia Tolisano

Grades
K to 12
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Get started with Skype in the classroom or enhance current lessons with this remarkably informative site that includes lesson ideas, flyers, videos, and much more all about Skyping...more
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Get started with Skype in the classroom or enhance current lessons with this remarkably informative site that includes lesson ideas, flyers, videos, and much more all about Skyping for educational purposes. The focus in this site is on making Skype calls truly educational and meaningful learning experiences. View explicit directions about student roles when Skyping and how to plan, prepare, and assess activities. Be sure to learn all about The Mystery Skype Call by doing a key word search for mystery; results provide an informative video explaining how to get started and complete a successful call. Another highlight of the site is the page on Skype Jobs for students - find this by searching on the right hand tool bar or doing a key word search for jobs. You are sure to find a great deal of information to begin effective and interesting Skyping in your classroom!

tag(s): professional development (123), tutorials (47), virtual field trips (48), webcams (6)

In the Classroom

Check out the TeachersFirst review of Skype here as an introduction and for more classroom ideas. Participate in a Mystery Skype call with another classroom to compare and contrast local geography, collaborate on book projects, or as an introduction to a careers unit. Locate authors, scientists, or directors of museums interested in Skyping with classrooms, and take your students on a virtual field trip. Skype with other classrooms in your district without having to leave the building! For specific ideas for Skype author visits, be sure to see Meet the Author from TeachersFirst's Help I Lost My Library/Media Specialist series.

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Refrigerator Poetry - apples4theteacher

Grades
K to 3
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Drag words to create sentences, poems, and more on this easy to use, online "refrigerator." Need to use a word more than once? No problem -- just click on ...more
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Drag words to create sentences, poems, and more on this easy to use, online "refrigerator." Need to use a word more than once? No problem -- just click on the word and press your "d" key to create a duplicate. Words can also be sorted by the color of the background for nouns, verbs, and other parts of speech. Many basic sight words are included.

tag(s): parts of speech (68), poetry (227), sight words (37)

In the Classroom

This site is terrific for use on interactive whiteboards. Challenge students to create entertaining sentences using as many different colored backgrounds as possible. Then ask them to identify the parts of speech. See how long it takes them to notice that all nouns are the same color! This is an excellent resource to share during Poetry Month. Why not make a poetry center on your interactive whiteboard for students to work with a partner? For create-your-own magnetic poetry at a higher level, try Triptico's free, downloadable software, reviewed here.
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Student Made Math Movies - studentmathmovies

Grades
K to 8
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Get ready for some entertainment, and enjoy learning math directly from kids with this wonderful wiki! Choose from math topics, listed on the right-hand toolbar, to find lively and...more
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Get ready for some entertainment, and enjoy learning math directly from kids with this wonderful wiki! Choose from math topics, listed on the right-hand toolbar, to find lively and engaging videos made by students explaining math concepts such as decimals, place value, geometry, and much more. Add your own embedded math movies by following the directions included on the home page. A huge thanks goes out to Paula N. for sharing this resource during an OK2Ask'''''® Energizing Math session!

tag(s): addition (251), charts and graphs (195), data (148), division (172), estimation (46), exponents (42), fractions (239), integers (41), measurement (159), multiplication (227), order of operations (33), percent (82), place value (56), probability (130), problem solving (272), roman numerals (9), substitutes (21), time (144)

In the Classroom

Search the wiki for videos to use on your interactive whiteboard as an introduction to new concepts or individually to reinforce learning. Share a link to videos on your classroom website or blog for students (and parents) to view at home. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create their own videos about math. Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here, and add to the Student Math Movies wiki.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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World of Reading - Ann Arbor District Library

Grades
2 to 12
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Submit your own book reviews to this easy to use site. Additionally, click on the Email Book Club tab and sign up to receive short excerpts from librarian-selected books you ...more
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Submit your own book reviews to this easy to use site. Additionally, click on the Email Book Club tab and sign up to receive short excerpts from librarian-selected books you might enjoy. By clicking on the Book Search tab, you can read peer reviews of books you have enjoyed or might enjoy in the future. A wonderful thing about this site is that reviews come from children from all around the world; every submitted review appears on the site.

tag(s): independent reading (126), literature (275), reading lists (73)

In the Classroom

After checking with your administration about submission policies, have your class submit group or individual reviews of books they are reading. Also, students can check to see if books they've read have a review. If not, have them write one. Bookmark the site on a classroom computer so students who finish work early can look for a new book to read. Put a link to this site on your teacher page for parents and students for access at home.

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Tesla - Master of Lightning - PBS

Grades
4 to 12
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Flash to PBS to get a bolt of learning about Nikola Tesla. Discover a compressive view of Tesla from his early years and his coming to America. Follow his ...more
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Flash to PBS to get a bolt of learning about Nikola Tesla. Discover a compressive view of Tesla from his early years and his coming to America. Follow his accomplishments while harnessing the Niagara. Discover the true mystery about who invented the radio. Trace his inventions and accomplishments. Inside the lab, discover the AC motor, the Tesla coil, radio, remote controls, and improved lightning. Resources include a timeline of electricity and radio, Tesla's patents, and articles about Tesla. Explore discussions from experts about Tesla's life and accomplishments. There are lesson plans for teachers. Some materials are for sale.

tag(s): electricity (89), energy (197), industrial revolution (25), inventors and inventions (101), motion (58), radio (27)

In the Classroom

Add intrigue and mystery, to your science unit on electricity, motion, or inventors as you study the life and accomplishments of Nikola Tesla. Excellent lesson plans include a concrete understanding of potential energy, mechanical energy to electrical energy. Use on an interactive white board to begin your unit or create a "Who Dunnit" with electricity or radio. Follow the structure of ideas presented to create an online "famous scientist" wiki, blog or PowerPoint to add to your class website. Use a Socratic seminar to debate which scientist should get credit for the induction motor, radio, and even the Industrial Revolution. Use the readings for older students, advanced readers, or gifted students, as they are far above the reading level of elementary and early middle school students. In language arts, writing topics could include "What a shock electricity is in my life" and "Will the true inventor of electricity please stand up?" The ideas and resources are electrifying!
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CE02: The Climate Business Game - Allianz and World Wildlife Federation

Grades
8 to 12
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CE02 puts players into the role of a CEO in one of four leading industries from 2010 to 2030, trying to control your output of CO2. Choose insurance, utility, automotive, ...more
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CE02 puts players into the role of a CEO in one of four leading industries from 2010 to 2030, trying to control your output of CO2. Choose insurance, utility, automotive, or chemical companies to begin play. Enter the name of the CEO and company name. Then view a demo and read about the company before playing. Read about various options, and make decisions by dragging choices to the option bar. Once you make decisions, view how the company performs during the 20 year time span. Each round progresses to a new decade with new opportunities and risks.

tag(s): carbon dioxide (17), carbon footprint (11), environment (317), industrialization (15)

In the Classroom

Use this site as part of your unit on the environment to demonstrate the effect of decisions made by leading industries. Have students create presentations using one of the many tools from the TeachersFirst Edge presentation tools. Consider dividing your class into four different groups, one for each industry. After playing, have them discuss and compare results from each group. Alternatively, have students operate this on your interactive whiteboard and play together as a class, discussing decisions and the impact that they have on the environment. Teachers of gifted can suggest this as an extra challenge for students studying environmental issues in science or even business class.
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Pass Creator - Passcreator

Grades
1 to 12
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This tool generates passwords with a random assortment of letters and numbers. Do you need a specific number of letters, numbers, or characters? No problem! Click on the Options tab...more
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This tool generates passwords with a random assortment of letters and numbers. Do you need a specific number of letters, numbers, or characters? No problem! Click on the Options tab to check off the options needed from the drop down menu.

tag(s): internet safety (108)

In the Classroom

Use this simple and effective tool for creating random passwords. It's great for use in generating passwords for students or sites that you use. Unfortunately, Passcreator is unable to help us remember the generated passwords! For help with that, we recommend creating a document or spreadsheet to keep track of passwords for your students. Computer teachers can also use this tool when teaching about online safety/security.
 

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Spotzi - Spotzi.com

Grades
4 to 12
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A picture is worth a thousand words; a map with information is worth many thousands more. The World Atlas map powered by Esri is unique with its many layers of ...more
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A picture is worth a thousand words; a map with information is worth many thousands more. The World Atlas map powered by Esri is unique with its many layers of information. Layers include temperature data, habitats, volcano locations, natural resources, and more. The map uses street view and high detail aerial maps. Zoom into any aspect of the Earth, regardless of political boundaries (thanks to NASA, the World Bank, and Spotzi data). Browse from a variety of themes available including animals, temperatures, and tectonic plates. Use the search bar to zoom in to a specific area. Several tools are available along the top including a measuring tool.

tag(s): business (58), diseases (66), ecology (135), environment (317), natural disasters (20), natural resources (59), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Use Spotzi to make information more relevant and meaningful when paired with an actual map. Find trends easily. Have students choose a topic and investigate maps to identify and develop general statements from the data. Ask students to generate questions to further research the topic. This tool is invaluable for environmental, ecology, health, economics, and other research topics. Use this map to add new dimensions of information about places in the news. Share on a projector or interactive whiteboard to learn more about countries participating in the Olympics. Use data to compare countries and discuss possible cause/effects for poverty, health challenges, and more.

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Word Dynamo - Dictionary.com, LLC

Grades
1 to 12
6 Favorites 1  Comments
 
How many words do you know? Play the Dynamo challenge and learn new vocabulary with this free site. Choose from various grade levels, subject areas, and even for test ...more
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How many words do you know? Play the Dynamo challenge and learn new vocabulary with this free site. Choose from various grade levels, subject areas, and even for test prep (high school and college/graduate level). Find help with Latin and Spanish, too. Create lists and look at lists created by others. Create your own personalized home page to keep track of your progress. Play games and study using flashcards.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): flash cards (46), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Use Word Dynamo to explore or study new words. Create lists of words to learn. Have students keep track of their progress by creating their own page. You may want to post the address for this program on your website or wiki, and bookmark it on the classroom computers. There is no need to sign up to simply play games.

Comments

Be careful! The Greek and Latin root games on this site are fakes and do not offer the benefits that real root-learning does. Also, even the definitions of elementary level words contain many much harder words, meaning that students may get an inaccurately low reading. Ellisha, , Grades: 0 - 12

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Talk to Frank - FRANK

Grades
6 to 12
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Talk to Frank about the facts and dangers of drugs use. This realistic view of drugs' effect on the body and on a person's life is a fresh (and "frank") ...more
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Talk to Frank about the facts and dangers of drugs use. This realistic view of drugs' effect on the body and on a person's life is a fresh (and "frank") approach to the topic. Sections of the site include how to react to pressure to try drugs and what to do if you believe a friend is experimenting with drugs.

tag(s): drugs and alcohol (19)

In the Classroom

Use this site as part of a science or health class on drug and health related topics. Share this site in a collection of links for students to reference when researching such topics. Have students role-play a video or create a talking avatar on how to resist peer pressure to try drugs. Use a tool such as Voki, reviewed here.

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Hidden Hereos - Steve Henn, Hans J. Meyer

Grades
6 to 12
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See a display and history of products that we rarely think about but all use daily. Scroll over the colored bars to see what some of these simple, but ...more
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See a display and history of products that we rarely think about but all use daily. Scroll over the colored bars to see what some of these simple, but highly functional and successful inventions are. Learn about zippers, paper clips, plastic bottle carriers, cable ties, coffee filters, and post-its. There are plenty more to investigate. After selecting your language, choose the colored bars you wish to learn about, and click on "begin the exhibition." Register for newsletters that will include details of the new "heroes." The site suggests you can contact them to suggest everyday items you want to know more about. When you first arrive on the page, there is a tab on the left. If you click on "Museum," you can read about how an object can become a "Hidden Hero."

tag(s): design (84), engineering (125), inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

Hidden Hereos is an excellent site to use for nonfiction reading assignments or to inspire future scientists and industrial designers/engineers. Include it in reading practice or in a unit on inventions and design. The reading level of the page is about tenth grade, so it would be a suitable site to share with your advanced readers, high school students, and gifted students. Share this site with your students, and allow them to explore as many inventions as they want. You may want to assign small groups to read about certain inventions each day and then share with the rest of their group until your class has gone through all. Then have them think of an everyday item not listed here and research that item. You might want to consider contacting the developers of this site; ask them to research and display their findings on the object your students suggested.
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Open Source Shakespeare - Eric Johnson, Bernini Communications LLC

Grades
9 to 12
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Open Source Shakespeare is not just another ordinary collection of the complete works of William Shakespeare. You can use an advanced search, read the plays, and look up words in ...more
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Open Source Shakespeare is not just another ordinary collection of the complete works of William Shakespeare. You can use an advanced search, read the plays, and look up words in the "concordance." It is a comprehensive, free electronic bookshelf built with flexibility, user-friendliness, and powerful search functions that easily enable scholars, casual readers, or Shakespeare lovers to read the plays, poems, and sonnets. At the same time look up terms, phrases, quotations, passages, or search for answers to questions about characters, acts, or scenes in an infinite number of ways. This is an incredibly ambitious online project that provides quick, easy access and enables you to retrieve, store, and print. The simple appearance also makes the site functional on any mobile device, such as iPads, without concerns about Flash or other non-mobile features.

tag(s): literature (275), plays (37), shakespeare (131), sonnets (7)

In the Classroom

Use this inclusive resource as you prepare to teach any of Shakespeare's classics. By making a direct link available from your class web page, you are opening the door for your students to have easy access and help when preparing for AP tests and other exams, as well as an ongoing method to guide independent reading and understanding for the many complexities in Shakespeare's literary works. The electronic text enables you to project it on your whiteboard, perhaps for a class reading where you could assign students parts to read aloud, or for students to highlight and "mark-up" evidence of literary techniques, or to critique or interact with the words in a variety of ways. One neat feature is that you can choose to place any two sonnets on a single page to view them side by side. This opens a world of opportunity for comparing and contrasting. You may want to use a Venn Diagram tool, reviewed here. Mark this collection in your favorites to use for planning during any of your units on Shakespeare. In a class where textbooks might be in short supply, or if there is a piece that you want to draw everyone's attention to, this is an excellent site to ensure everyone has access, just as long as they have a computer.
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