TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 4, 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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The Math Dude: Quick and Dirty Tips - Jason Marshall, PhD

Grades
6 to 12
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Put math (and related science) fears behind you with podcasts with text transcripts from The Math Dude. The Math Dude makes complex math problems easy to decipher with his easy ...more
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Put math (and related science) fears behind you with podcasts with text transcripts from The Math Dude. The Math Dude makes complex math problems easy to decipher with his easy to follow explanations and tips. Listen to podcasts while viewing text explaining common math questions from basic algebra through SAT prep questions. Be sure to check out the "The Math Dude's Most Popular Tips" and "The Math Dude's Archives." Download podcasts as MP3 files and play through iTunes, QuickTime Player, and RealPlayer installed on a local computer. You can also simply play them from the site. Just be sure you click on the podcast play button and not one of the annoying videos or other ads! This site is loaded with advertisements. However, there is some great material underneath them all. NOTE: This site includes tools for blog users to interact with others. Any visitor can comment on the posts and podcasts or participate in Forums. There are also links to other tip blogs on the web page. Check your school policies on students posting comments, etc. to the web and whether they are permitted to do so anonymously and/or with name or initials.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): measurement (163), operations (126), podcasts (51), problem solving (258)

In the Classroom

Check ahead of time to be sure this site is not blocked at school. If it is blocked, consider subscribing to the blog via iTunes to avoid all the ads. External speakers connected to the computer will help broadcast the sound throughout your classroom. Help students follow along by opening the podcast article (transcript) ad-free using the Readability add-on reviewed here for your web browser. Project the ad-free article as you play the podcast. Share the link on your class web page or select specific episodes links to offer support for concepts you are studying, such as absolute value or sine/cosine. Extend the concept of The Math Dude by having students write and produce their own math tip podcasts or English tip podcasts to explain the grammar demons that haunt their writing. Use a site such as Spreaker (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Jooners - Jooners Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Create, coordinate, and manage sign up sheets online in just 2 minutes. There is no registration required! Create your own sign up from scratch or choose from examples of different...more
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Create, coordinate, and manage sign up sheets online in just 2 minutes. There is no registration required! Create your own sign up from scratch or choose from examples of different types of sheets to modify for your use. View a preview and publish when complete. Send finished sheets to email recipients. Recipients click on the link in the email to sign up using options provided. Optional registration (FREE) allows members to save up to 5 sign up sheets for use at a later time. A premium version offers additional options, but the free version gets it done!
This site includes advertising.

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

In the Classroom

Be sure to check out the pre-made templates for many school events such as conferences, recess duty, lunch helpers, and spring carnival. Use Jooners to coordinate helpers and items for classroom parties or teacher luncheons. Use Jooners to plan for your class field trips, special events, and more. Jooners is perfect for all of your Parent Teacher Organization events. Share this site as an easy way to coordinate all school or extracurricular activities.

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Digit-wize - Ethnic Minority Attainment

Grades
2 to 6
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Practce place value with the Digit-wize interactive to build understanding. Select the number type to begin: whole numbers to three decimal places. Choose the smallest and highest numbers...more
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Practce place value with the Digit-wize interactive to build understanding. Select the number type to begin: whole numbers to three decimal places. Choose the smallest and highest numbers to include. When you start the activity, you must click on numbers in the chart to build the target number. Click to check your answer.

tag(s): decimals (133), place value (56)

In the Classroom

Display Digit-wize on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to introduce and reinforce place value concepts. Create a link to Digit-wize on your class website and assign this as homework practice. Have students use the print option to verify the number of questions attempted. Create a link on classroom computers for students to practice during math centers. Use Digit-wize as an excellent interactive whiteboard activity during indoor recess.

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ArtsAlive.ca French Theatre - National Arts Centre

Grades
8 to 12
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Learn about theater and theater arts in this site about the French-language theater in Canada and beyond. Explore over one hundred and fifty headings divided into six sections, a reading...more
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Learn about theater and theater arts in this site about the French-language theater in Canada and beyond. Explore over one hundred and fifty headings divided into six sections, a reading list, and a games section. Investigate theater genres or the history of the theater from Ancient Greece through Theater after World War II until now. Read about major playwrights such as Sophocles, William Shakespeare, Moliere, and many more. Find information on famous directors, great designers, major actors, and theater architecture. Get down to basics by investigating the various aspects of a theater production, specialized vocabulary, and a description of the tasks and trades involved. There are also links and information about professional training for those interested in a theater career. For extra fun, read the site IN French by clicking the link top right.

tag(s): acting (27), architecture (83), design (84), plays (37), producers (8), shakespeare (131)

In the Classroom

Use a projector or interactive whiteboard to present this site to students of drama, English, history, art, or architecture students. Make theater more accessible in your literature class by letting students investigate an aspect of interest to them. History teachers may want to introduce the history of theatre and divide the students into small groups to investigate a specific time period. Have the groups create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here, to share with the class. Art and design teachers may want to present the sections for design and architecture and then change to the sister site, Arts Alive.ca English Theatre, reviewed here, to learn even more about these theater professions. English and drama teachers could focus on the basics of theater vocabulary, genres, and the various stages of a theater production. Use the French version of this site (click top right) for articles to explore in advanced French classes, perhaps before staging a short play in French.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Big Facts on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security - Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security, CGIAR

Grades
6 to 12
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With so much talk about climate change, which information is correct and important? Use "Big Facts" for a new way to visualize facts about climate change, agriculture, and food security....more
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With so much talk about climate change, which information is correct and important? Use "Big Facts" for a new way to visualize facts about climate change, agriculture, and food security. More importantly, the reliable information offered through this research-based program counters many of the misrepresented and incorrect offerings in the news and other sources. Search for relevant facts and infographics by region or specific issue. All facts, figures, and material are cited with the original source. Site content has been peer reviewed.

tag(s): climate (92), climate change (64), disasters (39), environment (317), food chains (22), population (60)

In the Classroom

As climate change's effect is being seen on every region of the Earth, this site is a great resource for finding accurate information and figures. Share this site in conjunction with your science curriculum as well as in government, current events, and geography classes. Click on one of the specific regions of the Earth or choose from the various topics in the icons along the bottom. Divide the World's seven regions among student groups in class. View the various impacts including undernourishment, population, dietary change, food waste, climate impact on crops, disasters, mitigation, and adaptation. Have groups present their regions to the class. View the comparisons by region by choosing one of the various impacts. Click the Climate Impact on People icon and view the infographic information as a class using a whiteboard or projector. Use the information presented to view the source material and understand the science behind the numbers. Use these facts as a springboard to further discussions about climate change impacts. Talk about what governments can do both proactively and in response to the changes. Besides the really large ways to cut carbon emissions, what are the little things others can do to make a difference? Begin a grassroots campaign to make small changes. The many infographics on this site provide valuable experience reading and understanding graphic presentation of information as required by Common Core.

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Listen to Nature - British Library Sound Archive

Grades
K to 8
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Listen to nature, literally, through this enormous library of animal and bird sounds. There are 400 sound recordings to explore on these pages. Search by habitat, animal group, location,...more
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Listen to nature, literally, through this enormous library of animal and bird sounds. There are 400 sound recordings to explore on these pages. Search by habitat, animal group, location, or bird language. Use the location tab to click on an interactive map and find 150,000 animal sounds throughout the world. Learn how and why birds communicate by checking out The Language of Birds tab. This site requires Windows Media Player or a Mac compatible player for .wma (Windows Media) files. Flip Player for Mac works fine.

tag(s): animal homes (41), animals (277), birds (51), habitats (84), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and speakers to share the various sounds of animals and birds when studying habitats and the animals who live there. One of the most interesting sections is The Language of Birds. This could be an entire investigative unit completed by your students. Explore the text heavy introduction where you can extract information together with your students. Let them explore the different sections of the contents. In small groups, upper elementary and middle school students could create an online poster about the habitat or bird language they learn about. Try a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here. They could play the bird communication in the background while they are explaining their poster to the class.

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Fake Movie Poster - Fake Movie Poster

Grades
5 to 12
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Design a fake movie poster with your own image and text using Fake Movie Poster. There is no registration required! Choose a poster from three pages of templates to begin. ...more
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Design a fake movie poster with your own image and text using Fake Movie Poster. There is no registration required! Choose a poster from three pages of templates to begin. Upload your image and complete the blanks provided with your movie name and actor information. You can customize the text offered in the samples to fit your needs. Click "Generate Fake Movie Poster" to view and share your finished poster. Use links to share on Twitter, Facebook, or with a direct link to the poster URL. Other sharing options include using the provided embed code to embed directly into your class website or blog.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): book reports (36), collages (17), images (261), posters (35)

In the Classroom

Use Fake Movie Poster to create a simple end of unit or novel study project. Use posters for covers for research projects or for a quick and colorful classroom display. Have students make posters "advertising" books from independent reading or for the library/media center. Advertise a curriculum concept with posters such as "The Exciting Life and Times of Pi," "Plate Techtonic Superheroes," or "The Misunderstood Sentence Fragment." To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Wikimedia Commons, reviewed here. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create curriculum videos and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Then have them create and share their own movie poster to promote their video!

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Screencastify (Beta) - Chrome Web Store

Grades
K to 12
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Screencastify is a screen capture/screencast software created for use ONLY with Chrome browsers. It even runs on Chromebooks. Choose the "Free" link to add the extension to your Chrome...more
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Screencastify is a screen capture/screencast software created for use ONLY with Chrome browsers. It even runs on Chromebooks. Choose the "Free" link to add the extension to your Chrome browser. Screencastify captures video and audio within tabs. Find the application icon on your browser toolbar and click Record to easily record presentations, tutorials, and more. Be sure to ALLOW Screencastify access to your microphone to enable voice recordings. Choose from recording tabs or your entire desktop. Recording the desktop is currently experimental, however, and may not work as well as the tabs option. Once your recording is complete, return to the Screencastify icon on your browser to name the recording, download to your computer, or upload to YouTube.

tag(s): tutorials (47), video (251)

In the Classroom

Create screencasts showing how to do various computer tasks or navigate websites. Demonstrate how to use a website or software for specific tasks within the classroom. For example, show how to use the comment feature in Word for annotating class notes, reading passages, and other items. Make how-to demos for instructions on using and navigating your class home page, class wiki or blog, or other applications you wish the students to use in creating their own projects. By narrating how students should navigate through a certain site or section, you can eliminate confusion, provide an opportunity for students to replay the information as a refresher for the future, and maintain a record for absent students. Software demonstrations add an increased flexibility with helping students who need it while allowing students to begin and work at their own pace. Added audio is a great asset for many students, including learning support and those who might need to access the material in smaller "chunks." Use this site for students to give "tours" of their own wiki or blog page. The presentation of their web-based projects and resources can be more engaging. Use screencasts to critique or show the validity of websites, identify a resource site they believe is most valuable, or explain how to navigate an online game. Social studies teachers could assign students to critique a political candidate's web page using a screencast. Reading/language arts teachers could have student teams analyze a website to show biased language, etc. For a powerful writing experience, have students "think aloud" about their writing choices as they record a screencast of a revision or writing session. You will probably need to model this process, but writing will NEVER be the same! Math teachers using software such as Geometer's Sketchpad could have students create their own narrated demonstrations of geometry concepts as review (and to save as future learning aids). Teachers at any level can create screencasts to demonstrate a computer skill or assignment, such as for a center in your classroom or in a computer lab. Students can replay the "tutorial" on their own from your class web page and follow the directions. As a service project, have students write and record how to screencasts to help elderly or less tech savvy computer users navigate the web, register to vote, or find important health information. Writing for such a project would fit right in with CCSS informational writing and digital writing standards in middle and high school.

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Tube Offline - TubeOffline.com

Grades
K to 12
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If you cannot access YouTube and video sites because of filters, Tube Offline may be the perfect solution for your needs! Maybe you simply want an offline copy of a ...more
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If you cannot access YouTube and video sites because of filters, Tube Offline may be the perfect solution for your needs! Maybe you simply want an offline copy of a video to use when you do not have Internet access. Download videos from YouTube and other video services directly to your computer using Tube Offline. Copy and paste the URL, then click "Get Video." Once the preview is loaded, click "Generate" to download the file. Other options include social media sharing links, a direct link, and embed code. Tube Offline uses Java to generate videos for saving, so be sure to read instructions for using with your browser and operating system. Some Mac users may have to enable Java.

tag(s): video (251)

In the Classroom

Use this service to backup videos from your YouTube channel or to download any YouTube video. Use to download and save videos at home that you wish to show to students, especially if YouTube is blocked at school.

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Have Fun With History - havefunwithhistory.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Have Fun With History offers a large selection of history videos on American History topics. These videos (and the topic selection) are a MUST see! Browse through videos coinciding...more
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Have Fun With History offers a large selection of history videos on American History topics. These videos (and the topic selection) are a MUST see! Browse through videos coinciding with monthly topics or sort by people and events. Search using the timelines (People Timeline and Events Timeline). Use the search bar to locate content by specific topic. Videos include links to similar topics and related activities. Don't miss some of the fun in the Thanksgiving section, including presidential turkeys! 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): 1900s (33), aircraft (24), american flag (11), american revolution (86), artists (75), bill of rights (28), civil rights (117), civil war (145), colonial america (107), flags (21), industrial revolution (25), kennedy (27), lincoln (85), martin luther king (37), native americans (81), pearl harbor (12), railroads (10), slavery (72), space (206), thanksgiving (37), underground railroad (11), war of 1812 (14), world war 1 (53), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites for use with almost any history unit. Your visual learners will find history more understandable using the video and interactive options. 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). Share links to specific videos on your class website or blog for students to view at home. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles (reviewed here). Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a person in a video.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Surfmark - Vivek Agarwal

Grades
K to 12
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Collect, express opinions, and collaborate on any web content easily using Surfmark. Get started with the quick sign-up process. Add the Surfmark bookmarklet to your browser's toolbar...more
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Collect, express opinions, and collaborate on any web content easily using Surfmark. Get started with the quick sign-up process. Add the Surfmark bookmarklet to your browser's toolbar or add the Chrome or Firefox extension. Visit any web page and activate the app when ready. Type in thoughts and annotations as notes, then save. This creates your Surfmark. Add additional annotations to any page, or highlight text directly from web content. View saved pages as a collage, or create books for multiple pages. Privacy options allow for public editing or password protection to access saved information. View other user's pages and grab their pages to add to your own. Easily share any creations using the share link with a custom url or links to social networking options. Because public content is shared on this site, adults may want to explore this site on your own and not send students to explore unsupervised.

tag(s): bookmarks (59), organizational skills (120), professional development (123), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Use Surfmark to collect and organize information for lessons throughout the year. Share with older students (age 13+) -- if school policies permit -- to use when collaborating on projects or as a resource for gathering and organizing information for year end review. Create a Surfmark and share the link on your classroom web page, have students add their own notes and thoughts then share the finished session on your interactive whiteboard. Surfmark provides opportunities for limitless collaboration and sharing of information from across the web, not only with your class but with others around the world!

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Here is Today - Whitevinyl

Grades
1 to 12
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Here is Today offers a visual look at time. Click Okay+ to the next step in time - from today to this month. Click again to go to the year, ...more
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Here is Today offers a visual look at time. Click Okay+ to the next step in time - from today to this month. Click again to go to the year, and keep moving through eras of geologic time until the creation of the universe millions of years ago. Each step includes an arrow pointing to this day in relation to the rest of the timeline.

tag(s): 20th century (50), calendars (44), cells (102), earth (228), geologic time (9), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

View on your interactive whiteboard or projector to help students visualize and gain perspective of events over time. Here is Today would be great to use when studying dinosaurs, in biology class, in Earth science or geology units, or just as part of a philosophical discussion on the world today. This is a great tool to share with students where "our time" fits into the continuum of the earth's 'life." This site could be used with younger students as well. Share the easier concepts (day, month, year) visually during your calendar math lessons. Extend the concept of proportionality by having older math students create simple visual timelines to scale showing their own life vs the life of the United States and other major, longer periods.

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Seminole Tribune - Seminole Tribune of Florida

Grades
4 to 12
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Published monthly, The Seminole Tribune of Florida is the official newspaper of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Current issues and archives are available via PDF download. Click...more
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Published monthly, The Seminole Tribune of Florida is the official newspaper of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Current issues and archives are available via PDF download. Click on the appropriate tab on the left. You can also read the history of the tribe and view a timeline. The cultural information includes art, basketry, beadwork, housing, clans, language, legends, green corn dance, food and recipes, and clothing. Read an explanation about the current government within the tribe. Florida Seminole Tourism offers information for events and places to visit. Note: You do not need to subscribe to use this site. Simply click to view Current Issue or Archives.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): civil rights (117), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), myths and legends (25), native americans (81)

In the Classroom

Use this site to study the Seminoles as part of a unit on Native Americans. Have students compare and contrast to the Native Americans within your own state or region. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Use this as a resource when discussing civil rights. In language arts class, use it to explore legends.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ArtsAlive.ca English Theatre - National Arts Centre

Grades
8 to 12
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Learn everything you ever wanted to know about acting, producing, directing and the theater in general. This site is focused on the English Canadian Theater, but is applicable to all...more
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Learn everything you ever wanted to know about acting, producing, directing and the theater in general. This site is focused on the English Canadian Theater, but is applicable to all dramas. Find an introduction to acting, biographies of actors, and video interviews with professional actors. For those interested in other theater related work, visit the design and production area to learn about sets and props, costumes, wigs, make up and all the physical details of the play and environment. Learn about script writing at The Playwright's Corner. Find activities for improvisation, Shakespeare, script creation, and study guides. Don't miss the FREE teacher, parent, and student resource links. See the sister site Arts Alive.ca French Theatre, reviewed here, to learn more about theater terms, genres, theater professions, and the history of the theater.

tag(s): acting (27), design (84), plays (37), shakespeare (131)

In the Classroom

Use a projector or interactive whiteboard to present this outstanding site to your students. Students of drama, English, history, art, and architecture will find something of interest. Although the site is text heavy in places, the interview videos will help weaker readers access information. Have students choose a category (design and production, playwright's corner, Shakespeare's plays, acting, etc.) of interest to investigate. Group students by interest. Within their small groups students can jigsaw, each taking a different facet of the category to learn about. After that they can put together a mini-presentation using one of many TeachersFirst Presentation tools reviewed here. Once everyone is done studying their categories, suggest producing a play by one of the scriptwriters from the group.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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