TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Mar 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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Graphing Stories - Dan Meyer

Grades
6 to 12
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Graphing Stories is a set of short videos to use for graphing. Print the handout (pdf) provided on the site and give to students before beginning each video. Play the ...more
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Graphing Stories is a set of short videos to use for graphing. Print the handout (pdf) provided on the site and give to students before beginning each video. Play the video and have students graph the story. Search by most downloads, type of graph (such as linear or decreasing), or video subject. Each video begins with an overview of the graph and labels to use. The final few seconds of the videos demonstrate how finished graphs should appear.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), measurement (163), time (144)

In the Classroom

Use Graphing Stories videos for quick graphing practice. Share the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Stop the video after viewing labeling instructions for students to be prepared. Watch the activity. Stop the video again before the correct graph appears. Have students compare graphs and discuss differences before viewing the end of the video with the correct graph. Download graphs onto student computers for students to complete independently or provide a link to graphs for students to review at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Laundry Day - Cassandra Erkens

Grades
2 to 12
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Are you looking to clean up your formative assessment process in your classroom? Laundry Day is a formative assessment strategy where students "clean up" what they don't know about...more
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Are you looking to clean up your formative assessment process in your classroom? Laundry Day is a formative assessment strategy where students "clean up" what they don't know about a topic. Students select a laundry detergent (Tide, Gain, Bold, and Cheer). These will be their cooperative learning groups to improve, reinforce, or enrich their understanding of the lesson. Students select the Tide detergent if they feel the information is a tidal wave coming down on them. Gain is the detergent selected by students who understand the basics, but need more assistance. Students select the Bold detergent if they are confident with the material, but they have a few questions. Cheer represents the students needing enrichment activities for the unit of instruction. Each detergent is scaffolded for student success and represents a readiness level for the assessment. Students use their homework and previous assessments/activities to determine which detergent has the appropriate activities.

tag(s): assessment (99), classroom management (129), differentiation (47)

In the Classroom

Laundry day allows your students to take ownership of their learning. It also allows the teacher to move around the classroom to assist students and monitor engagement. Post the activities on your learning management site, blog, wiki, or website for students to easily navigate the different "detergents." Provide the learning opportunities online to allow the students to navigate through the different levels. They can work alone, in pairs, or in groups to promote collaboration. Link videos and resources for the students to access to enrich or support the material. For best results, you will want to use this strategy over and over so students become conversant with the terms and strategies.

Use laundry day as an activity to pre-assess your students as well. What detergent did they chose at the beginning of the unit? Students could write a blog post or send an email on the detergent they selected at the of the unit. Have students create blogs using Throwww (reviewed here). This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. There is no registration necessary!

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Meteorite size - CARTOD8

Grades
3 to 12
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See how many meteorites actually strike the Earth. Choose the map or table view. The map view shows bubbles. Hover over a bubble to identify the type of meteorite, size, ...more
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See how many meteorites actually strike the Earth. Choose the map or table view. The map view shows bubbles. Hover over a bubble to identify the type of meteorite, size, and whether it was found or seen. Click on the table tab to see the actual numbers used to plot the graph.

tag(s): earth (228), space (206)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for your interactive whiteboard or projector. It could also be used on individual laptops or at a learning center. Allow time for students to brainstorm what the bubbles represent on the map. Give a few moments then to have them identify by looking at specific bubbles. Discuss whether certain areas of the map have found or seen more or larger meteorites and why that might be. Research what other objects can strike Earth and compare composition and origin in the Universe. Consider expanding your discussion to include folklore, religion, and other aspects of daily life that may have been "impacted" by meteorite impacts or sightings. Discuss various ways that living things could be protected from possible future impacts.

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Molecularium Nanospace - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Grades
4 to 8
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Visit this virtual theme park designed to learn about atoms and molecules! Explore with games, activities, and animations. Activities include riding a nanotube, building an atom, and...more
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Visit this virtual theme park designed to learn about atoms and molecules! Explore with games, activities, and animations. Activities include riding a nanotube, building an atom, and climbing the periodic table (answer the questions to not fall to the next level below). If you find the sound from this site distracting, there is a mute button in the lower right at the start.

tag(s): atoms (55), molecules (43), periodic table (50)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your projector or Interactive Whiteboard. Use this site to increase scientific literacy in all students, not just those showing an interest in science. Designed in a game like format, students with a variety of interests and backgrounds will find this site interesting, entertaining, and informative. Be sure to keep a link to this site on your blog, wiki, or site or create a shortcut on a classroom computer. After students play with the activities, discuss the concepts learned and tie them into your unit on atoms and molecules.

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Education Unboxed - Rosie

Grades
K to 7
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Education Unboxed is a site put together by a homeschooling mom to help explain math concepts primarily through the use of Cuisinaire rods. Topics include preschool and kindergarten...more
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Education Unboxed is a site put together by a homeschooling mom to help explain math concepts primarily through the use of Cuisinaire rods. Topics include preschool and kindergarten concepts all the way through algebra. Short videos demonstrate and explain each topic. Many topics include explanations of games and activities for practice. Although simple in look, this site is a rich resource for any elementary or middle school classroom.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (252), decimals (133), division (172), equations (155), fractions (239), mental math (27), multiplication (227), number sense (97), numbers (203), place value (56), preK (275), square roots (24), subtraction (209), whole numbers (16)

In the Classroom

View videos as a class on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use code provided with videos to embed on your classroom blog or website or share using urls provided. Use videos as a model and challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos on math topics learned in class. Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Clouds Over Cuba - John F Kennedy Presidential Library

Grades
7 to 12
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Recount the weeks leading up to the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis through an interactive and immersive documentary. View a 25-minute documentary covering the crisis from its 1959...more
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Recount the weeks leading up to the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis through an interactive and immersive documentary. View a 25-minute documentary covering the crisis from its 1959 beginnings when Castro overthrew Batista. Watch 40 minutes of expert interviews on 15 related topics. Don't miss the 10-minute "What If?" film that offers a feasible alternative scenario had the crisis escalated to nuclear war. Choose from links within the documentary to explore almost 200 photos, documents, archive films and audio files. The files include the entirety of JFK's secret ExComm recordings, primary sources revealing the secret discussions over 13 days that eventually led to the deal that ended the crisis. One interesting feature is the sync to mobile element. Click this feature to receive a pin to use on your mobile device allowing sync to location within the documentary and documents already accessed on your computer. The videos do NOT require Flash!

tag(s): 1960s (30), kennedy (27), primary sources (84)

In the Classroom

Explore this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a class. Allow students to explore the site on their own. Challenge students to create a newspaper article about one of the main participants of the crisis, or one of the daily events using the Newspaper Clipping Generator. Choose individual chapters to view using links provided instead of viewing the whole documentary if time is an issue. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of Cuban Missile Crisis events. Include audio "stories" and pictures as desired. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of JFK vs Castro or comparing the Cuban Missile Crisis to modern day events such as 9/11. This would be an outstanding inspiration for a History Day project.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Census Dotmap - Brandon Martin-Anderson

Grades
6 to 12
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This free tool shows where population is concentrated in the US, Canada, and Mexico as of 2010/2011. Zoom into any area. If you zoom in far enough, each small dot ...more
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This free tool shows where population is concentrated in the US, Canada, and Mexico as of 2010/2011. Zoom into any area. If you zoom in far enough, each small dot represents a person. This tool is a very interesting way to see where populations are concentrated or to look at populations of where you live compared to surrounding communities. Click "Toggle labels" to show or hide labels of roads and other structures. You can also copy the precise url for the zoomed view of a specific location by selecting it in your address bar.

tag(s): census (19), maps (287), population (60)

In the Classroom

This tool is great for looking around neighborhoods, but can be used for so much more. Use this site to explain to middle school students what the census is/means. This is a very simple way to look at the graphical representation of census data. Use this tool to infer information about the topography. Where would the University be found (if there is one)? Use the population dots to determine features such as mountains, lakes, or other natural or manmade features. Use the population dots to determine the location of the main road through a town. Use the dots to tell where railroads, waterways, or other landmarks are located. In geography lessons, have students look for patterns of population settlements relative to natural features. Why do communities form along rivers or oceans, for example? Students can locate places of their birth or the current place they live. Use for many small scale questions such as: What do the distributions of population tell you about the public service needs of the community? Where are the arts and culture centered? How would elementary schools and bus routes be divided in such an area? Have students make a multimedia presentation about population using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Good.is - GOOD Worldwide, LLC

Grades
7 to 12
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Would you like to read about GOOD news for a change? That is exactly what you will get if you subscribe to this news aggregator. At Good.is, read about conservation ...more
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Would you like to read about GOOD news for a change? That is exactly what you will get if you subscribe to this news aggregator. At Good.is, read about conservation success stories, educating farmers in remote rural villages to increase their crop yield, creating entrepreneurs who design change, inspiring stories about pets, and so much more. What a refreshing way to start the day! Create a free account, choose topics of interest, and sign up for the daily free newsletter to read what's new (and positive) for those topics. If you find something you are truly passionate about you can follow people, and you can contribute articles. Yes, the Good.is tagline/description has an inappropriate word in it, so use your discretion whether you want to display Good.is pages in front of a class.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): enrichment (13), news (261), newspapers (94), politics (98), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Good.is is perfect for enrichment, research, or a current events class. Include it on your class web page (if you are comfortable with the description: a community of people who give a d---) for students to access both in and out of class. Have students try out this site on individual computers, or as a learning center. For students who enjoy current events, Good.is is a terrific source of up-to-the-minute positive stories from across the web. There is advertising, but it is not too intrusive. Use this site as one of several current event options when asking students to find real world connections to curriculum topics. You can always send students directly to the full articles on their original sites to avoid displaying the Good.is frame at the top. Use articles as writing prompts for blog posts or practice writing informational texts or persuasive writing.

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Population Pyramid - Martin DeWulf

Grades
6 to 12
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View population demographics from 1950 to the present including predictions upwards to 2100. Click on a country, region, or the entire world. Search by country by clicking on the first...more
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View population demographics from 1950 to the present including predictions upwards to 2100. Click on a country, region, or the entire world. Search by country by clicking on the first letter of its name. The population pyramid is broken into male vs. female and by age groupings of every 5 years from birth to 100+. Hovering over each bar (age grouping) pops up the percentage of the population in that age group and gender. A URL is provided so you can link directly to the specific graphic that you wish to share.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), population (60)

In the Classroom

At a very simple level, this site is great for teaching about reading charts and graphs or math lessons about how to display data. In social studies or science, view and compare the demographics of various countries. Discuss the religious, economic, and health reasons for the shape of the population pyramids. Discuss demographic transitions, developed vs. developing countries, and emerging issues. Use the information when preparing presentations about health and welfare, world cultures, and biological issues concerning the environments and population demographics. Hypothesize reasons for differences, then have students research to test their hypotheses. Research and discuss the issue of population by searching articles from different countries that show a different perspective from ours.

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Longform - longform.org

Grades
6 to 12
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Longform recommends new and classic fiction and non-fiction from around the web. Read articles on a browser or save to read later with Readability, Instapaper, Pocket, or Kindle. Articles...more
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Longform recommends new and classic fiction and non-fiction from around the web. Read articles on a browser or save to read later with Readability, Instapaper, Pocket, or Kindle. Articles include every imaginable topic. There are publications as "well-known" as New York magazine and as "low-profile" as the Broward-Palm Beach New Times. Search for a topic using the search bar or scroll through current offerings on the home page. Narrow down choices by method of reading such as Instapaper or Kindle format. You can also find podcasts about featured publications and articles. Click on an article's title to read online or print using links provided. Choose the read later button to save to your Longform account. Registration using an email address and password is required for this option.

tag(s): expository writing (44), independent reading (125), poetry (229), reading lists (72), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom account and save articles to use with classroom topics or for independent student reading. Find informational texts to use for Common Core practice. Share this site with students to create their own account to find articles to read. This is definitely a site that you want to list on your class wiki, blog, or website. Teachers of writing can use these articles as examples of different writing styles and of writing with audience and voice in mind. Select more controversial articles to use as writing prompts.

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Quick Picture Tools - QuickPictureTools.com

Grades
K to 12
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Quick Picture Tools offers 12 tools for editing and enhancing pictures. Choose from embossed text, frames, combining images, add text, blur, and more. Click on the editing tool you...more
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Quick Picture Tools offers 12 tools for editing and enhancing pictures. Choose from embossed text, frames, combining images, add text, blur, and more. Click on the editing tool you desire, then choose from options offered to edit pictures. When finished, click "generate image" to save to your computer. No registration needed!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (261)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for easy image editing for you and your students for any classroom projects. No registration is required, and images are saved directly to your computer for immediate use. Make simple reminder posters or classroom signs using the text emboss tool. Invite students to create image/text combinations for bulletin boards, such as types of leaves or insects. Make introductions of students as a first day of school activity using digital pictures and the text tool.

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Pictolang - Michael R. Shaughnessy

Grades
5 to 12
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Pictolang offers four image-based language/culture learning activities. Visual Word Trainer provides flashcards with images and the word it represents from a choice of several languages...more
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Pictolang offers four image-based language/culture learning activities. Visual Word Trainer provides flashcards with images and the word it represents from a choice of several languages (Arabic, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Spanish, and more). Choose your language and the type of photos you wish to find. Picture Match offers a word with an assortment of images to match correctly. Word Match is the opposite of Picture Match - one image is offered with several words. Choose the correct word to match the image. Both of these activities also ask you to choose the language. The most difficult game is the Analyst Game. This activity "tests your visual intelligence." One image is presented, you choose the correct culture represented by the image. (Try it - not as easy as it sounds!)

tag(s): arabic (20), chinese (49), cross cultural understanding (115), french (89), german (65), images (261), italian (34), japanese (43), maps (287), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Use Pictolang to help students learn and review languages on their own. This is a perfect site for ESL/ELL students, world cultures class, and world language studies. Display the Analyst Game on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and play together as a class or as a small group center. Discuss images featured and why they represent different cultures. Allow ESL/ELL students to explore the site using the ESL (North America) option to match images to the English word. This is a great link to add to your class website for world language (or ESL/ELL) students to use for additional practice.

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Meograph - Meograph.com

Grades
K to 12
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Create multimedia stories, maps, and timelines! Easily create a timeline of any event that includes images, videos, and map locations. Create points on the timeline by adding what,...more
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Create multimedia stories, maps, and timelines! Easily create a timeline of any event that includes images, videos, and map locations. Create points on the timeline by adding what, when, and where information. Use the record button to narrate events or insert images from your computer or YouTube videos. Share completed timelines on Twitter, Facebook, embed onto a website or blog, or share using social media links on the site. Create pure narratives to tell a story about anything as long as you can place it somewhere and assign it a date. Don't miss the video that demonstrates how to create a story (on the homepage). Best part: you can start without even signing up! However, to "save" your work registration is necessary. Want to learn more? View this Vimeo video.

tag(s): digital storytelling (135), multimedia (52), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Consider creating a class account for easier access. You may want to send students directly to URLs for their own projects or use the site as a whole-class activity using a teacher-created Meograph to spark discussion. Create Meographs that introduce new topics and content for great student discussion. In lower grades, use a teacher or whole-class creation done on your interactive whiteboard. Students can use pieces of the timeline to brainstorm questions, initiate research, and learn more about the topic. Meographs are an interesting way for students to tell stories about a project, research, or as a class activity. Use to showcase fun items such as "what I did on my summer vacation," "the story of my dog," and more. Create Meographs from the point of view of a literary character or historical figure telling his/her story. Encourage students to use Meograph to connect a variety of events together in history by creating a timeline or tracking the various discoveries about DNA that have led to present day understandings. Remember to teach about copyright, since using copyrighted images in a Meograph would not be "fair use" due to unlimited distribution. Look for images in the public domain or with Creative Commons licensing and model giving attribution for them. See TeachersFirst's Copyright and Fair Use collection for safe sources and more information.

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