TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 19, 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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Wordless News - Maria Fabrizio

Grades
5 to 12
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"See" daily news headlines in illustration form on this clever blog created by illustrator/designer Maria Fabrizio. Each day she chooses a headline to illustrate in a sort of visual...more
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"See" daily news headlines in illustration form on this clever blog created by illustrator/designer Maria Fabrizio. Each day she chooses a headline to illustrate in a sort of visual riddle, and she also includes the link to the article that inspired it. The result: an engaging visual prompt that tempts your guess at one of the day's top stories. The news sources vary among various mainstream U.S. news sources, such as the New York Times, NBC, NPR, or USA Today. Challenge yourself to stay up to date and think visually. Cycle back through the daily entries since early 2013 or search by clickable tags to see the breadth of news represented here and find related stories. You can also sign up to receive the daily stories via email.

tag(s): news (261), visual thinking (10)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to connect with current events by sharing the daily post (or one per week) on your projector or interactive whiteboard as students enter homeroom or settle in for the start of class. If you teach reading, this is the perfect way to entice students to READ informational texts with a visual image in mind, adding a purpose to their reading of non-fiction. This is a very creative way to practice close reading, as students look for the reasons behind the illustrator's choices. Extend the activity by challenging students in reading OR social studies classes to create their own Wordless News illustrations to reflect a news story they find on their own. Share the challenges on a class wiki for other students to "guess" and include the links to the stories. Art teachers can use this blog as an example of the many ways artists find inspiration in everyday life. Even the very young can "draw" a news story they read. ESL/ELL teachers can use these illustrations to build speaking vocabulary as students discuss and guess the news stories and practice their language skills reading the actual text. Use this blog in social studies class to inspire historic " wordless news" stories with accompanying articles written by students (or primary source stories from the time). What would the illustration and article be like for the Emancipation Proclamation?

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Letters of Note - Shaun Usher

Grades
8 to 12
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Letters of Note is a blog that shares letters from a book of the same name, but you never have to buy the book! The collection includes over 900 interesting ...more
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Letters of Note is a blog that shares letters from a book of the same name, but you never have to buy the book! The collection includes over 900 interesting letters from many different sources such as Leonardo da Vinci's 's job application, a letter from Steve Albini to the band Nirvana, and Virginia Woolf's suicide letter. Start from the archives to find over 900 more examples sorted in different ways such as typed/handwritten, by date, name, or correspondence type. Or click in the sidebar to access most popular or even view a random letter. Most letters include an image along with a short description of the context of the correspondence included. Letters include the original language so be sure to read for yourself before sharing with students.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): acting (27), authors (118), europe (74), letter writing (20), politics (98), primary sources (84)

In the Classroom

Find letters from authors to read when studying their novels. Choose letters from different time periods to share with students as an authentic look at life during that time (primary sources!). Have students share what they learned using a tool such as Zeemaps, reviewed here. Zeemaps allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a president, famous scientist, or nearly any other real or fictitious person.

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PledgeCents - pledgecents.com

Grades
K to 12
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Do you need funds for a classroom project or equipment? PledgeCents is a quick and easy solution to classroom and school fundraising. Begin with a fundraising idea and a goal. ...more
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Do you need funds for a classroom project or equipment? PledgeCents is a quick and easy solution to classroom and school fundraising. Begin with a fundraising idea and a goal. Create your class page with a project description, pictures, videos, and other relevant information. Share your page through social media links to Facebook, Twitter, and more. More simply, share the link on your class web page. Donors click to "invest" in your cause and are guided through a simple process to donate either by name or anonymously. After the project deadline, collect funds easily and safely for use with your project.

tag(s): grants (18), service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a potential funding source or make a donation. Join the site (free). Then take the time to write up a clearly-worded project proposal along with pictures and video. You can even make the project a challenge to your school community, if you wish. If you are a student council or Key Club adviser, make one or more of the projects on this site your targeted service project for the year. Or use this venue to collect funds to purchase materials for your own school or club service projects. Encourage philanthropy to support good causes: kids helping kids! Share with your school's Parent Teacher Organization as a fundraising tool for any and all projects. Don't forget to send the project descriptions with local media such as small town newspapers, local TV, or service groups who might make a donation.

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If All The Ice Melted - National Geographic

Grades
4 to 12
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View a map showing what the world could look like in 5,000 years. Despite contradictory information from non-scientists, present warming trends are predicted to raise the ocean's sea...more
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View a map showing what the world could look like in 5,000 years. Despite contradictory information from non-scientists, present warming trends are predicted to raise the ocean's sea level drastically, changing the coastline of every continent. Toggle the city names to get a really good idea of the land that will be lost. Choose the various continents to compare the loss of land.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): climate change (64), continents (50)

In the Classroom

Compare different continents and brainstorm why some continents lose more land than others. Predict the areas that will be the hardest hit socially, politically, and economically. Research the population of these coastal areas to fully realize the enormity of the problem. Discuss the time frame needed to see these changes and begin looking for information that shows land loss is already occurring. (Note: There is research of land loss and reclamation efforts in Scandinavia and in Virginia.) How will this alter ecosystems and how humans depend upon the living things around them? Challenge cooperative learning groups to create simple infographic sharing their findings or predictions using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here.

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Math and Children's Literature - Let's Read Math

Grades
K to 12
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If you integrate children's literature with math (and who doesn't?) this is a must-see site. Choose from several different elementary topics or go to links for middle and high school...more
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If you integrate children's literature with math (and who doesn't?) this is a must-see site. Choose from several different elementary topics or go to links for middle and high school teachers to find book suggestions. Each topic provides a list of matching books including author, grade, and comments. This site, though rather "plain vanilla," offers highly useful booklists that you will want to save!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): counting (119), decimals (133), fractions (239), literature (275), logic (229), measurement (163), money (192), number sense (97), operations (126), percent (82), preK (275), probability (130), ratios (52), statistics (122), time (144)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for finding literature to match to math content throughout the school year. You may want to list this link on your class website for parents to use to find literature to read to their younger student. Challenge your secondary students to read one of the books... for math class! For further math-related, leveled book suggestions for student independent reading, try TeachersFirst's CurriConnects list, Math in Use.

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Migrations Map - Martin De Wulf

Grades
6 to 12
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Where are migrants coming from and where have migrants left? Find answers using Migrations Map's interactive map. Click on any country to view a short overview of population, gross...more
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Where are migrants coming from and where have migrants left? Find answers using Migrations Map's interactive map. Click on any country to view a short overview of population, gross domestic product per capita, child mortality, disease rate, and more. Choose arrivals or departures to view the number of immigrants to and emigrants from the country and percentages on where they come from or go. Simply click on the country of your choice to begin. Note that much of the data displayed is from 2007, so is better for longer term trends than for recent times. Read "About" for more about the data sources.

tag(s): immigration (58), maps (287), population (60)

In the Classroom

Use Migrations Map during your study of any country to view immigration and emigration statistics in social studies, science, health, or even world language classes. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Ask WHY these immigration patterns exist. What factors lead to immigration? What environmental impacts does it have? Be sure to point out the data lag -- is from 2007. You can also send them to find updated stats at the World Bank and other online sources. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Have students create maps using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops!

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Zidbits - Zidbits media

Grades
3 to 12
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This tool is cool little tidbits of knowledge. The subtitle is "Boldly Exploring Life's Little Mysteries." Zidbits include facts such as "What is the hardest language to learn?" "Do...more
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This tool is cool little tidbits of knowledge. The subtitle is "Boldly Exploring Life's Little Mysteries." Zidbits include facts such as "What is the hardest language to learn?" "Do trees die from old age?" or "What is the most lethal poison?" Find facts for history, science, health, entertainment, and news on this site as well as fun facts. This site doesn't provide just a quick tidbit, but also gives background information and additional details.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): infographics (42), questioning (32), speaking (24)

In the Classroom

This resource is useful to hook your students at the beginning of your lessons or simply to get them reading non-fiction text. Use these as hooks to get your students thinking about content that will be introduced in the lesson. Students can find a Zidbit they are interested in. Poll students about possible answers and then report the actual answer and content needed in order to understand and explain it. Learn a new Zidbit yourself every week. If you teach public speaking skills, have students use these stories as inspiration or "hooks" for informational speeches, as well.

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Hindsight is always 20/20 - Luke Dubois

Grades
8 to 12
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Hindsight is Always 20/20 examines State of the Union addresses through a metaphor of vision charts (and words). This site highlights the sixty-six most used words in the annual...more
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Hindsight is Always 20/20 examines State of the Union addresses through a metaphor of vision charts (and words). This site highlights the sixty-six most used words in the annual State of the Union addresses given by former Presidents. Each address is exhibited in the style of a Snellen eye chart. Find the most frequently used words in place of the eye-chart characters, with the most often used word on the top line. Find a thumbnail of all the presidents along the bottom. Scroll over each one to view the chart. The name of the president and the period of time served is found along the bottom right of the chart. As the words are unique to each chart, the chart itself is a snapshot of each presidency and the time period each president served.

tag(s): presidents (129), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

Share this tool in January, before the annual State of the Union. Allow time for groups of students to view specific charts and report upon the words used and their meanings. Students can research the time period the president served to understand the cultural, religious, and political climate of the day. Does the most common word (or top 10) appear in more than one presidency? Are there presidents who faced the same challenges even if not from the same time period? How did their State of the Union addresses differ (or were similar?) Discuss the uses of various words of which students may be unfamiliar.

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Sketchometry - Sketchometry

Grades
4 to 12
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This tool (currently in Beta) is an amazing geometry playground. Select points on your screen and connect them. On tablets, draw roughly with your finger (such as a circle), and ...more
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This tool (currently in Beta) is an amazing geometry playground. Select points on your screen and connect them. On tablets, draw roughly with your finger (such as a circle), and the tool will generate a real circle. Use the Help page to identify the gestures that can be used on a tablet. The interface uses icons that are easy to find and follow. This web tool is designed to work on mobile browsers on any device.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), functions (70), geometric shapes (159), perspective (11)

In the Classroom

This tool is great for creating and visualizing math concepts from basic geometric shapes and area to complex constructions and trig. Use on a whiteboard or with a class projector for interactive classroom use. Save or retrieve creations with Dropbox, reviewed here or Google Drive, reviewed here. Use for hands-on work with any geometry or trigonometry functions. Since this tool works on such a variety of devices, it would be ideal to use in a BYOD (or 1:1) geometry class. Art teachers who want to "draw in" their more mathematical students can offer this as a design option, especially when teaching about perspective.
 

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Minilogs - Minilogs

Grades
7 to 12
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Collect and curate media and links with Minilogs. Create one short URL to share multiple URLs. Make your own playlists. Explore the list created by others in Minilogs. Save ...more
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Collect and curate media and links with Minilogs. Create one short URL to share multiple URLs. Make your own playlists. Explore the list created by others in Minilogs. Save videos and audio files from YouTube, Vimeo, Sound Cloud, Spotify, and more. This tool can also be used as a bookmarklet to keep interesting blog posts or other items from the Internet. Along with each URL, Minilogs also shows a thumbnail and allows you to easily write notes next to each of the images. Publish your playlists on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Collaborate with your friends or colleagues on Minilogs. Watch the video for more information on how to use Minilogs and explore the gallery of Minilogs to see how they work. Note: VERY few of the topics in the public "Explore" galleries are of educational value. We do not recommend sending classes of students to explore. While most of the Minilog videos currently shared on the site are hosted on YouTube, a few were on Vimeo. You appear to be able to use any content that you wish. So if YouTube is blocked at your school, there are many other options to use.

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

In the Classroom

Create a class Minilog account to keep a running account of useful articles, videos, and items for use in class. Add content that the students find and discuss in class. Use for students to keep a running account of current events in the classroom, science news and the impact on society, and more. Minilogs could be used in music, art, government, and nearly any other subject. Create Minilogs about current (or past) presidents. Create a Minilog to share a specific art style or music genre. Collect videos on a certain topic, even from several content video sites like Khan Academy to "flip" your class with an entire playlist of options. The possibilities are endless. Challenge students to create their own Minilogs in cooperative learning groups or independently. If you are teaching about media literacy or advertising bias, Minilogs are the perfect way for students to create curated collections of videos with accompanying notes.

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Free Green - Freegreen.com

Grades
8 to 12
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Explore over 187,000 FREE house plans, many offering "green" features. This site offers a real world application of green technology. Click Browse House Plans to begin. When...more
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Explore over 187,000 FREE house plans, many offering "green" features. This site offers a real world application of green technology. Click Browse House Plans to begin. When you click to see a specific plan, you will be asked to login. This site requires login information including an email address.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): architecture (83), design (84), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Use this site for technology education classes, design projects, STEM/applied math, or architecture. Research and explain green building methods or make a poster or ad campaign for one of the techniques being used. 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. View the different plans to note some of the similarities and differences in materials and design features being used. Compare the designs, materials, or features between green homes and more traditional builds. Compare using a tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). In math class, have students compare building costs and other quantitative aspects of green vs traditional homes as an applied math project.

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Popcorn Maker - Mozilla

Grades
4 to 12
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Remember the PopUp video (of VH1 fame?) This tool will "mashup" content to any video. Enter the embed code of a YouTube video to use or search for a video ...more
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Remember the PopUp video (of VH1 fame?) This tool will "mashup" content to any video. Enter the embed code of a YouTube video to use or search for a video directly within Popcorn Maker. Drag and drop the video into the screen. Add layers of any live content to the video. Add photos, maps, links, social media feeds such as Twitter, Wikipedia pages, and more. Use this tool to remix the "remixes" of others! Unfortunately, you cannot mix two videos, and videos must come from YouTube. Due to the range of content types, endless combinations are available for remixing. Access Help from the small multi-line rectangle icon next to the log in space for great directions and ideas. If your school blocks YouTube, you could create a remix at home, but this tool will not work in the classroom without YouTube.

tag(s): digital storytelling (135), images (261), video (251)

In the Classroom

Depending on the age you teach and your school policies, you may want to use a class account with a teacher-controlled email address to create with Popcorn Maker. Use a video from a presidential debate and add layers that fact check the statements made or view the media consensus at the time. Use this tool to create a video of a science experiment while creating pop ups of relevant information. Create a remix of a popular play or story that includes pop ups of information about the characters. Include their motivations or give the reactions of the readers with each story. Do you have a snippet of a discoverer? Add layers that show map routes, legends, unintended consequences on local peoples, etc. Use videos of sports teams to overlay stats, congratulation tweets, and more. Use world language videos with overlays of translations, dictionary references, and help in understanding. Analyze commercials (for example, foods targeted at children) with facts about the food and relation to diet and health. Create elevator pitches and upload to YouTube. Invite classmates to overlay the pitches with comments and suggestions. Use student created or existing YouTube videos that help to explain math and science concepts. Further enhance their helpful potential with overlays that elevate the learning. Pose a problem in the form of a YouTube video and invite students to remix the video to include possible solutions. Students can create presentations using this tool and show their reactions to current events or other world problem. Allow other students to remix and comment upon the presentation and add their own thoughts. Share the remixes on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If permitted, share the links to students' remixes on your class website or wiki. Teachers of gifted will love the creative (and critical) challenges this tool offers.

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