TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Mar 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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Polar Bears International - Polar Bears International

Grades
3 to 12
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Why just read about polar bears in the news? Follow polar bears with the Bear Tracker. Learn about their habitat and efforts to save them. Use the "About Bears" tab ...more
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Why just read about polar bears in the news? Follow polar bears with the Bear Tracker. Learn about their habitat and efforts to save them. Use the "About Bears" tab to find the "Polar Bear Tracker Map" and watch polar bears traverse the sea ice. Be sure to look at the unit and lesson plans that accompany the Tracker Map. Learn about Global Warming, Polar Bear Facts and Information, and more in the "About Bears" section. Click on the Science tab to view research projects, status reports, and care guidelines for polar bears. Find lesson plans, WebQuests, and mini courses for teacher use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (276), biomes (116), conservation (127), ecosystems (88), polar (19), tundra (14)

In the Classroom

National Polar Bear Day is February 27th, but every day should be polar bear day to learn how our lives affect a majestic creature far away from our communities. Use one of the many lesson plans to learn about the polar bear and their movements (look at the lesson plans that use the Tracker Map). Plan a polar bear day in all subjects! Science class can learn about the polar bear, Math/Geography can use the tracker to determine patterns and distances of movement, English classes can write stories and poems, and Art classes can create polar inspired artwork! What a perfect "snowy" activity.

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GoNoodle - Health Teacher, Inc

Grades
K to 5
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Give yourself a brain break using the interactive classroom resources at GoNoodle. These activities promote health and fitness and are based on cutting edge research. (See the...more
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Give yourself a brain break using the interactive classroom resources at GoNoodle. These activities promote health and fitness and are based on cutting edge research. (See the White Paper to learn more about the research.) These engaging games and activities provide short bursts of movement leading to improved focus and energy within the classroom. Create an account and choose a class mascot. Choose from all brain breaks or narrow your search to a certain activity type: YouTube options, Zumba Kids, etc. Some options are for paid memberships only. None of the games takes longer than five minutes. While most of these are physical tasks, a few are mental/logic activities. Time required for the activity is shown with each option. Registration does require an email address. If your district blocks YouTube, some activities 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): classroom management (135), fitness (49), logic (235), preK (281)

In the Classroom

Share these short activities on your projector or interactive whiteboard for your entire class to view together. Bookmark and save GoNoodle as a before class (or before the bell) activity, perfect for those long winter days inside. These would be great activities as you head into high stakes tests. When your class needs to refocus, use GoNoodle as a short brain break. Use GoNoodle to motivate and reward class accomplishments. Share with learning support teachers (or emotional or autistic support) for use in motivating and reinforcing behaviors with their students.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

My students and I love using GoNoodle for brain breaks. GoNoodle tracks your minutes for you and your mascot "grows" as you use the site. Paula, LA, Grades: 3 - 5
Paula, LA, Grades: 3 - 5

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Speedsums - Taimur Abdaal

Grades
3 to 8
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Just how quick are you with math facts? Find out at Speedsums! Although the site is extremely simple, it is also fun and challenging. The idea is that you will ...more
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Just how quick are you with math facts? Find out at Speedsums! Although the site is extremely simple, it is also fun and challenging. The idea is that you will complete one problem a second for 30 seconds. Problems become progressively harder, but all use basic arithmetic operations with two numbers. Use the practice mode to gain confidence. This provides 120 practice questions without a time limit. This challenge is rather addicting, so get ready! Since it is very simple, it will display just fine on a tablet, but you may have to get used to quick tablet typing!

tag(s): addition (250), division (172), mental math (27), multiplication (227), number sense (96), operations (125), subtraction (207)

In the Classroom

Challenge students with Speedsums as a fun way to practice basic math fact fluency. Use your interactive whiteboard for small groups or computer stations for individual students to increase the correct number of answers with each game. Be sure to share a link to Speedsums on your class website or blog for use at home. Save the shortcut on class or computer lab computers for use during center or lab time. Use this site for practice in your BYOD or 1-1 classroom.

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Tweriod - Kapeel Sable

Grades
K to 12
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When is the best time to tweet? Find out with this free Twitter analysis tool. Tweriod analyzes your tweets and those of up to 1000 of your followers to provide ...more
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When is the best time to tweet? Find out with this free Twitter analysis tool. Tweriod analyzes your tweets and those of up to 1000 of your followers to provide suggestions on when your tweets have the highest probability of maximum exposure. Authorize Tweriod to access your Twitter account. Provide your email to receive your report. Within one to two hours, you will receive your results through a Direct Message to your Twitter account and email. Results include general stats, graphs, and three blocks of identified time for your best use of Twitter. Note: our review team report arrived within five minutes of our request.

tag(s): social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page. Use Tweriod to enhance your use of Twitter, finding specific times to reach most followers to make your Twitter use most productive. Share the analysis of your class Twitter account with students, and ask them to explore the data provided and analyze the findings.

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This Day in History Game - Shockwave

Grades
6 to 12
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Test your knowledge of history by placing eight events in order of occurrence. Drag each event to the correct order on the timeline then view your results. Change any incorrect ...more
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Test your knowledge of history by placing eight events in order of occurrence. Drag each event to the correct order on the timeline then view your results. Change any incorrect answers until all are in the correct order. Move on to the bonus round to guess the exact year each event occurred. Try your hand at the challenge of the day or games for the previous two weeks for free. Premium membership is required for any other dates. If you like learning more detail about historic events and why they matter, check out TeachersFirst's Dates that Matter.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): logic (235), problem solving (272), trivia (17)

In the Classroom

This is a challenging activity to sneak in some problem solving and logic lessons! Use the "This Day in History Game" as a fun class warmup activity on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge students to problem solve dates of events with as much accuracy as possible. Choose items of interest for students to research. Then have students upload a photo they have taken and add voice bubbles to explain what they learned using a tool such as Superlame, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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MathFights - MathFights Ltd.

Grades
9 to 12
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Compete in the ultimate Math Challenge with opponents from around the globe on MathFights! Registration is required to access this site, and it requires email. The questions are challenging,...more
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Compete in the ultimate Math Challenge with opponents from around the globe on MathFights! Registration is required to access this site, and it requires email. The questions are challenging, much like those in Math Counts and other math competitions. Begin working your way up from division 10 all the way up to the highest level, division 1. Choose the "Fight" button to connect with a challenger. You can also challenge a friend registered with the site. Each round consists of five multiple choice questions to answer within the given time. Speed and accuracy scores determine the winner for each round. Following each round is an opportunity to review each task and view correct answers and explanations for incorrect responses. Be prepared, MathFights will offer a challenge to even the brightest math minds!

tag(s): gifted (96), logic (235), mean (25), order of operations (33), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Create a class MathFights account and have students play on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to create their own accounts using Gmail subaccounts and challenge each other from computer centers. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. Create a link on your class webpage or blog and challenge students to share their levels and competition results. Choose difficult questions from MathFights to use as challenge problems in class. MathFights is excellent for use with gifted students as a Math challenge at any time they have completed lesson objectives.

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WordDraw - Free Word Newsletter Templates - worddraw.com

Grades
K to 12
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WordDraw offers a variety of newsletter and flyer templates designed for classroom use in Microsoft Word format. Scroll through the home page to find templates for each grade level,...more
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WordDraw offers a variety of newsletter and flyer templates designed for classroom use in Microsoft Word format. Scroll through the home page to find templates for each grade level, holidays, back to school, and more. To view all school templates choose the "School Templates" link at the very bottom of each page. Other options include Business and Family templates. Click any link to view a short description and larger image of the template. Choose "Template Download" to save directly to your computer. Modify any design after downloading by clicking in text boxes to add text or change text box properties. Modify the color, size, and font. Use templates on all versions of Microsoft Word 2000 and after. Don't have Word? Many of the templates can be saved to your computer (without opening) then uploaded to Google Docs/Drive (reviewed here) with the option set to CONVERT them to Google's format and used there. Note that most of the text is designed to go inside text boxes, so you have to double click the text box to edit the words.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): back to school (58), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

Download and save templates for use throughout the year. Use templates to create newsletters for your class. Customize any of the offerings to fit your personal needs and teaching situation. Share flyer templates with students (once they have basic computer and keyboarding skills) so they can use them in designing posters, flyers, and resumes. Be sure to demonstrate how to edit on a projector or interactive whiteboard if students are unfamiliar with text boxes.

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My NASA Data - NASA

Grades
3 to 12
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What better way to learn science than by "doing science"? My NASA Data provides satellite images, charts, and graphs to analyze information from real world problems. Where to start?...more
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What better way to learn science than by "doing science"? My NASA Data provides satellite images, charts, and graphs to analyze information from real world problems. Where to start? Best place is the Lesson Plan tab. Here, find a variety of lessons that can be used in any classroom. Lessons are sorted by High School, Middle School, Elementary. View climate change lessons, Stand alone lessons (a great way to get started), and 50 or 90 minute lessons. Find great ideas that are multi-day projects. Each lesson plan features outcomes, pre-requisite knowledge, tools, National and AP standards as well as Virginia State standards. Be sure to use the linked vocabulary they provide and view all the lesson links. The included background information, procedures, student questions, and extensions are invaluable in planning the lessons. Be sure to go to the bottom of each lesson page to click on the Teachers Notes and to even view the lesson without the standards.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148), scientific method (64), scientists (69)

In the Classroom

For younger grades, learn about "Basic Line Plots" or "Creating a Bar Graph." There are many other lessons including "The Sun's Energy," "Solar Power," and "Seasons." For Middle School Students, identify "Aruba Cloud Cover Measured by Satellite," "Is Grandpa Right, Were Winters Colder When He Was A Boy," or "Does Humidity Affect Cloud Formation?" Older students can discover "Variable Affecting Earth's Albedo," "March of the Polar Bears: Global Change, Sea Ice, and Wildlife Migration," "Carbon Monoxide and Population Density" or "Hurricane Research." Though there is a large amount of lessons that coordinate with environmental issues, be sure to click on all the lesson plans to view all the possibilities. There is an unbelievable amount of topics to choose from that can fit in any science curriculum or many other type of classrooms at any age. History classes can use "1492: Using Data to Explain a Journey." Be sure to test out all links at school to be sure it is not blocked by your school filter.

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Honest Slogans - What People Really Think - Cliff Dickens

Grades
9 to 12
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Honest Slogans takes company slogans, adds a little twist, and creates new advertising images. These new slogans poke fun using a company's own logo and brands. Scroll through the many...more
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Honest Slogans takes company slogans, adds a little twist, and creates new advertising images. These new slogans poke fun using a company's own logo and brands. Scroll through the many pages to view images similar to the company's advertising but with a slightly different punch line that tells what people really think about the product. For example, see the Hallmark Cards logo stating "When you care enough to give a card mass-produced by a corporation." Each slogan includes a link for viewing notes shared by others. Please take caution in sharing these with students as they are unmoderated. Not all topics are appropriate for students (for example, alcohol).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): advertising (33), media literacy (58)

In the Classroom

Use Honest Slogans as part of a truth in advertising lesson. Share examples with students and have them create their own Honest Slogans for different brands. Use this site as the inspiration for creating new book covers for classic literature or as an introduction to a social studies chapter or math unit. Create "honest" ads in a new language in your world language class. The ideas are endless! Use an online poster creator, such as Padlet, (reviewed here) to create and display finished products.

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National Geographic Young Explorer! - National Geographic

Grades
K to 2
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Visit the online version of National Geographic Young Explorer! to find audio-enhanced editions of their magazine featuring text, audio readings, and illustrations. Simply click...more
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Visit the online version of National Geographic Young Explorer! to find audio-enhanced editions of their magazine featuring text, audio readings, and illustrations. Simply click to hear the words read to you. The oral reading is clear and somewhat slower than natural speech. It highlights each word as it is read. Browse through More Issues to view available stories dating back to 2007. There are teachers' guides available to help with the use of the articles. These interactive versions do not require Flash so can be used on iPads!

tag(s): audio books (32), guided reading (47), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Looking for some new ways to bring literacy into your science lessons? Are you implementing Common Core? Find accessible, informational texts (non-fiction) at this site. The teachers' guides have tons of information, worksheets for the students, and answer keys. The Teacher tab also includes downloadable Spanish versions of some issues as well as a Flash-based "projector" version of the issue to maximize screen size. Have your students compare information from the article to information from other sources, such as magazines, newspapers, or web pages or their own background knowledge. Have them ask or write a series of questions about the parts of the article where they would like to know more. Use this site in your BYOD classroom (with headsets or earbuds). View a story on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Set up a science/reading learning station using this website. Your ELL and learning support students will benefit from seeing and hearing the text at the same time. Set up a read-and-listen station in your library/media center too!

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DropTask - Think Productivity

Grades
4 to 12
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DropTask is a visual task management organizer for individuals and groups. Create tasks by dragging and dropping items, and assign priorities for completion. View tasks in List View...more
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DropTask is a visual task management organizer for individuals and groups. Create tasks by dragging and dropping items, and assign priorities for completion. View tasks in List View or a Venn Diagram style presentation. Share projects through email with friends, add files, and view changes in real-time. Short tutorials demonstrate how to start and create projects, add people to groups, and choose priorities for tasks. Sort tasks by priorities or due dates. Change settings to receive email notifications of upcoming tasks or completion dates. The FREE version includes collaboration for two members and up to five projects.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calendars (44), DAT device agnostic tool (198), graphic organizers (43), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use DropTask to schedule staff meetings, PTA events, Science or Math fairs, club or student council events, parent volunteer meetings, and more. Student groups of busy high schoolers may want to use it to schedule work sessions. This is a great tool for teams of teachers to stay on the same page! Secondary learning support and gifted teachers can share this tool with their less organized students. This program will help them develop coping/organizational skills, and they can set intermediate deadlines with reminders for long term projects.

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Thoughtboxes - Matthew Stenback

Grades
6 to 12
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Thoughtbox.es organizes your ideas, notes, and to-do lists in a post-it note format. Add up to three train-of-thought "boxes" to hold your lists or notes. Drag and drop items to ...more
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Thoughtbox.es organizes your ideas, notes, and to-do lists in a post-it note format. Add up to three train-of-thought "boxes" to hold your lists or notes. Drag and drop items to reorder as needed using the free format. Make lists public or share privately via email for viewing or collaboration. Change settings as desired. Thoughtbox.es is web-based, so view lists at any time on any device.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): note taking (32), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use in a similar way to EverNote, reviewed here, for sharing notes and to-do lists. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Consider creating a class account that can be used by all students. Spell out the uses of the site and what it can and cannot be used for and the penalties. Use your three boxes at one time, use this as a source for large projects, quarterly or semester due dates, or other long-term information.

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Next Exit History - Historical Research Associates, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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Travel the United States and the world on your computer, tablet, or smartphone using Next Exit History, powered by Google Maps. Apps are available for iOS and Android. High quality...more
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Travel the United States and the world on your computer, tablet, or smartphone using Next Exit History, powered by Google Maps. Apps are available for iOS and Android. High quality historical information educates you as you visit and click the historical landscape of over 55,000 sites around the world. Join and save your information to "backpacks." Use the embedded links for easy reference. Discover culture, history, and tourism information all at your fingertips.

tag(s): cultures (105), DAT device agnostic tool (198), maps (287), primary sources (86), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

Use Next Exit History for either primary or secondary information on any location for social studies, history, or even literature study. Use this tool as an example for a multimedia presentation or map drawing of state history or study about any geographic location. After reading The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty Birney, discover the wonders of your school, community, or state. Plan culminating projects where students create their own Google Earth Map (reviewed here). Create placemarker guides to your community using Next Exit History as an example. Be sure to share this link on your class website for instant reference.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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