TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Apr 27, 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
Grades1 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse this calendar maker to create calendars throughout the year. Create a calendar from a year in history to discover days of the week that historic events took place. Include a calendar with multimedia projects for a written perspective of time and events. Create a calendar for the future to explore events such as days of the week birthdays will occur, day of the week for future holidays, or for the upcoming school year. Create calendars for upcoming years to view days of the week for annual events. Give your students calendars to highlight in different colors showing vacations, major projects, field trips, and other events. Help your "organizationally challenged" students by printing calendars they can annotate and keep inside the clear cover of their binders or in a plastic sleeve page. Have young students (or ELL students) decorate a yearly calendar as they learn the months of the year.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomShare these puzzles on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use these puzzles as a morning opener to get students settled and ready for learning. Use as a break when transitioning between activities. ESL/ELL students will benefit by trying to solve these common American English phrases, and learning about them, too! Include these during a study of prepositions and positional words in a speech and language class or during a lesson on idioms in English class. Challenge students to create their own Frame Games of common idioms such as "over a barrel" and share with the class. Have students create posters to share their Frame Games using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here).
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomShare a specific activity or two with your students on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Note: some of the directions in lessons for non-readers include words they must click on, such as "yes" or "no," so you may need to help students understand what to do. Assign student to centers to learn or review the concepts on which they will work. Be sure to have headphones for the audio portions of this site. Ask older students to work with a partner to write down the rules for one of the concepts for a class bulletin board display or wiki. Or better yet, create a virtual bulletin board using online stickies using a site such as Lino reviewed here.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomUse Mini-Court lessons and activities as part of your government unit. Incorporate activities into a folk tales unit to "try" characters such as Goldilocks. Next time your students complain that something is "not fair," use the opportunity to learn about how the courts make things "fair." Challenge even your youngest students to come up with "court cases" about famous characters (i.e. Cinderella's stepmother held her hostage, Snow White was poisoned, and many more). Create a timeline together on your interactive whiteboard using Xtimeline (reviewed here) to show the sequence of events.
GradesK to 8
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In the ClassroomAfter creating a class list, either choose readings based on your estimate for each student or let Literably choose them. You will need to demonstrate on a projector or whiteboard where to click to Allow the mike to work. Set up a center (or several) in your classroom and rotate students through it. Test all students at one time (or at least 15 students) if you are lucky enough to have that many devices in your room or a lab at your school. You will probably want to use headsets with microphones to limit distractions. However, the built in microphone on the computer will work just fine. This tool is perfect for reporting to parents and administrators. It's also great for resource teachers to share during IEP meetings. Turn this assessment tool into a teaching tool by having students listen to their recordings and follow the text to pause the incorrect recording and read it correctly. Have them try the same reading again to see if they can improve their score. Test a class of 30 within a month's time by testing 15 students at the end of one calendar month and 15 more at the beginning of the next calendar month. The site looks only at the actual date in limiting your free account to 15 per month!
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomToo often US history survey classes broadly consider Native Americans and their role in the original colonization of North America, or their role in Westward Expansion, without taking the time to understand the differences among nations, or the impact of European settlement on these pre-existing societies. Even if there isn't time for in depth study, consider asking students to study the individual record of one young man or woman approximately their own age who attended the Carlisle Indian School. How old was he when he left home? What skill was she trained in? What happened to him after he left Carlisle? Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about the individual they researched. This personal contact with the real life of another student from another time and another culture will reduce the tendency to stereotype Native Americans as they so often are during the study of US History. Of course, the site is also a wonderful resource for in depth research such as a National History Day project.
Grades9 to 12
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tag(s): college (43)
In the ClassroomNoodle certainly deserves to be among the college search sites bookmarked on any high school college counseling center's resource list. Other educators who focus on college and career readiness will also find Noodle a good resource to recommend. Noodle works best when combined with an individual student profile, so students will need to establish their own accounts and then come back to that account for ongoing research. Noodle promises that it will not sell student information from those individual profiles. However, Noodle can also provide a quick overview of any college simply by searching on the college name or from preset categories without establishing an individual account.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): timelines (62)
In the ClassroomDemonstrate how to use this tool with your projector or interactive whiteboard. In lower grades, you could make a timeline of the months and add images of all who have birthdays each month. This tool is so versatile it can be used for a variety of topics and subjects, including autobiographical incidents, plots of a story or book, the cell cycle, stages in volcanic eruptions, any history topic, steps in a math problem, or steps in a plan to create a project. As students learn about informational texts in CCSS, they can also learn about adding (and interpreting) graphical information to accompany their words. Students who cannot complete their work during the class time can save their work in a local computer (in its own rwt file format) to finish later. Just make sure the student names it logically and knows WHERE the file is saved!!
GradesK to 12
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tag(s): bookmarks (59)
In the ClassroomAlthough we recommend this site for all ages, in the primary grades this would be strictly a professional tool for teachers to share site lists with parents, students, or even colleagues. Use this site to combine the url's of online class projects into one group (one url). Create a group of recommended resources for students or parents on a specific subject or topic. Share that url through your classroom website or newsletter. Create a single url to all reading resources or math resources for students to explore at home. Create a url for each unit. Create a group with videos on a specific area of classroom content. Create a classroom account where students add resources they have found to share with others. Share this site with others in your building or district as an easy way to save and share online resources.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark and save this site for use throughout your World War Two unit. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Challenge students to find examples of the Allies' use of propaganda and use an online tool such a Creately (reviewed here) to create diagrams, mindmaps, and other visual graphic organizers comparing the uses of propaganda. Have students create a word cloud of the propaganda terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Save this one in your favorites to suggest if you have students who need primary sources projects for National History Day.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this highly visual revision program with your students who are ready to refine and improve their writing. This is a wonderful program to use for revision after editing of grammar and mechanics is complete. Discover what is making your writing too wordy (excessive prepositional phrases or adverbs?) Partner an advanced writer with one not so advanced and have them use Hemingway to improve their styles. Put the URL on your website for students and parents to use from home. Remind seniors to use it for their college essays. Use this tool to polish your own professional writing, parent newsletters, blog posts, and papers for grad classes!
Grades2 to 10
In the ClassroomUse these articles in Biology or Health class to learn about the brain and factors that affect it. Students will find many articles of interest to them. Articles focus not only on learning, but games, media, emotions, and other activities. Have a bright students looking for a challenge? Encourge him/her to follow the directions to apply as a Young Mind reviewer. Challenge cooperative learning groups to read an article and create an infographic sharing the highlights of what they discovered. Use a tool such as Venngage reviewed here. If you teach gifted science students or would like to offer an advanced option to a gifted student in your regular science class while studying the brain or human body, this journal offers an outstanding opportunity for real world collaboration with scientists and very bright students in other places. Differentiate by going outside school walls! Have your student write an article and/or apply to join the team of young scientists.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a powerful formative assessment tool that is also fun! Create pretests to offer to gifted students to "test out" of already learned material. Students can easily see the choices and choose answers using a browser on a laptop or any device. Make it a class challenge! Use this tool at the start of a new chapter or unit. Project your quiz to the entire classroom using a whiteboard or projector. Students can easily see the choices and choose answers using a browser on a laptop or any device. Students can see who is at the top of the leaderboard during the play and can even ask questions while going through the quiz. Use this tool often to obtain a snapshot of each student's understanding of content.
What makes a good web tool? In my opinion, a web tool should be two things. They should be easy to look at, and easy to use. When you use these tools you need to be able to see clearly what a site does and the purpose it serves. Not only do you need to be able to see what you are doing, but do it easily. If it takes students more effort and energy to use a web tool or website, they will stop using it. You have to be able to keep the attention of the user. Beyond that an education tool needs a few additional items. Education tools need to be fun and interactive to continuously grab the attention of students. Students should have fun when using the site/tool.Ad, , Grades: 0 - 12
Kahoot fits all the above criteria. Not only is it fun and easy for students to use, but easy for teachers to set up and use for students. Kahoot is a fun quiz tool that teachers can use to build discussions, polls, and quizzes for the classroom. Students can then log into the quiz using smartphones, tablets, or computers. The tool is designed for students and works for students. Kahoot is well thought out, and well executed. This tool really brings the learning experience to students who are so familiar with technology.