TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 9, 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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ParrMr - Mr. Parr

Grades
4 to 9
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Explore this rich collection of clever YouTube videos of songs with on-screen lyrics to learn important science concepts! Be sure to check out some pretty clever songs including The...more
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Explore this rich collection of clever YouTube videos of songs with on-screen lyrics to learn important science concepts! Be sure to check out some pretty clever songs including The Rock Cycle, Chemical Compounds in Cells, and the DNA song. The lyrics to the song are shown below the video on each YouTube page to easily copy and paste for students to follow along. If your district blocks YouTube, 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. Even if your students roll their eyes at the videos/songs, the concepts (and tunes) will definitely stick in their minds!

tag(s): animals (277), atoms (55), cells (102), climate (92), dna (69), energy (197), human body (119), matter (56), molecules (43), moon (72), motion (58), rock cycle (9), water cycle (33), weather (187)

In the Classroom

Play songs on an Interactive Whiteboard or Projector for the entire class. Embed videos on your teacher page for review by students. Use these songs as an introduction to units. After viewing a video, brainstorm to identify words students know or are not familiar with. Copy the lyrics into a document and, as you discuss the material in class, encourage students to annotate the lyrics with notes about the content. Be sure to play the video often throughout the unit to reconnect with material. Challenge your more musical students to team up with a class poet to write your own songs-- for extra credit and extra fun!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mighty Book - Mighty Book

Grades
K to 3
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Engage young children in this colorful site, packed with songs, interactive books, art and music interactives, and emergent reading activities. Reaching a wide range of grades, this...more
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Engage young children in this colorful site, packed with songs, interactive books, art and music interactives, and emergent reading activities. Reaching a wide range of grades, this site offers over 50 different engaging activities. Visit the stories made by children. The free part of this site includes a great variety of topics: Boston Tea Party, alphabet, making mistakes, metamorphosis, Mars, a variety of popular children's songs, nouns, upper case and lower case, Beatrix Potter, jokes, Bach & Van Gogh, Mona and Beethoven, and much more! Some of the activities are also available in Spanish. There are extensive advertisements, so adults will need to help guide children away from them!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (92), independent reading (125), preK (275), sight words (37), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Introduce Mighty Book on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for learning as a whole group, learning centers, or individual laptops for reinforcement or enrichment. Since there are extensive ads, you may want to bookmark or create shortcuts directly to the activity you want children to use and avoid having them get "lost" in the many links that take you off the site. Share the songs and discuss the lyrics and what they are teaching. Use this site in art class to introduce famous artists to even the youngest of learners. After listening to the jokes, have students make up their own jokes. Poems with activities offer a kinesthetic approach to poetry. Songs about colors and the days of the week catch your auditory learners. Share this link on your class website for students to explore (and enjoy) both in and out of the classroom.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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One Big Photo - Joao Martins

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore amazing photography from around the world at One Big Photo. Photos are user-submitted and shown via a selection process. They are not for sale. Choose from several different...more
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Explore amazing photography from around the world at One Big Photo. Photos are user-submitted and shown via a selection process. They are not for sale. Choose from several different categories such as animals, black and white, landscape, and people. You can also click to view a random photo. Other search options include browsing top rated images or galleries. Click any image to view the large, high quality image. Note that right-clicking does not offer options to download images. The intent is that you will view images ON this site. Although this site does include a lot of advertisements, it is worth taking a look! This site does have social features such as "likes" and links to external sites.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): photography (160), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Find interesting photographs to use as creative writing prompts and for daily journal writing. Be sure to explore the site on your own before sharing with students who will be distracted by ads as this site is heavy with unfiltered advertising. Project the image full screen to avoid seeing as many distractions. Art and photography teachers will enjoy using this site for sharing interesting examples of design principles on the fly. It is not easy to "find" a photo from another session easily, so open the site and keep it open if you want to keep a certain photo on your screen. Alternatively, open the image to the large view and copy the url for the photo (or mark in Favorites) to revisit it later. Assign students (those who can ignore ads) to "collect" urls for a curated collection of images illustrating a design principle or demonstrating a photographic style they would like to present to the class.

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HapYak Interactive Video - HapYak

Grades
3 to 12
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Take any video to the next level by adding interactive content such as links, quizzes, drawings and more. Add chapters to videos over two minutes in length for viewers to ...more
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Take any video to the next level by adding interactive content such as links, quizzes, drawings and more. Add chapters to videos over two minutes in length for viewers to jump directly to important content. Sign up using your email and a password to begin creating content on any video. Follow the step by step directions for adding your video link and title. Videos can be located on any public site such as YouTube or Vimeo. Once the video is available, use links at the bottom of the screen to draw, add images from a url or your computer, create a quiz and more. When finished, share using the url provided or the embed code. The FREE plan includes 20 public videos and 1 author. All other features are the same (or very similar) to the paid plans.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): quizzes (95), video (251)

In the Classroom

Create videos for your students or have older students create videos to share with others (using a teacher-controlled email registration). Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. Tag key points at which students might have questions. At those points insert tags that reveal clarifying information from another video, a web page, an image, or an audio recording. If using student-created videos or having students create the HapYak video, check your school policy about sharing student work on the Internet. If using with students, be sure to discuss appropriate/inappropriate annotations to make on videos. Also discuss the fact that you are using someone else's video and should give proper credit for it. Embed annotated videos in your class wiki for the class to find them easily. Projects students could make include a cultural tour of a country, a detailed biography, or an author study to play in the library/media center.

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Calendly - calendly.com

Grades
K to 12
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Calendly is an appointment scheduling tool that syncs with your Google Calendar. Sign in with your Google login and set up scheduling pages with your availability preferences. Choose...more
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Calendly is an appointment scheduling tool that syncs with your Google Calendar. Sign in with your Google login and set up scheduling pages with your availability preferences. Choose from several options for length of appointments. Next, describe your event and even add additional questions for invitees if desired. Advanced options allow for making events public, limiting the number of participants, and minimizing schedule notice time. You can add buffer time before and after appointments. Share the link with anyone needing to schedule an appointment with you. They simply visit your calendar to schedule an appointment, and it appears automatically on your calendar. Invitees receive a confirmation screen upon completion of scheduling that includes a link to add the event to their own calendar.

tag(s): calendars (44), organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

Use Calendly to schedule parent or student conferences that meet mutual scheduling needs. Create events for professional development sessions. Have participants choose a time for attending or presenting at sessions. Share with your school's Parent Teacher Organization as an excellent scheduling tool for any event. Link this up with your Google Calendar and save time, emails, phone calls, and more!

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cym@th - Cymath.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Solve Calculus and Algebra problems step by step using cym@ath's problem solver. Begin by choosing an action from the drop-down box: solve equation, simplify, or other choices. Then...more
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Solve Calculus and Algebra problems step by step using cym@ath's problem solver. Begin by choosing an action from the drop-down box: solve equation, simplify, or other choices. Then enter the problem. Problems automatically format as you enter them. Click Solve to view the step by step process to obtain the answer along with rules used, if applicable. Click on the rule to view an explanation and example. Scroll through links to all reference material. Never before has "solve for X" been so instantaneous! You can even copy a direct link to the solution to share it with others.

tag(s): equations (155), factoring (31), fractions (239), problem solving (258), quadratics (32), quotations (24)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use with practice problems or when comparing different processes for obtaining solutions. Create a link on classroom computers for students to use when checking work. Share a link on your class website for students to use at home. Have students provide their attempts at problem solving. Print the solution using cym@th. Have students share where they were stuck or having problems in finding a correct answer. How do you prevent this from becoming an instant homework "cheat"? Always start with actual word problems, not equations, so students must first generate their own equations. Require students to "show their work" on paper as they solve, including the explanation of each step. Even if they are copying from the web site, they are still copying down the explanations. If they use their own words, that will show comprehension. How else could you prevent using this tool as a "cheat"? Feel free to add a comment!

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Your Brain Map: 84 Strategies for Accelerated Learning - Open Colleges

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore the different portions of the brain and find strategies for improving brain function with this enlightening interactive. Click on any portion of the brain to view its description...more
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Explore the different portions of the brain and find strategies for improving brain function with this enlightening interactive. Click on any portion of the brain to view its description and function. Choose links on the right side of the page to view the limbic system and neuron information. The neuron section includes information about studies and strategies to improve function.

tag(s): body systems (56), brain (70), human body (119)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or with a projector. View together to explore and learn about different portions of the brain. Discuss various strategies that are shared at this site. 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). Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here.

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Science of NHL Hockey - NBC Learn

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore the science and math behind the sport of Ice Hockey with these 10 videos offered by NBC Learn. Topics include Hockey Geometry, Science of NHL Hockey: Kinematics, Science of...more
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Explore the science and math behind the sport of Ice Hockey with these 10 videos offered by NBC Learn. Topics include Hockey Geometry, Science of NHL Hockey: Kinematics, Science of NHL Hockey: Newton's Three Laws of Motion, Science of NHL Hockey: Force, Impulse & Collisions and more. Videos are approximately 5-10 minutes in length and include lessons related to the video topic along with a transcript. Lessons are for grades 5-8 or 9-12. Although part of a larger site that charges for access, these videos and lessons are all free.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): angles (86), density (21), energy (197), geometric shapes (159), mass (24), motion (58), sports (95), statistics (122), vectors (24), volume (46)

In the Classroom

View videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as an introduction to any of the science or math topics included. Challenge students to find examples in other sports of concepts introduced. Use portions of included lesson plans as extension activities. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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PollCode - Boardhost.com

Grades
3 to 12
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Looking for a way to quickly collect answers or opinions? Use PollCode to quickly create and embed a poll on your website. You can also share it using a simple ...more
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Looking for a way to quickly collect answers or opinions? Use PollCode to quickly create and embed a poll on your website. You can also share it using a simple link. Receive a breakdown of responses. Fill in the question along with up to 30 answer options. Use the code provided to embed the poll on any website. Share the poll also using social media share buttons. Sharing the poll by link allows users to also leave comments. Polls stay online until they have received no responses for 30 days.

tag(s): quiz (85), quizzes (95)

In the Classroom

Share polls on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start a new unit, asking questions about the material. Discuss in groups why students would choose a particular answer to uncover misconceptions. Use for Daily quiz questions to check student understanding as a means of formative assessment. Use a class account to have student groups alternate to create a new poll for the next day. Place a poll on your teacher web page as a homework inspiration or to ask questions to increase parent involvement. Older students may want to include polls on their student blogs to increase reader involvement. Have students create polls to use at the start of project presentations. Use polls to generate data for math class (graphing), during elections, or for critical thinking activities dealing with the interpretation of statistics. Use "real" data to engage students on issues and current events that matter to them.

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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - Gilder Lehrman

Grades
4 to 12
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Discover American History through images, exhibits, primary sources, and more with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. As a teacher or student, you can have free access...more
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Discover American History through images, exhibits, primary sources, and more with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. As a teacher or student, you can have free access to the website. Find history by era beginning in the 1620's. Look at Native Americans, Colonization, The American Revolution, National Expansionism, Civil War and Reconstruction, Industrial America, The Great Depression and World War II, all the way to current times. There are special programs and exhibits for teachers and students. A large collection of primary sources complements many studies in social studies-- and literacy. As a member, save all of your favorites and make lists for each area of study. The multimedia tab reveals documentaries, videos and virtual field trips. History Now publishes monthly newsletters.

tag(s): 1600s (11), american revolution (86), civil war (145), colonization (16), great depression (24), industrial revolution (25), literacy (102), native americans (81), westward expansion (29), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

Find many lesson plans, resources, and primary documents to enrich your history lessons. Make a splash with visual learners by starting class with artifacts from an era displayed on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Explore primary sources and historic texts as part of a Common Core literacy program cooperating among English, reading, and history teachers. Have your students sign up to enjoy access to all the resources. Challenge cooperative learning groups to choose a specific historical time period and become "experts." Have the groups create presentations to share with the class about what they learn. Use a tool like Zoho Show (similar to Powerpoint, but easier and free) reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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100Reporters - 100 Reporters

Grades
8 to 12
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One hundred of the World's top reporters have joined forces to take aim at corruption around the World. View news stories include various topics such as Agriculture, Business, Government,...more
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One hundred of the World's top reporters have joined forces to take aim at corruption around the World. View news stories include various topics such as Agriculture, Business, Government, and more. Be sure to click on the World tab to view articles by region. Build your own critical thinking as you read these articles and compare them with typical media sources. Although all articles appear perfectly appropriate for older students, we still suggest previewing this site before you share with students. Some of the topics are sensitive and/or graphic.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): media literacy (56), persuasive writing (54)

In the Classroom

In discussions of current events, find great news articles that get to the heart of the story. Compare them with other news outlets to discuss how money and the viewpoints of business owners can cloud the actual reporting. Be sure to discuss how to find parent websites by investigating the shortened address (url) of sites as well as the advertisements found on pages. Compare and contrast news stories found on a variety of news pages. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare two news stories. In world language or world cultures classes, discover what the "hot topics" are by looking at news stories from the region being studied. In writing classes, use these articles compared with those on the same topic from other sources for students to collect supporting evidence to use in essay writing.

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Brainy Box - Russell Tarr

Grades
K to 12
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Create a 3-D animated cube where you choose the content for each of the sides. No membership is required. Your Brainy Box cube is viewable on any device - even ...more
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Create a 3-D animated cube where you choose the content for each of the sides. No membership is required. Your Brainy Box cube is viewable on any device - even iPads and other tablets. Click through the tutorial by clicking the numbers under the cube and learn the details! When you are ready to create your own, click the New button to begin. Edit using standard web tools and click on a different cube face number to continue editing. Save your creation with a password to retrieve later. Be sure to save the url somewhere you can find it! Some of the introductory 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creativity (108), images (261), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Create a cube with various aspects of information about curriculum content to be shared with students. Even the non-readers could navigate a teacher-created cube if videos (or graphics) are included instead of words. Use a Brainy Box cube to give directions and examples to a specific project assigned to students. Create a cube about a particular person or event from history. Decide on the parameters for each of the sides of the cube before assigning. Create a cube to include specific information from characters in novels. Create a Brainy box to include related images or words. Students can brainstorm how these images or words are related. Assign a Brainy Box with student's favorite artwork and reasons chosen from their work through the year. Use a Brainy Box as a visual aid for student presentations. Challenge students to create their own Brainy Box on nearly any subject. Some additional ideas shared from Brainy Box: Produce a "Who" cube with an image and five key aspects of a character; Summarize a key topic with two facts, two images, and two videos; and Summarize a key event looking at different times in history. The possibilities here are endless! See more ideas in this review of a similar tool (3D Photo Cube) that creates a cube of still images.

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Cacheopedia - Cacheopedia

Grades
4 to 12
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Interested in geocaching (or want to know what it is?) This wiki offers an encyclopedia of geocaching. Cacheopedia indexes everything about geocaching. Learn the basics of geocaching....more
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Interested in geocaching (or want to know what it is?) This wiki offers an encyclopedia of geocaching. Cacheopedia indexes everything about geocaching. Learn the basics of geocaching. Find vocabulary, guides, and even communities. Use GPS units or GPS-enabled smart phones to get started geocaching.

tag(s): latitude (13), longitude (13), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Incorporate geocaching into geography, math, science, history, English, and physical education curricula. Develop understanding of latitude, longitude, and basic geography. Create lessons (or even better, have students do the creating) to learn about the area in which your students live. Encourage students to focus on places they have not been and include local history. Design a scavenger hunt around the school to move students through various caches and information they should gather or items they should see. Have a resource others would like to see? Read the Contribute section of Cacheopedia to write and submit information that others may find useful. Your students could, for example, create a geocache with a token about local history or biological species and help others learn from them! You might even make the "cached" item a QR code that directs to a wiki page your students create telling all about the local historic site or species found at the cache location. Learn more about QR Codes in this archived OK2Ask recording.

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