TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Mar 30, 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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Wibki - Roy Pessis

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Bookmark your favorite web resources in a visual interface with Wibki. Instead of just creating a long list of bookmarks, use Wibki to organize your favorite resources through categories...more
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Bookmark your favorite web resources in a visual interface with Wibki. Instead of just creating a long list of bookmarks, use Wibki to organize your favorite resources through categories and labels you choose. Through the use of icons, Wibki displays each bookmark in a visually appealing display, making them easy to find and use. View up to 40 icons at one time. This view is especially handy on a tablet. Registration is required (with email.) Share any link on Twitter or Facebook by clicking the edit (pencil) icon in the link. Use the Discover link to find new favorites offered by Wibki editors weekly. Click on the star to add to any of your categories. Add the bookmarklet to your browser bar to quickly add any website as a favorite. Wibki works well with touch and click features on any device.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), DAT device agnostic tool (196)

In the Classroom

Create a Wibki of the most used sites for your class. Link to teacher web pages, webquests, resource sites for your subject, and any other resource that is helpful for students. Consider creating a login for the whole class to update with suggestions from class members. Be sure to link your Wibki on a computer center in your room for easy access. Since icons are shown rather than words, you could use this site with your nonreaders. Create a Wibki mix for parents and students to access at home before tests. Team up with other teachers in your subject/grade to create chapter by chapter Wibkis for all your students.

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Slackmath - Geoffrey Slack

Grades
6 to 9
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Slackmath brings worksheets into the 21st Century by adding video explanations accessible via QR codes. Choose from a large collection of Algebra worksheets to download. Embedded in...more
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Slackmath brings worksheets into the 21st Century by adding video explanations accessible via QR codes. Choose from a large collection of Algebra worksheets to download. Embedded in each worksheet is a QR code. Scan the QR codes to view correct responses to problems and a video explaining the problem solution. Be sure to sign up for newsletter updates as the author intends to add additional worksheets and subjects. Most of 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): qr codes (21), video (253), worksheets (59)

In the Classroom

Create a link to Slackmath on your class website or blog as an excellent resource for practice and review of Algebra concepts. Share Slackmath as a way to review before tests. Use Slackmath as inspiration for creating worksheets for any topic using QR codes and video explanations. Challenge students to create instructional videos using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here and to link to their videos by QR code. This is a great resource to share with students then allow them to create their own practice and review activities. Have them create math problem challenges for the class, projecting both the problem and the QR code to the solution video! Classmates can scan the QR code with their smartphones or tablets to check their answers, all inspired by Slackmath.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Killer Asteroids - Space Science Institute

Grades
6 to 12
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Killer Asteroids: Science Fiction or Science Fact? Make up your mind by exploring physics-based interactives, interesting articles, and asteroid simulations. Select the topic of asteroids...more
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Killer Asteroids: Science Fiction or Science Fact? Make up your mind by exploring physics-based interactives, interesting articles, and asteroid simulations. Select the topic of asteroids to explore primers on asteroids vs comets; find out what happens when asteroids and comets hit the earth. Discover how backyard astronomers aid researchers in watching asteroids. One fun activity simulates the damage caused on earth by different size asteroids and comets. Choose your hometown to see what would happen!

tag(s): earth (228), light (46), planets (123), space (205)

In the Classroom

This site is excellent for enrichment or to engage interest in space science. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Include links to the interactive activities on classroom computers. Although the educators link has a somewhat limited amount of resources, be sure to check them out for classroom materials and links to benchmarks.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Lookwork - Ben Pieratt and Eric Jacobsen

Grades
6 to 12
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Lookwork is an RSS Reader displaying images drawn from the "feeds" of over 400 of the world's most creative blogs. Browse by scrolling through images on the home page. Choose ...more
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Lookwork is an RSS Reader displaying images drawn from the "feeds" of over 400 of the world's most creative blogs. Browse by scrolling through images on the home page. Choose from subjects such as Photography or Architecture or Illustration to narrow your search. Create your own personal Lookwork feed after creating an account and choosing topics to include. Note: Content is unmoderated so take precautions when sharing with students.

tag(s): architecture (83), creative writing (166), design (84), graphic design (35), images (265), photography (160), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Use Lookwork as an excellent inspiration for creative writing projects. Find interesting images to display on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) for students to use as inspiration. Use in Art class as a source for creative artwork and photography to discuss design elements and principles. Have your more advanced art students create their own accounts to "feed" their own artistic appetites.

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Tocomail - Tocobox

Grades
2 to 6
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Tocomail is a safe and simple email service just for kids. Create a parent email account and build a safe contact list for kids to email with. Once the account ...more
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Tocomail is a safe and simple email service just for kids. Create a parent email account and build a safe contact list for kids to email with. Once the account is set up, kids receive and send emails in a kid-friendly format. Tocomail includes additional features such as custom avatars, a drawing board, and a picture timeline. Receive email online or through free apps for iPhones and iPads. (An Android app is in the works.) Premium features (not free) allow parents more detailed controls.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital citizenship (58), internet safety (108)

In the Classroom

Have students use Tocomail (with parent approval, of course) to correspond with each other from home with homework questions. Cooperate with parents to use Tocomail as a resource for teaching Internet safety and acceptable use of email. Ask them to set up accounts for their children and notify them when you will be asking students to write emails so they can see and monitor what children write along with you. Share with parents through your newsletter, back to school night, or blog as an alternative to typical email accounts. Together you can build good digital citizens and make electronic communication fun! Have students write you a "friendly letter" email for homework. Have them write an opinion piece with "arguments" a la Common Core and email it to a local official such as the school principal (and cc you so you can grade it). Encourage your ELL students to practice authentic writing skills by having them write emails to relatives.

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Worldcrunch - All News Is Global - Jeff Israely and Irene Toporkoff

Grades
8 to 12
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Worldcrunch delivers news from top world-language outlets, translated into English and providing a non-U.S. "view" via reputable sources. The collection was created by a former Time...more
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Worldcrunch delivers news from top world-language outlets, translated into English and providing a non-U.S. "view" via reputable sources. The collection was created by a former Time bureau chief and foreign correspondent for various U.S. publications. He has teamed with a media collaborator from France. Worldcrunch is a great resource for locating news and culture from around the world. During periods of controversy or high international tension, this is an informative source for teens to adults. Explore the interactive map to find news from specific locations or browse through headlines on the main page. This site is very up to date and includes articles from the news today around the world. Choose from topics such as World Affairs, Tech/Science, or Culture/Society. Easily share articles using social networking and email links. Use the "Read Later" link to email, send to Pocket reviewed here. Free app versions are available for both Android and iOS.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), DAT device agnostic tool (196), journalism (46), media literacy (58), news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

Share with your students to show them different perspectives on world events. This site would also provide contrasting texts for close reading as required by Common Core. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare and contrast coverage between two newspapers. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here after reading and comparing many different articles. Build student awareness of the limited view provided by some publications, especially during times of international tension. Explore this site during Newspaper in Education Week or as part of a unit on the basics and nuances of journalistic writing. World language teachers can use newspapers to teach about both language and culture. Have world cultures or social studies students learn about local culture through advertisements and articles and share their findings using a screencast (or screenshots) of the newspaper and talking about their discoveries. Use a free tool like Screenr, reviewed here, to create screencasts.

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Noisli - Stefano Merlo

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Stressed? Unable to concentrate or complete a task? This tool will generate background sounds and colors to create a positive thinking environment! Choose from a variety of sounds that...more
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Stressed? Unable to concentrate or complete a task? This tool will generate background sounds and colors to create a positive thinking environment! Choose from a variety of sounds that sooth and relax while promoting creative productivity. These sounds are much better than plain, white noise. Classic sounds for relaxation include thunder, rain, waves, summer night, forest, white noise, and more. Even Coffee House is a sound that is the general hum of a business and not distracting to your work. As the music plays, the background color changes through a variety of harmonious colors to match the mood of the sound. Click on multiple sounds to create your own mix that is sure to please. Note: Be patient for the music to start, and be sure to click the icon again to stop it before choosing another sound if not mixing them. There is also a link to click and be taken to a blank writing page. (It may not be a white background though, but rather red, yellow, or green.) Click on the lines on the right side of the site to access the writing area. Click the arrow to SAVE your work. Use the music to inspire your writing.

tag(s): creative writing (166), learning styles (19), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

Be sure to share this link with students (and their parents) looking for less distracting sounds while brainstorming or working. Reading a book to the class or conducting a science lab? Turn up your speakers and use these background sounds as mood music to set the stage for your story. Why not listen to waves or water while studying it! Play a few minutes of relaxing sounds before a major test. Let a student "DJ" create a class relaxation or creativity soundscape. Consider using as background sounds for student presentations. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Use the writing tool available at this site to motivate your students with music, color, and more. If you talk with students about discovering their own learning styles, offer this site as a suggestion for them to try while prewriting or studying for tests. Emotional support (and autistic support) teachers may want to experiment to see if these sounds can help their students. Some students may find them overstimulating, while others may find the sounds very helpful.

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OECD Data Lab - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Grades
8 to 12
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Discover graphical displays of statistics about education, death, employment outlook, migration, income distribution, and more. The best way to understand our world and to educate people...more
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Discover graphical displays of statistics about education, death, employment outlook, migration, income distribution, and more. The best way to understand our world and to educate people is to know what is happening in the many aspects of our lives. Hover over a graph to view an abstract of the data used for the graph. Each graph is interactive. Choosing various countries or other parameters changes the graph. Click on the "Create Your Own" button on most of these graphs to enter your own data for viewing and comparison. Compare your graph to others and share. Graphs even showcase gender differences in responses. The Better Life Index is a great place to start.

tag(s): agriculture (54), charts and graphs (195), critical thinking (108), cross cultural understanding (115), financial literacy (80), foreign policy (16), migration (59), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Start with the OECD Better Life Index that brings together many factors to numerically rank countries by happiness or well-being. Assign this graph as a "Make Your Own," with students rating the topics (or more importantly, asking their parents or grandparents). Compare their results and look at gender differences. Students can brainstorm reasons for gender differences or ranking of topics in importance. Compare the United States to other countries. Allow class time to look at other data found on this site and brainstorm how these are connected. Connect the data to curriculum being discussed in class: economic policies, wars, global problems with food and agriculture, social norms, and more. Connect the information to headlines from around the world, both past and present. Encourage students to write an essay, opinion piece, or elevator pitch on one aspect or social issue that is important to change. What a great example of argument and evidence as required by Common Core! This assignment can also be delivered as a podcast, video, or part of a news segment the class creates. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here) to create podcasts. Try creating a video and share it using TeacherTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Skillwise - BBC

Grades
7 to 12
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Find extensive assistance for older ELL/ESL students with reading, writing, word forms, sentences, and speaking/listening activities. This site even includes some math skills. Explore...more
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Find extensive assistance for older ELL/ESL students with reading, writing, word forms, sentences, and speaking/listening activities. This site even includes some math skills. Explore the videos, activities, exercises, quizzes, and games to improve English. In addition to practice activities and interactives, the site contains tips and other help for tutors who work with students desiring to improve basic verbal and math skills. Although the site is aimed at adult survival skills, the basic learning required would be beneficial for most ELL/ESL students. At the time of this review, all content appeared appropriate for secondary students. However, always preview before you share - since activities were designed for adult learners. The site is created in the UK so spellings will vary from American English.

tag(s): capitalization (19), grammar (216), parts of speech (68), punctuation (43), reading strategies (44), sentences (52), spelling (168), verbs (41), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Bookmark (or save in your favorites) on your classroom computers for ESL/ELL students to use when they are working on their own. Pair up ESL students and native speakers, having the better English speakers follow the tutor guidelines. Learning Support teachers will find many activities suitable for middle and high school students to reinforce grammar and writing skills. Share this tool on your class website for ESL families to explore and learn together and for ALL students to use for extra practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Florida Memory - The State Archives of Florida

Grades
4 to 12
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The State Archives of Florida provides online access to resources that had a significant impact in Florida's history. The collection includes over 176,000 photographs, more than 110...more
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The State Archives of Florida provides online access to resources that had a significant impact in Florida's history. The collection includes over 176,000 photographs, more than 110 videos, an audio collection, historical and genealogical collection, exhibits, and an online classroom. The online classroom contains lesson plans, online activities, and primary documents of Florida's past. Enjoy folk music from Florida's past or look at Florida in the Civil War. There is a lot here to explore about Florida and beyond.

tag(s): black history (59), civil war (145), florida (11), hurricanes (35), states (163)

In the Classroom

In the classroom, integrate primary documents in addition to your text to get a broader picture of history, even if you are not teaching specifically about Florida. Take a closer look at history, through the multiple aspects of video, audio, laws, and land grants. Look at perspectives of Civil War from a southern state. Make biographies of Florida residents come alive with the culture of their time. Compare and contrast Florida and another state. Use an online tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Examine the history of space through NASA. You and your students can discover how Civil Rights progressed in Florida. Look at the history of the Seminole tribe as you study native Americans. Challenge students to create an infographic using Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage, reviewed here, about a certain period in Florida's history or to compare Florida and other states. Before beginning the infographic, have students brainstorm or collect ideas on a collaborative bulletin board like Scrumblr reviewed here (quick start- no membership required!). Use this resource to meet Common Core standards about primary sources or writing. Challenge students to produce digital writing and interact with others online.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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