TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 19, 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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Musical Resources - The National Civil War Field Music School

Grades
6 to 12
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Discover the music of the Civil War as a real musician. This collection of sheet music links, Army guidebooks, and more are intended for re-enactor musicians who plan to "go ...more
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Discover the music of the Civil War as a real musician. This collection of sheet music links, Army guidebooks, and more are intended for re-enactor musicians who plan to "go to school" to become field musicians. See the importance of music as a communication tool before, during, and after a battle. You can even try your own hand at playing a drum cadence. Many of the files are Acrobat scans of original music. These are not "beginner" pieces, but a musician with moderate experience could play at least some of them. Clicking on the link to Other Resources and Links can lead you to some musical re-enactor videos on YouTube. See listings under Civil War Field Music/Fife and Drum Corps. 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.

tag(s): civil war (145)

In the Classroom

Share this resource as a project option for your musical students during a unit on the Civil War. Share the site with your music or band teacher to collaborate on a Civil War Day event.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Civil War 150 - Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

Grades
4 to 12
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Civil War 150 is part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The site includes...more
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Civil War 150 is part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The site includes online exhibits, videos, educational resources, and blog posts. Choose from any topics to explore links that include images, photographs, short essays, and also videos. Also available is a large series of lectures and podcasts given by historians on diverse topics such as Lincoln's Beard - Why Did He Grow It? and Stonewall Jackson, Portrait in a Minute. Some podcasts are in video and they range in length from 3 minutes to almost an hour and a half. Some 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.

tag(s): 1800s (44), civil war (145), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Listen to podcasts in your classroom and view videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a Civil War soldier or important person from that time. Have students create timelines of Civil War events (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles (reviewed here).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Coloring Squared - Cameron Krantzman

Grades
K to 6
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Are you looking to add some color to your math instruction? Need a break from the black and white worksheet? Coloring Squared offers free pages to teach and review math ...more
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Are you looking to add some color to your math instruction? Need a break from the black and white worksheet? Coloring Squared offers free pages to teach and review math concepts. Determine the solution and color the squares based on a key found on every page to reveal a pixel art puzzle. While the math may be puzzling, enjoy coloring the squares to generate a fun, pixelated picture. Aligned to the Common Core Math Standards, the free pages offer supplementary materials for counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percents, and place value.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (251), counting (120), decimals (133), division (172), fractions (239), multiplication (227), operations (126), percent (82), place value (56), subtraction (208), worksheets (59)

In the Classroom

Not every math solution is black and white. Add some color to your teaching and review. Coloring Squared activities are great for station work, enrichment, or support. Students can write short stories using their picture for a cross-curricular activity. Final pictures are great for math bulletin boards. Looking for assignments for students to complete after their math work is finished? Coloring squared will keep the students engaged. Send this link home for students to use (and print) both in and out of the classroom.
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Discover Anatomy - rigb.org

Grades
4 to 12
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Why are skeletons so important? How does anatomy work? Find plenty of activities, discussions, and information to answer these and other important questions. Use the Joint Explorer...more
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Why are skeletons so important? How does anatomy work? Find plenty of activities, discussions, and information to answer these and other important questions. Use the Joint Explorer to manipulate a skeleton to view its range of movements. Enjoy the Build a Skeleton interactive: build a skeleton and identify the similarities among a variety of skeletons. Identify other structures around us that move much like our bodies in "Move It." Answer the Big Questions and take quizzes. What do animals without skeletons do? Examine Endoskeletons and Exoskeletons as well on this site. Be sure to check out the Teacher's Notes for general information and useful links.

tag(s): body systems (57), human body (120)

In the Classroom

Learn about the structure and movement of the human body. Students can work individually or in groups to learn about various joints and movements of the human body and other animals. Encourage students to research other organisms and create a multimedia presentation including the showing of the range of motion. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Students can connect the movement with other information that they learned on the site of other items such as a door hinge.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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CurrClick - Staley Krause

Grades
1 to 12
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Browse over 30,000 free ebook (pdf format) titles and games available for immediate download at CurrClick! Scroll through the book list or choose from specific publishers to search...more
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Browse over 30,000 free ebook (pdf format) titles and games available for immediate download at CurrClick! Scroll through the book list or choose from specific publishers to search for titles. Topics range from basic phonics readers to the Declaration of Independence to many others! Some of the topics are religious based (mostly Christian). If you are in a public school, you may want to avoid those topics. Narrow your search by choosing the link to free ebooks. Enter your search term to find available titles. Appropriate ages for each book are provided as you scroll through. Add desired books to your cart. Create an account using your email and password and then check out. After check out, titles are available for immediate download in PDF format.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): ebooks (41)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site for use throughout the year for materials to use with any unit. Check back often, as new titles may be added! Display documents on your projector or interactive whiteboard to teach almost any language arts skills: highlighting parts of speech, subject/predicate, etc. Teacher notetaking or working with informational texts using these free texts. Be sure to use the FREE search to avoid paid texts. This would be a good site to share with students on your class website, blog, or wiki.
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U. S. History Images - Karen J. Hatzigeorgiou

Grades
7 to 12
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U.S. History Images is a large site of Public Domain images beginning with Native Americans up to the Civil War. Choose from categories offered to locate images within the different...more
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U.S. History Images is a large site of Public Domain images beginning with Native Americans up to the Civil War. Choose from categories offered to locate images within the different choices. For specific searches, use the search bar or site map to locate content. Be sure to view the Terms of Use for understanding of proper use of images.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): 1800s (44), american revolution (86), civil war (145), colonial america (107), colonization (16), emancipation proclamation (12), images (265), industrial revolution (25), industrialization (15), lincoln (86), native americans (78), pioneers (8), states (163), transportation (40), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site to share during classroom lessons on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Share with students as a place to explore and to "get the picture" of early events in American History. As an alternative to a traditional report, create a newspaper using a site such as Zinepal (reviewed here) to report on Civil War events. Click to "Start with a blank e-Book." This site is a wonderful source for students to find raw materials for multimedia projects in general. Be sure to provide a mini lesson on how to cite their image sources!

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Kitten Hop Dolch Word Practice - Arcademics

Grades
K to 2
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Test your Dolch sight word reading speed with this interactive! You can play in a public game with unknown competitors or a private game. To start, select your own kitten ...more
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Test your Dolch sight word reading speed with this interactive! You can play in a public game with unknown competitors or a private game. To start, select your own kitten color. The site allows competitors on up to 4 computers to play at the same time. You will hear a word from the Dolch sight word reading list. Click on it as quickly as possible. Your kitten will jump to the correct ball of yarn. The faster you respond, the quicker your kitten jumps from ball to ball. This interactive measures each player's reading speed as well as pits them against the other players whose kittens appear on the board. This site is helpful for any beginning readers including ELL/ESL students and learning support students.

tag(s): preK (279), sight words (37)

In the Classroom

Even if your students have been reading basic sight words for a while, this site offers practice in speed and fluency. You could create a learning center out of this site and have four different students competing on laptops or other devices. If you only have one computer and an interactive whiteboard, set up a learning station! Students can work in groups of two or individually to see their speed. If you choose to have students work in partners, be sure to partner each child with a student of similar reading level, so one student isn't providing all of the answers. This is a great simple site to provide for summer practice of sight words.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives - Office of the Historian, US House of Representatives

Grades
6 to 12
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With Congress (and its low approval ratings) in the headlines, you might wonder if it were always like it is today. This site offers a historical look at the US ...more
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With Congress (and its low approval ratings) in the headlines, you might wonder if it were always like it is today. This site offers a historical look at the US House of Representatives from its first session in 1789 to the present. Who has served? Who have the leaders been? What does the House do? How has that changed over time? The site is absolutely packed: historical documents, photographs, oral histories, information about policies and procedures, and biographies. There are also important artifacts highlighted on this site: paintings, sculpture, and the trappings of US political power, as well as insight into the personalities of those who have served in the House. There are lesson plans, time lines, a glossary, and printable fact sheets.

tag(s): branches of government (48), congress (33), house of representatives (9)

In the Classroom

Understanding the separation of powers is fundamental to learning about how the US is governed. While it may be tempting to group the Senate and the House of Representatives into one legislative entity, there are important differences between the two bodies. This site can help students see the specific role the Founders had for this branch of government. Looking at important events in US history, like women's suffrage, civil rights, and foreign policy through the lens of the House gives added depth to the lesson. Students may be interested in the process by which the House conducts its business. Who is a "whip" and why do they call him (or her) that? Take some time to check out the lesson plans and other resources designed for educators as well.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Grammar Base - GrammarBase.com

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 1  Comments
Grammar Base is an instant grammar check program. Paste any text into the box to view errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, style, or plagiarism. Results display listing the number...more
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Grammar Base is an instant grammar check program. Paste any text into the box to view errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, style, or plagiarism. Results display listing the number and type of errors. This site does not correct the errors for you. Errors are also underlined in your document. Make corrections, then choose to check again until all corrections are complete.

tag(s): grammar (216), plagiarism (35), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

Use Grammar Base on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to demonstrate grammar and spelling mistakes and proper corrections. Share with students as a resource for editing and proofing written work. Grammar Base does not provide corrections, so that is left up to you (or your students) to come up with the proper edits on their own. Start using Grammar Base at the beginning of the school year and have students keep track of the type of errors they make. This way you can see when you need to teach a whole class mini lesson for a particular grammar concept.

Comments

It will check for mistakes, but the report that goes with it appears to be only a free trial. Deborah, VT, Grades: 7 - 12

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Celly - Celly, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Texting, texting... 1, 2, 3. Are you hunting for a good text messaging tool? Celly is a free mobile social network to communicate with students and parents via text message. ...more
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Texting, texting... 1, 2, 3. Are you hunting for a good text messaging tool? Celly is a free mobile social network to communicate with students and parents via text message. A simple setup process allows you to create as many cells (private texting rooms) as you like. Provide your unique code to students and parents to join your cell through their phone or the web. Members can use Celly online or through a mobile device. Require usernames or allow users to be anonymous. Members' numbers are private for safe and secure communication. Customize your cells with how you want to interact with your members. Conversation mode can be configured for one-way messaging, from the teacher to all members, or two-way group chat between all members. Multiple-choice polls allow numerous opportunities for engagement. Schedule messages to be sent at a later time. Link your cell(s) online for students and parents who do not have text messaging. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. Celly is free; however, standard text message rates apply. Students ages 13-18 must have parental permission to use Celly.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), gamification (65), parents (56), polls and surveys (48)

In the Classroom

Celly could work in class as an instant response system if your school allows cell phones. Create a protected online environment for students to communicate with you and with each other. Set up your account and all students (and parents) at the beginning of the school year or at Back to School night. Students can communicate online or on a phone. Students and parents without cell phones won't be left out because they can interact online. Quickly send reminders to students and parents or promote an upcoming event or due date. No need to watch the news! Send alerts to members for weather closures and delays. Even if your students are too young, teachers can communicate with parents via Celly. Schedule messages up to 90 days in the future. Use Celly as a back channel or interactive wall during class. Students can use the @me feature for note-taking in class. Provide polls for exit slips or to activate schema. Send polls during field trips to monitor engagement and text trivia questions on the bus ride home. Send reminders to chaperones on field trips. Students and chaperones can text you throughout the trip as virtual safety checks. Real time information from the polls provides rich data. Polls are efficient and meaningful. They make the classroom feel like a larger place.

You can say so much in only 140 characters. Allow students to use texting language to send responses. However, they should also have to write the message using correct conventions. Teach the difference between formal and non-formal writing. Rewrite passages in abbreviated speech through text messages. Students translate the messages to gain a better understanding of the material. Students can also rewrite work for peers to translate. Students can text thoughts as they read a selection to group members for interactive reading. Teach digital citizenship in a controlled environment. Responsibly using cell phones in the classroom teaches digital literacy skills to be successful.

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Citelighter - Saad Alam

Grades
6 to 12
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Citelighter is a browser extension (available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) that enables you to select sections of webpages and save/organize them. It also automatically creates...more
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Citelighter is a browser extension (available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) that enables you to select sections of webpages and save/organize them. It also automatically creates an APA, MLA, or Chicago style bibliography from items you highlight and collect. Highlight and save information from any web page after adding the extension to your browser's task bar. Add notes if desired. Share or find already highlighted information through the use of Knowledge Cards already saved and tagged. Drag and drop items to put in any order desired. Change the format using links provided. You can save desired information easily to Word or Google Docs.

tag(s): browser (6), citations (34), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Share with students as a resource for saving and organizing web material. The clipping feature allows students to highlight the key information from a page so that a few days down the road they're not wondering why they bookmarked a webpage. The bibliography tools help students properly format their Works Cited pages. And searching the Knowledge Cards is like opening to the bibliography of a good book and finding out what the author used in his or her research. Use this tool to help keep your students (or even yourself) organized! Note that a clever student could essentially "grab" pieces of text from throughout the web and "write" a paper that way. Make sure you teach plagiarism lessons about paraphrasing and proper citation of sources so students use this easy tool properly!

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English Lessons on American Presidents - Sean Banville

Grades
4 to 12
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This American Presidents website contains lesson plans for teaching about each of the US presidents all the way through Barack Obama. The site uses the informational text about each...more
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This American Presidents website contains lesson plans for teaching about each of the US presidents all the way through Barack Obama. The site uses the informational text about each president to teach, reinforce, and review English language concepts. The site is directly geared toward ESL/ELL students. However, all users will benefit from materials provided. Choose any president to view a short biography. There are also language lessons such as fill in the blank and writing activities. Choose from links at the top of the page to print the lesson in PDF format, hear the article read in mp3 format, and view additional activities such as flash cards and word jumbles. Although heavy in advertising, this site is worth a look as a resource for activities and lessons about US presidents.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): jefferson (19), kennedy (27), lincoln (86), presidents (130), reading comprehension (116), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site as a resource to accompany US presidents units or to supplement current materials used in teaching about the presidents. This is a great tool to use in English/language arts class for nonfiction readings. If you want to remove distracting advertisements, use a tool such as Readability (reviewed here). Print activities and biographies about several different presidents to add to your substitute folder. Share this site with ESL/ELL and Special Education teachers as a resource for materials.
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Writing Lesson of the Month Network - Corbett Harrrison

Grades
4 to 12
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Discover a wealth of writing ideas at this expansive site, including "Common Core friendly" ones! Sign up for the monthly newsletter to get a new writing idea each month. ...more
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Discover a wealth of writing ideas at this expansive site, including "Common Core friendly" ones! Sign up for the monthly newsletter to get a new writing idea each month. This Ning site has several groups to join, depending on your interests. If the group you're looking for doesn't exist, create one. At the time of this review, the current month's writing lesson is at the top of the home page. The menu across the top provides access to past writing lessons. This site mentions the Six Traits of Writing, and each month focuses on a different trait. A picture book that also focuses on the writing trait is part of the lesson plan.

tag(s): creative writing (166), six traits of writing (8), writing (358), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Find ideas for your students to write about. Or better yet, show them the categories, lists, and ideas and have them choose something as a class. Create small groups and allow them to look through the past writing lessons and books and decide as a group what they would like to write about. Use a program such as MixedInk reviewed here or allwritewithme reviewed here to help them collaborate on their writing experience. The site uses the Six Traits of Writing, and each month focuses on a different trait. To learn more about the Six Traits of writing visit Six Traits of Writing reviewed here or 6+1 Trait Writing Lesson Plans reviewed here.

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