TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Aug 26, 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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The Great Piggy Bank Adventure - Disney and T. Rowe Price

Grades
3 to 6
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Play "The Great Piggy Bank Adventure"''® to learn about sound financial planning. The game display contains beautiful 3D animation making it visually stimulating and entertaining....more
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Play "The Great Piggy Bank Adventure"''® to learn about sound financial planning. The game display contains beautiful 3D animation making it visually stimulating and entertaining. Play games from a single player up to 4 players. Begin by selecting a goal to earn, such as an artist's easel or basketball goal. Throughout the game, players make financial choices such as choosing investments, spending wisely, or diversifying assets. Reach financial goals to finish and complete the game.

tag(s): financial literacy (80), money (193)

In the Classroom

Display and demonstrate the game on your interactive whiteboard; then allow students to play on their own or in a group on classroom computers. Discuss different financial choices and thought processes leading to student choices. Share a link to the game on your class newsletter or website for students to play at home. Recommend this site to parents as an option for teaching financial literacy to their child.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Vialogues: Meaningful Discussions Around Video - EdLab

Grades
4 to 12
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A Vialogue is an online video with a group discussion feature. Upload a video of your own, from YouTube or one of the public videos available on Vialogue. Define the ...more
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A Vialogue is an online video with a group discussion feature. Upload a video of your own, from YouTube or one of the public videos available on Vialogue. Define the purpose of the Vialogue, provide some discussion questions, and click create to finish. Settings are easy to manage, including adding participants, managers, and making videos public or private. View comments with a time stamp connected to the section of the video discussed. Register using email and a unique user name.

tag(s): chat (51), video (253)

In the Classroom

If you don't feel comfortable creating your own Vialogue, use the explore feature of the site to view Vialogues previously created by others. Use for teaching a concept with students 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. 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 independent work. Enhance video instructions for any major assignment by scheduling a watch together session. Use with Khan Academy videos for math class. World language teachers could challenge students to chat new dialogue in their new language. Special ed teachers can create Vialogues with prompts to help students focus on key concepts in a video.

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Writing Prompts - Luke Neff

Grades
4 to 12
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These writing prompts are not as boring as the title sounds. Luke Neff has put together images and prompts that will truly inspire you and make you think. There are ...more
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These writing prompts are not as boring as the title sounds. Luke Neff has put together images and prompts that will truly inspire you and make you think. There are 57 pages full of creative, interesting ideas to explore. Click archive in the upper right to see a page of thumbnails of writing prompts by month. This allows you to view more prompts in less time.

tag(s): creative writing (166), expository writing (44), persuasive writing (55), writers workshop (31), writing (358), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

These prompts are perfect for writing in journals as quick writes or having your students develop into a full story or essay. There are plenty of unusual ideas to get even the most reluctant writer moving. Once completed, have students submit their story to the class using MixedInk reviewed here. The class can then collaborate by proof reading and suggesting ideas for others' stories. Just because these are "writing" prompts does not mean you can't use them for ESL/ELL or speech/language students to prompt them to TALK and use oral language. World language teachers can also use these to promote conversation/oral language. To get started, project one in class; after that make the link available on your class web page.

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QR Code Classroom Implementation Guide - Vicki Davis

Grades
2 to 12
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This short article contains all the information you need to get started using QR codes in the classroom. The blog post begins with reasons to use QR codes and moves ...more
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This short article contains all the information you need to get started using QR codes in the classroom. The blog post begins with reasons to use QR codes and moves on to three parts: getting ready to use QR codes, teaching students to use the codes, and ideas for using codes in the classroom. One notable section explains common problems encountered using QR codes; this is an excellent resource to look through if you have difficulty at any time. Be sure to read the comments at the bottom of the post for some additional ideas for using QR codes in the classroom.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): qr codes (21)

In the Classroom

QR codes are a sure-fire motivator for any class equipped with their own smart phones or school iTouches/iPads. Choose one of the ideas suggested in the article as a starting point for using QR codes in your classroom; then try additional ideas a little at a time. Share the article with other teachers and split up the ideas for each to become an "expert" in one of the strategies, share your experiences as you learn together.

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The 2012 A-Z List Of Educational Twitter Hashtags - Edudemic

Grades
K to 12
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Are you looking for popular education hashtags to follow on Twitter? This site is a great start. Divided into several categories, find most popular hashtags in use for 2012. Be ...more
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Are you looking for popular education hashtags to follow on Twitter? This site is a great start. Divided into several categories, find most popular hashtags in use for 2012. Be sure to also check out the slide show at the bottom of the page: 31 interesting ways to use Twitter in the classroom. If you need more specific information about using Twitter in the classroom, be sure to check out TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers.

tag(s): twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Share this site with other teachers when looking for educational resources. Search and read tweets from hashtags of interest to you to expand your professional network and Twitter expertise.

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ChemiCroc - Norkem

Grades
K to 5
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Enjoy learning about chemistry with ChemiCroc for kids! Choose from activities labeled year 1 through year 6 (kindergarten through 5th grade) or choose from one of four games such as...more
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Enjoy learning about chemistry with ChemiCroc for kids! Choose from activities labeled year 1 through year 6 (kindergarten through 5th grade) or choose from one of four games such as Water Around Town and Chemicals in the Kitchen. Use the index on the activities page to view chemical lessons taught such as evaporation or freezing and melting. Hint: read the "how to play" tips to know how to maneuver in the activities.

tag(s): acids and bases (11), chemicals (40), water (130)

In the Classroom

Most activities are fairly short and not in-depth; however, they are a perfect starting point for classroom discussions. View on your interactive whiteboard together, stopping as needed, and discuss the concepts. Demonstrate how to play games on your interactive whiteboard; then use the games on your whiteboard or classroom computers as a science center.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Laboratory - Planet SEED - Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development, Inc.

Grades
6 to 10
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PlanetSEED offers a number of high quality interactive science activities. Increase your understanding of seemingly complex physical science concepts using the interactives and laboratory...more
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PlanetSEED offers a number of high quality interactive science activities. Increase your understanding of seemingly complex physical science concepts using the interactives and laboratory activity resources found here. Activities require minimal to no equipment and are thought provoking. Making this site even more advantageous are its links to further information that is age appropriate and highly understandable for curious minds. Topics include physical science concepts such as density, buoyancy, magnetism, the carbon cycle, gases, and more.

tag(s): carbon (21), carbon dioxide (17), density (20), electricity (89), magnetism (35), matter (56)

In the Classroom

Employ individual activities from PlanetSEED's Laboratory page in classroom activities to reinforce physical science concepts such as density, buoyancy, magnetism, the carbon cycle, gases, and more! Have students use the buoyancy interactive as an alternative to a lab in class to save time and money. Ask students to figure out which material would make the amusement park floating ride, both the solution media and the floating object. Challenge them to think beyond what they have already experienced in everyday life. Have them create a chart of solutions and solids in their notebook or even in a spreadsheet. Once they have experimented with the interactive, have them measure the actual density of fluids and solids in real life or research densities on the Internet for actual values. Extend the activity into a cost/benefit analysis of building and operating a ride out of the materials chosen.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Center for PRobing the NanoScale - Nano Activities - Stanford University

Grades
2 to 12
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Nano has become a buzz word in our language, but what does it really mean? Find out by looking at this site from Stanford University. Do you have billions of ...more
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Nano has become a buzz word in our language, but what does it really mean? Find out by looking at this site from Stanford University. Do you have billions of things to do, and no time for things that are as small as a billionth of a meter? You need to make time to learn about this tiny scale that packs a mighty little punch today in science, technology, and even in our global economy. Make some time for this teeny tiny stuff because it's big, very big! This website provides a set of thorough, hands-on lesson plans that are excellent for magnifying this microscopic concept.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (101), measurement (159), microscopes (13)

In the Classroom

Are you struggling to wrap young minds around the tiny world of nanoscale? Lessons are appropriate for grades two to twelve, but could be adapted if you are teaching middle level students who have never been introduced to the world of nanotechnology. As an introduction for students who have never thought about nano, talk about how the use of this technology created better underwear that help prevent odor and decrease sweating. This is sure to start an interesting conversation. Just make sure that you set boundaries before you begin the discussion. See what other lines of clothing students could "create" with nanotechnology. Have them share their "inventions" on a class wiki or in a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Ookaboo: free pictures of everything on earth - Ontology2

Grades
K to 12
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Find free, copyright-safe pictures of places, people, animals, and more. Ookaboo is a resource containing over a million images. All images are in public domain or under creative commons,...more
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Find free, copyright-safe pictures of places, people, animals, and more. Ookaboo is a resource containing over a million images. All images are in public domain or under creative commons, making them free and available for anyone to use (with credit). As the site explains, pictures are free to use within the law, and Ookaboo offers an excellent description on the help page about how legally to use the pictures. Search for images using the search box or by using links to countries, people, or technological artifacts. Download easily with the download button. One goal of Ookaboo is to include images suitable in an educational setting; however, as with any other image site, there is a possibility of inappropriate content.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (265), news (261), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Include a link to this site for students when preparing for presentations. Look for photos of any recent news event, even events obscure enough not to be included in American newspapers. Share an image or gallery of images on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) in a world language class. Discuss them in the language the students are learning. Link to certain galleries from your class web page or student presentations to show examples of concepts and life in other places. Share this site on your class web page for students to access easily during research projects. Use the photos as writing prompts in current events or writing classes. Learn about the culture and news in far off places. Create a visual current events "quiz" by displaying a gallery of images and asking students to explain the background of the story. Speech or ESL/ELL teachers can also share images to prompt students to talk about or describe them. Let the students select the image they wish to discuss!

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Zilladog - Zilladog

Grades
1 to 7
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Zilladog is the safe, monitored way of providing email addresses to students. Need a way to provide emails for a pen pal project? Need to help kids work on a ...more
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Zilladog is the safe, monitored way of providing email addresses to students. Need a way to provide emails for a pen pal project? Need to help kids work on a group project at home? Are parents asking you for a safe way to offer emails for their children? With Zilladog, a parent or teacher signs up to register a child. Parents enable the buddy list, and the only way a child can receive or send an email is with an approved buddy. Select to have parents copied on all communications. Zilladog has a teacher service, with an administrator function to set up student emails, and kids can only send and receive with approved buddies. The premium paid service offers more features.

tag(s): digital citizenship (58)

In the Classroom

As with all student communications on the Internet, please check with school policies and parents. If permitted, set up the email accounts the first week of school to help students prepare for a great (organized) year! Zilladog provides students with an email of their own. Send messages to home for extra reinforcement or questions you had on an assignment. Make more personal contact acknowledging noteworthy behavior or successes. Group projects at home are possible with instant emails and sharing links or documents. Encourage communication between students doing study groups through email. At school, students can email parents questions or reminders for important times, dates, or assignments. Before use do a unit on Internet safety, email etiquette, and cyber bullying.

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Foodskey - University of Nottingham

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore the science behind the food you eat. View interesting short videos on food science. The films cover a variety of topics: sensory science, food security, nutrition, and crop...more
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Explore the science behind the food you eat. View interesting short videos on food science. The films cover a variety of topics: sensory science, food security, nutrition, and crop technology. YouTube hosts the videos, and they can be shared by embedding or using a link.

tag(s): nutrition (154)

In the Classroom

Find information you may not see elsewhere, such as using plasma to stop fungal rot on strawberries, and using UV light to extend the shelf life of broccoli. Be sure to use this site in any unit when discussing food and health. Students can create public service announcements to share what they have learned about food and food safety. Do you know of an issue Foodskey does not cover? Consider assigning students to research it, and then create a video or podcast much like these to share what students have learned through the research. Can't access videos from YouTube at school? Consider downloading the videos at home to a memory stick. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube, and save them to your memory stick to play for classes at school.

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Dweeber - SmartWired

Grades
7 to 12
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Create an online study group with Dweeber. Though Dweeber has the social network look, it targets study groups, classmates, book groups, and all other types of educational groups to...more
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Create an online study group with Dweeber. Though Dweeber has the social network look, it targets study groups, classmates, book groups, and all other types of educational groups to help each other with academics. Created with young people in mind, Dweeber has an ultra-cool look, and strict, upfront safety precautions. There are several components that make Dweeber unique. Their S.M.A.R.T. profile (stands for Successes, Mind Patterns, Attractions and Interests, Resources, and Thinking Talents) helps you to get to know how you and your friends learn best. My Sites/Top Sites is where you can store the sites that help you learn and study and is a place for you to vote on the best websites in the entire Dweeber network. Dweeber lists the sites that users have rated the highest. Up to eight people at a time can engage in a real-time study session using the collaborative whiteboard.

tag(s): homework (44), learning styles (19), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Teachers and students create your own accounts. Then invite each student as friend. Go to the "My Dweebs" tab on the top, and click "New team" in the upper right corner. Create teams of any size. Engage student groups in discussions about current events, independent reading, literature, and more. Set up teams for students to work on projects or literature circles. Use the space as a forum to work out tasks and scheduling. Use the chat area for students to discuss the current novel they are reading or to ask peers for clarification about assignments. Students can brainstorm ideas for their group presentations or help each other work out math problems using the real-time collaborative whiteboard. Your students will likely suggest additional ways to use this tool from their world.

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