TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 16, 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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ArtsAlive.ca Music - National Art Centre

Grades
K to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Tempt your musical taste buds with this engaging and eclectic site. Take a virtual tour of all of the instruments in the orchestra. Try your hand at creating your own ...more
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Tempt your musical taste buds with this engaging and eclectic site. Take a virtual tour of all of the instruments in the orchestra. Try your hand at creating your own composition (and listen to the recording). Listen to audio and video clips of many famous composers and compositions. View an interactive timeline and additional information about composers such as Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, and others. There is even an Instrument Lab to explore. The Activities and Games link includes "Name the Instrument," "Name the Composer," and "Compose Music." Don't miss the FREE teacher resource kits (just click on the link for Teachers). There is also a link for parents full of musical information. At the time of this review some of the audio clips were not working properly, however nearly all other activities, interactives, and videos were working fine.

tag(s): composers (21), music theory (42), musical instruments (48), musical notation (35), sound (100)

In the Classroom

Use this one-stop music shop to entice your students. Start with the Teachers Guide or a visit to the Music Resources. With younger students, demonstrate how to use the "Activities and Games" on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these same three activities in your BYOD music class. Be sure students share any music they compose. If you are doing a unit on music history, composers, or instruments - use this tool as a reference. Use this with younger students during a science unit on sound. Share this site with your gifted students who are interested in music. Challenge students to explore a specific composer (over 15 are highlighted). Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Record students' musical compositions using Dragontape, reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Engineer a Crop - PBS

Grades
7 to 12
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Concerned about the risks and benefits associated with GMO's (genetically modified organisms)? The use of GMO's is in the news right now: Do we have a right to know what ...more
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Concerned about the risks and benefits associated with GMO's (genetically modified organisms)? The use of GMO's is in the news right now: Do we have a right to know what is in our food? Is it really bad for us? Use this interactive to experiment with developing the best corn plants through selective breeding. Then, use bioengineering manipulation to develop a tomato plant resistant to certain insects. Learn how each method works, compare your success, and end by reading viewpoints about GMOs. Both Flash and html versions of the interactive are available.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): evolution (100), genetics (90)

In the Classroom

Be sure to include this interactive when discussing DNA, Genetics, and Genetic Engineering methods. As students question whether GMO's are a good idea, many questions can be answered using the interactive. Be sure to also include links on effects to the environment and address many of the other points discussed in the viewpoints. Create an in class or online debate within your classes in the use of GMO's. Use many of the points used in the interactive, backing up viewpoints with additional research and material learned in class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Nature Soundmap - Wild Ambience

Grades
K to 12
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Immerse yourself in soundscapes from around the world! Soundscapes feature recordings of bird songs, frogs, insects, hippos in a pool, and more. Hover over the location points to view...more
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Immerse yourself in soundscapes from around the world! Soundscapes feature recordings of bird songs, frogs, insects, hippos in a pool, and more. Hover over the location points to view the title. Choose one of the locations on the World map to view information about the nature of the recording, a picture of the organism featured, a link to the recordist and videos, and a "Listen" button to play the recording. Move around the map as you would in Google Maps, (reviewed here). Zoom in and out to see locations all around the world.

tag(s): animals (276), biomes (116), cultures (105), environment (317), habitats (84), plants (144), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

Use this resource when discussing various animal units or a unit on behavior. When discussing a country or culture in history, consider playing various soundscapes to identify with the culture. Be sure to provide this link for students when reporting on a culture in front of the class. Students can play the soundscapes while presenting information on the culture (turn up your speakers!). Compare different types of animals around the world. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare two different types of animals. Students can brainstorm similarities and differences and follow this activity with research into the various species. In lower grades, play soundscapes during classroom read-alouds about the animals or places in the recording. Make the Soundscapes site a listening/writing center in your elementary science classroom and ask your young scientists to describe what they hear as they learn about making observations as scientists.

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Image Atlas - Taryn Simon and Aaron Swartz

Grades
5 to 12
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Use Image Atlas to search images from several countries instantly! Click the words "Atlas selection" to checkbox the countries you want from among several dozen. Enter the image search...more
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Use Image Atlas to search images from several countries instantly! Click the words "Atlas selection" to checkbox the countries you want from among several dozen. Enter the image search term and choose to either sort them alphabetically or by GDP. For example, search the word "beauty" to view the differences in images of beauty in a variety of countries. Try "home" to see different homes or "lunch" to see differing foods. Try "school" or "teacher" to see how differently they are portrayed (or are they?). Click on each image to view the article from which the image originates. Some of this content may not be appropriate for the classroom. You may want to preview search results, before you share them. Or better yet, complete the searching together with a student or class.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), images (265), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to compare images that portray words you have searched and hypothesize about cultural differences. GO beyond the images to compare the articles that contain the images. This tool would be especially relevant in social studies, health, and other subjects where a difference in meaning across the world can be discussed. This tool may be useful if doing reports on countries. If you are allowing older students to search on their own, be sure to set firm guidelines/rules ahead of time! As with ANY image search, it all depends on the terms you enter!

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Virtual Roach - Interactive Cockroach - Orkin

Grades
4 to 12
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Get a close-up view of one of life's most despicable creatures with this interactive exploration of the cockroach. Choose any portion of the interior or exterior anatomy to begin. Click...more
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Get a close-up view of one of life's most despicable creatures with this interactive exploration of the cockroach. Choose any portion of the interior or exterior anatomy to begin. Click to enlarge different areas and view the detail of each structure. No registration is necessary, however there is a "Get an Estimate" ad from Orkin that appears over and over (kind of "bugs" you?!). You do NOT need to fill this out. Just scroll down or to the side to find the Roach activity.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): insects (69)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or on classroom computers for students to explore and discover different parts of a roach's anatomy. Yes, you will probably hear cries of disgust. Create a link to the site on your class webpage or blog for students to view at home. Challenge students to research more about roaches or other pesky critters, where to find them, the signs that you may have an "insect invasion," or another pertinent information about this and other species. Have student collect media (videos and more) from multiple online sources to show their research findings using a tool such as Dragontape, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Machu Picchu Virtual Tour - Machu Picchu Virtual Tours

Grades
8 to 12
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Experience Machu Picchu with this 360 degree virtual tour. Begin with a short introduction to the history of Machu Picchu. Tour the 32 different vantage points (interactive 360 degree...more
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Experience Machu Picchu with this 360 degree virtual tour. Begin with a short introduction to the history of Machu Picchu. Tour the 32 different vantage points (interactive 360 degree images) to enjoy your tour. Explore incredible panoramic views from different angles such as the subterranean path all the way up to the highest point of the Citadel. Control the screen on your own to move images up, down, and in different directions. Click to allow the view to rotate on its own. You will feel like you are really there!

tag(s): architecture (83), explorers (61), peru (6), south america (39), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

Include this Machu Picchu Virtual Tour with your study of South America, Incas, or early explorers. Take a virtual field trip to this historic site from the comfort of your classroom. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about one of the earlier settlers of Machu Picchu.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Breakaway - Emergent Media Center

Grades
3 to 10
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Breakaway is an online learning game designed for students ages 8-15 to learn how to deal with real life situations (peer pressure, bullying, and negative stereotypes). Included is...more
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Breakaway is an online learning game designed for students ages 8-15 to learn how to deal with real life situations (peer pressure, bullying, and negative stereotypes). Included is a facilitator's guide which includes learning goals, teaching options, and supplemental activities. Activities provide opportunities for collaboration and group decision making discussions. Learn more at the "About the Game" link. Create a username (email required) to get started with the game.

tag(s): bullying (52), school violence (12)

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers and use as a classroom center. Use the facilitator's guide to choose portions of the game or lessons as applicable in your classroom situation. Choose portions relating to bullying, for example, if that is a problem in your class. Demonstrate how to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this site during your weekly class meeting.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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J. Paul Getty Museum - Khan Academy - J. Paul Getty Museum

Grades
4 to 12
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The J. Paul Getty Museum has curated a special section for the Khan Academy video library reviewed here sharing many different kinds of art featured...more
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The J. Paul Getty Museum has curated a special section for the Khan Academy video library reviewed here sharing many different kinds of art featured within the museum. View close to 100 different videos on art topics such as photographs, paintings, and art conservation. One section focuses on art videos just for kids with discussions on important art pieces. The videos are hosted on YouTube. 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.

tag(s): art history (69), artists (75), drawing (78), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Display and use these short videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to introduce art to students. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos based on other famous works of art (or their own artwork) and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Work together with your school's art teacher on a collaborative project with student writing scripts about art. Have older students explore areas of this site to find artwork from the time period they are studying in Social Studies classes or from a culture they are learning about in world language class. Why not have students create multimedia presentations about the style of art from specific time periods using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Use artwork videos as one of several choices for writing prompts in your English class. Students could write about the importance of art to a culture and use the video as an example to focus on.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Flippity - Flippity.net

Grades
6 to 12
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Easily create flashcards from Google spreadsheet data using Flippity. Simple directions offer clear instruction about downloading the template and entering data terms. Publish data...more
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Easily create flashcards from Google spreadsheet data using Flippity. Simple directions offer clear instruction about downloading the template and entering data terms. Publish data and receive the url for viewing and sharing your flashcard set. Completed sets offer options for viewing either side of cards, moving through the set, and reloading/reshuffling the set. While registration is not required for this tool, you do need a Google account. Flippity also offers several other activities you may find useful such as Quiz Show, Spelling Words, Mad Lib, Badge Tracker, and others.

tag(s): flash cards (46), game based learning (103), quiz (85), quizzes (97), test prep (96), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

This is a fantastic tool for vocabulary development in any subject area! Create flashcards for your classes or have them make their own using individual or a whole class Google account. Use them as an introduction to a concept, then again in the practice of the concept, and again as a final review. It is a nice three-for-one deal! Use with science terms or for standardized test preparation. Have students create flashcards and share with each other to quiz themselves within their own groups. Encourage students in upper grades to create their own spreadsheet and flash card sets. Show them how to carefully read through their classroom notes and underline the most important word or words in a sentence. Then have them leave out the most important words for their flashcards. Learning support teachers might want to have small groups create cards together to review before tests. Have students create flash card sets to "test" classmates on what they "teach" in oral reports. Create and collect sets of vocabulary cards for your world language or ESL/ELL classes.

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Flipboard - Flipboard

Grades
3 to 12
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Use Flipboard to collect, explore, and share information from many sources, all in a magazine-style format. Flipboard can hold specific articles and images you choose or a dynamic "feed"...more
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Use Flipboard to collect, explore, and share information from many sources, all in a magazine-style format. Flipboard can hold specific articles and images you choose or a dynamic "feed" from a web source such as CNN, a Twitter hashtag, or a favorite blog. Most Flipboard consumers read their magazines on mobile devices, but you can manage and access your magazines from the "web tools" page (the link from this review) on a computer. Create your personal magazine(s) with things you care about: news, staying connected, social networks, and more. Create an account with Flipboard and then connect with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube. Click the More panel to browse other categories and add them to your magazines. Drag the Flipboard button to your bookmarks bar or use the Flipboard app on your smartphone or tablet. Find an article you want to add to your collection? Click the + button next to the article to save it or simply click "Flip It" on your computer's browser toolbar to add that web page to your magazine. Edit your magazines online and share with friends and colleagues. View your RSS feeds or follow your news stream in social media with this magazine-style interface. Most of the tutorial videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home. If you want to share the videos with students, bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. Flipboard is a device agnostic tool. Load the free app on mobile devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), news (261), social networking (112), video (253)

In the Classroom

Create a class Flipboard account and create magazines for each unit studied through the year. Add information that is useful for student understanding, application of concepts, or materials to be used for projects. Create a magazine of great articles and information to read or search through. Consider creating a Flipboard magazine for student current events or happenings. Use this for reports on various topics such as food issues, diseases, political information, cultures around the world, and more. Make a customized "feed" for more advanced information on a topic for your gifted and advanced students. Students can curate a Flipboard of pictures or videos from the web on a certain topic to share with their classmates. Create a Professional Development Flipboard with other teachers. Teacher-librarians may want to work together with classroom teachers to create magazines of certain content for students to use during research units. Challenge your middle and high school gifted students to curate a magazine for themselves on a topic of individual interest, creating a "PLN" they can use for years. For example, a student interested in rocketry can locate and add blogs from rocket scientists, NASA feeds, and more. Talented writers may want to collect feeds from literary publications and author blogs. They will probably also discover related Flipboards created by others. As gifted students' interests change, they can curate other topical "magazines" to keep learning, even if the topics do not fall within the traditional curriculum. You may find that the personalization of learning is something ALL your students want to do.

Comments

There are amazing collections on this site. Cindi, NC, Grades: 0 - 6

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Bootstrap - Emmanuel Schanzer

Grades
8 to 12
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Explore this free curriculum for applying algebra in the creation of videogames. Students create code and learn the basics of program design and not just writing code. Though workshops...more
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Explore this free curriculum for applying algebra in the creation of videogames. Students create code and learn the basics of program design and not just writing code. Though workshops are available to attend, at a cost, materials for teaching are also found online in HTML or PDF form. After Bootstrap I, continue with Bootstrap II which applies the fundamentals of Trigonometry. The activities align with Common Core Math and Engineering standards. Code writing in Bootstrap uses a tool that requires a Gmail account. Some of the video clips 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): coding (47), STEM (134)

In the Classroom

Bootstrap is best used in a Math or Technology class. Additionally, students who are interested in the topic can learn as part of an extra project (Graduation Project or after school program) or as part of a Gifted Program. Check out the information in the Materials section to view content covered. Use these tips for safely managing email registrations.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Delivr - delivr.com

Grades
K to 12
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Delivr combines a URL shortening/tracking service with a QR-Code generator to easily share web-based information such as links to videos or web sites. Copy/paste any url into the bar....more
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Delivr combines a URL shortening/tracking service with a QR-Code generator to easily share web-based information such as links to videos or web sites. Copy/paste any url into the bar. Use the drop-down menu for sources such as YouTube or Flickr; then press enter to shorten the url and share. Share options include Facebook, Twitter, or as a QR code to save in several different formats. Free sign-up offers additional options such as an account dashboard that allows you to manage campaigns, produce reports, and download QR codes. The FREE plan requires email registration and allows 25 "active campaigns" or services for one user.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): qr codes (21)

In the Classroom

Use Delivr to shorten and share any long url. If you have a BYOD or 1:1 classroom with mobile devices, be sure they include free QR reader apps to open the codes you create. Create a QR code that directs to your class site or blog and include it on handouts for Back to School night. Create a QR code scavenger hunt for students, making a webquest or research project more engaging. Add QR codes to documents for students to access a key or information to check their answers to questions. Expand knowledge of a topic by adding a QR code to a site that goes beyond the textbook. Create a data chart accessible via a QR code. Students can easily access the data and manipulate the information. Have students create a book trailer or review and affix a QR code to the outside of the book. (Students may be more apt to read a book that has been reviewed by another student.) Make a display completely interactive with a QR code that describes the assignment, the process, the research, student's reactions and more! Add extra help information to any assignment that asks students to solve problems. Create an online help tutorial accessible via a QR code, and place the code beside a similar problem. Even non-readers can use QR codes that lead to images or videos. Link directly to a Google Map. Place QR code contact information for you and your school on contact cards to give to parents. Attach QR codes to physical objects around the room to provide information about the object. Place the links in a newsletter using QR codes instead of a series of words that need to be typed.

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Comic Creator - Boys' Life

Grades
K to 4
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Create simple cartoons using the Comic Creator. The limited number of characters makes this easy to use for a beginner. Choose from the two main characters, Pee Wee or Pedro. ...more
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Create simple cartoons using the Comic Creator. The limited number of characters makes this easy to use for a beginner. Choose from the two main characters, Pee Wee or Pedro. Add one of the few other characters (all characters are boys). Change the background, add text, or include objects. Choose from a single slide format or a three picture cartoon. Print completed comics using the print button. If you want more character options, you may want to try this simple comic creator, as well.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), digital storytelling (142), emotions (35)

In the Classroom

Use comics to show sequencing of events. When studying characterization, create a dialog to show (not tell) about a character. To have options for female characters, you also may want to offer the choice of using this other comic creator. Use the dialog box (bubbles) to explain the sequence of a story, a science concept, or school news! Why not use the comic strips for conflict resolution or other guidance issues (such as bullying). Emotional support and autistic support teachers can work with students to create strips about appropriate interpersonal responses and/or feelings. Sometimes it is easier for students to write it down (or create pictures) than use the actual words. World language and ESL/ELL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments.

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Crunchzilla - Crunchzilla

Grades
3 to 12
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Learn basic computer coding skills using this tool. There are three difficulty levels: Code Monster for preteens (or even younger), Code Maven for teens and young adults, or Game Maven...more
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Learn basic computer coding skills using this tool. There are three difficulty levels: Code Monster for preteens (or even younger), Code Maven for teens and young adults, or Game Maven for ages 16+. Code Monster prompts younger students to change various parameters of an already given code. As they enter different parts to the code, the changes in the object can be seen immediately. Simply click on the dialogue bubble and a new lesson will appear. Unfortunately, creations cannot be saved. (Students can screenshot their creations.) Use Code Maven with older teens, though it appears to have the same lessons as Code Monster. Game Maven is the third and most advanced programming tutorial in this series. Use this to teach a little about programming by creating easy games. In all three tools, skip to further lessons by clicking on the dialogue balloons. Use the back button to return to previous lessons. It is also easy to undo a lesson and start a code over with the reset button. In all tools, if you return to the same browser on the same machine, it will return to the last lesson you were on. Note: Be sure to have played with Code Maven prior to using Game Maven as those lessons are needed to understand how to program (unless there is prior coding experience).

tag(s): coding (47), computers (94)

In the Classroom

When discussing computer science and how technology touches all of our lives, be sure to discuss coding and that it is a language that everyone can learn. Show the HTML markup of a page to show what the computer "reads" to form what websites look like. Use these tools to show basics in coding. When students are working, be sure to not rescue them with answers. Encourage learning by telling them to ask three other students first before asking the teacher AND that it is okay if we learn it together. Use other coding programs such as Scratch, reviewed here. Have students create a tutorial or a quick reference guide for using coding. Create a class wiki to share your reference guide. If you want to learn more about wikis, check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Share this site with your young gamers to lure them into the logical world of coding -- and actually build STEM skills in the process.

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