TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 24, 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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Virtual Number Rack - Math Learning Center

Grades
K to 4
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Practice number sense skills using beads on the virtual number rack (similar to an abacus). Movable beads encourage you to think in groups of fives and tens while practicing addition,...more
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Practice number sense skills using beads on the virtual number rack (similar to an abacus). Movable beads encourage you to think in groups of fives and tens while practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division strategies. Add or subtract rows of beads using links provided. Display up to 100 beads at one time. Use the shade key to hide beads or drag the corner of the bead to move or change its size. Use the start over button to clear the rack and start with a new set of beads. Be sure to visit the information portion of the site for free resources, including a 10 page activity book for use with the virtual number rack. Click on the lowercase "i" at the bottom right for complete directions.

tag(s): addition (252), counting (119), division (172), manipulatives (44), multiplication (227), number sense (97), numbers (203), operations (126), preK (275), subtraction (209)

In the Classroom

View the virtual number board together as a class (or a center) on your interactive whiteboard or projector to practice counting and basic operational skills. Use this with younger students learning to count to 10 or 100. Create a link on classroom computers for students to explore and practice on their own. Share a link to the site on your class website or blog for students to practice at home. When finished, have students draw the problems they created and include the appropriate number sentence for each drawing.

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Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks - RichBlocksPoorBlocks

Grades
7 to 12
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Use this tool to find the median household income of the US by each Census tract. Search by city or state. Or click the "little orange man" and drag him ...more
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Use this tool to find the median household income of the US by each Census tract. Search by city or state. Or click the "little orange man" and drag him to the location you want to view on the US map. You will be taken to "Street View" (see the street up close) to view the income for that exact block. Find the median income by color blocks.

tag(s): census (19), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Propose reasons for the differences in median income in a particular area or state. Research industry, agriculture, level of education, and other factors to determine the reasons. Investigate at the nearby ports and natural resources. Why do certain parts of the country have higher incomes and/or costs of living? How is income connected to education level? Students can identify patterns that exist among the data. They can form hypotheses about why. Create a campaign to bridge the wage gap by suggesting ideas to increase salaries in areas. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Teachers of gifted will find "rich" possibilities for discussion from this site.

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ReCommunity Recycling - ReCommunity

Grades
1 to 12
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Learn about the recycling process. View Vimeo videos about recycling processes including recycling of specific materials. View Infographics of data and information about use of resources...more
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Learn about the recycling process. View Vimeo videos about recycling processes including recycling of specific materials. View Infographics of data and information about use of resources and recycling. Need more information? Use the list of links to aid in research. Use the glossary at the bottom of the page to understand unknown words. Lesson plans are available for grades 1-12.

tag(s): earth day (112), energy (197), recycling (57), resources (111)

In the Classroom

Use the lesson plans to use the site to learn about resources and recycling. Be sure to discuss what is meant by "Reduce, reuse, recycle" in terms of resources and energy (Infographics and resources are helpful for this) and why recycling is not always the best answer. Do simpler activities or lessons with younger students during Earth Day or Earth Week. Include this link with other resources about resources and recycling. Have different groups each become an expert in the processing of one of the resources and discuss the common steps and problems involved in the recycling process.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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BarryFunEnglish Tools - BarryFunEnglish. com

Grades
K to 12
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BarryFunEnglish offers several free and useful teacher tools for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the dart board selector to randomly choose students from your class....more
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BarryFunEnglish offers several free and useful teacher tools for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the dart board selector to randomly choose students from your class. Import your class from a txt file or input names manually. Easily edit your class list with absent students. Once ready, click to spin the dart board, launch a dart and see what names appears! Open each tool in a new window for a larger viewing area. At the time of this review the other free tools included a random name generator, scoreboard, and stopwatch. Access to all tools is available after registration with email and a password. Note that other areas of this site are subscription based.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (129)

In the Classroom

Use the free registration option to sign up for the site. Bookmark and use this site as a tool for classroom management, such as a way for choosing random students, keeping score, stopwatch, and others. All of the tools are perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Open them in separate windows so that you can drag off to the side if doing an on-screen activity.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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100,000 Stars - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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100,000 Stars is an amazing, interactive visualization of the universe from Google. It can only be viewed in the Chrome browser. It will start to open in other browsers, but ...more
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100,000 Stars is an amazing, interactive visualization of the universe from Google. It can only be viewed in the Chrome browser. It will start to open in other browsers, but doesn't function properly. Choose the "Take a Tour" option at the top-left side of your screen to view a tour beginning with the sun. Begin to find stars closest to our solar system. Use the slider bar on the right side of the page to travel to the end of the Milky Way. Explore on your own using your computer mouse. Click and zoom to explore the universe or click on any star name to find information about named stars.

tag(s): planets (122), space (206), stars (61), sun (71)

In the Classroom

If you do not have Chrome on you classroom computer, it is worth installing it or asking your tech folks to do so. Explore this site as a class on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore on their own on classroom computers. Create a scavenger hunt for stars to find and have students locate them on the site. Have students give a guided star tour on the interactive whiteboard.

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Historical Thinking Interactive Poster (Elementary) - National History Education Clearinghouse

Grades
3 to 7
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Think like a historian using this interactive poster! Consider how your life would have been different if you were born as a slave, an immigrant, living in the city, etc.. ...more
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Think like a historian using this interactive poster! Consider how your life would have been different if you were born as a slave, an immigrant, living in the city, etc.. Think about how your wardrobe would be different. All you have to do is hover your mouse over one of the quadrants and click. More information, activities, and links will appear. Each of the quadrants also has additional teaching resources. On the far left column you will find links to "What Is Historical Thinking?" a video, "What are primary sources?" and "What are secondary sources?" This site is content RICH and definitely worthy of your time. Some of the video clips require Flash.

tag(s): history day (23), primary sources (84)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard or projector and teach your students how to think like a historian. There are some interesting links here for you and your students to investigate. For instance, there is a link to discover how different the lives of kids were in the past. View the primary sources to look at what nineteenth century kids read, what their toys were, and how the clothes looked. There are also links for using primary sources, and surfing the net successfully. You may want to go through each quadrant with the entire class, or you might want to assign groups to become "specialists" in a quadrant and have them present it to your class. Have students create online posters on paper using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Sacred Stories - The British Library Board

Grades
4 to 12
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This visually stunning site offers stories from six world religions. At the time of this review, there were twelve stories in all. All stories are read aloud, animated, and subtitled...more
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This visually stunning site offers stories from six world religions. At the time of this review, there were twelve stories in all. All stories are read aloud, animated, and subtitled (you can turn on or off). The stories use artwork from the British Library collection and stay true to the religious beliefs. For instance, the Islamic text uses no human or animal figures while telling the stories. Instead, they use beautifully changing geometric patterns. By clicking on the home button, you can discover for yourself the origins of the text and the "contrasts and crossovers" for three of these religions by investigating "Understanding Sacred Texts." Click on the "Home" button at the top right and find teachers notes and student activities.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), hanukkah (16), holidays (147), religions (61)

In the Classroom

Ancient History and World history teachers will delight in this site! Use this site at a learning station (headphones would be a good idea) and allow students to talk about what they think they know about the religion before viewing the text. Follow up after with what know after viewing the content and completing the student activities. This site would also be an excellent extension for the gifted students in your classroom. Consider having the gifted students explore the three religions that have the "contrasts and crossovers." Language arts teachers can use this site to meet the goals of Common Core State Standards (cross curricular studies and nonfiction reading). Challenge students to find other myths and legends from other cultures that "crossover" with these or other well-known tales.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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BBC Landscapes - BBC Scotland

Grades
2 to 8
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This interactive map resource from the BBC introduces map skills (focusing on the Scottish Isles.) Follow the little green alien to read details about geography and the site. The three...more
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This interactive map resource from the BBC introduces map skills (focusing on the Scottish Isles.) Follow the little green alien to read details about geography and the site. The three main sections offer: learning different parts of a map, reading a guidebook that has information about Scottish landscapes, and viewing shared photos of landscapes. Learn about map legends and keys, how to read coordinates, and more. You can select from several different options when beginning the overall site, including viewing within a browser or not and also viewing with sound or not. This site is easy to use, content-rich, and entertaining. Note that distances are measured in km, not miles.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), map skills (80), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use this site when beginning a geography lesson. Although the site features Scotland, the skills are useful for any map reading. You can even talk about linear measurements: kilometers vs miles! After going through the lesson, have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of their own city, state, or country. Mapskip even allows audio "stories" and pictures. This is a great site for ESL/ELL and learning support students to use. They can read the directions and hints and also hear the audio.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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True Tube - TrueTube

Grades
9 to 12
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Find videos related to social education, health, citizenship, religions, the environment, crime, and countless eclectic topics at this UK-based site. Though some are controversial,...more
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Find videos related to social education, health, citizenship, religions, the environment, crime, and countless eclectic topics at this UK-based site. Though some are controversial, this is a great set of resources for the introduction of difficult subjects to a class. Events that coordinate with videos are listed along the right side of the site. Choose from subjects along the top including Body and Health, Crime, Culture, and more. Many of the videos deal with worldwide issues from a non-U.S. point of view, offering a different perspective. Be sure to preview videos before you share. Some do deal with rather controversial topics. If necessary, check with your administration about the appropriate use of these videos before sharing withe the class OR sharing the link on your class website.

tag(s): architecture (83), digital citizenship (58), diseases (66), environment (317), media literacy (56), mental health (26), persuasive writing (54), poetry (229), religions (61), sexuality (14), social skills (20), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Share specific videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use a video to introduce a debate topic or as a prompt for persuasive writing. As a media literacy exercise, ask students to find another video (perhaps on YouTube) that presents an opposing viewpoint on the same topic as one here. Then challenge cooperative learning groups to create their own videos on this or another controversial topic being discussed in class. Share the videos using a tool such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Cyberchase - PBS KIDS

Grades
3 to 7
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Join Jackie, Matt, and Inez in the PBS world of Cyberchase, using the magical powers of math and science to take adventures. The "Motherboard" heads the team against the evils ...more
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Join Jackie, Matt, and Inez in the PBS world of Cyberchase, using the magical powers of math and science to take adventures. The "Motherboard" heads the team against the evils of the universe, Hacker. Visit "Games" to find interactives. There are printables found at the "Activities" link. And finally, watch different episodes (see Video) of Cyberchase to practice various math skills. After the show, find links to the math presented in the show. Examples of content topics include: fractions, geometry, math, weather, money, problem solving, using data, using numbers, science and engineering, pre-algebra, measurement, math and sports, and geometry.

tag(s): data (149), engineering (118), fractions (239), money (192), problem solving (258), sports (95), weather (187)

In the Classroom

Introduce math concepts in a unique way, using Cyberchase adventures on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site at your centers/stations to practice, use, and apply math and science skills. Put a link on your class website for students to use for review, reinforcement, and enrichment.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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