TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Aug 25, 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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Kids Are Heroes - Kids Are Heroes, Inc

Grades
K to 6
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Kids Are Heroes showcases kids who are making a difference through volunteerism and giving. Read stories about each of these kids at the Lily's Heroes links. Scroll through or search...more
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Kids Are Heroes showcases kids who are making a difference through volunteerism and giving. Read stories about each of these kids at the Lily's Heroes links. Scroll through or search for kids from specific countries or states. Read about how they are helping people, animals, or the planet. Nominate a student as one of Lily's heroes.

tag(s): guided reading (46), heroes (24), service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Share stories from Kids Are Heroes with your students as examples of how kids can make a difference. Print and use stories for guided reading instruction. Use stories as a model and have students write about their own heroic activities. Plan a whole-class or whole-school service project. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Photocat, reviewed here to tell their story.

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Drawminos - Host

Grades
K to 8
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Design your own domino path or view paths created by others using Drawminos. This is the virtual version of the game played at home for years. This site could be ...more
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Design your own domino path or view paths created by others using Drawminos. This is the virtual version of the game played at home for years. This site could be used with any age! Create an intricate set-up then watch the dominos fall. Drag and drop dominos and balls using the link on the toolbar. Copy and rotate dominos as desired to complete your path. Save when finished and share using the link. Not quite ready to create? Click on Favourites to view examples made by others.

tag(s): logic (229), manipulatives (44), motion (58), problem solving (258)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a problem solving activity, to teach cause and effect, or as a cooperative learning project during a unit on motion. Demonstrate how to use this site; then allow students to explore on their own. Create a link on classroom computers for students to use during recess or computer time. After creating a domino path with Drawminos, challenge students to replicate using real dominos. Be sure to video tape and share on you class website!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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40 Maps That Explain the World - The Washington Post

Grades
5 to 12
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The Washington Post offers this interesting variety of maps illustrating many different viewpoints and realities around the world. Topics include best and worst place to be born, child...more
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The Washington Post offers this interesting variety of maps illustrating many different viewpoints and realities around the world. Topics include best and worst place to be born, child poverty in the developed world, and the world seen from space over a 12 month time-lapse. Click to enlarge any of the maps. Several include links for further information.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): agriculture (54), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), ecology (135), inferencing (5), maps (287), religions (61)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for use with many social studies, reading, and higher level thinking topics. Use them to teach about interpreting graphical information in texts. Display on your interactive whiteboard and explore with your students. Use these maps to ask deep questions about meaning in maps. What inferences/conclusions can you draw based on this map? These maps are a perfect starting point for research projects on many subjects. Have students brainstorm questions they wonder about or collect ideas for possible projects on a collaborative bulletin board like Scrumblr, reviewed here (quick start- no membership required!).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Twiddla - twiddla.com

Grades
3 to 12
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Twiddla is an online meeting space and collaboration tool that is like having a whiteboard skin placed over any website or image so you can draw and more. Discover options ...more
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Twiddla is an online meeting space and collaboration tool that is like having a whiteboard skin placed over any website or image so you can draw and more. Discover options available in the practice area named the Sandbox. Choose options for collaboration such as a url, uploaded image or document, or collaborate together on a blank screen. Use the Invite button to share the collaboration url via email or copy/paste. Take a snapshot of your session at any time and export as an image. Pro Accounts offer additional features, such as screen captures and password protection. Receive these services free as an educator, find the directions in the FAQ.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): design (84), editing (58), iwb (31), note taking (31)

In the Classroom

Use Twiddla to explore and save information from any website. Display any website on your interactive whiteboard using Twiddla. Add text, highlight information, and mark up the site as you wish. Take a screenshot and add to your classroom webpage for students to view at home for review. Have a flipped classroom? Create a lesson from any image, document, or website using Twiddla then share the image for student use. Art teachers can have students annotate a web-based image to emphasize design elements. Teach notetaking by having students mark up important ideas on a web page (perhaps evidence found in informational texts?) Hold an online conference with students about their web-based projects using Twiddla. Use Twiddla with your bring your own device (byod) classroom or in the computer lab to highlight and share information from documents, images, and websites.

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ipadio - Andy Ayers, Mark Smith, and Giles Bryan

Grades
4 to 12
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Broadcast live to the Internet from any phone to create a phlog (live voice-blog) using ipadio. Register on the site with the phone number desired. Then call one of the ...more
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Broadcast live to the Internet from any phone to create a phlog (live voice-blog) using ipadio. Register on the site with the phone number desired. Then call one of the local numbers provided by ipadio. After the welcome message, enter your pin number and start recording for up to 60 minutes. Disconnect using the # button on your phone, and your phlog is complete! Once complete, login to your ipadio account to view the broadcast and find the embed code for sharing on your website. Ipadio has both iOS and Android apps, both free at the time of this review.

tag(s): blogs (87), podcasts (51)

In the Classroom

One interesting option available with ipadio is the ability for other users to call in with your account. Have students call in with answers to homework using your channel. View how to do this at the help section located in ipadio. If you already do podcasts, use ipadio in a similar manner to share course content or describe step by step procedures for math problems, etc. Create a weekly phlog to embed in your class websites with a summary of the week's activities. Do this during class and allow students to add to the summary. Have BYOD? Create a class phlog and assign rotating student groups to make audio summaries/review podcasts of class content. Invite them to be creative by developing characters and their own creative podcast format. Library/media specialists can invite students to create ipadio book reviews. World language teachers can assign students to create ipadio podcasts of dialogs or cultural topics to build spoken language skills.

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Making the Common Core Come Alive! - Just Ask Publications

Grades
K to 12
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Making the Common Core Come Alive provides many resources for implementing and teaching Common Core Standards. Scroll through this page to find templates for designing units, a self...more
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Making the Common Core Come Alive provides many resources for implementing and teaching Common Core Standards. Scroll through this page to find templates for designing units, a self inventory of understanding of the standards, curriculum templates, and much more. Download one of several units such as 1st Grade persuasive writing, middle school force and motion, or high school comparing and contrasting plant and animal cells. Each resource includes a short description along with a link to a PDF or Word document for your use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): africa (181), cells (102), commoncore (92), decimals (133), forces (44), fractions (239), organisms (21), percent (82), persuasive writing (54), professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free resources including the templates for developing Common Core lessons. Share this site during professional development sessions. Use the templates for lesson and unit planning.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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MFL Ideas Factory - Eleanor Gordon

Grades
6 to 12
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Visit the MFL Ideas Factory blog to find language teaching ideas to use in your classroom. Developed by teachers of world languages, each post is an activity that is context-free ...more
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Visit the MFL Ideas Factory blog to find language teaching ideas to use in your classroom. Developed by teachers of world languages, each post is an activity that is context-free so you can adapt to your planning. Tags accompany each activity to make your search more efficient. Sample tags are "Will it take long?" or "Does this require photocopying?" Various search options make it easy to navigate the MFL Ideas Factory. The search box on the right side of the page will search all text in the entire blog. Filter the activities by category in the box on the left side of the page or click on the tag that interests you. Click on "vocabulary" to find all the vocabulary activities posted. Some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English because the site administrator resides in the UK.

tag(s): french (89), italian (34), russian (27), spanish (108), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Search the archive of ideas for your language teaching techniques and activities. Find great ideas to introduce or conclude lessons. Search by categories or tags to find the best activities to meet your needs. Share this site with your world language teaching colleagues or ESL/ELL teachers. Adapt the activities for learning support students.

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Green Vegetation - NOAA

Grades
8 to 12
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See an amazingly detailed map of the vegetation found on the Earth. Data for the interactive is collected by a satellite every week so the image is up to date. ...more
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See an amazingly detailed map of the vegetation found on the Earth. Data for the interactive is collected by a satellite every week so the image is up to date. Use tools to rotate or zoom in/out. Allow a few second for the zoomed in view to fully load and for the image to get "sharp."

tag(s): forests (29), plants (143), producers (8)

In the Classroom

Look at the map on an Interactive Whiteboard (or projector) to look at the different colors and determine what they represent. Zoom in to the Nile region to view the stark contrast between the Nile River delta and the desert that surrounds it. Brainstorm how vegetation changes can indicate potential forest fires or drought and how weather is predicted based upon vegetation, humidity, runoff, and surface temperature. Compare the locations of high vegetation to those with low or no vegetation. What factors change the locations of these areas? Watch this interactive over a period of time (possibly the whole school year) to identify changes in areas around the world. Create a presentation about the changes in vegetation including research as to why it is very important. Find great tools on TeachersFirst for creating presentations or Infographics. Tie discussion of this map into economics, political policy, our food system, health statistics, and more.

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The Incredible Power of Concentration - Miyoko Shida

Grades
5 to 12
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This video is an unbelievable example demonstrating the center of mass and balance in Physics during a stage performance. The video is hosted on YouTube and only about 7 minutes ...more
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This video is an unbelievable example demonstrating the center of mass and balance in Physics during a stage performance. The video is hosted on YouTube and only about 7 minutes long. If your school blocks YouTube, then it may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it 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): forces (44), gravity (45), newton (25)

In the Classroom

First show this video on an Interactive Whiteboard (and projector) during a unit on Newton's laws and gravity and ask the students to identify how she does it. What do students notice and infer about the skill involved. Ask students to brainstorm where this example occurs in nature (students can bring in vacation photos or videos) or find images and other examples online. Encourage students to make their own demonstrations of center of gravity, recording them on video to share on the class website. Share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Color in my Piano - Joy Morin

Grades
K to 12
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Color in my Piano is a piano teacher's blog for exchanging and finding resources. "Start Here" gives an overview of the most popular articles, teaching tips, and resources offered....more
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Color in my Piano is a piano teacher's blog for exchanging and finding resources. "Start Here" gives an overview of the most popular articles, teaching tips, and resources offered. Explore the large printables portion of the site to view and download worksheets, games, lesson plans, sheet music, and more. Search through an extensive reading list of articles and resources for teachers, parents, and students. Don't miss Wednesday's Words of Wisdom, featuring inspirational quotes for all. If piano music interests you, this site is a must-see! Note: some of the materials mentioned are for sale, but there is plenty for free.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): music theory (41), musical instruments (47), musical notation (32)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and worksheets for music classroom use. Search the Reading Lists for articles to share with students. Share (and discuss) Wednesday's Words of Wisdom. Use this site to differentiate for music students of all levels.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Innovative Classroom - Innovative Classroom

Grades
K to 5
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Find "ready to use" lessons, thematic units, classroom management ideas, and much more at this one-stop resource for elementary teachers. Explore the reproducibles section to find templates...more
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Find "ready to use" lessons, thematic units, classroom management ideas, and much more at this one-stop resource for elementary teachers. Explore the reproducibles section to find templates for science observation, an excellent Problems with Dice activity, and an Internet usage survey. After choosing a reproducible, be sure to look on the right side of the page for other reproducibles not listed on the main page. The Innovative Classroom also contains an extensive list of center activity ideas, class certificates, and bulletin board suggestions. Be prepared to spend a lot of time here finding and saving ideas!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bulletin boards (16), classroom management (129), counting (119), density (21), fractions (239), gettysburg address (18), heat (15), holidays (147), human body (119), map skills (80), martin luther king (37), olympics (47), painting (66), place value (56)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site for use throughout the year. Explore the center activities to use in your classroom. Search lessons for ideas to incorporate. Print behavior and classroom management ideas for use with students.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Metta - Dragontape Ltd

Grades
5 to 12
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Metta is a multimedia presentation tool that allows you to combine videos, pictures, and text to create short movies. Create an account using your email address or Facebook to begin....more
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Metta is a multimedia presentation tool that allows you to combine videos, pictures, and text to create short movies. Create an account using your email address or Facebook to begin. Start with a title, choose to build a story from scratch or an RSS feed, and click create. Follow prompts to drag images from your computer or insert video URLs. Add new chapters (slides) and reorder as desired. Trim video clips using the tools provided with the editor. Add text or record audio using your computer's microphone in any chapter. Save and publish when finished. Share using the URL provided or embed code.

tag(s): images (261), multimedia (52), video (251)

In the Classroom

Use to create educational videos and projects to introduce and interest students in a topic. Use to generate questions prior to the discussion of topics. Create a multi-image slideshow where students brainstorm how the images are all connected. Have students create projects for class using Metta. Be sure to include this tool on your blog, wiki, or public page for easy student access. You may want to consider allowing your older students to create their own accounts, depending on school policies. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. Upload pictures and videos once a month to share through your classroom website or blog, or allow a group of students to create each month's review. Create a project site for students to upload images and videos found when studying any subject. Upload images with squares, triangles, rectangles, etc. when learning about shapes. Upload pictures of plants for a science unit, etc. Have students upload family pictures when learning about families. World language students can create digital photo stories to narrate using new vocabulary. Present teacher professional development or an end of year display for the school media center. Have other staff members upload images and videos from the year of school activities.

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Sketchlot - sketchlot.com

Grades
K to 12
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Create a sketch on a virtual whiteboard, share it, and have recipients mark it up and share it back. This tool describes itself as a "web whiteboard for schools." Click ...more
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Create a sketch on a virtual whiteboard, share it, and have recipients mark it up and share it back. This tool describes itself as a "web whiteboard for schools." Click Demo to try the tools. Create your own account, and add a list of students. Students log in using your class code and a password. Share finished sketches using the share feature for others to view, sketch, and reply. Embed sketches to your website using code provided or share via Twitter. Sketchlot is a device-agnostic tool, designed to work on all current tablets, phones and computers. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions may vary slightly. Note that the tools in Sketchlot are drawing only: lines, rectangles, and freeform drawing, but no text typing! Anything you can depict as a diagram with free-form writing can be a Sketchlot. (It may be easier to draw on a tablet than on a computer.) Make it easer to write with your finger by zooming in or out.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), DAT device agnostic tool (192), drawing (77), mind map (24)

In the Classroom

If you are one of the lucky ones with a classroom set of mobile devices, this site is an excellent resource for you! Use Sketchlot to write and share math problems for students to view, complete, then send back to you. Create diagrams for student viewing. Have students label items, then return. Create a simple diagram of a structure and have students label forces acting on that structure. Hand the main page over to a student on your interactive whiteboard during a presentation, then share with the rest of the class to add reviews and additional information. Send differentiated tasks to your gifted students by starting a partially completed diagram (a valley where they need to build a bridge) and having them investigate, complete the diagram, and add details. They can, in turn, pass back challenges for classmates (or you) to solve.

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Smarterer - Dave Balter, Michael Kowalchik, and Jennifer Fremont-Smith

Grades
8 to 12
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Smarterer helps identify what you know about many subjects and helps identify your weaknesses in others. Explore tests by categories such as games, language and writing, or math and...more
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Smarterer helps identify what you know about many subjects and helps identify your weaknesses in others. Explore tests by categories such as games, language and writing, or math and finance to begin. Choose a test and take a practice question which will not count on your score. Take complete tests after signing in using your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account. You can also use your email. View scores at the end of each test and your ranking on a scale from beginner to master based on comparisons to other test takers. Create your own tests easily using step by step directions provided on Smarterer. Give your test a title, then add questions and multiple choice responses. Choose to let others add questions to your test or not. Tests will appear on Smarterer after approval from the site moderators. The site continues to add new tests, many user-created.

tag(s): assessment (99), business (57), computers (78), quizzes (95), test prep (95)

In the Classroom

Use Smarterer to help students identify areas to improve in different skills. Use some of the tests for students to "test out" of curriculum such as email etiquette in computer class or to motivate students to learn about real world skills they will need in the job market. Share this site with students to use at home for quick assessments in many subjects. Create your own tests to use for review and share with students to take and identify areas for further study. Demonstrate how students can track progress through retaking tests (students will need their own account).

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