TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 26, 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 go to the Featured Sites Archive

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Surfly - Nicholas Piel and Denis Bilenko

Grades
K to 12
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Surfly is a sharing tool to share the web with others, almost as if their computer is watching over your shoulder. No special plug ins are required! Create an account ...more
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Surfly is a sharing tool to share the web with others, almost as if their computer is watching over your shoulder. No special plug ins are required! Create an account and use the Start a Session link to begin. Paste in the URL of any website, then share the Surfly URL generated for that site with anyone you wish. You provide the browsing experience while invitees are along for the ride! Invite others to join in at any time using links on the left or change the site URL with a quick click.

tag(s): computers (42), editing (39), homework (47), parent conferences (14)

In the Classroom

Screen share with students on individual computers to demonstrate how to locate information on websites, or when learning tech tools. Surfly is a great alternative if an interactive whiteboard or projector is not available. It is also very helpful for demonstrating with others at another location (such as students who are home sick). Use this tool to collaborate with other teachers when creating lesson plans or student documents. Have students on laptops share their screen with you during presentations to make information easier to view and assess. Share this site with students to use at home when collaborating on projects. Help a homebound student by sharing your class computer screen and opening an audio connection over the phone. Offer "extra help" sessions via screen share at predetermined "office hours," on snow days, or on certain evenings. Have students teach tech skills to their peers using this free sharing tool. Share a student's online work using a screen share during a parent phone conference. Show a parent how to navigate a practice site you want the family to use at home. Visual directions always work better!

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I Love PDF - ilovepdf.com

Grades
K to 12
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Merge several PDF files into one document or split a PDF document into different documents using I Love PDF. Choose your option and follow the links to upload and convert ...more
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Merge several PDF files into one document or split a PDF document into different documents using I Love PDF. Choose your option and follow the links to upload and convert your files. When complete, click the download link to open and save files to your computer. There is a premium option of this tool, but most features are free. The FREE option allows a total of 80 MB for all uploaded PDFs. Read the chart on the homepage to learn all that is included in the FREE option.

In the Classroom

Use this site to work with your PDF files in many ways. If you need just a page or two from a large PDF file (perhaps a worksheet to send home to an absentee student), easily extract it to send. Combine class projects received as individual PDF's to create a complete class book by merging all files. Combine several lessons into one complete unit by merging files. Make combined PDFs available as downloads from your class web page so students "get it all together." Teachers at all grades can use this tool, and older students may find it handy for their own use.
 
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Somewhere - Benjamin Netter

Grades
6 to 12
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Visit the best places in the world through the eyes of random Instagram users via Somewhere. You don't have to be "connected" to Instagram to view the photos. Simply click ...more
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Visit the best places in the world through the eyes of random Instagram users via Somewhere. You don't have to be "connected" to Instagram to view the photos. Simply click your space bar to view a new location. Read a short description of the location and view a photo. Click the "read more" button to find more information about the location (provided by Wikipedia). Although very simple in concept and format, these stunning images will have you returning over and over for more! If you desire, you can click directly on the image to view it on Instagram. Be sure to preview since Instagram comments are not moderated! (Many schools may block Instagram, so test before assuming you can access this at school).

tag(s): images (216), photography (134)

In the Classroom

Display Somewhere on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) for quick geography lessons using stunning images. Cover up the description when displaying images on your whiteboard and challenge students to guess the location. Display any of the interesting images as a creative writing prompt. Allow world geography, world cultures, or world language students to use Somewhere to find locations to research for multimedia projects. Find many multimedia project options from the TeachersFirst Edge. Create your own world tour "bucket list" as a class!

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Tally - Filip Minev

Grades
K to 12
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Create simple polls in no time using Tally. Start by typing in your question. Press enter and begin adding answer choices. Share your poll using the URL link or via ...more
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Create simple polls in no time using Tally. Start by typing in your question. Press enter and begin adding answer choices. Share your poll using the URL link or via Twitter. This is as easy as it gets! No registration is necessary.

tag(s): polls and surveys (42), quiz (72), quizzes (76)

In the Classroom

Use this site to create online polls without all of the bells and whistles (and time wasting doodads!). Create a poll as a review to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If you have a 1:1 or BYOD class, make a quick poll question about a lesson-related controversy or common misconception to launch the lesson. Use the poll for pre- or post- assessments of units. In younger classrooms, use a whole class account to make quizzes together. Older students can create their own polls to use for review, as a peer challenge, or as a final project. Suggest that students create a poll as followup for their listeners after a class presentation.

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Parent-Teacher Conference Tip Sheets - Harvard Family Research Project

Grades
K to 12
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Achieve maximum potential from Parent-Teacher Conferences with these three tip sheets (PDFs) from Harvard Family Research Project. Tip sheets for parents, teachers, and principals offer...more
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Achieve maximum potential from Parent-Teacher Conferences with these three tip sheets (PDFs) from Harvard Family Research Project. Tip sheets for parents, teachers, and principals offer targeted suggestions for teams working together to promote student success. Suggestions include ideas for before, during, and after conferences and suggestions for all participants to "Be Heard."

tag(s): parent conferences (14)

In the Classroom

Use these tip sheets as suggested on the site. Prepare copies for parents, principals, and teachers well before conference meetings. Include a link to parent tip sheets on your class website or include with class newsletters. Be sure to include copies for other professionals such as counselors, and ESL/ELL, Learning Support, Speech/language clinician, or Gifted Education teachers.
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Red Ribbon Campaign - National Family Partnership

Grades
K to 12
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Make the most of Red Ribbon Week with ideas and support from the official Red Ribbon Campaign website. Choose from many downloads such as the official planning guide, Red Ribbon ...more
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Make the most of Red Ribbon Week with ideas and support from the official Red Ribbon Campaign website. Choose from many downloads such as the official planning guide, Red Ribbon fact sheet, printable pledge sheet, and photo contest flyer. Sign an online pledge for adults to help children grow up safe and drug free. Read the Red Ribbon Blog to stay up to date on all the latest events and information about the Red Ribbon Campaign.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): drugs and alcohol (8), red ribbon week (8)

In the Classroom

Be sure to take advantage of printables and information from this site. Have students sign Red Ribbon pledges and display them on a classroom bulletin board. Challenge students to participate in the Red Ribbon photo contest (if using this site during the yearly contest). Be sure to share a link to the adult pledge with parents through your class website to make them a part of Red Ribbon week too!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Classroom Architect - 4Teachers.org

Grades
K to 12
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Rearrange and design your classroom without having to move a desk using Classroom Architect! This online tool allows you to customize a design for your classroom layout using your dimensions...more
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Rearrange and design your classroom without having to move a desk using Classroom Architect! This online tool allows you to customize a design for your classroom layout using your dimensions and objects you want to include. Follow the directions to select your basic dimensions and drag and drop items in place. Free-draw items not among the ready-made objects. When finished, print your design. There is a save option in Classroom Architect; however, it only saves to the computer where you create the design. The site suggests taking a screen shot to paste into a document as the best option for saving.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): architecture (64), back to school (38), classroom management (85), measurement (145)

In the Classroom

Save time and energy setting up your classroom with Classroom Architect. Tired of the same layout in your current classroom? Try something new using this site! Play around with different options and set up your room as you like. Save a copy for use when desks have been moved during parties, plays, cleaning, and other events. Share with students and have them create their own perfect learning environment. Then use their ideas as a writing prompt explaining why they designed the classroom the way that they did! Use this activity as math practice with measurement and graphing/proportion. Use this tool as a way to refresh your classroom for a new semester or unit. Allow student groups to design the layout for each quarter of the year.
 
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World Science U - Science Festival Foundation

Grades
9 to 12
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World Science U offers high-quality science courses from the world's best educators. There is also some math content. Videos and graphics help you to understand rigorous content in...more
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World Science U offers high-quality science courses from the world's best educators. There is also some math content. Videos and graphics help you to understand rigorous content in meaningful ways. Find quizzes along with a visual archive of quick answers to common science and math questions. Begin your exploration of World Science U by choosing from three areas: Science Unplugged, Short Courses, or University Courses. All courses include a general description along with information on the workload required and background math and science levels needed. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos 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): forces (27), gifted (82), light (42), mass (18), space (171), video (183)

In the Classroom

Use the Science Unplugged section to find and explore videos with your more advanced students. Display the videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Share the Short and University Courses with gifted students as advancement opportunities. Complete courses on your own for professional development and to gather ideas for classroom lessons.
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Patatap - Jono Brandel and Lullatone

Grades
K to 12
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Create music and animation by tapping the keys on your keyboard with Patatap. Choose any letter from A to Z to bring your screen to life with sounds, lasers, and ...more
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Create music and animation by tapping the keys on your keyboard with Patatap. Choose any letter from A to Z to bring your screen to life with sounds, lasers, and motion. Press the space bar to change everything up including sounds, background colors, animations, and motions. Be careful...creating interesting mixes may become addictive with Patatap! There is an app version, but only the web version is free.

tag(s): animation (50), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

Patatap is perfect for your interactive whiteboard or projector. Just bring up the on-screen keyboard and play away! Use sounds and animations to refocus student attention or as a short brain break. Allow students to explore and experiment with sounds and animations during indoor recess or free time. Challenge students to create their own short mix of sounds to accompany multimedia projects. Students who find themselves "musically challenged" will find success in creating short mixes using Patatap. This site is prefect to teach sound and rhythm in music class! Use Patatap as a memory game: create any sequence and challenge students to come recreate the same sequence on your interactive whiteboard. Discuss the various background colors and "themes." Do different colors elicit different forms of sound or emotion? Have students write a journal entry about their favorite color scheme and animations. Small groups of students on individual laptops with speakers could create an actual "band" together! Record the band's sounds using an iTouch or even a mobile phone. As a classroom management tool, create certain sound sequences as cues for activities or transitions. Challenge your gifted students to create a system of musical notation for Patatap that includes both the keyboard symbols/letters and a way to indicate the rhythm. Use Patatap during poetry units to help students hear poetic meter, such as iambic pentameter. Use Patatap as an accompaniment/study aid for auditory learners to memorize spelling, states and capitals, and more.

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Quotery - Jason Bacchetta

Grades
3 to 12
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Explore, discover, collect, and share quotes with Quotery. Search by keywords to find quotes on various topics or by author to find quotes from a certain source. Sort by popular, ...more
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Explore, discover, collect, and share quotes with Quotery. Search by keywords to find quotes on various topics or by author to find quotes from a certain source. Sort by popular, random, or the latest quotes. Use the toolbar on the left to search by topic, author, pictures, and much more. Links on each quote allow you to easily view the full quote, save to your account, or share using the URL, email, or social networking sites. Registration isn't necessary but does allow you to collect and save quotes for future use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bulletin boards (16), quotations (23)

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to Quotery on classroom computers or include it on your class web page for students to use as a resource for projects. Encourage leadership, hope, and inspiration! Use quotes as a theme for writing prompts or even to relate to the theme of a story. Have students find quotes as examples of figurative language. Add quotes to end of year slide shows or videos. Use the quotes to inspire personal or classroom mission statements. Have students include a quote when turning in work, and explain how it inspired or helped them. Add music or art to explain a quote. During the first week of the school year, share this site with students. Challenge students to choose a personal "quote of the year" to set the tone for their goals. Have students put the quote in their notebook, folder, or device desktop. Choose a few quotes to hang around your classroom. Show students how to keep favorite quotes in an idea bin where they keep thoughts, thoughtful questions, and pieces of inspiration. Choose a sticky note tool from the Teachersfirst Edge as a collection space.

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Story Wars - StoryWars.net

Grades
3 to 10
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Story Wars offers an online collaborative writing tool and experience. Choose from stories that have already been started and write the next chapter, or begin your own story and allow...more
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Story Wars offers an online collaborative writing tool and experience. Choose from stories that have already been started and write the next chapter, or begin your own story and allow others to write new chapters. Owners of each story approve additional chapters before inclusion in their story. Our editors suggest previewing the story before sharing with your class, since site (or adult) moderation is not mentioned. At the time of this review, our editors saw nothing inappropriate.

tag(s): creative writing (137), digital storytelling (87)

In the Classroom

Create your own class story starter then have students add on additional chapters. Ask each student to create a story and have other students add to their classmate's writing. Create a link to completed stories on classroom computers as a reading center for younger students. If your class has a penpal or works with a "little buddies" class throughout the year, use Story Wars as a fun writing project together. In science or social studies class, have students write nonfiction pieces for others to complete with historically or scientifically accurate information. Make recounting history or explaining science interactive and social! In world language class, promote written language and vocabulary development by creating cooperative stories. For English vocabulary development, have students use the words of the week in a new chapter of a continuing story.

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Asian Art Museum Educator Resources - Asian Art Museum

Grades
5 to 12
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Find a large selection of resources for teaching and learning about Asian art at this resource provided by the Asian Art Museum. Choose from over 100 lessons and activities aligned...more
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Find a large selection of resources for teaching and learning about Asian art at this resource provided by the Asian Art Museum. Choose from over 100 lessons and activities aligned to Common Core Standards. View almost 300 pieces of art and watch over 400 videos presented in an easy-to-use format. Search by keyword or type of resource (In the Spotlight, Most Popular, or What's New). If your district blocks YouTube, the videos 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): art history (55), artists (59), asia (68), china (58), chinese new year (3), cross cultural understanding (88), japan (58), korea (16)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Allow students to explore on their own or in collaborative groups. Have students or groups collect ideas and findings using Padlet, reviewed here. The Padlet application creates free online sticky note boards. Bookmark and use this site to find resources for Chinese New Year activities. Have students create online posters individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here, or PicLits, reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The British Library - The British Library Board

Grades
7 to 12
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Visit the British Library website to search through catalogues, order items for research, view exhibitions and connect to information resources worldwide. Explore the many collections...more
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Visit the British Library website to search through catalogues, order items for research, view exhibitions and connect to information resources worldwide. Explore the many collections sorted by subject, time period, region, and more. Many collections feature digitized archives of television and radio news and almost 7 million pages from newspapers across the UK and Ireland. Click the "Discover" link to view Online Galleries featuring virtual books, old maps, and ancient manuscripts. This site is created from the UK. If you are an American English speaker, spellings will be slightly different. This museum is to Britain what the Smithsonian is to the U.S.

tag(s): art history (55), britain (34), england (53), great britain (14), maps (244)

In the Classroom

Create a link to the British Library website on classroom computers for students to explore on their own or with a partner. Use as part of any lessons about British history. Have students find and explore old maps and compare with current maps. Compare the maps using an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). View television and radio news archives together on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to learn about the world from a British perspective about any time period such as World War I or World War II. Explore British authors and poets and view their manuscripts online!
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GoSoapBox - Go Education, LLC

Grades
5 to 12
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Engage your students and knockdown participation barriers with GoSoapBox, a free web-based student response system. Set up an event, or GoSoapBox space, for your class. Students enter...more
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Engage your students and knockdown participation barriers with GoSoapBox, a free web-based student response system. Set up an event, or GoSoapBox space, for your class. Students enter the SoapBox through a unique code, and only the instructor can view the student names. Accessible through a computer or mobile device, GoSoapBox offers many tools for some creative Q&A in your classroom. The confusion barometer allows the teacher to assess the students' understanding of the topic. The poll and quiz tools provide a formative assessment option. Post questions or topics for your students using the GoSoapBox discussion tool. An option to post anonymously is available as well as many other settings for using the Social Q&A tool. Students can post questions for their peers or the teacher to answer. Coupled with an Internet connected device, GoSoapBox provides an outside the box classroom experience. GoSoapBox is free for class sizes under 30 students.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chat (40), classroom management (85), polls and surveys (42)

In the Classroom

GoSoapBox provides an opportunity for instructors to think outside the box for greater student engagement and participation. Is your classroom BYOD? Use GoSoapBox for free! Use the polling feature to access prior knowledge, or use it as an exit slip. Assign multiple choice quizzes as formative assessments throughout the class to differentiate instruction. Post questions and topics to foster higher-level thinking using the discussion tool. The Social Q&A tool allows students the opportunity to communicate and collaborate for understanding. Use the Social Q&A as a back channel during lectures or videos to make sure you address all student questions. Students can vote on the questions posted in the Social Q&A. Use this feature to address the most pressing needs of the class. GoSoapBox is a useful site to organize and collect meaningful data to make sure you are meeting all the needs of your learners. Try it during Back to School night as your school begins BYOD so parents can see the power of engaging EVERY learner.

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