TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 8, 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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Otter - Scurry Labs

Grades
K to 12
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Otter is a website maker specifically designed for educators to make simple sites. Features allow for easy homework uploads. There is a class-specific classroom calendar creator, a...more
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Otter is a website maker specifically designed for educators to make simple sites. Features allow for easy homework uploads. There is a class-specific classroom calendar creator, a class announcement sender to email or text, and document storage. Register (with email) to begin creating your site. Add school information and upload a profile picture if desired. Use links to add classes to your site, homework, announcements, and more. Students may submit assignments via Twitter, Facebook, or email accounts.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calendars (44), classroom management (134), homework (44)

In the Classroom

If your school does not provide such a space, Otter is perfect for teachers to create a simple class page for interaction with parents and accessibility by students. Manage your classroom with this tool. Use as a class hub to manage documents, photos, and files. Be sure to share your link so students and parents can access both in and out of the classroom. Use Otter in teacher ed programs to show future teachers how a website can enhance instruction.

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Talky - talky.io

Grades
7 to 12
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Talky is a chat and video sharing application that is easy to set up and use. Features include screen sharing, group video chat with up to six participants, and privacy ...more
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Talky is a chat and video sharing application that is easy to set up and use. Features include screen sharing, group video chat with up to six participants, and privacy setting options. Begin by naming your conversation. Be sure to allow access to your computer's camera and microphone when prompted. Share the link with participants to allow access to the meeting. Use links to lock the room to anyone without a password and to share your screen. Current settings only allow use of Talky with Chrome and Firefox. Screen sharing is available with Chrome only. Be sure to read the helpful information found at the bottom of the site for Chrome screen sharing settings. Best part of all... no membership or sign-up is necessary to use this tool.

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

In the Classroom

Use Talky to host tutoring for small groups of students from any computer! Share with students as a resource for collaborating on group projects from home. Use Talky to set up an online interview with authors located across the country, veterans who can discuss their personal experiences with war, or experts to discuss careers in their field. Also use this site to meet up with absent students as needed. If a parent can't make a conference, meet online using Talky to share student work, progress, and more.

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NicerTube - NicerTube.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Share YouTube videos in a nicer, "uncluttered" way with NicerTube. Convert the usual YouTube share page into an attractive, easy to view page. Choose your design option. Enter the url...more
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Share YouTube videos in a nicer, "uncluttered" way with NicerTube. Convert the usual YouTube share page into an attractive, easy to view page. Choose your design option. Enter the url for any video. Choose your background from available options such as a web page, solid color, or other design. Complete your design, copy the url, and share the link as you desire. For an example, see one we created here. If your district blocks YouTube, this tool may or may not work with your school filters. Test it with our sample before going to the work to make your own.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): video (253)

In the Classroom

Use NicerTube anytime you wish to share YouTube without all of the "clutter" or just spice up a presentation! This is great to use for your more easily distracted students! Share the link with your students for sharing their videos in presentations. Use your NicerTube created links within your classroom presentations to spice up video presentation at any time!

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Tour Builder (Beta) - Google

Grades
5 to 12
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Put any story on the map using Tour Builder (by Google). A Gallery shares examples. You would be wise to preview the Gallery before sharing since these are created by ...more
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Put any story on the map using Tour Builder (by Google). A Gallery shares examples. You would be wise to preview the Gallery before sharing since these are created by the general public. To create a tour, choose locations, add text, images, and videos to create a story to share with the world. Add up to 25 items to each pinned location. Options include three different types of storylines. You can decide how others view your story/tour and how your story will progress. Linear tales move the story along a line. The hub option tells the story from a central location. You can disable lines completely so stories are not tied to a specific sequence or timeline. Finished stories default to private view. You may share privately with friends and family or make public for anyone to view. The Google Earth plugin and a Google account are required to use Tour Builder. Some of the introduction/explanation 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): digital storytelling (142), maps (288), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Create a simple tour to share (or find one in the gallery). Share the tour on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Create tours of events from history, famous battles, scientific discoveries, biographies, and much more. The possibilities are endless. Create a timeline of famous people or a hub of locations related to a topic such as toxic waste sites or habitats for a certain animal. Tour settings for Shakespeare plays or an author's life. Tour Van Gogh's painting sites or map landforms such as glaciers. Have students who have Google accounts build a Tour of important events in their lives (or use a teacher-controlled account). In world language classes, create cultural tours in your new language. Scroll through the gallery for ideas on how others have used Tour Builder. You may just find some neat tours to share in the gallery.

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Twitter Magnets - twittermagnets.com

Grades
3 to 12
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Have fun creating sentences or short messages (like tweets) using drag and drop words at Twitter Magnets! Twitter Magnets calls them poems, though the length limit is a real challenge...more
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Have fun creating sentences or short messages (like tweets) using drag and drop words at Twitter Magnets! Twitter Magnets calls them poems, though the length limit is a real challenge for poets! Choose from the words offered. Drag and drop the magnets into the message area at the bottom -- up to 120 characters. The tool keeps a character count for you. Need different words? Click the swap words link for new choices. Click submit to view your message/poem and decide whether to submit to Twitter Magnet's Twitter feed or not. You can also link to send from your own Twitter account. Note that clicking to see the Twitter Magnets feed will show you "messages" and poems created by the general public. Steer clear or preview to be sure these are appropriate in your setting.

tag(s): creative fluency (8), microblogging (44), poetry (227), twitter (50), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Create a message or "poem" of the day as a class to send from your class Twitter account. Use as a center activity or have student groups create their own messages about what you have learned today in any subject area class. Have ELL students create simple messages to reinforce language skills. If you don't have a Twitter account, just have students create offline messages. Take a quick screen shot, then write, illustrate, and share on your classroom bulletin board! Generate creative messages as a class to use as writing prompts. Have students tell the story (or nonfiction news account) about what caused the message. Looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page. You can also use this site as a tool to teach about digital citizenship and the etiquette of tweets.

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RADCAB - Steps for Online Information Evaluation - Karen M. Christensson

Grades
6 to 12
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RADCAB is a way to evaluate information and resources. RADCAB is a mnemonic acronym: Relevancy, Appropriateness, Detail, Currency, Authority, and Bias. Click on each word for details...more
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RADCAB is a way to evaluate information and resources. RADCAB is a mnemonic acronym: Relevancy, Appropriateness, Detail, Currency, Authority, and Bias. Click on each word for details on that topic. An excellent rubric is available for download in PDF format. This simple site is a great resource for discussing and teaching information literacy lessons about evaluating information and sources.

tag(s): evaluating sources (13), internet safety (108), rubrics (32)

In the Classroom

Share this site and content on your interactive whiteboard or projector as you begin a project involving research. Demonstrate how to use this site before allowing students to explore on their own. Print and use the rubric available on the site. Require that students (or groups) complete the rubric on their chosen sources for research. Share a link to the site on your class website and classroom computer for easy student (and parent) reference at any time. Another idea: assign cooperative learning groups one part of the acronym. Each group could create a presentation to share with the class about what they learned about their part of the evaluation process. Have students create online posters individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here. Students will LOVE finding and sharing examples of "bad" sources!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Find me Words - FindMeWords

Grades
1 to 12
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Find Me Words is a word generator that finds words in many different ways. You can simply type your word into the text box and click Find! Options include: Find ...more
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Find Me Words is a word generator that finds words in many different ways. You can simply type your word into the text box and click Find! Options include: Find Me a Word, Words With Letters, Definitions, Synonyms, Antonyms, and Scrabble. Enter letter combinations, look for words of a certain length or with a certain root or prefix. There is a lot here to explore. Tread carefully allowing students to search on their own as some more mature content/vocabulary is included.

tag(s): antonyms (26), phonics (75), synonyms (38), vocabulary development (126), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Add a technology twist to your word study program. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector and explore together with your students. In your phonics block, go further by looking at word patterns, beginning sounds, and ending sounds. In your Greek and Latin roots study, search for words by prefix or suffix. Use as a resource for writer's workshop, using the synonyms and antonyms. Increase vocabulary with the definitions. Make words into an exploratory "game" using this site. Have students collect favorite word discoveries on their own wiki page.

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Community Science Workshop Network - Community Initiatives

Grades
K to 12
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Bring science to life with this free community of Science Workshop ideas. The site may not look exciting, but the activities bring real hands-on learning to science. Browse a few ...more
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Bring science to life with this free community of Science Workshop ideas. The site may not look exciting, but the activities bring real hands-on learning to science. Browse a few activities to get the idea. After registering, click on the CSW Projects and Activities tab. Search the activities by project type (e.g. projectiles, music, woodshop) or by STEM content. Workshop ideas are either video or downloaded instructions with images. Most use simple, inexpensive materials.

tag(s): engineering (125), gravity (45), inventors and inventions (101), musical instruments (48), plants (144), sound (100), STEM (134)

In the Classroom

Use these activities to create contraptions for students to manipulate in class. As students use a manipulative, collect their questions about what they observe or wonder about the contraption's motion and characteristics. Students can research the science behind the object or motion. Use class discussion to create understanding about basic scientific principles. Be sure to include a link to this site on your classroom computer or website. Students can use these activities to teach concepts to other students in their class. Many of these activities make great demonstrations as an introduction to a science concept and for uncovering student misconceptions. Expand what you ask students to do by using creative writing, reading, creating Infographics, or learning correct ways to research and report findings about the subject matter.

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Energy Realities - Energy Realities

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore a collection of videos and infographic resources about energy and energy related issues. This site uses National Geographic maps and is sponsored by Slate, New Scientist, The...more
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Explore a collection of videos and infographic resources about energy and energy related issues. This site uses National Geographic maps and is sponsored by Slate, New Scientist, The Economist Group, and Statoil, an oil and gas company. Access a visual guide to global energy needs. Learn about the story of energy use, methods of production, and the focus on sustainability of our planet.

tag(s): coal (14), energy (197), natural resources (59), nuclear energy (24), oil (45), population (60), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Begin the discussion of energy use and production by asking students to list everything they know about coal, oil, and natural gas. Have students list what they know about renewable resources. Students can research this site to determine whether their statements are correct or false and report back to the class about their misunderstandings. Be sure to identify concepts that need to be expanded upon in the classroom. Follow with conservation methods, your own energy use as compared to other countries, and more energy related topics. Use the Infographics as comparison. For example, view a population density map compared to an energy use map for any kind of insights or correlations. Be sure to check out new content such as the video on "Carbon capture and Storage" for greater understanding of newsworthy topics.

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GlacierWorks - Glacier Works and David Breashears

Grades
6 to 12
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Learn about glaciers, the Himalayas, the people, and more as you take a virtual hike to a Mount Everest. The site includes two sections: Rivers of Ice and Explore Everest. ...more
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Learn about glaciers, the Himalayas, the people, and more as you take a virtual hike to a Mount Everest. The site includes two sections: Rivers of Ice and Explore Everest. View the beautiful video and scenery as you explore panoramic images of valleys and glacier at each of the eight stops along the way through Rivers of Ice. When finished, compare the size of Himalayan Glaciers today to their size in the 1920's. The team creating the site is still collecting more to add to the images and stories.

tag(s): asia (73), explorers (61), glaciers (14), mountains (13)

In the Classroom

Everest: Rivers of Ice is an excellent resource for use with any unit studying glaciers and river formation. Discuss the role of climate change in the lives of the people. That section of th site includes little more than images, but these could spark observations and discussions about how climate change might affect the people of the Himalayas. View different parts of the site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) throughout your unit. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Have students create online posters individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here.

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The Hand-Washing Challenge - learnalberta.ca

Grades
K to 2
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This site demonstrates how important it is to keep hands clean before different activities. The video of a chef explaining the importance of hand washing precedes several activities....more
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This site demonstrates how important it is to keep hands clean before different activities. The video of a chef explaining the importance of hand washing precedes several activities. After each activity (no interaction here), you select the steps to hand washing.

tag(s): hygiene (10)

In the Classroom

Use this in kindergarten to show students the importance of washing hands after using the restroom or before eating. Keep your classroom healthy this flu season by making hygiene a theme of the week. This would also be good to have on a computer at a center as a reminder to primary grade students. ESL/ELL students will enjoy learning the limited vocabulary that comes with the hand washing steps.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Literacy CLL Games - Kent County Council

Grades
K to 2
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Literacy CLL Games offers a small but useful collection of literacy development games. Topics include phoneme practice, vocabulary development, and practice with high frequency words....more
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Literacy CLL Games offers a small but useful collection of literacy development games. Topics include phoneme practice, vocabulary development, and practice with high frequency words. There are interactive books and activities to explore. Hover your mouse over any activity icon to each interactive's purpose and a short description. Several games offer the option of offline play. Choose from the drop-down bar and open the zip file on your computer to play.

tag(s): alphabet (92), audio books (32), handwriting (18), nursery rhymes (18), phonics (75), preK (279), sounds (68), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share some of the activities and complete them as a class. Set up a learning center for students to explore this site on their own. Be sure to provide this link on your class website for students (and parents) to practice at home. Don't forget to save this one in your favorites.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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