TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 13, 2013

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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GoCast.It - GoCast.it

Grades
7 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This free app creates an online shared video space so collaborating is so much easier. Use the web or your mobile device to access a GoCast learning or collaboration session. ...more
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This free app creates an online shared video space so collaborating is so much easier. Use the web or your mobile device to access a GoCast learning or collaboration session. Be sure to take the tutorial to be able to manipulate the various parts of GoCast. Each person and whiteboard appear as icons that can be rotated on your screen like a carousel. Use the icons below your video to change from normal color to black and white or sepia. Turn off your video or microphone easily with a simple click. Add more whiteboards to the session by clicking the whiteboard icon. A tool tray is found below each whiteboard. Hover over the icon on each whiteboard to expand it. Take notes using the collaborative notepad and comments using the comment bar. Wikipedia is just an icon away and is useful for sharing and research. Send an invitation to others by making a general Facebook announcement (if permitted) or sending a specific invitation by email. At the time of this review, a download of a required program is needed to use GoCast, but this download is not supposed to be needed in the future.

tag(s): video (251)

In the Classroom

Create a collaborative space for homework help before or after school or on snow days. Students can meet whenever help is needed or teachers can create a session that can be accessed on any device easily by those who need it. Use this app for group work - no more excuses about not being able to meet for cooperative learning projects!

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Eat Different - eatdifferent.com

Grades
6 to 12
14 Favorites 0  Comments
Want to change your eating habits for the better? This free site offers a way to track your eating habits (and exercise) through the web, mobile device, and even email. ...more
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Want to change your eating habits for the better? This free site offers a way to track your eating habits (and exercise) through the web, mobile device, and even email. Images can also be uploaded (for better accountability.) This site does not focus on counting calories but on assessing progress towards goals and using slider bars to indicate how well goals are being met. Use your friend to motivate you in reaching your goals. Sharing is optional and settings can be maintained for privacy. Enter your settings and use your log to keep track of progress daily. Describe the foods you eat and use the sliders to choose between "none" and "lots" on the items you are trying to reduce and the ones you are trying to increase!

tag(s): eating disorders (7), food chains (22), human body (119), myplate (28), nutrition (154), obesity (19)

In the Classroom

Use this tool in place of keeping a food diary and counting calories, especially during a unit on nutrition or health. Have students create goals that they can monitor. Use privacy setting to include buddies within the classroom to encourage each other. Create classroom challenges that can be extended into family challenges. Teach digital citizenship by learning to encourage and to make constructive comments in and off this site.

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Google Cultural Institute - Google

Grades
9 to 12
17 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Google has assembled a series of multimedia presentations focused on historical themes. It begins in 1905 and the influence of colonial and imperial power on East Asia and finishes...more
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Google has assembled a series of multimedia presentations focused on historical themes. It begins in 1905 and the influence of colonial and imperial power on East Asia and finishes in 2008 and Nelson Mandela's impact on young people. Each theme contains photographs, video clips, text and other media that provide context for a discussion of the theme. Other themes include the Holocaust, Apartheid and South African history, and the Spanish Civil War. The content here is visually rich, relying on the impact of the photographs and video much more than any textual descriptions, and is therefore a great companion to the study of these issues, rather than being an in-depth examination of any one topic. Don't miss the search tool to find content related to a place or event (try Vietnam, for example).

tag(s): 1900s (33), 1910s (9), 1920s (16), 1930s (15), 1940s (13), 1950s (12), 1960s (30), 1970s (12), 1980s (9), 20th century (50), africa (181), asia (73), civil rights (117), cross cultural understanding (115), holocaust (38), jews (19), south africa (10), spain (9)

In the Classroom

Because of the visual impact of this resource, it's perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a complement to a study of the historical period or issue serving as the focus for each theme. Students can hear the voices of children who were affected by the Holocaust, see photographs of Apartheid era South Africa, and view primary source documents related to the life of activist Steve Biko. Allow yourself a little time to play with the site before you use it, as it may not be immediately intuitive. Overall, however, the impact of the images and video found here will add real power to your lessons. Challenge your students to use the search tool to find visual media related to events or topics your are studying and to explain the relationships. Even world language teachers will find the media available here a way to share a rich nuances of another culture.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Voya Unsung Heroes Awards Program - Scholarship America.

Grades
K to 12
7 Favorites 1  Comments
With over 5 million dollars granted, Voya Unsung Heroes has supported teachers through grants provided by its Unsung Heroes Program. Each year grants are provided to K-12 educators...more
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With over 5 million dollars granted, Voya Unsung Heroes has supported teachers through grants provided by its Unsung Heroes Program. Each year grants are provided to K-12 educators utilizing new teaching techniques and methods that improve learning. Applications are judged on three criteria: innovative method, creativity, and ability to positively influence students. 100 Finalists are chosen yearly to receive $2,000 grants with at least one award going to each of the 50 states. Three top awards of $25,000, $10,000 and $5,000 are given to the top three recipients. Follow links provided on the site to apply for the grant. The deadline is generally the end of April each year.

tag(s): grants (18)

In the Classroom

Applications are accepted annually generally with a deadline of April each year. Nominate yourself or a colleague.

Comments

david, TX, Grades: 9 - 12

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Writing Felonies - Kevin Brookhouser

Grades
7 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Kevin Brookhouser created 16 videos based on "writing crimes": common errors found in writing. These videos are succinct, straightforward, and devoid of cutesy cartoons or music. At...more
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Kevin Brookhouser created 16 videos based on "writing crimes": common errors found in writing. These videos are succinct, straightforward, and devoid of cutesy cartoons or music. At the beginning of each, he shows a snippet of a video and then uses the information in the video to explain the grammatical problem and how to solve it. The videos include often confused words, compound sentences, punctuation, passive voice, and more. Each video is between three and four minutes long.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): grammar (217), grammar review (37), punctuation (43), spelling (168), writing (355)

In the Classroom

Use the videos as an introduction or review. After watching the video, have students make up their own sentences following the correct pattern of the grammatical form you want them to learn or review. Then have students exchange papers and check each other's work. If your school blocks YouTube use one of these two programs to download videos: KeepVid reviewed here, or HD Downloader reviewed here. Share individual links with students who need help with a repeated error. They might even watch an engaging video to self-solve their error!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Futurity - Futurity.org

Grades
9 to 12
17 Favorites 0  Comments
This site features the latest discoveries by the scientists of top research universities throughout the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. There is a huge selection of topics to explore....more
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This site features the latest discoveries by the scientists of top research universities throughout the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. There is a huge selection of topics to explore. Find current findings and research in the topics of Earth and Environment, Health and Medicine, Science and Technology, and Society and Culture. This free site is funded by the universities partnered in the project solely to share research news directly with the public.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): earth (228), environment (317), medicine (67), nutrition (154), scientific method (64)

In the Classroom

Enter an email address to receive daily e-news. Use these articles as a way to connect current research to material being studied in class. If you are looking for informational texts to use for Common Core practice, this is a great place to start! Use to highlight the use of the scientific method and the importance of publishing findings. Critique the presentation of data and graphs. Determine if raw data could be presented in a different way. Assign students to choose a research topic from this site and research background information to present as a poster or a multimedia project. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Include this site in resources for career explorations or science fair inspiration.

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Dance, Factors, Dance - Stephen Von Worley

Grades
4 to 10
8 Favorites 0  Comments
Dance, Factors, Dance is a wonderful visual display of numbers and factors. The numbers begin at 0 and continue through 10,000. Each number displays as a visual image sorted by ...more
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Dance, Factors, Dance is a wonderful visual display of numbers and factors. The numbers begin at 0 and continue through 10,000. Each number displays as a visual image sorted by factors, or in one large group if prime. At the top of the screen, the actual digits show along with the factorization represented. For example, 10,000 displays as 5X5X5X5X2X2X2X2 with a beautiful star-like image. Speed up the dance or stop at any given point using icons (at the bottom of the page) or go backwards to watch numbers unfold.

tag(s): factoring (31), factors (42), number sense (97), prime numbers (31)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent visualization tool for demonstrating factors and prime numbers. View as a class on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and explore the different patterns displayed. Have students watch for patterns as numbers grow, or question what happens when numbers are odd or even. Have students explore the site on their own; then use as a journal prompt for students to discuss their exploration of numbers. Ask students how they visualize numbers in their own heads. You may be surprised to learn that some students have visual images of number concepts! Teachers of gifted or visually talented students may want to ask them to create their own "visualizations" of numbers using an animation tool from the Edge.

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Instant Google Street View - Nick Nicholaou

Grades
4 to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
Go to Google Street View instantly with this handy site. Begin by typing in an address. As you type the screen changes automatically to the best street view image of ...more
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Go to Google Street View instantly with this handy site. Begin by typing in an address. As you type the screen changes automatically to the best street view image of what has been entered so far. Many may find the constant changing of images as you type distracting; others may find the variety of seeing new areas exciting. Click "About" in the lower left hand corner for an explanation of color boxes and controls. Download and share the view easily.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): map skills (80), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Assign students various countries, regions, or continents to make comparisons. Identify the biological, geographical, cultural, and social issues that exist in the world, based on what the pictures show and what their research uncovers. Bring a greater understanding to current economic and environmental issues in many countries. World language (or world cultures) classes can help students understand the cultures of the countries where the language is spoken. Compare specific attributes of two countries using an online Venn Diagram, such as the one reviewed here. Another idea: have cooperative learning groups use this resource to create online books about the country of their tour using a resource such as Bookemon.

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Web of Stories - WebOfStories.com

Grades
8 to 12
13 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Web of Stories is a very interesting collection of videos shared by some of the greatest scientists along with everyday people. It began as an archive of stories from scientists...more
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Web of Stories is a very interesting collection of videos shared by some of the greatest scientists along with everyday people. It began as an archive of stories from scientists but expanded beyond science and into the realm of common life stories. Choices are from most popular stories, editor's choice, or featured films on the home page. The Lives portion of the site contains stories of people who have influenced the world: from Nobel Laureates to Oscar-winning cinematographers and more. Choose channels to find specific subjects ranging from Changing Faces (Living with Disfigurement), Sports, Technology, Family History and many more. You can upload your own videos using your computer's camcorder or with a prerecorded video. Register to add stories, recommend or comment on videos. Registration is not necessary to view videos. Caution: at the time of this review, a few videos dealt with topics appropriate for adults or older high school students, so please be sure to preview anything you wish to share. If you plan to allow students to explore on their own (which we don't recommend), be sure to closely monitor student use.

tag(s): architecture (83), environment (317), family (59), heroes (24), mental health (26), politics (98), religions (61), space (206), video (251)

In the Classroom

Choose from videos on the site to watch on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) for any range of subjects. Make science more real by sharing these stories. Embed videos using the code on the site onto your class website or blog for students to view at home. Have students record responses using an online tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of two different videos on any given topic. Share videos with students to view when exploring career options.

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I Fake Text - iFakeText.com

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
iFakeText is a tool to create fake screenshots of a series of iPhone text messages. Write a name, then choose an operator and write text in the provided box. Click ...more
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iFakeText is a tool to create fake screenshots of a series of iPhone text messages. Write a name, then choose an operator and write text in the provided box. Click the link "Create your Screenshot" to view the picture. Have the operator READ the text message (great for non-readers). Take a screenshot or share via different social networking platforms or via a link.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (167), text to speech (17), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Have two characters from a book or two famous people text each other. Create short poetry using this tool. Provide some opening text and ask students to write their guesses of the other person's answers. Have students practice a dialogue or questions and answers. Create a fake text of a conversation and have students use inference skills to state what happened before and after the conversation. You could even use it as a writing prompt. Teach important texting etiquette using this tool. Use a fake text on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to display word definitions in a fun way. Use this site with your ESL/ELL students (or those learning to read) and have the site READ the text to the students. The ability to use the "text to speech" makes this an easy tool for any age student to try! Tear down the boundaries of delayed reading. Create fake texts of homework or project reminders and post them on your class wiki or web page.

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Slidespeech - Slidespeech

Grades
3 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Make the Notes on your PowerPoint presentations into narration using this text-to-speech tool. Upload your presentation, being sure to include the information you want read in the Notes...more
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Make the Notes on your PowerPoint presentations into narration using this text-to-speech tool. Upload your presentation, being sure to include the information you want read in the Notes section. (This will be the part spoken by this tool.) Click share to send by email, share a link, or embed the narrated results in a wiki, blog, or site. Also share via Facebook or Twitter. Presentations can be downloaded as a video or saved as a zip file.

tag(s): digital storytelling (135), video (251)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to differentiate instruction for students in your classes. Students can watch the narrated show any time. Students can use this tool to record their own presentation ahead of time and upload to a site for viewing and grading later. Students with speech difficulties (or challenges with English fluency) will appreciate the opportunity to prerecord their presentations without an audience. High school students can also "narrate" a portfolio slide show for Art school applications or a show of accomplishments for college applications. Students can package book reviews or author reports to be shared in the media center. In primary grades, have students "narrate" their portion of a whole-class slide show, then share it with parents and grandparents by URL. They can practice oral reading as they share their story slides. Use for digital storytelling. Have students draw or upload pictures about a story they have written with the words in the Notes area, and have Slidespeech read the story out loud. Create simple narrated slideshows with questions in the notes area for ESL/ELL or speech/language students to practice on their own, such as slides with images of objects and a questions, "Is this a sock or a shoe?" Challenge students to create review aids for each other by writing questions on slides.

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Wolfram Demonstrations Project - Wolfram Mathematica

Grades
4 to 12
15 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Discover a huge collection of interactive illustrations to help explain complex concepts in science, technology, art, math, and a range of other topics. The activities also give you...more
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Discover a huge collection of interactive illustrations to help explain complex concepts in science, technology, art, math, and a range of other topics. The activities also give you the power to create interactive visualizations. There are thousands of Mathematica Demonstrations. A demonstration is a Mathematica notebook that takes advantage of Mathematica's manipulate command. Use the manipulate command to create sliders or buttons or check boxes to change the values of parameters in the displays in the demonstration. The result is you control the animation. View demonstrations on topics ranging from odd and even numbers to odd and even functions, fractions to fractals, and from linear functions to linear algebra and linear programming. In addition to mathematical topics, there are demonstrations illustrating the time in different cities around the world, global demographic information, the solar system, and art and music concepts. You need to download the Wolfram CDF player to use and interact with the demonstrations.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (252), animals (277), architecture (83), computers (78), division (172), fractions (239), geometric shapes (159), gravity (45), logic (229), maps (287), money (192), multiples (34), multiplication (227), plants (143), psychology (64), statistics (122), subtraction (209), weather (187)

In the Classroom

Explain how to use the Demonstrations on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Allow students to explore on their own classroom computers. (Remember to download the CDF player onto each computer or request it in advance from your tech department.) Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted for reproduction). Use avatars to explain activities performed using a Demonstration. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here). The beauty of the demonstrations is that it allows students to manipulate and "play" to view the impact of changes made, allowing many opportunities for classroom discussion. Ask students to predict the impact of changes using the manipulate command; then discuss the actual impact as it occurs.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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