TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 2, 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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Science and Engineering of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games - NBC Learn

Grades
4 to 12
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Explore ten dynamic videos all related to the winter Olympics. This site, updated in 2014, was created in partnership by NBC Learn, NBC Sports, and the National Science Foundation....more
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Explore ten dynamic videos all related to the winter Olympics. This site, updated in 2014, was created in partnership by NBC Learn, NBC Sports, and the National Science Foundation. View the free videos and explore the engineering, science, technology, and math behind many of your favorite Olympic events. Topics vary from Science of Snow to Physics of Figure Skating to Olympic Movement and Robotic Design. Most videos are 5-6 minutes in length.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): olympics (47), STEM (134)

In the Classroom

Use these video clips to bring the Olympics alive in your science or math classes. Great for current events and STEM lessons, these clips are quick and simple - yet full of information. Share the clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Or better yet, challenge cooperative learning groups to view one of the videos and create a project to share with the class demonstrating the science (or math) concepts highlighted in the video. For quick projects, create electronic graphics of important words using a tool such as Typogenerator (reviewed here) or Wordle (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Imendi - David Filip

Grades
3 to 12
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Practice and learn basic words and vocabulary in Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, German, Czech, and Russian. Imendi is a flash card type activity featuring various languages...more
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Practice and learn basic words and vocabulary in Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, German, Czech, and Russian. Imendi is a flash card type activity featuring various languages in a drag and drop format. Choose your language to begin. You can also choose between a random lesson or use the "all words" option. Match new language terms to the English word then quickly view results and start over with a new set of cards. These are quick and easy reviews. Use the non-English speaking option to translate from any included language back to English.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): arabic (20), french (88), german (64), italian (33), portuguese (18), russian (26), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Use this tool with your ESL/ELL students. If you teach world languages, this site is a great review of various languages. Looking for some enrichment for your gifted students? Share this site and help them to learn a new language (or at least several key vocabulary words). Have students compare the words for the same thing across various languages to notice relationships among the languages. Make simple posters of words for different themes, such as foods, in several different languages using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here). Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Have students try out this site on individual computers, or as a learning center.

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BookRX - Knight Lab Northwestern University

Grades
K to 12
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BookRX finds and recommends books for you to read based on your Twitter feed. Allow the site access to your Twitter account and enter your handle. In a few seconds, ...more
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BookRX finds and recommends books for you to read based on your Twitter feed. Allow the site access to your Twitter account and enter your handle. In a few seconds, a suggested book list appears based on information found in your Twitter feed! The site finds books based on hashtags used and other users you follow. Book recommendations appear in several categories such as food, business, or science and technology.

tag(s): book lists (126), independent reading (126), professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Use BookRX as a fun way to find book recommendations you may not otherwise know about. In lower grades, this is likely to be a teacher-only tool. Share with older students who actively use Twitter to help them find new reading material. Use with your classroom Twitter account to find books related to curriculum topics your class has been tweeting about or experts you have been following. Teachers at ANY level who have established a Twitter presence can use it to find professional reading materials. Looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.
 

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Primitives Application - Alec McEachran and Ptolomey.co.uk

Grades
2 to 8
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Primitives Application is an interesting applet that generates graphical representations of numbers. Start with the number one and continue to add numbers to view them in different...more
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Primitives Application is an interesting applet that generates graphical representations of numbers. Start with the number one and continue to add numbers to view them in different group formations. Personalize the applet by choosing from commands on the left side such as automatic movement, adding rotating discs, or moving points. Choose full screen for best viewing of information (ESC to go leave full screen). Be sure to read the comments below the applet for some additional ways to modify and use it.

tag(s): multiplication (227), number sense (97), numbers (204), prime numbers (31)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for your interactive whiteboard. View together as a class and discuss different groupings of numbers. Use the visuals to demonstrate prime numbers. Try to predict the next grouping before moving ahead. Have students draw different number representations to use on a class bulletin board. Challenge students to find as many ways as possible to represent each different number. Share this site with your art teacher as a bridge into curriculum. He/She may want to use simple printing materials, such as styrofoam and tempura, for students to create their own visual representations of numbers, an excellent exercise in repeating visual patterns! Teachers of gifted can challenge students to create their own number-visual system or simply to present your students with this applet without explanation for them to "figure out" the patterns and what they mean!
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Word Counter - Word Counter

Grades
4 to 12
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Word Counter is a powerful, simple tool for anyone who writes. Paste in the text of your own writing (a paper, a blog post, a letter, etc.) and see how ...more
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Word Counter is a powerful, simple tool for anyone who writes. Paste in the text of your own writing (a paper, a blog post, a letter, etc.) and see how many times you repeat a word. Choose to include "small words" (the, it, etc.) in the count or not. Search your writing by roots and choose how many words you want the site to list. Repetition of words is boring for your reader and often shows "lazy" word choice. Try using this program and Big Huge Thesaurus, reviewed here, to spice up your writing. Make revision for word choice one of the steps in your writing process.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): process writing (42), word choice (26), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate the use of Word Counter on your Interactive Whiteboard. Once the redundant words have appeared on the program, display the text they came from and have students make suggestions for stating the sentences in a different way, or using synonyms. Post a link to Word Counter on your webpage for parents and students to use at home. Use Word Counter for your own writing in newsletters home, emails to parents, graduate work, and notes to administration. Be sure to share Word Counter with your colleagues.

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Strong Random Password Generator - Passwordsgenerator.net

Grades
5 to 12
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Create safe passwords easily. Set the parameters for creating your new password: character length, use of capitals, numbers, characters, and more. Click "Generate secure password" to...more
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Create safe passwords easily. Set the parameters for creating your new password: character length, use of capitals, numbers, characters, and more. Click "Generate secure password" to obtain the password and a way to remember it (also generates a phonetic password to remember). Be sure to note their great advice about passwords for safety and security.

tag(s): internet safety (108)

In the Classroom

Have student partners share the advice about passwords. Discuss these and why they are important. Use this tool anytime a password is required for students. Display this link at the beginning of the school year on your class web page for students (and parents) to use, too!

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Ellis Island - PBS/Library of Congress

Grades
6 to 12
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View the hopeful immigrants of Ellis Island as they await entry to the U.S. at the inspection station. These images date from the first decade of the 1900's. The annotated ...more
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View the hopeful immigrants of Ellis Island as they await entry to the U.S. at the inspection station. These images date from the first decade of the 1900's. The annotated photos, from the Library of Congress, describe the steps a new immigrant had to take to enter the United States.

tag(s): ellis island (9), immigrants (20), immigration (58), new york (26)

In the Classroom

Consider using this site as an introduction to a unit on immigration. Before showing the text, have students discuss what they think is happening in the different rooms, ask about clothing, and what they think the people are feeling. Share this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. You might want to use the Interactive Tour of Ellis Island, reviewed here, in conjunction with these photos and annotations. Write a blog entry from the perspective of an immigrant. Use a tool such as Throwww (reviewed here). This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided and this site is as easy as using a basic Word program!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Presidential Classroom - Miller Center, University of Virgina

Grades
6 to 12
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The Presidential Classroom offers resources for students and teachers that provide insight into historic events, the presidency, and U.S. government. Contents include lesson plans,...more
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The Presidential Classroom offers resources for students and teachers that provide insight into historic events, the presidency, and U.S. government. Contents include lesson plans, presidential profiles, video clips, and teachable exhibits. Explore exhibits by historical event or sort by administration. Exhibits provide a look at specific moments during a presidential administration including transcripts, videos, and audio of events. Choose the presidents link to get a look at each of the US presidents including quick facts, personal information, and cabinet members. Lesson plans include topics such as Space, Vietnam, and Cuba and include correlations to Virginia state standards.

tag(s): jefferson (19), kennedy (27), lincoln (86), presidents (130), space (205), vietnam (36), washington (36), white house (13)

In the Classroom

If your students do Presidential biographies or projects, this is a perfect site to share. Have students explore the exhibits while doing research on presidents and historical events. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a president.
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The China Game - Asia Society

Grades
1 to 8
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Follow the dragon to each city on the map while learning about China and its culture. At each city, stop to answer a multiple choice question about Chinese rulers, cities, ...more
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Follow the dragon to each city on the map while learning about China and its culture. At each city, stop to answer a multiple choice question about Chinese rulers, cities, or culture. View the city locations on the map as well as the location of the dragon and the number of remaining stops. This activity does require reading; however it could be used in lower grades as a whole-class activity.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

The China Game would make a great addition to classroom centers as part of your Chinese New Year celebration or study of countries and cultures. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If individual computers are available, have pairs of students explore on their own. Have students create an annotated image of China including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here.
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Math Disk - MathDisk Technologies Pvt Limited

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore the many tools available at this website for learning and demonstrating every area of math. Students and teachers alike can create OR use the ready-made activities. Use the...more
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Explore the many tools available at this website for learning and demonstrating every area of math. Students and teachers alike can create OR use the ready-made activities. Use the tools to create "worksheets" (actually online interactives!), animations, and even videos to embed into a website. Math expressions are easily entered without special tools. Create 2D or 3D graphs and even special effects for images or videos. This tool is powerful because each step of the concept can be animated and explained for better understanding. Your creations can be shared for others to use. Be sure to check out the MathDisk Gallery for resources. Search easily in the gallery by tag. Notice that there are even some applied math activities such as physics interactives. Even if you cannot figure out how to create activities using the Math Builder, you can EMBED the activities from the ready-made Gallery into your own class wiki or webpage. Try clicking on the Arithmetic tag at the left to see an interactive abacus and a simple lever game to practice basic additional and subtraction skills. Roll your mouse and click "embed this worksheet" to get the embed code. Join for free and download the app for use on all devices to easily access resources you have created. Don't miss the introduction video (hosted on YouTube). If your district blocks YouTube, you may want to view this at home so you are prepared to teach your students how to use this fabulous site. There is a support forum, but it assumes a basic understanding of how to install Math Builder and then download activities to run on your computer offline. An iOS app version to play the activities is supposed to be released soon, There is a link to download an Android app now.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Bookmark (or save) this site for students to use on classroom computers. Demonstrate HOW to use existing activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Experiment together to learn how to build your own activities, as well. Challenge your gifted students to create a simple activity on their own or with a partner, and share it with the class. Find great explanations of various math concepts on this site. Use the search by tag feature. Use to explain the rules of various problems or functions in Math. Have students look over the solutions to the problems and discuss the rules for solving similar problems. Provide time for students to teach the solutions to the class. Follow up with additional problems for practice. Consider using embeds from this site to create your own homework help section of a blog, site, or wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Teachers of gifted will love the open-ended challenge of having students create their own interactive "worksheets."
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Science Unleashed - rte.ie

Grades
4 to 9
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This site, part of Ireland's Junior Certificate Science program, has great science interactives for any science student, whether part of that program or not! View interactives of Ecosystems,...more
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This site, part of Ireland's Junior Certificate Science program, has great science interactives for any science student, whether part of that program or not! View interactives of Ecosystems, States of Matter, Atoms, Hydraulics, and more. Be sure to check out the videos, quizzes, and notes to help introduce and learn science content. Students can also download science graphics for use in their projects.

tag(s): atoms (55), ecosystems (88), electricity (89), forces (44), heat (15), magnetism (35), matter (56), motion (58), reproduction (9), simple machines (36)

In the Classroom

As students work through the interactives, many of them will have to redo their work to get the answers correct. Have them journal (or blog) what path they take through the interactive each time to identify what new material was learned and why they made their original mistakes. Create blogs about the process using Throwww ( here). This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided, and Throwww is as easy as using a basic Word program!
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50 Amazing Facts About Earth - Jason Major

Grades
5 to 12
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This Infographic offers 50 Amazing Facts not well known about the Earth. The Infographic is separated into different sections by themes including Space, Atmosphere, Sea, Under Earth,...more
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This Infographic offers 50 Amazing Facts not well known about the Earth. The Infographic is separated into different sections by themes including Space, Atmosphere, Sea, Under Earth, Ground, and Man. Take a look to learn something new... and possibly to wonder whether everything it says is true.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): atmosphere (26), geology (81), landforms (45), oceans (148), soil (17), space (205)

In the Classroom

This site would be a great introduction into digital literacy. Ask students how they know that these facts are actually true? Discuss how you can research the author, the quality of the site itself, the comments made, etc. Compare this site to others that are deemed to be "authorities" and with those that are not. Each student could choose one or two of these facts to do further research, not only to determine whether the facts are true, but to find important background information that can make the fact relevant to other students and the class. Be sure to check out the comments to see those who dispute some of the "facts" in the Infographic. Use research to determine which facts are correct. Why are some of the facts correct or incorrect, and what misconceptions exist about these facts? For quick projects, have students create instant graphics of important words about the Earth using a tool such as Typogenerator (reviewed here) or Wordle (reviewed here).

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