TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 13, 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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Ocearch - Ocearch

Grades
4 to 12
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Want to know more about the efforts to save all the sharks in our oceans? Use this site to understand the efforts of research organizations to understand the many mysteries ...more
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Want to know more about the efforts to save all the sharks in our oceans? Use this site to understand the efforts of research organizations to understand the many mysteries of sharks: Where do they breed? Where do sharks live and roam? In order to protect these predators better, we need to understand more about their lives. Why save sharks? They are an important predator that keeps all the other predator/prey balances in check. Find research that has been documented in periodicals, papers, and the news. Click on the Global Shark Tracker to find the locations of tagged sharks. Clicking on the dot brings up information about the shark including its location when tagged. Click View More to bring up additional information including all the places the shark has been. View You Tube videos and photos of their expeditions and tagging of the sharks. If YouTube is blocked at your school, use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to view the videos at home and bring them to school "on a stick."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (277), marine biology (33), oceans (147)

In the Classroom

This site has information useful from elementary grades up, but you will need to partner weaker readers with stronger ones in middle grades or use the site as a whole class exploration for the informational text portions in elementary. The videos are great for all ages. When discussing ecosystems, be sure to mention sharks as a vital keystone species of the marine ecosystem. They are also an example of predator/prey balances, keeping the ocean ecosystem balanced as the top predator. Use clips of sharks in movies to discuss how sharks are portrayed and then use research to highlight how many human deaths are actually attributed to sharks vs. the number of sharks killed each year. Develop a food web of ocean ecosystems. Research how other animals are tagged to learn more about their lives and how tagging sharks are different. Be sure to use the Tracking Activity drop down in the Global Shark Tracker to see the paths that the sharks have taken during the period of time you specify (one week or more has better data). Identify other animals in different ecosystems that carry a similar negative stigma and create a discussion around why they have that stigma.
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American Experience: Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald? - PBS

Grades
7 to 12
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This site accompanies an episode of the PBS series Frontline which examines the life of Lee Harvey Oswald, the presumed killer of John F. Kennedy. Because Oswald himself was assassinated...more
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This site accompanies an episode of the PBS series Frontline which examines the life of Lee Harvey Oswald, the presumed killer of John F. Kennedy. Because Oswald himself was assassinated before a full examination of the crime could be completed, mystery surrounds the man and his possible motivations for killing the President. Did he act alone? Here you will find a summary of the major conspiracy theories, a timeline of Oswald's life (including a psychiatric report from his teenage years), and an overview of the events surrounding the assassination. Note that the actual video of the show is not available for free, but there is much information to explore.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): kennedy (27), presidents (129)

In the Classroom

Students are often fascinated by conspiracy theories, and the mystery of whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or was part of a larger plot to kill the President represents one of US history's most enduring. Certainly the site will be useful in a discussion of the event itself. However, it can be used more generally as a springboard for discussion of conspiracy theories themselves. See the lesson ideas in the Teachers Guide section. What evidence do we require to decide if something is true or not? Who can be trusted to tell the story of an emotional event? Is "seeing" always "believing"? How can resolve the fact that eyewitnesses do not all have the same recollection of the event? Have your gifted and highly able students do a special project investigating conspiracy theories in history and sharing them as a role play or video for the rest of the class.

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50th Anniversary of JFK Assassination - Associated Press

Grades
7 to 12
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It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words. This site from the Associated Press brings together a large collection of photographs related to the assassination of John F. ...more
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It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words. This site from the Associated Press brings together a large collection of photographs related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The photos are copyrighted, and therefore carry a watermark, but they do represent a good cross section of the photos taken by journalists of the events surrounding the assassination.

tag(s): kennedy (27), presidents (129)

In the Classroom

This site represents a good "quick access" point for photos related to the JFK assassination. Use them to illustrate a discussion of the event, or consider asking students to analyze the perspective presented in the photos. What is the photo communicating? How have these photos influenced the way we remember this important event? Students might be asked to compare the photographic "evidence" that was part of the investigation of this crime with the resources that are available today when a similar incident occurs. For example, how is this documentation different from that which was used to identify the Boston Marathon bombing suspects? In English class, use the photos as prompts for students to write informational texts about the Kennedy Assassination in journalistic or historic styles. Since there is such fascination with the Kennedy assassination, you could use this as a chance to discuss purpose and audience, writing to spin the same information several ways.

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Film English - Kieran Donaghy

Grades
3 to 12
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This award-winning site provides ESL/ELL lessons by watching movies. The site is presented in blog format. Find short summaries of the featured lessons on the opening page linking to...more
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This award-winning site provides ESL/ELL lessons by watching movies. The site is presented in blog format. Find short summaries of the featured lessons on the opening page linking to complete lesson plans. The corresponding featured movies are embedded within the site as well. Each complete lesson plan includes: Language level, Learner type, Time, Activity, Topic, Language Goals, Materials, and Downloadable materials. Each lesson has different activities and language focuses. In addition to the featured lessons, search for lessons with movies on different themes and at different levels. At the time of this review, there were more than 90 complete lessons with movies at this site. View complete lesson plans at this site or download and print them. The videos are hosted in various places, including Vimeo and YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then some 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): descriptive writing (41), grammar (217), movies (63), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Explore lessons useful in your classroom. Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Create a class wiki of movie reviews featuring the short films with this site as language practice for your students. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.
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Huzzaz (Beta) - Huzzaz.com

Grades
K to 12
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Create, collect, organize, and share video collections from YouTube and Vimeo easily with Huzzaz. Build a video library around any topic with just a few clicks. Click and drag...more
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Create, collect, organize, and share video collections from YouTube and Vimeo easily with Huzzaz. Build a video library around any topic with just a few clicks. Click and drag the Huzzaz bookmarklet to your browser toolbar. Anytime you see a video, click the bookmarklet to save. Rearrange videos in your collection as desired. Add tags and brief descriptions. Add additional videos as desired. Share complete collections using links for Facebook, Twitter, and email. Huzzaz is currently in Beta, and you will need to request an invitation to join the site. Approval of our request arrived in 24 hours. If your district blocks YouTube, then you may have to limit your choices to Vimeo.

tag(s): bookmarks (59), video (251)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom account and have students add videos for use with any classroom topic. Teach students to use tags you have approved so everyone can find the videos easily. Create and share video libraries for review and enrichment resources or to "flip" your classroom. Build a professional video library for sharing with colleagues during professional development sessions. Use embed codes for major blogging platforms to embed video collections directly into your blog or website. Embed codes also work well on a wiki, so you could embed a certain tag collection for students to review or learn.

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Mathster Vakkas Math Videos and Lessons - Mathster Vakkas Productions

Grades
K to 6
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Find fun and engaging resources for teaching elementary math with real-life objects. Resources include skits, tutorials, interactive read alouds, and worksheets on Common Core topics....more
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Find fun and engaging resources for teaching elementary math with real-life objects. Resources include skits, tutorials, interactive read alouds, and worksheets on Common Core topics. After registering with your email address, use the links to find lessons or tutorials by topic. Hover over the icon to view a short description of the activity, suggested grade level, and difficulty level. Each activity includes printable slides from the video, practice pages, and answer keys. There is also a section to choose to learn how to solve the problem for each activity. One unique feature of the site is the interactive read alouds. Just click play, and stories read on your own. There are also extension activities to print and use at the stories' end. Registration (with email) is required. However, all is FREE.

tag(s): addition (252), charts and graphs (195), division (172), fractions (239), geometric shapes (159), money (192), multiplication (227), patterns (84), probability (130), subtraction (209), time (144)

In the Classroom

Use the videos and tutorials from this site throughout the year to engage students in math learning. View videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Watch videos in the classroom then provide students with handouts to complete at home using objects they see every day. If your school is BYOD, have students view the video on their own devices (at home or school) and discuss what they learned in class the next day. Encourage parents to watch the videos, too!
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Beyond The Bubble - Stanford History Education Group

Grades
6 to 12
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Beyond the Bubble offers a new generation of history assessments that work hand in hand with Common Core Standards to provide a window into student thinking and promote academic literacy....more
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Beyond the Bubble offers a new generation of history assessments that work hand in hand with Common Core Standards to provide a window into student thinking and promote academic literacy. Refered to as "HATS" (History Assessment of Thinking), assessments go beyond recall to applying facts in context. Choose the assessment link to explore topics such as "Civil Rights Movement in Context" or "Edison and a Kansas Housewife." Lessons also include an interactive rubric and sample student responses. Don't miss the going deeper activities, such as videos. Click links to download materials available in PDF format.

tag(s): 1920s (16), assessment (99), civil rights (117), civil war (145), cold war (29), colonial america (107), immigrants (20), immigration (58), rubrics (32), slavery (72), thanksgiving (37), war of 1812 (14), womens suffrage (25)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this excellent site as a resource for Common Core social studies literacy assessments. Many of these activities (and videos) are ideal for your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the interactive rubric BEFORE the lesson, so students are aware of exactly what is expected. Use activities and materials provided on the site. Create your own similiar activities. Explore this site during professional development sessions for ideas for rubrics and lesson planning. Click on tags for "same assessment type" to find additional assessments not in the main list.
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Racial Dot Map - Dustin A. Cable

Grades
7 to 12
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Get a snapshot of America using this visualization of the geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the American people. The map represents every neighborhood...more
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Get a snapshot of America using this visualization of the geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the American people. The map represents every neighborhood in the United States. Each dot represents one person residing in the United States at the location during the count of the 2010 Census. Each ethnicity is represented by a different color dot. Zoom in and out as needed.

tag(s): diversity (36), maps (287), population (60)

In the Classroom

Discuss the cultural, political, economic, or geographic principles that affect the distribution of the dots on the map. Create blog posts, wiki edits, or other projects students can create to identify the reasons over time for the distribution in the map. The information gathered from this site might also be helpful in talking about regional and local political representation during election years. The opportunities for critical thinking abound with this site. Begin by asking, "Why does it look like this?"

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Flashy Maths Games - John-Paul Green

Grades
5 to 9
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Flashy Maths is a small set of math games (all require Flash) that can be played on the web or downloaded to use offline. Topics include fractions, solving equations, sequences, ...more
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Flashy Maths is a small set of math games (all require Flash) that can be played on the web or downloaded to use offline. Topics include fractions, solving equations, sequences, timers, transformation stations, rotational symmetry, angles and more. After selecting an activity choose from play now or save to your computer. View short directions for each interactive before selecting to play. Some games offer different difficulty levels for play. All games were tested in Firefox by the creator. Our editors also tested the activities in Safari and Chrome. Math terms may be slightly different or spelled differently for U.S. users. The site is based in the UK.

tag(s): equations (155), sequences (16), symmetry (54), transformations (17)

In the Classroom

Display and play games on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to play on classroom computers during centers or for individual review/practice. Share links to games for students to use this site at home.
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Hive Mindmap - Hivemindmap.com

Grades
9 to 12
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View the most popular hashtags of the week on Twitter. When you first arrive at the site, click the small ? to access the tips for using this interesting tool. ...more
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View the most popular hashtags of the week on Twitter. When you first arrive at the site, click the small ? to access the tips for using this interesting tool. The text size indicates the popularity of the tag. Line colors identify clusters of related tags while the thickness shows the number of times the tags were used at the same time. Zoom in to see the tags used. Click on the info icon ("i") to view stats about the tag. View the actual top Tweets, the tags, and users of the Tweets. Use the tools along the top to show trends by hour. Search specific tags using the search bar. New to Twitter? Learn more from TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.

tag(s): microblogging (44), twitter (51)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to show how trending topics and current events are interrelated and to brainstorm inferences about their connections, especially in terms of current events and "hot topics" in the news. Of course, the Hive Mindmap content will include pop culture and anything being discussed on Twitter, so you may encounter topics that are not curriculum related in any way. Just click to another area. Trace the tweets of trending topics and find viewpoints from a variety of people in order to understand complex issues. Use this tool in discussions of world events, politics, science discoveries, communications, information literacy, media literacy, and more. This could also serve as a prompt for students to find a topic they wish to research in depth, such as the latest Nobel announcements for science class or up to date information about a country in turmoil for a world cultures class.

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Sheppard's Software Dinosaurs for Kids - Sheppard Software

Grades
K to 6
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Dinosaurs for kids is a "DinoMight" site to explore the amazing world of dinosaurs through interactive pages. Watch kid-friendly movies that describe dinosaurs, a theory on their extinction,...more
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Dinosaurs for kids is a "DinoMight" site to explore the amazing world of dinosaurs through interactive pages. Watch kid-friendly movies that describe dinosaurs, a theory on their extinction, and the fossilization process. View the profiles of 11 different dinosaurs on the dino page. Select "Learn More" to view an information graphic on the dinosaur's size, diet, nickname, location, and claim to fame. Travel the "Age of the Dinosaurs" interactive timeline through the three periods: Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous. Click on the audio option on the information pages to listen to the text. Play engaging interactives to review the concepts learned on the site. Test your memory, color the time period, and build your own dinosaur! Add accessories to their habitat and print your creation. Experience the world of dinosaurs with DinoMight!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dinosaurs (57), paleontology (41), preK (275)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this FREE, kid-friendly site to explore dinosaurs. Be sure to help students identify which links are ads and which take you to site content. Students researching dinosaurs? Use the profile pages to learn about 11 of the most famous dinosaurs. The audio option allows lower-level readers to access the information on a level playing field. Interactive pages provide an excellent resource for interactive whiteboards or projectors. Explore the site as a learning station or with whole group instruction. The videos provide a great introduction to a dinosaur unit. Students can build their own dinosaurs and create their own profile pages for a writing activity. Create your own time period with the dinosaurs your students created after viewing the "Age of the Dinosaurs" timeline. Create fun facts or trading cards about their existence. Use a tool like the Trading Card maker reviewed here to turn screenshots of students' creations into trading cards. Discuss theories about the dinosaurs your students built to explain how they became extinct while citing information from the DinoMight site.
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Cell Structure - Wiley

Grades
6 to 12
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This interactive gives a great overview of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, animal cells, and plant cells. Use Construct a Cell to create a plant, animal, or prokaryotic cell and review...more
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This interactive gives a great overview of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, animal cells, and plant cells. Use Construct a Cell to create a plant, animal, or prokaryotic cell and review the parts found in each.

tag(s): cells (102)

In the Classroom

Share this tool on an Interactive whiteboard or projector as a class review and discussion about cell types and parts of cells. Use on individual computers for student review. Be sure to place this resource on your website or blog for students to access. This is a great site to use for practice before the big test!
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Circuit World - Cleo.net

Grades
4 to 11
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Use this interactive to build and then test electrical circuits that you create! Hover over the icon to use specific parts of the electrical circuit. The buttons along the bottom ...more
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Use this interactive to build and then test electrical circuits that you create! Hover over the icon to use specific parts of the electrical circuit. The buttons along the bottom are used to choose between symbols and characters. Print the circuits or save. Click run to test the circuit.

tag(s): circuits (19), electricity (88)

In the Classroom

Use this tool using an interactive whiteboard, projector, or individual computers. If your class is BYOD, this is a great tool for students to explore on their own. Allow students opportunity to play with this tool and determine the function of the various components. This would be a good introductory activity prior to a unit on electricity. Continue play as students learn more about the parts of an electrical circuit.
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