TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 7, 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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WriteAbout - John Spencer, Brad Wilson, and Bob Armbrister

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 1  Comments
  
WriteAbout offers storytelling tools for all levels of writers along with social publishing features for classrooms. Choose from visual catalysts (prompts) filtered by grade level,...more
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WriteAbout offers storytelling tools for all levels of writers along with social publishing features for classrooms. Choose from visual catalysts (prompts) filtered by grade level, keyword, or category to find writing ideas. Create teacher and student accounts for posting, commenting, and authoring. Be sure to check out the Record Voice feature to add a personal touch or accompany text. Use features within WriteAbout to share work privately or publicly. Free accounts include unlimited student and teacher commenting, unlimited groups, and privacy and moderation tools. Add up to 40 accounts with up to three posts included per student. Be sure to watch the video for an overview of all features offered.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Create a WriteAbout account for you and your students. Take advantage of the rich library of images and writing prompts for use throughout the school year. Find examples of writing in WriteAbout to share with students for peer review and discussion of writing skills. Ask students to work together in pairs to write stories and share a personal message using the Record Voice feature.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

Great way to find writing topics and diverse peer groups that share similar interests. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Worksheet Genius - worksheetgenius.com

Grades
K to 5
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Worksheet Genius offers an extensive choices of worksheets content and options to custom create your own. Begin by choosing a topic such as English, math, or word lists to view ...more
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Worksheet Genius offers an extensive choices of worksheets content and options to custom create your own. Begin by choosing a topic such as English, math, or word lists to view options. Find various topics such as spelling practice (UK spelling!), thermometers/temperatures, math operations, and grammar. Most topics include several options for worksheets, including one to design your own. Once your worksheet is complete, select print. Your worksheet will print in PDF format. Having problems printing? Read the Print Tips in the bottom left red box. In addition to worksheets, Worksheet Genius provides a large selection of clipart free for use in educational settings. This site was created in the United Kingdom. You may notice some slight spelling differences in the instructions.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (251), counting (120), decimals (133), division (172), fractions (239), handwriting (18), multiplication (227), negative numbers (22), number lines (22), numbers (204), phonics (75), place value (56), preK (281), rounding (22), sentences (52), spelling (168), subtraction (208), temperature (29)

In the Classroom

This worksheet tool offers many customization options, so it is easy to differentiate for ability levels within your class. Use worksheets from Worksheet Genius in learning centers. You can also make a touchable center by sharing them as a center on an interactive whiteboard. Share a link on your class website or newsletter for parents to use at home. Use Worksheet Generator for review before quizzes and tests.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Citizen Sort - Syracuse University School of Information Studies

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore engaging interactives to learn real science at Citizen Sort. Register using an email address to play and view the activities. Choose from several different options such as Happy...more
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Explore engaging interactives to learn real science at Citizen Sort. Register using an email address to play and view the activities. Choose from several different options such as Happy Match (to classify photos), Living Links (to identify living things), or Forgotten Island (to collect photos) to help scientists after a large explosion.

tag(s): animals (276), classification (25), insects (69), plants (145)

In the Classroom

Citizen Sort is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector during the appropriate science unit on classification. Play together and discuss options for identifying and classifying living things. Use Citizen Sort as a science center on classroom computers. Be sure to share a link to the site on your class website or blog for use at home. Have students create an online or printed comic demonstrating lessons learned using one of the tools and ideas included in this collection. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Time - Mrs. Behengaray

Grades
K to 3
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Practice telling time and recognizing and spelling numbers with this interactive virtual book from France. It was apparently created to help students learning English but is very helpful...more
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Practice telling time and recognizing and spelling numbers with this interactive virtual book from France. It was apparently created to help students learning English but is very helpful for basics about time. Click on page corners to flip through different pages. Activities include matching numbers, listening to famous clocks, and writing the correct time. Each activity includes a button to check answers and see your score. This font is rather small. This site is fairly "old" in twenty-first century terms, but it works well for practice.

tag(s): counting (120), multiples (35), numbers (204), spelling (168), time (144)

In the Classroom

Use Time on classroom computers for a time and number practice center. Display pages on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) for a quick review of telling time. Share a link on your class website or blog for students to practice at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Chat Salad - Nurph

Grades
K to 12
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This is the go to place for a real-time record of Twitter chats. Chat Salad makes it easy to find a chat to participate and converts it into your time ...more
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This is the go to place for a real-time record of Twitter chats. Chat Salad makes it easy to find a chat to participate and converts it into your time zone! Log in with your Twitter name (handle) and view the chats that are happening soon. Click "Join" and Nurph, reviewed here, opens to prepare for the chat. Use the search function to find a chat you are looking for, or browse the pages of entries. View Editor's Choice Twitter chats as a way to find new chats that may be of interest to you. Why join a Twitter chat? Professional Development may be at a premium, as well as time for learning. Use Twitter chats to learn from others and bring the whole world to you! Learn more about Twitter for Teachers here.

tag(s): microblogging (44), professional development (123), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to find quality Professional development in organized Twitter chats. Chats can be broad, such as #EdChat, or narrow according to subject area or grade. Find other chats that focus on various content areas to learn about subject matter that can bring the world into your classroom. Be sure to share this resource and various chats with other teachers at your school to enhance the professional development possibilities.

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Poetica - Anna Maybank, Blaine Cook, & James Weiner

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Poetica is a browser-based text editor with real-time feedback and collaboration. Create an account using your email. Upload documents from your computer or begin a new document within...more
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Poetica is a browser-based text editor with real-time feedback and collaboration. Create an account using your email. Upload documents from your computer or begin a new document within Poetica. Receive feedback by selecting the "Ask for Feedback" button. Share using the link where the invitee may choose to revise anonymously (no registration) or by sending to email addresses. When sending via email the invitee can choose to revise anonymously (again no registration required), but their email address will show on revisions. Never lose the original or any edits your collaborators make. Download the final draft to your computer in one of the several different formats.

tag(s): editing (61), proofreading (19), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Have students set up collaborative groups for projects, lab data, and more. Anything students can do on a single computer they can do collaboratively with this tool, accessing work from any computer that can access the Internet. Be sure to test out this tool before using with your class. Set up a class account and instruct small revision groups to exchange email addresses. Students can then send the rough draft via email to their revising group. The group members would respond to the email and click on anonymous to make suggestions. This allows the writer to know who is making the revisions without the editor having to make an account. It may be a good idea to set up the groups with the teacher as a "member." Have students work from home for group projects. Make sure to protect the safety of student work and identity. Check your school's Acceptable Use Policy.

Create an innovative, exciting revision experience for students to suggest changes to each others' writing and instantly engage in the peer review process by using Poetica. This tool facilitates teacher comments on student essays by not having to wait until students turn in their papers. Have them share links with you to their works in progress. Check essays online, monitor progress, and even make suggestions for revisions to provide feedback along the way and drive successful evidence support, proofreading, and editing skills. Challenge gifted students on their drafts and push their thinking further, adding questions or responses. Since most of us do not have time to consistently provide such individual challenge throughout the writing process, why not connect them with other gifted students to collaborate and debate beyond just your classroom? Obviously, this tool is also fabulous for collaboration among students or teachers creating a shared writing piece at any level. You could even use it for parent input into draft IEPs.

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MapFight - appspot.com

Grades
5 to 12
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MapFight is a clever tool for comparing the physical area of different countries and states. Use the dropdown boxes to select from countries and states available and then click compare....more
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MapFight is a clever tool for comparing the physical area of different countries and states. Use the dropdown boxes to select from countries and states available and then click compare. View an image with the two locations overlaid on each other with a short sentence comparing the sizes in kilometers. If you click on the name of the state or country you will be taken to a Wikipedia entry about the location.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): area (66), countries (76), map skills (79), maps (287), states (162)

In the Classroom

MapFight is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use to demonstrate size differences in states and countries. Have students use this site when presenting state reports. Find a similar sized state (or country), then use the map as part of the presentation. Have a new student from another state or country? Use MapFight to begin discussion of comparative size of where they came from to where your classroom is located. Use this to give students a perspective on geographic size of earth features that they can't see by looking at a standard map. Use to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of states. This tool would be especially important when explaining the concept of map scale or square miles/meters. Use MapFight to compare locations students read about in Globetracker's Mission or books they are reading. Include it in discussions about the impact of a country's size on its culture in world language or cultures classes. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare any two locations.

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Background Burner - Bonanza.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Remove the background from any image using Background Burner. Upload your image, wait a few seconds, then view options for what to do next. Select an image that looks like ...more
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Remove the background from any image using Background Burner. Upload your image, wait a few seconds, then view options for what to do next. Select an image that looks like what you want. Or choose Touch Up to use tools to restore or erase more of the background. Registration is required to save and download edited images.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use this tool any time that photos need to be edited for use on class blogs, wikis, or sites. In primary grades, use this tool to edit pictures from a field trip, science experiments, and more. Edit images you want to use in drag and drop sorting activities on your interactive whiteboard, such as food groups. Share the editing process with your younger students using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Edit a photo project together! Encourage older students to use this tool themselves to remove distracting backgrounds from images for projects or presentations. Language and special ed teachers will love being able to create uncluttered images to use in vocabulary activities.

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Irregular Shapes Interactive - ASSET ASU

Grades
4 to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This Active Tutorial will help you understand composite/irregular shapes. Watch and listen to helpful hints from a cartoon turtle. Then practice problems on your own. Use the Menu to...more
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This Active Tutorial will help you understand composite/irregular shapes. Watch and listen to helpful hints from a cartoon turtle. Then practice problems on your own. Use the Menu to follow the different steps along the way to Look, See, Try, and Show different examples. Find formulas for finding the area of different shapes, and try using that information to find the volume of 3D shapes.

tag(s): area (66), geometric shapes (163), volume (45)

In the Classroom

This interactive is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. View tutorials and practice problems together. Be sure to include a link to the site on your class website for students to access at home. After completing these interactive activities, have students create their own area and volume problems for classmates to solve. They could write them as blog posts and have classmates reply with their answers as comments. Want to learn more about blogs? Check out TeachersFirst's Blog Basics.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Algodoo - Algoryx

Grades
6 to 12
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Algodoo is a 2D-simulation software to create simulation scenes using simple drawing tools like boxes, circles, polygons, gears, brushes, planes, ropes and chains. Interact with objects...more
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Algodoo is a 2D-simulation software to create simulation scenes using simple drawing tools like boxes, circles, polygons, gears, brushes, planes, ropes and chains. Interact with objects using click and drag or tilt and shake. Add physics to any simulation using fluids, springs, hinges, motors, thrusters, light rays, tracers, optics and lenses. Explore and play with gravity, friction, restitution, refraction, and attraction within each scene. Begin by downloading to your Windows or Mac computer following instructions on the site. Algodoo is also available as an iPad app. To make the most of all the site features, be sure to visit the Learn It link for a three session tutorial to help understand the software. Videos on this site are hosted by 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.

tag(s): friction (12), geometric shapes (163), gravity (46)

In the Classroom

Download and use Algodoo for an interesting science center. Share with students to use at home, and then allow experienced users to become "experts" for helping other students. Use Algodoo as part of a Science fair project. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos of their creations and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.

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Ask for Evidence - askforevidence.org

Grades
8 to 12
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Ask for Evidence steps in to find the facts behind product claims. Browse through stories for information on questions such as "Should we be Worried about 'Dirty' Stethoscopes?" or...more
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Ask for Evidence steps in to find the facts behind product claims. Browse through stories for information on questions such as "Should we be Worried about 'Dirty' Stethoscopes?" or "Claims about Cancer Fighting Foods." Create an account to ask your own questions. Be sure to view the "Understand Evidence" part of the site to find invaluable resources about how to find and understand reliable evidence. The site was created in the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from American English. Note: topics included may not all be classroom appropriate. Select and share specific articles if you are sharing this site with young people.

tag(s): advertising (33), evaluating sources (13), media literacy (58), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use this site when discussing political or advertising claims with your students. Build critical thinking and questioning skills. Share specific articles with students as young as upper elementary. Share the "Understand Evidence" portion of the site with students before they begin any investigational reports or persuasive writing pieces. Use specific articles rather than the full site with less mature students. This site will give them experience reading informational text on claims they wonder about. Partner weaker readers with others who may be able to help them read the text-heavy articles. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage, reviewed here.

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Flying Classroom - Flying Classroom

Grades
K to 9
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Join a journey to eleven countries and three continents as part of a global STEM learning adventure aligned to Next Gen and Common Core Reading standards. The site navigation itself...more
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Join a journey to eleven countries and three continents as part of a global STEM learning adventure aligned to Next Gen and Common Core Reading standards. The site navigation itself takes a little "exploration," but the time is well worth it. Learn about locations around the world as you explore science and technology at each stop along the way. Learn about the captain and crew under Flight Briefing. Follow the clickable flight route under Flight Tracker. Take a flight tutorial at Fly with Us (under Flight Briefings). Explore videos on the Blog and under Flight Briefings. Watch the intro video on the home page. Some of the 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.

tag(s): aircraft (24), animals (276), architecture (84), ecosystems (88), endangered species (38), flight (36), oceans (148), STEM (134), volcanoes (61), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Incorporate this expedition into your units on continents, exploration and explorers (to compare modern exploration with historic expeditions), or science units on flight, energy and more. See the Blog for specific scientific explorations your students can read in groups or as a class. Include this resource in a unit on scientists and what they do. Include some of the readings as informational texts that will generate high student interest. This is a great resource for your gifted students in a regular classroom to extend curriculum and share what they have learned with classmates. For more background for teachers, see the Executive Summary under "About." Have students use a class account to create maps using Animaps, reviewed here. Students can add text, images, and location stops! Middle school students can use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about any of the people on Captain Barrington's journey.
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Code - Hadi & Ali Partovi

Grades
K to 10
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Anybody Can Learn Code is designed to spark interest in learning to code, especially among girls and the very young. Find lessons for beginners, Kindergartners to tenth graders (or...more
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Anybody Can Learn Code is designed to spark interest in learning to code, especially among girls and the very young. Find lessons for beginners, Kindergartners to tenth graders (or older). Start by clicking Learn in the top menu bar. Find an Hour of Code with 20 puzzles that use a drag and drop process and problem-solving skills. Complete the Hour of Code and select Beyond One Hour. Find everything an early coder needs to get started coding: A K-8 Intro to Computer Science, Tutorials that teach Javascript, Tutorial apps for any device, Learn to program with robots, and many others. There are also "unplugged tutorials" for classrooms without computers. On the top menu, click on the Teach button to find the link to videos (half way down the page) from famous people about how and when they learned to code. The 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. Code.org is available in 20 languages.

tag(s): coding (47), computers (95), critical thinking (108), STEM (134), women (101)

In the Classroom

Make coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it as part of scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world. Be sure to look at all the implementation advice before introducing these extensive coding resources to your class. It would be wise to complete the Hour of Code yourself so you will feel comfortable helping students if they get stuck. Better yet, invite a few students to do an hour with you after school and learn together! You will have a team of "techsperts" to help their peers. Select the Learn button from the top menu to find two links for educators. The one at the top of the Learn page gives quick tips for prepping for the Hour of Code. The one at the bottom of the slide gives complete instructions for implementing the Hour of Code in your classroom. Plan an hour of Code on nationally designated days or on your own calendar! Invite the PTA/PTO to host a coding event. Select a video to use to introduce Computer Science to your students. In a 1:1 or BYOD classroom, guide students through the site using Surfly, a tool to share the web pages with others, reviewed here. If you only have a few computers, introduce this tool using a projector or interactive whiteboard and bookmark it as a learning station with earbuds/headphones. Encourage students to help each other when they have difficulty. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too. Anybody Can Learn Code teaches the basics. Those students who show a keen interest in coding could learn more by using a program such as Codeacademy, reviewed here.
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Museum of Endangered Sounds - Brendan Chilcutt

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
 
We all know about endangered plants and animals, but what about endangered sounds? The Museum of Endangered Sounds offers a collection of sounds unfamiliar to many young people. Click...more
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We all know about endangered plants and animals, but what about endangered sounds? The Museum of Endangered Sounds offers a collection of sounds unfamiliar to many young people. Click on any thumbnail to hear sounds such as the ka-ching of a cash register, dialing a rotary phone, the sound of dial-up Internet, or the click and winding of a film camera. Although the collection is quite small, it is worth a visit for a trip back to the past! Warning: the clip with TV Snow features a provocative photo. You may want to avoid that example with an immature audience.

tag(s): 1960s (30), 1970s (12), 1980s (9), inventors and inventions (101), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard and speakers to launch your modern history or technology unit. Include it in a unit on inventions and inventors or even in "sounds of the decades." Challenge students to research and find other "endangered" sounds from the past. Have hem interview parents and grandparents to discover long-missing sounds. Create a class wiki museum of more endangered sounds and images. Challenge students (and parents) to find these items (in real life) and bring them in to share. Have students include sounds from the museum as part of a multimedia project. Use this site to launch discussions about the impact of technology and its rapid changes on such things as home design, economics, and even clothing. Share this site as part of Grandparent's Day activities and have grandparents share memories of these and other obsolete objects.

Comments

Really neat site...Just be forewarned that there's a racy photo of a girl in a bikini on the old TV sound part. You don't see it until you click on the TV. Other than that, cute stuff.

Editorial Note: Yes, we saw that racy photo also. It is mentioned in our review already, towards the end of the description.
Angie, GA, Grades: 4 - 6

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