TeachersFirst - What's Popular

This page shares the 25 resources most frequently marked as Favorites by TeachersFirst Members in the past 60 days. See what tops the list of TeachersFirst's database of well over 15,000+ educator-reviewed web resources. Find out what other teachers are excited about. Not a TeachersFirst member yet? See the time saving benefits of free TeachersFirst membership

 

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Photos for Class - Clever Prototypes, LLC

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
Here is an excellent site for finding images for non-commercial use that will have the proper citation downloaded with it. Find a photo you want to use. Click the download ...more
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Here is an excellent site for finding images for non-commercial use that will have the proper citation downloaded with it. Find a photo you want to use. Click the download link under the picture. The downloaded image will have the appropriate attribution information with it. Note: right clicking on the photo will not produce the attribution information. Our editors found all photos to be "class appropriate." However, it is always best to use caution with image searching. Provide students with clear guidelines and expectations.

tag(s): images (231), photography (144), search engines (63)

In the Classroom

Have students use this site for Creative Common images for any report, newsletter, or project. The images from this site are all supposed to be G-Rated for classroom use. The search engine uses Flickr safe search, and other built-in filtering so all images produced should be appropriate for school use. Have students create an annotated image or build a story including text boxes and related links using images found on this tool and a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Be sure to keep a link to this site on your wiki, blog, or web page for students to use whenever they are working on a project.

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Teacher Resources for the Baltimore Museum of Art - Baltimore Museum of Art

Grades
1 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
   
The Baltimore Museum of Art offers resources for educators to support classroom curriculum and enhance student learning across disciplines. Museum featured artwork provides the content...more
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The Baltimore Museum of Art offers resources for educators to support classroom curriculum and enhance student learning across disciplines. Museum featured artwork provides the content for detailed lessons. The online images contain background information on the artist, other pieces of that time, and content connections to curriculum. The areas of concentration for the lessons are: Young America, Symbol of the New Republic, Made in Maryland, Western Perspectives, Unity in Diversity, The Art in Technology, Picturing Memory, and Shaping New Traditions. Activity sheets contain directions for projects to make such as: an animal stool inspired by the Lozi people, Recoloring Camouflage, and Inkblot pictures inspired by Andy Warhol, Cezanne, Matisse, Poster activity by Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Matisse, and French Line Drawings. View Multimedia Presentations about Frans Hals, Raphael, Chinese wall hanging, Albrecht Durer, among many others. Finally, a series of prints contain background information on the subject and the artist that allow further study. Sign up for Art to Go monthly email that contains a printable full-color image of an artwork at the Baltimore Museum of Art. A brief commentary focuses on teaching ideas, while the challenge project invites students to try this idea and bring it into their own style.

tag(s): art history (60), artists (69), museums (39)

In the Classroom

Have you been trying to incorporate different sources into your social studies content? Use the content areas found in this collection. In gifted classrooms, use these activities for choice enrichment activities to deepen content knowledge. Use the artwork to inspire a narrative or informative writing prompt. The free printable color images will decorate your classroom. Art classes have immediate lesson plans. Use as a quick lesson in case of a sub. When going on a trip to your local museum, begin by investigating the content found in Baltimore Museum of Art. Assign students to uncover the mystery of artwork in your own museum to increase interest and motivation on your visit. Students then work on a multimedia project, find one for them to use here, of what they discovered and present it to the class.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Formative - goformative.com

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
    
Looking for real-time feed back from your classes? Use tests and quizzes to get immediate feedback with this tool. You can even upload a document to Formative for students to ...more
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Looking for real-time feed back from your classes? Use tests and quizzes to get immediate feedback with this tool. You can even upload a document to Formative for students to annotate. Enter questions that require a variety of answers including true/false, text answers, or student drawings. It will even mark answers for you! Setup a marking key and view instant data on who is correct. Students can create an account to get access to the materials you create. The site works on all devices. Formative is aligned to many standards including Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and many other common standards. Create a free account. All assignments are organized in the dashboard. Click on New Assignment to begin and choose to start from scratch or upload a document. Choose the type of question and even add content such as text, whiteboard, or YouTube videos. Be sure to set up a key for automatic grading and watch the live results as they come in.

tag(s): commoncore (74), DAT device agnostic tool (115), polls and surveys (36), quizzes (79)

In the Classroom

Use this tool at the beginning of chapters or units to identify information students are already familiar with. Be sure to use this tool to check for understanding. Use as an exit slip, to identify material that needs to be retaught, or to locate specific students that need remediation. Students can easily see the choices and choose answers using a browser on a laptop or any device. Use this formative assessment tool to create pretests to offer to gifted students to "test out" of already learned material. Make it a class challenge! Project your quiz to the entire classroom using a whiteboard or projector. Use this tool often to obtain a snapshot of each student's understanding of content. Use this tool to give students the opportunity to predict the content of tomorrow's lesson based upon today's.

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Plagiarism.org - iParadigms, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Here you will find everything you will ever need to know about plagiarism and citing sources. Click on Plagiarism 101 and find out exactly what plagiarism is and the different ...more
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Here you will find everything you will ever need to know about plagiarism and citing sources. Click on Plagiarism 101 and find out exactly what plagiarism is and the different types of plagiarism. Citing Sources explains what a citation is, why one should cite sources, how to paraphrase, how to quote material, what a footnote is, and when one should cite the source. Although this site is rather plain in appearance, it is a hot topic and definitely a site to save and share with students!

tag(s): citations (25), plagiarism (29), summarizing (13)

In the Classroom

Meet your Common Core standards for nonfiction reading using the pages at this informative site! In addition, every student who creates a report, presentation, speech, or project, in any subject, needs to know this information. Consider dividing and presenting this site with a teacher in another curriculum, so students get the idea that this is information for EVERY class. Consider presenting the information, questions, and quizzes using a program such as GoClass, reviewed here or Answer Pad, reviewed here. With these programs, you can create questions or a scavenger hunt. Then you can quiz students on the information and have it all self-corrected. Moreover, using one of these programs will make this text heavy, but necessary material, much more tolerable for your students. You may want to challenge your gifted and musically inclined students to create a rap highlighting the important information they learned about plagiarism and citing sources. Have them teach the rap to the rest of the class. Or have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here).

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PhotoFunia - Capsule Digital

Grades
K to 12
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Use your pictures and PhotoFunia to create photo collages, flyers, family trees, holiday albums, and more. No registration is needed! PhotoFunia has hundreds of effects and filters....more
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Use your pictures and PhotoFunia to create photo collages, flyers, family trees, holiday albums, and more. No registration is needed! PhotoFunia has hundreds of effects and filters. More are added weekly. To add shadows, age your photo, or render it black and white just visit the Filters category. Add clever features such as an astronaut or a Santa suit, a witch's hat or a queen's crown. Looking for an attractive frame for your photos? Find one here. Write on the sand or graffiti text on the wall. Carve your name on the ground or create your very own road sign using text effects. The program is as easy to use as picking the effect and uploading a photo. Save it to your computer or email it. Try using PhotoFunia online with no registration, or get the free app for iOS or Andriod, and most other smartphones. At the time of this review, all photo effects appeared appropriate for use in the classroom. However, we always suggest you preview the tool before sharing it with students.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (75), DAT device agnostic tool (115), editing (48), images (231), photography (144)

In the Classroom

You do not need to be artistic to transform a personal or stock photo into a stunning work of art or even an amusing image. Adjust any image's color intensity, value, and hue using the filters. Use this tool anytime that photos need to be edited for use in class blogs, newsletters, wikis, or websites. 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 the features and effects to edit images to fit styles of photos when doing historical reports or to set the mood.

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The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students - Holocaust Memorial Museum

Grades
8 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
This well-organized site presents an authentic and factual view of the Holocaust in a format appropriate for middle and high school students. Text, historical photographs, maps, images...more
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This well-organized site presents an authentic and factual view of the Holocaust in a format appropriate for middle and high school students. Text, historical photographs, maps, images of artifacts, and audio clips provide a riveting experience for visitors. This resource is organized by themes which include Nazi Rule, Jews in Germany, the "Final Solution," Nazi Camps, and Rescue and Resistance. Each theme is supported by in-depth information, a helpful glossary and timeline, and a list of key dates and events.

tag(s): holocaust (39), jews (18), nazis (12), world war 2 (143)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to design a picture walk in your classroom about the holocaust. Select 10-15 of the more powerful images, choosing a variety of subjects. Assign students to begin at specific numbers, before allowing the class to rotate around the classroom every 30-45 seconds. At each image, students should quickly write down what they observe, infer and predict about each image. At the end of the picture walk, have a class discussion based on the notes students took during the walk. This would be a very interesting way to introduce the topic in a non-lecture format. For help creating the graphic organizers, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Course hero - Course Hero, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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Take note of Course Hero with your class. Course Hero looks at various note-taking methods and explores each (using infographics and more). The featured infographic here shows results...more
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Take note of Course Hero with your class. Course Hero looks at various note-taking methods and explores each (using infographics and more). The featured infographic here shows results on written vs. computer note-taking. Discover different types of note taking and research for each. Find the most effective ways to take notes. Caution: this is a public blog, so you may want to preview comments before allowing students to explore on their own. Or simply share this site together with your class rather than using it for individual exploration.

tag(s): infographics (42), note taking (26)

In the Classroom

Use Course Hero to introduce note taking for your study skills class or integrate into any subject. After introducing each note-taking strategy mentioned, have your students try each type and decide which works best for each individual. Immediately after your first audio lecture, give a pop quiz. Let students try note taking and discover the value for success. Use as a remediation tool for learners who need more reinforcement. Introduce in gifted classes, when these learners can no longer rely on simply remembering. At your parent orientation, give this site as a resource. And be sure to provide this link on your class website.

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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 (76), test prep (88)

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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Parade of Games in PowerPoint - Dr. Dianne Jones and Diana Mungai

Grades
K to 12
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Parade of Games in PowerPoint offers a stellar line-up of free customizable PowerPoint game templates to download. Reinforce learning in your classroom with templates creatively based...more
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Parade of Games in PowerPoint offers a stellar line-up of free customizable PowerPoint game templates to download. Reinforce learning in your classroom with templates creatively based on popular game shows. Each PowerPoint template provides a description of the game as well as a sample game. Customize the Jeopardy PowerPoint to review key learning concepts from a unit of study. The "Who Wants to be a Coach?" template, patterned after the TV game show, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" offers students the opportunity to use a lifeline.

tag(s): sight words (36), test prep (88)

In the Classroom

Download the customizable PowerPoints to create review games before formative or summative assessments. Use the games for a whole class review or provide stations around the room. Students can take turns hosting the review games to provide more opportunities for engagement. Encourage your students to download the templates to create games for their peers to play. Upload the games to a website or blog for the students to download at home. Upload images into the templates from Compfight, reviewed here. Download the Buzz Word BINGO template to review sight words and vocabulary words. Use Buzz Word BINGO in ESL/ELL classrooms to make word review more engaging. Challenge your students to create PowerPoint templates similar to the examples found on Parade of Games in PowerPoint.

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Jeopardy Rocks - Muno Creative LLC

Grades
3 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This tool is an online Jeopardy game builder. Simply enter the information and you are ready to play! Use the "build now" button and choose a URL for your game. ...more
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This tool is an online Jeopardy game builder. Simply enter the information and you are ready to play! Use the "build now" button and choose a URL for your game. Enter your email address so you can edit the game later. Enter your series of questions and answers under topical headings and difficulty levels. It's that easy. Up to four teams or individuals can play at one time. Play the demo history game and choose one of the vegetable icons to get started. Clicking the check mark for correct will reveal the answer.

tag(s): quiz (69), quizzes (79)

In the Classroom

Jeopardy games are a great way to review all types of information, in any subject, with your students. As part of the review, have small groups of students take a category and create the Jeopardy game. Have students create a Jeopardy quiz for their classmates to take after they give a presentation. Learning support teachers may want to have small groups create the review quizzes since creating the quiz is a great way to reinforce content. Share a link to any Jeopardy Rocks activity on your class website or blog for student use at home.

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Dowce - Dowce

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

tag(s): images (231)

In the Classroom

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

Edge Features:

Products can be embedded

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Doctopus - Google

Grades
7 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Organize student Google documents with Doctopus! This tool is essential for organizing of documents both to and from students. Create a Google Doc template. Next, create a spreadsheet...more
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Organize student Google documents with Doctopus! This tool is essential for organizing of documents both to and from students. Create a Google Doc template. Next, create a spreadsheet containing the students who will be using the document. When you install Doctopus as a Chrome add-on, a Doctopus folder is created in Google Docs. Be sure that the template you create and the spreadsheet containing student names are in that folder. A script needs to be installed to pull the student names from the spreadsheet and then send them the document. Simple directions with screenshots can be found here. This is a Google Chrome add-on and is available for Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, and Linux. This add-on is not available for Windows RT, iPad, or mobile devices as of this time.

tag(s): assessment (76)

In the Classroom

Use Google Docs more effectively with this simple Chrome add-on. Though the process at first seems long, it actually makes sharing of documents easier with students. BUT it also makes the collecting of student documents easier. Use Docs for reading response journals, writing science labs, writing reports or papers, creating collaborative notes in any class, and more. What better way to comment on and improve student work!

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Learn English with Jokes and Riddles - Jacob Richman

Grades
K to 12
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Everyone loves a good joke or riddle, and you do not need any bells and whistles to get one across. At this site find ten categories and over 300 jokes ...more
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Everyone loves a good joke or riddle, and you do not need any bells and whistles to get one across. At this site find ten categories and over 300 jokes and riddles all free to use. Enjoy the jokes sequentially, choose a category, or take your chances with a random pick. All jokes and riddles are suitable for all age groups.

tag(s): humor (14), riddles (15)

In the Classroom

Jokes and riddles make excellent language exercises, and kids love them. Once the students have guessed the answer, use the sentences for grammar practice by identifying parts of speech, subject and predicate, and even diagramming. Younger students and ESL/ELL students can learn new vocabulary words, too. The twist and/or play on words will surely attract your gifted students. Once you have gone through several of these, encourage students to create their own and share with the class. If you would like to take this one step further, see the TeachersFirst review forI Spy Riddle Rhymes with Jean Marzollo reviewed here.

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Grammar Check - grammarcheck.net

Grades
5 to 12
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Instantly grammar check any piece of writing using GrammarCheck's editor. Simply copy/paste your text into this website, and receive instant feedback. Click on the color coded information...more
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Instantly grammar check any piece of writing using GrammarCheck's editor. Simply copy/paste your text into this website, and receive instant feedback. Click on the color coded information and find style suggestions, spelling errors, and grammar suggestions. There is a premium option with more features.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): editing (48), proofreading (17), writing (330)

In the Classroom

Use this highly visual revision program with your students who are ready to refine and improve their writing. Use GrammarCheck for revision after editing of grammar and mechanics is complete. Partner an advanced writer with one not so advanced and have them use GrammarCheck to improve their styles. Put the link to this site on your class web page for students and parents to use from home. Remind seniors to use it for their college essays. Use this tool to polish your professional writing, parent newsletters, blog posts, and papers for grad classes!

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Face to Face: Stories from an Aftermath of Infamy - ITVS

Grades
8 to 12
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This collection of real-life stories from Japanese Americans and Arab and Muslim Americans explores the issues of civil liberties in the wake of two days that changed the world forever...more
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This collection of real-life stories from Japanese Americans and Arab and Muslim Americans explores the issues of civil liberties in the wake of two days that changed the world forever - December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001. Racial hatred, fear, distrust, national loyalty, and the validity of constitutional rights are just a few of the complex issues addressed in the riveting audio interviews. A series of lesson plans guides teachers and students through a comparison of how America responded to these two ethnic groups after the two respective tragedies.

tag(s): racism (16), sept11 (22), terrorism (45), world war 2 (143)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities hosted on this site. The oral interviews would make a great in-class activity, playing them over the projector or interactive whiteboard. Select a section and play the interviews, usually around 5-10 minutes total. Have students listen to the interviews, and write or discuss a response afterwards. Very moving interviews, making a solid base for a class discussion on racism and the effects of globalization.

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Gratisography - Ryan McGuire

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
These high quality, high-resolution photos can be used for free. No worries, it is not a stock photo site. Find a small number of new photos added weekly. Use any ...more
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These high quality, high-resolution photos can be used for free. No worries, it is not a stock photo site. Find a small number of new photos added weekly. Use any photo for either personal or commercial projects. Find a variety of landscapes, animals, people, and situations in the black and white or colored photographs. Though these are free, the work should be attributed to the artist. At the time of this review our editors found nothing inappropriate in the photos. However, we always recommend to PREVIEW!

tag(s): images (231), photography (144)

In the Classroom

Use photos from this site in your PowerPoint slides, web page, blog, etc., and be sure to attribute them. The different concepts of copyright are challenging for young students (below about grade 4). You may want to "collect" some photos for their use and save them locally for them to choose from until they are ready to understand the most difficult copyright issues. Select an image to project onto an interactive whiteboard or projector. Give time for students to develop a story around the picture. Use photos that students can use to demonstrate content in various classes. For example, in science, an image of a cat might be used to explain a classification and other animals related to it or the characteristics of life demonstrated in the image. In an art class, discuss the features of the photograph that are compelling, the use of light, the photo's composition, etc.

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Brightstorm Science - Brightstorm, Inc.

Grades
9 to 12
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Brightstorm Science offers a vast array of science videos and descriptions covering science topics related to Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Videos are short (generally 5 minutes...more
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Brightstorm Science offers a vast array of science videos and descriptions covering science topics related to Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Videos are short (generally 5 minutes or less) and clearly explain the concepts. Next to each video is a list of other similar videos that may be useful. You can search by textbook, chapter, topic, and more to find related videos. Ask questions in the discussion area below. Tutors respond, if you are a member (free). Click on maps in the tab bar to create a playlist of videos for study. Registration to the site isn't necessary; however, registration allows access to message board to get personalized responses to individual questions. Registration requires a valid email address. These videos would be great for homework help and the understanding of concepts.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): acids and bases (11), animals (253), atmosphere (26), cells (100), chemicals (30), ecology (135), elements (37), evolution (102), gravity (44), homework (45), life cycles (25), matter (46), plants (130)

In the Classroom

Introduce new topics on your interactive whiteboard or projector using the videos provided on the site. Create a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to access at home to review topics presented in class. This site is perfect for both remediation and enrichment for students as it allows them to access concepts at their own individual levels. Share the site with parents to provide explanation of topics being covered in class. Challenge your students to create their own videos about topics you are learning about in class. Share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Share the videos on your class website or blog.
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3D City - loth/ Micropolis JS

Grades
8 to 12
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Plan, build, and manage your own 3D city using this shareware game. The tools are similar to SimCity, though simpler. You have a budget, collect taxes, build residential, industrial,...more
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Plan, build, and manage your own 3D city using this shareware game. The tools are similar to SimCity, though simpler. You have a budget, collect taxes, build residential, industrial, and commercial districts, and try to respond to the needs of your community before a crisis occurs. Messages at the lower left tell you of current needs. The items you can add show their costs and explanations when you roll your mouse over the 3D icons. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to locate "how to" information, so you need to be observant about the constant changes in your city as you learn the tools. Even on the "easy" level, things happen fast! For example, the population keeps changing, as does your available budget, tax revenue, etc. Use the pause button at the bottom to stop and think or simply to stop and notice what has happened while everything was changing so quickly! Click "Eval" to find out what your citizens think of your decisions as "mayor." You can Save your map and reopen it using the "load map" button the next time. Maps are saved locally on your computer so test first to be sure your settings allow the saved file to stay there. Since there is no sign-in or membership, you cannot load a map you saved on another computer.

tag(s): communities (28)

In the Classroom

This simulation would fit well in a unit on how communities work or basic governmental principles. Share this simulation on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) with student operators to figure out how the tools work. For a smooth introduction, have a small group of your "techie" students figure out what the tools do and explain them to the rest of the class. Then challenge student partners or groups of three to discover how to build a successful city. Have them take screen shots of their city's successes (and failures) and post them on a class wiki or in a blog post explaining what a successful city needs and why. Then have them find local news articles about a real world example of the same issues, such as a debate over a proposed industrial zone or new taxes, and share the link as part of their wiki or blog post. Note that github, the software sharing site where this game is hosted, may be blocked in some schools, so test before you plan to use this in a classroom!! If you teach computer coding, this is a great game for your students to try as inspiration.

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Nest Watch - Cornell University

Grades
2 to 12
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Join a nationwide monitoring program designed to track the status and trends of bird biology in nesting and reproduction. Receive instructions to become a certified nest watcher, and...more
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Join a nationwide monitoring program designed to track the status and trends of bird biology in nesting and reproduction. Receive instructions to become a certified nest watcher, and report findings on a nest every 3-4 days. Enter findings in a growing database that is used to research and study birds. Receive training on how to track data and what the data could mean. Find different birds with their most recent data. Learn about various birds found in your area. Explore an interactive map of nest size, species, and area by year. Review the different nest watch chapters. There are also webcams watching nests. Some of these 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): birds (45), environment (303), scientific method (58)

In the Classroom

Want to involve students in a country wide scientific investigation? With Nestwatch, students participate in a genuine scientific study with a prestigious university. All background information for participating is provided, along with detailed instructions for procedural steps. Look at the trends in bird nesting over the years and have students discuss causes for the results. In cooperative learning groups, have students defend a logical reason for the results of your study in a multimedia presentation. Find a tool to create a multimedia presentation using one of many TeachersFirst Edge tools, reviewed here. Use this research style as a model for studying endangered species in your area. Read excerpts from literature to gain further background information including literature such as, Silent Spring by Rachel Carsen. In your schoolyard, choose an area to landscape for birds. Watch for other wildlife in your nest spot.
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Newsela - Matthew Gross

Grades
2 to 12
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly...more
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level. Use Newsela to differentiate nonfiction reading. Newspaper writers rewrite a story four times for a total of five Lexile levels per story. Many stories also have embedded, Common Core aligned quizzes that conform to the reading levels for checking comprehension. A free account is required to use Newsela, both for teachers and for students, but students sign up using a teacher or parent provided code rather than an email address. Teachers can create classes and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading-level versions. There is an upgraded fee-based Pro Version which allows teachers or administrators to track reading progress, but most of the features are free and there is no advertising.

tag(s): differentiation (34), guided reading (47), independent reading (111), news (174), reading comprehension (99)

In the Classroom

Achieve two goals here: help students improve their reading comprehension and keep them current with what is happening in our nation and the world. When assigning articles, choose to have the class read at one reading level, or choose individuals and set the reading level for them. There are five categories from which to choose. You may want to set up different articles at different learning stations on the computers in your room. Have the students rotate daily through the stations, completing one or two a day until they have completed all five articles. Since Newsela is cloud based, even absent students can complete the missed work easily. Teachers of gifted students can use this site to accelerate or enrich reading for students. Find each students individual levels for reading nonfiction. Teachers or Learning Support and ELL students will love this alternative way for their students to meet current events requirements.

Comments

This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text. Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5

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A Soft Murmur - Gabriel Martin

Grades
4 to 12
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Are you feeling stressed? Unable to concentrate or complete a task? This tool will generate background sounds to create a positive thinking environment! Choose from a variety of sounds...more
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Are you feeling stressed? Unable to concentrate or complete a task? This tool will generate background sounds to create a positive thinking environment! Choose from a variety of sounds that sooth and relax while promoting creative productivity. These sounds are much better than plain, white noise. Classic sounds for relaxation include thunder, rain, waves, summer night, forest, white noise, and more. Use the slider bar at the top of the page to adjust sound levels as needed.

tag(s): creative writing (148), learning styles (14)

In the Classroom

Be sure to share this link with students (and their parents) looking for less distracting sounds while brainstorming or working. Does your class have silent reading time, or are you reading a book to the class or conducting a science lab? Turn up your speakers and use a background sound as mood music to set the stage for your story. Use the sounds during creative writing exercises. Why not listen to waves or water while studying them?! Play a few minutes of relaxing sounds before a major test. Consider using as background sounds for student presentations. If you talk with students about discovering their own learning styles, offer this site as a suggestion for them to try while prewriting or studying for tests. Emotional support (and autistic support) teachers may want to experiment to see if these sounds can help their students. Some students may find them over stimulating while others may find the sounds very helpful.

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White House Student Film Festival: Official Selections - The White House

Grades
4 to 12
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Marvel at the talent of U.S. K-12 student video makers and at the powerful messages they capture in these top 15 videos from the 2015 annual student film festival sponsored ...more
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Marvel at the talent of U.S. K-12 student video makers and at the powerful messages they capture in these top 15 videos from the 2015 annual student film festival sponsored by the White House. All the videos focus on themes related to citizenship, volunteerism, community, giving back, service, social justice, or other themes of character and caring. See what students can do with today's technology (even phone or tablet camera), good writing, and a creative desire to communicate a message in three minutes or less. Watch them all or select one or two. You are guaranteed to be impressed by the film makers and to be uplifted by this positive example of what today's youth can do. Don't miss the Archer Hadley Story as an example of the power of one and a revealing look at what "accessibility" really means. If this contest repeats in future years, encourage budding film makers to enter! The general time frame for making videos and entering is October- February. Many of the already-created videos require 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.

tag(s): communities (28), competitions (13), disabilities (16), media literacy (43), service projects (21), video (207)

In the Classroom

Share this collection in social studies or career classes as part of a lesson about giving back to your community. Have student groups select one video and describe its message in one sentence. Then challenge them to think of a citizenship message they would like to deliver on video. Take some class time to analyze why these videos "work": the camera shots, the voices and words, the music. Have groups write a script of their own (digital writing for Common Core!) and produce it as part of a school video festival. If you have a service club in your school or community, they might be willing to help sponsor the festival. Teachers of gifted can use this idea for independent student projects.

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Mental Floss - Felix Dennis

Grades
6 to 12
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Discover "random, interesting, amazing facts, quizzes, and trivia" at Mental Floss. This magazine-style offering features new posts daily on topics from science, history, culture, and...more
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Discover "random, interesting, amazing facts, quizzes, and trivia" at Mental Floss. This magazine-style offering features new posts daily on topics from science, history, culture, and more. For example, read about 6 Articles of Clothing That Caused Riots! Access the archives via the ALSO ON MENTAL FLOSS links near the bottom of the page for even more offerings. Any reader is guaranteed to learn something new and come away wanting to learn more. Find answers to imponderables or odd thoughts. Sections include Innovations, Words, Lists, and Quizzes with subareas for history, science, pop culture, etc. Click Videos to visit Mental Floss's YouTube channel or related videos. Articles are quick tidbits that invite you to share and learn. 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): animals (253), famous people (17), grammar (215), quizzes (79), trivia (16)

In the Classroom

Share Mental Floss on your class web page in any science, history, health, or reading class in middle school and up. Use it as a place for students to discover research topics related to your subject or as prompts for blog posts to get kids writing about something that interests them. Make a regular extra credit offering for students to write a blog post responding to something they learn here. If you have trouble getting students to read informational text, use these factoids as introductions to draw their interest before offering a longer article. Use these articles as starters for information literacy activities. Have partners research to find a corroborating (or debunking) source for the trivia offered here. English teachers will love some of the quick articles on misused or frequently misspelled words. Invite your students in any subject to find an article related to your subject and to create a poster version of that tip or tale using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here).

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David Rumsey Historical Map Collection - Cartography Associates

Grades
6 to 12
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In an age where digital maps are ubiquitous and take us down to house-by-house detail, we can forget how difficult it was to create accurate maps before satellite imaging. Historical...more
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In an age where digital maps are ubiquitous and take us down to house-by-house detail, we can forget how difficult it was to create accurate maps before satellite imaging. Historical maps are another tool for understanding the frame of reference of those who lived before us, and are important primary source documents. This collection includes over 50,000 historical maps, with an emphasis on 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America. The collection can be viewed from several platforms. Over 120 of the maps can be accessed using the Google Maps interface. A Georeferencer utility allows you to view a historical map laid over a modern map of the same area. And finally, the site's LUNA browser allows you to view multiple maps together, create embeddable links or Web Widgets that can be used in other applications, create slide shows of collections of maps, and annotate specific maps in the collection.

tag(s): 1700s (20), 1800s (41), map skills (79), maps (262), north america (20), south america (32)

In the Classroom

Use this historical map collection to highlight contemporary views of places featured in your history, literature, or geography lessons. Consider asking students to create a slideshow of maps that show how a location has changed over time, or how political boundaries have changed. Use a tool like Zoho Show (similar to Powerpoint, but easier and free) - reviewed here. Help students understand how culture influences map making and what historical maps can tell us other than information on geography.
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A Global Guide to the First World War - Guardian News and Media

Grades
8 to 12
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Get an overview of World War I through maps, audio, historical film, and archived newspaper reports. Listen as ten historians from various countries give a brief history through eclectic...more
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Get an overview of World War I through maps, audio, historical film, and archived newspaper reports. Listen as ten historians from various countries give a brief history through eclectic lenses. View the video to see soldiers transported on camels and warfare in the Alps. Choose from language options of English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic or Hindi. View interactives by clicking the pointing finger within the video. This site is a must-see for inclusion with any World War I lessons and units. Some may find some of the images disturbing. As always, it is best to preview!

tag(s): world war 1 (46)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce your unit on World War I. You don't need to view the whole video at one time. Choose different segments from the bottom of the screen to break up into smaller sections. This site is excellent for enrichment. It would be perfect nonfiction reading and listening in English, social studies or world language classes. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as WordItOut, reviewed here. Have students create maps of World War I events using Animaps. Students can add text, images, and location stops! Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a soldier, resident, or politician involved with World War I.

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