TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Sep 16, 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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Do Lectures - Talks That Inspire Action - The Chicken Shed

Grades
6 to 12
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Do Lectures are like TED Talk videos, inspiring talks from people who are changing the world. Choose to view talks about Big Ideas, Challenging Talks, Funny Talks, Informative Talks,...more
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Do Lectures are like TED Talk videos, inspiring talks from people who are changing the world. Choose to view talks about Big Ideas, Challenging Talks, Funny Talks, Informative Talks, Inspiring Talks, and Soulful Talks. Some examples of titles are Why Going Down Mountains is Harder than Going Up and Why is Beauty Such an Important Word? Search by topic (business, creativity, environment, food, sport, technology, or well-being) or by speaker. Learn more about lecturers by clicking the link to their bio, or find similar videos with the links included with each talk. Share videos easily on social networking sites with buttons included with each talk, or use the embed code to embed talks into your blog or website. Even more simply, copy/paste the url for the video to share it.

tag(s): business (57), careers (129), creativity (108), debate (41), environment (317), nutrition (154), psychology (64), sociology (22), video (251)

In the Classroom

Do Lectures are a great place to find inspiration and new ideas for your classroom. Many of the videos connect today's real world with curriculum topics, even in entrepreneurship, health, or family and consumer science classes. Use Do Lecture videos as the perfect supplement or launching point for units of study in your classroom. Find a video that supports the topics happening in your classroom. Share on your website for student viewing. Use on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) for a whole class discussion. Stop the video at various points to discuss or debate ideas included. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos in response to videos viewed on Do Lectures or their own topic. Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Teachers of gifted could plan an entire unit of study around one video or have students select one to use as the launch point for an independent project.

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Websites Like - Alternatives to Your Favorite Websites - WebsitesLike

Grades
K to 12
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Do you have favorite websites and want to find others that are similar? WebsitesLike is just the thing! Simply type or paste in a website url or keyword to generate ...more
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Do you have favorite websites and want to find others that are similar? WebsitesLike is just the thing! Simply type or paste in a website url or keyword to generate a list of similar websites. Receive up to 50 alternatives that may meet your needs. How does it work? Web sites have hidden "metadata" visible to search engines, such as keywords and brief descriptions. This tool compares to find others with similar metadata.

tag(s): search engines (64)

In the Classroom

Use this site for professional purposes to find materials to use in your classroom. You could provide this link to students to use during research projects or even to find additional remediation help for a challenging topic. Demonstrate the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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LiveTyping - Online Text Recorder - LiveTyping Studio

Grades
3 to 12
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LiveTyping is a text recorder that records as you type. It records absolutely everything entered, typos, deleted letters, new versions... etc. When finished, click "Enliven" button...more
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LiveTyping is a text recorder that records as you type. It records absolutely everything entered, typos, deleted letters, new versions... etc. When finished, click "Enliven" button to replay what you typed. Use links to view the text as a picture link (animated gif format), obtain code to place in a website or blog, or code for use in a forum. Options include choices of font type and size, typing speed, and size of image. Note that the link to "Truly Lives" displays what others are typing or have typed. These may not be appropriate for young people, so avoid this area. Play a sample here.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): editing (58), note taking (31), paragraph writing (17), process writing (40), sentences (52)

In the Classroom

Use LiveTyping on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as an interesting way to demonstrate editing or improving sentence/paragraph writing. Type or copy/paste in text, make editing changes, then "Enliven" to save the image or to replay the finished product. Have students do the same to show their own editing/revision process. Teach about different types of sentences (simple, compound, complex, etc.) by typing with this tool and sharing the examples on your class web page, showing how to combine sentences or improve sentence variety. Compose paragraphs and improve the topic sentence LIVE with "instant replay" for students to see how the writing/thought process can work. Then have them make their own in class or for homework. Use the codes provided to embed or save completed examples on your class website, wiki, or blog for students to view at home. Use different examples for students to use as a resource for editing decisions. During poetry month or a poetry unit, challenge students to write a haiku "live" or to add figurative language to a simple line of poetry "live" as we watch.

Demonstrate note-taking or composing a "main idea' sentence as a class after reading a passage and share the final product as an example. What a great tool for science or social studies literacy for Common Core!

Teachers could share tonight's homework assignment using this engaging tool and share it on the class web page in hopes that students might actually DO it!

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TagCrowd: Make Your Own Tag Cloud From Any Text - Daniel Steinbock

Grades
K to 12
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TagCrowd is a web application to visualize word frequencies in any text through creation of a word cloud, text cloud, or tag cloud. Simply type or paste in any text, ...more
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TagCrowd is a web application to visualize word frequencies in any text through creation of a word cloud, text cloud, or tag cloud. Simply type or paste in any text, import from any website, or upload a file to begin the word cloud. Choose from options such as language to use, limit number of words, exclude words based on frequency, or exclude unwanted words. Save as a PDF, print, or embed the finished image using links included with the finished product. The most frequently used words appear larger and in a bold font.

tag(s): speech (93), vocabulary (323), word clouds (10)

In the Classroom

This is a great visual tool to use. Take a poll and have your students type their answers into the word cloud builder. Then display on an interactive whiteboard or projector and see which answer was the most popular. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or to "see" themes of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Use this site to surprise students with words that appear often in their writing. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. More ideas for primary grades: Dolch words, class names, numbers to 20, words with the same beginning letters, collection of ALL the words that hang in the classroom (so students can walk around and find/touch them on a laminated Word cloud card in their hands), or any collection of similar words.

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KidsTV123 - YouTube Channel - KidsTV123

Grades
K to 3
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KidsTV123 offers a great YouTube channel with over 100 early learning videos. Find learning videos about time, colors, letters, spelling, states, and many other skills. There is a wide...more
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KidsTV123 offers a great YouTube channel with over 100 early learning videos. Find learning videos about time, colors, letters, spelling, states, and many other skills. There is a wide variety of topics, making this site very useful in nearly any K-3 classroom or for children at home. Video lengths run from 1-3 minutes, making them great for young students. Hover your mouse over the right-hand corner of each video icon to view the length. Sort by date added (old to new or new to old) or most popular. Subscribe to the KidsTV123 channel to receive notification of new videos or click on the Watch Later link to add to your YouTube watch list. (You must have a YouTube membership to subscribe or watch later.)
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (92), alphabetical order (19), animals (277), colors (79), counting (119), countries (77), dental health (23), phonics (75), preK (275), spelling (168), states (163), time (144)

In the Classroom

View videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If you allow students to explore on their own, take caution since they could click and go elsewhere on YouTube. To share a single video safely at a center, use a tool such as SafeShareTV, reviewed hereand create a shortcut to the SafeShare page directly on the desktop. Share a link to this site with parents through your classroom website or newsletter for students to view at home. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, these videos may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Optimist World - Optimistworld.com

Grades
6 to 12
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This site offers many news articles, all positive and upbeat. In addition to current news stories, you will also find articles about charities, organizations that demonstrate social...more
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This site offers many news articles, all positive and upbeat. In addition to current news stories, you will also find articles about charities, organizations that demonstrate social responsibility, sustainable travel, and inspirational events. The reading level is reasonable for high school students. You can comment on any articles you read and read the comments of others. Articles are available in printable form as well as online. The site requires a free and easy registration; why not do a registration for your entire class instead of individual students. A link to "Optimist TV" adds a video component to the news.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): environment (317), media literacy (56), news (261), sustainability (19)

In the Classroom

Use this tool for you and your students to find articles related to science, social studies, and cultural topics you are studying. Share the TV clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector, for some "happy news" to share with your students. To teach about the subtleties of "spin," have students select, read, and compare two articles on the same subject (possibly one with a more neutral or negative spin?). What makes the article positive? Have small groups of students take turns presenting weekly news. Use articles as practice for finding main idea and other comprehension skills. Create a selection of stories as writing prompts for persuasive writing pieces. Collect news sources related to an upcoming election to follow in a civics/government class. Have students create an online presentation on their selected news topics from categories you've assigned for your classroom news. Use one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Linguee - Gereon Frahling

Grades
3 to 12
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Find out how to say a word or phrase in another language: German, French, Portugese, or Spanish. You can also work from these languages to English. This tool translates one ...more
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Find out how to say a word or phrase in another language: German, French, Portugese, or Spanish. You can also work from these languages to English. This tool translates one or two words but is not a translator of larger passages as Google Translate or Babblefish are. Linguee displays two results. On the left, see example sentences from many sources using your search expression in context; on the right, see results from Linguee's editorial dictionary translating the expression in context. This is a submersion-like experience because it looks at a small amount of text in context in the target language instead of a one-to-one, back-and-forth translation. The tool orks wuite well with short, idiomatic phrases such as "ahead of the game." You can vote thumbs up or down for the various in-context translations offered. The reverse process is also available, translating from any of the European languages into English. Some of the words/phrases provide audio. Plans are to expand the offerings to other languages. The home page is also available in Spanish. You can contribute new meanings to existing entries, similar to a Wiki.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dictionaries (55), french (89), german (65), idioms (44), portuguese (18), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Use this in world language classes to show how key words and phrases appear in the target language. This is a useful tool, as well, to check for plagiarism of papers written in German, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. ESL/ELL students can benefit from backing away from their reliance on translation by seeing new words or short phrases in context.

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Crickweb Grades K-2 learning games - Crickweb

Grades
K to 2
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Learning is fun with these simple to play educational interactives. Compare and contrast scenes from the past to today, label animal names, or drag and drop names of classroom items....more
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Learning is fun with these simple to play educational interactives. Compare and contrast scenes from the past to today, label animal names, or drag and drop names of classroom items. Click on the icon next to the description to begin game play. Note - this site was created in the United Kingdom. So American English speakers may notice a few differences in spelling, vocabulary, or money .
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (277), listening (92), money (192), preK (275), reading comprehension (114)

In the Classroom

Use this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector, as a center, or whole class activity. Create a link on classroom computers for students to practice reading skills. Share with parents through your classroom blog or website for at-home practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Scholastic - Teaching With Brian Selznick - Scholastic

Grades
3 to 8
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Find curriculum integration ideas on the books of Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The site contains lesson plans, videos, and virtual field...more
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Find curriculum integration ideas on the books of Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The site contains lesson plans, videos, and virtual field trips.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): authors (118), letter writing (20), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

Using your interactive whiteboard or projector go on three virtual field trips to visit the Museum of Natural History. Then use the activities to have your students work in collaborative groups. Be sure to check out the Novel Notes activity. Have your students use the Letter Writing Generator reviewed here to write their own letters.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Math Puzzles - Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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Math Puzzles is an excellent resource for many different types of math puzzles. There are several different sections to the site such as logic puzzles, algebraic thinking, geometry,...more
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Math Puzzles is an excellent resource for many different types of math puzzles. There are several different sections to the site such as logic puzzles, algebraic thinking, geometry, probability, and more. Choose a topic and a puzzle for a clear explanation of the problem. Each page has a link to print the page or to send as email. Along with the answers to each puzzle, there is a thorough explanation of the thought process used to reach its conclusion. If you need more information, there is a button to "Ask the Expert." This link goes to resources for math articles as well as frequently asked questions. The Number Sense puzzles would be of particular interest to those who love mindstretchers.

tag(s): differentiation (47), logic (229), probability (130), problem solving (258), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Spark mathematical thinking beyond the math book. Share puzzles and answers on your interactive whiteboard as an example of how to explain the process of finding an answer. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted) using a tool such as Blabberize (reviewed here). Use the avatars to explain steps used to solve one of the problems on the site. You might consider using the problems for extra credit or homework. These puzzles would be great to use when differentiating work for students. Allow some students to solve problems on their own and others to work in cooperative groups to solve them. Include a Favorite Puzzles page on your class wiki for students to share their favorites from this collection and tell why they like it.

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Wind Map - Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg

Grades
K to 12
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See a near-live, "overhead" view of the winds in the continental U.S. The information is updated hourly from the National Weather Service's forecast database. The wind looks like white...more
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See a near-live, "overhead" view of the winds in the continental U.S. The information is updated hourly from the National Weather Service's forecast database. The wind looks like white and grey strands and is mesmerizing to watch. Watch the wind patterns constantly changing. View previous wind patterns (especially those of particularly blustery days) from the gallery. The site recommends using the latest Chrome browser.

tag(s): atmosphere (26), energy (197), maps (287), weather (187)

In the Classroom

Watch the various wind patterns across the US. Ask students what they notice about the patterns and what could be causing them. Use this as an introduction into a weather unit or as part of the study of wind energy and alternative power. If students could map the wind around their house or community, how would they draw it? Be sure to share this site during March, when talking about the "lion" and "lamb" metaphor and the changing weather! Be sure to check it out during hurricane season, as well.

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PicMonkey - PicMonkey

Grades
K to 12
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Use this free and simple tool to edit your photographs. Find tools including: crop, rotate, exposure changes, color adjustment, resizing, and sharpening/blurring. Use other included...more
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Use this free and simple tool to edit your photographs. Find tools including: crop, rotate, exposure changes, color adjustment, resizing, and sharpening/blurring. Use other included effects such as touch up and blemish removal. Add text and include overlays and borders on the photo. The all important Undo button is also useful. Upload your picture, edit and manipulate it, then re-save back to your computer.
This site includes advertising.

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

In the Classroom

This tool is so simple to use! Use it to edit pictures for class projects or for publishing to a blog, wiki, or site. Use these fun photo effects for creating interesting pictures for About Me information on a blog or other sites. In primary grades, teachers can use it to edit pictures you can share on your class web page, perhaps a student of the week. Use for pictures of lab events in science. These pictures can be incorporated into presentations or other multimedia products using online tools or PowerPoint. Students can dress as a historical figure, take and upload a picture, and use in classroom projects. Have students upload a photo add voice bubbles to explain what they learned using a tool such as Superlame, reviewed here. Be sure to check district policy about using student pictures, though the website does not "keep" them. If using pictures from the Internet, be sure to discuss copyright issues and approve pictures that students use. Find Creative Commons they can use (with proper credit) on Compfight, reviewed here.

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