TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 12, 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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Voting America: United States Politics 1840-2008 - University of Richmond

Grades
7 to 12
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Find interactive maps examining the results of elections from 1840 through 2008. With US politics increasingly dominated by election year strategizing, a historical look at how Americans...more
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Find interactive maps examining the results of elections from 1840 through 2008. With US politics increasingly dominated by election year strategizing, a historical look at how Americans have voted in both Presidential and Congressional elections can provide useful context. In a democracy, the power of popular elections to affect the lives of all citizens cannot be understated. In order to understand how changes in population--demography and distribution--have affected popular elections, it's important to see those changes in perspective. On this site, you can look at Presidential elections or Congressional elections, as well as population maps focused on African American and White population changes over the time period. Most of the maps are based on an advancing time line that maps data over time. For Presidential elections, there are also more detailed maps for each separate election.

tag(s): congress (33), elections (75), electoral college (16), maps (288), presidents (130), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

These maps, powerful when projected on an interactive whiteboard (or projector), make the impact of changes in population demographics and distribution visual. The maps might also provide a good resource for students studying a particular President or time period. Challenge students to create a newspaper about what they have learned (about the President or time period). Use a tool such as Zinepal (reviewed here). Click to "Start with a blank e-Book."

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ContextU: Understand Your World - ContextU

Grades
7 to 12
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Although it is still in Beta, ContextU seeks to provide important context to major events in US History. With its American Revolution and Civil War modules up and running, a ...more
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Although it is still in Beta, ContextU seeks to provide important context to major events in US History. With its American Revolution and Civil War modules up and running, a table of contents allows you to select a person, place, event or theme relating to the broader subject. From that starting point, you can easily jump to a map, a brief biography of important characters, a hyperlinked timeline of events, or a flow chart of causes and effects. When so much of traditional instruction on US history consists of looking at discrete events without always understanding the larger framework and connections for these events, ContextU offers an important perspective for learning. Based on the site's table of context, future modules are planned for each of the larger wartime eras in US history.

tag(s): american revolution (86), civil war (145), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Consider using the ContextU organizing framework as a regular touchpoint for a unit on either the American Revolution or the American Civil War. As you progress through the important events that comprise each era, return to the larger context to help students "see the forest" as well as the trees. ContextU might also be added to your storehouse of bookmarks for each unit so students could access it while doing outside assignments or projects. Find age-appropriate literature to share with your students about Colonial America and the Revolution or The Civil War and Slavery at TeachersFirst's CurriConnects booklists for all ages. Use class discussions or student essays to draw together what they learn from independent reading, this site, and their "regular" curriculum.

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Ba Ba Dum - Aleksandra MizieliA...

Grades
K to 12
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Use these interactives to learn up to thirteen new languages (English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Lithuanian, and more). Choose from various...more
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Use these interactives to learn up to thirteen new languages (English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Lithuanian, and more). Choose from various options: match images to a spoken word, fill in the blanks, or multiple choice. Audio options are available for non-readers. No registration is required. Registration allows you to save your progress and compete to earn the highest scores in each activity.

tag(s): arabic (20), chinese (48), french (88), german (64), italian (33), portuguese (18), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to introduce this site in your world language class, ESL/ELL class, or young elementary classroom. Make a shortcut to Ba Ba Dum on classroom computers for use as a center in a language class or world cultures. Use this tool with young students just learning the English language to build up their vocabulary. The website offers audio options on many of the interactives, making this site ideal for non-readers (even kindergartners). Share this site with your gifted students looking for individual challenge. Why not learn Lithuanian or Chinese? Be sure to share a link to this site on your class website or blog for students (and possibly parents) to use at home. Have cooperative learning groups create online picture or ABC books featuring a different language using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

Comments

Buena practica de vocabulario Claudia, TX, Grades: 1 - 7

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Teachers TryScience - IBM, New York Hall of Science, and TeachEngineering.org

Grades
5 to 12
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Teachers TryScience provides free and engaging lessons, along with teaching strategies and resources. All activities are designed to spark students' interest in science, technology,...more
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Teachers TryScience provides free and engaging lessons, along with teaching strategies and resources. All activities are designed to spark students' interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Create or join communities for teachers to discuss and share effective instructional practices. Access over 250 lesson plans that allow students to create water filters, design earthquake-proof structures, explore vertical farms, and much more. Many lessons include slideshows, videos, and links to other resources about the lesson topic. Browse through strategies and tutorials on a variety of topics ranging from a professional development resource (video) on differentiated instruction to a tutorial on what engineering might look like in your classroom.

tag(s): STEM (134)

In the Classroom

Bookmark Teachers TryScience as a resource for STEM lessons in your science or math classroom. Share the videos or activities on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Join communities with similar interests to yours to discuss teaching strategies, lesson planning, and more. Share strategies and tutorials during professional development sessions or with student teachers.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Healthy Hopping - University of Illinois Extension

Grades
K to 5
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Healthy Hopping provides information on staying healthy by jump roping and eating healthy snacks. Learn how to do jump rope stunts along with rhymes and games. Choose from several snack...more
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Healthy Hopping provides information on staying healthy by jump roping and eating healthy snacks. Learn how to do jump rope stunts along with rhymes and games. Choose from several snack ideas that provide energy through good nutrition. Although quite simple in its appearance, Healthy Hopping offers many great suggestions for learning jump roping skills and healthy snacking.

tag(s): nutrition (154)

In the Classroom

Share Healthy Hopping with your school's Physical Education teacher as you work together to teach any health and nutrition unit. Challenge students to learn different jump rope stunts and practice during recess. Share nutritious snack ideas with parents, ask them to provide different snacks to your class each week. This is an ideal site to share during JumpRope for the Heart (if your school participates). You might even want to organize a PTO/PTA jump rope night and invite families to bring in healthy snacks. Share these ideas with your fellow teachers to fight childhood obesity.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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This works great with the Jump Rope for Heart Program! Robin, FL, Grades: 0 - 12

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Blog Post Ideas Generator - Matthew Loomis

Grades
4 to 12
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Get some great ideas for writing ... anything... using this tool. Though the title says Blog Post, use these ideas for any writing. Click on the Generate a Blog Post ...more
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Get some great ideas for writing ... anything... using this tool. Though the title says Blog Post, use these ideas for any writing. Click on the Generate a Blog Post button to get an open-ended sentence starter to write about. Don't like that one? Click again until you find one you like. You can also contribute your own ideas!

tag(s): writing (358), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Scroll through the prompts ahead of time to find one for the entire class. Or have a student emcee choose the idea for today's freewriting time. Many of the ideas could be adapted for writing in science or social studies classes by substituting in a curriculum term or writing from the point of view of a historic figure. Scroll through with your class allowing them to pick one on their own. If you have class blogs, that's great. If you don't, that's O.K. Use the prompts for journals and quick writes, too. Ask students for prompts to add to the site. Post the URL for this site on your class webpage for students to use at home. Want to learn more about blogs and how to use them in any classroom? Try TeachersFirst's Blog Basics for the Classroom.

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1000 Free eBooks - Sainsbury's Book Club

Grades
7 to 12
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Sainsbury's Book Club offers a large collection of the best copyright free eBooks available without charge. Sort books by recently added or sort alphabetically by author or title. Be...more
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Sainsbury's Book Club offers a large collection of the best copyright free eBooks available without charge. Sort books by recently added or sort alphabetically by author or title. Be sure to choose the link at "How to Read eBooks" in the site menu for information on joining the site. Read the directions about how to read books both on a computer or using mobile apps. The site offers free, downloadable apps to read their ebooks on laptop/PC, Android or iOS.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), ebooks (41), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Depending on your computer settings, you may need to request that your tech department install the free app on school computers/devices so you can read the ebooks. Bookmark this site for student use when reading classic literature or as a resource for finding free reading material. You can also display texts on an interactive whiteboard to annotate text, explore literary devices, or identify parts of speech! Be sure to share a link to this site for students to access from home. Have students use Classtools (reviewed here) to create concept maps, quizzes, and online games after reading books found at the Book Club. Create a quick poll (with no membership required) using kwiqpoll (reviewed here) for students to choose a book for whole class reading. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about one of the book's main characters.

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Prodigy Math Game - Rohan Mahimker and Alex Peters

Grades
K to 7
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Prodigy offers engaging interactives for seven to twelve-year-olds to practice their math! Use the anime-style avatars to travel the world and meet wizards and confront challenges....more
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Prodigy offers engaging interactives for seven to twelve-year-olds to practice their math! Use the anime-style avatars to travel the world and meet wizards and confront challenges. As math skills improve, your characters earn new spells that can be used only when math proficiencies are strengthened and expanded. The activities will differentiate, assigning and reviewing new math skills. Track your success and get help in areas where you are struggling. Some of the instruction videos (for parents and teachers) are hosted on YouTube. If your school blocks YouTube, you may want to familiarize yourself with this site at home.

tag(s): addition (251), division (172), fractions (239), game based learning (103), number sense (97), numbers (204), subtraction (208)

In the Classroom

This activity would be perfect for practicing math concepts just introduced in class! Share this tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This site offers applied experience with math skills and provides critical thinking experience. Students will learn at their pace, and you can get real time reports about how and what your students are doing. There is an option to have the questions read aloud, so have the headphones/earbuds ready. Students will love the multiplayer experience and will forget they are practicing math. Bookmark this tool on your classroom computers and post it on your website for students to use at home. This is perfect to recommend to prevent summer slide.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Where We Came From and Where We Went State by State - New York Times

Grades
7 to 12
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The New York Times looks at each state in the US and charts movement both into the state and out of the state since 1900. With immigration in the news, ...more
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The New York Times looks at each state in the US and charts movement both into the state and out of the state since 1900. With immigration in the news, it's sometimes helpful to remember that with a country as large as the United States, there has been a great deal of INTRA-state movement over the country's history. Explore the states via these interactive charts. Mousing over each component of each chart brings additional clarifying information about that state's intra-state migration statistics. The set of charts begins with California, Florida, and Nevada, three states with the most dynamic population changes. The remainder of the charts follow in alphabetical order. Each state's chart also contains a brief narrative explaining significant components.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19), immigrants (20), immigration (58), migration (59), states (163), transportation (40), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

A great introduction to population change and the changing nature of social and physical mobility in the United States, these charts can prompt discussion about why families move. Although the charts begin in 1900, they are still useful in looking at Westward Migration in the US. Also explore such issues as changing job markets, natural resources and industries, movement between high density and low density areas, and the places where non-native born residents are most likely to settle. Invite students to create their own infographics about a certain state or region based on what they discover here. Learn about infographics in the classroom and the tools to make them in TeachersFirst's Now I See!.

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Random Name Picker - Russel Tarr

Grades
K to 12
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When it seems the same students always volunteer with answers and help, try the Random Name Picker. Get your entire class involved using this colorful "game-like" tool. This colorful...more
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When it seems the same students always volunteer with answers and help, try the Random Name Picker. Get your entire class involved using this colorful "game-like" tool. This colorful wheel clicks when you spin. It cheers when you land on a name. The site uses HTML5 so it will work on iPads as well as laptops and PCs. There is no registration required. Input the names, save your lists with a password, and embed the Picker into your blog or website. You can even get a QR code. You also have the option to remove a name from the wheel once you have used it. For safety, use first names only!

tag(s): classroom management (134), gamification (65)

In the Classroom

The obvious use for this tool is for selecting students to answer a question or do an activity. Other uses could include forming groups/pairs or creating seating charts. Allow students to use it when it's time to choose the next student. Instead of names, enter activities for P.E., rainy day recess activities, the next book your class will read together, or anything where you need to make a choice. You may want to save one wheel as a template when you know you'll be selecting several students. That way you can remove names from the list on the wheel you are using, but will have the original for the next time.

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StepUp.io - Benkyo Player LTD

Grades
6 to 12
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Cut any video into "bite sized" chunks. Edit and splice together an existing video. You can even make a segment "looping" or repetitive to see it over and over without ...more
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Cut any video into "bite sized" chunks. Edit and splice together an existing video. You can even make a segment "looping" or repetitive to see it over and over without rewinding (very useful if you are learning to play a musical instrument). Click on the Explore tab at the top right and you will see several categories and sample videos others have made. While watching the video loop, click on the button at the bottom to change and watch the other steps. There are also several tutorial videos. 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.

tag(s): video (253)

In the Classroom

There are many uses for this tool in the classroom and for the self-directed learner. For example, in music or band class, use your projector or interactive whiteboard to share one of the examples under the Explore tab, and musical instruments. Create a class account or let students set up their own accounts if school policy permits. Then allow students to use individual computers to find the instrument they are learning. Alternatively, post the URL for the site on your class webpage for students to view at home. World language students can find a conversation in a language they are learning and watch it in segments or repeatedly. P.E. teachers and coaches can use this tool to show correct movements over and over. Science teachers can use this tool to show repeated steps of a complicated lab experiment. Play and replay videos of cells dividing or of a motion experiment so students can see it over and over to analyze what is happening. In Art class, play and replay videos of painting or other techniques. Any teacher can take a YouTube video and cut it down to just the segments you want to show in class or post the URL for students to watch at home. Share your videos by posting to Facebook, Twitter, or Google. You can also share with your class by signing into StepUp.io and sharing from your saved videos.

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QR Droid Zapper - Droidla LTD

Grades
5 to 12
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Instantly create a QR code for many purposes using the QR Code Generator at QR Droid Zapper. Choose the tab for the type of code to generate such as a ...more
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Instantly create a QR code for many purposes using the QR Code Generator at QR Droid Zapper. Choose the tab for the type of code to generate such as a URL, your contact information, a calendar event, or a location. Add information to the required boxes and personalize size and color, if desired. Click to generate your code. Right-click to save the generated QR code to your computer or use the link provided to share through email or social networking. Embed the QR code in a webpage using the embed code provided.

tag(s): gamification (65), qr codes (21)

In the Classroom

Create a QR code that directs to your class website or blog. Include it on handouts for Back to School night. Create a QR code scavenger hunt for students or make a webquest more engaging. Add QR codes to documents for students to check their answers. Further develop knowledge of a topic by adding a QR code to a site that expands upon what is in the textbook. Create a data chart accessible via a QR code. Students can access the data and manipulate the information. Have students create a book trailer or review and affix a QR code to the outside of the book. Students may be more apt to read a book that has been reviewed by another student. Make a display completely interactive with a QR code that describes the assignment, the process, the research, students' reactions and more! Add extra help information to any assignment that asks students to solve problems. Create an online help tutorial accessible via a QR code, and place the code beside a similar problem. Link directly to a Google Map. Place QR code contact information for you and your school on contact cards to give to parents. Attach QR codes to physical objects around the room to provide information about the object. Instead of copying/pasting links in a newsletter, put them into QR codes for easier access by readers. Post QR codes to resource sites and new articles on your BYOD classroom bulletin boards for students to access information on their tablets or smartphones. As a time saver, post a QR code to the class wiki or web page.

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The Interactive Ear - Amplifon

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this interactive online ear diagram to examine the workings of how we hear sounds. Click each part of the ear to view the name and read about the function. ...more
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Use this interactive online ear diagram to examine the workings of how we hear sounds. Click each part of the ear to view the name and read about the function. Click on the "+" to go deeper into the structure of the ear. You can embed the "ear" on to your website to have it handy!

tag(s): hearing impaired (6), human body (120), senses (28)

In the Classroom

Use this resource during a unit on perception, the senses, or human body systems (nervous system). Use the model to identify problems that can occur with the ear and hearing. Be sure to discuss many current issues such as noise and hearing problems. Students can research the various types of noises that one can encounter and the decibel levels and hearing problems that can result from exposure to the sounds. Research sources of hearing impairment and new technology to correct these problems. Have students create posters about hearing and noise using PicLits (reviewed here).

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