TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 6, 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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Do Nothing for 2 Minutes - Alex Tew

Grades
K to 12
11 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Take a much-needed 2 minute break with Do Nothing for 2 Minutes. When you enter the website, the 2 minute timer begins. Relax and enjoy the soothing sounds of waves ...more
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Take a much-needed 2 minute break with Do Nothing for 2 Minutes. When you enter the website, the 2 minute timer begins. Relax and enjoy the soothing sounds of waves and the beautiful beach image. If you do anything, such as move your mouse, the timer resets challenging you to take the full 2 minutes of relaxation time. What a fabulous tool for lowering your stress or refocusing!

tag(s): stress (14)

In the Classroom

Use Do Nothing for 2 Minutess to settle students down after activities or during transition times. Use it to relax them before "big tests." This site may be perfect for those students that need a little quiet time in their daily routine. Use this site with any students who may need some quiet time between transitions. Share this site to use with students while studying. They could study for 15 minutes (or longer, depending on the age) and "earn" two minutes of relaxation. If students feel stressed out about a project, try starting with this 2 minute relaxation exercise to calm the nerves. Use this site for yourself: relaxing, destressing, and enjoying life for a quick 2 minutes. Use this tool during a unit in study skills to talk about ways to refocus as you study. There is great value in incubation time before actually launching into a new project or creative challenge, and this tool can help!

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Tapestry - readtapestry.com

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Tapestry is a new way of storytelling across any device. Create and view beautiful "tappable" stories -- slideshows telling a simple story where readers tap to move forward. Explore...more
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Tapestry is a new way of storytelling across any device. Create and view beautiful "tappable" stories -- slideshows telling a simple story where readers tap to move forward. Explore Tapestries created by others sorted into categories such as popular, fashion, inspiration and more. To make your own Tapestry, click "Write a Tapestry" to view options. Options in the original editor include adding images, text formatting and color options, including a share button to send your Tapestry to others via social networking and email. Additional formats include resources for creating animated gif's and short stories. You do need an account to make your own Tapestry. There are free app versions for iOS and Android.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), slides (60)

In the Classroom

Tapestry is perfect for use when creating and sharing short stories or poems. Use Tapestry to create quick slideshows for any classroom use. Set up a whole class account so students do not need individual logins. Easily share slides with information or (online) images on your website or blog to remind students about a project or assignment. Have students create presentations to "introduce" themselves to the class during the first week of school. Create a slide show to introduce any unit and have students guess what they will be learning. Create a Tapestry easily "on the fly" as a review resource to embed on your class website or blog. This site is perfect for your BYOD (bring your own device) classroom, since it is a "DAT." Make quick "cue cards" for students to read their lines off a projector, interactive whiteboard, or tablet for a video or school news broadcast! Paste your school or class announcements into slides and embed them on the class or school website.

Use this simple tool for students to make book promos for the library/media center. Display them on tablets or iTouches! Even the youngest gifted students can create simple presentations to go beyond regular curriculum in your class. Be sure to show young ones how to copy/paste the url for their finished work to send it to you or mark it in Favorites on the classroom computer or iPad. Have them make slide shows telling a story, explaining about a famous person, and more. During a unit on plants, have students create a guide to plant care or a show about the world's strangest plants. Have them write and illustrate slides as book reviews for independent reading they have done. This tool is simple enough for any student who can read.

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Nourishing Gifted Through Technology in Any Classroom - TeachersFirst/Melissa Henning and Candace Hackett Shively

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
These pages, originally the support pages for a presentation at the ISTE conference 2014, offer resources, tools, and tips to nourish the needs of gifted in your classroom, along with...more
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These pages, originally the support pages for a presentation at the ISTE conference 2014, offer resources, tools, and tips to nourish the needs of gifted in your classroom, along with sanity savers to organize your multitasking class and your oftentimes "scattered" gifted learners. Find a multitude of reviewed tools, resources, and connections available via technology, so gifted students can work with differentiated academic content, leverage technology to foster their creativity, join in digital collaborations to extend the curriculum through individual interests, and even establish digital "me-portfolios." Start with the Helpful Background, basics about gifted students, and move through several pages to help you plan appropriate activities for your gifted students-- and help them be involved in the planning, as well. The authors of this article are both experienced teachers of gifted, so their suggestions are based on practical experience, not just "theory."

tag(s): differentiation (47), gifted (96)

In the Classroom

Mark these pages in your Favorites as a reference whenever you have gifted students. These students may or may not be officially identified, but sometimes trying these strategies will save you and the student a lot of frustration. When it comes time to offer choices, share the handpicked tool collections in this article with your gifted students so they have a solid place to start. For more ideas about gifted, try the gifted tag in reviews, use a keyword search including the term "gifted," or browse for the subject "Gifted" in the TeachersFirst Subject/Grade pages.

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The Internet in Real-Time - Jeff Thomas Stech

Grades
6 to 12
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Find a captivating, animated infographic that shows how rapidly data generates on the Internet. At the bottom is a changing account of data generation for every 10 seconds. This infographic...more
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Find a captivating, animated infographic that shows how rapidly data generates on the Internet. At the bottom is a changing account of data generation for every 10 seconds. This infographic is actually live! There is a link at the top where you can click and watch the Internet giants accumulate wealth in real-time.

tag(s): data (149), images (261), infographics (42)

In the Classroom

Share both of these infographics on your projector or interactive whiteboard (RIght click to open the wealth accumulation link in another tab). Use these infographics as a discussion starter about Internet safety, media literacy, or in just about how data proliferates in today's world. Discussion starters for the Internet in Real-Time could be about who could take advantage of and use this information, what factors (time of day, holidays, etc.) affect the rate of increase, how do "they" keep track of this? A discussion starter for the one about wealth might be to see how many students know about the controversial 1% of the wealthiest people in America, and then have them research how many of the 1% own or have invested in these companies? In a math class about data, use this as an example of how people draw meaning from numbers.

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Classroom Authors - Classroom Authors

Grades
1 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Classroom Authors uses four easy steps to publish an e-book or a printed book: writing, editing, proofing, and publishing. Teachers create an account and a project. Have students join...more
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Classroom Authors uses four easy steps to publish an e-book or a printed book: writing, editing, proofing, and publishing. Teachers create an account and a project. Have students join the project with a code. Every student with the project code will have a chapter to create. Student accounts require email, but they can use a parent email address or an "+" extension of the teacher's email address, for instance, myemail+studentname@myschool.org. All students invited to the project can be working on their section, on multiple computers, at one time. Adding content is as easy as using a word processing program and uploading images to the gallery. Drag and drop the images into the chapter. Students can view the entire book, but only edit their own chapter. Teachers have complete control over editing, style and leaving comments. There are default templates so the books created are professional looking. Customize to give the book your own look. Classroom Authors is not only a vehicle for publishing; this tool will fulfill the Common Core Standard requirements for using technology for collaborating and writing across the curriculum. The best part of this site: it is EASY to use! Classroom Authors uses ePub to format e-books and offers one free printed book for each published project that has 10 or more students collaborating. Beyond that, there is a cost for printed books. E-books are FREE.

tag(s): creative writing (167), descriptive writing (41), ebooks (40), process writing (40), writing (356)

In the Classroom

Research proves publishing improves writing skills. Use Classroom Authors for class newsletters, an anthology of student written stories, and creating "choose your own adventure" type stories. Use this tool for research or opinion pieces in world language classes, science, math, or social studies. Some teachers have their students write novels for National Novel Writing Month, and at Classroom Authors they will be able to publish them.

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Khan Academy Common Core - Khan Academy

Grades
K to 12
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Prepare your students for success with Common Core Math skills at this excellent site presented by Khan Academy. 50,000 unique questions cover conceptual understanding, procedural fluency,...more
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Prepare your students for success with Common Core Math skills at this excellent site presented by Khan Academy. 50,000 unique questions cover conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and real world applications. Use the link to "Browse Our New Common Core Map" to find interactive math problems for grades K-12. Each activity lists the number of skills and problems available for each level. View step by step solutions to each problem. Many problems even include video explanations. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and Illustrative Mathematics partnered with Khan Academy to ensure the rigor of materials and full alignment to the Common Core Standards. Learn more about Khan Academy reviewed here. Videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then 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): addition (252), angles (86), base ten (12), coordinates (32), counting (119), data (149), division (172), equations (155), factoring (31), fractions (239), functions (70), geometric shapes (159), measurement (163), mixed numbers (14), multiplication (227), negative numbers (23), number lines (22), number sense (97), polynomials (32), prime numbers (31), probability (130), quadratics (32), rounding (22), square roots (24), statistics (122), subtraction (209), transformations (17), vectors (24), whole numbers (16)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your class website or blog for students to practice math concepts at home. Share with parents through your class website or newsletter as a great resource for review and reinforcement of math concepts. Share activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use problems on the site to present new concepts or review information before end-of-unit assessments. Provide links to lessons on the class website or blog for students to review at home. Have students create their own lessons modeled on this site. Then have students create blogs to practice writing about their math solutions using Throwww reviewed here. Throww allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs for one time use. There is no registration necessary!
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Great Lakes Echo - MSU Department of Telecommunications, Info Studies, and Media

Grades
6 to 12
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Find a constantly updated collection of informational articles about the environment of the Great Lakes. Subscribe to receive news of current feature articles. The variety of article...more
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Find a constantly updated collection of informational articles about the environment of the Great Lakes. Subscribe to receive news of current feature articles. The variety of article topics is sure to catch the interest of almost any reader. The articles have Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike licenses so are free to use and recopy (be sure to attribute!).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (277), fish (24), insects (68), plants (143), pollution (66), water (130), watersheds (16), weather (187)

In the Classroom

Use this resource in a science or environmental science classroom to identify and learn about various problems affecting the Great Lakes. Many of the concerns are representative of watersheds and freshwater bodies in other locations, as well. These articles are also valuable to examine current events in a social studies or civics classroom, identifying the impact of current environmental challenges on society and of society on the environment. Use these articles to provide experience with reading informational texts. Annotate an article using one of many annotation tools such as Scrible or Crocodoc, as part of "close reading." Compare the environmental issues of the Great Lakes with those of other water areas. Add this link to a bank of resources for students to use in research of issues affecting waterways.

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Inequality.org - Institute for Policy Studies

Grades
8 to 12
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Inequality.org aspires to be a portal for those seeking information on the impact of inequalities in areas such as income, health, race, and more. Choose the topic of Data and ...more
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Inequality.org aspires to be a portal for those seeking information on the impact of inequalities in areas such as income, health, race, and more. Choose the topic of Data and Statistics to view charts, graphs, and discussions of inequalities and changes over time. For example, you can view several videos with topics such as CEO pay, Tax the Rich Fairy Tale, and Wealth Inequalities. Although this site certainly has a one-sided point of view as its focus, it is one that is sure to get you thinking.

tag(s): inequalities (29), racism (18), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Have students explore this website then search for alternate points of view. Use this information as a starting point for classroom debate on current events, economics, and more. Have students create maps using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops to "map" the information given on this site. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare and contrast different points of view. Don't be surprised if your more news-savvy students (or those whose parents discuss political views openly) have very strong opinions about the ideas on this site. What better way to spark a discussion in a government/civics class? This would be a useful site to share with your gifted or more able students during an election year and have them create a position paper or video for a fictitious candidate on one of the inequity issues. In a math class, use some of the statistics here to work with plotting and interpreting data. The topics are certain to engage student interest!

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Science News for Students - Society for Science and the Public

Grades
6 to 12
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Find science current events and more with this wonderful site. This section also includes information on STEM careers and teaching science to teenagers. Find interesting articles and...more
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Find science current events and more with this wonderful site. This section also includes information on STEM careers and teaching science to teenagers. Find interesting articles and information about Atoms and Forces, Earth and Sky, Humans and Health, and more. Below each article is words used in the article and their meanings. Find information about science projects in the Student Resources section.

tag(s): news (261), science fairs (25), scientific method (64), scientists (68)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check the Educators section to find articles by curriculum topic. Use this site as a resource for current events projects or to relate classroom material to students lives and the world around them. Use the articles by finding an interesting tidbit of information to capture student attention before the start of a new content unit or chapter. Be sure to point out that science discoveries have led to the information about the natural world that we presently have today. Challenge cooperative learning groups to investigate one of the topics and create a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Be sure to include this link on your class page for students to find interesting articles and information about Atoms and Forces, Earth and Sky, Humans and Health, and more. Add the RSS feed from this site to your class Flipboard account.

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Showbie - Trilby

Grades
5 to 12
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Showbie is a tool for assigning, collecting, and reviewing student work. You can access Showbie via the web or download the free app to your iPad. Begin by creating your ...more
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Showbie is a tool for assigning, collecting, and reviewing student work. You can access Showbie via the web or download the free app to your iPad. Begin by creating your class list and noting the class code to be provided to students. Add assignments including a due date, and add files, images, or videos directly from your computer. This tool also works with the Pages application used on iPads. Upload these files directly from an iPad onto Showbie. Additional options to add to assignments include text and voice notes. Students use the class code to access assignments and return for review and grading. The free version allows unlimited classrooms and assignments. However, the maximum amount of students you can "enroll" in a class is 35.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (99), classroom management (129), data (149), organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

If you are lucky enough to have an iPad classroom, Showbie is an excellent resource for creating and sharing assignments. However, any device with web access will work fine. Use Showbie in your flipped classroom to provide rich multimedia lessons for students including videos, images, and audio. Share with parents for viewing student work and assignments. Share with other teachers for students to seamlessly view all assignments, including Learning Support and ELL teachers who work with your students. Help your students become more organized with their assignments.

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Top Documentary Films - topdocumentaryfilms.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Top Documentary Films contains a large collection of documentaries from around the world. Choose "Browse Documentaries" to explore documentaries available, or click on categories to...more
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Top Documentary Films contains a large collection of documentaries from around the world. Choose "Browse Documentaries" to explore documentaries available, or click on categories to view by topics such as Politics, Science, etc. Choose the documentary list to view a complete listing of all available films. Each listing includes a short description along with a link to view the video. Videos are hosted on YouTube. 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. Be sure to PREVIEW videos before showing to a class as they are unmoderated. Comments are also unmoderated. There is a wonderful disclaimer at the lower left of the home page about bias and documentaries. It is well worth noting as you watch ANY "documentary."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): advanced placement (21), animals (277), artists (75), biographies (85), drugs and alcohol (19), environment (317), evolution (100), hiv/aids (18), humor (15), media literacy (56), mental health (26), money (192), politics (98), psychology (64), religions (61), sports (95), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

Use this site to find videos in a wide range of topics to share on your interactive whiteboard, on a projector, or as a link on your class web page. Use videos to demonstrate different points of view. Then use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare and contrast information. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from any film using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here). Want to engage students WHILE they watch a video? Why not set up a backchannel chat using Todaysmeet, reviewed here. Be sure to ask your class if there could have been any bias in the video you watch together. What film techniques influence our thinking?
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TinEye Labs - Idee, Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
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Search Creative Commons images by COLOR(s)! Choose up to five colors. As you choose each color, the tiled squares fill with a myriad of images that include that color. Click ...more
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Search Creative Commons images by COLOR(s)! Choose up to five colors. As you choose each color, the tiled squares fill with a myriad of images that include that color. Click a second color to view images that have both colors in them. Choose up to five colors. Click on "Next" in the lower right hand corner to view more pages of images. Click on the image you like to go to its Flickr site. Use CTRL-click (or right click) to view the different sizes of images and download pictures. Our editors did not notice any inappropriate photos. However, we highly recommend previewing this site before sharing with students. You will want to discuss what to do in the unlikely event that an image comes up that is not classroom appropriate. As with all Creative Commons images on Flickr, you will want to look at the details of the license to be sure you can use any image as you intend to. Some have limited use (such as no "derivative works"). Click the Rights link at the right when viewing an individual image to see the specifics.

tag(s): colors (79), creative commons (21), design (84), graphic design (34), images (261), media literacy (56), psychology (64)

In the Classroom

Use this tool when you seek specific color(s) to coordinate with a presentation or other class project. Use it to talk about the emotional impact of different colors, such as during a psychology unit on perception, a media literacy lesson on advertising color, or a discussion of color schemes in art class. Be sure to discuss the ethical use of images with proper credit, including Creative Common images. Start by having students carefully NAME files as they download and save them (include the photographer's name and a title). Remind them that they still need to give credit even if it is Creative Commons. This is a great site for looking at contrast, analogous and complementary color schemes, and other artistic expressions. Use TinEye Labs to uncover various elements of graphic design found in images. Art teachers will love the many options for demonstrating different color palettes on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use the photo examples from Tineye Labs together with a tool such as Kuler, reviewed here, or Colour Lovers, reviewed here, to play hands-on with digital color. Share this with your gifted students who are especially interested in art or design.

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