TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 18, 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
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomIn its simplest use, this is a place to find and READ blogs on curriculum-related topics. You can also find questions and prompts for your students to write about offline. Never again will you need to hunt for writing prompts or ways to connect your science or social studies students with the outside world. Of course this is a time to discuss proper netiquette and digital citizenship/safety for interacting with "strangers." If you do not yet have a class or student blogs, you might want to begin with Blog Basics for the Classroom. Be SURE you get parent permission. If your students have blogs, use these ideas as a model for your own weekly or biweekly blog hops on curriculum topics. Since your math students need to write about their problem solving strategies for Common Core, why not make it more fun with a blog hop? Trying to fire up interest in local history? Pose a blog hop prompt asking which local landmark could be replaced with a shopping mall. Looking for students to support arguments with evidence? Spark an environmental question for a blog hop. Browse some of the special topic blog events for discussions related to your current curriculum. For example, connect your plant study unit with gardeners' blogging events. If you teach gifted students, this is the ideal way to connect your students (even reluctant writers) with an outside world that will raise their level of writing and thinking. If you can connect with other teachers who have gifted students, perhaps via the #gtchat Twitter chat, you can set up a regular connection among students in several locations.. in science, social studies, math, or writing classes. Your gifted ones may pull in other blogging classmates, as well!
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): twitter (49)
In the ClassroomEven if you do not choose to join this particular Twitter chat with practitioners in the field, mark this simple site as a professional development resource to learn how to plan and organize successful Twitter chats between your students and the outside world. If you teach another discipline, try searching on Wefollow, reviewed here for people in the field that connect to your curriculum: writers, artists, curators, engineers, and more. Need to learn more about Twitter? Start with help from TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page. Extend the curriculum for your gifted students by having them help organize a chat with professionals and write the questions.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomRiding the Winds with Kalani is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. View the weather presentation together then allow students to complete activities as a Science Center. Use this site as a supplement to your current weather or seasons unit. This site is perfect for use with ESL/ELL students. Allow them to explore this site as it is presented to them in their native language.
Grades5 to 10
tag(s): roman numerals (9)
In the ClassroomBookmark and save this site to include with your unit on Roman Numerals, during study of the Roman Empire, or in Latin class. Be sure to share a link on your class website for students to review at home. Share this site as a way to review before tests. Have students upload a photo of a math problem solved using Roman Numerals they have taken and add voice bubbles to explain what they learned using a tool such as Superlame, reviewed here. Have student collect media (videos and more) demonstrating Roman Numerals found in real world situations from multiple online sources to show their research findings using a tool such as Dragontape, reviewed here.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): native americans (78)
In the ClassroomWe have come a long way from the study of Native Americans as a single generic group. Careful use of the images and narratives from Curtis' work can help illustrate that outdated mindset and provide a contrast to today's understanding of the contributions indigenous Americans have made to US history and culture. Share these images on your interactive whiteboard or projector as part of a guided discussion.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomAside from its obvious usefulness to an art history class, consider choosing an image from an era under study in a history course --or from the time period of a piece of American literature --and incorporating a look at the time through the eyes of an artist. How did events from that time influence the artist's vision of the world? What was America like to that artist? How is that different today? These are great "plug and play" resources that can be used to design an entire unit around using one of the themes or can be as short as an activating activity at the beginning of a class. Ask: When do you think this was painted? What tells you that? What is the artist trying to tell us about his or her view of America? The only limitation here is that it's difficult to view the images in full screen; you will need to use your browser's zoom function to use the images effectively on an interactive whiteboard (or projector).
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomTeens are fascinated with cars. Why not give them the opportunity to research the design and features of cars from a historical era being studied in a history class, or that match the time period with that of literary work. What did the cars look like when the Joad family made its way to California? What did Jay Gatsby drive? What was the "hottest ride" during the Vietnam War? As you try to communicate the culture of an era, consider using an image or two on the whiteboard (or projector) from the appropriate year to help students envision the world of that time. Cars and the way they are advertised also speak volumes about trends in graphic design and advertising. How does automobile advertising today differ from that in the 1950s? What emotions and needs were marketers appealing to? This resource would also be great as a springboard for a National History Day project comparing car design (or advertisements) across the 20th century and linking it to events of that time period. Teacher-librarians will love this resource to teach about primary sources and actually have students be interested!
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomThe Virtual Zoo is an excellent resource for use as a classroom center. Introduce the zoo on your interactive whiteboard or projector and allow students to explore on their own. Be sure to show students how to return back to the zoo page after clicking links to external sites. Visit one section of the zoo each day as part of your animal studies unit. Visit the Virtual Zoo before your "real" zoo field trip to explore animals students may find at the zoo. Although created for primary students, share with older students then have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomUse RU4Math puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector for enrichment, after-work challenges, or as part of logic and problem solving lessons. Have students discuss the problem solving steps used to solve puzzles. Be sure to include steps that were not successful too! Include puzzles on classroom computers and share on your class website or blog for play at home. The currency activity is perfect for learning to count money up to $1.00.
Grades3 to 6
tag(s): geometric shapes (165)
In the ClassroomThis site is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Explore the properties of different shapes together as you click through the included images. Print included worksheets for use at math centers or reproduce them for students to create shapes with different properties and dimensions. Use the 3-D shapes to create manipulatives such as pyramid-shaped "dice" to roll to solve math facts, name terms, or even answer questions in a non-math subject! Use markers or other decorative items for students to personalize them.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this tool anywhere a quick, simple poll is required (on any device!). Share polls on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge. This is great as you start a new unit and ask questions about the material. Discuss in groups why students would choose a particular answer to uncover misconceptions. Use for daily quiz questions as a formative assessment. Use a class account to have student groups alternate to create the new poll for the next day. Place a poll on your teacher web page as a homework inspiration or to ask parent questions to increase involvement. Older students may want to include polls on their student blogs to increase reader engagement. Have students create polls for the start of project presentations. Use polls to generate data for math class (graphing), during elections, or for critical thinking activities dealing with the interpretation of statistics. Use "real" data to engage students on issues and current events that matter to them.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomShare Optics4Kids during your unit on light. Bookmark this site to find classroom experiments that explore the science of light. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here) or WordItOut (reviewed here). After completing an experiment, 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. Share this resource with parents as a resource for Science Fair projects and fun science projects to try at home.
Grades4 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomCreate a class account that you can control if using this tool with students under 13 or if school policies prohibit student accounts. Use ProConIt on your webpage, wiki, Edmodo group reviewed here, or blog and display it in-class on your interactive whiteboard to develop critical thinking skills and evidence to support an argument (a la Common Core). Challenge students to research the topic so they can provide evidence for their stance when writing about their opinion or while refuting another's. Help students develop flexibility in their thinking by having them argue a side they do NOT agree with. Create a class account with a generic password, and have students put initials as an identifier with their opinion.
Is there anything questionable or controversial about what your students are studying in science? Studying cells? Try a debate about stem cell production. Studying astronomy? Why not have a debate about UFO's, extraterrestrial beings, the creation of the universe? Why not create a debate about whether math is a feature of the universe or a feature of human creation? For language arts and social science teachers this site is a gold mine! Create debates about politics, famous people in history, famous events in history (like what if's), current events, or social issues your students are interested in. Why not create a debate about whether students think being kind to a bully will make the bully stop bullying?
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): media literacy (60)