TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 1, 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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Glossary of Instructional Strategies - Kelly Jo Rowan

Grades
K to 12
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This deceptively simple looking site offers an incredible number of ideas and descriptions of instructional strategies. Scroll through the site to find known and new ideas for teaching...more
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This deceptively simple looking site offers an incredible number of ideas and descriptions of instructional strategies. Scroll through the site to find known and new ideas for teaching any subject. Many topics include links for more in-depth descriptions of the activities. This site was frequently updated. This is one that you definitely want to bookmark or save in your favorites!

tag(s): preK (281), teaching strategies (24)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent site for experienced and new teachers alike! Share ideas with your student teacher or mentoree as examples of different ways to present lessons. Share with other teachers during professional development sessions. Choose one or two new instructional strategies to try each month to liven up classroom lessons. Since this site is frequently updated, check back often after you mark this one in your professional favorites. Instructional coaches will want to keep this as a handy reference.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Pocket - Read It Later, Inc

Grades
K to 12
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Pocket is a bookmarking application that syncs across all of your devices to save online articles or videos for later viewing. Saving is simple. Download the bookmarklet on your computer...more
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Pocket is a bookmarking application that syncs across all of your devices to save online articles or videos for later viewing. Saving is simple. Download the bookmarklet on your computer or the Pocket app to your mobile device. When you see something to save for later viewing, click the share button to send to your Pocket account. View at anytime (even offline). Sort by content type such as article, video, or text. Add tags to organize content as you wish. Pocket integrates with many other online tools, such as Twitter and Flipboard. Share articles using social networking or email links to the Pocket app. Although this site is recommended for all grade levels, younger students would only be able to use this site if the collection was completed by an adult. Click to view the short introduction video to learn more.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), DAT device agnostic tool (198)

In the Classroom

Use Pocket professionally to collect and share websites, videos, and images for lessons and units. Use Pocket to share sites with colleagues, parents, and students. Share this site with older students to use to save resources they find for research. Demonstrate how to use Pocket and share with students as a resource for collaborating on group projects. Be sure to talk about using tags to organize things so they don't end up with a giant "pocketful" of tangled "stuff."

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Listen and Read: Reading Activities for Early Learners - Scholastic

Grades
K to 3
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This site offers short, non-fiction readings at two beginning levels of difficulty. You can read the story yourself or click to hear it line by line as you read. After ...more
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This site offers short, non-fiction readings at two beginning levels of difficulty. You can read the story yourself or click to hear it line by line as you read. After reading, choose a review activity such as hearing the vocabulary words again. The subjects include Community Workers, Animals, Environmental Studies, Social Studies, History, Civics & Government, and Plants & Flowers.

tag(s): audio books (32), guided reading (47), preK (281), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Use this site in early elementary grades to help students begin to read and interpret informational text (a key piece of Common Core). Because of its multiple levels, you can easily use this site to differentiate. Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Assign each student a different community worker to learn about. Have the students learn three new facts about their community worker to share with the class during a social studies lesson on communities. Have your ESL/ELL or learning support students write their own comprehension questions and answers based on the information to check their own comprehension and to exchange with their classmates.

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Universe Today - Fraser Cain

Grades
8 to 12
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Find commercial free Space and Astronomy news articles. The accompanying forum discusses aspects of the news in greater detail. Find book and video reviews as well as great information...more
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Find commercial free Space and Astronomy news articles. The accompanying forum discusses aspects of the news in greater detail. Find book and video reviews as well as great information about newsworthy topics. Some of the topics at the time of this review include Virtual Star Party, NASA's STEREO Spacecraft Spots Comets ISON and Encke, Volcanic Blast Forms New Island Near Japan, and many others. Most 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): earth (228), solar system (119), space (205)

In the Classroom

Share the images and articles on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Try using this website as a resource in art class. Have students find a picture and information, recreating it though their own interpretation. Have students in a writing class choose a photograph and create a story about how it came to be as a creative writing exercise. Have students use the news as a jumping point for research and understanding information about the solar system. Post this website on your class page or bookmark on a class computer for use as in reporting Science News. Assign a particular article that relates to a c concept you are studying. Have the whole class read it as homework, and then have them post reactions on a class wiki page. Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Assign students to select a current science news article for "close reading" a la Common Core and share its contents creatively on your class wiki as examples of science in the real world.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mosey - Mosey.com

Grades
6 to 12
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"Create and Discover New Adventures on the Go" with Mosey. Find and create tours of your favorite cities, restaurants, the outdoors, and more. A "Mosey" is similar to a collection ...more
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"Create and Discover New Adventures on the Go" with Mosey. Find and create tours of your favorite cities, restaurants, the outdoors, and more. A "Mosey" is similar to a collection of placemarkers with your own notes and comments for Google Maps, but you do not need to be a Google aficionado to make and share one! Create a Mosey account to build your own journey including pictures and descriptions. Type in the name of any location. Mosey lists possible addresses to choose from. Add a picture from their library and a short description or comments on what to do there. Do this for each stop in your journey to create you own Mosey that includes map pins and location descriptions. Share using the url offered when finishing your Mosey. This tool is currently available to use on the web version or to "carry with you" on iOs devices. View an example (here) made in less than 10 minutes!

tag(s): map skills (79), maps (287), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

Share some of the ready-made presentations on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Search their current presentations for those that would be useful in your class. Use Mosey to create virtual field trips to anywhere. Create Moseys for your hometown featuring interesting places to visit. Create a Mosey with state capitals, lakes and landforms, or important battlefields. Create Moseys for any mapping projects. If you are lucky enough to go on real field trips, create a Mosey telling students and chaperones what to do at each location on the trip, and have students make their own when you return! World language students can create Moseys for cultural sites -- and use their language in the comments!

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Clipping Magic - clippingmagic.com

Grades
K to 12
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Quickly remove backgrounds from images using Clipping Magic. Choose an image from your computer. (A photo with sharp lines and clear features works best.) View the instructions to begin....more
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Quickly remove backgrounds from images using Clipping Magic. Choose an image from your computer. (A photo with sharp lines and clear features works best.) View the instructions to begin. Outline the portion you want to keep in green, them remove the background with red. Adjust the brush size and background color using tools provided. Save and download when finished. Tutorials will help you master the skills, and examples make the tool easy to understand. Why remove backgrounds? You can "place" an object in another background setting or create drag and drop activities without confusing backgrounds around the image. You can also combine or montage images more easily. This tool is currently in Beta. Sign up during the beta period to continue to receive free services from this site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use Clipping Magic to create masks for classroom plays or activities. Share with students for use with projects to create and combine images without busy backgrounds. For example, create pictures of presidents, castles, or plants for use with any report or on slides for a presentation. Take pictures of students; then remove the background. Save images for use throughout the year in hall displays, bulletin boards, on reward certificates, etc.

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Make and Do Games - Kent County Council

Grades
K to 3
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Explore this eclectic mix of activities, most available online. All are designed to work on an interactive whiteboard. Some of the topics include Me Maker, Skeletons and Life Cycles,...more
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Explore this eclectic mix of activities, most available online. All are designed to work on an interactive whiteboard. Some of the topics include Me Maker, Skeletons and Life Cycles, Advent Calendar, Chinese New Year Red Pocket, Shadow Simulator, Cobweb Creator, Help Me ID, Singing Science (there are a few of these), and much more! Choose the icon to the left of each description to load the activity, or use the download button to download as a zip file for use. This site was created in the United Kingdom. American English speakers may notice some slight differences in spelling.

tag(s): africa (180), animals (276), back to school (58), christmas (64), colors (79), communities (35), dinosaurs (57), easter (21), halloween (40), insects (69), matter (58), nursery rhymes (18), oceans (148), plants (145), ponds (6), preK (281)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site for use throughout the year. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use activities on your interactive whiteboard for time fillers, story starters, and center time. Use the "Me Maker" for students to introduce themselves at the beginning of the school year or for use with your Student of the Week. Several activities include printables to print and use for centers and homework. Use the "Help Me ID Cards" as an excellent resource for your community helpers unit. Be sure to check out the many seasonal activities.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Ukaliq: The Arctic Hare - Canadian Museum of Nature

Grades
2 to 8
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Learn about the Arctic Hare with this free, interesting resource. View videos on the Arctic Hare Camera. Try the games and activities as you learn more. Be sure to check ...more
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Learn about the Arctic Hare with this free, interesting resource. View videos on the Arctic Hare Camera. Try the games and activities as you learn more. Be sure to check out the Heritage and art section inspired by the Arctic Hare. Check out the Educator section for great lesson ideas and interactives.

tag(s): animals (276), arctic (44), food chains (22)

In the Classroom

Post this link to a class web page for students to access during a unit on animals and adaptations or the Acrtic. Have students choose interesting information learned from the site to share with their groups or the class. Use the interactives to learn about the Arctic Hare. Use this site's organization for students to create their own wiki pages about other animals they research. Expand your discussion to include other animals that would be in a food chain with the Arctic Hare and the characteristics that these animals would possess. Have students create a presentation using a tool such as Glogster reviewed here or Pinwords reviewed here. Compare and contrast the Arctic hare to its relatives in warmer climates.
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Mission - A Game About Homelessness - Ottawa Mission

Grades
7 to 12
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Mission is an interactive telling the story of four homeless men from the Ottawa Mission. It is noteworthy that the real four men participated in creating the game. Each ...more
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Mission is an interactive telling the story of four homeless men from the Ottawa Mission. It is noteworthy that the real four men participated in creating the game. Each episode takes you on the journey through the life of one of the men, including significant milestones and items of sentimental value to each of them. Collect icons throughout the activity. These icons represent significant events in each man's life and are the original artwork of each of the men.

tag(s): sociology (22)

In the Classroom

Share this game with students and allow them to explore and play during a unit or lesson on poverty, homelessness, or issues in government. Make homelessness a more concrete concern for students who may not have empathy for the challenges of economics and circumstance. Introduce the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students retell the story of the homeless men using an uploaded photo and add voice bubbles to explain what they learned using a tool such as Superlame, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about one of the men or a fictional homeless person and their struggle. Discuss the role that government and social services do or do not play in combating homelessness. Include this as part of an "issues" series during political campaigns.

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Toporopa: Geography of Europe - Toporopa

Grades
4 to 12
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Toporopa provides educational and entertaining quizzes about Europe. The quizzes vary in focus but include Countries of Europe, Rivers of Europe, Ports of Europe, Monarchies of Europe,...more
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Toporopa provides educational and entertaining quizzes about Europe. The quizzes vary in focus but include Countries of Europe, Rivers of Europe, Ports of Europe, Monarchies of Europe, Volcanoes of Europe, and many others. The maps offer a variety of focus from political, geographic, historical, and even economical, making this tools useful in a variety of class/subjects. Most activities are in drag and drop or multiple choice format.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): countries (76), europe (75), maps (287), rivers (21), volcanoes (61)

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers for students to explore these interactives. This site could be used in world cultures, world geography, world languages, science, government, and many other subjects. Have students try the games and then research further information. For example, after finding all European countries that have a reigning monarch, have students find further information on the monarchies. Challenge the students to use a tool like Zoho Show (similar to Powerpoint, but easier and free) reviewed here to share their findings.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Center for Game Science: Games - Center for Game Science, UNiversity of Washington

Grades
4 to 12
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The Center for Game Science offers an eclectic group of games that promote scientific discovery, problem solving, and learning through game play. The Center is focusing on using "gamification,"...more
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The Center for Game Science offers an eclectic group of games that promote scientific discovery, problem solving, and learning through game play. The Center is focusing on using "gamification," or game play, to facilitate learning, and this collection shares its grant-funded prototypes. Choose from activities teaching diverse subjects: biochemistry, fractions, visual perception, and more. Each interactive includes a short description along with options such as single or multi-player, and an overview of the game. One game, a downloadable program, deals with protein folding. Be sure to read the descriptions in detail and practice with games to understand how they work. Many of the games are still in development and may become unavailable as they move form one phase of development to the next. A few have ads, but you can use a forward arrow to skip past them. The "capstone" listings show games created by university students, but few of these seem to be instructional.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cells (102), dna (69), fractions (239), game based learning (103), gamification (65), STEM (134), vision (87), whole numbers (16)

In the Classroom

Choose games to play on your interactive whiteboard, projector, or through links on classroom computers. Share a link to the site on your classroom website or newsletter for students to explore at home. Have students create an online or printed comic using one of the tools and ideas included in this collection to demonstrate thought processes or ideas learned through game play. If you teach computer coding, this is a great site to inspire ideas for new learning games.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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RumbleBlocks - Entertainment Technology Center of Carnegie Mellon University

Grades
K to 6
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RumbleBlocks is an interactive that teaches students (ages 4-11) how to build and identify stable structures. Build towers by manipulating a series of blocks to help a friendly alien...more
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RumbleBlocks is an interactive that teaches students (ages 4-11) how to build and identify stable structures. Build towers by manipulating a series of blocks to help a friendly alien creature get to its spaceship to return home. The site requires the Unity plug-in and will prompt you to download if your computer does not have it.

tag(s): architecture (83), geometric shapes (163), structures (24)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to use RumbleBlocks on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to play and explore on their own. Have students draw examples of structures that were stable and ones that were not. Challenge students to journal about the experience and generalize what they have learned. Consider having students create a blog entry using a site such as Throwww ( reviewed here). This tool allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. Or use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) for students to compare and contrast structures.

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