Grades6 to 12
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 Canva, reviewed here.
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.
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!
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 TUZZit, reviewed here, or ProcessOn, 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.
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: Haiku Deck 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 (290)
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 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site for a group investigation, or ask students to work individually in a computer lab. The site is also usable on an interactive whiteboard or projector as a whole class activity, but may have too many choices and possible paths to be as effective for that use. The site may be more appealing to younger students; the "private investigator" role play may be too contrived for older, more sophisticated learners. There is a lot of information here, and students may have difficulty focusing on a single narrative without some direction or prompting as they explore. Overall, the site is a good way to introduce students to the value of primary documents and the importance of understanding context in historical narrative.
Grades7 to 12
Keep in mind, music on this site is submitted by the general musical public and may include lyrics inappropriate for school. The "Hip Hop" genre includes some inappropriate offerings, so teachers will want to decide the best way to handle use of this site by students.
Each genre has its own URL, so it is possible to make only certain areas available. The "classical," "jazz" and other instrumental areas are safer. Depending on the maturity and trustworthiness of students, teachers may want to directly supervise use of this site.
In the ClassroomMusic teachers and content area teachers alike have a perfect opportunity to explicitly teach ethical use of internet materials and especially music. This discussion could spark a debate about plagiarism, copyright, patents, or inventors' rights, depending upon the course that is being taught. This can also be used in any content area as a free source of music for different multimedia class projects. If your students are mature enough, share the link to this site via your class web page (with a disclaimer about possibly inappropriate lyrics). Music teachers with talented composer/performer students may want to share the site as a potential place for students to share their work (with parent permission). Use this site during creative writing blocks (sharing the music on speakers).
GradesK to 12
tag(s): quiz (86)
In the ClassroomSkills required: Be sure to remember the password for your tests, as well as the unique URL. It would be wise to copy/paste them into a document you keep somewhere for reference. Users are unable to access the tests without the URL. Be sure to not share this ahead of time. Items in Testmoz are not made public.
Use where automatically graded tests are required, such as for formative assessments to check student understanding. Use as a "ticket out the door" to see what students know at the end of class. Be sure that this is the medium you want to use for testing. Be flexible with students who find it difficult to take online testing. Entering all the material ahead of time can be time consuming, so this may not be the best format for long tests. Use this quiz application to create study quizzes for review for students to complete as homework (or during class time). Have students rotate to create daily check quizzes for their peers (earning a grade for test-creation). Learning support students and others who need a little extra review might like to make quizzes to challenge each other or themselves. Have students who are preparing to give oral presentations in any subject prepare a short Testmoz for their peers to take at the end.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents are "listening" to something all the time; usually is plugged into their ears through earbuds. But as skilled as they are at multitasking, can they listen to a first person account of an important historical event? Can they listen to a scholarly lecture? Might they prefer to listen to a book rather than read it? This site might help you and your students explore these issues. It's not so much about the individual topics on this site; it's about teaching students new ways to access information effectively. For those students who are not strong readers this site may be a way of recognizing their learning style as equally important.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is excellent for research projects or to provide visual context to your curriculum in social studies, world cultures, world history, literature, art, or western heritage classes. Offer this set of timelines as a research source for history, social studies, and literature classes. Show students these timelines on an interactive whiteboard. Or have students research various topics on their own using this fabulous tool. Pique their interest by letting them browse to find out what else happened at the same time as events in the standard history curriculum -- then ask WHY. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create online posters displaying their findings using an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here).
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this site when your students are going to do a research project on civil rights or MLK. Use one of the videos from the site to introduce a civil rights unit. Have cooperative learning groups explore one of the videos/topics together and create multimedia presentations to share with the class. Challenge groups to narrate a picture using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here. Compare videos from this site to examine the question of how King's vision is being implemented today. If you know how, embed the widget for the entire collection on your class web page for students to access in and out of school during your civil rights unit or in January near Martin Luther King Day.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): inventors and inventions (96)