TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 3, 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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Story Shares - Louise Baigelman and Gary Herman

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Story Share is the perfect solution for finding relevant and readable content for older students unable to read above the elementary level. Digital content provides interesting material...more
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Story Share is the perfect solution for finding relevant and readable content for older students unable to read above the elementary level. Digital content provides interesting material that doesn't condescend teen readers. Browse through titles or choose from the different genres to find available material. Login isn't required to read books. However, it allows you to add books to a reading list and to bookmark the stopping point while reading books.

tag(s): differentiation (47), digital storytelling (144), ebooks (42)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site to your reluctant or struggling readers on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups to find interesting reading material. Be sure to provide a link to Story Share on your class website or blog for students to explore at home. Use this site to differentiate for students of all levels and for use with special education or ESL/ELL students. Have students write their own comprehension questions and answers based on the podcast to check their own comprehension and to exchange with classmates.

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mySkillBoard - Rob Steller and Josiah Hills

Grades
K to 12
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MySkillBoard is an online tool for managing and tracking student data aligned to Common Core or individual standards. Create student groups and add your activities to match standards....more
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MySkillBoard is an online tool for managing and tracking student data aligned to Common Core or individual standards. Create student groups and add your activities to match standards. Quickly input each score and view data through several different visualization options. This site is optimized for use on any device allowing you to input and track student performance at any time.

tag(s): assessment (100), classroom management (135), DAT device agnostic tool (200), differentiation (47)

In the Classroom

MySkillBoard requires a bit of a learning curve due to a lack of tutorials on using the program. However, it may be useful for differentiating student instruction in any classroom. Add each class or group of students to document. Follow learning goals and mastery of standards. Use mySkillBoard together with other teachers to monitor and document student progress in all learning areas.

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Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization - Matthew Burdumy and Adam Rothman

Grades
8 to 12
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The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization site uses Google Maps to demonstrate the historical geography of the Atlantic slave trade. Three simulations show the origin of slaving...more
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The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization site uses Google Maps to demonstrate the historical geography of the Atlantic slave trade. Three simulations show the origin of slaving voyages, embarkation points of slave ships, and disembarkation points of human cargo in the Americas. Changes in the color spectrum from green to red show the number and density of voyages cumulating over time. Zoom in or out on maps to show more or less detail.

tag(s): maps (287), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Display the different visualizations as part of any unit or lesson on the slave trade starting in 1526. Have students make a multimedia presentation about this site using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook from different perspectives within the slave trade such as a ship captain, slave owner, or slave.

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Manga High - Manga High

Grades
2 to 12
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Manga High is a game-based learning site for mathematics all aligned to Common Core standards. Enroll in the site to set up your class account and add members. Once your ...more
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Manga High is a game-based learning site for mathematics all aligned to Common Core standards. Enroll in the site to set up your class account and add members. Once your class is set up, use the dashboard to assign activities, monitor student progress, or assign challenges. Students can play games without having been assigned a class. However, they cannot save performance history or compete in challenges.

tag(s): addition (251), critical thinking (108), DAT device agnostic tool (200), data (148), decimals (133), division (172), equations (155), fractions (239), game based learning (103), geometric shapes (163), multiplication (227), problem solving (272), subtraction (208)

In the Classroom

Create your class account on Manga High and assign activities for your entire class or differentiate based on student performance levels. Use the search tool to assign tutorials based on grade level or Common Core standard. Add your class to public leaderboards and challenge students to improve their standing versus other classes. Be sure to provide a link to Manga High on your class website or blog for students to access from home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Edcite - 2014 Edcite Inc.

Grades
1 to 8
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Give your students practice and instruction in standardized test style format. Find an easy way to create Common Core assignments using PARCC and Smarter Balanced question types. Passages...more
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Give your students practice and instruction in standardized test style format. Find an easy way to create Common Core assignments using PARCC and Smarter Balanced question types. Passages allow for highlighting, graphs, image labeling, and video sections for background knowledge. Questions include a section for written response to improve evidence-based answers as well as multiple choice. Teachers can share their assignments or use other teacher created assignments. Students receive immediately graded feedback. With a free teacher account, save questions to your library.

tag(s): assessment (100), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

Use technology to motivate and engage your students. Give these quality text passages personalized to your class needs. Use as a teaching tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Continue to use individually or as small group instruction. Pair a weak reader with a strong reader for independent pair work. You can easily differentiate by creating tiered assignments to meet each students' needs. Share at your next staff meeting to provide collaboration between teachers. Use in a flipped classroom and have students complete the work at home. They will still receive immediate feedback! Use at parent gatherings to provide an example of the grade level expectations. Put on your classroom website as a way to practice at home. Before assigning questions to individual students you might want to check the readability of the questions or supplied readings. Use a tool such as The Readability Test Tool, reviewed here. This reviewer found the articles in some grade levels to be about two years higher in reading level than the grade listed for the question.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Online Music Games - Russian Music Games

Grades
K to 12
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This site offers a virtual guitar, piano, drum, and more. Create compositions, record, and play them back. Ear training techniques supplement actual music lessons or memory. Catchy...more
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This site offers a virtual guitar, piano, drum, and more. Create compositions, record, and play them back. Ear training techniques supplement actual music lessons or memory. Catchy games teach music while focusing on fun. Use this tool in English or Russian.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): game based learning (103), music theory (43), musical instruments (48), musical notation (35)

In the Classroom

In music class, present basic information virtually using technology to catch your students' interest. No music classes? Present basic musical information to your students. Any students who require differentiation can learn music basics at centers to build their musical repertoire. During Readers' Theater, create masterpieces to promote the mood in the plot. Create centers with this tool to increase creativity with a gift rarely used in most classrooms, music.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Goodbits - Charles Bergeron, Kalvir Sandhu, Philippe Creux and Godfrey Cha

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Finally! A tool to create a professional looking email newsletter in minutes! Goodbits has simplified the task of designing a newsletter by having sections and changing the layout easily....more
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Finally! A tool to create a professional looking email newsletter in minutes! Goodbits has simplified the task of designing a newsletter by having sections and changing the layout easily. You can also crop images where necessary. Just find and collect your content, plug it into Goodbits, and they will make it beautiful. You can read the newsletter on most browsers and mobile devices. You can add links via mobile devices; however, they recommend creating and sending newsletters on a computer. Goodbits uses Mail Chimp, reviewed here, but plans on using other email programs in the future. The sign up is quick, just your name and email, and you are set to go.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), expository writing (44)

In the Classroom

Consider using Goodbits to create a daily newsletter about what students learned in class, and then present it as a recap at the beginning of the next day. Be sure to add images and charts where possible for visual students. Eventually, students could do this on their own at the end of the class. A newsletter would build an excellent learning journal and could be used to study for a test, or as a source for writing a final essay. Writing for digital publication is an important element of Common Core writing. In science and math classes, students can design a newsletter about a famous scientist or mathematician. In science class, students can develop a newsletter to explain to a younger student about cells, life cycles, or any science topic. Do an author study with the end project being a newsletter. For literature circle end projects have the group create a newsletter about the plot and characters. Create digital magazines for any subject or topic: explain an event in history, demonstrate different types of animals or habitats. With the Goodbits newsletter tool, it will almost seem effortless to send home a weekly or monthly newsletter to parents with ongoing news of class activities, announcements, schedules, and more.

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Aurora Alive - Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Grades
6 to 12
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Not sure about the Northern Lights? Find incredible information and activities to better understand the beautiful phenomenon. Be sure to look at the Student Materials. Looking for more...more
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Not sure about the Northern Lights? Find incredible information and activities to better understand the beautiful phenomenon. Be sure to look at the Student Materials. Looking for more information? Click on See Advanced Lessons or Multimedia Lessons for even more! The Multimedia Lessons are ready to use in class. Though the DVD has a price, the lesson plans are free to unzip and download.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): arctic (44), atmosphere (26), light (46), space (205), stars (61)

In the Classroom

Use the various materials in class with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the materials to learn about the Northern Lights and how and why they exist. Activities include vocabulary and scavenger hunts. Students can view many of the modules independently and teach others in the class about what they learned.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Energy Efficient - Houseplans.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Apply math or science in the real world using these free house plans. Imagine teaching measurement or the concept of scale using free house plans downloaded from the Internet. What...more
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Apply math or science in the real world using these free house plans. Imagine teaching measurement or the concept of scale using free house plans downloaded from the Internet. What about a study of energy and environmental issues? Use this simple site to download house plans for green houses. Use these plans as a great way to discuss many issues related to energy conservation and environmental issues. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to the blog featuring the essentials of green building.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): architecture (84), area (66), energy (198), homes (12), volume (45)

In the Classroom

Teach the concept of energy conservation, scale, square footage, and volume. In a business class, discuss the costs of building and create budgets or cost estimates for the building of the house or renovation of a house. Use in a computer or drafting class as inspiration for other projects. Continue the designs outside with the design of landscaping to fit the house in various areas around the country using local fauna and focusing on water and soil conservation. Identify features of design best for energy conservation and how to alter various designs for energy savings. Consider uploading plans from this site to a tool such as Mapwing, reviewed here, to label changes for an energy efficient home.

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PhotoCat - photocat.com

Grades
K to 12
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PhotoCat is a free online photo editing service. Edit and retouch images easily. Make photo collages in just a few simple steps. Upload any image from your computer. If the ...more
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PhotoCat is a free online photo editing service. Edit and retouch images easily. Make photo collages in just a few simple steps. Upload any image from your computer. If the image is too large PhotoCat will ask to reduce it automatically. Choose from the many options such as special effects, retouching tools, frames, text, and more. Once completed save your image to your computer or share using social networking links.

tag(s): editing (61), images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use this tool anytime that photos need to be edited for use on class blogs, wikis, or in presentation tools (reviewed here). In primary grades, this tool could be useful for teachers to use to edit pictures from a field trip, science experiments, and more. Share the editing process with your younger students using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Edit together! Encourage older students to use this site themselves on images for projects or presentations. Use this tool in photography or art classes. Use the editor to edit pictures to fit styles of pictures when doing historical reports or to set a mood. Use text options for the photos themselves to tell the stories. Have students annotate or label Creative Commons online images of cells, structures of an animal, and much more.

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Science of Innovation - NBC Learn

Grades
5 to 12
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Explore the Science of Innovation with this series of seventeen videos provided by NBC Learn. Each video looks at different innovations such as bionic limbs or 3-D printing. All videos...more
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Explore the Science of Innovation with this series of seventeen videos provided by NBC Learn. Each video looks at different innovations such as bionic limbs or 3-D printing. All videos run about five minutes in length and include a written transcript and lesson ideas. Lesson ideas include handouts, collaborative inquiry activities, and assessment rubrics.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): energy (198), human body (121), inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

Although part of a larger pay for use site, this portion of the site is free. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. Take advantage of the free lesson plan and incorporate suggestions into your current units. Have students brainstorm or collect ideas on other innovative ideas on a collaborative bulletin board like Scrumblr, reviewed here (quick start- no membership required!).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Patriot Spy - National Park Service

Grades
4 to 10
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Explore the background of the American Revolution. This activity challenges you to try to deliver a letter from a rebel Patriot to the real Paul Revere. You must walk a ...more
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Explore the background of the American Revolution. This activity challenges you to try to deliver a letter from a rebel Patriot to the real Paul Revere. You must walk a dangerous path in Boston to get to Paul Revere's house, facing many challenges along the way. The interactivity with the quest may make you forget that you are learning important history along the way!

tag(s): american revolution (86), colonial america (107)

In the Classroom

Assign this activity in pairs when studying the American Revolution's beginnings. This activity would work well at a learning station or on individual computers. The activity takes about 20 minutes. The student challenges not only teach about the revolutionary period, but also explains the steps a park ranger takes when investigating a historical artifact or document. The text portions might be challenging. Pair weak readers with a strong reader.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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M-Reader - Extensive Reading Foundation

Grades
2 to 12
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This site offers an easy way for teachers to encourage students to do extensive reading. It contains quizzes for thousands of commonly read Penguin graded readers, and also a classroom...more
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This site offers an easy way for teachers to encourage students to do extensive reading. It contains quizzes for thousands of commonly read Penguin graded readers, and also a classroom management system. M-Reader also offers many classics rewritten for lower reading levels as well as the original higher reading level. After a simple institutional registration, teachers can select the books they want students to read outside of class, set up a classroom, and show student progress. Teachers do not have to make quizzes. It automatically displays grades and records quizzes. Each student, even ones reading the same books, receive different quizzes. Books are available at up to 8 different levels so students can begin at a level comprehensible to them and go up. Once a student completes a book, a quiz is provided. If the student is successful on the quiz, they receive a book cover in their file. Students can see the progress of other students in the class and compare themselves to other readers. Check with your administration about the feasibility of setting up an institutional registration. Unlike other popular "read it and take a quiz" program, it is FREE!

tag(s): guided reading (47), independent reading (128), reading comprehension (116)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how the program works using a projector or interactive whiteboard. Students can then read, quiz, and display their results and progress on their own. This program is perfect for differentiating in the classroom where beginning English learners are mainstreamed with English native speaking learners. You can assign the same book to all readers at a certain level, and they will all have a different quiz to take. This assures that you know exactly how each student is doing since they can't share quiz answers with each other.

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