TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 8, 2015

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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Historic Aerials - Nationwide Environmental Title Research LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Type an address into a mapping site and you get a bird's eye view of nearly any address with sometimes startling detail. But what if you could go back in ...more
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Type an address into a mapping site and you get a bird's eye view of nearly any address with sometimes startling detail. But what if you could go back in time and get an aerial view of that same address 50 years ago? Or 100 years ago? Historic Aerials provides both aerial photographs and historical topographical maps of most areas of the US (a few remote areas and all of Alaska are not included). Information is continually being added to the database. This is a commercial site focused on selling these images for a fee, but browsing the images is free. Each image does contain a fairly prominent "copyright protected" watermark which is distracting, but does not prevent the images from being useful.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): map skills (79), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Share photos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Access either an aerial photograph or historic topographic map of the city you live in. How has the area changed over the years? What does that change tell you about the growth (or decline) of the population? What landmarks appear on later views or are missing from older views? These maps illustrate the way cities and towns grow and change or can provide helpful context and visual impact for discussions of historical events.

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CoderDojo - CoderDojo Foundation

Grades
1 to 8
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Interested in coding and looking for others who are interested as well? CoderDojo is an open source movement of free coding clubs for young kids that is led by volunteers ...more
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Interested in coding and looking for others who are interested as well? CoderDojo is an open source movement of free coding clubs for young kids that is led by volunteers and found around the World. Activities vary with each "club" but all focus on coding. Click "Organize a Dojo" to become a volunteer organizer. You are then responsible for setting up and maintaining the dojo. Not a coding master? Don't let that discourage you. Organizers are responsible for bringing learners and technical experts together. Students can click "Attend a Dojo" to find a location nearby to join. Volunteers can also find a dojo nearby to offer their services.

tag(s): coding (47), computers (95), engineering (125), STEM (134)

In the Classroom

When asked, explain that coding is just another "world language" in today's world. Team up with the PTA/ PTO or other groups in your community to find others interested in being part of a Coderdojo. Your Coderdojo can be considered an after school club, but on a larger scale can bring students from various backgrounds together for the common purpose of learning to code.

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Dowce - Dowce

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for an easy to use way to take a screenshot in Windows? Look no further! Download this tool. Once installed, a button appears along the top in your toolbar ...more
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Looking for an easy to use way to take a screenshot in Windows? Look no further! Download this tool. Once installed, a button appears along the top in your toolbar (look for the red "d"). When you wish to take a screenshot of something, click on the "d" button, then "Make new selection." Use your mouse to highlight the portion on your screen. Choose from one of the saving options available in a pop-up window: Save to dowce, save to the clipboard, or save to your computer. Note: This is for Windows computer only. Mac users can easily take a screenshot by holding down the Command-Shift-4 buttons then using the mouse to drag the cross hair over the items to be saved as a screenshot.

tag(s): images (266)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to copy items to share on your blog or site. Use to copy graphs, images, specific text, or other items useful to share either with your students or with colleagues. Remember to follow copyright and always cite your source when sharing the item in the screenshot.
 

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Typing Lessons That Work - keybr.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Learn how to touch type or increase your touch typing speed and accuracy with this handy resource! You can practice with NO registration. But if you want to keep track ...more
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Learn how to touch type or increase your touch typing speed and accuracy with this handy resource! You can practice with NO registration. But if you want to keep track of your progress, registration is suggested. You can sign up with your email or Google or Facebook account. Use the cloud to store your results. This enables use of this tool anywhere, anytime. There is a thorough slide tutorial when first arriving at the site. You can find it again under the Help section. The tutorial explains how the lessons are set up, what you will see on your screen, and what each feature does. You do not have to register to use this site, only to track your progress.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): computers (95), keyboarding (38)

In the Classroom

Everyone will benefit by learning to type faster. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students practice their touch typing independently. No need to have them sign up. They will see their speed and errors at the end of each list given to them. That information will accumulate for as long as they continue the practice. They could keep their results in a word document or a Google Doc. For more about Google Docs and Templates see the review here. Be sure to watch and see that students are using the proper touch typing position (no two finger typing!). Share this site with your students who are struggling with writing. Offer students the opportunity to learn to type in addition to write!

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Magna Carta 800th Anniversary - Magna Carta 2015 Committee

Grades
8 to 12
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2015 marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, one of the founding documents of modern democratic society. In recognition of this anniversary, here are collected a number of resources...more
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2015 marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, one of the founding documents of modern democratic society. In recognition of this anniversary, here are collected a number of resources for celebrating and understanding its significance to history. An interactive timeline highlights events prior to and following the signing of Magna Carta. Essays discuss Magna Carta's impact on modern democracy. An interactive map places events in geographic contexts. And perhaps you're planning a trip to the UK for the celebrations? Find visitors' resources and a calendar of commemorative events. Check out the resources under Schools, including biographies of those involved (including a whole section on women) in the development of the document. There are lesson plans aligned with the UK's school system, and a quick Q&A overview of the importance of Magna Carta today. Don't miss the YouTube video explaining the work of Britain's Parliament in just over 60 seconds. If your district blocks YouTube, then this video (and others) 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): branches of government (48), democracy (12), great britain (16)

In the Classroom

No study of modern democratic political systems is complete without an understanding of Magna Carta. On its 800th anniversary, incorporate the interactive timeline into a discussion of the roots of the US Declaration of Independence or the post WW2 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Compare and contrast the different ways the principles that underpin Magna Carta have been transformed into democratically elected governments across the world.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Teach World War One History with Food - American Historical Association

Grades
7 to 12
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Teaching about World War I usually involves a little international politics, a little national politics, and a side trip into the innovations of waging war. Why not include something...more
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Teaching about World War I usually involves a little international politics, a little national politics, and a side trip into the innovations of waging war. Why not include something a little more personal and relatable--like food? Four short (under 5 minutes) videos introduce the idea that Americans' role in providing food aid to Europe in the early stages of the war was part of the larger Progressive movement. The videos also focus on the actual preparation of a World War I era meal. Information about the actual recipes is interwoven with further political and cultural commentary about life in the US during the World War I era. Videos are hosted on Vimeo, so Flash isn't required.

tag(s): nutrition (154), world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

Use these short videos to make life during World War I come alive. Consider asking students to make some of these recipes themselves at home, or if it's feasible, prepare an authentic meal at school as a treat during the unit. Students might discuss the issue of food rationing during both World War I and II as a contrast to the widespread availability of all kinds of food today. How is food rationing a patriotic act? Challenge students to find other popular recipes from this time in history. Have students video the preparation and explanation of the recipe. Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.

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Acapela.tv Talking Cards - Acapela Group

Grades
K to 8
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Acapela uses text-to-speech application to create short videos using your text. Choose from the thumbnails to begin and follow directions to add speech. Some videos also include an...more
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Acapela uses text-to-speech application to create short videos using your text. Choose from the thumbnails to begin and follow directions to add speech. Some videos also include an option to add an image. Options allow you to choose from several different languages. This is an excellent choice for ESL/ELL learners. When finished, share options allow you to send using email or social networking links. NOTE: Do NOT click on any of the "download" or "play now" links on the side or top of the page. Click directly on the video thumbnails for use. This site contains quite a bit of advertisements and links that lead away from the site. Demonstrate how to use and stay away from these links before allowing students to use on their own.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (63), text to speech (16), video (254)

In the Classroom

Have students create their own short video using short stories or poems they have created. Create your own video to display on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) giving your class directions for a project or announcing class events or projects. Have ESL/ELL students (or any student with special speech needs) copy and paste their work into a video to hear their words come to life.

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Snow Days - Always Snowing LLC

Grades
K to 4
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Do you need a snow day? Create a virtual snowflake without folding and cutting. Send it to your friends and family with a message. You will receive notification when someone ...more
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Do you need a snow day? Create a virtual snowflake without folding and cutting. Send it to your friends and family with a message. You will receive notification when someone responds. The site keeps track of the total amount of flakes ever made (currently over 12 million). The site also tells you how many others are currently creating snowflakes (in "real time") by sharing "Current Conditions."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): preK (281), snow (21)

In the Classroom

Let it snow all day with these virtual snowflakes. Challenge students to write poetry to include when students send their snowflakes to parents or grandparents. Research winter animals, places, or birds and put information and write facts on snowflakes. Create and make a multimedia presentation with your different snowflakes. Make a blizzard of all of your snowflake messages! Virtually cutting and creating snowflakes may become addicting!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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goREACT - Museum of Science and Industry Chicago

Grades
5 to 12
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goREACT offers an addicting interactive that combines elements from the Periodic Table to create virtual reactions. Click any element and drag it to the Reaction Area. Add another element...more
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goREACT offers an addicting interactive that combines elements from the Periodic Table to create virtual reactions. Click any element and drag it to the Reaction Area. Add another element (or a few) and watch what happens! The reactor offers advice for elements to add or you can choose on your own. Click on an element and a small screen provides a short description and its general uses. Use icons on the top right-hand side of the screen to view standard, atomic, ionic, or Lewis Dot versions of the periodic table.

tag(s): chemicals (40), elements (36), periodic table (50)

In the Classroom

goREACT is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Experiment with different combinations of elements and predict what will happen before creating each combination. Allow students to explore this site independently and share findings with the class. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here, demonstrating chemical reactions. Post this link on your class website for students to experiment with at home.

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Maptia - A World of Stories - Dorothy Sanders, Dean Fischer, and Johnny Miller

Grades
6 to 12
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Maptia is a bold, beautiful world of thoughtful and inspiring stories told through photographs by photographers, adventurers, and writers. Explore stories categorized by places, themes,...more
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Maptia is a bold, beautiful world of thoughtful and inspiring stories told through photographs by photographers, adventurers, and writers. Explore stories categorized by places, themes, and storytellers. Stories focus on portraying an individual perspective of the location and why it matters on a personal level. Find a collection of inspiring stories by people and organizations who are making a difference in many corners of the world. When browsing through offerings, information includes a short synopsis along with the location featured and an estimate of time to read the story. Create an account to add your stories. Bookmark and save favorites for viewing at any time. Maptia works well for viewing in all browsers, but it is optimized for Chrome and Safari when creating stories.

tag(s): creative writing (166), digital storytelling (144), narrative (24), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Share Maptia on your interactive whiteboard or projector to discover personal stories from anywhere in the world. Share with students as examples of personal narrative writing. Challenge students to create an account and add their own personal stories. To find even more stories like those under Causes see The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heros, reviewed here, and follow their ten steps for writing about people who make a difference. Create a class account and bookmark favorites. Share with students through a link on your class web page. Display photographs for use as a creative writing prompt.

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The Knotted Line - Evan Bissell

Grades
6 to 12
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The Knotted Line is a dynamic, interactive, multilayered timeline that examines the issues of freedom and confinement in U.S. history and into the future. You need to think about the...more
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The Knotted Line is a dynamic, interactive, multilayered timeline that examines the issues of freedom and confinement in U.S. history and into the future. You need to think about the question "How is freedom measured?" while exploring the 50 embedded paintings. The paintings depict historical (and future) moments from 1495-2025. Hover your mouse over images on the timeline to find the red dot. Click to see more information. Each of these links takes you to a short article including links to more information and discussion questions. Be sure to view the link on the home page with Educator Resources. This page contains a PDF download of the curriculum correlated to Common Core Standards and two videos introducing the site.

tag(s): 1700s (23), 1800s (44), 1900s (33), 20th century (51), freedom of speech (10), immigration (58), media literacy (58)

In the Classroom

The Knotted Line is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as you introduce and explore this site together. After introducing this site, have students explore on their own. Use this as a starting point to research and gather information on each topic. Have students create timelines depicting what they learned about each topic. Use a tool such as Capzles, reviewed here, which allows for music, photos, videos, and more on the timeline.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Lingua.ly - Dr. Jan Ihmels and Dr. Orly Fuhrman

Grades
4 to 12
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Linugua.ly helps you learn a language by "digital immersion." It is available for beginner through advanced language learners. Import word lists that reflect your interests and Lingua.ly...more
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Linugua.ly helps you learn a language by "digital immersion." It is available for beginner through advanced language learners. Import word lists that reflect your interests and Lingua.ly will fill your feed with real articles from the web to fit your pursuits. Use the highlighted words to create flashcards (with auto-pronounce that can be turned on or off), a pronunciation guide, and an excerpt of the online text to put it into context. Choose other words from the articles by double clicking on them. There is a dictionary for over 40 languages (Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew, French, German, Italian, Dutch, and others). Lingua.ly works via the Chrome extension or on any mobile device. Turn the Internet into a language learning tool by signing up for Lingua.ly.

tag(s): arabic (20), DAT device agnostic tool (200), french (88), german (64), hebrew (14), italian (33), portuguese (18), russian (26), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Use Lingua.ly in world language classes as another form of practice and enrichment. Have world language students use this digital immersion tool to help read and translate authentic text. Have students create an account and enter words. Challenge students to use words from the language they are learning or from their interests and hobbies. For students under 13, create a class account with a class password and create a list of words for students' interests or subjects they are learning in class. For an ELL/ESL classroom, provide extra, specific practice in reading English. For ESL/ELL and resource students mainstreamed in your class, differentiate by offering reading practice geared to their interests. Offer this site as a supplement when you study cultures from around the world. Gifted students are sure to enjoy the challenge of learning some language phrases. Share the link on your teacher web page for students to use as extra practice or study for tests. This tool is perfect for your BYOD or 1:1 class, since it will operate on any device.

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Getty Images - Getty Images

Grades
4 to 12
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At Getty Images, select from millions of photos. Explore more than 100 years of photography from Woodrow Wilson to the most recent American Music Awards. Under the Editorial tab, search...more
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At Getty Images, select from millions of photos. Explore more than 100 years of photography from Woodrow Wilson to the most recent American Music Awards. Under the Editorial tab, search by Sports, Entertainment, News, Archival Photos, and Editorial Collections. For most of this collection, the watermark has been dropped, and the service appends a footer at the bottom of the picture with credit and a link to the licensing page. Creating an account is optional. There is also a video category; however this review is about the images only.
This site includes advertising.

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

In the Classroom

Use this site in every subject area where images can convey concepts or students make projects. Share an intriguing photo on your interactive whiteboard or projector as a writing prompt for a short story (or poem). Use images for extra practice when writing in world languages, by having students describe the scene or tell a story about it. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. When looking for free materials for use in projects or to place on websites, begin the search here. Be sure to keep a link to this site on your wiki, blog, or web page for students to use whenever they are working on a project. Not comfortable with wikis or blogs? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through and Blog Basics.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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