TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jun 15, 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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60-Second Civics - The Center for Civic Education

Grades
7 to 12
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60 Second Civics offers podcasts covering one important concept at a time in 60-second narratives. They are updated daily. Short Attention Span? This site is perfect for you! There...more
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60 Second Civics offers podcasts covering one important concept at a time in 60-second narratives. They are updated daily. Short Attention Span? This site is perfect for you! There are nearly 2000 podcasts to explore. You can subscribe to the podcast series through an RSS feed, on iTunes, or access them directly through the website. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be searchable by theme or content, so you'll just need to scroll through them if you're looking for a specific topic or issue. Tip: when you hover your cursor over the word PLAY, it doesn't change to a pointing hand. Click on the word anyway to start the podcast. 60-Second Civics is part of a larger site that contains lesson plans, teacher resources, video clips, and a photo gallery on all aspects of citizenship.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), branches of government (48), constitution (79)

In the Classroom

Need a quick lesson starter or attention grabber at the beginning or end of each class? Try a 60-second Civics lesson. If you access the day's podcast via the website, you'll also find a one-question multiple choice quiz that relates to the podcast so you can check for content acquisition. These podcasts are perfect for a civics or government class! Share the podcasts on your projector (or interactive whiteboard) so the entire class can hear the podcast and see the quiz at the end. If you are the adviser for the school news program, these would be a terrific addition, ready to go for you every day. During the run-up to Consitution Day in September, include these in the morning PA announcements. Load the podcast on iTouches or other mobile devices in the media center for students to browse and learn. Encourage students to create their own "stump the teacher" or "stump the student citizen" quizzes based on these podcasts. Use one of the many poll/quiz tools in the TeachersFirst Edge.

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Documentary Lens - National Film Board of Canada

Grades
9 to 12
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What makes a short film or documentary effective? The National Film Board of Canada presents a database of documentaries from the 1940s through 2004. Each film is annotated with questions...more
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What makes a short film or documentary effective? The National Film Board of Canada presents a database of documentaries from the 1940s through 2004. Each film is annotated with questions for discussion or with observations on important elements of the film. The focus is not necessarily on the content (although the films are grouped by theme), but rather on what makes the effort noteworthy. Don't miss the related site, accessed through the drop down menu, "Behind the Camera," that highlights the elements of good film making.

tag(s): canada (30), history day (23), media literacy (58), movies (64)

In the Classroom

The availability of inexpensive video cameras and film editing software makes including film making as a part of the regular classroom easier than ever. With digital writing included as part of Common Core, documentaries are a wonderful way to share student-written, informational text in a multimedia format. Incorporate the lessons that accompany these films as you introduce a documentary project. Help students understand that no matter how much fun it might be to watch the latest homemade viral video on YouTube, effective film making requires planning and design. The lessons presented here will be of particular assistance to students who are considering a National History Day entry in the documentary category.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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GDP: Measuring the human side of the Canadian Economic Crisis - National Film Board of Canada

Grades
9 to 12
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The National Film Board of Canada documented the economic crisis through short films and photo essays between 2008 and 2010. We hear about economic downturn every day, but it can ...more
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The National Film Board of Canada documented the economic crisis through short films and photo essays between 2008 and 2010. We hear about economic downturn every day, but it can be easy to forget the human side of hard times. Economic failures are more than statistics on a graph; they are the realities that affect lives. GDP presents these stories in 135 episodes and 53 photo essays. Search the stories by theme--community action, real estate, farming, natural resources--or by using the interactive map. Although the stories are from Canada, their appeal is broader, and they parallel what occurred in many countries.

tag(s): canada (30), media literacy (58), photography (160)

In the Classroom

This site can put a human face on the numbers for students studying current events, economics, or social studies. The site may also be useful as an example of how to tell stories related to history. Consider asking students to analyze HOW the stories are told, either using film or still photography. How can we use these media to illustrate a historical event? For students considering a History Day exhibit or documentary, these stories may provide inspiration and direction. As Common Core calls on students to engage in digital writing, showing these examples to help students plan student-made media will be more meaningful than simply talking about it.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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I Coach Math - HighPoints Learning

Grades
3 to 12
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Receive online math help and practice anytime and anywhere using I Coach Math activities (many correlated to Common Core). Begin by choosing your appropriate math level from elementary,...more
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Receive online math help and practice anytime and anywhere using I Coach Math activities (many correlated to Common Core). Begin by choosing your appropriate math level from elementary, middle school, or high school at the bottom of the screen. Narrow results by grade and topic to find lessons. Review and practice material with short, multiple choice response questions. Other interesting features of this site include math, physics, chemistry, and biology dictionaries. Complete the free assessment test to receive an instant report including your strengths and challenges. Please note that although I Coach Math works on all browsers, the site recommends Mozilla Firefox for display of all content. There are significant ads on this site, so guide students to avoid them.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (99), decimals (133), equations (155), exponents (42), fractions (239), functions (70), geometric shapes (163), homework (44), measurement (159), polynomials (32), probability (130), ratios (53), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Share this link on your class website or class newsletter for students (and parents) to practice at home. Create a link on classroom computers for a math center activity. Although the free assessment test may take up to 60 minutes to complete, it may be worthwhile to have students complete this to include with parent teacher conferences.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Brief.ly - Brief.ly

Grades
K to 12
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Brief.ly is a simple way to share a "bundle" of links at the same time. Enter up to 30 links and captions you want to share (one per line or ...more
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Brief.ly is a simple way to share a "bundle" of links at the same time. Enter up to 30 links and captions you want to share (one per line or click the wrench for more options). Brief.ly will generate a unique URL. When opened, a Table of Contents page lists the sites included. When you open the bundle, each site appears and tabs appear along the top of the page that allow you to easily jump from one recommended site to the next. This site is very easy to use and helpful for all ages, as long as they can read. With your membership, you can edit the contents of your list later, without resending it or changing the single link.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Brief.ly is a lifesaver for every classroom, teacher, or school. Whenever you are sharing multiple sites at centers, during small or whole group presentations, or even sites gathered for a research projects, Brief.ly takes away frustration and saves time! Save different content areas, subjects, or study links in one simple click. Gather all grade level websites on your school webpage, and list all classes. Unclutter your own class webpage or blog with just a few links. Sending links to parents or colleagues could not be any easier! Collaboration within classes, groups, or home is a snap! Improve organization for yourself and your class. As students work on group projects, they can share their link list easily. Use a class account so students do not have to register, and you can watch what they are using for sources.

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4 Free Photos - 4freephotos.com

Grades
K to 12
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4 Free Photos offers public domain and free stock images. Preview and download the photos at no cost. Use the search feature to find the image you are looking for. ...more
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4 Free Photos offers public domain and free stock images. Preview and download the photos at no cost. Use the search feature to find the image you are looking for. The images on this site are contributed by the photographers for open sharing under Creative Commons. Be aware, there are photos for sale (clearly labeled). Some of the links for "More Free Photos" and other ads take you to outside sites. You may want to advise students to avoid those links. Note that all uses of the photos are supposed to be accompanied by the link to the license (available on each photo's display page).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): copyright (47), creative commons (21), images (265), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Starting a lesson on copyright? With so much social media and access to almost anything on the web, it is important to teach students about copyright and about owner's rights. Use this site to search for photos for presentations, photos, projects, or research. For your ESL/ELL students or speech/language, use the images for them to create their own visual dictionary. World language teachers can also challenge students to use images to illustrate vocabulary or accompany writing. Use images for writing prompts or even to create descriptive sentences. Have one student describe the image as another sketches the image. Now compare the described image to the real image. To find more Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here or PhotoPin, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Random Acts of Kindness - Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Grades
K to 12
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Inspire people to practice kindness and pass it on to others. The Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation is a non-profit organization founded upon the powerful belief in kindness....more
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Inspire people to practice kindness and pass it on to others. The Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation is a non-profit organization founded upon the powerful belief in kindness. It is dedicated to providing resources and tools that encourage acts of kindness. Discover inspirational quotes, kindness ideas, and share your own ideas. Explore lesson plans, classroom materials, projects, ideas for courses, and RAK clubs. Discover research, videos, and stories about random acts of kindness. Sign up for the newsletter or join the blog.

tag(s): classroom management (134), emotions (35), service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Become a "RAKTIVIST" and start a kindness raid on unsuspecting communities, classes, or schools! Give children power and voice through their actions. Partner this with character education programs to make a difference in all the lives you touch. During social studies, find ways kindness has changed the world. Look for times in which kindness was thwarted, such as during civil wars, dictatorships, or wars. Start a research project on world leaders who have changed the world through nonviolence, education, or generosity. Explain the power of nonprofit organizations and all the lives affected. Look into your own community and school to find needs that are waiting for active, caring participants. Create school or classroom rules to promote the power of kindness. Challenge student to create "kindness" commercials. Share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Emotional Support or Autistic Support teachers may find some of the ideas here helpful for talking about how others feel and ways to show kindness in a very deliberate way.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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e-learning for kids - Math - Dr. Nick van Dam

Grades
K to 6
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Explore this varied collection of over 300 math e-lessons for elementary. Topics include number sense, geometry, time, money, and more. The colorful, interactive explanations and activities...more
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Explore this varied collection of over 300 math e-lessons for elementary. Topics include number sense, geometry, time, money, and more. The colorful, interactive explanations and activities accompanied by verbal directions are delightful! Many activities include both a lesson and a game portion for skill practice. Search by grade level K-6. Scroll through the entire list or sort activities by popularity.

tag(s): addition (251), area (66), decimals (133), division (172), fractions (239), geometric shapes (163), mass (23), money (193), number sense (97), numbers (204), patterns (85), percent (82), perimeter (32), preK (279), subtraction (208), time (144)

In the Classroom

Share a specific activity or two with your students on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Assign students to centers and have them rotate around to learn or review the concepts on which they will work. Be sure to include a link to specific lessons on your class webpage or newsletter for students to practice at home. Share this site with parents who are asking for practice activities for home use.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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WeJIT - Democrasoft, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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WeJIT is a simple, powerful online collaboration and decision-making tool. Easily sign up with email, name, and password. You can also sign up using your Google or Twitter account....more
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WeJIT is a simple, powerful online collaboration and decision-making tool. Easily sign up with email, name, and password. You can also sign up using your Google or Twitter account. Use ready-made templates for making decisions, selecting options, brainstorms, debates, and priorities. With each template choose to add an image, video, or PDF/MS Office document (or not). Decide whether your WeJIT is for private or public distribution. Send a link via email, Tweet, or post to your FaceBook or Google+ page. Embed WeJITS in e-publications, blogs, wikis and other applications. It is simple to turn e-mails into social networking and Tweets into discussions without participants having to join anything.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), polls and surveys (48)

In the Classroom

WeJIT's templates are applicable for every subject at the beginning, middle, or end of a unit. Want student engagement in a BYOD or 1:1 class or to gather student opinions about upcoming activities? Use WeJIT to find out what your students are thinking. Use WeJIT as a way to check for prior knowledge at the start of a unit. Use one to collect answers to simple data questions (favorite food, color, vacation spot, number of siblings etc.) to use in graphing activities. Find out what people believe about various issues or ideas to introduce in class discussions or debates. Keep students thinking outside of class by posing a controversial question related to what you discussed in class today: "What would life be like in the U.S. if Germany had won World War II?" What would you name the next book in the series (for a book read by the class)? Coax participation out of students who are usually very quiet. Use this tool easily in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

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Smithsonian Science Education Center Games - Smithsonian Science Education Center

Grades
K to 2
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Enjoy science activities correlated to Common Core and National Science Standards at this site from the Smithsonian Science Center. The initial game offering, Shutterbugs: Wiggle and...more
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Enjoy science activities correlated to Common Core and National Science Standards at this site from the Smithsonian Science Center. The initial game offering, Shutterbugs: Wiggle and Stomp, offers the opportunity to describe movement and motion while visiting exotic animals from the zoo. Game difficulty levels scale up or down based on your response and adults receive printable reports of mastered words. Coming soon is a Memory Match game. These games are device agnostic. Click on the actual game and scroll to the bottom of the page for links to download free app versions from the Google Play or Apple stores.

tag(s): animals (276), DAT device agnostic tool (196), habitats (84), motion (58), preK (279)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check out the "About Our Games" portion of the site for game features and information. This site is excellent for use as a classroom center or on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to share the link with parents on your classroom newsletter or website.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Stoodle - CK12

Grades
K to 12
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This free tool offers real-time collaboration using a virtual whiteboard that can be accessed and modified in the browser on any device! Start instantly with NO membership required!...more
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This free tool offers real-time collaboration using a virtual whiteboard that can be accessed and modified in the browser on any device! Start instantly with NO membership required! Create as many whiteboard pages as needed, including voice conferencing and text chat. Click at the left on the email icon to invite others to join in live. This tool is unique because it includes audio chat. You have to click to ALLOW your computer's mic to be accessible to Stoodle. Save your whiteboards for later access. Easily upload images within the tool without having to open new tabs to search for them. As with other similar tools, basic drawing tools, image uploads, and colors are available in Stoodle. Share your whiteboard via URL. (An embed option is currently not available in this tool.) Be sure to allow some time to play with the various icons on the Stoodle board. Before any actions can happen on the board, you must select a tool on the right or left side of the board. Add new pages to a board using the arrows at bottom right. Be sure to save the urls for your boards as Favorites, send them to yourself, or copy/paste them into an organized document so you do not "lose" them. Once you close them, you might have trouble finding them again!

tag(s): drawing (78)

In the Classroom

Stoodle is an excellent tool to use for impromptu peer tutoring sessions or hosting online brainstorming sessions. Students can also use it on 1:1 or BYOD devices during class to collaborate on diagrams, brainstorms, or mind maps. This tool is perfect for snow days and school breaks. Use as a place to collect web quest links and information. Solicit input, discussions, or viewpoints from students. Use as a new format for book reports. Use for students to illustrate their personal definitions for vocabulary words. Need an open space for debates or viewpoints? Post assignments, reminders, or study skills. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use this tool for them to record information from class that you can share via a link on your class web page.

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Onelinr - Onelinr

Grades
8 to 12
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Create an instant backchannel with this free, simple to use tool. This tool does not have built-in identifiers to show those contributing to the backchannel. Contributors are identified...more
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Create an instant backchannel with this free, simple to use tool. This tool does not have built-in identifiers to show those contributing to the backchannel. Contributors are identified by the handle that they create. Create a new channel by typing into your address bar: "onelinr.com/" followed by the name of your channel. Share your channel with others to participate in the backchannel. The main page contains a list of active backchannels. Be aware that these are not moderated and include the general public.

tag(s): chat (51), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Be sure to just share the address to the backchannel YOU created when using with students. You can agree upon a specific way for students to create a handle for use. For example, your subject or class name with student initials or first name. Use as a backchannel on laptops during a video or student presentations. Pose questions for all to answer/discuss in the Onelinr. Ask students to pose their own "I wonder if..." questions as they watch and listen. Keep every student engaged and THINKING as an active listener. The first time you use a backchannel, you will want to establish some etiquette and accountability rules, such as respectful language and constructive criticism. The advantage of backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy.

In world language classes or even autistic support class, have students backchannel descriptions of what they see as classmates act out a scene from a video, using new language vocabulary and/or describing the feelings of the actors. In studying literature, collaborate with another class to have students role-play a chat between two characters or - in history class - between soldiers on two sides of the Civil War or different sides of the Scopes Money trial. In videos where issues are discussed, use the Onelinr for student input and questioning.

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