TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 27, 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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Common Curriculum Planner - CommonCurriculum.com

Grades
K to 12
13 Favorites 1  Comments
  
CommonCurriculum is an online lesson planning resource that helps align lessons to Common Core resources. Copy and paste a current lesson plan into their weekly template. Search a standard...more
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CommonCurriculum is an online lesson planning resource that helps align lessons to Common Core resources. Copy and paste a current lesson plan into their weekly template. Search a standard to find standards that may align with the lesson. The more text provided, the more options for standards will be offered. Drag and drop items from one day to another. Print using the print option for paper lesson plans. Publish lesson plans to your blog or website with one click using links in the site. Send public sections in a daily email to addresses you enter.

tag(s): professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Use CommonCurriculum for all of your lesson planning. Copy and paste current lesson plans into the site to view standards that match your lessons. Share public areas such as homework with parents through the email option provided in the site. Use this site to align your lessons to the Common Core standards.

Comments

Excellent planning tool. It helps organize my plans and share them with students. I can link to my files in Dropbox and then share those links with students -- no more uploading! Also, I can do long range planning easily. When I reorder my units, my lessons are automatically shifted around on the calendar. It's magic. Scott, , Grades: 1 - 2

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CurriConnects Book List: Civil War and Slavery - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This CurriConnects list features books about the U.S. Civil War and slavery. This is a great match for student independent reading during units about the Civil War at any grade ...more
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This CurriConnects list features books about the U.S. Civil War and slavery. This is a great match for student independent reading during units about the Civil War at any grade level. CurriConnects thematic book lists include ISBN numbers for ordering or searching, interest grade levels, ESL levels and Lexiles'® to match with student independent reading levels to challenge, not frustrate. Don't miss other CurriConnects themes being added regularly.

tag(s): book lists (128), civil war (145), slavery (72), underground railroad (11)

In the Classroom

As you study the Civil War and slavery, let students select books from this collection of fiction and historical fiction. As we honor and move beyond the 150th anniversary of many Civil War events, what better way for students to make a more personal connection to the people who lived during those tumultuous times.

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Climate Changing - London Science Museum

Grades
6 to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Find a great set of resources including videos about climate change, potential problems, and mitigation. The site is organized like a concept map into three distinct areas: Exploring...more
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Find a great set of resources including videos about climate change, potential problems, and mitigation. The site is organized like a concept map into three distinct areas: Exploring Earth's Climate, Exploring What Might Happen, and Exploring Our Future Choices. Click on a subtopic to view the video. Videos include subtitles and have related questions and answers along the side of the page.

tag(s): climate (92), climate change (64), fossil fuels (18)

In the Classroom

Use as a great introduction into Climate Change and its effects. Use as a resource for students to obtain information as well as other sources to find bias, peer reviewed material, and general consensus. Be sure to place this link on your list of resources or on your site, wiki, or blog for ease of use. Create a debate about the science and differing viewpoints to identify facts from opinion. Create a public service announcement to address climate change and simple steps everyone can take to make a difference locally.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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GeoCube - GeoCube

Grades
3 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
GeoCube is a delightful, online, interactive resource about world geography. Based on the principle of the Rubik Cube, GeoCube has six sides, each with a topic and nine sub-topics....more
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GeoCube is a delightful, online, interactive resource about world geography. Based on the principle of the Rubik Cube, GeoCube has six sides, each with a topic and nine sub-topics. Click on each sub-topic to find a gallery of videos and images with accompanying text explaining different concepts in geography. The topics explored are living together, earth from all angles, shrinking planet, exploring our world, fascinating earth, and useful geographies. Be sure to watch the How to Use intro video (uses Quick Time) to see how your mouse navigates GeoCube. Clicking on downloads will allow you to view and print PDFs of each topic as well as a colorful GeoCube template with photos to fold and assemble. GeoCube is viewable in several languages: English, Spanish, German, and Italian.

tag(s): earth (228), earthquakes (48), ecology (135), energy (198), environment (317), extinction (4), forests (29), hurricanes (35), landforms (45), maps (287), mountains (13), natural disasters (20), natural resources (59), ozone (10), pollution (66), religions (61), transportation (40), tsunamis (16), volcanoes (61), water (130), wetlands (9)

In the Classroom

Explore one of the subtopics on GeoCube with your class on the interactive whiteboard. Discover different aspects of the world through the subtopics. Use the text as a basis to find another text, either narrative or expository, and compare and contrast the knowledge. You might want to allow students to investigate the different topics on their own at a learning station. Language arts, social studies, and science teachers can use the information found on GeoCube to build background knowledge for students before studying a unit. Introduce a unit on the environment by reading and viewing the videos for waste and pollution, water resources, energy resources, deforestation, species extinction, and climate change. Physical science teachers can use GeoCube as a unique way to introduce volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and conflicts in the earth's systems. These are just a few of the 54 subtopics your will find on GeoCube. ESL/ELL and learning support will all enjoy and benefit from viewing and reading GeoCube.

Use the GeoCube idea for students to present information they research on any science or social studies topic. Adapt it slightly, having students create foldable visual aids using FoldPlay, reviewed here, or interactive video cubes using YouCube, reviewed here. YouCube needs to access YouTube, so may not be accessible at school.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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PieColor - Create a Pie Chart - Piecolor.com

Grades
3 to 7
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Easily create and download a colorful pie chart with PieColor. Enter the number of slices you want, the percent for each slice, and a label (example - 48% girls, 52% ...more
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Easily create and download a colorful pie chart with PieColor. Enter the number of slices you want, the percent for each slice, and a label (example - 48% girls, 52% boys). Adjust colors as you like by clicking on the color wheel for each slice. Options include a title, background color, and size of text. Download or embed in your blog using links at the bottom of your pie chart.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148), percent (82)

In the Classroom

Collect data in your classroom and quickly create a graph to represent it. Share through links or adding images to blogs, wikis, or websites. Graphs can also be shared on an interactive whiteboard or projector for better analysis of data by the class. Graph results of a test, answers from students, favorite foods, fictitious budgets, class schedules, and whatever else is applicable in your classroom. Use the pie charts students create to teach their peers how to read charts that accompany informational texts. Have cooperative learning groups create their own graphs to share with the class on the class wiki. Use this tool to create quick pie charts on your interactive whiteboard whenever you count class votes or encounter other data so students "see" data on a regular basis and visual students have another way to absorb the information. Keep the link handy on your web page to access it quickly in or out of class.
 

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Flake Pad - Pen Flakes

Grades
2 to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Flake Pad is a very simple little website that lets you create geometric snowflakes using basic shapes and a grid. To make the flake, choose a shape and click a ...more
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Flake Pad is a very simple little website that lets you create geometric snowflakes using basic shapes and a grid. To make the flake, choose a shape and click a spot on the grid. You can add as many or as few shapes as you like to your flake. View the completed flake off the grid for a screen shot then include it in other projects or print using the print button on the site.

tag(s): creativity (109), geometric shapes (163), snow (21), symmetry (55)

In the Classroom

Flake Pad is a great site to help students understand symmetry. Any time students click a space on the grid, the shape will appear on multiple points on the grid. Use Flake Pad on an interactive whiteboard and have students identify lines of symmetry on the flake. With the pointer tool on Flake Pad, students can drag the shapes they have created to different points. Have students in the audience describe what happens to the flake as you move the shapes.

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DOGOnews - Meera Dolasia

Grades
2 to 12
15 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety ...more
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety of articles, add a book list, a calendar, favorite sites list, add lesson plan instructions, monitor student comments, and more. DOGOnews is kid friendly, colorful, and flexible. After all, DOGO means young or small in Swahili. You can select articles from a number of categories (Social Studies, Science, World, Current Events, etc.). There is an integrated dictionary for challenging words and maps for geographical context. Some of the articles include short video clips. Students may leave brief comments about each article (no login required). Also, typing the word "video" in the search box will bring up the Video of the Week for the past several weeks. The videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. In addition, find a Book and Movie section with a brief summary for the book or movie, and comments. You don't have to join to read the articles, but you do need to join to create a class page. There are many benefits to creating a class page, and it's all free! Don't want to create a class page? You can also embed articles on your current web page.

tag(s): news (261), reading comprehension (116), sports (97)

In the Classroom

Non-fiction reading and background knowledge have found a new emphasis with The Common Core State Standards. It is more important now than ever to help connect students with quality, non-fiction reading and viewing material. Find great news resources and videos of the week to create assignments for your class at DOGOnews. You may want to create a class page and load several news articles. Have students choose from the articles, and email it to themselves. Have students print out the article and complete a "close reading" of the article by annotating it. Then have students who chose the same article get together in groups to discuss their reactions about the article, create a summary together, and create four or five open-ended questions about the article. Lastly, create groups of four, with each student having a different article, and have them present their article to the others in the group and ask them their open-ended questions to trigger a discussion. Create a class magazine from the articles. Or better yet, have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Strengthen reading comprehension by having an 'article du jour' on your interactive whiteboard or projector as students arrive. Link this site on your homepage.

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WeeBehave - Wee Behave

Grades
K to 12
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WeeBehave is a site that allows you to create behavior, task, or chore charts online. Multiple students can be tracked through one account. Teachers and parents alike would benefit...more
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WeeBehave is a site that allows you to create behavior, task, or chore charts online. Multiple students can be tracked through one account. Teachers and parents alike would benefit from using this online tool.

tag(s): autism (22), behavior (46), classroom management (135), organizational skills (122), parents (56)

In the Classroom

Start your year off right! Set up an account using WeeBehave. Special education teachers can set up weekly progress monitoring using this website. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students on their roster. Have regular education teachers with these students set up accounts, complete weekly data, and then print or take a snap shot of the week's chart and email it to the teacher in charge of tracking the student's data. Or have students who are struggling with following the rules set up charts to evaluate themselves, comparing their ratings with the teacher's charts. This would allow for a quality discussion about differences between what students think of their behavior and how others see it. Please keep in mind if planning to share charts with anyone other than yourself (teacher) and the student's parents, you should use codes or fictitious names to protect student identity. Assign a code that has no relationship to the child or student ID.

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Do Something.org - Do Something.org Team

Grades
7 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Do Something.org is one of the largest organizations in the United States that helps young people take action to promote causes they care about and motivates them with realistic,...more
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Do Something.org is one of the largest organizations in the United States that helps young people take action to promote causes they care about and motivates them with realistic, creative inspiration to create a culture of volunteerism. By tapping into the web, television, mobile devices, and popular media, DoSomething.org empowers and celebrates today's youth as the "Do Something" generation: teenagers who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action. Explore this site for ideas for starting your own project and browse the many causes and volunteer opportunities already in your own area and beyond. Help students discover ways to make a difference. The rules are simple: No Money, No Car, and No Adults permitted for putting your plans into action.

There are suggestions, resources, and support to empower your students and give them the energy to take action and make a difference. Whether their passion is to feed the homeless, end bullying, help even the playing field of educational inequalities, or many more needy causes, this website is chock full of easy to access information and strategies that encourage teenagers to decide for themselves how they can contribute their time and desire to make a difference.

tag(s): service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Do you believe that kids can change the world? What are you doing about that? If you have been thinking about involving your class in some type of community service, but need some direction, DoSomething.org is a phenomenal place to "shop" around for ideas. Perhaps you may want to start by showing the film, Pay It Forward, or with a writing prompt, "If you were given time in school to come up with one idea that could be put into action right now by people your age that would make this school or this community a better place, what would it be and how would you put your plan into action?" Have students share ideas in small groups, then introduce them to DoSomething.org by projecting it on your classroom whiteboard or projector, viewing some of the short videos, and using the power of the internet to empower them to act now. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Club advisers, school counselors, and teachers of gifted can use the empowering resources of this site to inspire students to ACT.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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One Word - Oneword

Grades
3 to 12
5 Favorites 1  Comments
Oneword is a quick, simple-to-use writing prompt generator. Each day on the website, one randomly generated word appears at the top of the screen. You have sixty seconds to write...more
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Oneword is a quick, simple-to-use writing prompt generator. Each day on the website, one randomly generated word appears at the top of the screen. You have sixty seconds to write about it. Click "Go" and the page will load with the cursor in place. Don't pause to think; just start writing whatever that particular word inspires, and keep your fingers typing, (or pen moving), until time is up. WOW sums it up in "one word!" This activity builds creative fluency and flexibility! One word of caution: before you click on the button to submit, you must type your name and email. Students do not HAVE to submit their work. Carefully check your school's policy. See suggestions below for how to deal with this effectively in the classroom.

This tool also has a "read" section where you can see what others have written. Since this section is unmoderated and open to the public, it could contain writings not appropriate for the classroom. Stick with the writing prompts page to avoid this issue or prescreen before sharing.

tag(s): creative fluency (8), journals (21), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Oneword can easily be displayed on your interactive classroom whiteboard at the front of class or as an inspirational "sidebar" as students enter class. Preview that day if you plan to display the public submissions, since they are unmoderated! Teachers may use their school email (or free gmail account) address for submissions. When working on individual computers, you may want your students to write their entries offline and save them for the class to submit to a single account. The whole tedious task of entering student names and email addresses can be alleviated by the teacher signing up and creating a free account. This will also provide you with a continually expanding list of more "oneword" features and give you access to all of your entries in one place. Another option of course is keep it old school; students open their journals and just write. Like many other familiar writing prompts, they can be used in a number of ways, including daily warm-up activities, journal entries, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're finished" activity. The element of surprise is inherent in Oneword, which provides built in motivation, as students, ready-to-write, wait for the word to appear on the screen and then, without hesitation... Go! This is a spontaneous exercise in flow; therefore you may want to revisit these one minute entries and choose some for revising and editing into a cohesive piece at the end of a week or other designated time period. You can also use the prompts for student volunteers to model writing techniques on your interactive whiteboard. Have students brainstorm lists of words that would be good writing prompts that are only "one word." ESL/ELL students will improve vocabulary with such brainstorms. Teenagers can try something new by creating an interactive book online with the collection of various different entries for one word. Not sure how to do it? Create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
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Comments

Because the site is not moderated, any unsavory or objectionable entries are on full display. I did not request a membership so I don't know if there is a way for members to flag inappropriate comments. Not for my upper elementary kids, though I may use the idea off line. Ann, PA, Grades: 1 - 5

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Zooburst - zooburst.com

Grades
K to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create a 3D digital pop-up book that can be seen without the 3D movie glasses. Be sure to check out the Gallery to view great examples. Use ZooBurst's editing tools ...more
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Create a 3D digital pop-up book that can be seen without the 3D movie glasses. Be sure to check out the Gallery to view great examples. Use ZooBurst's editing tools with public domain (or Creative Commons) pictures or clipart to create your book. Create an account, choose a title, and read their instructions. Take your idea, manipulate with the simple to use tools, and add text, images, and animation. Edit the angle of the pop-up, speed of the pop-up, and even view your creation from a variety of angles. Use the left side panel to search the web for an image by simply entering a search term. Upload a picture from your computer easily. Click on the picture to add to your book. Drag and drop these elements into various positions in the book. Use the right side panel to change size, rotation, and color of the images. Add a chat bubble to the pictures and fill with text. Use the text box below the book to describe the scene on the page. Add new pages or switch between pages through use of the bottom window. Easily save your book and find your creations in the My Stuff link along the top. For those interested in Augmented Reality, here is a screencast that shows it in action.The free version of the tool currently allows 10 books up to 10 pages each. A free iPad app is available. Premium memberships offer more features--at a price.

tag(s): creative writing (166)

In the Classroom

Create a Zooburst book to embed in a wiki, blog, or site to provide back to school information about your class or teaching team. Introduce the teacher(s), subjects, curriculum content, contact information, sites to view, etc. Use for creative writing in any subject area. Have students: make a book to recreate a historical event (or create an alternative ending), explain a scientific term in simpler words, write their own story, or explain how a math concept can be applied in the real world. Create a book and read it to the students during story time. Use Zooburst to create an introductory story for a new concept or unit. Use as a means for students to deliver presentations, reports, or explain complex concepts. You can put together a story using digital pictures from around your school and share it with your students during story time. Or have students work on stories in groups or individually to exercise their creativity, and maybe produce the next classic children's book.

If you have a gifted one or two in your class, set up a free class Zooburst account for them to create extensions of the curriculum in Zooburst: a Civil War tale, a modern day restaging of a Shakespeare play, a biography of a famous scientist or author.

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Lincoln Memorial Interactive - National Mall and Memorial Parks

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Don't live near the Lincoln Memorial but would like to take your class on a field trip? This interactive site is the perfect one for you and your students. Panoramic ...more
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Don't live near the Lincoln Memorial but would like to take your class on a field trip? This interactive site is the perfect one for you and your students. Panoramic views of the memorial make you feel like you are right there. Hear from park rangers as they give you a glimpse into history through their own experiences and words.

tag(s): lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

This site is a great way to introduce a lesson or unit on Abraham Lincoln, Washington D.C., the Civil War, or civil rights. When used on an interactive whiteboard, students will feel like they are at the memorial. The site provides tools for you to zoom in and explore all the memorial has to offer. In addition, by clicking on HTML you are brought to the download section of the website. All interviews and panoramas are available for download, both audio and video. Have your students work in cooperative groups to download the audio of the park rangers and import it into PhotoStory or iMovie. They can then add their own photos to correspond with the narration. If you aren't using a MAC, create a similar presentation using Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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