TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jun 30, 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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24Theory - Luminosity

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This is a great maths puzzle site where you must add, subtract, multiply, or divide with a set of four numbers to equal 24. The two rules include do not ...more
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This is a great maths puzzle site where you must add, subtract, multiply, or divide with a set of four numbers to equal 24. The two rules include do not cheat and click done when you want to quit! Choose from many modes including an easier version, timed games, and battle mode.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): mental math (27), operations (126)

In the Classroom

Put this link on your blog, wiki, or class page for free play by students. Be sure to bookmark on a classroom computer. This engaging game is challenging and provides many opportunities to stretch thinking. Play on an Interactive Whiteboard (or projector) in class with individual students or as teams. Create a Math Olympics by making this site a station on a computer or Interactive Whiteboard that student must rotate through to other stations. Other stations can include computer or paper and pencil activities to round out the Math Olympics.

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The Glossary of Education Reform for Journalists - Great Schools Partnership

Grades
K to 12
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See "edu-ese" from the point of view of noneducators reading this glossary. Discover the explanations of terms used in education especially the "hot, new" ones. Read explanations that...more
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See "edu-ese" from the point of view of noneducators reading this glossary. Discover the explanations of terms used in education especially the "hot, new" ones. Read explanations that give examples and perspectives from those not immersed in education on a daily basis. Useful both for insiders to see how others look at education and for parents to sift through the lingo, this site continually updates its offerings. One handy extra is the abbreviations section. You can also suggest a term for inclusion.

tag(s): parent conferences (22), parents (55), professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Most importantly, use this resource to remind yourself that not everyone knows what you are talking about when you toss "edu-ese" terms into conversation or report card comments. Flip your perspective to see how schools look to those outside, including parents. Share appropriate definitions during parent conferences. Mark this in your professional favorites for those embarrassing moments when a colleague uses a term and you cannot remember which initiative is which. Stay up to date on the lingo being used by reformers (and sometimes policy makers). Review for Praxis tests. Share this as a handy resource for involved parents. Teacher educators and coaches will also want to share this with those they coach!

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Pursued - Street View Game - Nemesys Games

Grades
6 to 12
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Pursued is an engaging street view game using Google Maps. Begin with the first level as you look around an unknown city. Use your surroundings to guess the city. Each ...more
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Pursued is an engaging street view game using Google Maps. Begin with the first level as you look around an unknown city. Use your surroundings to guess the city. Each correct guess moves you to a new level. Once you reach the "top," you can unlock additional levels by liking the game on Facebook. Additional packages include European Capitals, US State Capitals, and others. Submit your own game as an advanced user using prompts and tutorials provided. As the name states, this activity involves helping a cartoon character who is being pursued. Although it is a cartoon, the opening scene shows the cartoon character being put into what appears to be a trunk. The activity is extremely engaging, but be certain that students are mature enough to handle the content!

tag(s): capitals (24), cities (25), continents (50), countries (77), cross cultural understanding (115), map skills (80), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use this as a fabulous geography and problem-solving activity. Play different levels together as a class or in small groups on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Allow students to explore on their own. In a science class, you could use this game to teach observation and hypothesis testing. (What do you observe? What city might this be?) Social studies or world language classes can explore the signs of different languages or other cultural observations. Challenge students to create their own game including geographic locations within your state, hometowns of famous writers, or any other activity using a map. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map with audio stories and pictures included! This is perfect for gifted students who want an open-ended challenge.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Create a Map - BatchGeo - BatchGeo, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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BatchGeo creates maps with multiple location points easily and quickly from information imported from your own spreadsheets or using their spreadsheet template. Choose "validate and...more
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BatchGeo creates maps with multiple location points easily and quickly from information imported from your own spreadsheets or using their spreadsheet template. Choose "validate and set options" to begin. Copy and paste location data into the box provided. When finished, save and choose a name for your map. Choose public or private sharing options to receive the unique url of your completed map.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): maps (287)

In the Classroom

Map any location data collected by your class using zip codes. Use data sets of various things online for mapping such as museums or libraries nearby. Research similar communities by demographics or census data and "map" them using this tool. Make an online Google forms survey (shared via twitter!) that includes zip codes and map those who respond: biology classes collecting water quality data, schools participating in a collaborative project, etc. Map anything that can be put into a spreadsheet with zip codes such as historic sites, toxic waste dumps, etc. You could even map locations where your Flat Stanley has traveled!

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Actively Learn - Jay Goyal and Dr. Deep Sran

Grades
7 to 12
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Teach students how to develop close reading skills with Actively Learn. Choose from over 150 commonly taught texts that include embedded Common Core aligned questions and multimedia....more
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Teach students how to develop close reading skills with Actively Learn. Choose from over 150 commonly taught texts that include embedded Common Core aligned questions and multimedia. Choose from any public domain texts or any article from the Internet and be guided through creating your own Common Core aligned questions. Also, embed your own multimedia or images. Reading "school texts" becomes much more personalized when students are able to write notes, questions, or respond to their reading directly on the page they are reading. This is like the old way of using paper and pencil to annotate the text in the margin. Others can respond to questions and notes written by others reading the same text. Actively Learn makes it easy to set up an assignment by having a "help" button for each area that will show a video for help, or download a PDF to read the instructions. Not only will you find poetry, drama, and stories, but also nonfiction for sciences and the humanities. The introduction video requires Flash. The rest of the site does not.

tag(s): guided reading (46), reading strategies (43)

In the Classroom

Choose a piece to use with your students and model for them how the program works on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Then assign students to read a piece with a partner in class. Once students are familiar with the format and tools, assign reading for them to complete on their own. Upload current event articles into Actively Learn and write open ended questions for students to answer. Include images or video to go with the article. Use a tool like the Question Generator (reviewed here) to create some intriguing questions and writing prompts.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Battle of Gettysburg Through a 13 Year Old's Eyes - Historic Restorations

Grades
6 to 12
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Read about the Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of a thirteen year old girl named Lydia Catherine Ziegler. Lydia wrote this around the year 1900 when she was about ...more
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Read about the Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of a thirteen year old girl named Lydia Catherine Ziegler. Lydia wrote this around the year 1900 when she was about 50 years old. She tells her story starting with the arrival of the Confederate soldiers into town. She talks about the turmoil and hardships created from helping and ministering to fallen soldiers.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): 1800s (44), civil war (145), gettysburg (26)

In the Classroom

Have students share what they have learned by creating personalized images (with text) using Pinwords reviewed here. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try PhotoPin, reviewed here. Include this story as a supplement to your current Civil War materials and lessons. Discover even more about the Battle of Gettysburg at TeachersFirst's Gettysburg by the Numbers.

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Gettysburg by the Numbers - TeachersFirst

Grades
5 to 10
7 Favorites 1  Comments
  
Gettysburg by the Numbers (GBTN) is a web-based, interactive experience of the Battle of Gettysburg through numbers and infographics that raise questions and invite connections. Exploring...more
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Gettysburg by the Numbers (GBTN) is a web-based, interactive experience of the Battle of Gettysburg through numbers and infographics that raise questions and invite connections. Exploring Gettysburg "by the numbers" invites you to move beyond dates and facts to questions that make the battle more meaningful and real. Dig into the numbers to imagine the weather, the clothing, the communications, the people, the weapons, and--yes -- the cleanup from three devastating, pivotal July days in 1863. Delve into the infographics and accompanying questions to connect what was then with what is now. The site includes ideas for families and for teachers to use it in the classroom. Be sure to click on the large color image of the battle to get the "big picture." Teachers will want to explore the extensive "For Teachers" section that offers materials, lesson ideas, Common Core correlations, and much more.

tag(s): civil war (145), gettysburg (26)

In the Classroom

Gettysburg exemplifies many aspects of the Civil War experience and of U.S. life during the 1860s. Use this resource as a whole class introduction to the Civil War or specifically to the Battle of Gettysburg. Extensive teacher materials include downloadable and customizable handouts for students to "get the basics" about the battle or extend their understanding through small group or individual projects on battle-related topics that interest them. Coordinate with your math teacher to reinforce concepts of proportion, percent, ratio, and graphing with real data about Gettysburg. Differentiate for your students by helping them select from more concrete or more open-ended "questions" included with each detail about the battle. You can make this a one-day "quick tour" or a week long journey. Find project ideas included in these questions. There is even a customizable project rubric in the teacher materials. Be sure to share this link on your class web page for curious students (and families) to explore on their own outside of class!

Comments

Excellent resource for research Arthur, TX, Grades: 0 - 12

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ForAllRubrics - ForAllSchools

Grades
K to 12
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Data drives instruction. Managing data drives you crazy. This free tool will assess students, manage data, and analyze results to make your instruction better. Easily create rubrics....more
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Data drives instruction. Managing data drives you crazy. This free tool will assess students, manage data, and analyze results to make your instruction better. Easily create rubrics. Describe your indicators and include standards. Find rubrics in the library to copy and make your own. Print rubrics, save as a PDF, or download as a spreadsheet. Share your rubrics in the library for others to access. Does breaking down data make you break down? Analyze assessment results by individual students, class, item analysis, or standards. Email students and their families the results or download rubrics to print. Add comments to rubrics for qualitative analysis. Award badges (stickers) to reward students and provide positive feedback. An accompanying, free iPad app allows you to collect data on the fly and add it to your account. The demonstration video requires Flash, the remainder of the site does not.

tag(s): assessment (99), gamification (63), rubrics (32)

In the Classroom

Use the data provided to analyze students to differentiate instruction. Provide students and families the opportunity to view data online. Motivate students to learn by awarding badges. Students can analyze their own data to monitor progress. Use the data for progress reports and parent/teacher conferences. Use the data provided to analyze your instruction to make sure standards are being met and instruction is tailored for students' individual needs.

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750 Words - Buster Benson

Grades
4 to 12
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750 Words is a private place to write your thoughts, clear your head, scrawl a rant, or brainstorm ideas. You might ask yourself, why not just blog? Blogs have a ...more
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750 Words is a private place to write your thoughts, clear your head, scrawl a rant, or brainstorm ideas. You might ask yourself, why not just blog? Blogs have a "keep private" button, and if you forget to click it who knows who will be reading your most private thoughts. This program is based on the idea that getting your thoughts on (digital) paper every morning can clear your head, focus your ideas, and organize and energize you for the rest of the day. Inspired by the book The Artist's Way, and its hand-written "Morning Pages" exercise, the creator of this program converted that exercise to our 21st century tools. If you care about such things, there is also a point system where one can compare constancy of writing and words written with others.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), gamification (63), journals (20), process writing (40), writers workshop (30)

In the Classroom

To write daily is a good idea for students. It helps them clarify their thoughts and questions, and get in touch with their feelings. 750 Words would be perfect for any writing program or with gifted students who often feel very strongly about fairness and/or world issues well beyond their years. Students can get their thoughts and ideas written down without having to worry about a grade or someone chancing upon their writings in a school notebook. Here's an idea for any grade level. Have your students do free writes (stream of conscientiousness writing) starting with 5 minutes or more a day. Ask students to count their words daily when time is up, always trying to increase the word count. After a couple of weeks have them use 750 Words and complete the stream of writing on a computer or mobile device. (This shouldn't slow many of them down since most are quick at texting!). After the first day, and again after the second week, using 750 Words have a class discussion about which format they like better and why. Use a backchannel program like Meetings.io reviewed here, or Today's Meet, reviewed here, for the class discussion. Using one of these programs ensures that even your shy students have a chance to say what they think about 750 Words. Challenge your students to complete the 750 words at home. They can earn points, and you know how competition can inspire some of them! Resource students and ESL/ELL students could increase their writing skills and fluency by keeping an online, private journal daily with 750 Words. Emotional support, autistic support, or alternative ed students may find this private space to work out feelings very therapeutic.

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Quest - Alex Warren

Grades
5 to 12
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Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option...more
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Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option from the top of the web page to view and play games such as The Mansion or Shipwrecked. Play games online or download to your Windows computer. Design your own games online using your web browser or download software to your Windows PC to work offline. Create an account in Quest to begin creating activities. View the video tutorial for an overview of the activities and creation processes. Create rooms and objects or tasks for each room. Create more complex games by following complete instructions found in the web browser version of the game system creator. Add sound files and even videos to games in addition to tasks. An option allows players to choose their own endings to games. There is a documentation wiki and a forum to get help. This site may require some tinkering around to figure it out! But it is well worth the time. Note: since games available for Play are created by the general public, you will want to preview for appropriateness.

tag(s): interactive stories (31), process writing (40)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to create games when studying process writing of essays. Instead of writing a dry essay, create an object of entertainment with an interactive story. Use steps of the game to provide supporting evidence for the essay. Create simple text games to show the typical patterns of stories. Have a contest to see which group of students in your class can imagine the best game scenario. In science class, have student groups create games that follow the life of a plant or animal where players collect all the needed nutrients or conditions the plant/animal needs to survive. In civics/government class, have students create a game around getting elected, passing a bill, or ending Washington gridlock! Don't have time to have your students actually CREATE a game? Create your own "review" game for your students to use to prepare for the big test. This would be ideal if it is a unit that you teach yearly; you can reuse your game! Share some of the ready-made games on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this link with parents on your class website. Students may enjoy the challenge of creating a game during summer break.

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wireWax - interactive video tool - wireWax.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Use wireWax to add interactive elements to online or uploaded videos. Each "tag" links to another video or image url you supply. However, the unique feature of wireWax is that ...more
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Use wireWax to add interactive elements to online or uploaded videos. Each "tag" links to another video or image url you supply. However, the unique feature of wireWax is that you view links from within the original video, not to a location outside of the original. View the samples of consumer videos from clothing companies to get the idea. Create a log in using email or Facebook to begin. Drag a video from your computer or insert a YouTube or other online video url. After your video processes (may take 15-30 minutes to upload and process), start adding tags as desired. Advance video to the desired spot. Create a box around the area to tag, and choose a name, image, or video url to use for your tag. Choose colors for boxes around tags to identify like items. When done, choose from sharing options of public or private video. Share completed videos using the embed code provided or with the unique url provided. Since this site uses YouTube videos, if your school blocks YouTube, you may not be able to create projects using YouTube videos at school, depending on how your web filter works. You can use videos hosted at Vimeo and other video sharing sites, as long as they offer urls for video sharing. This tool does require some experimentation to figure out. There is limited "help."

tag(s): video (251)

In the Classroom

wireWax is a great tool for adding new layers of information to educational videos such as those found at YouTube EDU, reviewed here. Create videos for your students or have older students create videos to share with others. "Tag" key points at which students might have questions. At those points insert tags that reveal clarifying information from another video, a web page, an image, or an audio recording. If using student-created videos or having students create the wireWax video, check your school policy about sharing student work on the Internet. If using with students, be sure to discuss appropriate/inappropriate annotations to make on videos. Also discuss the fact that you are using someone else's video and should give proper credit for it. Use this tool to highlight the "important" stuff from several videos accessed from only one tagged wireWax video.

Your middle and high school gifted students will love this tool. Be sure to allow them some time to "play" and learn how it works (but not TOO long!). Challenge them to debunk (or support) information in a YouTube video by tagging it with sites offering conflicting or supporting evidence. Have them create a multimedia critique of a political ad by tagging it with counterpoints. If they are really ambitious, have them create their own video on a curriculum topic, such as a famous person, a constitutional concept, or local history site, then tag it with related resources carefully curated to add another layer of information. Add images of artworks to illustrate what an artist says in a video interview, for example. Add images ad links to toxic waste dumps to a video about plastics. These videos could end up being future teaching materials for your course!

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