TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 22, 2013

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Reading Mission - Reading Room

Grades
3 to 6
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Find many engaging reading activities disguised as "games." Try out the reading missions to become a reading agent as you complete activities along the way. Go to Mission Control to...more
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Find many engaging reading activities disguised as "games." Try out the reading missions to become a reading agent as you complete activities along the way. Go to Mission Control to find activities such as Finish the Fiction and Mission Improbable. Find top tips from reading agents just like you to help improve reading skills. Check out author hideouts to watch videos from authors describing information in their books. Take quizzes to learn your detective style. Please note this site was created in the UK. American English speakers may notice slight differences in vocabulary words and spelling.

tag(s): authors (118), independent reading (125), parts of speech (68), reading comprehension (114)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore on their own on individual laptops or at a learning station. Share a link to the site on your class webpage or blog for exploration at home. You will need headphones or speakers for the audio portions of this site. This is an excellent site for use with classroom centers.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ProcessOn - ProcessOn.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Create diagrams, flowcharts, organizational charts, and more using ProcessOn. After a short registration process, create your diagram using templates provided or start from scratch....more
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Create diagrams, flowcharts, organizational charts, and more using ProcessOn. After a short registration process, create your diagram using templates provided or start from scratch. Creation tools are similar to Microsoft Word setup, allowing easy personalization with colors, shapes, text, images, and more. Easily collaborate using tools such as an online chat. Click the Invite Collaborators link to send an invitation. Save files on the site or download directly to your computer.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), concept mapping (22), graphic organizers (42), venn diagrams (16)

In the Classroom

Use this site to create your own charts or diagrams to share on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Challenge students to create their own charts using this tool. Create charts for literature that you are reading in class, pinpointing the plot, conflict/resolution, and more. Create a diagram to highlight important dates in an individual's life or even dates in a war. Students could use this site for a project on any topic: science, government, history, literature, and many others. Have students create study guides using this site. Share or embed the BEST maps on your class website. One of the best aspects of this site is that students can collaborate online for group projects. Learning Support teachers can encourage small groups to create study guides together, reinforcing their knowledge as they discuss and work together.

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Nelson Mandela Biography - bio.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Explore the life of Nelson Mandela with this informative site from Biography.com. Contents include facts of Mandela's life, photos, and videos profiling his life and leadership. One...more
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Explore the life of Nelson Mandela with this informative site from Biography.com. Contents include facts of Mandela's life, photos, and videos profiling his life and leadership. One especially useful portion of the site includes a printable study guide including vocabulary, extension activities, and more. There is a lot here to explore.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): 20th century (50), black history (59), civil rights (117), heroes (24), south africa (10)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to your Civil Rights, Black History, or Heroes unit. Allow students to explore on their own. Use the study guide as a resource for vocabulary, deepening understanding, or for extension activities. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare Nelson Mandela to other Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King. Have students create timelines about Civil Rights (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles (reviewed here). Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about Civil Rights leaders.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Nelson Mandela - BBC

Grades
3 to 8
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Find a good introduction and overview of the life of Nelson Mandela geared toward elementary students (and middle school). View basic information, such as why Mandela is famous. Take...more
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Find a good introduction and overview of the life of Nelson Mandela geared toward elementary students (and middle school). View basic information, such as why Mandela is famous. Take a look at young Mandela, problems in South Africa, and his life as a world statesman. Scroll through several fun facts about Mandela, play a game of Audience with Mandela, explore photographs and videos, or take a short quiz. This site was created in the UK. American English speakers may notice some slight spelling or vocabulary differences.

tag(s): biographies (85), civil rights (117), heroes (24), south africa (10)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson for Black History Month or about heroes in Civil Rights. As you discuss Martin Luther King, Jr, include discussion of major Civil Rights leaders from other countries. Have students create an annotated image of Nelson Mandela including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students create maps of Mandela's journeys using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops! Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Nelson Mandela - Facts - Nobel Media

Grades
3 to 12
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Explore information and facts about the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, straight from the Nobel Prize website. In addition to basic biographical information, view videos...more
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Explore information and facts about the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, straight from the Nobel Prize website. In addition to basic biographical information, view videos of Mandela's Nobel lecture, a bibliography of his writings, a photo gallery and much more. The question and answer portion of the site contains basic information useful for even the youngest students, while older students may enjoy exploring the wall to find comments shared by the site's readers.

tag(s): 1960s (30), 1970s (12), 1980s (9), 20th century (50), biographies (85), black history (59), civil rights (117), heroes (24), south africa (10)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. This site is perfect to include with Black History Month activities or in a unit on Civil Rights leaders. Have students create a simple infographic with words used to describe Mandela sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. 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). Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare South Africa at the time of Mandela's arrest to current South Africa. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about Mandela during his time in prison or after his release.

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The Museum of Modern Art - Khan Academy - Khan Academy and The Museum of Modern Art

Grades
6 to 12
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The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in partnership with the Khan Academy, offers several tutorials exploring the world of contemporary and modern art....more
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The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in partnership with the Khan Academy, offers several tutorials exploring the world of contemporary and modern art. View information in categories such as Printmaking, Behind the scenes at MoMA, and Performance Art. Each section contains several short videos exploring the topic. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): art history (69), artists (75)

In the Classroom

Display and use these very short videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to introduce and explore the world of art to students. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos based on other famous works of art and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Do a collaborative project with your school's art teacher, having students write in English/LA class and discuss art in that class. Have older students explore areas of this site to find artwork from time periods studied in Social Studies classes. Display one of the works of art and view the short video. Use the art piece as inspiration for a creative writing project. Use videos during career exploration units to demonstrate the different career options available within the field of art. Create a link to videos on classroom computers for students to view on their own or use the embed code to add a video on your class website or blog for additional exploration. Teachers of gifted who have students interested in visual arts can use this site to take them further, even if art is not your expertise!

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Math Instructional Videos in Spanish - Arkansas Digital Learning Portal

Grades
7 to 12
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This site offers a large collection of math instructional videos all in Spanish. Topics include Algebra 1 and Geometry topics such as finding slope, using Scientific Notation, and solving...more
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This site offers a large collection of math instructional videos all in Spanish. Topics include Algebra 1 and Geometry topics such as finding slope, using Scientific Notation, and solving equations. Scroll through the links to choose and view videos. Each video includes a printed Spanish transcript for easy download in a PDF version. Easily share videos using links provided for many social networking sites and email.

tag(s): angles (86), division (172), equations (155), geometric shapes (159), multiplication (227), pythagorean theorem (34), ratios (52), spanish (108), video (251)

In the Classroom

Share these videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. These are ideal for Spanish speaking students. Why not crossover math and Spanish lessons and do a unit together? Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Share this link on your website for any student (or parent) who may benefit from hearing directions in Spanish. ESL/ELL students and their teachers will love this find! If you teach math with many ELL students, these videos can help you learn Spanish terminology to sprinkle into your classes. Why not have students create some of their own bilingual math videos to help their classmates and future students?

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Crafting Digital Writing - Troy Hicks

Grades
6 to 12
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This companion page (wiki) for the book Crafting Digital Writing is a terrific resource for anyone who wants to share writing or present research results digitally, including...more
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This companion page (wiki) for the book Crafting Digital Writing is a terrific resource for anyone who wants to share writing or present research results digitally, including text and other media. Find suggestions and examples for digital media. Links include example pages for copyright law, a list of web publishing tools, tools for gathering information, citing sources, brainstorming, presentations, Video/Multimedia, Photo Editing, Screencasting, and several other topics. Examples include a student essay, a wiki of Death of a Salesman converted to PDF format, webpages, videos, and more.

tag(s): copyright (47), digital citizenship (58), digital storytelling (135), professional development (123), writing (355)

In the Classroom

The Common Core State Standards Anchor Standard for Writing CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 calls for students to use the technology to share their writing and to interact with others as part of this digital writing process. With this in mind, sharing this Digital Writing resource with your English department members and with science and history departments is a natural. This page is a terrific resource for any upper elementary or secondary teacher who wants students to produce writing or present research results digitally. For those interested, here is a video of Troy Hicks outlining the principles of his approach and the five themes he adheres to for a writing class: Troy Hicks Video. This video is hosted on YouTube. If Youtube is blocked at your school, it may be worth viewing at home prior to introducing your students to the resources. Use this companion wiki page directly with students or create an English department Symbaloo webmix or Livebinder of digital writing resources for students to practice ethical and powerful digital writing. Make digital writing a year long initiative in your school.

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Excellent resources Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Quibl - Quibl.com Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
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Debate with others or vote on topics of social and political interest on Quibl. This site offers an open debate platform. See the best of what both sides of an ...more
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Debate with others or vote on topics of social and political interest on Quibl. This site offers an open debate platform. See the best of what both sides of an issue have to offer and then decide where to put your comment or argument. There are guidelines for every submission, and moderators review every topic submission and all comments. Find a debate via search. Browse the categories you are interested in, sort the debate with filters, or use the map and the regions that are interesting to you. Though Quibl is monitored, the general public has access so content may not be appropriate for all students. Preview before sharing in a classroom.

tag(s): debate (41), persuasive writing (54), polls and surveys (47)

In the Classroom

To prepare students for Common Core Assessments on evidence and arguments, have them choose a popular topic on Quibl. Challenge students to research it so they can provide evidence for their stance when writing about their opinion or to refute another's. Use a whole-class account with a teacher email or individual student accounts, depending on your school policies and access. Science and social studies teachers can use this site for current events. When students are interested in a topic, access Quibl to see if there is a debate about it. If not, you may want to consider creating your own. In language arts, show the students both sides of an issue, then have them come up with an issue they care about that is not on Quibl. Have them write about both sides of an issue. Many students will have weak writing on the side opposite their opinion, and this is a teachable moment for word choice and phrasing. Have your students write about these "ready made" topics before showing them what others have to say. Once finished, they can read what others are thinking and add ideas to their opinion. Also, this would be an ideal time for them to look at the opposing opinion, decide which is the strongest point, and then teach them how to address concerns of others in their writing. For example, they can concede it is a valid point and then counter with another strong argument. If you teach French, give your students practice reading French by clicking on the FR tab. Though Quibl is monitored, the general public has access so be sure to review any issue before presenting it to your students.

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Tagboard - Tagboard.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Use this free tool to search a specific hashtag on all Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts using that hashtag. (A hashtag is simply a way of marking the general topic ...more
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Use this free tool to search a specific hashtag on all Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts using that hashtag. (A hashtag is simply a way of marking the general topic or audience for a tweet or Facebook update.) See all information in one place and then create a tagboard with that hashtag name. Send the link to the tagboard to others for them to follow. Refresh your tagboard to see all new Tweets and Posts. New to Twitter? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

tag(s): microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to follow any political event such as The State of the Union address, elections, and other major events. Get a perspective of people in the country or the World by identifying the different responses and viewpoints from those in other locations. Compare viewpoints with those of the formal media. Follow any major news event or items related to the event (reactions to the Super Bowl commercials?) Follow major achievements, world events, and more. Use on an Interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce a class topic or follow current events. Have students submit a record of tweets that show their learning over time. Students can create an Infographic or other multimedia presentation about reflections and information learned from the Tagboard. Have students make a mash-up using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge Tools reviewed here. For your own professional learning, create a Tagboard to follow one of the many educational Twitter chat hashtags listed here.

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Coastal processes - LSU Center for GeoInformatics

Grades
6 to 12
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This really good (though dated) video explains how sediments are transformed into beach sand. The many details make this useful across many age groups. The video is 20 minutes long....more
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This really good (though dated) video explains how sediments are transformed into beach sand. The many details make this useful across many age groups. The video is 20 minutes long. Click on the name of the YouTube account (LSUC4G) to view other oceanography videos that may be of value in your class. This video is 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): minerals (17), rock cycle (9), rocks (49), waves (21)

In the Classroom

Show to the class on an Interactive Whiteboard or projector. Students WILL likely find some humor in the outdated fashions in this video! However, the content is phenomenal. Create a study guide that students can use to record vital information to remember for later. Consider having students take two part notes with words and phrases written in one column with pictures of the processes or ways for them to remember in the second column. While the video is playing, have specimens of the various rocks and minerals available for students to observe. As they draw or write observations about the specimens in their notes, they can also record any questions they might have to ask later. Students can depict various parts of this information in easy to understand language and examples with their own demonstrations recorded as a podcast or video. Students can choose from many presentation tools reviewed here. For an even more exciting tech-infused project, have student groups enhance this video with their own annotations and resources using wireWax, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Global Closet Calculator - National Geographic Education

Grades
2 to 10
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Take a tour of your closet to find out where your clothes come from. Discover the concept of interdependence and the extent of our global footprints. Research where raw materials ...more
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Take a tour of your closet to find out where your clothes come from. Discover the concept of interdependence and the extent of our global footprints. Research where raw materials come from and how clothes are made. Consider the implications of manufacturing and transportation to get them to your closet. This interactive includes informative videos complete with transcript. You can save your place within the interactive by "getting a code" that you re-enter on return.

tag(s): natural resources (59), resources (111)

In the Classroom

When discussing the Food and Fiber system (materials used to produce food and the many products we use daily), use this site to gather initial information of where their items come from. As products are no longer made closer to our actual lives, many students are disconnected from the materials and processes used to create everyday products and are unaware of their global footprint. Students can continue research by investigating other items used daily to determine what they are made from, where they are manufactured, etc. Continue this process with the foods that they eat to show how many popular foods are very removed from the whole foods that we should be eating. In geography classes, have students use a reviewed geo/mapping tool from the TeachersFirst Edge to map the path across the globe from raw materials to finished products, just to make one pair of jeans. Discuss the role of natural resources and economics in determining this path.

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Evogeneao - Evogeneao

Grades
3 to 12
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Introduce evolution with the Evogeneao tree of life. This resource promotes teaching and acceptance of the biological theory of evolution in one transformative way. Life on Earth is...more
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Introduce evolution with the Evogeneao tree of life. This resource promotes teaching and acceptance of the biological theory of evolution in one transformative way. Life on Earth is one big extended family. Not only are we related to every other living thing in some way, but also to everything that has ever lived.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (277), biodiversity (38), evolution (100), plants (143)

In the Classroom

Introduce the concept beginning with the Evolutionary Genealogy section. Just as we are so, "many times removed" from a distant relative, all life on Earth is related and can be measured. Find great lesson starters and resources for understanding and teaching evolution to students Don't miss the "For Teachers" section. Students can find their favorite animal in the Tree of Life and trace it backwards to find a common ancestor with humans.

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