TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Sep 22, 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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History Labs - A Guided Approach to Historical Inquiry in the K-12 Classroom - UMBC Center for History Education

Grades
2 to 12
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The Center for History Education offers this resource to teach a variety of topics in American History via an inquiry approach. Sample topics include Native Americans, Colonization,...more
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The Center for History Education offers this resource to teach a variety of topics in American History via an inquiry approach. Sample topics include Native Americans, Colonization, Civil Rights, Slavery, the American Revolution, and many more. All labs include central questions, source materials, and step by step explanations to implement the lab. The approach is well suited to social studies literacy standards of Common Core, as students explore and evaluate sources (informational texts) and eventually "Develop, present, defend, and refine their evidence-based answers." Choose from History Labs or Lesson Plans to find resources then scroll through the dates to view available materials. Use links to print materials in PDF format. Although the site title indicates materials for all levels of students, most resources are geared toward middle and high school grades. 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): african american (113), american revolution (86), civil rights (117), civil war (145), colonial america (107), colonization (16), great depression (24), iran (12), jefferson (19), kennedy (27), native americans (78), roosevelt (16), slavery (72), washington (36), womens suffrage (26), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for use with any American History topic as a complete lesson or to offer another angle on current lessons. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Before beginning a unit, have students brainstorm or collect ideas on a collaborative bulletin board like Scrumblr, reviewed here (quick start- no membership required!).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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GR8CTZ - Great Cities of the World - Vadim Temkin

Grades
8 to 12
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GR8CTZ - Great Cities of the World is a geoguessing game where you are transported to a world city and have to guess the location based on views from Google ...more
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GR8CTZ - Great Cities of the World is a geoguessing game where you are transported to a world city and have to guess the location based on views from Google Maps street views. Look and walk around a bit before attempting a guess. You have three tries to get it right. Start the game after choosing options such as levels, language (English, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish), and city subset options. Although very simple looking, this is an intriguing option for exploring the world without leaving home!

tag(s): countries (76), cross cultural understanding (115), map skills (79), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use this tool on an Interactive Whiteboard (or projector) with an entire class. Students can work as a class, individually, or in groups to identify locations based on clues. Use the clues to discuss information about social structure, livelihood, religion, landforms, and other cultural information. Use this information to uncover and correct misconceptions and discuss cultural differences in countries outside the US. Go beyond the map to learn about the various foods, agriculture, and other aspects of their lives. Research the local ecosystem to determine native plants and animals found in the country. Create a poem or story set in that locale using information learned through research. Are you a connected educator? Find other educators around the World using Twitter (reviewed here) to make connections between classrooms. Join the Across the World Once a Week project ( here) to share about the culture where you live.

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SchoolRack - Artia Moghbel

Grades
K to 12
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SchoolRack is a free service for creating a classroom website or blog. Designed with schools in mind, its features include options for managing student and parent groups, discussion...more
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SchoolRack is a free service for creating a classroom website or blog. Designed with schools in mind, its features include options for managing student and parent groups, discussion boards, and mailing lists. Post, collect, and report grades using site features. Use the password protection feature to protect privacy in any or all portions of your site. Use the Quick Start Guide to set your site up easily and quickly. The free account allows for 5 pages, 100 MB of storage, 1 class, 1 mailing list, and unlimited discussion topics. Although we recommend this site for all grades, in elementary school an adult would need to be in charge of the "creating" part. The limits to free pages most likely mean its use for a class web page is best suited for elementary teachers who have only one class.

tag(s): blogs (88), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Use SchoolRack to keep parents and students updated with class information. Create, collect, and post assignments using features on the site. Try using SchoolRack for student created "visual essays;" digital biodiversity logs (with digital pictures students take); online literary magazines; personal reflections in images and text; research project presentations; comparisons of online content, such as political candidates' sites or content sites used in research (compared for bias). Use this tool to make for science sites documenting experiments or illustrating concepts, such as the water cycle; "Visual" lab reports; Digital scrapbooks using images from the public domain and video and audio clips from a time in history -- such as the Roaring Twenties; Local history interactive stories; and Visual interpretations of major concepts, such as a "visual" U.S. Constitution. Imagine building your own online library of raw materials for your students to create their own "web pages" as a new way of assessing understanding: you provide the digital pictures, and they sequence, caption, and write about them (younger students) or you provide the steps in a project as a template, and they insert the actual content of their own. Of course, the limits to the free pages will mean you can only choose one or two of these ideas!

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Classmint - Rajan Chandi and Amar Prabhu

Grades
4 to 12
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Create beautiful, annotable, and audible flashcards using Classmints. Features allow the ability to add code, insert images, and to explain notes with text or images. Play notes...more
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Create beautiful, annotable, and audible flashcards using Classmints. Features allow the ability to add code, insert images, and to explain notes with text or images. Play notes in an audio visual player to listen while studying. "Fold" notes to cover up explanations then "unfold" to view and review. Adjust settings to allow flashcards to be private or public depending on your needs. Be sure to explore the "ready to go" flashcards at the site, before creating your own. At the time of this review, this website was FREE. However, the website creator does mention they plan to add premium features in the future, while keeping most of the site free. The introduction video is hosted on YouTube. If your district 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 video from YouTube.

tag(s): flash cards (45), test prep (95), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (125), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Create flashcards for your classes or have them make their own. Try using them as an introduction to a concept, again in the practice of the concept, and as a final review. It is a nice three for one creation deal! This would be great for teaching Latin prefixes and suffixes of words to students. Use in science terms, or for standardized test preparation. Try having students create flashcards and share with each other to quiz themselves within their own groups. Teach students in higher grades how to create flash cards with multiple blanks to challenge their brain to remember more pieces of the puzzle. Show them how to carefully read through their classroom notes and underline the most important word or words in a sentence. Then have them leave out the most important words for their flashcards. Learning support teachers might want to have small groups create cards together to review before tests. Have students create flashcard sets to "test" classmates on what they "teach" in oral reports. Be sure to check the data base for already created sets to save you time making them yourself!

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Loupe - Vincent Cheung

Grades
K to 12
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Quickly and easily create photo collages in many shapes using Loupe. Choose from various shape options such as hearts, flowers, cars, or create your own from text or drawing. Then ...more
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Quickly and easily create photo collages in many shapes using Loupe. Choose from various shape options such as hearts, flowers, cars, or create your own from text or drawing. Then add pictures. Add pictures from your computer and many online sites such as Facebook, Dropbox, Flickr, and Google Drive with just a couple of clicks. You can also create cards using this tool. For cards or collages, search the web for pictures to add, and choose the ones you prefer. Once pictures are added, adjust settings such as background color, picture borders, or shuffle images until pleased with the result. The card tool provides simple drawing tools to add to your image. Share saved collages or cards using social networking links or download onto your computer. Start immediately: no registration necessary to begin!

tag(s): collages (17), images (266)

In the Classroom

Create and share collages of classroom activities, field trips, and much more. In lower grades, create the collage together or for your students. Embed collages into your class website or blog for viewing at home. Have students create collages using their own pictures of land formations, types of plants, colors, words beginning with the same letter of the alphabet, and whatever else you can think of! This is a great tool for your visual learners! Create cards as gifts for moms or dads or for thank yous to members of the school community. Print the cards, fold over, and handwrite messages inside. Practice simple thank you notes on your own creative cards.

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The Bean Game - Jana Darrington Utah State University Extension

Grades
6 to 12
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Learn to manage money while having fun living on a 20 "bean" salary using this printable game. Use the directions and discussion questions to play two rounds of the game. ...more
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Learn to manage money while having fun living on a 20 "bean" salary using this printable game. Use the directions and discussion questions to play two rounds of the game. Although it is possible to play with individual players, the site recommends groups of between 2 and 5 players for optimal results. Even though this game is "low tech," it is a great teaching tool!

tag(s): financial literacy (80)

In the Classroom

Use the Bean Game as part of your financial literacy unit as a center activity. When finished, have students create blogs using Throwww (reviewed here). This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. There is no registration necessary!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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New Bedford Whaling Museum - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Grades
6 to 12
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The New Bedford Whaling Museum focuses on the impact of the whaling industry and specifically the interaction between whaling and the port of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Of interest...more
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The New Bedford Whaling Museum focuses on the impact of the whaling industry and specifically the interaction between whaling and the port of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Of interest to those studying one of the 18th and 19th century's leading industries, the museum also offers insight into the material culture of New England, the life and habitat of whales, and the craft of ship building. The site offers a closer look at a number of current and past special exhibits, as well as a searchable database of artifacts in the current collection. Don't miss the special reading lists and other resources.

tag(s): 1700s (23), 1800s (44), colonial america (107), marine biology (33), whales (16)

In the Classroom

The museum's exhibits focused on the Arctic and on the migrations and habitats of whales are useful from a historical perspective. Consider using early maps and photographs from the exploration of Arctic regions to compare with current maps for a discussion on global climate change. Use information about current and past whale habitats to illustrate the impact of ocean changes on the largest of its inhabitants. Students doing independent research will find the individual images of the museum's extensive collection useful as well. Have students act as curators for an imaginary special exhibit, perhaps creating a map using Mapskip (reviewed here) to show the artifact locations and tell the stories of their "artifacts." (Simplify adding images by inserting them using the online urls of the artifact images from the museum catalog. To find and copy the url for an online image, RIGHT click on it to "copy image url" or "get info," depending on your browser and computer type.)

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Classic Books - Library of Congress

Grades
K to 12
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Explore this collection of public domain, classic books for children and teenagers from the Library of Congress. They are organized in alphabetical order. There are 51 books for younger...more
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Explore this collection of public domain, classic books for children and teenagers from the Library of Congress. They are organized in alphabetical order. There are 51 books for younger children, 6 books for teens, and 6 books for adults. Each has a short summary, a link from which to read the book, and a link to more information about the book. Enjoy these stories online. Although they aren't audio books, they could be very useful with all ages.

tag(s): book lists (128), independent reading (128)

In the Classroom

Share the classics on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Read the stories together as a class and consider converting an excerpt into an interactive text using Active Textbook, reviewed here. You could add to it yearly, with each class taking a chapter or section to "liven up" with media. Or challenge your tech-savvy gifted students to bring a classic to life with such a project. Share this public domain collection on your class website, blog, or wiki as a good place to find classics (FREE). Create a learning station on your classroom computers using these books.

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Science vs Magic - Nico Disseldorp

Grades
8 to 12
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Science vs Magic offers four tools for exploring math concepts. Tools include Let's Play: Ancient Greek Geometry, Fractal Machine, Logic Grid, and Elementary Cellular Automata. Choose...more
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Science vs Magic offers four tools for exploring math concepts. Tools include Let's Play: Ancient Greek Geometry, Fractal Machine, Logic Grid, and Elementary Cellular Automata. Choose the "About" link with each activity to view the author's blog describing the different components and suggested uses. This is a neat mind-stretcher activity. Explore the site a bit before sharing with students.

tag(s): angles (88), fractions (239), geometric shapes (163), greeks (30), logic (235)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students for exploration of geometric concepts. Have students take screen shots of different outcomes then share their explorations with classmates. (Screenshots on a Mac: Shift+ Command+4; on Windows, press the Prtscrn key then PASTE into a document.) Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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Label the Cells - Curriculum Bits

Grades
5 to 12
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Label the Cells is an interactive activity for practicing labeling parts of cells. Drag and drop labels to the correct position on the cell diagram. Check answers, if incorrect, try...more
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Label the Cells is an interactive activity for practicing labeling parts of cells. Drag and drop labels to the correct position on the cell diagram. Check answers, if incorrect, try another time. View correct answers at the end of the activity or print using the link.

tag(s): cells (102)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of cells. Share a link to the site on your class webpage for students to use at home for review.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Note Pub - NotePub LLC

Grades
4 to 12
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Note Pub is an online notepad: a clean and simple writing tool to keep track of lists, personal reminder notes, or even journal entries. A nice feature is the choice ...more
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Note Pub is an online notepad: a clean and simple writing tool to keep track of lists, personal reminder notes, or even journal entries. A nice feature is the choice to store notes on your computer. This allows you to edit your notes when there is no Internet connection. So, even when offline just go to Note Pub.com and update. The FREE version allows up to 50 "Notes" per year. Be aware, you must create a screen name and password before you can proceed into the site. This is entirely free and requires no email address. Just make sure you WRITE DOWN or remember the username and password you create, since it cannot email you a password reset!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (88), journals (21), note taking (32), organizational skills (122), writing (359)

In the Classroom

There are many classroom uses for an electronic notepad. Science and math students can jot down the steps in a lab or math problem. History students can take notes on the text they are reading, and students in all those subjects can take notes for a test or create questions for a test on Note Pub. Language Arts students can keep track of characters in a novel and write responses as they read. Writing students can use this program as a place to jot down ideas or first drafts. No one has to worry about the general public seeing any of their writing. The free option doesn't allow any "public" notes.

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Rogo Puzzles - Creative Heuristics Ltd

Grades
3 to 12
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Rogo Puzzles are a Sudoku-like activity that generally take less time to solve than Sudokus or crossword puzzles. Warning: Rogo Puzzles can be addictive! Rogo Puzzles provides written...more
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Rogo Puzzles are a Sudoku-like activity that generally take less time to solve than Sudokus or crossword puzzles. Warning: Rogo Puzzles can be addictive! Rogo Puzzles provides written and video explanations of how to play. Click Play Here menu to access instructions then choose daily puzzles to print to play. Find solutions to daily puzzles the following day. Copying for personal or educational use is permitted. Find some lesson ideas from the Education menu. Some of the instructional videos require YouTube. If you plan to share them with your class, you may want to preview at home or even 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): logic (235), problem solving (272), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Use Rogo Puzzles as a fun problem-solving activity in a math center or for homework. Demonstrate HOW to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. View the video tutorial and do some practice puzzles before students attempt on their own. Challenge students to create their own Rogo puzzles once they become familiar with the format.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Words of the World - The University of Nottingham

Grades
6 to 12
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Develop your vocabulary and understanding of culture through words. The site offers a series of short videos presented by experts from the University of Nottingham's School of Cultures,...more
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Develop your vocabulary and understanding of culture through words. The site offers a series of short videos presented by experts from the University of Nottingham's School of Cultures, Languages, and Area Studies. Each video takes an in-depth look at the story behind many words of the world, including where they came from, what they mean, and how the words have changed over time. Simply click on any word in the visual to view the video. Most videos are less than 5 minutes in length. This site was created in the United Kingdom, so you may notice some slight pronunciation (or spelling) differences from American English. Many of the videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (125), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Words of the World is a great site for some quick vocabulary building, but even more it is a window into words as vital components of culture and history. Share these videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) for a quick lesson on the background and meaning of several words. Use it to talk about how words can also define a time period in history or a concept that is vital to a particular culture. Explore language as PART of a culture as you study different countries. Find out what words are unique to that culture. Use this site as an example, then challenge cooperative learning groups to create their own word background videos of culture-connected words and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Share a link to videos using links provided on your class website for students to view as a word of the week. Challenge students to use the word of the week in class discussions or other written work throughout the week.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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