TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Apr 28, 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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Math Celebrity - Math Celebrity LLC

Grades
7 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Math Celebrity is an automatic math tutor and problem/solution generator. Enter any math problem or search term into the search bar. The answer is generated including each line of work...more
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Math Celebrity is an automatic math tutor and problem/solution generator. Enter any math problem or search term into the search bar. The answer is generated including each line of work required to solve the problem. Many science topics are also available. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the many topics. Hover your mouse over the lesson features on the left side of the screen to view additional options on the site such as subjects, calculator, and instructions. Click on the calculator in the search bar to view a list of problems and tutorials to explore. The video tutorial is hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. 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.

tag(s): angles (86), charts and graphs (195), conversions (22), coordinates (32), decimals (133), energy (197), equations (155), exponents (42), factoring (31), factors (42), fractions (239), functions (70), multiples (34), number lines (22), percent (82), polynomials (32), prime numbers (31), probability (130), problem solving (258), pythagorean theorem (34), quadratics (32), ratios (52), rounding (22), square roots (24), vectors (24)

In the Classroom

Create a bookmark for Math Celebrity as an additional way to view problem solving steps. Share this site with students to use at home to review problem solving methods. Embed any specific page or topic into your website or blog for student use at home. The embed code can be found at the bottom of each page. Use this site as a model for step-by-step problem solving demonstrations. Have students use an online poster creator, such as Padlet, (reviewed here) to display their own problem solving work.

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FastFig - The Word Processor for Math - Fig Labs, Inc

Grades
8 to 12
0 Favorites 2  Comments
  
FastFig is a predictive math computation website. It solves problems as you type, allowing free flow of ideas instead of focusing on the process of math. Create an account using ...more
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FastFig is a predictive math computation website. It solves problems as you type, allowing free flow of ideas instead of focusing on the process of math. Create an account using email, Google, or Facebook. Choose between a blank page or different types of problems such as word problems, algebra, or statistics. Use the search bar to locate options for use such as functions, mode, averages, and much more. Click on the "i" next to each term to view examples and explanations for use. Be sure to view the tutorials for a full overview of capabilities of the site.

tag(s): calculators (41), equations (155), factoring (31), fractions (239), integers (41), mean (25), median (22), mode (15), numbers (203), pi (22), polynomials (32), prime numbers (31), quadratics (32), square roots (24), variables (22), vectors (24)

In the Classroom

Use FastFig to demonstrate solving problems and correct syntax on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for some "backward" teaching. Type in a problem and allow FastFig to solve it. Challenge students to explore the steps required to solve the problem. Share this site with students as a resource for checking homework answers. (It doesn't get them off the hook for providing explanations and step-by-step procedures for solving problems.)

Comments

Hello Amy, Thanks for signing up and trying out FastFig. We've worked out the issues with FireFox, and i apologize for any inconvenience. Please check us out again! We'd love to work with you and tailor the product to better fit the needs of younger students. (On our page navigate to 'More' then to 'Contact' and e-mail us from there) Sincerely, Jay - from the FastFig Team Jay, , Grades: 0 - 12
Was disappointed that it didn't work in Firefox, but once I logged into Internet explorer it was fine. I teach younger students and it's not as useful as it would be for high school students. Amy, NJ, Grades: 1 - 6

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Puzzle Me Words - Read Write Think

Grades
K to 2
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Snap puzzle piece letters to spell a word (illustrated by an image). Be sure your sound is turned on. Begin by typing a user name. Choose beginner or advanced. After ...more
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Snap puzzle piece letters to spell a word (illustrated by an image). Be sure your sound is turned on. Begin by typing a user name. Choose beginner or advanced. After viewing the image and hearing the word to spell, click and drag letters to spell the word. Hear immediate feedback as play continues. Save work and finish later (if desired). Simply write down the short code provided. This code will allow you to return to your game within 30 days.

tag(s): phonics (75), preK (275), sight words (37), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent site to use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share how to use this site with students. Create a group learning center at your interactive whiteboard or use the site on classroom computers. Allow them to practice spelling simple words within the game. Share a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for practice at home. Challenge students to move from beginner to advanced levels through practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Blender - Blender.org

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Interested in making a professional quality animation? Blender is an open-source, downloadable 3D rendering program that is free! Blender offers an array of essential tools for animation...more
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Interested in making a professional quality animation? Blender is an open-source, downloadable 3D rendering program that is free! Blender offers an array of essential tools for animation in the following categories: Interface, Modeling, Rigging, Rendering, Animation, UV Unwrapping, Shading, Physics and Particles, Imaging and Compositing, and Real Time 3D/Game Creation. Since this tool is open source, many scripts for extra tools can be downloaded from the user forums. Even though this tool is time consuming to learn, many detailed tutorials are available on the Blender website. There is also help in the community forum. Download is available for Windows, Mac, or Linux. Be sure to check out the animations in the gallery for great ideas of what this tool can do. Although this site could be used by some younger students, an adult would need to supervise and assist.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (59)

In the Classroom

Use this fantastic tool to create professional looking animations. Be sure to bookmark on a class computer or list on your class blog, wiki, or site. Students can challenge their animation building skills with this fantastic resource. Despite the learning curve, students can really learn a lot about making great animations with this fabulous tool. Use this animation tool to make story characters, animals in a food chain, figures in history, and other animations. Challenge your gifted students to create animations to share with the rest of the class. Have students create a review "game" using this animation tool.

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Macaulay Library - Cornell University Lab of Ornithology

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Browse a huge collection of audio and video clips that celebrate the biodiversity of animals. Browse recordings by species using the search box on the top of the screen. Click ...more
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Browse a huge collection of audio and video clips that celebrate the biodiversity of animals. Browse recordings by species using the search box on the top of the screen. Click "Find" to search by taxonomy. Click on share for links and embed codes for specific recordings. Locations of where the recordings were made can be viewed in Google maps. Sort results by location, species, date, and more. Although this site is useful for all ages, an adult would need to navigate this site with a younger student.

tag(s): animal homes (41), animals (277), biodiversity (38), organisms (21)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. When discussing various species and biodiversity, choose a variety of videos or audio tracks to hear what many of these species sound like. Compare similar and different species. Research the various types of calls that organisms can make. Explore the ways that they move from place to place. Challenge older students to explore this site on their own and share their "animal findings" with the class. In elementary classrooms, turn up the speakers and simulate the sounds of various animal environments as you read aloud about the animals who live there. Play videos on a projector to practice observing nature and animal behaviors of species from your area. Build scientific listening/observation skills by playing different sounds and asking how they are different. In upper level physics classes, use these natural sounds and the accompanying audio analysis tools to better understand the science of sound.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Infographic of the Day - Fast Company

Grades
6 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
The Infographic of the Day from FastCompany can give practice in learning about data and interpreting Infographics. Not sure what an Infographic is? Infographics provide visual...more
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The Infographic of the Day from FastCompany can give practice in learning about data and interpreting Infographics. Not sure what an Infographic is? Infographics provide visual data and information about a topic/related topics. Be sure to take time to preview the Infographics on this site as some may not be suitable for young people. It would be best to link directly to a specific Infographic to share.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): data (149), infographics (42)

In the Classroom

Instruct students to view the Infographic and identify the information that jumps out at them. This is a good time to discuss design elements and how to arrange items to be noticed. Allow students to work in groups to identify interesting information. Students can identify the accompanying information that helps in the understanding of the data. Students can record any questions the infographic raises about the data or the related information. Challenge your students to use specific information they find to develop their own Infographic with further explanations and concepts. This last activity meets Common Core standards in paraphrasing content into simpler terms and synthesizing information from multiple sources into a coherent understanding. Learn more about Infographics here. Peruse TeachersFirst's many Infographics tools here.

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Loose Leaves - looseleaves.me

Grades
2 to 12
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Loose Leaves is a place to put thoughts that don't quite fit anywhere else. As they put it, "For Thoughts That Don't Have a Home." It is similar to ...more
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Loose Leaves is a place to put thoughts that don't quite fit anywhere else. As they put it, "For Thoughts That Don't Have a Home." It is similar to an instant web page maker. No registration required. Click on the leaf and begin composing your thoughts. Insert a title and begin writing. Edit font style, alignment, indent, and paragraph style using tools provided. Insert images using the image link. Images must already be online so you can point to them by url. Adjust image size, description, and placement in your document as desired. You can even drag images directly into your document from another open browser window! Choose Save to receive the url for your page. You will receive 2 url's: one for sharing and one to use for editing your page. Be sure to save that url in your Favorites or a document so you do not lose it! Collect lines for future poems, figures of speech that you like, or simply thoughts in this "idea bin" for writing.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (88)

In the Classroom

Use this site for students to post or collect material for simple projects such as stories, poems, and art projects. Collect a master list of urls to student pages on your classroom website, wiki, or blog for easy access. If students are creating pages, be sure to check with your district's policy on publishing student work. The beauty of Loose Leaves is that there aren't any identifiers such as email address, name, or other information about the user. Publications are completely anonymous, if desired. Create pages for quick link sharing or for upcoming events such as field trips, class party information, school events, science fair, etc. Students can create simple pages to share links to include in presentations so classmates can participate on laptops. If you are beginning a major creative project such as a literary magazine or research project, Loose Leaves is a wonderful place for writers to collect questions and ideas to be developed later. Share this one with your gifted students as a place to collect written ideas or to collaborate on any kind of writing, such as a poem or script. Just be sure your disorganized ones save both the sharing urls: the one to view it and the one to edit it. If they do not mark these and save them to favorites, they will be gone forever! (You COULD start the page for them and give them the url to edit it... but you would not be helping them learn organization skills!)

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Telescopic Text - Joe Davis

Grades
2 to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Looking to write with more detail and description? Telescopic Text is a humorous way to demonstrate the art of elaboration. Type a short simple sentence (or line of poetry). Click ...more
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Looking to write with more detail and description? Telescopic Text is a humorous way to demonstrate the art of elaboration. Type a short simple sentence (or line of poetry). Click on a word or phrase and add a little bit more detail. Through this site, you will learn how to identify words or phrases to expand on, creating passages that are more meaningful. Once the sentence (or more likely a paragraph) is complete, replay the writing process. The text can be either "unfolded" (opened up) or "folded" (narrowed down). It is just as easy to reverse the writing process. Start with a long piece of text, and practice how to eliminate words or phrases. This site presents the writing process as a lighthearted play of words. Telescopic Text is an opportunity to generate writing ideas. There is a published library with a few examples posted that are for teacher use. Anyone can write his or her own text without having to register. Register to be able to save, manage, and publish your writing! Be sure to check out the "How to Use" portion of the site for a complete explanation.

tag(s): descriptive writing (41), elaboration (2), paragraph writing (17), parts of speech (68), sentences (52)

In the Classroom

Use this site to support a mini-lesson about word choice, meaning, elaboration, or the importance of using detail and description. It would also be a way to build imagery into a poetry writing lesson. Project this site onto an interactive whiteboard or projector for whole class or small group exploration. Use the examples already posted or create your own to demonstrate how the tool works. After the mini-lesson, have students work in small groups to create a telescopic text (or poem) of their own. This website lends itself to a powerful mini-lesson or to craft lessons that will really "stick".
 

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MindMup: Zero-friction online mind mapping - Gojko Adzic, Damjan Vujnovic, David de Florinier

Grades
K to 12
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MindMup is an easy to use mind mapping tool. Click to create a new map. Double click the starter bubble to add your title. Use the tool box (left sidebar) ...more
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MindMup is an easy to use mind mapping tool. Click to create a new map. Double click the starter bubble to add your title. Use the tool box (left sidebar) to add or edit ideas. Use the mouse to drag and drop nodes. The mouse can also be used to scroll the map (drag the central node, or anywhere outside the map). As soon as you change a map, the Save button appears in the toolbar. Click it and your new map gets a unique URL. Every time you save, the map gets a new URL. Just copy and share the URL with colleagues and friends. You can also use one of the options in the Share toolbar (top-right) to send it to a social networking site. Anyone can edit the map, but won't change your original copy. The best part of this simple/easy site: no registration required!

tag(s): concept mapping (22), graphic organizers (42), mind map (24), organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

This free organizational tool can be used in classrooms at every level. Use this tool to help organize learning units and share the organization on screen so students see how pieces fit together. Share the unit map with other teachers, students, or parents. Highlight goals, objectives, learning tasks, assessments, and resources. Share before your unit, and expectations become very clear. Use as a yearly overview for parents at the beginning of the year at Open House. Let parents see the multiple ways their child will be assessed through the year. Have students use this tool for direction in problem based learning situations. Use this tool in science for collecting data, experiments, or science fair outlines. Use the tool in writing class to make writing guides for narrative or expository writing. In reading use for predictions, sequencing of stories, inferences, or organizing genres of books each student has read. Have students map multiple ways to solve a single problem in math class. Have students keep daily requirements or schedules with readily available resources as links. Let students enjoy taking notes from content based classes. Have a student scribe create the notes each day and share with the class. Have student groups map the current unit before the test as a review activity. Or use an ongoing map as a whole class visual diagram of concepts learned, adding new knowledge throughout a unit. Don't miss the chance to color code to "sort" ideas and concepts!

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Learn American English Online - Learn American English Online

Grades
2 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This comprehensive English program offers complete ESL/ELL instruction on seven levels. The units/lessons are color-coded. The focus of the lessons is mostly on grammar. Blue for example...more
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This comprehensive English program offers complete ESL/ELL instruction on seven levels. The units/lessons are color-coded. The focus of the lessons is mostly on grammar. Blue for example focuses on "be," prepositions, this/that/these/those, and many other topics. You must be able to read and write English to successfully benefit from this website. Each color/level has more than 20 lessons, quizzes, tests, dialogues, and reading. Many of the lessons have an audio clip or a video (or a Voki) to illustrate the level. Answers are provided for the quizzes. Extras include a pronouncing dictionary (found under Vocabulary), extra video lessons, extra information on pronunciation, and extras in each level. The levels also contain reviews and checklists. Many of the videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dictionaries (55), grammar (217), grammar review (37), listening (92), pronunciation (45)

In the Classroom

Check this site if you need a quick grammar review of any topic. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard/projector. Provide a link to this site on your class webpage. Many of these lessons would be useful with non-ESL/ELL students, as well. It is easy to scroll through the lessons in each color-coded level. Put a link to this site on classroom computers and send it home with ESL/ELL students in school newsletters to share with their parents.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Slave Stories - International Slavery Museum, Liverpool England

Grades
7 to 12
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Follow the stories of four African slaves as they were taken on board a transatlantic slave ship in 1780. Begin as you meet your guides from four different tribes. Choose ...more
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Follow the stories of four African slaves as they were taken on board a transatlantic slave ship in 1780. Begin as you meet your guides from four different tribes. Choose a story teller to begin. Each guide begins to tell the story of their family life and cultural information. Click on underlined terms to view more information or find the definition to a vocabulary word.

tag(s): africa (181), black history (59), cross cultural understanding (115), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

View this site together on your interactive whiteboard or projector. It would be an interesting counterpoint if your class is reading Paula Fox's The Slave Dancer, even though the time frame is not identical. Allow students to explore on their own. Challenge cooperative groups to read a specific "journey." What was the biggest surprise in the story? What did they already know about slavery? Have groups use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of slavery voyages. They can even include audio "stories" and pictures.

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English Grammar Express - englishgrammarexpress

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Find many useful grammar lessons with practice exercises for ESL/ELL students at this site created and maintained by English teachers. The lessons are well organized and illustrated,...more
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Find many useful grammar lessons with practice exercises for ESL/ELL students at this site created and maintained by English teachers. The lessons are well organized and illustrated, with some in video format. The video lessons include grammar and comprehension questions (and answers). A newly added search feature allows you to look for exactly the lesson and subject you need. At the bottom of the page, there are links to related lessons. You also can print out entire lessons in PDF form. The opening page shares a "New Lesson" feature and links to other practical lessons. Some of the lesson topics include grammar mistakes, future tense, revision & comprehension, stative verbs, prepositions, plurals, party conversation, job interview information, and many more. Also featured on the "Ask Us" page are questions other teachers might have. If your district blocks YouTube, some of the video clips may not be viewable. 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.Caution: at least one of the YouTube videos on the homepage was blocked due to copyright issues at the time of this review. Note that spellings are British, but this would only affect the usefulness of a few lessons for U.S. teachers and students.

tag(s): grammar (217), idioms (44), reading comprehension (114), verbs (41)

In the Classroom

Check here for the grammar lesson you have in mind, including for individual help for some ELL students. Many of the topics, such as verb agreement, are suitable for any English/Language Arts class. You may find helpful exercises, illustrations, or even a video to demonstrate what you plan to teach. Share the lesson on your interactive whiteboard or projector or as an individual task for certain students. Introduce your grammar lesson with one of the featured conversations which have a grammar focus. Challenge students to create their own grammar lesson using clips form YouTube (if permitted at your school) or try Dailymotion, if that site is permitted. Have students use ClipNabber reviewed here to grab favorite clips from online video sources such as YouTube and Dailymotion quickly and easily.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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