TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Aug 19, 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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ePub Bud - ePub Bud, a not for profit organization

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
EPub Bud is a multifaceted site where you can create and share your writing, read ebooks published by others, participate in activities, and join or create groups. You can read ...more
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EPub Bud is a multifaceted site where you can create and share your writing, read ebooks published by others, participate in activities, and join or create groups. You can read and create ebooks for and on any device. EPub Bud uses the standard .epub file format. Go to the page titled "How To Read These ePub eBooks" to see all the different readers and browsers and recommendations for how to read the ebooks. This is perfect for those with more than one device requiring different formats or when sharing eBook resources with others. Use many formats such as doc, PDF, HTML, and more to convert. Also, see their Upload/Convert page. ePub Bud, developed for children's books, also has adult books. You can learn to create books that include audio, too.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): ebooks (42), independent reading (128), literature (275)

In the Classroom

What better way to publish for an authentic audience than to have your student's short stories, research, children's books, and novels published here? Use for students to "publish" their own works easily. Write and collaborate using Google Docs, download the document, and then convert using this tool. Use in elementary reading to make instant ebooks from their own writing or from vocabulary words in upcoming units. Use for whole-class collaboration and create a book to share on eBook readers. The books you or your students create can also include audio and video. Offer this site to students who use digital devices to read. You can use this resource to convert eBooks for sharing in a class using a variety of devices. Since there are also adult books on ePub Bud, you will want to supervise any downloading of books by students to read in your classroom. ESL/ELL and learning support students may benefit from being able to hear or see books in a different way. Use these texts in language arts to analyze or manipulate on your interactive whiteboard to teach reading comprehension skills, parts of speech, transition words, vocabulary study, and writing style. Teacher librarians can encourage students to share student-written eBooks or book reviews in the school media center on almost any type of device.

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Comics Workshop for Teachers - Marek Bennett

Grades
K to 12
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Discover resources and ideas for using comics in the classroom. The simplicity here might be a good thing, so do not be fooled into thinking this site is not worth ...more
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Discover resources and ideas for using comics in the classroom. The simplicity here might be a good thing, so do not be fooled into thinking this site is not worth your time. Marek Bennett moved this site from an older Wordpress blog in March, 2014, but much of the older blog (and its great posts) remain as an archive, so explore BOTH. Click on any of the comic images to view posters, books, and tips for using comics in the classroom. Take the time to explore and view each of the links available. Be sure to check out the information about comics and multiple intelligences. Take time to explore other areas of the blog for more information on creating and using comics. There is information about paid workshops, but the site has much to offer without spending a cent.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), digital storytelling (144), stories and storytelling (33)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check out Teachers First's Comics Resources for many other ideas and tools for using comics in the classroom. Comics are great for telling the "story" of any curriculum concept, such as insect life cycles or biographies. They are also very creative for using with languages, ESL/ELL, gifted, and learning resource students for writing.

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Robopoem - InterAnnex Web Applications

Grades
6 to 12
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Unleash your creativity by inputting text and pushing a button to create a (rather funky) poem! Any text works, but the results are often mixed and incomprehensible. The robo takes...more
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Unleash your creativity by inputting text and pushing a button to create a (rather funky) poem! Any text works, but the results are often mixed and incomprehensible. The robo takes the text typed or pasted into the box and adds vocabulary to fill out lines and metric feet. Sometimes the poem rhymes, but the meanings are vague. "Writers" can select the number of syllables they want in their final poems. Note: there is one inappropriate word in the site intro. Avoid sharing that text with young people.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Include this unusual poetry generator in a class discussion of "What is poetry"? Have students first make their own poems from a given block of text. Then try it in Robopoem and compare the results to see which makes the most sense. Ask what features are most important to poetry: making sense? rhythm? rhyme? Once they decide what constitutes a poem, challenge students to create an online poster to share the newly created poem(s) using Poster My Wall reviewed here. Even if they do not deem the RoboPoem results to be "poems," they can use them to practice determining rhythm and "feet." An additional idea might be to have students select a music backdrop to play as they read their poems.

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YPulse - Anastasia Goodstein

Grades
6 to 12
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YPulse is the authority to consult when you want to know more about tweens, teens, and the young adults of today. This is where you can learn more about the ...more
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YPulse is the authority to consult when you want to know more about tweens, teens, and the young adults of today. This is where you can learn more about the tech savvy youth culture who will soon shape our world. There are several categories to choose from: age, education, style, culture and trends, movies, music, gaming, and media and entertainment. There are also main pages across the top. At the time of this review, the Point of View page was full of informative articles about what the millennial citizen does and does not consider risky behavior. The Millennial Voices page has the latest blog posts from some of their Youth Advisory Members. These members are from all around the world and their ages vary from 13 to 23. YPulse's primary audience is media and marketing professionals; however, there is much to glean for parents, teachers, and counselors. Stay informed by signing up for their daily insight newsletter on the Point of View Page.

tag(s): careers (132), media literacy (58)

In the Classroom

Teachers and counselors can stay up to date with student trends. Use specific articles as discussion starters that could lead into a survey, debate, or essay. Include some of the articles as you discuss consumerism and how ads target teens. Ask whether students of 13 have the same way of thinking as a college student. Ask what are the similarities and differences, and why. Use the book reviews for book talks in your classroom. For older students, you might also want to introduce them to this site and get their take on whether YPulse is correct about their opinions.

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Crickweb Early Years Learning Activities for Preschool/Infant/Kindergarten - Crickweb

Grades
K to 1
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This site offers fifteen learning games for early childhood. Activities include learning about sounds, counting, colors, seasons, and more. Directions are clear, and voice prompts motivate...more
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This site offers fifteen learning games for early childhood. Activities include learning about sounds, counting, colors, seasons, and more. Directions are clear, and voice prompts motivate interest in activities. Icons next to the games give a quick overview of the activity and have a short description of the game. Note that the vocabulary and speech are British, so American children may need to adjust a bit for slight differences.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): colors (79), counting (120), literacy (103), numbers (204), phonics (75), preK (281)

In the Classroom

Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or as a center activity. Create a link to games on classroom computers for student use. Share this site with parents through your classroom newsletter or blog for use at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The White House Tour - Google Maps

Grades
K to 12
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This White House tour uses Google Maps street view tools to "tour" the inside of America's home. Use the circle tool in the upper left corner to rotate around the ...more
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This White House tour uses Google Maps street view tools to "tour" the inside of America's home. Use the circle tool in the upper left corner to rotate around the room, and click on objects to get a closer view.

tag(s): presidents (131), white house (14)

In the Classroom

Take your students on a virtual field trip! This is a great way for kids to "visit" the White House. Include it during inauguration week or any time you are studying U.S. government. Show the website using a projector, and have students write a tour script or a tale of something that might happen in the White House. Younger students might want to write a story from the President's dog's (or other pet's) point of view! Before using the site, you should familiarize yourself with how to use the Google Maps street view tools to navigate through the house. Better yet, have a student operate the tour on the whiteboard or projector.

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VideoJug: School Subjects - VideoJug Corporation Limited

Grades
4 to 12
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This area of the VideoJug video sharing site offers many resources sorted by school subject. Choose from math, poetry, cool experiments or other educational topics. Search for items...more
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This area of the VideoJug video sharing site offers many resources sorted by school subject. Choose from math, poetry, cool experiments or other educational topics. Search for items using the search bar or sort videos by most viewed, newest, or hot now categories. Click on the thumbnail link to view the full video and view text below the video link. Many videos include text of the content below the video window so you can recap important steps or ideas. Register using your email and a password to save favorite videos. There is a short advertisement at the beginning of each video. Though the overall site is not in Flash, the videos are. Note that this education area is a part of a wider Videojug sharing site that includes topics not appropriate for schools ("Love and Dating," etc.). Control access if using the site with young people. Find links to specific video pages by clicking Embed at top left of the video and copying the link or the embed code.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): experiments (71), poetry (228), punctuation (43), video (254)

In the Classroom

Search the site for videos to use on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) with students. Share direct links to specific videos on your classroom website or blog for students to view at home. Think about using Grokit/Answers reviewed here, to put questions with the videos viewed at home. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos on any topic using the videos as examples. Share the videos created on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Words are Categorical - Brian P. Cleary

Grades
2 to 6
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Brian Cleary created this site to review parts of speech in many ways with interesting games, printable posters, and word play games that focus on grammar building blocks. Learn and...more
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Brian Cleary created this site to review parts of speech in many ways with interesting games, printable posters, and word play games that focus on grammar building blocks. Learn and review parts of speech with this entertaining approach. Review all the site offerings under the Teacher Tools section. Although this site does have links to items for sale, there are plenty of free games and activities.
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tag(s): grammar review (37), parts of speech (68)

In the Classroom

Mark this site on your classroom computers or share on your class web page and have students use these entertaining games in pairs. Challenge students to create a word cloud of examples from this site and their own words, organizing them by parts of speech, using a tool such as Wordle reviewed here. Print the parts of speech posters for your classroom walls.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Polar Bear Cam - polarbearcam.com

Grades
K to 9
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Watch a live feed of Siku, the Danish polar bear at Scandinavian Wildlife Park, Denmark. Find other resources and videos by clicking on Take Action at the top and bottom ...more
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Watch a live feed of Siku, the Danish polar bear at Scandinavian Wildlife Park, Denmark. Find other resources and videos by clicking on Take Action at the top and bottom of the page. That link goes to Polar Bear International, and here you will find various lesson plans and a clip for the IMax movie To the Arctic.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): adaptations (17), animals (276), ecosystems (88), endangered species (38), habitats (84)

In the Classroom

Use this site when discussing climate change or habitat destruction. View the live feeds and note the characteristics that polar bears have and research the difference between them and every other type of bear. Discuss these similarities and differences when discussing animals structures, adaptations, classification or characteristics of living things. Write stories about a polar bear's life, create a campaign to save endangered species, and recognize other threatened species near where you live. Be sure to investigate the lesson plans by clicking on the Take Action buttons. Most of the lesson plans aim to inform and to prevent destruction of the polar bear's habitat in the Arctic. In primary grades, have the class keep a basic observation journal at a polar bear center where they can watch the webcam and record what they see. Consider sharing several different animal cams for students to gain practice at observation.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Animal Tribe - Ariadne Green

Grades
K to 6
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Find not only photos but articles all about animal archetypes used in totems. Learn how indigenous tribes all over the world honored their animal relations as friends and guides. This...more
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Find not only photos but articles all about animal archetypes used in totems. Learn how indigenous tribes all over the world honored their animal relations as friends and guides. This site focuses on seeing animals as allies, self-concept, relationship to family and friends, social values, and spiritual development through getting to know animal traits. Find lesson plans for creating your own totems and more!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animal homes (41), animals (276), endangered species (38), native americans (78), social skills (20)

In the Classroom

Find lesson plans under the Parents and Teachers link along the top. Find a link to the Totem Pole lesson plan to create a totem pole and understand the significance in your classroom. With Common Core State Standards, there is a push for nonfiction reading and writing. Use this site to focus on nonfiction. Make it a learning station where students look at the photos, reading the captions and articles about the various aspects of animal life. Students could have a special notebook where they summarize or write an opinion about what they learned from "Animal Tribes" that day. Young children could use the information to make a picture book of their own, summarizing what they read (or heard read to them). Include this site during a unit on Native Americans as you learn about their tales and beliefs about animals.

Language arts and ESL/ELL teachers could have students write their own description of the pictures and then compare their captions to those on the site. Students could also write a fictional story about what is happening in one of the pictures. The site also mentions endangered animals. Students could research their favorite animal to see if it is endangered or threatened. Why not make it more interactive and have students create an online, interactive poster using a program like Tackk, reviewed here,

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iPiccy - iPiccy.com

Grades
4 to 12
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This tool is a terrific online photo editing and paint app. No account or registration is necessary. Upload a picture or find the URL of a photo from online or ...more
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This tool is a terrific online photo editing and paint app. No account or registration is necessary. Upload a picture or find the URL of a photo from online or Facebook. Re-size, flip, rotate, crop, or alter the exposure, saturation, and contrast. Use additional features such as fix image, smart blur, and reflections. Use even more effects such as a cartoonizer, artistic painting, or wanted photo. You will love the retouch section which features the standard red-eye and blemish fix, along with teeth whitening. Add captions or text to the pictures with a wide selection of fonts. You can also create collages, but you must enable local storage of images on your computer. The Painter section includes standard pen, brush, erase with a sponge, and burn effects to allow for drawings on the pictures. Once completed, download the finished picture to a computer, post on Facebook, share by url, or upload to Flickr. Here is a sampleof adding text to an online image without even creating an account.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use this tool anytime that photos need to be edited for use on class blogs, wikis, or sites. Encourage students to use on images for projects or presentations. Use the editor to edit pictures to fit styles of pictures when doing historical reports or to set a mood. Use caption bubbles for the photos themselves to tell the stories. Have students annotate or label Creative Commons online images of cells, structures of an animal, and much more, sharing the results (with an image credit) on your class wiki.
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GE Teach - Josh Williams

Grades
2 to 12
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This cool, teacher-made tool shows Google Earth in two side by side windows for easy comparison and contrast --without loading any software. Drop downs on each window turn layers ...more
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This cool, teacher-made tool shows Google Earth in two side by side windows for easy comparison and contrast --without loading any software. Drop downs on each window turn layers on and off. Click Choose an Earth to move between Physical Geography, Human Geography, Historical maps, and the CIA Factbook. Explore various kinds of geographic and demographic data within this menu. You can even find earth science topics such as plate tectonics. Use Fetch An Earth to enter a KML or URL to load other Google Earth files. Not familiar with Google Earth? Learn more in our review. This handy tool offers use of Google Earth's basic tools and layers without installing Google Earth, a very handy advantage if you are not able to load software on your computer.

tag(s): data (148), earth (228), latitude (13), longitude (13), map skills (79), maps (287), plate tectonics (23)

In the Classroom

Use side by side Google Earth to teach geography or simply give location context to class readings or current events, especially on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Keep the earth's "big picture" open on one side as you zoom in to investigate on the other. Or arrange side by side comparisons. Example: compare the peaks scaled by Lewis and Clark or volcanoes that rise in the Aleutians. Compare various locations for global warming, compare of volcano activity, or a history of immigration. Compare historic maps from different time periods to show how countries and boundaries change. Turn layers on and off from Choose an Earth or onscreen options to look at population centers and transportation systems. Teach the concept of scale/proportion using a visual experience on an interactive whiteboard with the scale and measurement tools. Use one window to show human geography and the other window to show items from the CIA Factbook for comparison. Have students hypothesize connections between geographic features and statistics about human development.

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Recycle Bank - Recyclebank, subsidiary of Recycle Rewards, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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Recycle Bank offers current information to help live "greener." Their goal is to realize a world without waste, one person or community at a time. Recycling information is easy ...more
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Recycle Bank offers current information to help live "greener." Their goal is to realize a world without waste, one person or community at a time. Recycling information is easy to understand and engaging. Register to become a member and earn points by taking quizzes on environmentally friendly topics, by reading articles and learning more about recycling, and by recycling (if your center or borough participates in the Recycle Bank program). Earned points lead to rewards of grocery or entertainment coupons and some gift cards. No registration is required to read resources posted on the website.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), recycling (57), sustainability (19)

In the Classroom

With the Common Core State Standards push for nonfiction reading, this site is a natural for any time of the year. Recycle Bank will appeal to students who are environmentally conscious, but its intrinsic value is in teaching all students to think about how they can recycle in their everyday life. The advertising comes along with the prizes, so be sure to discuss where to click (or not). If your students have access to email, have them register with the website and start a class competition to see how many points students can earn individually or as a class. Conclude the competition by having students discuss (no matter who won the competition) how acting in greener ways allows everyone to win. There will be future "Green Schools" program competitions. This is a yearly competition where school groups design a green plan for their school that wins up to $2500.00. Posted on the website are the accepted projects where members from all over the country can award points to your school. For every 250 points donated to your school initiative, you earn $1.00. Promote Recycle Bank to get as many people involved as possible. Ask them to donate their points to your school. Use this as an opportunity to teach students about grassroots movements and the difference that one bright idea and a few motivated people can make in the world. Why not plan an Earth Day project using this site?
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