TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Apr 12, 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 go to the Featured Sites Archive

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Little Shop of Writers - Maria Anderson

Grades
2 to 10
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Peruse this channel on YouTube to find short videos about all aspects of writing. There are videos covering special punctuation (ellipse, dash, colon, Commas, semi-colon). Also, find...more
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Peruse this channel on YouTube to find short videos about all aspects of writing. There are videos covering special punctuation (ellipse, dash, colon, Commas, semi-colon). Also, find tricky words (who, whose, whom, which, that), Story Elements (3 parts), Five Story Spices, and Thesis and the 5 Paragraph Essay Outline. These videos are colorful with plainly spoken explanations. If your district blocks YouTube, then 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): creative writing (142), essays (20), expository writing (35), homonyms (12), homophones (17), punctuation (44), spelling (168), writing (325)

In the Classroom

Share these videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector with students when you want to introduce or review one of the writing skills addressed. Put a link to the videos on your class website for students and parents to use at home. Challenge students to create their own writing videos to "teach" the class. Share the videos on a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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Sakura: Cherry Blossoms as Living Symbols of Friendship - Library of Congress

Grades
8 to 12
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In 1912, the city of Tokyo, Japan donated 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC, as a symbol of friendship. The trees, planted around the Capitol's tidal basin, ...more
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In 1912, the city of Tokyo, Japan donated 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC, as a symbol of friendship. The trees, planted around the Capitol's tidal basin, have become part of a treasured tradition. Viewing the cherry blossoms in the spring draws millions of visitors. The Library of Congress offers a brief history of the cherry blossoms and connects cherry trees to their cultural significance in Japanese culture.

tag(s): japan (63), japanese (43), trees (27), washington (31)

In the Classroom

Cherry Blossoms are both a symbol of spring, and a legacy of the historical relationship between the people of Japan and the United States. Make a brief detour during a lesson on Asian history, on the development of Washington, D.C. as the US capital, or on important American cultural symbols, and look at the roots of this tradition. There are primary sources to explore, and links to contemporary photos of the Cherry Blossom Festival.

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Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture - University of Virginia

Grades
8 to 12
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Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was a cultural phenomenon when it was published, and continues to be an important window into the mid-19th century anti-slavery movement prior...more
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Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was a cultural phenomenon when it was published, and continues to be an important window into the mid-19th century anti-slavery movement prior to the American Civil War. Here you will find important cultural context for a fuller discussion of the novel and its impact on American society and history. Browse the site for a variety of primary source material, or interpret the work's significance through one of several lenses: Anti-slavery texts, the influence of "minstrel shows," 19th century Christian revivalism, or Victorian sentimentality. There are several high school level lesson plans to give you ideas for using the enormous number of audio, visual, and text-based resources available to supplement either a literary examination of Uncle Tom's Cabin, or a cultural-historical one. Be advised that much of the primary material reflects the 19th century views on race that prevailed at the time. It should be carefully viewed and used within a discussion of its context.

tag(s): 1800s (41), abolition (8), african american (108), civil rights (98), civil war (137), racism (16), slavery (66)

In the Classroom

Whether you are approaching Uncle Tom's Cabin from a literary perspective or a historical perspective, the primary sources here are deep and offer a variety. Listen to minstrel songs, view advertisements for performances, or read poems and other literary responses to the work. Because much of the site contains material that is rooted in a 19th century perspective on race, you should screen images, texts, and lyrics, and ensure that students understand their context before using them in the classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Oh h1 - Martin Kool

Grades
3 to 12
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Oh h1 is an addicting and challenging game of logic. Choose from four different grid sizes to play. Click on squares to make them red or blue. The goal is ...more
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Oh h1 is an addicting and challenging game of logic. Choose from four different grid sizes to play. Click on squares to make them red or blue. The goal is to never have more than 2 squares of the same color in a row, and to have equal numbers of colors in all rows and columns. The rules are explained as you play. Increase difficulty by increasing the number of grids and completing in the shortest elapsed time.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (105), logic (207), problem solving (208), puzzles (190)

In the Classroom

Oh h1 is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site as a computer learning center or on individual computers. Challenge students to increase difficulty levels and elapsed time. Share this engaging site with your gifted students for some mind stretching fun! Be sure to include a link on your class website or blog. (Parents may want to try this one too.) Have students challenge their parents to see who can complete puzzles the quickest!

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The World Cup of Everything Else - Wall Street Journal

Grades
6 to 12
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Discover "how the tournament would play out if 32 countries were competing in things other than soccer." This site compares world countries statistics on scores of topics, instantly...more
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Discover "how the tournament would play out if 32 countries were competing in things other than soccer." This site compares world countries statistics on scores of topics, instantly drawing a "bracket" of the top 32 countries for that statistic around the world. Find out which country "wins" in categories as diverse as milk consumption, population density, or ticket sales for the movie Frozen! Click the topic at left to display the "bracket" instantly. Try predicting who will win as you check out all kinds of topics.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (92), demographics (17), statistics (115)

In the Classroom

This site would fit well in a world cultures/social studies class or even as part of an information literacy lesson. Math teachers can use it to show the usefulness of statistics. World language teachers may want to include it as part of cultural study. Share this site briefly on an interactive whiteboard or projector to spark discussion about what statistics can tell you about a country. Then turn groups loose to predict the outcomes of the "competition" in various categories. Have them keep a record: What do they predict? Why? Were they right? What might be the possible reasons for the "winner" (or loser) in the category they chose? What other statistical competitions would they like to see to gain the best profile of a country? As a class, try to name the top ten most revealing statistics they would like to see that are not already listed here. Then have them look for sources where they might find that information! Extend the findings by having student groups create infographics about their chosen "world cup" topic. Use a tool such as Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. In a government class, use this site to open discussion about the role of statistics in governing and meeting the needs of your citizens. For more demographics resources, try these or Knoema, a worldwide data source.

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CodeKingdoms - Ceebr, Ltd.

Grades
5 to 9
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CodeKingdoms is an interactive that teaches kids how to code using Javascript. Much like Minecraft, the goal is to guide your character through an adventure from planet to planet. Along...more
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CodeKingdoms is an interactive that teaches kids how to code using Javascript. Much like Minecraft, the goal is to guide your character through an adventure from planet to planet. Along the way, learn and use coding skills to navigate the world and complete progressively trickier missions. You can build your own worlds to play and share your creations with others. Be sure to click on the "Teachers, check out our resources" at the bottom of the page. Resources include lessons, teacher's packs, and webcasts to help students.

tag(s): computers (49), engineering (92), STEM (78)

In the Classroom

After school clubs and activities can use CodeKingdoms to learn coding. Use this tool with gifted students for a great challenge. Set up a coding activity center for interested students when they finish class work or for rainy days and snow days. Share this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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Picsearch - Picsearch services AB

Grades
K to 12
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Looking to search for free images? This tool does not cap the results of the search, leading to all the images that are related to your search. Just enter your ...more
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Looking to search for free images? This tool does not cap the results of the search, leading to all the images that are related to your search. Just enter your search term and begin! On the results page, other options of phrases using your search term are included to streamline the search results. Click on each picture to go to the website that has that image. Warning: any term or word can be searched here, including vulgarity. Please preview and use with caution. Be certain students understand consequences for misusing this site. We recommend only allowing older students to use this site independently.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (226), photography (140)

In the Classroom

Use the many images for any class. Use a specific image to share with the class and have them journal what they see in the picture, what they think is going on, and questions that they have about the image. Use their thoughts to begin discussion about the science, math relationships, or history of the image. Be sure to ctrl-click to save the image for use in class! Students might generate their own "collections" of related photographs to illustrate a topic or theme, or create a photo montage for an activity or project. Under Fair Use, students should identify the website that owns the photos and determine the copyright before using in class projects. Most of these images are not copyright free and our editors do not suggest copying and posting them on the web in blogs or wikis, since this would violate copyright laws. You can easily include them as linked images to the original website of the image, however, to appear seamlessly on the blog or wiki page. Why bother? This is a great way to teach about giving proper credit to images.

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Learning from Cezanne - Baltimore Museum of Art

Grades
2 to 12
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Need a resident artist in your classroom for free? Learn from the French master artist, Paul Cezanne. Discover a biography of Cezanne's life and artworks. Discover Cezanne's style and...more
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Need a resident artist in your classroom for free? Learn from the French master artist, Paul Cezanne. Discover a biography of Cezanne's life and artworks. Discover Cezanne's style and see his work juxtaposed with two different groups of American artists. Explore the way 20th-century artists were influenced by Cezanne. Choose from the Mix and Match Comparisons and see for yourself. Use the Look and Learn Guides that give one-page tutorials with discussion questions to focus on the central idea. Encourage your students to join the challenge project to incorporate Cezanne's techniques in their own artwork. Submit to the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) for possible posting; get parental permission first.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): art history (59), artists (67)

In the Classroom

In an art class, introduce Cezanne on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Concentrate on the details and techniques known about the artist's style. Encourage your students to create Cezanne inspired works, and to join the challenge project. Suggest they submit their artwork to the BMA for possible posting. Be sure to obtain parental permission first! Create a multimedia presentation on Cezanne's art using one of many TeachersFirst Edge tools, reviewed here. Use as an example for projects with other artists, mathematicians, or scientists. Post a link for Cezanne on your class website.

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Expedition: Insects - Smithsonian

Grades
3 to 5
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Expedition Insects is a high-interest, nonfiction free ebook (pdf) for an iPad or any device that can use an Internet browser. Travel the world to investigate six different insects...more
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Expedition Insects is a high-interest, nonfiction free ebook (pdf) for an iPad or any device that can use an Internet browser. Travel the world to investigate six different insects in their natural habitats. Find beautiful illustrations depicting the insect and its habitat. Read about the Blue Morpho butterfly, Asian giant hornet, Malaysian walking leaf, African dung beetle, brown marmorated stink bugs, and fireflies. All have amazing abilities. Each insect has its special tricks for living and thriving in their habitats and an important role in the ecosystem. Also, learn a little about world geography by tracing the route from one continent to the next where they live. This pdf is full of gorgeous illustrations to complement the information. The iPad version is available on iTunes and is free (not a pdf). It is interactive with clickable links and videos. 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): biomes (118), ecosystems (76), guided reading (46), independent reading (107), insects (61)

In the Classroom

Before introducing this ebook (or pdf) to students on your interactive whiteboard (or projector), preview the links and videos. Create a study guide that follows the important points and a vocabulary list for student use during the reading. Create the study guide using a tool like ProcessOn, reviewed here. Embed the study guide on your class website for student use at home. Include clickable links to videos about the insects on the study guide for those who do not have OS X to view them. This reviewer did a simple Google search for Asian giant hornet and found a National Geographic video about them within the first three items listed. To capture student interest, first show the video of the insect the class will be reading about. The pdf version of the illustrated ebook is worth the time it takes to read it! It is full of high-interest nonfiction reading!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Otus - Mobile Learning Environment - Pete Helfers, Chris Hull, and Andrew Bluhm

Grades
K to 12
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Otus is a simple, powerful online classroom management and learning tool. The teacher version offers a dashboard with whiteboard capabilities and split screens. Create assignments,...more
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Otus is a simple, powerful online classroom management and learning tool. The teacher version offers a dashboard with whiteboard capabilities and split screens. Create assignments, polls, bookshelves, reading material, and quizzes with immediate feedback when complete. Work in real-time to take attendance, assess students, and get poll results. Do all of this from your computer or mobile device. Students join with a class code either on the web or from the app on their mobile. There are eleven tutorials accessible from the home page. These are YouTube videos. 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): assessment (71), blogs (75), classroom management (95), DAT device agnostic tool (105), microblogging (34)

In the Classroom

Once you set up your account and classes, this could be your classroom online! Teach anything here that you can teach in a physical classroom with a lot less hassle and prep time! Choose to have the parent portal active or not. Save all resources by using the bookshelf, so you can use them again in the future. You have a central bookshelf, and you can share anything from there to your classes (each class has its own bookshelf), other members of Otus, and more. Use the calendar for scheduling assignments, tests, field trips and anything else for your classes. On the class home page there are two different type posts: they are the Side Bar and Main Bar, both of which can be renamed to make them pertinent to your class. Title the posts and add media if appropriate. Students can comment on posts.

Sharing via the bookshelf is one reason Otus is such a powerful tool. Be sure to watch the video tutorial about it. The Assessment section is another powerful tool that can include short answer, multiple choice, and true/false questions. Add a photo (such as a graph, map, cell, etc.). The ability to randomize questions and answers, assign Common Core standards, create tags to make it easier to find in the future, and grade online all make the assessment section very teacher friendly.

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Typeform - Robert Munoz

Grades
K to 12
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Typeform offers an interactive method to ask and answer questions online. Use the form builder to create visually rich and engaging questions. Drag and drop features make it easy to...more
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Typeform offers an interactive method to ask and answer questions online. Use the form builder to create visually rich and engaging questions. Drag and drop features make it easy to add and personalize content such as different question choices, images, backgrounds, and more. When complete, share using your unique URL or embed your Typeform using provided HTML. Go to the Help Center and under Dashboard, read more about your options for sharing your Typeform. Choose options for receiving and tracking visits to your form in your configuration settings.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (105), polls and surveys (43), quizzes (85)

In the Classroom

This free tool is a great way to identify a value or rating of various items. Use this in science class to poll students on various types of renewable and nonrenewable energies as cheap/expensive and clean/dirty for the environment. Poll students on types of cars, rating the cost and gas mileage. Follow up with research into the various makes and models. Poll about famous presidents and various influences on the economy and society. Compare characters in various novels in measures of motivation and other characteristics. In younger grades, gather data about students favorite animals and why (such as fluffy/ferocious) or favorite colors and mood. Learn more about your students through polling of various social and cultural topics such as fashion, movies, and songs. Use this to identify misconceptions and resistance to various subject areas. Identify foods and feelings for each specific kind of food in Family and Consumer Science or attitudes towards various sports. Conduct specific polls for Introduction to Psychology or Sociology about various topics and reactions to the topics. Use to poll students on project ideas or to determine reactions to current events. Older students may want to include polls on their student blogs or wiki pages to increase involvement or create polls to use at the start of project presentations. Use polls to generate data for math class (graphing), during elections, or for critical thinking activities dealing with the interpretation of statistics. Use "real" data to engage students in issues that matter to them. For Professional development, rate different technology tools for ease of use/difficulty and high/low value for instruction. Place a poll on your teacher web page as a homework inspiration or to increase parent involvement. Gifted students would love this tool to dig deeply into the multiple facets of issues they worry about.

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Listhings - Martin Tajur

Grades
5 to 12
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Listhings is a web-based canvas for creating and storing sticky notes. Create a new canvas by clicking anywhere on the blank canvas. You can also click and drag your mouse ...more
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Listhings is a web-based canvas for creating and storing sticky notes. Create a new canvas by clicking anywhere on the blank canvas. You can also click and drag your mouse to create a new note from anywhere on the board. Click the plus sign to add images and checklists to your canvas. You can also drag and drop images directly from your desktop. Personalize stickies by changing the color of sticky notes. Edit the text options using bold and strikethroughs. Change the size of your notes quickly and easily. Once you have created more than one canvas, choose the one you want to be your default canvas when you use Listhings. Any device with a web browser can access and use this organizer! Share your canvas with one click by adding email recipients. Note that collaborators must have email addresses.

tag(s): homework (46), organizational skills (99)

In the Classroom

Introduce how to use Listhings on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Demonstrate how to use the checklist to mark off completed items. Have students use this as a way to organize their reminders and homework. With younger students use with a whole-class email account and list items to be accomplished for the day. Display the list on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have a student scribe check off completed items. Use this site with a whole-class email account to organize a major research project. Keep track (or share) sites to help students study for the big test. Provide this link on your class website for students (or parents) to access at home. Help students build organizational skills with this engaging and useful tool. If your students have a whole-class email account, use a class canvas to display ideas as student brainstorm or respond from their smart phones (if allowed in class). With the canvas open on a projector (interactive whiteboard), their ideas will appear instantaneously.

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JFK Assassination Timeline - Washington Post

Grades
7 to 12
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The Washington Post offers an interesting timeline detailing events of the day of JFK's assassination as well as the effect on how the Secret Service protects the president. Scroll...more
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The Washington Post offers an interesting timeline detailing events of the day of JFK's assassination as well as the effect on how the Secret Service protects the president. Scroll through the page to view the story from the president's arrival through the time Oswald flees the scene. Along the way listen to short audio clips from a former director of the Secret Service with how each event impacts changes to the security of the president.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): kennedy (28), presidents (116)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Open the site and view together as a class during a study of the presidents or elections. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare and contrast presidential security for JFK to today's president. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here. Have them create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook from the perspective of John Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, or a Secret Service agent documenting the day's events.

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Cinco de Mayo Study Guide - The History Channel

Grades
4 to 9
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This pdf file offers a traditional (but reliable) look at Cinco de Mayo, beyond the food and fun! Learn about the historical impact of the holiday and its significance to ...more
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This pdf file offers a traditional (but reliable) look at Cinco de Mayo, beyond the food and fun! Learn about the historical impact of the holiday and its significance to Mexicans (and folks from other countries, as well). This pdf is set up as a study guide. It includes historical information, curriculum links (history, world cultures, and social studies), vocabulary words, discussion questions, extension activities, map challenges, related literature, and websites for additional information.

tag(s): cinco de mayo (14), mexico (33)

In the Classroom

This site is ready to use in class. Have cooperative learning groups debate the discussion questions. Better yet, turn the discussion questions into a class wiki, allowing students to input their thoughts on the wiki. Have students write a journal entry (as a blog) highlighting one of the discussion questions or from the perspective of someone living during the 1800s. Use a quick and easy writing tool such as Throwww reviewed here. Share maps of Mexico on your interactive whiteboard or projector. The Extension Activity calls for students to create and label a map. MapStory, reviewed here, would be the perfect tool for this since you can have images, text, and video in the annotation, and it has a timeline feature. Have cooperative learning groups create commercials highlighting what they have learned (be sure they include some new vocabulary words) or even a video advertisement for your class's Cinco de Mayo celebration. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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