TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Apr 21, 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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Would you eat that? - Museum of Science and Industry

Grades
5 to 12
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So what exactly is in our food? Find out here! Use this free tool to identify what is in many of the popular foods that we consume. People born after ...more
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So what exactly is in our food? Find out here! Use this free tool to identify what is in many of the popular foods that we consume. People born after 1980 are the first generation to be raised completely on processed foods (anything that makes our cooking easier.) Contrary to popular belief, these foods are not real and are not made from natural ingredients. Drag the ingredients into the correct place to determine whether you have identified all of the correct ingredients. Learn what is in popular dog food, hot chocolate mix, and more. There is a lot of background music/sounds throughout the activity. You may want to mute your computer or turn down the speakers.

tag(s): cooking (34), nutrition (154)

In the Classroom

Use this tool at the start of a unit on nutrition or macromolecules (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). Assign students the task of keeping a list of ingredients and the reasons for their use. Identify how this is different between completely homemade food (i.e. Sunny D vs. fresh squeezed orange juice.) Students can use this activity as a springboard for further research into many of the processed foods currently consumed today. Students can create a multimedia report or post their findings to a wiki or blog page. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. If you want to learn more about wikis, check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Create from scratch alternatives to the processed foods discussed. Be sure to connect back to why our bodies are unable to process many of these unnatural ingredients correctly. Students can also create newsletters or articles about many ways to avoid and curtail the use of the many processed foods including suggestions for shopping such as "always shop along the outer edges of the stores and not through the center of the store as that is where processed foods are likely to be found." Research the health effects of processed foods including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, and others.
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Hooktheory - Hooktheory, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Hooked on music theory? Hooktheory satisfies your musical needs. Lend Hooktheory your ear and it will train it. The ear training tool challenges you to figure out a chord progression...more
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Hooked on music theory? Hooktheory satisfies your musical needs. Lend Hooktheory your ear and it will train it. The ear training tool challenges you to figure out a chord progression and melody by ear. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels meet the needs of any ear. Try to best the top score or play for fun. Write chord progressions and melodies using the music editor. Type the numbers 1-7 to enter your melody. Can't read music? No worries. Each scale degree is assigned a color to help reinforce the note's sound in your mind to enhance recognition. The editor uses a relative scale so accidentals aren't possible in your melody. Create separate harmony and melody and export your song into a midi file. Import your midi into GarageBand or export your song as a guitar tab or sheet music.

Explore analyses of popular songs through an appetizer of the full song or contribute your own. Listen through YouTube or to the piano version. (If your district blocks YouTube, you could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.) Change the key or the tempo of the track for over 1300 songs archived in this format. The ability to quickly explore visually how chords are used in different songs opens up a huge potential for discovery and learning. Hooktheory Chapter 1 is free, the remaining chapters are for a fee. This review is only based on the free portions of the site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): music theory (41), musical notation (32)

In the Classroom

Hooktheory is a great site for computer stations in music class as you work with ensembles or individual students. Support music theory instruction with the interactive tools available. Students can analyze songs before creating their own. Download students' creations as guitar tab, sheet music, or as a midi file. Ensembles, solos, or duets can play the tunes students create. Import the midi file into GarageBand to add background music or to enhance the selection. Have students create their own music to reflect the tone or mood of a poem or piece of writing. Don't have Garageband or aren't familiar with a midi file? Why not simply create videos and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Teachers of gifted students seeking to do individual music projects will appreciate this site, especially if the teacher is not a music expert!

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Story Creator - Compass Learning Odyssey

Grades
K to 3
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Enjoy building and creating stories with Story Creator! Start by choosing your "Blurpie." Click and drag hats, eyeglasses, hair, and shoes. Then click READY to get started! Choose your...more
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Enjoy building and creating stories with Story Creator! Start by choosing your "Blurpie." Click and drag hats, eyeglasses, hair, and shoes. Then click READY to get started! Choose your setting, add characters, choose your words, and choose props. Use items around the page as desired, or drag to the trash can to get rid of them. When the scene is complete, choose the print button to create a page to write the story. Your image will be on the top of the page along with several lines for story writing. Print and write your story using the props, words, setting, and more!

tag(s): creative writing (167), descriptive writing (41), digital storytelling (135), preK (275), writers workshop (30), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Story Creator is a fabulous way to prompt creative writing. Students are sure to be drawn in by the "Blurpies," Create a story on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) including words used in the story. Print for students to begin writing. Allow students to create their own story setting or have them create one that supports a science topic or retells a story they recently read. Display finished projects on your classroom bulletin board. You may want to print out the paper for students to view the scene and included words. Have students write rough drafts on a separate piece of paper, saving this print out for the final copy. Use Story Creator as part of your writers workshop to teach lessons on setting the scene, describing characters, or adding interesting words. Create a class book of "Blurpie" stories to share with families.
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Honor Point Multiplication Madness - honorpoint.com

Grades
2 to 6
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Review, study, and practice multiplication skills. Review and Study are pretty self-explanatory. One tip for Drills: numbers are provided in rows. This area is also timed. The goal...more
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Review, study, and practice multiplication skills. Review and Study are pretty self-explanatory. One tip for Drills: numbers are provided in rows. This area is also timed. The goal is to click on the multiples in order. For example, multiples of 5 would need to be clicked 0, 5, 10, etc.. If you click on a multiple of 5 that isn't in the correct order, it is marked wrong. Numbers 1-12 are included on this site. Choose Test to complete a times table as quickly as possible. The test is in random order, and you simply fill in the blanks.

tag(s): multiplication (227)

In the Classroom

Use Honor Point for small groups to review and practice multiplication tables on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). This is a great site to set up as a learning center or have students practice on individual computers. One of the greatest assets of this site is the ability to differentiate for students learning their 2 times tables versus their 12 times tables. Set aside 15 minutes once or twice per week to practice the facts. Share a link to the site on your class website or blog for students to practice at home.

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The Readability Test Tool - Dave Taylor

Grades
K to 12
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Find readability scores for web pages and word documents in an instant! Upload a word document or enter a site url to begin. Readability tests include Kincaid, ARI, and five ...more
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Find readability scores for web pages and word documents in an instant! Upload a word document or enter a site url to begin. Readability tests include Kincaid, ARI, and five other indexes. View sentence info such as total characters, number of words, average word length, percentage of short and long sentences, and more. View word usage of types of verbs, conjunctions, and other parts of speech as well as type of words used to begin sentences. Click the link provided to view an explanation of each type of score.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): independent reading (125), readability (8), reading comprehension (114)

In the Classroom

Upload word documents to view instant feedback on readability, including the directions you write for assignments. Challenge students to make changes to their own writing and increase sophistication of their writing to a level appropriate for their own grade. Talk about how readability works: the types of sentences that make a passage "higher" level, sentence length, etc. Test passages of public domain texts from sites like Project Gutenberg, reviewed here, by famous authors to see how their writing ranks when discussing their writing style. View readability levels of websites before sharing with students to find appropriate reading levels for differentiation.

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Class Charts - Classcharts.com

Grades
K to 12
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Use this free classroom management tool to easily track the behavior of your class. Click on the student and quickly assign a positive or negative behavior point. Enter and track ...more
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Use this free classroom management tool to easily track the behavior of your class. Click on the student and quickly assign a positive or negative behavior point. Enter and track other data such as reading levels. You can also make your own customized data set. Create multiple classes and even share data with colleagues (even among different accounts). The data is encrypted for security. Use the data on your school computer or on a majority of web enabled devices such as smartphones and iPads. Please note: Flash is required only to view the introductory video.

tag(s): behavior (46), classroom management (129), data (149), gamification (63)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to "track" your students. Set up this site (and share with students) the first week of school to get started on the right foot! Share the data with parents and with students. Meet one on one to go over their current "track." Add pictures to the charts. Use collected information to help in arranging the students within your class. Use for easy ability or heterogeneous grouping. Track participation, modeling and reward good behaviors, or collect any other data that helps in evaluating and teaching students. If your students have a behaviour plan, be sure to share results with the case manager on their IEP.

Comments

Very nice! Dunc, , Grades: 1 - 12

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BlogBooker - BlogBooker and LJBook.com

Grades
K to 12
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Turn your blog into a PDF book featuring all your blog's entries and comments. This tool works for the following blog tools: WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger. Creating the PDF book...more
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Turn your blog into a PDF book featuring all your blog's entries and comments. This tool works for the following blog tools: WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger. Creating the PDF book is simple. Export your blog by following the directions given for each specific type of blog and then upload the file to BlogBooker. All your content and comments are assembled into a high-quality PDF file. Note that this process can take a few minutes or longer depending on the size of your blog. This is a great way to print your BlogBook or make an archive/backup of the blog. It could also be useful for students and educators as a way to save a blog as a portfolio item. At the time of this review WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger were all 100% FREE!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (87)

In the Classroom

Print your BlogBook to share with your class. Use as a way to have an archive or back up of the class blog. Keep the PDF files for use in portfolios to show student work. Challenge students to create their own BlogBook about a subject they are learning in class. All three tools are free and fairly simple to use. In primary grades, the teacher would need to do most of the Blogbook work. Secondary students could create their own BlogBooks independently or in small groups.
 

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K8Science - Baylor College of Medicine Center for Educational Outreach

Grades
K to 8
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Designed for grades K-8, this site offers video, audio, and slide presentations that cover many important basic science concepts such as viruses and human body systems. Strategies and...more
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Designed for grades K-8, this site offers video, audio, and slide presentations that cover many important basic science concepts such as viruses and human body systems. Strategies and tools for developing scientific inquiry and promoting student investigation are featured on the site. PowerPoint slides are annotated and also peer reviewed for content. The speaker's notes add information about topics that are not only interesting to students but also to teachers. Find lesson plans and other activities, searchable by content and grade level. Find current hot topics such as the bird flu. The science after school section is especially engaging. This site focuses on information to teach as well as short course information on educational approaches in teaching.

tag(s): birds (51), body systems (56), diseases (66), dna (69), earth (228), engineering (118), forces (44), inquiry (37), motion (58), plants (143), rockets (14), scientific method (64)

In the Classroom

Find great activities, information, and resources invaluable in the classroom setting. Share the video clips or online activities on your projector or interactive whiteboard. With the correct information and exciting activities already created, teachers can concentrate on successfully using the information to develop student inquiry and increase the skills for investigating. Be sure to check out the recent additions to find what is new on the site. There are also links to featured lessons and resources along the side.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Term.ly - Agile Tortoise, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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Search this online dictionary to find definition, part of speech, and ranked lists of words. Search alphabetically or use the search box. The ranking shows words that are specific synonyms....more
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Search this online dictionary to find definition, part of speech, and ranked lists of words. Search alphabetically or use the search box. The ranking shows words that are specific synonyms. It also includes antonyms when available. For adjectives, offerings include words that are similar as well as the definition and synonyms. With a free sign-up, you can keep lists of favorite words. A "bookmarklet" available on the site allows you to select text on any website and click it to look it up using Term.ly for definitions and other assistance. Definitions can also be shared on social network sites with an easy click. This is a comprehensive, adult level dictionary and contains adult level words, some inappropriate for classroom usage. Supervise accordingly.

tag(s): dictionaries (55), famous people (19), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (126), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Use this site when learning science and social studies vocabulary words (or famous people). Add the bookmarklet for students to use with complex informational texts. Use this site for research projects and to explore the "root" of a word. Remember to use caution and supervision when referring students to any adult level dictionary. This is a site that you may want to use as a classroom activity (on your interactive whiteboard or projector). If you choose to allow students to register independently (or list this link on your website). be sure to check school policy about student registrations. The favorite word list feature could be quite handy for students to "collect" their own vocabulary words

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Civil War 150 - History.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with an interactive look at different aspects of the war. Choose from various main topics: "Who They Were," "How The Died," "150 ...more
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Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with an interactive look at different aspects of the war. Choose from various main topics: "Who They Were," "How The Died," "150 Civil War Topics," "Weapons of War," and many others. You will find a clickable infographics with facts and information about the Civil War. View several video clips, including Lincoln's Most Pivotal Speech, Confederate Bomb Plot, Gettysburg Battle Strategy, and more. Find out what the experts think were the most important events, battles, and cultural components of the Civil War. View the most popular topics to find additional information on people, places, and events.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): battles (16), civil war (145), emancipation proclamation (12), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), lincoln (85), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Mark this site as a Favorite for use during your Civil War unit. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Show students how to use information from infographics and cite correctly using the "cite this" button located with each infographic. This site is perfect for student exploration. Challenge them to come up with their own top 5 lists to compare to the experts' choices. Another idea: have students create a simple infographic sharing pertinent information about the Civil War using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here.
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Civil War Interactive Poster - TeachingHistory.org

Grades
6 to 12
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The Civil War Interactive Poster uses historical images and primary source documents as an entry point for conversation about this period in American History. Click on any of the four...more
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The Civil War Interactive Poster uses historical images and primary source documents as an entry point for conversation about this period in American History. Click on any of the four quadrants to view items up close. Click on any asterisk within a quadrant for links to further image, related learning, and teaching resources. Each asterisk also contains a question to begin thoughtful conversations about the images.

tag(s): civil war (145), emancipation proclamation (12), gettysburg (26), lincoln (85), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for students to emcee on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Open up each quadrant to view images and documents provided. Have students discuss their reactions and thoughts on each of the representations before clicking on the asterisk to find specific information. Use teaching resources provided to add context to Civil War lessons. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to explain information provided by one of the images. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here). To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Challenge your students to use a site such as TimeRime reviewed here to create an interactive timeline of information from this interactive poster along with other information learned during your Civil War unit.

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Learning Edge - Wellington County Learning Center

Grades
3 to 12
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This online newspaper, designed for ELL/ESL students and adult learners, offers stories on a variety of topics. Topics in the issues include sports, heroes, current events, health,...more
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This online newspaper, designed for ELL/ESL students and adult learners, offers stories on a variety of topics. Topics in the issues include sports, heroes, current events, health, computer usage, and writing. The twelve available issues let you to hear the chosen story read aloud as it highlights words. There are also word work exercises and interactives related to each story. Listen again to any portion of the story as many times as you wish. Difficult words are highlighted and underlined. A click leads to a pronouncing dictionary so you can see the definition and hear the word pronounced. Some of the issues are appropriate for those pursuing vocational careers. Find them under Workplace. This site also offers you practice in writing and the option to submit your own writing for future issues.

tag(s): careers (129), descriptive writing (41), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

If you work with ESL/ELL students, this is definitely a site to bookmark or save in your favorites! It would also work well with learning support students who need support reading informational texts. Share various segments of this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to peruse on their own (using earbuds). This is a great tool to use to differentiate for your ESL/ELL students' various levels. Spend some time exploring this site to find articles/activities applicable to your students. Be sure to check school policies to see if students can submit their own articles. Use this newspaper as a model for ESL/ELL students to create their own class newspaper. Have students collaborate on an online newspaper following the model of the site. Use a tool such as Crocodoc reviewed here.
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Mark Twain in His Times - Stephen Railton, University of Virginia

Grades
6 to 12
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Mark Twain in His Times is a large archive of materials focusing on Mark Twain and how his works were created. Read about specific books. You can also navigate your ...more
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Mark Twain in His Times is a large archive of materials focusing on Mark Twain and how his works were created. Read about specific books. You can also navigate your way through the various other topics: Mark Twain on stage, marketing Mark Twain, or search using one of five different search tools. Choose one of the books to learn background on the book's roots, sources used, and other contextual information. View book agents kits used in marketing Mark Twain books, publisher's scrapbooks, and other images from this time period. Learn how books were bought and sold during Mark Twain's time (very different from today's e-readers!). Play the Mark Twain's memory builder game, designed by him to help people keep historical facts straight.

tag(s): literature (275), mark twain (10)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and use this site when teaching any Mark Twain books. Share images and content on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore on their own. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and more using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Challenge students to upload a copyright-safe photo, and narrate as if it were Mark Twain looking back at his works or his life.

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Vocabulary Web Games - Sheppard Software

Grades
2 to 12
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Enjoy language arts interactives suited for elementary students through adult learners at Vocabulary Web Games. Elementary activities offer review of grammar and punctuation...more
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Enjoy language arts interactives suited for elementary students through adult learners at Vocabulary Web Games. Elementary activities offer review of grammar and punctuation concepts. Activities include Magical Capitals, Comma Chameleon, Adjective Adventure, and more. More advanced (secondary+) activities include practice SAT and GRE prep vocabulary, medical vocabulary, and computer vocabulary using a flash card format. Play word games such as word scramble and hangman with other interactive games on this site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): capitalization (19), grammar (217), parts of speech (68), puzzles (208), test prep (95), verbs (41), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Create links to games and practice vocabulary on classroom computers for students to practice language arts skills. Have students preparing for the SAT/ACT or GRE take vocabulary quizzes to find unknown words. Complement this site by creating your own vocabulary flash cards using an online flashcard maker, like Flashcard Stash (reviewed here).
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