TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jun 22, 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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Booktrack Classroom - Peter Thiel

Grades
1 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Make reading a multimedia experience that today's students expect. Booktrack adds movie style soundtracks to favorite stories and books. You can add your own sound effects and music...more
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Make reading a multimedia experience that today's students expect. Booktrack adds movie style soundtracks to favorite stories and books. You can add your own sound effects and music to the stories and books you love. There are thousands of titles already available, both classic and contemporary; these include novels, poetry, and short stories that are in the public domain. Find them by clicking "Free to Use" and scrolling down a bit. All of this is free on a computer, or with free iOS and Android apps. There are several ready-to-go lessons at elementary, middle, and high school levels. When using on a computer, BookTrack works best in Chrome and may not function at all in some browsers. Watch the short tutorials to learn how to create a book with a soundtrack.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (193), ebooks (40), guided reading (46), independent reading (125), reading comprehension (114)

In the Classroom

Click "Teachers" and scroll to the bottom of the home page to find free lessons. Work together with your music teacher to find classical music selections that make great background music. Have students choose a story and create a "read aloud" with music and sound effects. Challenge students to capture the feel or tone of current events articles, science articles, or poems they have created. Use music and sound effects to enhance historical events or battles in social science. At the end of literature circles, have students select the best events in a story and put music and sound effects together with them. Watch the short tutorials to create your class and to create a book with a soundtrack. FanFiction users may want to put sound effects or music to their own writing. In the library/media center, share BookTracks to interest students in some of your "old" books!

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Audio Expert - AudioExpert

Grades
1 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Audio Expert is a free and simple online audio editor, file converter, and sound recorder. This tool has all of the standard functionality of an audio editor. It provides students ...more
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Audio Expert is a free and simple online audio editor, file converter, and sound recorder. This tool has all of the standard functionality of an audio editor. It provides students and teachers with an easy way to create a podcast or even a ringtone for a cell phone. The Audio Expert can also be used as a powerful audio file converter that will allow you to modify your file format, bit rate, and frequency. If your computer is equipped with a camera and microphone, you can use Audio Expert to record your own sounds. You can download completed files.

tag(s): podcasts (51)

In the Classroom

Use Audio Expert in early grades to promote literacy by recording your students and creating an audio portfolio record of their reading. Use this tool with ESL/ELL students to practice fluency and hearing themselves speak. Use Audio Expert to record parents, principals, lunch ladies, librarians, relatives, and bus drivers all telling your favorite class story. During writing time, allow students freedom from the pencil to express their true creative voices. Also dabble into digital storytelling to create a lesson in adding voice, emotion, and characterization. Record audio interviews at a local nursing home, fire stations, or museums to recollect times such as wars, the Great Depression, Civil Rights Movements, or as a primary source at memorable events. Record world language conversations as a student project. Make music class or the school band a gold recording!

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LessonPaths - MentorMob, Inc

Grades
K to 12
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Create, share, and explore learning lists of web-based resources with LessonPaths (formerly MentorMobEDU). Similar to Pinterest, but in a slide show format. This site shows thumbnails...more
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Create, share, and explore learning lists of web-based resources with LessonPaths (formerly MentorMobEDU). Similar to Pinterest, but in a slide show format. This site shows thumbnails of each resource. LessonPaths allows you to view and create "playlists." Browse through playlists by subject or keyword. Each playlist has links to online content correlated to the topics. As you browse through each playlist, choose Next to view an overview of each link. At the left side, roll over the list of steps to find out what to do at each stop on the playlist. Click within that link to go to the web content displayed. When ready, create an account and begin to create your own playlists.

tag(s): classroom management (130)

In the Classroom

Browse to find ready-made activities for classroom use. Create your own playlists for organizing classroom resources found on the web along with tasks to do at each place. Create playlists for students to view and/or add to as a whole class activity. Some ideas include things that use energy, food groups, or groups of items for primary level vocabulary/practice (clothing items, farm animals, clock faces for telling time, etc.). In lower grades, create very simple sequences of activities for students to try from a class computer center or at home. Since your directions will require reading, keep it very simple! In higher grades, make playlists for different subjects or units where you collect videos, images, classroom blogs and websites, etc. Share your playlists with students and parents by putting the link on your class website. Have them work through the tasks at their own pace. Challenge your older students to create their own playlists with thought-provoking questions as a product from a research project. For example, they can compile information about a disease and how it is transmitted, asking questions at each resource. (What a great way for them to read informational text and then generate questions that go further!) Teachers of Gifted or regular ed teachers trying to design independent tasks for gifted students to do will love the flexibility of the playlist format.

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Literably - Tyler Borek and Habib Moody

Grades
K to 8
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Use Literably to assess students' oral reading and comprehension. Literably will display a text, administer the reading assessment, score it, generate an audio recording, and keep a...more
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Use Literably to assess students' oral reading and comprehension. Literably will display a text, administer the reading assessment, score it, generate an audio recording, and keep a running record. It will also report words correct per minute, percentage accuracy, and a leveling recommendation. Literably also provides readers' Lexile measures, grade levels, and guided reading levels. Test comprehension levels using open response or multiple choice questions. Register with an email, and set up a class easily. Keep your username short for ease of registration by primary students. The free account allows for testing 5 students per calendar month. Student sign in is extremely easy, even for a first grader. Print results or email to parents for easy sharing. IMPORTANT Note: Results (accuracy and WPM) are not available instantly and take up to 18-24 hours to arrive via email or be posted on the site. Literably is compatible with most browsers, and there is a free iPad app.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (99), fluency (23), reading comprehension (114)

In the Classroom

After 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!

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In Charted Waters - Mapping a Brave New World - MSC Cruises

Grades
5 to 12
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Follow a timeline to view and learn about major ocean explorations from 500 BC through 1911. Each mouse click moves you through explorations beginning with Carthaginians reaching the...more
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Follow a timeline to view and learn about major ocean explorations from 500 BC through 1911. Each mouse click moves you through explorations beginning with Carthaginians reaching the Atlantic Ocean for the first time and finishing with Raold Amundsen setting foot on the South Pole. Deceptively simple, this site is worth a visit for a quick look at ocean exploration (and explorers) throughout time. Unlike many explorer sites and textbooks, this site includes explorations outside the western hemisphere.

tag(s): continents (50), explorers (61), maps (287), oceans (147)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on exploration on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students create maps using Animaps, reviewed here. Students can add text, images, and location stops. Have students create their own timelines of explorers (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 one of the explorers mentioned on this site.

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Headslinger - James Bottorff and Mandy Bottorff

Grades
7 to 12
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Discover, read, collect, and share news from multiple sources with Headslinger. Browse links to popular news sites to find interesting news articles, tweets, and Facebook posts. Save...more
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Discover, read, collect, and share news from multiple sources with Headslinger. Browse links to popular news sites to find interesting news articles, tweets, and Facebook posts. Save to your favorites using the "Sling it" button and place in a folder you create and categorize. Easily find saved articles and news sources using the navigation bar at the top of each page. Find new sources using links included with each story to sources similar to the one you are viewing. When you are ready to share articles, use the social networking buttons included with the article to share on Facebook, Twitter, and email. Register to create an account to save stories; however, registration isn't required to browse and share articles.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), journalism (45), media literacy (56), news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

Find and share interesting stories with your classroom from many resources using Headslinger. Create folders of sources that supplement curriculum topics such as pollution, engineering, or space. This is a terrific way to collect articles during an election cycle for students to compare bias in various publications! Challenge older students to create their own Headslinger account and share news articles demonstrating different points of view or topics of special interest. Bookmark and save Headslinger to find and use interesting current events articles for classroom use. With the CCSS emphasis on informational text, Headslinger could provide an unlimited source of reading material. Create professional collections to keep track of trends and topics in education.

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AnMish (Beta) - anmish.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Create, save, and share your personalized animations using AnMish technology. Register using your email to create an account and begin making an animation. Upload your own picture or...more
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Create, save, and share your personalized animations using AnMish technology. Register using your email to create an account and begin making an animation. Upload your own picture or choose from puppets and celebrities such as Prince Charles or Hillary Clinton. Use the record button to record a message for up to 30 seconds. Choose a title and make the animation public or private. Save to complete the process. Share using the provided embed code or use social networking links. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom.This tool has public Favorites on the home page so might be best used under direct adult supervision.

tag(s): animation (59), comics and cartoons (74), digital storytelling (135)

In the Classroom

This site includes the ability for the general public to submit their own animations. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. You may want to limit use to whole-class activities or prohibit accessing the public portion of the site. Set up the class account and give them the url to the create page. (Talk about how to avoid inappropriate content as part of digital citizenship lessons.) Have students sum up debate ideas using animated characters or present simple concepts from researched material to introduce to the class. Use for book report stories, to create fictitious stories, or present ideas in an engaging format. Challenge students to use this site to tell the history of political figures, historical figures, or historic events. Use this site to teach about chemical properties, scientific figures or discoveries, or great moments in Science through animation. In language arts class, use this tool to apply concepts of narrative patterns or characterization. Teachers of gifted may want to assign students to create an entire animated series. Have ESL/ELL or world language students create animations to practice new vocabulary. Have students compose monologues to be delivered by animated characters.

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Scoot and Doodle - Scoot & Doodle, Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
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Use this tool to connect and play with ideas or draw, imagine, and create stories in real time, all within a Google Hangout. Collaborators solve problems...more
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Use this tool to connect and play with ideas or draw, imagine, and create stories in real time, all within a Google Hangout. Collaborators solve problems and discuss ideas with the contributors in a creative way that can be used formally or informally. Collaborators can see each other in the hangout as they work. This tool is not about technology. The power of this tool lies in the use of spaces, relationships, and creative experiences. Note: A Google Plus account is required, and inviting your friends is even easier! Add people with the person icon across the top. Add a chat, YouTube video, screenshare, remote desktop, or more with the icons along the side. Capture all your created products easily too. Participants appear in live camera along the bottom.

tag(s): creative fluency (8), creative writing (167), creativity (108), drawing (77), social networking (112), social skills (20)

In the Classroom

Use this wonderful collaborative, real-time drawing space, connecting your Google Plus account with friends, such as classes in other schools. Use this tool to illustrate, explain and teach remotely across the world. Use this resource for students to collaborate with other project members in their same school or in different schools. Sketch out plans for an engineering design together. Brainstorm solutions to environmental problems or sketch out the steps to a geometry proof. This resource is wonderful for homework help, especially in subjects where drawing can be beneficial such as science and math!

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CraftArt edu - Craft Media Network

Grades
4 to 12
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Learn, create, and connect with CraftArtEdu's free online "classes" on video. This colorful site offers free online "classes" on countless art and crafts topics. Topics range from wrapping...more
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Learn, create, and connect with CraftArtEdu's free online "classes" on video. This colorful site offers free online "classes" on countless art and crafts topics. Topics range from wrapping wire loops to fan fold blends to basic embroidery and much more. Join a class and receive step by step instruction. Find the free class section, and start your new learning adventure. Develop new talents and skills. Some of the videos are not in English, so preview (unless you are looking for language learning!). Don't miss the digital art tutorials about Photoshop!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): crafts (40), holidays (147)

In the Classroom

Find projects for holidays or that tie in with current units of study on time periods in history, different cultures, or literature being read in class. In world language classes, share one of the videos in French or German and challenge students to follow along with the directions. Then have them try to make their own how-to videos to practice new vocabulary. Use these videos as examples of digital writing for information and have student groups create one of their own. Share this site with your "crafty" students for indoor recess or use the activities in family and consumer science. Share this link on your class website for students to find crafty ways to share knowledge in unusual displays. Some of the videos might even offer ideas they could use as science fair projects testing the strength of different materials.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Timemapper - Open Knowledge Foundation Labs

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This free tool maps dates, information, and locations specified on a loaded spreadsheet into a timeline format. See the Examples on the middle portion of the page to see the ...more
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This free tool maps dates, information, and locations specified on a loaded spreadsheet into a timeline format. See the Examples on the middle portion of the page to see the results! You need a Google Docs/Drive account to create a timeline. Work anonymously or log in using your Twitter account. Click "Get Started Now" to read the details and create your spreadsheet, using a template Google Doc spreadsheet available by clicking where it says, "this template." Read the 1-2-3 steps AND the FAQ lower on the page to understand the steps and the reasons why you might want to create a free account using your Twitter login (not required). Once published with the url loaded into the Timemapper form, data from the spreadsheet is displayed in Timemapper in a slide style format. Data can include images, citations, locations, and more. Move along the timeline at the bottom of the screen or advance through the screens. Locations are pinpointed on a map that displays alongside the timeline. Click on individual locations or see them highlighted as you advance through the screens. Use the embed code to place the Timemapper in your wiki, site, or blog. You can also share it by url. Note: Timemappers cannot be made private.

tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Create Timemapper timelines to introduce material in any subject. If your school uses Google Apps or Docs/Drive, your students (or groups) can create their own very easily. Map specific battles in history (World War II or the Revolutionary War, perhaps?) Map significant scientific discoveries in the progress of understanding about cell theory or genetics. Follow the works of various writers, artists, or musicians. Follow the life of famous people or noteworthy events such as elections, the Olympics, or even local history!

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Foodista - Foodista

Grades
3 to 12
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Foodista is a community of food lovers who share and exchange all things food! Find recipes and cooking ideas, food news, holiday ideas, health and nutrition, video directions, question...more
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Foodista is a community of food lovers who share and exchange all things food! Find recipes and cooking ideas, food news, holiday ideas, health and nutrition, video directions, question and answers, blogs, and an rss feed. Add a recipe or share on social media.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cooking (34), holidays (147), nutrition (154)

In the Classroom

Capture every student's heart (or stomach) with Foodista! Introduce on your interactive whiteboard or projector for learning how to write, read, and follow directions. This site is sure to make some stomachs grumble and some mouths water! In math class, explore or multiply fractions used in recipes. In science, FACS, or health class, explore the nutrition side of Foodista. Help students gain a better understanding of diabetes or food allergies. Use to create food for special celebrations of literature or in social studies as you study cultures around the world. Allow students to choose food for special class celebrations. In your FACS class, use the blog area as a weekly update for new recipe, home care, and nutrition ideas.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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School Report Writer - School Report Writer

Grades
K to 12
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Take the hassle out of report card comments and school report writing (by teachers) with School Report Writer. Join for free to keep your comments handy. This time saving, free ...more
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Take the hassle out of report card comments and school report writing (by teachers) with School Report Writer. Join for free to keep your comments handy. This time saving, free program gives you instant access to hundreds of comments. Use comments that are already there or create your own. Enter your comments in the create space, find automatic initial sentences, concluding sentences, synonyms, a grammar checker, and a spell checker. Save your comments on your own device, copy/paste into your school report card system, or share with the community. Take the time to view the screenshots or video from the links at top right to see how this tool works.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (99)

In the Classroom

Avoid writers' block and embarrassing misspellings or errors by perusing through ready-made comments. Why reinvent the wheel when so many great comments are already available! If you choose to create your own comments, be sure to share them. Add your own topics, assignments, and lists to save to your free account. Save your best comments from each narrative to share with others or for years to come. Save time and sanity on report cards using this fabulous resource. You might even ask your students to suggest some positive comments they would like to see on their own report cards. If they know you have them ready to use, they may strive to achieve them!
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