TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 12, 2014

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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Discovery News - Discovery

Grades
6 to 12
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This renowned science news source is an excellent resource for children, teens, AND adults. Find information from technology, space, humans, earth, history, animals, and adventure....more
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This renowned science news source is an excellent resource for children, teens, AND adults. Find information from technology, space, humans, earth, history, animals, and adventure. Some examples of specific topics include dinosaurs, psychology, evolution, religion, robots, genetics, and much more! Be sure to scroll through the information on the front page where highlighted videos, games, and eye catching headlines are sure to catch your interest. The reading levels (approximately middle school) are obviously too high for young readers, but videos and captions are quite approachable. Please PREVIEW before sharing anything with your students. Some of these topics are not appropriate for the classroom..
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): archeology (32), dinosaurs (57), egypt (66), evolution (100), genetics (90), news (261), psychology (64), religions (61), robotics (24), space (206)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for current events projects or when discussing news relative to the class content. Find informational texts galore to practice CCSS literacy skills! (If you need a reading level, paste the url for the specific article into Juicy Studio's readability checker, reviewed here.) Have students research what's going on via this news site, and give a brief presentation for a current events assignment or as extra credit. Again, preview any stories that students may be exploring. You may even want to provide the direct ULRs to the stories rather than have students explore the site on their own. Students can either orally present or, for the technologically inclined, create a short video or podcast summarizing the information. Have students create videos and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Have students write their information in a short summary and include background information that ties the information into the class or teaches something new and relevant. Practice science literacy skills with these engaging stories!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Open Yale Courses - Yale University

Grades
9 to 12
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Open Yale Courses offers free (non-credit) introductory courses taught by teachers and scholars at Yale University. Open access allows participants to view videos, download transcripts,...more
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Open Yale Courses offers free (non-credit) introductory courses taught by teachers and scholars at Yale University. Open access allows participants to view videos, download transcripts, and receive all related course materials at any time. Choose from courses in topics ranging from English, History, African-American Studies, Languages, and many more. They offer countless topics: Art History, Psychology, various languages and literatures (Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian), Chemistry, American History, and many more.

tag(s): african american (114), american revolution (86), art history (69), atmosphere (26), business (57), civil war (145), ecology (135), ecosystems (88), engineering (118), evolution (100), financial literacy (78), france (40), greece (26), greeks (29), novels (24), poetry (229), psychology (64), religions (61), romans (35), sociology (22), space (206)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent resource for gifted students as well as students interested in viewing high quality college level course material. Browse through topics of interest for your AP or IB classroom and use selected videos for viewing on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Share a link on your class webpage for students to view at home. Teachers of gifted may want to suggest that students form small cohorts to explore one of the course of particular interest to them. Music and art history teachers will find rich materials to include in their high school courses, as well.
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iPracticeMath - iPracticeMath.com

Grades
K to 12
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iPracticeMath is a great self-paced site for teaching, reinforcing and reviewing math skills for all grade levels. Download unlimited worksheets, take quizzes and assessment tests,...more
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iPracticeMath is a great self-paced site for teaching, reinforcing and reviewing math skills for all grade levels. Download unlimited worksheets, take quizzes and assessment tests, and monitor progress through user activity reports. Although membership isn't necessary, free on-site enrollment allows users access to additional activities and reports not available otherwise. Be sure to check back option to find new topics added monthly.

tag(s): addition (252), commoncore (92), DAT device agnostic tool (192), decimals (133), division (172), equations (155), fractions (239), functions (70), integers (41), measurement (163), multiples (34), multiplication (227), number sense (97), numbers (203), operations (126), order of operations (33), polynomials (32), pythagorean theorem (34), statistics (122), subtraction (209), time (144)

In the Classroom

Add a link to classroom computers for use during math centers. Be sure to share a link with parents on your class website or newsletter for math practice at home. Differentiate content based on individual student's needs. If you wish, encourage parents to create individual student accounts to track progress and share with you throughout the school year. Have them email reports or print them out and send to school with younger ones. If you and the parent wish to "share" a login, you could work together to support struggling students. Learning support teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will find this simple tool a great asset in the classroom.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

Comments

This website is now, out of beta and they have added a lot of new content. Editor's Note - Thank you, we will update our information. ise, , Grades: 0 - 12
Great website for math-practice ise, , Grades: 0 - 12

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K-12 Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum - Common Sense Education

Grades
K to 12
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Common Sense Education offers this series of lessons related to Common Core standards and materials for teaching responsibility and proper behavior in the digital world. Be sure to...more
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Common Sense Education offers this series of lessons related to Common Core standards and materials for teaching responsibility and proper behavior in the digital world. Be sure to browse the online video library for topics of interest. Refine your search to specific topics such as celebrity influence on kids or marketing to children. Explore the interactive scope and sequence to find lessons for all grade levels in many topics. For example, you will find lessons and videos for Digital Footprint & Reputation, Self Image & Identity, Relationships & Communication, Cyberbullying, Internet Safety, Copyright, and more. Other educational resources include posters, interactive assessments, curricular toolkits, and self-guided lessons for high school students.

tag(s): cyberbullying (42), digital citizenship (58), internet safety (113), media literacy (56), social networking (113)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this website as your first stop for any lessons related to responsible digital behavior. Share a link to videos on your classroom website or blog for students (and parents) to view at home. Download and use lesson plans and materials as part of Common Core lesson planning. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Word Clouds for Kids, reviewed here, for younger students, or Wordle, reviewed here, for older students. Ask students collect ideas on a collaborative bulletin board like Scrumblr, reviewed here, (quick start- no membership required!) demonstrating information presented from these Digital Literacy & Citizenship lessons. For example, ask them to anonymously share, "Things that surprised me."
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Math @Work - Scholastic

Grades
5 to 12
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Math@Work is a web series designed to combine classroom learning with career aspirations. (If the page does not open correctly, try Refreshing/reloading so it jumps directly to the...more
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Math@Work is a web series designed to combine classroom learning with career aspirations. (If the page does not open correctly, try Refreshing/reloading so it jumps directly to the Math@Work section!) The premier episode features Tim Gunn and Project Runway to showcase lessons in short videos in scale, budget, percent, and more. Discover math@work in the fashion industry! Download lessons already correlated to Common Core Standards for each video. Lessons include all materials needed, along with possible student responses. At the time of this review, they are adding new episodes frequently, so be sure to check back often. Be sure to click the full screen option to see the videos without clutter.

tag(s): careers (129), division (172), fashion (10), financial literacy (78), percent (82), ratios (52)

In the Classroom

Click Common Core Lessons to find information or click the link WAY up at the top of the page. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back for new additions as more information is frequently added. These lessons make a great addition to your substitute folder for an easy and fun way to practice math. Include lessons with your career unit or with any math topic contained in the webinars. Post a link to the video on your class website for use as a model and challenge students to create their own math lessons corresponding to different careers. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Math at Home - National Louis University

Grades
K to 1
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Math at Home is a free professional development resource for early childhood math. Find countless early math activities (and information) to use with young children. Browse several...more
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Math at Home is a free professional development resource for early childhood math. Find countless early math activities (and information) to use with young children. Browse several different portions of the site to find information on math literacy setting up an optimum learning environment. There are also lesson plans, ready to go. The lesson section is particularly informative and includes search options for lessons sorted by content, age, or materials used in the lesson. In-depth lessons include reference standards, specific directions, and extensions such as related books, movement activities, and outdoor connections.

tag(s): addition (252), counting (119), data (149), geometric shapes (159), measurement (163), number sense (97), numbers (203), preK (275), subtraction (209), time (144)

In the Classroom

Be sure to bookmark this site as a resource for lesson ideas in all math content areas. Although the ideas are for pre-K, some of the activities will translate even into first grade. Share a weekly activity with parents for at-home math learning. Find many resources here for your early childhood classroom. Use some of these ideas to create learning centers in your classroom. Special ed teachers will also find helpful ideas for their below-grade level and very concrete learners.

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You Made That - Interactive Abstract Art Creator - New York Times: Christoph Niemann and Jon Huang

Grades
4 to 12
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Create your own abstract art using tools in this engaging and colorful "abstract expressionist" interactive! Click on options available such as a paint palette, salt shaker, flower,...more
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Create your own abstract art using tools in this engaging and colorful "abstract expressionist" interactive! Click on options available such as a paint palette, salt shaker, flower, and more. When ready, drop it onto your canvas. Continue creating to build your masterpiece. Then share using the unique url provided. You can also share using Facebook or Twitter buttons. (If you have any difficulty getting the activity to work in Safari, try switching browsers to Chrome or Firefox. Some versions of Safari do NOT work, including latest iOS/iPad. Be SURE to TEST on the computer/devices you plan to use with this site.)
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): art history (69), colors (79), design (84), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Use this tool in art class to introduce color, shape, and texture or to discuss abstract expressionism. Create your own abstract art image (or have a student do one) and display on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a creative writing starter. Have students create an image to use for descriptive writing lessons. This is a great link to share on your class website for students to explore (and play) at home.

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The 25 Best Nerd Road Trips - Popular Science

Grades
9 to 12
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Take a virtual "nerd trip" with science-history geeks. The name of this resource is sure to catch some interest, and the locations feature very interesting histories. Click on each...more
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Take a virtual "nerd trip" with science-history geeks. The name of this resource is sure to catch some interest, and the locations feature very interesting histories. Click on each point in the map to read a small synopsis of the site. You can also click links to learn more about many of the sites. We suggest you preview any information prior to sending students to explore on their own. The sites are nontraditional and can raise questions about "pop" science vs "real" science.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): scientists (68)

In the Classroom

Use these "road trips" as a springboard for unusual research projects on science topics. These are great for gifted students or skeptical students who need the extra spark of researching something a little quirky. These are also great ideas for small group research. Encourage students to create presentations about real life science with its benefits and drawbacks. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Be sure to discuss when science enters pop culture in our society. The Center for PostNatural History, one of the sites on this map, is one such example (located near Pittsburgh, PA where organisms have been altered genetically and possibly questionably.)

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CalorieKing - CalorieKing Wellness Solutions, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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Use this tool to find the calories and nutrient content in a large variety of foods. Search among popular brands or chains or search from categories of foods. This site ...more
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Use this tool to find the calories and nutrient content in a large variety of foods. Search among popular brands or chains or search from categories of foods. This site features a search bar for easily finding the nutrient information. Nutrition facts include carbohydrates including fiber, fats (saturated and trans,) and proteins. Choose to compare foods to find the differences in nutrients. Beside the nutrient information, learn how many minutes of various exercises are needed to burn off those calories. Use the box on the site to determine the calorie requirements for your height, weight, and age.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calories (9), nutrition (154)

In the Classroom

Use this site in any health, nutrition, Family and Consumer Science, or biology class when discussing biomolecules and needed nutrients. Place this link on your site or bookmark on a class computer for easy reference. When discussing the food pyramid, or nutrients needed by the body, have students keep a 3 day food diary to compare with the food pyramid. This is also a great site to share as students make New Year's resolutions about eating healthy!

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Wonder Women - Wonder City Interactive Game - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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Wonder Woman's legacy lives on! This activity accompanies the PBS special, "Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines" (NOT available on the site) and explores American...more
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Wonder Woman's legacy lives on! This activity accompanies the PBS special, "Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines" (NOT available on the site) and explores American pop culture's evolving attitudes toward powerful women. The game (even without the film) investigates the causes and effects of gender stereotypes in the media and considers how they influence real-life attitudes and behaviors. Through this book game, you have the opportunity to identify your own heroic qualities and make empowered choices. Did you know that Wonder Woman's original, radical World War II presence, was created by a Harvard-trained pop psychologist? Do you remember her uninspiring 1960s incarnation as a fashion boutique owner? After that, she was resurrected by feminist Gloria Steinem and the women of Ms. Magazine. Explore the history of Wonder Woman and feminist issues using this program.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), heroes (24), media literacy (56), women (101)

In the Classroom

Click Classroom to find Lesson Plan 2 for using the game. Try using this Wonder Women lesson along with The HTML 5 Gender in Advertising Remixing reviewed here. This site may help students draw conclusions about advertisers targeting boys and girls differently. Then you can relate their newfound knowledge back to the gender stereotypes they discovered in Wonder Women. Next you might consider introducing students to the modern heroine Cat, who represents an unconventional superheroine in My So Called Secret Identity reviewed here. For a complete unit, add a project where students collect and annotate a group of web links that show gender stereotypes. Use a bookmarking tool from the TeachersFirst Edge.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Realtime Board - Multivitamin Project

Grades
K to 12
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Try this "easy to use" collaboration tool and templates to enhance your interactive whiteboard (IWB) or make ANY projector or computer screen behave like a collaborative IWB. See Examples...more
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Try this "easy to use" collaboration tool and templates to enhance your interactive whiteboard (IWB) or make ANY projector or computer screen behave like a collaborative IWB. See Examples to get the idea. Once you join, choose from dozens of different board templates (left sidebar) including a traditional whiteboard. Create sticky notes, text boxes, and upload images or PDF documents. Draw freehand on the whiteboard using a brush. Change colors, add symbols, lines, and more. Rotate and resize items. All menu items are seen at the bottom of the board window. Invite collaborators using the menu at the top right. When finished, publish as an image or PDF document. You can also easily embed the results within a site or your class wiki. Connect to Google Drive to share with collaborators and others.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), drawing (77), graphic organizers (42), iwb (31)

In the Classroom

Assess prior knowledge as you start a unit by generating a class whiteboard. Save it under your class/teacher account to re-access throughout the unit, adding new topics and content. Make the URL available from your class web page for students to use as a review or for learning support teachers to reinforce what has happened in class. Have student groups map out the content of projects. Encourage visual prewriting for the students who "think in pictures." Have students create review organizers to share with classmates. Allow students to use their whiteboard as their visual during speeches. Map the sequence of steps in a chemical reaction. Then share the URL for absent students to "see" what happened in class. Annotate design principles directly on top of an uploaded image. Have young students use a whiteboard to draw out ideas before they can even write entire sentences. The real asset is that the files are saved and available from ANY computer!

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MapStory - MapStory Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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This tool is an interesting way to visualize geographic information by telling it in a story format. You organize knowledge in MapStory by becoming storytellers who create, share, and...more
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This tool is an interesting way to visualize geographic information by telling it in a story format. You organize knowledge in MapStory by becoming storytellers who create, share, and collaborate. You can help to improve understanding of worldwide issues over the course of history. MapStory is much like Wikipedia. It is a global database to tell stories over time using maps. View fascinating maps such as trends in US poverty, the spreading of diseases such as the Swine Flu, and the increasing use of the US Postal Service. View many topics from endangered species to economic development -- anything you can place on a map! By clicking on the "play" button, you can see the change over time through an unfolding story. Hover over the tabs along the top of the toolbar to select a category of stories. Be sure to also notice as maps scroll across the top of the screen. Click on maps of interest and view tools for saving in favorites or embedding in a site. Search the site for StoryLayers. The StoryLayers are data that have been uploaded to the site to apply in maps. Be sure to check out the YouTube videos which explain how to use this fascinating site. 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 with your class, if needed. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): interactive stories (31), maps (287), stories and storytelling (30)

In the Classroom

Find great MapStory maps to introduce a concept or explain a portion of the concept that may be difficult to introduce in class. Use one to show initially, eliciting thoughts and questions from students. Because it is an open database, maps could contain errors. Have students be on the lookout for any possible errors. Students can fact check, research, and rewrite information as needed. Consider creating an assignment that shows a change in information over time. This project would be applicable to any subject area. Consider creating a class account to maintain the MapStories created by your students. Imagine new information being added every year with new updates to the map! World language (or world cultures) classes could collaborate to create a map story about a specific culture.

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Wideo - Wideo

Grades
K to 12
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Create animations using a wide variety of characters, props, templates, and backgrounds with this free tool. Easily upload your own images. Add your own music or voice overs. Even...more
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Create animations using a wide variety of characters, props, templates, and backgrounds with this free tool. Easily upload your own images. Add your own music or voice overs. Even though this is a very easy to understand tool, be sure to check out the tutorial after registering. The handy templates allow you to "re-use" a sample, adding your own text to a video that already has music, special effects, and more! No "techy" expertise needed. View the sample Wideos. Visit the gallery for more ideas. Add characters, props, backgrounds, and more with the plus button along the top left. View the timeline for your scene along the bottom. Flip, zoom, or arrange items on your page using buttons above the timeline. To animate your object, drag the character where you would like them to move. Your animation can either be private or public! Check out a video on Wideo here.

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

In the Classroom

Wideo is much like Go Animate reviewed here. However, Wideo's advantage is in the ability to upload your media. (Note: This could be a disadvantage if inappropriate material from the general public is uploaded. The site does have a public gallery, but nothing inappropriate was viewable at the time of this review. It is always wise to check the gallery prior to using in class (or simply steer the class away from the gallery.) This tool has a wide variety of applications for the classroom. Have students make an animation about a historical figure or a character in a novel. As students write their own story, use Wideo to animate the characters. Use Wideo to explain lab procedures or make a commercial about the superpowers of an element. If you use a template, the work will be quick and can focus on content instead of glitz. Students can explain vocabulary words, chemical equations, solving for X and more. Challenge your gifted students to create an entire animated series. ESL/ELL or world language students could create animations to practice or explain their new vocabulary. Use one of the templates to "advertise" an upcoming class project or even the daily homework assignments on your class we page. Have students help create ads for new books in the library!

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