TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jun 23, 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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G'Day Math! Online Math Courses - James Tanton

Grades
9 to 12
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G'Day Math offers a series of seven online video math courses primarily dealing with quadratics and the quadratic formula. Choose the explore button to view any course, videos, and...more
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G'Day Math offers a series of seven online video math courses primarily dealing with quadratics and the quadratic formula. Choose the explore button to view any course, videos, and lessons within each course. Most videos run approximately 10 minutes or less and include printed examples of work under the video link. 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): factoring (31), galileo (7), quadratics (32), sequences (16)

In the Classroom

View video segments on your interactive whiteboard or projector for review or introduction of concepts. Use the share links provided to embed videos on your website or blog. Flip your class by assigning them as homework with in-class discussion and followup. Share this site with students to use as a study aid. Challenge students to create their own videos about math topics from class using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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knowthenet - knowthenet.org

Grades
K to 12
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Knowthenet is an excellent resource for information on how to make the most of the Internet and especially for Internet safety. The Knowledge Center offers information on the latest...more
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Knowthenet is an excellent resource for information on how to make the most of the Internet and especially for Internet safety. The Knowledge Center offers information on the latest trends from child safety to social networking. Search the news for articles on any Internet-related issues. Test yourself to see how well you know your way around the Internet. The Jargon Buster offers a glossary of the latest Internet terms. Explore to see if you know the definition for terms such as botnet, dongle, or phishing! Although most of this site may not be appropriate for younger students to navigate on their own, it is useful for adults and teachers who work with all levels. The site has content helpful for teens and adults, such as protecting your identity, online business, and Twitter etiquette. This site was created in the United Kingdom, so American English speakers may notice some slight spelling differences.

tag(s): computers (78), cyberbullying (42), internet safety (109)

In the Classroom

Knowthenet is an excellent addition to any Internet safety or computer lesson, especially for teens who think they "know it all." Bookmark and save this site for use throughout the year. Sections of the site about online baking and other consumer activity will fit well into family and consumer science or business curriculum. Use the quizzes to begin the school year to assess students' online safety knowledge. Display the Jargon Buster on your interactive whiteboard as needed to learn new terms. Use the Knowledge Center as a resource for learning safety tips. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here to demonstrate information learned on the site. Be sure to share with parents for use at home. Use this site during a Meet The Teacher night, Back to School night, or at information sessions for parents for help with online safety. Whenever you launch into new web-based projects, remind students about the things they have learned here.

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Panoramic Virtual Tour - Smithsonian Institution

Grades
6 to 12
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As school district budgets continue to be cut, field trips are more and more difficult. Enter the online panoramic virtual tour. The Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History...more
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As school district budgets continue to be cut, field trips are more and more difficult. Enter the online panoramic virtual tour. The Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History can now be "visited" using a desktop computer or a handheld device like a smart phone or tablet. Click on an area of the museum and view a map of the exhibit area. Hover over one of the hotspots to see what is included in that exhibit. Choose to view the Hope Diamond, for example, and access panoramic views of the artifact or the exhibit hall. Follow the arrows to travel through the museum. Maybe a virtual tour of a museum isn't quite as good as the real thing, but you won't have to deal with crowds, noise, and that really tall person who always seems to be standing between you and the exhibit you want to see. Desktop versions use Flash, but the mobile versions use HTML5 so they can be accessed by iPads and iPhones.

tag(s): museums (49), natural resources (59), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

Perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard (or projector), the virtual tour can allow students access to exhibits and artifacts they may never be able to visit in person. If you have access to tablets or have a BYOD policy, students can explore exhibits or areas individually. If you are fortunate enough to be planning an actual field trip to the Museum of Natural History, this site is a great way to prepare for the trip.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Cappex: College Search Made Simple - Cappex

Grades
10 to 12
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Cappex is a well established commercial college and scholarship search site. Simply create an account, enter information about yourself, and the Cappex site uses that information to...more
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Cappex is a well established commercial college and scholarship search site. Simply create an account, enter information about yourself, and the Cappex site uses that information to suggest potential colleges and scholarships to consider. Establishing an account is free, and you can do that with either your email address or Facebook account. If Facebook is blocked at your school, it is probably best to log-in using an email address instead. It is possible to look at individual college profiles without an account, but the whole purpose of the site is to match colleges and scholarships to an individual student based on demographic information. There are better sites out there for doing simple research on individual colleges. Cappex has a utility that is designed to let you know what your "chances" are for admission to a particular college based upon the demographic information entered, although students should recognize that this is only a rough estimate.

Because this is a commercial site, Cappex reserves the right to send you marketing information from their own site and from their "partners." The privacy statement indicates they will not sell student information, except in the aggregate, but joining the Cappex site is likely to increase the amount of advertising email received. Finally, with respect to the scholarship search portion of the website, the single most effective way to receive financial aid for college expenses is through applying for Federal assistance using the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Assistance). This site may provide leads to private and other scholarships, but should not be seen as a substitute for using the established FAFSA system.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): college (43), financial aid (12)

In the Classroom

A useful site to include with information on college search strategies, consider bookmarking it for college bound students. This tool is helpful for high school guidance counselors or teachers who work with juniors and seniors. Provide the link on your class website for families to access and explore at home.

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Make Me Genius - MMG International

Grades
K to 7
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It would be a "smart" idea to use Make Me Genius to support or enrich your science instruction. Finding relevant science information for students is difficult. The material on...more
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It would be a "smart" idea to use Make Me Genius to support or enrich your science instruction. Finding relevant science information for students is difficult. The material on this site is safe and accurate for students. Search by grade level or most popular. Tons of engaging videos are available on topics such as Newton's Laws of Motion, the solar system, ecology, and more. Links to cool facts and educational PowerPoint is a genius idea to provide information to extend students' learning. "Tech out" science project ideas or brush up on your science knowledge with the practice quizzes. Make Me Genius will make you look like a genius. This site does include advertisements. But it is worth avoiding the "nuisance" to view these quality videos. 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): body systems (56), ecology (135), erosion (17), forces (44), human body (119), matter (56), photosynthesis (33), senses (28), simple machines (36), solar system (118), video (251)

In the Classroom

Use the videos to flip your instruction, support students, or provide enrichment opportunities. Flip your classroom and have students view the videos at home. Or share the videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Set up a learning station for students to view the video clips. The educational PowerPoints make lesson planning more efficient. Use the science project section to help students find science fair project ideas or to create hands-on, minds-on activities. The questions in the quiz section are leveled for students. Test your students' knowledge of the concepts after watching the videos.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Can Do Street - Campbell Development Group

Grades
K to 3
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"Can Do" Street offers interactives, activities and videos for young children. There are also lists of Kid Friendly Restaurants and recipes. Everything at the site is geared towards...more
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"Can Do" Street offers interactives, activities and videos for young children. There are also lists of Kid Friendly Restaurants and recipes. Everything at the site is geared towards character development and early childhood academic skills. There are also links for parents and teachers. Follow links from the clubhouse to activities to learn how to tell the time, count money, and basic mouse skills. Choose from several activity sheets, certificates, and coloring sheets to print in PDF format. Be aware: a few of the sites recommended do have a fee, but most are free.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (252), alphabet (92), money (192), preK (275), puzzles (208), time (144)

In the Classroom

View the video, Hector's Being Selfish, on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) with students at the beginning of the year when setting up classroom rules and behavior expectations. Show again as needed as a reminder of proper behavior. Visit the Parents/Teachers link for more specific ideas. View the games to select those that are appropriate for your classroom. Download activity sheets and certificates as needed throughout the year. Create a link on classroom computers to activities for students. Be sure to share with parents for practice at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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FatURL - FatURL.com

Grades
K to 12
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Collect and share several links at once with this handy sharing tool! Make a list of your links to share, and FatURL creates one URL to share all of them ...more
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Collect and share several links at once with this handy sharing tool! Make a list of your links to share, and FatURL creates one URL to share all of them together. Copy links onto each line along with a short description or site name. Share up to 3 dozen sites at one time. Click the scissors icon to create your sharing page with a list of short codes to share. Use any of the links provided to view your page. View an example created here) with links to some TeachersFirst resources. No registration is needed to use this site! However, more options are available with a free registration.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), organizational skills (121)

In the Classroom

Use FatUrl to create one url (a page) with links for all the sites for a particular unit instead of creating a long list on your website or blog. Have students create and share their own page of links with resources for research. Use FatUrl to share professional links with colleagues quickly and easily. In primary grades, use this tool to share classroom favorites or topic-specific practice sites for students to access at home via one click. If your students create online presentations, use this site to share up to 36 at once with families. (Of course anytime you are posting student work online, be certain to have parental permission!)

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Manifest Destiny - The Story of the US Told in 141 Maps - Michael Porath

Grades
6 to 12
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Manifest Destiny is an excellent interactive map site demonstrating the growth of the United States from March 1789 through the present. Click on each of the maps to view and ...more
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Manifest Destiny is an excellent interactive map site demonstrating the growth of the United States from March 1789 through the present. Click on each of the maps to view and highlight changes. Click on highlighted words to view areas on the map. Use the legend on the right side of the page to help interpret what each color represents on the map. Jump ahead to the Civil War (or a few other notable US History events), by clicking the links on the main page. Read "about" to learn about the Swiss information scientist who created this page from information available on Wikipedia.

tag(s): 1800s (44), 1900s (33), 20th century (50), civil war (145), colonization (16), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use Manifest Destiny as a resource for any American History unit. Share the maps on your projector or interactive whiteboard. The many maps are an excellent visual demonstration of the growth of the US. Use information from the site to have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles (reviewed here). Include this site in lessons about information literacy and evaluating sources in your history course. Challenge students to verify the accuracy of the information depicted. Was wikipedia right?

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My So Called Secret Identity - Broker, Zaidan, Shore

Grades
10 to 12
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This groundbreaking, narrative comic just might catch the interest of your older students not so thrilled with reading. Cat is a new "superhero" who is not the typical superhero female...more
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This groundbreaking, narrative comic just might catch the interest of your older students not so thrilled with reading. Cat is a new "superhero" who is not the typical superhero female we see in other comics. She is a police officer's daughter working on her PhD. She is ordinary in every way except her intelligence and her powers of observation. These and her knowledge of Gloria City, where she lives, give her an advantage over the terrorists and other super heroes who also live there. Usually when you think of the super-heroine you picture a gorgeous, shapely woman in tight spandex. Not so for Cat. She is depicted as a college student and "regular" girl, and could certainly be a good role model for the older female student. The art work in My So Called Secret Identity at first appears simple. But on a closer look you realize the details that bring this comic to life! This comic is accompanied by a "Lookbook" where you can learn about the artist's thoughts about the characters and how they should be portrayed.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), graphic novels (7), independent reading (125), media literacy (56)

In the Classroom

When teaching character development in writing, lead students in a discussion about the "Lookbook" with this story to gain insights into decisions and changes the writer and the author made. If discussing gender bias in advertising or literature, My So Called Secret Identity is a great place to start. Discuss the qualities of popular female superheroes and the unconventional way Cat represents the genre as a superhero. If discussing gender associations or bias in your classes, consider using The HTML 5 Gendered Advertising Remixer (reviewed here as an introduction. When teaching a unit on creating comics or helping students develop their style in art, My So Called Secret Identity is a good place to start. Encourage students to examine the "Lookbook" to gain insights about the creative process.

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Draft - Nate Kontny

Grades
6 to 12
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Draft is a collaborative writing tool similar to Google Docs with one notable exception: the ability to view and accept changes before they are actually made to the document. The ...more
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Draft is a collaborative writing tool similar to Google Docs with one notable exception: the ability to view and accept changes before they are actually made to the document. The site also features the ability to mark/label major versions of your work as it is produced, allowing the ability to go back and easily view previous versions. Be sure to check out "Hemingway Mode" (explained in Features) which prevents any editing as you write, forcing you to get ideas down to rethink, revise, and edit LATER. This is a great way to prevent the perfectionist in you from paralyzing your writing process! But the BEST part of this site: it is easy to use! Sign up using your email and password and immediately begin creating your document. When ready to share, choose the home icon and copy your document's link to send via email or text (or copy and paste as desired). When changes are made, you will receive an email. You may then view the document to see color coded changes and accept or deny changes as desired.

tag(s): editing (58), proofreading (19), writing (355)

In the Classroom

If individual students are allowed to have accounts (using email address sign up), that's great, but they must share their work with you. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here. This would provide anonymous interaction within your class. Create an innovative, exciting revision experience for students to suggest revisions to each other's writing and instantly engage in the peer review process by using Draft. This tool facilitates teacher comments on student essays by not having to wait until students turn in their papers. Have them share links with you to their works in progress. Check essays online, monitor progress, and even make suggestions for revisions to provide feedback along the way and drive successful evidence support, proofreading, and editing skills. Challenge gifted students on their drafts and push their thinking further, adding questions or responses. Since most if us do not have time to provide such individual challenge throughout the writing process, why not connect them with other gifted students to collaborate and debate beyond just your classroom? Obviously, this tool is also fabulous for collaboration among students or teachers creating a shared writing piece at any level. You could even use it for parent input into draft IEPs.

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dotEPUB - Xavier Badosa

Grades
3 to 12
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Convert the content of any webpage into an e-book format to read on your tablet, phone, or other e-reader device using dotEPUB-- even offline! Install the browser bookmarklet in Firefox,...more
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Convert the content of any webpage into an e-book format to read on your tablet, phone, or other e-reader device using dotEPUB-- even offline! Install the browser bookmarklet in Firefox, Safari, Opera, Mozilla, or Chrome to begin. In Chrome and Mozilla use the dotEPUB browser extension to create documents. Once installed, click on the bookmarklet or browser extension while on any page to convert the page and send to your e-reader. Choose from either epub or mobi (Kindle) format for use in e-readers. View the instructional videos for complete directions on how to use the bookmarklet or extension. This site is also available in Spanish. The instructional videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube and you wish to share the videos in class, they may not be viewable. You could always download 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 how-to videos from YouTube.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (193)

In the Classroom

What a great find for BYOD programs! Use dotEPUB for students to take content from your course blog or website and put it on their e-readers for easy access wherever they go. Have students download informational texts from web sites to annotate in their e-reader software as you build comprehension and "close reading" skills a la CCSS. Elementary teachers will need to help students learn to use this tool. Use dotEPUB to create an ePub portfolio of your students' blogging efforts. In Spanish class, convert your website into an e-book for students to practice language learning. Make ePubs of any web content for portability and annotation tools available on e-readers.

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Themeefy - themeefy.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Create and publish your own e-magazine of web content using Themeefy! Curate information from around the web or create your own content. Click Browse to see examples. Choose "start...more
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Create and publish your own e-magazine of web content using Themeefy! Curate information from around the web or create your own content. Click Browse to see examples. Choose "start creating" to begin. Add a title and a brief introduction to your magazine. Choose to import information from Google searches, Flickr images, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter. Add your own content as desired. Explore results using the Read More icon or use the arrow to include in your magazine. Use the Change Content Order option to drag and drop information into the desired order. Edit articles imported to weed out any extra text or images not wanted for your magazine. Add your own text or questions. Publish your magazine when finished, but you must be logged in to publish. You can password protect magazines to limit access. Share using the url provided or links to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Not ready for publishing? Browse ready-made magazines around your interests. There is a LONG demo video at the Tools menu. A classroom version with additional teacher controls (currently free) is in beta testing. Click at the Classroom Beta to sign up and learn more. A bookmarklet to add to your browser makes it easy to "collect" things from around the web to use in a Themeefy magazine.

tag(s): digital storytelling (135), portfolios (25)

In the Classroom

Use Themeefy to create student-navigated lessons or review materials for any topic. Have students work together in groups to create their own e-magazine instead of a traditional book report or research project. Challenge students to use an e-magazine to explain the life cycle of various plants and animals. Create stories about famous events or people from the past. Demonstrate a new math concept. Write a magazine about all of the main characters from a book recently read or for an author study. Create a class study guide for students to access to (via the Internet) before the big science test! Make a "Meet the Class" book to share with families on your class website. You can password protect it to avoid safety issues. Publish students' photos (drawings) and stories about themselves. (Of course you would want parental permission and possibly a password before posting student work on the Internet.) Even the youngest of students can draw a picture to be shared in a whole-class e-magazine! To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try PhotoPin, reviewed here. As the classroom beta features evolve, this may be a tool you want to use more. Students who have created many projects across the web could collect them into an annotated "me-portfolio" using this tool. They could even share them as part of job or college applications.

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