TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 15, 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

 

Less
More

Patchwork Nation - Jefferson Institute

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Is the US a melting pot? A tossed salad? The Jefferson Institute suggests it is a "Patchwork Nation." This site was originally developed to chronicle the 2008 US Presidential election,...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Is the US a melting pot? A tossed salad? The Jefferson Institute suggests it is a "Patchwork Nation." This site was originally developed to chronicle the 2008 US Presidential election, but has been maintained and updated since that time. It presents the vast diversity of the United States using demographic data and categorizing communities into one of a dozen community types. With names like "Campus and Careers," "Military Bastions," and "Evangelical Epicenters" each community type represents an important subset of what makes up the American Experience. This site drills down much deeper than the typical red state/blue state dichotomy and challenges us to think about what characteristics work to define US citizens.

tag(s): branches of government (48), census (19), communities (35), democracy (12), demographics (19), politics (98)

In the Classroom

This site could be useful in a variety of classroom settings. A sociology class might grapple with the generalizations inherent in each of the 12 community types. What does it mean to be a "Tractor Country" community? The associated charts and demographics can help prove or disprove those theories. A government class might consider the impact of these different community types all existing within one Congressional district. How might that legislator best represent those communities at the State level or the Federal level? An economics class might speculate on the distribution of wealth in the US. What factors influence that distribution? A US History class could speculate about how these different communities have come to be. What impact has immigration had? Industrialization? Geography? Are there regional differences that could stem from the Civil War? And a statistics class would find plenty of raw data to play around with. In a "Patchwork Nation," what does it mean to be "average"?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Digital Docs in a Box - William & Mary, University of Kentucky, Library of Congress

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Digital Docs in a Box presents packages of digital images and documents in "boxes" by category for use by students and teachers in creating their own historical documentary projects....more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Digital Docs in a Box presents packages of digital images and documents in "boxes" by category for use by students and teachers in creating their own historical documentary projects. This still-growing archive includes kits related to Westward Expansion, Women's Suffrage, Immigration, Transportation, and Presidential Inaugurations, for example. Each kit contains sets of primary source documents, digital images, and (where possible) audio and visual clips, along with brief introductory information to help set the context for the archive. Also included is a very comprehensive introduction to creating documentaries in the classroom, with hints, templates, assessments, and timelines. This truly is a one-stop shop for beginning an educational documentary project.

tag(s): chinese (49), civil rights (117), great depression (24), immigration (58), industrial revolution (25), native americans (81), presidents (129), transportation (40), westward expansion (29), womens suffrage (25)

In the Classroom

You may have thought about a unit in which students create their own documentaries, but then felt overwhelmed by all the logistical considerations. Digital Docs in a Box is the answer. While there is not an enormous archive, it is still growing, and there is plenty here to get started. Students don't have to track down their own images, worry about their formatting or copyright, or be distracted with those pursuits. Instead, they can focus on the real point of the project: to take historical information and images and use it to tell a story they themselves devise. The TeachersFirst Edge has dozens of reviewed digital storytelling tools for your students to create projects from these "raw materials." As a teacher, you can also focus on the same issues and not spend hours setting up the project, deciding how to assess students' success in executing it, or keeping students focused on the project goal. Once you've used the site a few times, you might be able to create your own Docs in a Box kits and expand the topics covered.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

FanFiction - FanFiction/FictionPress

Grades
6 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Disappointed that your favorite book or TV series has ended? Satisfy your craving on FanFiction. Discover FanFiction stories written by up-and-coming writers based on your favorite...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Disappointed that your favorite book or TV series has ended? Satisfy your craving on FanFiction. Discover FanFiction stories written by up-and-coming writers based on your favorite comic, cartoon, movie, book, television show, or other genre. Read and vote for your favorites or even write your own. Whether you are a fan of fiction or like to dabble with writing, take a look at FanFiction. Fanfiction authors write new stories about characters from their favorite books (movies, TV series, etc.). Read to your heart's content and leave a comment without even signing in. To create and submit your own writing you need to sign up with an email. Click on the genre of your choice to get started! This site can be accessed in a variety of languages. Click the small "mobile forum" icon at the top to use on mobile iOs or Android devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (167), novels (24), short stories (26), writing (355)

In the Classroom

It is amazing how students will polish their writing for an authentic audience! Demonstrate how to use FanFiction with your projector or interactive whiteboard. Show students the different genres and have them read a selection or two from an amateur writer to see how it works. Have student pairs or trios work together on a piece for a favorite book. There is also a miscellaneous category you could use to have students add a different ending or write from a different point of view based on any short story you use in class. They can also submit in the poetry category. Use 121 Writing reviewed here to proof student writing and make suggestions (verbally if your choose to) before they submit to FanFiction. For students to develop and polish their writing skills, use a program such as Slick Write reviewed here. Create a FanFiction account with a class email and have students work on their piece using a nickname or acronym. Since FanFiction can be accessed in several languages, this program would work well in an ESL/ELL classroom.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Fisher-Price Online Games - Fisher-Price

Grades
K to 2
0 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Find Fisher-Price's online learning games for young children. Play games that include popular characters such as Thomas the Train or Fisher-Price Little People. Choose from different...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Find Fisher-Price's online learning games for young children. Play games that include popular characters such as Thomas the Train or Fisher-Price Little People. Choose from different learning activities such as colors, shapes, ABC's, and more. Sort games to find activities appropriate by age range, characters, or type of content. Follow other links to find coloring pages, short videos, and craft ideas.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (92), colors (79), geometric shapes (159), holidays (147), numbers (203), nutrition (154), preK (275), time (144)

In the Classroom

This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Be sure to visit the craft ideas section to find ideas for number cards, letter puzzles, clocks, and much more! Share this site in your class website or newsletter for parent use at home. This is a great site to use to help preschoolers prepare for kindergarten.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Zeeik - Compeprice LLC

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This tool creates collection boards for video resources and is a tool for knowledge seeking. Review and choose good videos to collect and curate on various boards. Share video resources...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

This tool creates collection boards for video resources and is a tool for knowledge seeking. Review and choose good videos to collect and curate on various boards. Share video resources or whole boards with others. Click on a video to watch or hover over it and click on "Collect." You can also search Zeeik for specific items by using the search bar. Many of the videos are hosted on YouTube. View the videos within Zeeik to bypass the YouTube comments -- which may or may not be appropriate. This tool is still in Beta, and more features are planned. If your district blocks YouTube, some of the videos 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): search engines (64), video (251)

In the Classroom

Find how-to videos or videos on a curriculum topic in this tool. Create a Zeeik for your class to use to view videos selected by you for any topic and in any subject. In primary grades, create a Zeeik for students to access as a center and answer questions or complete a drawing about the topic. Create a class account for students to curate videos for the rest of the class to comment and rate them. Share your Zeeik with students and parents by placing the link on your web page. ESL/ELL teachers will like the ease of collecting videos to reinforce language skills.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Exploring Nature Educational Resource - Sheri Amsel

Grades
K to 8
2 Favorites 0  Comments
    
This free tool created by a botanist/zoologist is a useful resource about living things. Though some of the content requires a membership, there are many resources that are free. Find...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

This free tool created by a botanist/zoologist is a useful resource about living things. Though some of the content requires a membership, there are many resources that are free. Find information, photos, and even free video clips. Note that illustrations are copyrighted by the site owner, and information from the site must be cited with the correct references given (examples are provided.) Be sure to check out all the tabs that include Plants and Animals, the Planet Earth, Science words and Pics, Human Body, and more. Don't miss the chance to Ask a Zoo Vet (under Bringing Science to You) and many activities for those as young as preK (see Words and Pictures).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (277), earth (228), human body (119), plants (143)

In the Classroom

Use this resource for students to find information about a large variety of plants and animals for their research. The examples for citation reinforce the need to cite all sources used for a project. Be sure to include this site on your class website or bookmark it on a classroom computer for quick reference. Use information gathered to create conventional projects (i.e. posters or displays) or multimedia projects including podcasts, Infographics, or presentations. Find many ideas for creating presentations on TeachersFirst Edge.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Geokov - Geokov.com

Grades
5 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Use this free interactive mapping site to make additions to Google Maps, incorporating other data and maps with them. Add topographic maps and spatial or environmental data. This is...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Use this free interactive mapping site to make additions to Google Maps, incorporating other data and maps with them. Add topographic maps and spatial or environmental data. This is an easy tool for adding symbols and icons or for adding a drawing on a Google map. Find many of the simple tools along the top of the map. You can do something as simple as adding text labels or shading a region. Add data to the map using the tools below the map. Create a mashup of KML, GPX (easily imported from Garmin), WMS and GEORSS data sources. This video explains many of the features of Geokov. Please note this 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): environment (317), landforms (45), landmarks (26), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Take a virtual field trip through the map maker. Explore landforms and other terrain features from Google Earth and topographic maps. Easily create maps for field trips, presentations, classroom activities and more. Create a shade relief topographic map of any region. Doing an environmental study of an area or region? Find the region in this tool first and add the necessary information for classroom discussion or presentation. Use one of the many TeachersFirst Presentation Tools to present information learned. Tie information from literature, stories, history, and other sources to add value and interest to the maps.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Vision of Humanity - Institute for Economics and Peace

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
View interactive peace maps, reports, and news pertaining to peace around the world. A variety of qualitative and quantitative indicators are used to create a Global Peace Index. View...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

View interactive peace maps, reports, and news pertaining to peace around the world. A variety of qualitative and quantitative indicators are used to create a Global Peace Index. View changes from 2008 to present. Choose various indicators to portray on the map and compare different countries. Click in the middle of the map on "About the GPI" (or other index you have opened) to read how it is calculated. Be sure to check out the Terrorism Index as well as a US Peace Index that compares each of the States in the United States. Hover over that States to view the actual rank. When the site introduces a new topic, that topic appears on the main page of this site. To get to the other topics, use the top tool bar.

tag(s): countries (77), states (163), terrorism (49)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to brainstorm questions about the various indicators shown on this site. What cultural, religious, and political forces affect each of the countries and their resultant scores? What factors can be changed in each of the countries to improve their scores? Debate various policy changes in your own or other countries. Explore possible changes the world can take in order to provide a better life for all citizens of the world. What are many of the differences that exist among the states in the United States? Consider adding this resource when students complete a study of an individual state or country.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Spigot - spigot.org

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This free tool is an aggregation site for news, research, information, and opinion about learning and technology. Hover over the titles to read an abstract or click to be taken ...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

This free tool is an aggregation site for news, research, information, and opinion about learning and technology. Hover over the titles to read an abstract or click to be taken to the site. There are video clips, slideshows, articles, and more. Share easily with others through email, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. Interested in a specific topic? Use the tags on the left to view an entire category of related information. The site operates "automatically" by following certain feeds and web news searches, so new items appear very often. Although the title is Spigot, it could seem like "Firehose"! The content seems appropriate for secondary classrooms, but you might want to preview just before you turn students loose to be sure.

tag(s): media literacy (56), news (261)

In the Classroom

Use these articles to discuss the future of education and the use of technology both in high school and higher education. As students are the most important stakeholders in education, many of these articles are relevant to them and their future. Students will especially be interested in the Practice and Alt. Culture sections of this site. Discuss current events in your classroom and ask students to investigate an angle on technology and/or education for a persuasive writing piece or debate. Students have incredible insight into their own learning and technology use. Keep this link bookmarked on your classroom computer or linked to your blog, wiki, or class page. Use examples from this site to look for bias or editorial slant as part of an information literacy unit. Select articles for experience with informational texts.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

American Lung Association - American Lung Association

Grades
6 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
Find information about lung disease and issues related to healthy lungs. Be sure to click on Healthy Air in the subject bar to find information about our health and air ...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Find information about lung disease and issues related to healthy lungs. Be sure to click on Healthy Air in the subject bar to find information about our health and air quality, both indoors and out. Some of the specific topic areas include Your Lungs, Lung Disease, Finding Cures, Healthy Air, and Stop Smoking. There are many ideas shared on this site about how to live a healthier lifestyle.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): air (163), coal (14), electricity (88), natural resources (59), nuclear energy (24), pollution (66)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check out the Power Plant Impacts Page. View the source data linked below the images. Students can brainstorm why the map looks this way and what kind of impacts there are from power plants. Students can research as teams the issues from various power plants and effects on air quality and human health. Share findings with others by creating traditional projects (bulletin board or flyers) or multimedia presentations of the information. Use one of the many TeachersFirst Edge multimedia tools. Compare the air quality of the United States with that of other countries. What factors and government influences contribute to the differences that we see?

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Dictionary of Numbers, Putting Numbers in Human Terms - Glen Chiacchieri

Grades
4 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Dictionary of Numbers is an extension for the Chrome web browser that helps make sense of numbers found on the web and puts them in human terms. For example, highlight ...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Dictionary of Numbers is an extension for the Chrome web browser that helps make sense of numbers found on the web and puts them in human terms. For example, highlight the term 8 million on a web page and Dictionary of Numbers offers the comparison to the population of New York City. Use Dictionary of Numbers for your own search too. Just type in any number to receive a term comparing to something relatable. Click Download Now and follow the easy directions to get started. 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): dictionaries (55), number sense (97)

In the Classroom

Install (or request installation) on classroom computers for student use when working with or reading statistics or numbers. Display on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to help students compare and relate numbers to physical objects or similar items. Challenge students to add their own number "annotations" to passages they read, especially when doing close reading of informational texts. Make number sense a routine part of reading.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

1000 Math Problems to Enjoy - 1000problems.org

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Just as the title states, this simple-looking site contains 1,000 math problems for students in middle and high school. Choose from the categories (left sidebar) of number, algebra,...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Just as the title states, this simple-looking site contains 1,000 math problems for students in middle and high school. Choose from the categories (left sidebar) of number, algebra, shape and space, and statistics to find problems. Choose to view all at once. After choosing the year (year 7 is like 6th grade), find a list of available problems along with an objectives reference and a short description. Each problem can be viewed online or downloaded as a word document. Word documents contain additional notes and problem solutions. Please note this site was created in the United Kingdom, so you may notice some slight spelling or terminology differences if you are accustomed to American English.

tag(s): area (65), charts and graphs (195), equations (155), fractions (239), functions (70), geometric shapes (159), mean (25), mode (15), number lines (22), numbers (203), percent (82), pythagorean theorem (34), ratios (52), statistics (122), symmetry (54)

In the Classroom

Use 1000 Math Problems for homework, in-class practice, or anytime throughout the school year. Problems are not typical "rote" problems and are ideal for extension activities, as well. Have students create instant blogs using Throww, (reviewed here,) to provide explanations about how to solve problems.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close