TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 14, 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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Seymour Simon: Award Winning Children's Author - Seymour Simon

Grades
2 to 8
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Seymour Simon's author site is the perfect compliment to his many award-winning non-fiction books (almost 300). Presented in many formats, content appeals to many learners. Use this...more
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Seymour Simon's author site is the perfect compliment to his many award-winning non-fiction books (almost 300). Presented in many formats, content appeals to many learners. Use this site with those who learn from text, images, or hands-on. Free enrollment in the site allows access to many features such as teacher guides and resources, project ideas, and discussion boards. Other areas of the site for adults include videos, an interactive science dictionary, and searches for any science topic. Be sure to check out the Science News area under the kids portion of the site. Labels range from Alana G (their 10-year-old environmental blogger) all the way to Writing Wednesday. Also check out the informational bio of Seymour Simon and the FAQ which answers questions on many of his book topics. If interested, you can also request a school visit or Skype session with the author!

tag(s): animals (277), brain (70), butterflies (13), earth (228), earthquakes (48), environment (317), human body (119), hurricanes (35), insects (68), light (46), oceans (147), planets (122), plants (143), solar system (118), spiders (10), stars (61), sun (71), tornadoes (16), volcanoes (61), weather (187), whales (16)

In the Classroom

Enroll on the site using your email address. Access and use teacher guides along with Seymour Simon books during Guided or Independent Reading. View videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to learn more about the author and watch ebooks. Share Seymour Simon's bio with students when using his books as part of a non-fiction unit -- perfect for Common Core informational texts! Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to explain or review any of Seymour Simon's books or articles from the Science blog. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here) to create the avatars. Create a link to the site on classroom computers for students to explore items such as the Science Dictionary or read and discuss items from the Science News.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Playfic - Andy Baio and Cooper McHatton

Grades
4 to 12
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Create interactive, text-based games with this simple tool. Perhaps you remember a text-based game called "Adventure" from back in the early days of computers. Be sure to watch the...more
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Create interactive, text-based games with this simple tool. Perhaps you remember a text-based game called "Adventure" from back in the early days of computers. Be sure to watch the tutorial on the home page that also teaches you how to navigate the stories themselves. By clicking on the "Learn More" when you're signed out, or the "About Us" when you're signed in, you can view the "cheat sheet" that will certainly make your first creative attempt at Playfic more enjoyable. Experiment with Playfic games created by others and time yourself. if you get stuck, you can look at the source code. Create your own Playfic for any topic that interests you, whether it's fiction or not. Note that there is no moderation on games created by others, so preview before sharing with young people.

tag(s): creative writing (167), creativity (108), digital storytelling (135), gamification (63), mysteries (25), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

"Gamification" of learning is a hot topic in 21st century learning. Use this simple tool to make it happen. Use for any digital storytelling: fact or fiction. In social studies, have students create an interactive game based on life during the Depression or any historic era. Have them create a "Where in the world is ..." for geography. World language students could make a simple game (in the language they are studying) about daily life. Gifted students will love creating games on their favorite topics, so make this a research-and-create-a-game approach for independent projects. Science students could make a game about what might happen in certain weather or life as a fossil. Have your language arts students create mystery or survival stories or even a different ending to a story you've read together. Warning: all stories are PUBLIC and your students will be able to view other's stories. You'll either want to have a class account or monitor this closely.

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Aven's Corner - Preschool Educational Games - Billy Collins

Grades
K to 2
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Aven's Corner is designed by a father as a resource for activities for his autistic son. Find fun and entertaining games and coloring pages for preschoolers and children with special...more
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Aven's Corner is designed by a father as a resource for activities for his autistic son. Find fun and entertaining games and coloring pages for preschoolers and children with special needs. Explore the activity archives to find simple activities to do with young children such as celebrating National Pink Day or taking a number walk. Visit the parent resources portion of the site to read a definition of autism and view a checklist of symptoms. Be sure to check out the Comix creator; use the drag and drop feature to add backgrounds, animals, shapes, and more to your own unique creations. When finished, print, save, or publish your Comix using the links on the page. Publishing requires giving the author's name and a comic title. Some of the pages are slightly slow loading, so a little patience is required (another skill for children to build).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (92), autism (22), comics and cartoons (74), literacy (102), phonics (75), stories and storytelling (30)

In the Classroom

Share this site with special needs teachers, parents of autistic students, or speech teachers. Activities are not just for autistic children. All young learners can benefit from the activities such as popping letter bubbles. Create a link on classroom computers and use as a learning center. Create a Comix creation as a class on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) when creating a class story. Use the Comix feature on your whiteboard to retell a story using the images provided.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Virtual Field Trips Station - Dickinson College - Jeff Mummert

Grades
8 to 12
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Take a virtual field trip of Underground Railroad sites using this collection. Embark on Google Earth tours of underground landmarks, important sites visited by Harriet Tubman and John...more
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Take a virtual field trip of Underground Railroad sites using this collection. Embark on Google Earth tours of underground landmarks, important sites visited by Harriet Tubman and John Brown, and the site of the Lincoln/Douglas debates. View 3 dimensional models of Harpers Ferry, Lancaster and York, or view image galleries of Harpers Ferry. Each section contains descriptions of how to use the information. New users of Google Earth tours or models can get tips on using the links contained in the site. Some files require Quicktime or Windows Media for full viewing.

tag(s): civil rights (117), civil war (145), underground railroad (11), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

View field trip resources on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) during your Civil War or Civil Rights units. Use this site to demonstrate Google Earth tours and Google Sketchup (used to create 3 dimensional models of buildings). Challenge students to create their own model or tour of any place discussed in class. For more information about Google Earth see our full review (here). Likewise, if you want to learn more about Google Sketchup see our full review (here).

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Asset MathActive for Grades K-2 - Eight Educational Outreach Arizona State University

Grades
K to 2
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Asset Mathactive is a group of flash animated modules containing lessons and activities addressing geometry performance objectives. Choose from well over 50 activities including many...more
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Asset Mathactive is a group of flash animated modules containing lessons and activities addressing geometry performance objectives. Choose from well over 50 activities including many in Spanish and Navajo voice. Read a short description of each activity before choosing a link. Each activity also includes a teacher's guide in PDF format. The guides include Arizona standards, objectives, overview, modeling instructions, assessment, and more. Activities have easy to follow directions, and many contain additional extension activities as well as questions for exploration.

tag(s): angles (86), geometric shapes (159), numbers (203), preK (275)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent site to use to differentiate activities for the various levels of mathematics learners in your classroom. Share the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide the direct link to relevant activities. Use this site as a learning center for students to work at their own level. Provide this link on your class website for students (and parents) to use at home for enrichment or extra practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Teacher Invaders - eClassroom

Grades
4 to 6
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This slightly addictive interactive offers practice with place value in decimals. Shoot at characters to earn points. Then answer questions within the provided time limit. Correct answers...more
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This slightly addictive interactive offers practice with place value in decimals. Shoot at characters to earn points. Then answer questions within the provided time limit. Correct answers are given as help with incorrect responses before returning to the game.

tag(s): decimals (133), place value (56)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to play on your interactive whiteboard (or projector); then allow students to use as a center or play on classroom computers. Share a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to use at home for homework or practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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NumberQuotes - SWDuncan LLC

Grades
3 to 12
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Ever use a number or statistic in a presentation and see the eyes of audience gloss over in misunderstanding or cluelessness? Perhaps you have trouble making number sense out ...more
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Ever use a number or statistic in a presentation and see the eyes of audience gloss over in misunderstanding or cluelessness? Perhaps you have trouble making number sense out of large figures. Try NumberQuotes! Simplistic and to the point, this tool allows you to enter a number into the search bar, and it will generate a list of quotes related to your number. Follow directions about the number entry format (words or numerals). Find fast, easy comparisons at your fingertips without tedious hours of detailed research.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): number sense (97), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

This tool is great when discussing numbers that are difficult for students to assimilate, such as exponents or population growth. In elementary grades, use it for 100th day celebrations! Help students develop number sense about large figures in economics, social studies, or science. Share this site with students on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and type in the number such as the population of a country. It will then generate comparisons that are more student friendly. Keep this reference handy as a link on your class web page to help students comprehend numbers they encounter in informational texts or even in math class.

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Medpedia - Medpedia, Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
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Medpedia is a database of articles about a variety of medical conditions. Using this Wikipedia-style tool, you can find interesting information, pictures, and related information and...more
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Medpedia is a database of articles about a variety of medical conditions. Using this Wikipedia-style tool, you can find interesting information, pictures, and related information and resources. Begin by asking a medical health question or click on See All Articles to browse them alphabetically.

tag(s): diseases (66), medicine (67)

In the Classroom

Use these articles for research when discussing genetic disorders, infectious disease agents, or any other research topic. Health classes and biology classes can use this as one source for research projects. Be sure to include this link on your class site as places to find information.

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PDFescape - Red Software

Grades
K to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this site to be able to edit PDF documents. It is free and easy to use. Upload your PDF document or link to an existing online PDF. Add additional ...more
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Use this site to be able to edit PDF documents. It is free and easy to use. Upload your PDF document or link to an existing online PDF. Add additional text or free hand writing. Create drawings or add images. You can create PDFs, edit PDFs, fill-out existing PDFs, save/print PDFs, and more. When finished, download the final product. No sign up is required to use most features. If you must complete entry forms, applications, or otehr pdf forms, this tool can be a lifesaver.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Use to alter documents that may have been saved as a PDF in the past. Save this site in your professional resources. If you work with students who request college recommendations or need to fill out forms for scholarships or jobs, be sure to share this tool with them!
 

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Slide.ly - EasyHi

Grades
7 to 12
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Easily create a slideshow of your photos! Simply upload your photos or pull your Flickr, Instagram, or Facebook photos into your slideshow. Create beautiful slideshows by adding music...more
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Easily create a slideshow of your photos! Simply upload your photos or pull your Flickr, Instagram, or Facebook photos into your slideshow. Create beautiful slideshows by adding music and then sharing them with others. Connect all the accounts that you use for your photos. Click on the photos from any of your sources to be included in your slideshow. Drag your photos around to put them in the order you want. Add music to the show by using YouTube videos or SoundCloud music. Finish by adding a few effects to your show to liven it up a bit. Embed the slideshow on your site or share it on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, or Facebook easily. There are public slideshows created by others on this site. Some may not be appropriate for the classroom setting so please preview..

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (193), images (261), slides (60)

In the Classroom

Use to create educational videos and projects to introduce and interest students in a topic. Use to generate questions prior to the discussion of topics. Create a multi-image slideshow where students brainstorm how the images are all connected. Students can use Slide.ly to create projects for class. Be sure to add the link to your blog, wiki, or site for easy access when needing a tool for projects.

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Wix - Giora Kaplan, Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami

Grades
7 to 12
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Wix makes creating your own website EASY! Wix has over 100 visually rich templates for you to choose. Or you may choose a blank template and upload your own material. ...more
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Wix makes creating your own website EASY! Wix has over 100 visually rich templates for you to choose. Or you may choose a blank template and upload your own material. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create their own website. Choose to have your website in Flash or HTML. Wix does all the work for either of these. Choose from 100s of images, fonts, menus, music files, buttons, and widgets, or upload your own. There are video tutorials that will take you from beginner to website designer in 8 steps!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (87), game based learning (101), gamification (63), portfolios (25), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Your students, 13 and over, may register by email if you want them to create a page to present a project, or for club web pages. Use a whole class account for students under 13. This program would be nice for developing student portfolios, small group presentations, even journals about career research. Create a Wix website page to publish biographical information about any historical figure in any subject area. Use Wix to create pages about characters in a novel. Create pages about scientists and their contributions including reactions of others to their discovery or invention. Research why these inventions were particularly important and the scientific knowledge that changed as a result. Create a page about artists, musicians, politicians, etc. using the same guidelines as above with scientists. Challenge students to step into the person's character to create an informative understanding about the person and their contribution. In upper elementary grades, have all students generate a starter page offline about a famous person (or people) you are studying. Then vote on one to publish as a class using this online tool. Have teens begin a "Me" portfolio in middle grades, one that they can continue to develop as they approach college and/or career. Encourage them to showcase links to online projects, favorite images they have taken or created, artwork, music, writing samples, and personal interests. This is the ideal way to build a positive digital footprint that students can actually use well into the future. If you teach gifted students, encourage them to add suitable projects from your class to their portfolio site, especially projects that involve connections with the "real world."

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Anatronica - Goodwill Enterprise Development

Grades
5 to 12
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Anatronica is a 3D anatomy tool. Learn about the skeletal system, muscular system, respiratory system, nervous system, and several other systems of the human body. Mobile apps are available...more
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Anatronica is a 3D anatomy tool. Learn about the skeletal system, muscular system, respiratory system, nervous system, and several other systems of the human body. Mobile apps are available and the site is also viewable through PC or Mac. Click on "Free" to access the tool online. The site does require the Unity3D plugin, available for free at the site. Once loaded, navigation tools to move through the systems and views are self-explanatory. Data on anatomy objects are provided, and there is also a quiz function. It is worth the effort to install the 3D plugin to be able to use this site!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): body systems (56), human body (119)

In the Classroom

Use this tool in health or biology class hen discussing anatomy and physiology of humans or any other creature being dissected as a comparison. Even younger students can grasp the systems of the human body when you share this on a projector or whiteboard and show the same part of the body ( head, arm, etc) through the lens of different body systems. To avoid the hassle of downloading the plug-in on all class computers, share the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have student groups give "travel tours" of their assigned body system to the class. Provide this link for students to use/explore at home. If your school computers are locked down, preventing you from loading plug-ins, this one is worth requesting and pestering your tech department.

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