TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Mar 1, 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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MediaFire - MediaFire

Grades
6 to 12
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Get organized with Media Fire. Store and sync files, folders, and media (photos, music, video). Access them from any computer or mobile device. Download the program to your computer...more
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Get organized with Media Fire. Store and sync files, folders, and media (photos, music, video). Access them from any computer or mobile device. Download the program to your computer for times when there is no Internet access. MediaFire Desktop keeps your online and locally stored files safe and in sync. View and edit all files and folders privately or share them to collaborate. Find a comprehensive Getting Started PDF manual on the left side menu. Signing up is as easy as typing in your email. MediaFire claims to be "the only online storage solution to offer unlimited downloads, download resuming, zero wait times and more, all for free."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (99)

In the Classroom

Use MediaFire to transfer files and images between devices quickly in your BYOD or 1:1 classroom. Student groups working on projects in class can gather and share data easily from anywhere. Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. They can easily make documents public or private and share with others. What a great way for students to turn their work into you when completed on their devices! During curriculum development and other professional development activities, members of a department (or even school-wide) can share resources and documents easily with each other.

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The Tale of Peter Rabbit - Mighty Book, Inc

Grades
K to 3
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Listen to the classic story of Peter Rabbit while following highlighted text. As the story is read, each word spoken highlights in red. Stop, go back, or move forward through ...more
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Listen to the classic story of Peter Rabbit while following highlighted text. As the story is read, each word spoken highlights in red. Stop, go back, or move forward through each page as you desire.

tag(s): audio books (30), listening (85), literature circles (5), preK (246)

In the Classroom

Encourage beginning readers and ESL/ELL students to read along with texts in hand as they listen to the stories and the pronunciation of possible new words. Include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access as encouragement for extra reading. Save this site in your favorites and use it as an L.A. learning center (don't forget the headsets). Play this audio story with the speakers turned up and lights turned off for a quiet listening activity. For emergent readers, consider having students mute the volume and read along themselves.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Random Name Generator Tool - Instant Classroom

Grades
K to 12
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Call on a different student every time with the Random Name Generator tool. Each class can have up to 100 names. First, type a new group name to check availability. ...more
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Call on a different student every time with the Random Name Generator tool. Each class can have up to 100 names. First, type a new group name to check availability. Next, enter a password, display name, and your email address. Either copy and paste the information that comes next or save the email you are sent to retrieve the group and list of names quickly. The Random Name Generator will work with iPads or on any Internet browser.

tag(s): classroom management (94), probability (115)

In the Classroom

Use the Random Name Generator to select a student to do an activity or to answer a question. Allow students to use the name generator to choose the classmate who comes next. Create your list at the beginning of the year and SAVE it to use throughout the year. Use the Random Name Generator as part of your probability unit to chart how often names appear with random spins.

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Kotobana - Kotobana

Grades
K to 12
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"Draw" a flower from the visual text of a single word using this simple Japanese tool. The basic tools are labeled in English. Browse the Gallery to see examples, including ...more
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"Draw" a flower from the visual text of a single word using this simple Japanese tool. The basic tools are labeled in English. Browse the Gallery to see examples, including this one our editors made using the word "teaching." Click +draw to make your own. Enter a single, short word and choose options such as font and color scheme. Give it a name, and it will be added to the Gallery. There are other sharing options for the designs you make, but many are labeled in Japanese! If you click to open it from the Gallery, you can copy its direct url from your address bar to save as a Favorite or share with others. Turn off autoplay in the Gallery to keep your design on the screen. Roll your mouse over a design (or tap it on a tablet) to make it spin! You can share to Facebook and Pinterest directly. The easiest way to share is by saving the url or by taking a screenshot of your finished design (Printscrn button on Windows or Command+Shift+4 on Mac). You also have the option to actually print. Note that the gallery could have word designs that may be in other languages or possibly be inappropriate for young people. Our editors found nothing objectionable at the time of this review. Preview to be safe. Click the sound on/off option in the footer to turn off the music as you enjoy the site.

tag(s): design (81), graphic design (28), symmetry (52)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate radial symmetry in an art or math class using this tool. As you teach letter shapes in kindergartens, try making a design to help your students see the shape in this colorful format. If you teach about fonts in an art or graphic design class, this tool can spark discussion about the design elements of letter forms. An idea for elementary or middle school teachers: Have students create "flowers" of their own names (or shortened nicknames) as a getting to know you activity during the first week of school. Post the design screenshot images on your class web page or print them to put in the hallway.

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Word Wars - Clay.io

Grades
1 to 8
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Sharpen your spelling and word finding abilities with the addicting challenge Word Wars! Race against the clock (90 seconds) to find as many words that you can connect in the ...more
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Sharpen your spelling and word finding abilities with the addicting challenge Word Wars! Race against the clock (90 seconds) to find as many words that you can connect in the given word array. Earn points for words. You can click on the letters to form the words or spell the words using your keyboard.

tag(s): crosswords (13), phonics (74), sight words (34), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

Introduce Word Wars on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use as a reward time activity for a whole class, teams, or individuals. After introducing, use at centers. Add to your website for spelling practice. For older students have them create their own Word War arrays using vocabulary or spelling words.

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Paperhouses - Paperhouses

Grades
7 to 12
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Peek into the architectural design process or even participate in it via this public sharing site of blueprints from some of the world's best and most innovative and respected architects....more
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Peek into the architectural design process or even participate in it via this public sharing site of blueprints from some of the world's best and most innovative and respected architects. Join for free to access "architecture in open source" to see how new materials are being used, read blog posts by designers, and browse designs and actual blueprints. See how architects are solving challenges of sustainability and more.

tag(s): architecture (66), design (81), engineering (89), environment (294), structures (22)

In the Classroom

Share this site as part of a simple unit on measurement and scale (blueprints!) or in discussions about the environment, engineering, and the impact of human behavior on our world. Include it as a link on your class web page for art classes, gifted classes, or environmental issues. If you teach CAD or tech ed, this site is a wonderful example of drafting put to use in the real world. Have your science students research some of the materials used in the designs or analyze the structures' load bearing properties in a physics class. Share this site as part of career explorations so students can explore what architects say and do. Encourage students to select designs and share their analysis or discussions about them as a blog post or wiki page. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Nautilus - Nautilus

Grades
9 to 12
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Explore science through fascinating articles in this episodic monthly magazine. Although you can subscribe for a fee, you can also check out past and current issues online for free....more
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Explore science through fascinating articles in this episodic monthly magazine. Although you can subscribe for a fee, you can also check out past and current issues online for free. As they describe themselves, "We deliver big-picture science by reporting on a single monthly topic from multiple perspectives." The combined perspectives include, "the sciences, culture and philosophy into a single story told by the world's leading thinkers and writers." Each Thursday the site publishes a new "chapter" of that month's thematic issue. Past issue themes include Creativity, Illusions, Genius, Big Bangs, and more. Expect to be fascinated by the many angles. You will want to talk and share about what you learn!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): careers (114), expository writing (34), scientists (50), writing prompts (87)

In the Classroom

Share these articles as part of a broad discussion of the role of science in our world, such as during a unit on scientists or careers. Share Nautilus with your gifted or science-focused students to spark interests in scientific fields that are new to them. Assign gifted students to select an article and research it further when they have tested out of regular curriculum. They can share their discoveries as a multimedia presentation or write a blog post about them. Use articles from the magazine as fodder for class debates in English class or pull excerpts to use as writing prompts for informational or expository writing. The reading levels are high school and up, so be sure to partner weaker readers with a more capable reader if using this for class assignments. Check specific reading levels of an article by pasting its url into the Juicy Studio Readability Test, reviewed here.

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Math Puzzles - Transum

Grades
4 to 12
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Math Puzzles offers a large selection of puzzles with mathematical connections. Scroll through the page to find puzzles using geometric shapes, crosswords, number squares, and more....more
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Math Puzzles offers a large selection of puzzles with mathematical connections. Scroll through the page to find puzzles using geometric shapes, crosswords, number squares, and more. Choose any puzzle to view directions and begin to play.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): crosswords (13), logic (206), problem solving (200)

In the Classroom

Share the math puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use as a math center or when you have an extra 5-10 minutes of time. Create a link to the puzzles on classroom computers or your class website. This is a great find for use with gifted students to practice logic and problem-solving skills. Have students create blogs using Throwww ( here) to explain their problem solving process. This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided and this site is as easy as using a basic Word program!

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US Digital Literacy - US DIgital Literacy

Grades
K to 12
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US Digital Literacy is a comprehensive informational site to help better deliver digital literacy information to students. Help to prepare your students to understand and use information...more
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US Digital Literacy is a comprehensive informational site to help better deliver digital literacy information to students. Help to prepare your students to understand and use information in multiple formats from a broad range of sources. Students need to be able to read, and interpret media, reproduce data and images, evaluate, and apply new knowledge from digital environments. Learn how to use the tools, promote responsible digital citizenship, while providing a framework to access, analyze, and create new information. Under Digital Toolkits find information about digital citizens, web 2.0, augmented reality, social bookmarks, wikis, images and creative commons, keyboarding practice, and mobile learning communities. For your own use, find professional learning networks, adaptive learning systems, learning management systems, project based learning, and STEM and STEAM. The Twenty-first- Century Skills section gives background in the Common Core, core subjects, learning and innovative skills, information and media literacy, and life and career skills. Instructional Strategies provide information for classroom management, activating strategies, vocabulary strategies, cognitive growth strategies, organizing strategies, summarizing strategies, and assessment types. Information regarding thoughtful technology leadership includes videos to promote conversations and challenges for your school website. Each section includes interesting and informative videos. The videos are hosted on YouTube. 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): professional development (86)

In the Classroom

Become your school's technology guru. Find information to explore, try and share a piece at a time. Easily locate information to lead you to becoming a 21st century educational technology teacher (and leader). Be sure to document your professional growth as part of your yearly teacher evaluation. Present information at staff meetings to promote growth within your school. Explore various sections of this site to share with your class. Sign up for the newsletter to discover the latest information and resources.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Travel By Drone - Jan Hiersemenzel

Grades
K to 12
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See spectacular Drone views of many different locations by clicking on a circle or pin on the Google interactive map. The circles will have a number for how many different ...more
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See spectacular Drone views of many different locations by clicking on a circle or pin on the Google interactive map. The circles will have a number for how many different views of the area are provided. Search for specific cities, select editors' choices, or see the "Latest" drone footage. As with any Google map there are the usual navigation tools. To see if the area you want to view has footage, scroll through the map. The Drone footage is hosted on YouTube. 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cities (22), countries (66), landforms (41), landmarks (25), news (172), setting (10), video (188)

In the Classroom

This site is continually adding new places to see. If you don't find what you want, check back frequently. Make geography come to life by showing students WHERE a story or news event takes place. Share the videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this tool to explore how it looks in the country or city studied in world cultures (or languages). Explore geography concepts, historical locations, famous battle locations, and more. Students creating a multimedia presentation with a setting can look at Travel By Drone to see if there is footage they can use.

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History on the Net - Heather Wheeler

Grades
7 to 12
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History on the Net contains a wide variety of resources for a broad range of history topics. Begin a search by exploring history topics or by searching resources such as ...more
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History on the Net contains a wide variety of resources for a broad range of history topics. Begin a search by exploring history topics or by searching resources such as online lessons or worksheets. Explore the Titanic, World War I, Vikings, Mayans, and so much more! Look through a large selection of reference materials: dictionaries, timelines, and more. History on the Net is a great starting point when looking for lessons and materials for teaching history across the ages!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): african american (106), aztecs (7), battles (13), black history (49), britain (36), civil rights (96), cold war (26), egypt (63), elizabethan (18), greeks (26), mayans (10), myths and legends (18), native americans (68), olympics (42), romans (28), victorian (21), vikings (7), worksheets (44), world war 1 (43), world war 2 (140)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. This site is a perfect addition to use with President's Day activities, when learning about the Olympics, or as part of a Black History Month lesson. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a president, a passenger on the Titanic, a famous scientist, or another person learned about on this site.
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SlideRule - Parul Gupta and Gautam Tambay

Grades
8 to 12
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Discover some of the world's best online courses with SlideRule's search engine. Enter what you want to learn into the search bar. Explore the offerings provided or browse by subject,...more
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Discover some of the world's best online courses with SlideRule's search engine. Enter what you want to learn into the search bar. Explore the offerings provided or browse by subject, university, or providers. Narrow results down by starting date, teaching method, or credentials. Each entry includes a short description of the course, fees (many are free!), start dates, length of course, and skill level required. Many classes also include reviews from other SlideRule users. Click the "Enroll" link to go directly to the course or save to your wish list after creating a free account. Some of the videos are hosted on YouTube. Most do not require Flash. 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): professional development (86), search engines (60)

In the Classroom

Share SlideRule with your gifted students as a resource for finding enrichment resources or content not taught by your school. Search for and share free courses for all students to use for review of any topic. Use the SlideRule search engine to find professional development courses for your own personal use.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Comment Bubble - Vivek Agrawal and Jean-Sebastien Legare

Grades
4 to 12
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Get explicit feedback for any video you want to share with others. Comment Bubble has a feedback feature that allows viewers to react to your video using five "Quick Comment" ...more
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Get explicit feedback for any video you want to share with others. Comment Bubble has a feedback feature that allows viewers to react to your video using five "Quick Comment" colored buttons (without pausing the video). Type in the information you want to know on the button. Viewers click on that button when they see it in the video. Viewers can also comment via text, audio, or video. Share the video with the URL provided or make it public for anyone to see. Comment Bubble will record and graph where in the video the audience reacted. See viewers' names with each comment. The demo video is hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, it 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), video (188)

In the Classroom

Introduce Comment Bubble on an interactive whiteboard or projector with a video you have prepared. It could be a video you use in conjunction with your lesson or a video of you actually giving the lesson. Show students how they can click on the Quick Comment buttons and also make text or verbal comments. Use Comment Bubble for flipping your class lectures. Have buttons for students to click when things are unclear or when they strongly disagree. Record student presentations and upload for self-evaluation or peer and teacher comments and questions. Use this tool for formative assessment. ESL/ELL and resource teachers could record students reading or conversing with a group and create a Comment Bubble for the students to self score their activity.

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Elementary Science Resource Kit - Tech4Learning

Grades
1 to 8
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Meet Science and Common Core English Language Arts standards using these seven ready-made project plans. Study biomes, the life cycle of a butterfly, the solar system, animals, and...more
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Meet Science and Common Core English Language Arts standards using these seven ready-made project plans. Study biomes, the life cycle of a butterfly, the solar system, animals, and famous inventors. While learning about the famous inventors, also learn the value of scientific thinking! Build thinking skills with the challenging culmination piece. These range from creating riddles to creating brochures and journals. All units include step by step directions, Science Content Standards (NSES), ELA Common Core Anchor Standards, and NETS. In addition, there is a list of resources to use and a suggestion for assessment. You MUST register to view the lessons. To register simply give your name and email, and download all seven of these units for free!
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tag(s): animal homes (31), animals (239), biomes (117), butterflies (13), famous people (15), inventors and inventions (96), life cycles (25), planets (109), scientific method (53), scientists (50), solar system (111)

In the Classroom

Immerse students in hands-on, inquiry projects with these seven plans. Introduce them on your interactive whiteboard or projector and select a class project to complete. Have student groups choose a topic to research. Created for grades 1 to 5, with one for 5-8, any of the plans could be adjusted to fit any of these grade levels. The science kit lesson plans are free, and so are some of the resources they suggest using, such as Pics4Learning, reviewed here. However, the Pixie and Wixie program that the lesson advises using is not free. Instead, use QwikSlides, reviewed here, or RawShorts, reviewed here. Be sure to bookmark these units for future use.

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