TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Aug 3, 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 Global Read Aloud - Pernille Ripp

Grades
K to 12
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The Global Read Aloud offers you a chance to share a book with other students from around the world. This program is in its fourth year and has had over ...more
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The Global Read Aloud offers you a chance to share a book with other students from around the world. This program is in its fourth year and has had over 200,000 participants. The Global Read Aloud is a six-week event that ends in November. Announcement of the book list and the author study selections occur each spring. Student involvement starts in the fall each year. Teachers, parents, and individual students are invited to join. Choose a book to read and sign up at the very beginning of each October. There is a Google form on the main page for registration. On this main page, you will find several suggested ways to participate: The Global Read Aloud wiki, Edmodo, reviewed here, Kidblog, reviewed here, and several others. Also, find a list of teachers who have already started connecting and their Edmodo links.

tag(s): authors (120), guided reading (47), reading comprehension (116), reading lists (73)

In the Classroom

Start looking at The Global Read Aloud program before the school year starts. The author study can be useful for students who have difficulty reading chapter books. There are also pictures books available for younger students. Choose the book early, or get your students involved once school starts. Have students vote for the book they want to read by using a program like Wejit, reviewed here. WeJit allows students to write why they want to read that book. As you are reading the book, you may want to have small groups research and investigate the setting, author, inferences, references, and allusions to other books, history, and places. Book Drum, reviewed here, is a good example with ideas for "profiling" a book. Researching and presenting their findings will help students with deep reading experience required by the Common Core Standards. Have students create a class wiki modeled after Book Drum. To learn more about using wikis in your classroom, check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Fake iPhone Text - fakeiphonetext.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Fake iPhone text is a tool to create fake screenshots of a series of iPhone text messages. Enter your conversation including name and message. Click the link "Create" to view ...more
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Fake iPhone text is a tool to create fake screenshots of a series of iPhone text messages. Enter your conversation including name and message. Click the link "Create" to view the picture. Take a screenshot or copy the URL to share.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), digital storytelling (142), gamification (65), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Have students create texts between two characters from a book or two famous people. Create short poetry in text message form. Provide some opening text and ask students to write their ideas for the other person's answers. Use a text sequence as a prompt for creative writing. Have students practice creating a short dialogue or questions and answers. Create a fake text of a conversation and have students use inference skills to determine what happened before and after the conversation. Teach proper texting etiquette and digital citizenship using this tool. Use a fake text on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to display word definitions in a new way. Create fake texts of homework or project reminders and post them on your class wiki or web page. Make fake text book promotions to share on the dust jackets.

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Digital Passport - Common Sense Media

Grades
3 to 5
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Digital Passport is an interactive, engaging, and effective way to teach and test the basics of digital citizenship designed for upper elementary grades. Create and add student groups...more
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Digital Passport is an interactive, engaging, and effective way to teach and test the basics of digital citizenship designed for upper elementary grades. Create and add student groups to assign, monitor, and customize assignments for students. This site consists of five topical modules covering privacy, cyberbullying, communication, creative credit, and search. Module Guides accompanying each lesson include complete guides and suggestions for teaching and using the activity. Be sure to download the Educator Handbook for a complete guide to effectively using the Digital Passport.

tag(s): cyberbullying (43), digital citizenship (58)

In the Classroom

Create an account and assign activities to students to complete at home or on classroom computers. Share this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Word Clouds for Kids, reviewed here, for younger students, or WordItOut, reviewed here, for older students. Be sure to share Digital Passport with parents and other teachers as an excellent resource for teaching digital citizenship.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Fun Theory - Volkswagen

Grades
K to 12
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The Fun Theory is a collection of experiments captured on video to find out if making tasks more fun can change people's behavior. One of the most popular videos on ...more
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The Fun Theory is a collection of experiments captured on video to find out if making tasks more fun can change people's behavior. One of the most popular videos on The Fun Theory is a staircase in a subway station. The stairs were converted into working piano keys as a way to convince commuters to take the stairs over the escalator. Another test uses a game-based scenario to recycle bottles. Students and colleagues at all levels are subject to the same ineffective carrots-and-sticks. Why search around for methods to motivate when fun is the key to unlocking a world of possibilities? A contest also encourages visitors to upload their own applications of The Fun Theory. After watching the videos, you will see the evidence that appealing to an individual's intrinsic motivation is better on many levels. Make the road less traveled FUN! The collection of Fun Theory videos is an excellent resource to support game-based learning in your classroom. 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): psychology (64), science fairs (25), scientific method (64), video (253)

In the Classroom

Are you looking to make learning fun? The Fun Theory collection of videos is a great collection of experiments to teach your class the Scientific Method. Use the videos to identify each step of the process. Share the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge your students to brainstorm their own Fun Theory ideas for school, home, or your community. In art or music class, brainstorm ways that you can use FUN methods to learn techniques. Use bubbl.us (reviewed here) to organize your ideas. Host your own Fun Theory competition, and invite community and school board members to vote on their favorite experiment. Spice up your traditional science fair project with a fun and engaging fun theory experiment. Use Animoto (reviewed here) or another presentation tool to show your Fun Theory experiment and results. Challenge your colleagues to create their own Fun Theory experiment to better the school environment for your students or staff. For Earth Day, make it a class project to design a Fun Theory way to change human behavior to promote greener practices. Explore these ideas in a psychology class about motivation or as part of a study skills unit so students find ways to motivate themselves for better work habits!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Smarty Pins - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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Smarty Pins is an online game combining Google Maps with historical trivia questions. Start a game, and a trivia question pops up requiring an answer that can be mapped. The ...more
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Smarty Pins is an online game combining Google Maps with historical trivia questions. Start a game, and a trivia question pops up requiring an answer that can be mapped. The game gets you started in the right general location, but you have to drop a pin in the right spot to answer the question. Your score depends upon how close you are. Starting with 1000 points, you lose a point for every cumulative mile you are away from the target(s). The questions come from broad categories like science, history, current events and entertainment, and it's possible to narrow your questions to just one of the categories.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), map skills (80), maps (288), trivia (17)

In the Classroom

Smarty Pins would be great as a reward for students who finish work promptly, for advanced students who have completed an assignment before other students, or as a way to focus student attention quickly at the beginning of class. It can be used collaboratively from an interactive white board, or it launches from both the Android and the iOS Google map app or from a desktop. Challenge your students to design their own geography quizzes using Mapskip, reviewed here, adding their own "stories" with questions.

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Created Equal - National Endowment for the Humanities

Grades
9 to 12
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Four documentary films related to the Civil Rights Movement, available to stream either in part or in their entirety, form the centerpiece of this effort from the National Endowment...more
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Four documentary films related to the Civil Rights Movement, available to stream either in part or in their entirety, form the centerpiece of this effort from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The films cover time periods beginning with the Abolitionist Movement and continuing through the Freedom Marches and the turbulent 1960s. Explore the meaning of freedom and equality in the United States with relevance still today. There are teacher resources, lesson plans, and suggestions for aligning lessons to the Common Core.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), black history (59), civil rights (117), civil war (145), emancipation proclamation (12), segregation (15)

In the Classroom

The documentaries, or the excerpts presented, are all available to stream from the site. While they may be too lengthy to show in their entirety during one class period, they have also been divided into clips according to themes. For example, Equality is part of the full video about Law and the Strategy of Nonviolence. This makes them more adaptable for classroom use. Share the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. The issues raised by these documentaries may be easily incorporated into lessons related to the Civil Rights Movement, modern U.S. history, Black History Month, or civics and government. Use these videos as conversation starters in the classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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A Research Guide for Students - A Research Guide

Grades
6 to 12
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Find a complete resource for how to write a research paper, including simple step-by-step directions, suggested resources, and ways to avoid plagiarism. This site also includes how...more
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Find a complete resource for how to write a research paper, including simple step-by-step directions, suggested resources, and ways to avoid plagiarism. This site also includes how to format a research paper, write footnotes, create endnotes, and make parenthetical references, with examples for all. There are tips for public speaking and how to use search engines. The menu at the top has links for Literature Guides, Extra Resources, and the Dewey Decimal System.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): expository writing (44), literature (275), persuasive writing (55), plagiarism (35), process writing (42)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start a research project. With younger students, you may want the class to go through each step together before beginning the next step. However, let gifted students work ahead. The beauty of this site is that it is great for classroom differentiation for independent work. With older students, you may want to show them the different steps and have them start where they think they need help and share examples. Be sure to post a link to the site for students and parents to access at home.

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Listbrew - listbrew.com

Grades
K to 12
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Listbrew is, quite simply, an online list creator and notepad. Create an account using your email and a password. Then start making lists! Type a title onto the notepad, and ...more
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Listbrew is, quite simply, an online list creator and notepad. Create an account using your email and a password. Then start making lists! Type a title onto the notepad, and add items to your list. Login to your account from any device to view and update lists at any time. You have the options to change colors, backgrounds, fonts, and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Although Listbrew has some shortcomings, primarily the inability to share lists with others, it may be useful to create lists for personal use. Create to-do lists for each week, semester, or school year. Share Listbrew with students as you help them learn to organize items for large projects including due dates. Once registered, students can access their lists on any device.

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Virtual Piano - Crystal Magic Studio Ltd

Grades
2 to 12
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Just as the title states, Virtual Piano is a piano that you play via your computer. Adjust the different options to meet your needs and playing ability. Use Key Assist ...more
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Just as the title states, Virtual Piano is a piano that you play via your computer. Adjust the different options to meet your needs and playing ability. Use Key Assist to display notes on the keys or turn it off to look just like a regular keyboard. Choose from several music sheets to get started playing some familiar tunes. If you want to change the look of the keyboard, choose "change style" to view in several different colors. The Record option even allows you to play back your music and hear your creations.

tag(s): music theory (42), musical instruments (48), musical notation (35)

In the Classroom

Music teachers and students alike will delight in this site! Share this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site to help students learn and practice piano and learn the keys. You don't even need to spend a dime to have a piano in your classroom. Use this tool in science class during units on sound to test different pitches and their frequencies.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Greg Tang Math Games - Greg Tang

Grades
K to 6
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Greg Tang Math offers a nice selection of math games for elementary grades. Each game offers different levels and options for play. In addition to practicing basic math facts, these...more
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Greg Tang Math offers a nice selection of math games for elementary grades. Each game offers different levels and options for play. In addition to practicing basic math facts, these games promote thinking and problem skills through different game options. Try your hand at Math Limbo, Funny Numbers, ? Missing, and others.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (251), calendars (44), division (172), fractions (239), logic (235), multiplication (227), subtraction (208), time (144), volume (45)

In the Classroom

Although the games are easy to play, directions are not always intuitive. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to show how games work and how to avoid the advertising links. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Share a link on your class website or blog for students to play at home. This is a great site to keep math skills fresh during the summer months.

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Milq - Jordan Jacobs and Don MacKinnon

Grades
8 to 12
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What is Milq? This tool is like the Pinterest for videos, music, and information. This user-generated network can curate and organize "channels of culture" on the Internet. Organize...more
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What is Milq? This tool is like the Pinterest for videos, music, and information. This user-generated network can curate and organize "channels of culture" on the Internet. Organize content by specific topics. Organize material into collections called "beads." You create a specific bead by asking a general question such as "How to" or a topic such as "Powerful Poems." There are also beads for music of certain decades. Other Milq members contribute to these beads by adding video or audio clips. Star beads that you like and add them to collections. Add video and audio clips to beads that you find. Many of the videos are from YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube, but Milq will not allow you to save or share such downloads. Note: Be sure to view specific collections in advance before sharing with students. Even though offensive content was not found in the public gallery, that gallery is unmoderated.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): decades (14), music theory (42), video (253)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to collect or add specific video and audio content for any subject matter that can be shared in class. Use the existing beads to get a feel for a certain time period. (Our review team couldn't help listening to 80's music videos and reminiscing.) Since the tool is completely public, this tool is probably best used via a teacher-controlled account or by mature students with parent permission. Develop specific questions to answer about the time period as they are a time capsule of history. In a music or art class, view various beads about music genres to compare and contrast. Look at cultural/social influences on the music as well as the influence of the music on culture. In world language classes, you can collect a bead of videos for students to experience the pop culture of another land. If you search "education," you will find collections of videos about educational change and more. Use Milq to collect thought-provoking videos to use in professional development or to collect videos to support curriculum (and collaborate with other teachers on these collections).

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Metryx - Shawn Rubin and Stephanie Castilla

Grades
K to 12
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Gather formative assessment data to better identify students needing help. Document data from a variety of sources: exit tickets, online activities, pop quizzes, chalkboard problems,...more
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Gather formative assessment data to better identify students needing help. Document data from a variety of sources: exit tickets, online activities, pop quizzes, chalkboard problems, verbal questioning, and more. Use a mobile device to enter student assessments as you mingle and work with them. Click Help to view videos (hosted on Vimeo) that explain how it works. Document correct or incorrect responses with one tool. Use Metryx to choose a skill. Choose a student and enter quantitative or qualitative data. View an analysis and graphs of data. Use this tool to separate students into groups based on mastery achievement. Evaluate the whole class or view trends over time. Add classes, students, and skills. Use the Track, Analyze, and Differentiate tabs to enter and evaluate collected data. You can upload student data from Excel to save time.

tag(s): assessment (99), classroom management (134), data (148)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to keep track of student mastery of specific skills. Use this tool to help group students to identify those that need more help mastering various concepts. Develop a plan for differentiating instruction for specific groups or individuals.

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Movenote - Movenote Team

Grades
5 to 12
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Create an integrated video presentation or screencast using Movenote. Add content from Google Drive, a computer, or just about any device. Movenote will work with nearly any format...more
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Create an integrated video presentation or screencast using Movenote. Add content from Google Drive, a computer, or just about any device. Movenote will work with nearly any format (doc, PDF, images, and even video). Uploading your documents or video creates the slides, and you can start recording. Simply swipe to synchronize the slides to the video. Registration requires your name and email address. You can register with your Google account. Share the Movenote by embedding, or use Gmail, Google+, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, and other social media. Recording requires Shockwave and the approval to access your device's sound and camera.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), digital storytelling (142), video (253)

In the Classroom

Encourage your students to use this tool for projects and reports. Use this tool for analysis of a lab report, the culminating project for literature circles, book reviews, explaining a math problem, or a digital portfolio for artwork or music. Have students record their authentic language (reading a Spanish or French paragraph or ESL/ELLs reading English) to listen to their pronunciation. Students can take pictures on a field trip and share them via Movenote to show their parents what they learned. Students could illustrate a short story they wrote, using the audio to record the story as the illustrations slide past. Use this program when you have to be away from the classroom instead of writing out all the directions for a sub. Use it for absent students to stay on top of what has been discussed, assigned, or completed in class. Use it to explain how to solve a math problem and post it on the class website for students to refer to at home. Use it as a screencast for giving feedback for student writing. This tool would be useful for blended or flipped learning, giving students time to absorb information about content, leaving class time for individualized learning.

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