Grades9 to 12
While it is exciting to see an image of the actual documents describing events we know from our study of history, the site falls short of being "great." Yet the images themselves are unique enough to be useful -- with some caveats. The text of the papers is not searchable nor do they allow you to zoom in on particular parts of the document. There is no searchable data base of information overall. The links under "education" and "resources" take you to off site content (preview carefully). In one case, the text that accompanies the images of an edition of a historical newspaper references Wikipedia as its source; teachers will want to discuss with your class the risks/benefits of wikipedia as a source.
In the ClassroomThere are many uses for this site. Use this source to demonstrate primary resources. Share the short video clips on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have cooperative learning groups investigate a specific topic on this site and report back to the class with a multimedia presentation. Challenge students to create their own videos and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomFor those who are not strong readers, the audio-video combination provided here may make the concepts in the Gettysburg Address more accessible. For other students, there may be deeper, more complex questions sparked by the video. Did the creator of the video capture the concepts authored by Abraham Lincoln adequately? This video could be the "jumping off place" for a variety of questions the class might consider or project ideas for individual students. How might you do it differently? What about other well-known speeches or documents? How would you illustrate them for a similar video? Challenge students to create their own video accompanying a famous speech and share the video using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomIf using student created video, please check with district policy about sharing student work on the Internet. If using with students, be sure to discuss what is considered appropriate/inappropriate annotations to make on videos. These videos may not play in districts where You Tube videos are blocked. As EmbedPlus uses its own wrapper around the You Tube video, it may be viewable in your district depending upon the filter being used. Be sure to test this before using with students. Note: The "real time reactions" option pulls in and displays public comments when you click it. Use the "enhanced embed" wizard and be sure to click the checkbox that deactivates this feature. You may wish to monitor these for possible inappropriate content.
Use the controls to add annotations or student thoughts to sections of the videos. Students can make these comments on their own videos or on a different groups contribution. Use this just to add playback controls that allow for greater viewing of You Tube videos. Have students find a video (or assign one) and annotate it with curriculum related discussion, criticism, vocabulary, etc. Students can then embed this product in his/her blog or a class wiki or site. Consider creating a glog using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here. Make an annotated video with question prompts in annotations and embed in wiki or glog to share with your classes. Playback using the slow motion and zoom would be a great item to show on a whiteboard or projector.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): search engines (65)
In the ClassroomAdd a link to Google's UncleSam search engine to your classroom bookmarks as a tool for students to search for information exclusively from US federal government-maintained sites. Using this kind of search may be useful when searching for official information about a government agency, about pieces of legislation, US politicians, or about federal policy or practice. While no information is completely without bias, students will know that searches through UncleSam will return information that is not posted by groups trying to influence public policy or present a specific point of view.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers need to know how to locate and upload a picture from the computer and how to manage basic tools, etc. Use the temporary room for use by you or a group of collaborators. Invite others to collaborate by sharing the URL of the whiteboard. Change your nickname so that others can recognize you. Tools are easy to use and require very little play to be comfortable. Click "Save sketch as embeddable image" to save the creation as an easily embedded image file. You can also use the print screen function (PrtSc button on a PC) or apple/shift/4 combination on a mac. For schools needing more photo mash up options to alter artwork or photos, this is an alternative.
The site includes a chat function. Be sure to caution students about appropriate use. Continuous monitoring by teachers is essential!
Use pictures from a science lab or experiment to write information on the picture. Have student groups collaborate to create a diagram of the steps in a process shown in a photograph. Have students add annotations to art images or ad layouts, showing design elements and the path of your eye as you view the image. Show math concepts using geometric shapes. Create images as a group or use for tutorials. Create artwork or use for brainstorming. Have students create their own whiteboard as part of a research project. Project the image on your interactive whiteboard or projector as you begin a unit or lesson or to recap the steps in a process with the entire class. Collaborate with others outside the classroom as you create a community map or action plan together. Encourage students to use this site to review or plan together.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): writing (358)
In the ClassroomThis is a fabulous resource for augmenting generic textbook accounts of history with primary source material. Whether we like it or not, our students are more visual than we were; they will love the film clips and photo montages from recent events. Use these on an interactive whiteboard or projector for full impact (although the film clips are fairly small to maintain resolution). If you teach social studies, this is a site you'll want to bookmark and visit often. English teachers will want to use the teenage diaries as inspiration for creative writing assignments, or even as a source of ideas for college admissions essays. Challenge students to create their own visual complements to the audio essays using a tool such as GlogsterEDU, reviewed here.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector during a unit on the 18th century. Allow your class a short historic diversion and have students dress an 18th century paper doll. There are other fun activities on this page that also address the life and times of citizens in 18th century Williamsburg. Post a link to this page on the class website for enrichment activities at home. The non-verbal aspect of this activity may help ESL and ELL students gain a better understanding of the customs and traditions typical of this period of time in the United States. Those classrooms planning to visit Colonial Williamsburg will definitely want to utilize this site. Students in schools too far away to make this journey can enjoy a "virtual" field trip to Colonial Williamsburg via the Internet.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomUse this site as the starting point for individual or group projects about famous pioneers, weather research, or famous characters from books. This site is a perfect addition to any winter activities. Have cooperative learning groups investigate a specific section of this site and share their findings on your class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be knowledgeable about embed codes and how to use them in a site, blog, or wiki. Be sure to test out embedding a picture on your site to anticipate problems when students use Wylio. Use Wylio to find copyright-free pictures for teacher use in any subject area or for student use as soon as they learn to copy/paste embed codes. This tool would be a great asset to a photography or art class but can be used in any subject area. Use pictures that showcase life around us or in a Math class to show various Math functions in man made structures and nature. Use this site to take your geography class around the world (virtually). Have students create presentations in any subject area and narrate the pictures rather than doing a traditional oral report. Use a site such as Slidestory, reviewed here, to narrate the pictures. Speech and language in lower grades or ESL/ELL teachers could use pictures for vocabulary development and allow students to add words or sentences to go with the pictures. In Science, find pictures that represent various concepts and encourage explanations of these concepts for better understanding. Embeddable pictures also work very well in "glogs" (online posters made using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here) or on your class wiki. Note: embedded picture only show on computers connected to the Internet since the embed command "goes and gets" the pictures using the web.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomA music site that is not just for musicians and music teachers! Students in all classes can use files from this site when preparing multimedia class presentations that require music or background sounds. Use this site when preparing lessons on plagiarism, copyright, and the open source software concept. Musically inclined students who enjoy this site should check out ccMixter reviewed here for more enriching types of musical interaction and collaboration!
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents will certainly gain a more concrete and visceral understanding of attitudes toward slaves when reading these advertisements. The concepts are not necessarily Virginia-specific! Use some of the "personal profiles" to help students get to know one of the runaway slaves or servants more intimately. Have students review the diary entries of slaveowners to cut through our modern interpretations of what plantation owners thought or believed. Use these primary sources to guide a frank discussion on the role of slavery in Virginia and the South prior to the Civil War. The site is also an important resource for students doing research on antebellum Virginia.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomCreate a new map by entering the details such as a title. Choose from the template styles given. Preview the template, zoom in and out, and scroll around the mindmap using the simple tools. Click the "Edit Content" tab to change each node in your mindmap. Edit the name of the node, the description, and upload or link to a picture. Nodes can also link to a You tube video. When done, click preview to not only see the finished mindmap, but to publish on the Spicynodes site or copy the embed code for placing on a wiki, blog, or other site.
There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Create a site map that guides users throughout the features of your class website.
Collaborative Projects: Have small groups research together a topic such as unsolved mysteries of the world, planets, legends from their countries, plants, famous mathematicians, or any topic that can be broken down into parts. Each student would have their own node and color and would then upload pictures, videos, links, and other information they have found about their part of the topic. If the whole class is researching a topic, students with the "like" assignments could get together to share information and create their part of the small group node (also know as jigsaw in cooperative learning). Once all the nodes are completed, the original small group would share information with each other. There are a variety of ways students could use this mindmap. You could just leave it at the small group share out. Or, you could have the groups decide what information is important enough to present to the class and put their ideas on a Writeboard document reviewed here. A third step could be that once they've honed down the information, they could create a presentation for the class in a variety of formats: Glogster reviewed here, or Animoto reviewed here are only two of the many presentation formats we have reviewed on TeachersFirst.
Student project ideas: Have students... organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum."
Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. Be sure that they RENAME it before they start work to an individual name so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn them in.
Grades4 to 12
To create a new trip, you must register at the site. Registration requires a username, password, and valid email address.
tag(s): maps (287)
In the ClassroomSuggested uses on the Tripline site are to use along with moments in history such as Paul Revere's ride and Lewis and Clark's expedition to demonstrate stops along their path. Other classrooms uses would be for students to create a Tripline map of their summer vacation to use as an enhancement to a regular report, map out your favorite sports team's schedule, historic state sites, and much more.
Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse one of the videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector to deliver a quick lesson on the history of Memorial Day. There are also links to good content on military history, military leaders, and the various physical memorial sites that honor US military veterans.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to locate files on their computers to upload. Beyond that, a few clicks that follow onscreen instructions will complete the job!
Use this site as transportation to and from school when students are working on powerpoint presentations for class. This tool could be used in any subject or topic area. If Powerpoint isn't available at your school, use this site to create presentations instead of traditional book reports. Use this tool in social studies to have students create presentations about the branches of government, continents, or economics. The possibilities are endless.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades5 to 8
In the ClassroomAs you plan to teach the novel, include this well-organized webquest as part of the ongoing and post reading learning activities. Use it in its entirety or choose parts to meet your time frame and purpose. Attention is given to all aspects of literacy: reading, critical thinking, writing, infusion of technology, and presentation. Both individual tasks and group work is involved. Students are active participants, and everything they need to increase their appreciation for this literary work is available to them, including vocabulary, clear instructions, and links for further information and details. You may want to find some additional research links for students to use to replace the links no longer active. You may want to share the project with social studies teachers for a joint effort and shared time. Introduce it on your classroom whiteboard or projector, and then make sure that you have scheduled time in the computer lab or with a class set of laptops. Students can jazz up their multi-media presentations by creating an online book using Bookemon reviewed here, or a podcast by using Podomatic (reviewed here). Be sure to make them directly available from your class webpage to share with colleagues and parents.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHelp your students understand why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and raise their awareness of discrimination and the struggle for civil rights by involving them in active viewing of A Class Divided projected on your classroom interactive whiteboard or projector. You can view the film in its entirety, or in separate chapters followed by the Discussion Questions. You may want to give students a specific task to do during the film. For example, you might ask them to listen for a particular issue or the answers to a set of questions, or take notes in preparation for one of the post-viewing activities. Replay the video or pause for discussion whenever you choose for focused, in depth exploration. Depending on your students' background knowledge and grade level, you may want to review or introduce some of the basic tenets of the United States Constitution that provide the legal grounding for equality and protection of individual rights. Explain that there are examples in American history when individuals' rights were denied and that many civil rights activists were arrested for either challenging demonstrating or breaking rules that they thought were unfair. Pose some of the questions for written assignments and discussion. This is a perfect lesson for Black History Month! Divide the class into groups to brainstorm situations that exist today within our own communities, and how they would feel and deal with it if they were the subjects. Students can easily create mind maps using free tools from Teachersfirst, such as diagrammr.com reviewed here or bubbl.us reviewed here. Have students choose words from songs to explore themes of freedom and equality, using Stories Behind the Songs reviewed here. High school students could extend this to a reading and study of the final chapter of "One America in the 21st Century," the 1998 report of President Bill Clinton's Initiative on Race, which lists 10 things that every American should do to promote racial reconciliation. Ask students to add anything they think is missing and make a commitment to continue the crusade to end discrimination.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents doing research on the Wright brothers will find this site invaluable. Have students work in cooperative learning groups and research a specific topic found at this site. Challenge students to create a multimedia presentation. Have students use a tool such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you study Veterans Day, the effects of war, or people with disabilities. Ask students to discuss a time when they have seen service animals and how they have been used to help someone. Discuss the information on the site and locate the countries where the veterans served on a map to help students understand what it means to go to war. Ask students to choose one slide and write a story based on what they see in the image. If your school is looking for a schoolwide service project, consider raising funds for service dogs.
Grades3 to 6
Note - there is a link to a YouTube video midway through the information on the page, students may need to be cautioned that it isn't part of the activity.