TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Sep 2, 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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U.S. Political Conventions and Campaigns - Northeastern University

Grades
4 to 12
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Learn all about U.S. political campaigns and party conventions. Five main sections explain it all: History, Campaign Finance, Nominations, Policy, and Media. Within each section are...more
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Learn all about U.S. political campaigns and party conventions. Five main sections explain it all: History, Campaign Finance, Nominations, Policy, and Media. Within each section are videos and articles about the current state of affairs as well as past practices. Each section offers lesson plans suitable for high school use. The sections also offer short review quizzes that provide instant feedback. Scroll through each section in order or choose from portions with links at the top of the section.

tag(s): elections (75), electoral college (16)

In the Classroom

Although lesson plans are geared to high school, this site is also useful for students in lower grades. Go directly to the quiz portion of each section, display on your interactive whiteboard, and take the quiz as a class as an overview of what students know about the election process. View sections on your interactive whiteboard to help students understand the different facets of a campaign. Assign students (or groups) different sections; then have them present information learned to their classmates. Create posters about the American political process using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here.

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Flipped Classroom - Jerry Overmyer

Grades
5 to 12
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Discover "flipped classroom" articles, resources, and videos to learn basic information on this form of instruction. Find links to flipped classroom blogs. whether starting or considering...more
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Discover "flipped classroom" articles, resources, and videos to learn basic information on this form of instruction. Find links to flipped classroom blogs. whether starting or considering a flipped classroom, visit flipped classroom.com for a basic explanation and how to's. Find ways you can spend more time with students instead of lecturing. How does a flipped classroom work? You can use your curriculum to make screen casts of lessons. Or find videos already made that can show the lesson content. Students watch at home, and complete a guide, or beginning examples. This allows you to use your class time to do labs, work with individuals, and differentiate for all of your students. Screencasting leads easily into mastery education with students progressing at their own rate. In addition to "assignments," find ideas on this site on projects to extend learning.

tag(s): teaching strategies (24), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use this site for the basics of screencasting to begin your flipped journey. Mark it in favorits as you try some of the "flipped" teaching strategies for a unit or one day a week. If you read the "accountability" portion of the "Vodcasting" process, you will see an idea about "someday" being able to stop in the middle of the video and have the students answer questions. This is now possible if you use YouTube to store your video and use Grockit/Answers, reviewed here. Once finished, copy and paste the YouTube video address into Grockit/Answers. Watch it and stop it where you want to insert a question for students to answer. Your students type the answer directly into the space that goes with the video. You receive the answers online with your video.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Connect the Dots for Democracy - Witte Design, LLC

Grades
8 to 12
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Address important issues about government policy through the use of infographics with the goal of uncomplicating things for "busy folks like yourself." Government policy discussions...more
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Address important issues about government policy through the use of infographics with the goal of uncomplicating things for "busy folks like yourself." Government policy discussions are increasingly dominated by the media, and each side of the debate spends as much time trying to "spin" the discussion as it does simply communicating the facts. The graphics on this site are extremely well presented. Choose from among several important issues: Jobs, the Deficit, Health Care, Political Language, and the Federal Budget. Each topic includes a slideshow of infographics, a written script to accompany the slides, questions for discussion, and the ability to print a booklet that includes the graphics and text highlights.

What's missing? There is no audio recording of the script that could accompany the slides; you must print the script and read it while viewing the slides. And, despite its goal of "making it simple" for busy folks, you have to dig a little in the site to discover that the author is firmly in the "Progressive" political camp, and that the presentation on Health Care, for example, includes one section on "GOP Myths" and repeatedly slams the Republican party's handling of the health care crisis. To its credit, the sources for the information presented on the graphics are cited. Be aware also that the graphics use language like "We're Getting Screwed!" which may be inappropriate for younger kids.

tag(s): branches of government (48), congress (33), elections (75), media literacy (58), politics (99)

In the Classroom

The infographic presentations would be great for discussions of election-year politics for Civics/Government classes or Current Events debate. They would be better if the accompanying scripts were available in an audio file. Exercise caution, however, because there is clearly a political agenda here. Ironic that a site that purports to cut through the rhetoric is loaded with its own. Use it, therefore, as yet another example of how a savvy media can "spin" the issues. Invite students to look for the bias inherent in some of the information presented. What questions should be asked about the data contained in the slideshow? How could you verify the information? How would you rebut it with your own infographic? Can you find a site that presents an opposing spin on the same topics?

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Royalty Free Music & Songs - Dan-O

Grades
K to 12
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Danosongs.com provides royalty free music for many different purposes as long as you give credit where it is due: Music by Dan-O at DanoSongs.com. Dan creates music, posts to this ...more
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Danosongs.com provides royalty free music for many different purposes as long as you give credit where it is due: Music by Dan-O at DanoSongs.com. Dan creates music, posts to this blog, and offers it free of charge under a Creative Commons license as long as credit is given. This is a really great trade-off for free music for your presentations, movies, video games, websites, blogs, or even excercise tracks. Possibilities for uses are so broad, you just have to use your imagination to add to this list! There is the option of "buying" the songs for $10 to use without giving credit.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): citations (34), copyright (47), podcasts (52), sound (101), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

This website is great to use when making creative product such as movies, podcasts, websites, commercials, or even slide presentations. Often students are at a loss for sounds or music they can legally use. This is a great resource for music and a way to teach about ethical use, citation, and copyright. Subject specific ideas include: having students in physical education classes create playlists for different types of exercise and have them edit them after exercising, relating the beats per minute to how effective their exercise session was. In music class, have students find the beat, add a new instrument track to an existing song, or maybe even create their own song to share with the site creator. In biology or health class, play songs with varying beats per minute and have students take pulses and compare to the music to see the impact that it has on their heart rate and mood.

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MathFlix - Loyola University Chicago School of Education

Grades
6 to 12
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MathFlix is a resource of over 1000 QuickTime videos sorted by topic. The site also includes over 400 downloadable worksheets that reinforce concepts and provide additional practice....more
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MathFlix is a resource of over 1000 QuickTime videos sorted by topic. The site also includes over 400 downloadable worksheets that reinforce concepts and provide additional practice. The videos themselves are hosted at many different locations on the web, but this index makes it easy to find them by math topic. Enter the site by choosing either the "I am a teacher" or "I am a student" icon. The teacher link lists topics by standards and content within each standard. Choose from Number & Operations, Algebra, Technology, and more. Each of these links leads to further subcategories listing video titles to view. The student link leads to clickable images or words, including topic and subcategory. Choose one of these links to go directly to the list of videos available for that topic. Be sure not to miss the links at the bottom of the page. They aren't quite as obvious as information for the videos; however, they include additional information relating to Common Core, assessment, and curriculum support.

tag(s): area (66), charts and graphs (195), decimals (133), estimation (46), fractions (239), inequalities (29), logic (235), numbers (204), patterns (85), percent (82), perimeter (32), polls and surveys (48), probability (130), problem solving (272), statistics (122), symmetry (55), variables (22), whole numbers (16)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as a resource for math videos to use on your interactive whiteboard or on classroom computers. Watch videos together to introduce or review classroom concepts. Or "flip" your classroom by sharing the videos oor independent viewing before you discuss the topic in class. Share a link to videos on your classroom website or blog for students to use as a review resource at home. Share this entire site on your class website, wiki, or blog for alternative presentations of topics that are difficult. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos of their own on math concepts. Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.

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Learning Jar - Ritu Jain

Grades
9 to 12
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LearningJar helps you set goals, assess what you know, and figure out how to get there. Find learning paths, and help to showcase what you have learned. Create a portfolio ...more
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LearningJar helps you set goals, assess what you know, and figure out how to get there. Find learning paths, and help to showcase what you have learned. Create a portfolio (of sorts) that can track what you can do and get recommendations to help you do more. The site contains an aggregate of tutorials, lessons, and links to resources to learn skills needed for career choices. The "how to get there" suggestions come from "crowdsourcing," i.e. suggestions from people in the field. Many choices include a challenge option upon completion of tutorials. Currently most careers offered are in technology related fields.

tag(s): careers (132), tutorials (47)

In the Classroom

This site is a terrific resource to share with students who are self-motivated and have an interest in exploring and learning skills for specific careers. Share this site and allow students to view tutorials; students will have to create their own account using email and password information or log in through Facebook to save information accessed through the account. Create an account and share portions of the site as students explore careers to learn skills and training necessary. Teachers might want to set up a mock or demonstration account to show students how the site works. INclude this link as one of several during a career exploration unit.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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My American Farm - American Farm Bureau Foundation

Grades
K to 6
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Learn and explore everything about agriculture, food processing, sustainable farming, and equipment engineering interactively at this informate and entertaining site! The activities...more
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Learn and explore everything about agriculture, food processing, sustainable farming, and equipment engineering interactively at this informate and entertaining site! The activities feature different concepts and promote various aspects of agriculture, math, science and society. Hover over the game icon with your mouse to view a short description of the activity, approximate playing time, grade range, curriculum area, and agriculture theme. At the end of each interactive, you can watch short, related video stories from the public television show "America's Heartland." Don't miss the Equipment Engineering challenge. The Educator Resources section contains standards, implementation ideas, and many activity sheets for classroom use. View resources by curriculum area or agriculture topic using the links on the left in this section.

tag(s): agriculture (55), animals (276), careers (132), conservation (127), life cycles (25), plants (145), problem solving (272), rounding (22)

In the Classroom

This site is great during units on plants, farms, conservation, or even inventions and engineering. Create links to games on classroom computers. As students complete games, let them fill out the passport included on the site. Print and use classroom activities included on the site as a supplement to current lessons. Have students create their own comics to explain a topic from the site using comic-creation tools from this collection.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Make Five - Michiel Doorman

Grades
2 to 5
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Make Five is a one or two player challenge similar to Connect 4 that provides addition, multiplication, or subtraction fact practice. Choose from 5 or 3 in a row, the ...more
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Make Five is a one or two player challenge similar to Connect 4 that provides addition, multiplication, or subtraction fact practice. Choose from 5 or 3 in a row, the number of players, and type of fact practice to begin play. Look at the target number and click on a square with the problem that equals the target number. The square is highlighted if correct; incorrect answers flash before trying again. This site requires Java.

tag(s): addition (251), multiplication (227), operations (126), subtraction (208)

In the Classroom

Use Make 5 as a math center on the classroom computers. Students can visit the center in groups of two and try the challenge together. Make 5 would be an engaging whole class game using an interactive whiteboard. Split the math class into two teams. Students take turns coming to the board as representatives of their team. Give teams 30 seconds to plan their move before sending up their representative. You may have to play more than once to make sure every student gets a turn.

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Create an Animal Ocean - Sheppard Software

Grades
K to 3
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Use this colorful site to make your own animated water scene. Click once and again to drop sea creatures to where you want them. Click on the creatures to hear ...more
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Use this colorful site to make your own animated water scene. Click once and again to drop sea creatures to where you want them. Click on the creatures to hear their names. Drop them into the scene and hear the sounds that they make. Click the printer icon to print your result.

tag(s): animals (276), environment (317), food chains (22), oceans (148)

In the Classroom

As you create the water scene in the classroom, discuss the habitat and niche of each of the organisms. Be sure to discuss the ocean food chains. (Great to know when deciding which creatures should stay away from one another!) Make this activity part of an ocean day or week at school. Write stories about a chosen creature. Create artwork and posters about the ocean creatures using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here). Have students move as the creature would move, and have ocean inspired snacks and lunches. For extra counting or color practice, have students place a certain number or color of creatures at an interactive whiteboard "center."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Photo Pin - Photo Pin

Grades
5 to 12
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Photo Pin is a search engine for Creative Commons photos that you can use (with credit), even if you are placing products on the web. Photo Pin has a beautiful ...more
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Photo Pin is a search engine for Creative Commons photos that you can use (with credit), even if you are placing products on the web. Photo Pin has a beautiful and simple interface; filter your search by keyword and category. Clicking Get Photo also provides the attribution link for the photo and a choice of different sizes to download. Warning: Remind students about school and class rules about searching on the Internet. Give students explicit directions about what to search for. Some images are sexually graphic.

tag(s): copyright (47), creative commons (21), images (266), photography (160), search engines (65)

In the Classroom

Photo Pin is invaluable for students and teachers needing high quality photos for use on class blogs, wikis, or presentation sites. Be sure to remind students to use the attribution link along with the photo, especially when publishing on the web. Art students can use these images to create collages, design studies, and more, all with attribution of their sources. Use images as blog prompts or illustrations in student projects. Make sure students see you giving attribution, too! Find images of locations you are studying in world cultures or geography class. Find images to use in student online projects such as Bookemon, reviewed here, or Superlame, reviewed here. Keep this site as a reference link on your class web page for any time students are creating wikis, blogs, or electronic projects where they need images. They can find just the right picture with CC licensing, and you should require them to include the citation provided! Be sure that students understand rules for sharing appropriate and inappropriate images and copyright concerns.
 

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NPR Podcast Directory - NPR

Grades
7 to 12
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Mix your own podcast to create your own unique collection of podcasts available from NPR's library of thousands of podcasts. Name your podcast, select relevant keywords and content,...more
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Mix your own podcast to create your own unique collection of podcasts available from NPR's library of thousands of podcasts. Name your podcast, select relevant keywords and content, and then subscribe to your new custom podcast using your podcast tool choice.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): podcasts (52)

In the Classroom

Students can use NPR's "mix your own podcast" service to create interesting and informative podcast collections. Create a podcast collection of content related to your course; then share the link on your classroom blog, wiki, or website. Encourage students to share findings from the podcasts in blog posts or for extra credit on a class wiki. Play excerpts from podcasts (turn up your speakers) during the last ten minutes of study halls when students are getting "itchy."

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