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Art Through the Ages - Erin Kubarewicz, Katie Reiss, Danielle Smith, Brie Walsh

Grades
9 to 12
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This site gives a simple webquest that helps students apply research to see a more complex idea. While it is geared to making students "experts" in a certain type of ...more
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This site gives a simple webquest that helps students apply research to see a more complex idea. While it is geared to making students "experts" in a certain type of art in a given century, it can easily be expanded to incorporate the ideas of literature, music, and philosophy that tie into those art periods. Throughout this site, students learn about baroque, classicism, cubism, dada, expressionism, romanticism, and surrealism. The evaluation is a PowerPoint that students present to the rest of the class.

tag(s): romanticism (2), surrealism (4)

In the Classroom

This webquest can easily be expanded by using your own web sources to help students analyze the arts as periods in their entirety rather than just the fine artists of the time. It could also be modified to have groups of students include architecture, theatre, dance as they affected the history of the time (or the history was affected by the art) and present this as "experts" on that time period. You may want to use a more current collaborative tool instead of PowerPoint. Consider having students collaborate on a Google Docs presentation (tool reviewed here), an online Bookemon book (tool reviewed here), or a Simplybox collection (tool reviewed here) about art during their assigned time period.

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Using Art to Define the Renaissance - TeachersFirst

Grades
6 to 10
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This unit, ideal for classes in Art, World Cultures, or World History, can also be used in conjunction with the study of Renaissance literature. Students should already have a basic...more
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This unit, ideal for classes in Art, World Cultures, or World History, can also be used in conjunction with the study of Renaissance literature. Students should already have a basic understanding of the Classical Period and the Middle Ages. Beginning from the premise that "art imitates life," the unit connects art with the philosophical underpinnings of the Renaissance. This unit will take students through a process in which they will not only experience masterpieces from the Renaissance, but will also learn to analyze art, draw conclusions, and, at the advanced level, apply lessons from the art to their own lives. In doing so, students will gain an understanding of the characteristics that define the Renaissance.

tag(s): renaissance (34)

In the Classroom

This unit was developed to be used by a wide range of ages and abilities. It can be altered for different ability levels. TeachersFirst editors have included options for more student-centered, project-based activities using technology throughout the unit. You can adjust the time requirements depending on which activities you decide to do.

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NMAI: Identity by Design - Smithsonian

Grades
6 to 12
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native...more
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native women's clothing as insight into Native American culture of the time period, and features stunning photographs of Native dresses and commentary by present-day Native women. The site both describes the ways Native women made their clothing in the 19th century and the ways that clothing can give us important clues about the role of women in Native society. Of interest also are the ways clothing began to reflect the influence of the dominant white culture on traditional Native practices. The site also includes information about today's Native Powwow dance competitions which bridge the distance between traditional culture and the modern world, and bring 19th century Native women's clothing and costume into the 21st century. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): clothing (9), native americans (77), women (92)

In the Classroom

Traditionally, American history has been taught as the story of the dominant European culture's triumph over more primitive Native cultures. Native American culture is too often pictured as one-dimensional rather than as a rich collection of diverse tribes and cultures. If Native women are featured at all, they may be represented only by Pocahontas and Sacajawea. This site allows a fuller exploration of the variety of Native women's cultures and would serve as an outstanding supplement to a study of the European settlement of the West. The photographs of the women's dresses are lovely and would display nicely on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The commentary would be useful for any student doing more in-depth research into Native culture. The site's focus on women's roles and culture would also fit nicely with a unit on women's history. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. To extend the clothing-as -culture approach in your classroom, ask students to create a wiki showing the role of clothing in ethnic subcultures of the U.S. today or at other places and times. Middle school grades might want to work together with the art or FCS teachers on this.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Drop Me Off in Harlem - Artsedge

Grades
6 to 12
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Presented by the Kennedy Center's Artsedge program, this site is a wonderful kaleidoscope of information about Harlem from 1917 through 1935. It explores the artists of that time, including...more
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Presented by the Kennedy Center's Artsedge program, this site is a wonderful kaleidoscope of information about Harlem from 1917 through 1935. It explores the artists of that time, including writers, artists, actors, dancers, and musicians. It has sections of the activists of the time such as W.E.B. DuBois and Charles Johnson. Clicking on a place name will show you a map of that area and where it was located (the Lafayette Theatre, for instance, was on 7th Avenue).

One of the nice things about this site is the easy access to the section they call "Classroom Connections." Here they provide activities for grades 6-8 and 9-12 that are specific to grade level as well as links to lesson plans if you choose to use those. Visit the Media Player link to find video clips, audio clips, text, and images. Some require RealPlayer. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): 1910s (9), 1920s (16), 1930s (15), dance (28), harlem (8)

In the Classroom

Because of the sheer variety of links offered, this is an ideal lesson to spread among a class. As a culminating activity have a "Harlem Day" where students present their information. They might dress and speak as the person they studied; they might present music, poetry, or art from that time, or even create a Harlem "nightclub" to share their information.

Why not make this lesson even more interactive and have students create video clips to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector via YouTube or TeacherTube (explained here). Other project ideas could be a blog written from the perspective of someone living in Harlem during the great depression, or a wiki written between one of the famous artists and the president at the time (Herbert Hoover, for example).

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Queeky - Philipp Hennermann

Grades
2 to 12
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Queeky offers two feature-rich, online draw/paint programs: Queeky Paint (also available as a downloadable, offline paint program for Mac or Windows) and Multidraw. Queeky Paint provides...more
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Queeky offers two feature-rich, online draw/paint programs: Queeky Paint (also available as a downloadable, offline paint program for Mac or Windows) and Multidraw. Queeky Paint provides sophisticated draw and paint tools. QueekyPaint supports upload of your own image to then draw, paint, or alter. Multidraw allows multiple people to collaborate on a drawing board while text chatting in near-real time. Multidraw offers more than tools and options the simple paint programs and also adds a playback feature so you can watch the drawing process played back over and over. Chat as you draw together with other in Multidraw. Multidraw also uses HTML5 computer language so it works on mobile devices that do not support Flash! You have complete control of transparency, line thickness, colors (within a web palette), and much, much more. Queeky also hosts a community of very accomplished digital artists to learn from, even if you never lift an electronic pencil. Watch featured artists' works played back to see they were done, and even start from one drawing to create a new version ("variate"). If you are fortunate enough to have a mobile tablet, use the Multidraw tools with your finger! There is a full screen option to use while drawing or playing back, as well. Begin a multidraw drawing without any membership. You can password protect it to limit those who have access to make changes. Be sure to mark the url in Favorites or copy/paste it somewhere it will not get lost! Share it with others to join the drawing simply by giving them the url (and password). Drawings without passwords are open for the public to join in -- probably not a good idea! Save completed (NOT playable) drawings by clicking Save.It will open in a new window for you to RIGHT click and SAVE As a png file on your local computer. Note that the files are designed for use on computers and are not high resolution print-quality images for brochures, etc.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creativity (120), design (84), drawing (82), graphic design (35)

In the Classroom

To view and share drawings on a projector or interactive whiteboard with your class, you do not need to join. You can even draw. collaborate, and play back a drawing without saving. For full features, join the site (free). The confirmation email is slow to arrive, so join a day or so ahead of time. We suspect that the Germany-based site has real humans checking memberships on Germany time! While you wait, you can experiment with the drawing tools or learn about them by visiting the gallery and "playing" some drawings to see how some of the tools can be set to create truly artistic images. Be sure to experiment with the tools together with your students. There is an undo tool--very important as you start out. There are no demonstration videos or help screens, so you may learn best by doing or watching what others have done. There is a forum where users discuss tools, etc. Preview before sending students here, but the advice may be very helpful.

This is a public site, so even though the Terms of Use prohibit obscene drawings, teachers will want to preview Galleries they plan to use and have a specific policy in place for students who navigate the site on their own. The public can see any artwork you create and view your profile, so students should have parent permission before creating any online artwork of their own and should maintain an anonymous identity on the site. Consider using a whole-class account so you can monitor activity. Students could name their works using a coded initial system so you would know who created what. This site allows outsiders to comment on public projects. You will want to discuss these features in the context of Internet Safety or establish specific written class rules and consequences for interacting with outsiders. This is a good opportunity to discuss netiquette and how to participate positively and safely in online communities.

Art teachers will love the chance to teach about design elements in a public, hands-on environment. Assign students to use only certain tools or to "variate" on a starter drawing you provide to demonstrate both creativity and mastery of the elements. Students using the tool from home could generate an actual portfolio of drawings without expending precious art materials. Have students or groups create collections or locate artworks in the galleries that demonstrate the design elements or techniques you want them to notice. Without joining the site, play selected drawings on a projector or interactive whiteboard and have students narrate what they see the artist doing.

Students in other subjects can use password protected Multidraw "rooms" (save the URL!) to create and share collaborative visual explanations of science processes, book covers for literature (with explanations for the design choices, of course), visual responses to poetry, graphics or logos for "companies" they create in a business or math class, etc. The animated playbacks of drawings could even show how to form letters in manuscript or do calligraphy (if you can do it without making a mistake!). An animated playback of a science process like the water cycle would be a great way to assess student understanding or reinforce the concepts. Challenge your gifted students to collaborate on Multidraw diagrams and playbacks to explain processes, sketch out ideas, or plan a project.

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ArtScope - San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art

Grades
2 to 12
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Explore a collection of 3500 pieces of artwork from the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art by clicking on one of the thumbnail pictures displayed on the screen or by ...more
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Explore a collection of 3500 pieces of artwork from the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art by clicking on one of the thumbnail pictures displayed on the screen or by entering a search term. Dragging the lens over the thumbnails highlights the artist, year, and information about the piece. You can zoom in further and further to see the images up close. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

Use this collection to choose pieces of artwork for students to critique or compare. Students can reflect on their choice or conduct an oral critique on your interactive whiteboard or projector, describing techniques, styles, and more. Start class with a "one minute artstorm" by having a student randomly click on a thumbnail on the interactive whiteboard and having the class brainstorm characteristics or thoughts about the piece as you zoom in closer and closer. Ask them to caption it, compare it, or outline the movement of its design in the air during your one minute display. You could even ask them to debate whether or not they consider it to be "art."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Art and Architecture Thesaurus - Getty Museum

Grades
6 to 12
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The Getty museum has compiled a very complete, easily used thesaurus of art and architecture terms. Type in a generic search word related to art and architecture, and this handy ...more
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The Getty museum has compiled a very complete, easily used thesaurus of art and architecture terms. Type in a generic search word related to art and architecture, and this handy research tool will provide its definition, related terms, and position within the site's hierarchical database. Art teachers and students will find this one a valuable research and study tool for understanding art terminology and vocabulary. This is a text-only resource, but useful for clarifying concepts and styles.

tag(s): architecture (83), thesaurus (24), vocabulary (325)

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5 Sources for Free and Legal Images - The Blog Herald

Grades
K to 12
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These five sources provide Creative Commons images and videos for use in your blog/wiki/web site LEGALLY. Model your ethical use of media by sharing these with your blogging...more
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These five sources provide Creative Commons images and videos for use in your blog/wiki/web site LEGALLY. Model your ethical use of media by sharing these with your blogging students or using them on your whole-class blog or wiki. The sources include abstract photos and current events new stories, as well as general photos. Each has its own search/browse features. The services include: Voxant Newsroom, PicApp, GumGum, Zemanta, and PhotoDropper.

tag(s): blogs (85), images (275)

In the Classroom

Since each site has its own directions, our review team will not explain the how-to's of each here. Some require access to install a plug-in on your blog, such as wordpress. Many school blogging sites do not provide this access. Others permit embedding an image simple by copy/pasting code into your blog or wiki. Two are actually extensions you add to Firefox or Internet Explorer and may require tech department authorization or installation on school computers.

If you do allow students to join a site, be sure to adhere to school policies. As always, we recommend previewing the content available on each site before recommending it to your students. These images sites are NOT education-only, so some image content may not be classroom-appropriate. Have a policy and consequences in place before turning your students loose.

Art teachers or writing teachers can use the abstract images from the GumGum option as writing prompts or to launch discussion on design principles. If your students have individual blogs, allow them to personalize the "look" using these legal images. Be sure to model thinking aloud about why you are using a legal image source. Use news images or videos from Vixant Newsroom as prompts for current events discussions on your blog or wiki, or assign students to select a news story and write an in-depth analysis of it to accompany the image/video. English or social studies teachers teaching persuasive writing can assign students to use their multimedia skills as they present arguments both verbally and visually on a class "issues" wiki. Younger students can help select images to include on a whole-class wiki or blog then add their own writing about them. A teacher can embed a sequence of photos and ask student to tell the story that explains it. Be sure to include this link on your teacher web page for your tech-savvy teens to use as they generate projects with LEGAL images. Of course you will require them to document their sources.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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After the Deluge - Smith Magazine

Grades
6 to 12
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This issue of Smith Magazine features an online graphic novel of the events of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on New Orleans and related communities. Since there are very few ...more
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This issue of Smith Magazine features an online graphic novel of the events of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on New Orleans and related communities. Since there are very few words, it's perfect for students of all ages and English ability levels. The drawings are in chronological order and include weather pictures and before and after pictures, as well as specific events of the hurricane.

Warning: Be sure to PREVIEW each section before you show it to the class since there is some profanity in the speech of some characters.

tag(s): graphic novels (6), hurricanes (40), novels (23)

In the Classroom

In light of the increase of hurricane activity, this is a wonderful resource to introduce this weather topic. Use it also in art class, graphic design, and with ESL and ELL students learning to tell stories. Use this site to introduce the world of graphic novels to students who are reluctant readers. Have your class make their own graphic novel about another catastrophic or historical event, either in groups or individually. Check with your administration to be sure it's OK to use this site at student computers since there are spaces for students to respond and also to submit their own work. If that's a problem, use it with your classroom computer and project the novel on the whiteboard (avoiding scenes with questionable vocabulary). Extend the lesson by having students create their own collaborative graphic account of a local history event or fictional tale in small groups.

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Pixlr - Pixlr

Grades
2 to 12
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This free, beta site is a useful photo editing service. Edited pictures are saved on the computer and are not public for viewing. Use this site to create montaged ...more
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This free, beta site is a useful photo editing service. Edited pictures are saved on the computer and are not public for viewing. Use this site to create montaged images, resize photos for emailing or use on wikis, etc, or simply because your camera files are too big to store.

tag(s): editing (70)

In the Classroom

Know how to browse to find files saved on your computer and be willing to "play" with the tools and menus, if you are unfamiliar with photo-editors.

Click Jump In to access Photoshop-type tools. Select an image saved on your computer or your desktop or create a new one. Currently, pictures cannot be accessed from online photo storage sites. The top menu contains almost any option the average user would need to edit and manipulate pictures. The menu is easy to navigate and read. Help is minimal at this time. The site is easy to use, and users of other paint and editing applications will be at ease using this site. Students will love the filter options for altering pictures. Multiple images can be edited or "montaged." When editing is complete, save the image by specifying an image name and file type (JPEG or PNG). Click "OK," and the file will be downloaded to your machine. The simple interface and fast site makes this a great editing application to try.

Use this site to add information to pictures for class and student projects and creations. Add attributions (copyright info and sources) directly to the photo. Add student responses to pictures of class experiments. Create artistic effects with student pictures. The ideas for picture taking, creating, and sharing are endless. Make this a link from your class wiki so students can cut down file sizes before uploading large photos or make edited composites to communicate their message visually. As you study propaganda, have students create propaganda images to share on a class wiki or classroom bulletin board. Art teachers will love the ability to teach photo montage without expensive software. Make creative bulletin board displays from multiple digital pictures of special events, adding text and captions right into the photo. ESL/ELL, language, and special ed teachers can ask students to label images with sentences including correct vocabulary and grammar. Have students in your reading class create visual idiom images using digital pictures.

Keep this tool handy as a link from your teacher web page for quick access any time!

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Picasso - Maryland Electronic Fieldtrips - Thinkport

Grades
3 to 12
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If you are teaching your students about Picasso, visit this website for some new ideas. This site focuses on the years of 1892-1906. There are links to learn more about ...more
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If you are teaching your students about Picasso, visit this website for some new ideas. This site focuses on the years of 1892-1906. There are links to learn more about point of view, reflection, focus, and more. The site includes a timeline of Picasso's life. Teachers, be sure to visit the "for educators" link to find math, social studies, and language arts activities to coincide with teaching about this amazing artist. Several of the paintings allow you to zoom in on certain features of the painting. Be aware, at the time of this review, the forums were closed to additional comments.

tag(s): picasso (6), point of view (9)

In the Classroom

Start out at the "for educators" link for some great ideas to create an interdisciplinary lesson using Picasso in art, social studies, language arts, or math class. Use this site for research projects. In art class, use your interactive whiteboard or projector to show students an up close look at several of Picasso's paintings. Analyze and notate the paintings' composition using the whiteboard tools!

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The Imagination Factory - Marilyn Brackney

Grades
K to 12
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The Imagination Factory is a tool that can help teachers, students, and community members use creative ways to recycle by making art. The site offers a large compilation of activities...more
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The Imagination Factory is a tool that can help teachers, students, and community members use creative ways to recycle by making art. The site offers a large compilation of activities and crafts made from what most people consider to be everyday trash. The site is easily searchable based on two search methods: by Category and by the Trash Matcher. Need a project for the beginning of the year? Look it up through the Category listing. Have old dryer sheets, dried markers, junk mail, and roll-on deodorant bottles you just don't know what to do with? Look them up by matching your trash to a project in the Trash Matcher!

tag(s): crafts (43), earth (231), earth day (113), ecology (134), recycling (58)

In the Classroom

This is a great way to utilize classroom trash while teaching students to go green! Once they get started, the students will probably supply their own enormous list of ideas for recycling trash and the ideas may be infectious...watch it snowball into other classrooms and into their homes! Teachers will be receiving unique recycled projects every day in those primary grades!

List this project in your class newsletter or on your class website. Suggest parents donate items listed on the Trash Matcher such as socks, sheets, dryer sheets and much more. Make sure to note that everything donated should be cleaned thoroughly prior to sending it to the classroom! Document your new green classroom/school with digital pictures and student writings on a class wiki and share the link with local newspapers! Secondary teachers can use this site for service project ideas for Key Club. student council, and more.

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Spore Creature Creator - Electronic Arts, Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
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Use Creature Creator to make interesting and imaginative animals. Your students may recognize it as a tool for making characters for the Spore video game, but it is actually a ...more
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Use Creature Creator to make interesting and imaginative animals. Your students may recognize it as a tool for making characters for the Spore video game, but it is actually a useful tool for learning, as well. Use a pre-made creature or create your own custom creature. Add carnivore features to your creation that include mouths, ears, eyes, arms, hands, feet, and legs. Weapons such as horns, spikes, and clubs can also be added to the creature as well as wings. Change the position of the features and alter them through unbelievable joint changes which then alter how your creature walks and moves. Paint your creation when done and place it in its woodland environment. The creature can walk, show emotion, have offspring, and make sounds. Use the software to take a picture, record a movie, and make an avatar. By adding a description and tags, your creation can be uploaded to the spore website or to a You Tube account. Here is the first Spore tutorial , which 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.

Creature Creator is a free download but is a limited version of the original purchased program. The purchased program provides many more choices for the features and environments used to make the creatures. The download is available for both PC and Mac.

tag(s): adaptations (17), animals (291), animation (65), classification (25)

In the Classroom

User needs to be able to download and install the free program. Easy to use interface. Start with a blob, which you manipulate into a shape, pulling its spinal cord in any direction with the mouse, before adding a head, limbs and various optional extra body parts. Choose your part by using the onscreen catalog. Manipulate it further by changing the position of joints or through adding or deleting segments. Add a background and move your creature by dragging your mouse for it to follow. Continue to alter your creature to get the movement or features needed.

Pressing "H" brings up the spore guide which includes topic categories such as "Welcome to Spore," "Getting Started," "Build Mode," "Test Drive," and "Paint Mode."

Check your district policy on downloading and installing of programs. Check with your IT department. Teachers who must request software installation by tech staff may want to try this tool at home and create some sample projects to convince administration of its educational value.

Uploading pictures and videos of creations to You Tube or the spore site may expose students to advertising as well as inappropriately created creatures. You may want to send students directly to URLs for their own projects, maintain the creatures on the classroom computer itself, or use Teacher Tube to upload the creations. Uploading creatures enables outsider comments without teacher control. Outsiders can interact or mark the creations as favorites. Many school policies prohibit such interaction, so be sure to check your school policy. You will want to discuss these features in the context of Internet Safety or establish specific written class rules and consequences for interacting with outsiders. Student work can be saved as a picture and printed, as well, for sharing and showing. Check your school policies on whether student work may be displayed online and what information is permitted, then enforce that policy with your students.

The tool does not show which work is attributable to each student. You may want to require student initials on projects in order to get credit.

Use Creature creator to create an unusual creature as a class project. Create a classification system of all the class creatures to demonstrate biology classification skills. When discussing the groupings in the Animal Kingdom, use Creature Creator to create a new organism for that group. Use the tool to create a class creature with adaptations to a specific environment. Have students create a creature and then write a story or poem about it and how it lives. Have students create a creature as a self-portrait of personality or other traits the students possess. Students can design and draw habitats that would house their creation including the calculation of the volume and area the housing would require. Use a classroom projector or white board to share/create creatures in class and discuss specific features of the creatures.

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bubbl.us - Kirill Edelman and Levon Amelyan

Grades
K to 12
14 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This simple and free online tool allows you to brainstorm ideas and create concept maps with no special software! Bubble.us features some highly interactive abilities: saving your mind...more
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This simple and free online tool allows you to brainstorm ideas and create concept maps with no special software! Bubble.us features some highly interactive abilities: saving your mind map as an image, sharing (emailing) your work with a friend, printing your organizer, creating colorful mind map organizers, embedding your work into a website or blog, and working with friends. You are able to "play" at this site without registering; however registration is necessary for saving, embedding, emailing, and other features. NOTE: the free version only allows you to SAVE three maps, so you will want to save your completed maps as images, then deleted them from your membership to make room for more freebies. Here is an example of a bubbl.us map embedded in a page. Click and drag on the background to read more, or try the zoom controls to see more or less.

tag(s): brainstorming (25), graphic organizers (42), mind map (24)

In the Classroom

Click "Start Here" to type the subject of your concept map. Hitting your Enter key creates a new level (branch) within the map. Tab creates an additional branch on the same level as the current topic. Experiment with the small icons on each "element" to change colors, drag, make new connections, etc. Save and set sharing (read-only or open access) in the area at the right. You can "send" a read-only link via email or copy the embed code from the Menu at lower right), but you cannot find the URL directly from your map. "Send" it to yourself via email to copy the actual URL.

There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the tool 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. Have students organize 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. To minimize the number of maps on a free account, have students screenshot or print their results to turn them in. See more ideas in the linked example above!

Comments

david, TX, Grades: 9 - 12

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Wordle - Jonathan Feinberg

Grades
2 to 12
17 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for ...more
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This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for any blog entry or web page (including newspapers online) to create a wordle of the text. If you make a Wordle, you can choose your own colors, type of display, and font. The most frequent words appear larger and darker. Students can view creations others have made or make their own with or without saving them to the database of clouds. You can also print creations, open them in a window without borders, or link to them from a home page (html code is provided for the link). This site requires Java. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page. However, this site is now a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (173), speech (94), vocabulary (325), word choice (27), word clouds (11)

In the Classroom

You need to know how to copy/paste. No email registration needed to create. Click Create to get started. Copy/paste text, type into a text box, or paste in the URL of the page you wish to "cloud." Play with options under Layout, Color, and Font menus to change the look. When done, choose to Print, take a screen shot of it in New Window view (PrntScrn on Windows, Command+shift+4 on Mac) or save to public gallery. Once it opens in the gallery view, be sure to copy the URL and keep a record of the exact URL of wordles you save to the Gallery. You will never be able to find them again without it! Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

The public can enter text and create their own Wordles, some of which appear on the home page for "recent" Wordles. Teachers should preview the Gallery and home page immediately before sharing this site with a class. TeachersFirst's review team has not witnessed any objectionable examples. In today's world, a brief lesson or honest discussion on ignoring, clicking out of, or avoiding the inappropriate on the web might be worthwhile, depending on the age and maturity of your students.

This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create wordles of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language.

Another idea: use this site during the first week of school. Have students create "Wordles" about themselves and create a "Wordle" bulletin board introducing your students (and yourself). Or use Worlde for a whole-class positive statement as shown in this example. Remember that the most frequently appearing words will appear larger so plan accordingly.

Comments

So versatile and easy to use. Needs supervision because of what some people post in the galleries. Kids find it very easy to use. Nice for quick analysis of text (love to use with Shakespeare). Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Zunal WebQuest Maker - FREE - Zafer Unal, PhD

Grades
2 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
Have you been pining to include pertinent webquests in your curriculum? This site allows you to view already created webquests and/or use their online tool to create your own webquest...more
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Have you been pining to include pertinent webquests in your curriculum? This site allows you to view already created webquests and/or use their online tool to create your own webquest without HTML code or web editor software. This site walks you through a tutorial on creating your own webquest for the parameters YOU want. The tutorial includes planning, building, and getting your webquest published. Best of all-- it is free. This site also includes ready-made webquests in nearly every subject area (math, art, music, social studies, science, etc.) submitted by others like you. There are webquests for all grade level. The webquests are free to use and many include reviews by other educators. An easy to follow webquest matrix is available, with all of the subjects and grade levels. You are also able to do a webquest search for a specific topic. Nearly all of the webquests are in English, but a few are in other languages. Note: the quality of webquests is completely determined by others using the site to create webquests, so PREVIEW before using any webquest in class.

tag(s): calories (9), colors (81), money (186), presidents (132), pyramids (29)

In the Classroom

Search the multitude of webquests that are "ready to go" at this site. If you are looking for a more personal touch, you can create your own webquest for each class, tailored to what you want to cover or want students to research. This site also provides a place to post a personal portfolio of your work (if you choose to include any student work, you must have written permission to do so from the student and his or her parent). You might also want students to create webquests as final products of group research projects. Be sure to provide a meaningful rubric for the essential features.

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Play the News Game - Impact Games

Grades
9 to 12
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In this current events activity, students (or all members of your class working together) choose current news events and assume character roles. After viewing the latest hot event in...more
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In this current events activity, students (or all members of your class working together) choose current news events and assume character roles. After viewing the latest hot event in the particular news item and reading some background, students (or your class) assume one of the characters' roles. They must make decisions, consult advisers, hone predictions, and make choices to steer tomorrow's news today. They can come back later to compare their predictions to what happened with the situation in the real news. Thus current events are no longer isolated factoids but become dynamic processes. News topics vary greatly and can include violence and other ugliness happening in the world today. Preview carefully before recommending a game to students, depending on the standards of your school community. Some topics include actual violence occurring in the world. Topics cover world news, U.S. politics, technology, and even entertainment. At one time, there are up to 20 news "games" going on. Players can see what other players have decided. Some games are closed; that is, their decisions are final. Members (your class as a whole?) also gain rank and opinion rating depending on how active they are on the website and how their opinions compare to those of the mainstream. As of this review, this site is still in "beta." This site requires Flash 9 or newer. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

To use many features of the site, you must create a membership (requires email). There are many "social" features within the site that make it a potential safety issue if all students are allowed to use it on their own. See ideas for handling these concerns below.

tag(s): news (264)

In the Classroom

Try this site as a regular part of your secondary discussions on current events or choose selected "games" that connect with your current curriculum topic. For example, explore stories from African nations as you study world cultures in Africa.

Classroom teachers will want to start by conducting this activity using a whole-class account (use your "extra" email account to create a single account, monitored by you). Use the game to facilitate discussion and build students' global citizenship by allowing them to make choices and see the results. Be sure to talk about the line between fantasy and reality: which parts of these games have actually happened and which are part of the "game" hypotheses. Include the link on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class if you believe they are ready to handle it on their own. Check your school policies on allowing students to participate in online decision making and sharing, and obtain written parent permission before individual students are allowed to log on. As an alternative for students who may not have permission, you can pose some of the same questions and provide newspaper and news magazine articles for background. But you know which tool your students will prefer!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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KidsWWrite - Kalamalka Institute for Working Writers

Grades
1 to 10
2 Favorites 0  Comments
This e-magazine features work by children from ages 5 - 16 from all around the world. The student writings are divided into three age levels (5-8, 9-12, and 13-16). The ...more
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This e-magazine features work by children from ages 5 - 16 from all around the world. The student writings are divided into three age levels (5-8, 9-12, and 13-16). The writing includes both poetry and stories. Students can also submit book reviews of favorite works and also art. The book reviews are anecdotal and personal and also include a drawing or copy of the book cover. If students wish to search for stories on a certain topic, a search box and archives are available.

tag(s): creative writing (170), writing (367)

In the Classroom

Share samples of students' writing on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. Have your students create cover art and write stories, book reviews, or poetry to submit to this site. Of course you will want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online magazine. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy.If your school prohibits using blogs to post student writing, this is a middle ground alternative to get their works in front of a wider audience.

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Viscosity - Jeff Weir

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
Create a modern art masterpiece with Viscosity, the modern art generator! This web-based graphics program provides brushes and special effects with which to move, smudge, and swirl...more
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Create a modern art masterpiece with Viscosity, the modern art generator! This web-based graphics program provides brushes and special effects with which to move, smudge, and swirl a series of colors into abstract art. Explore the possibilities by clicking the Color button, then selecting one of the color pre-set modes. Click the Brush button, and then use the sliders to change the brush effects for size, strength, and slipperiness. Hold down the left mouse button, run the cursor over the color rectangle and watch the art happen! For more adventures in art, select brush types like sweeper, angular, mooshy, and custom. For a really whimsical finish, click the Save button to see your masterpiece hung on the wall in the living room. To save and download the work, click on the thumbnail image to open another window where you can click the word Download to save the work onto your computer. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

This site can become slow at certain times of the day. Be patient.

tag(s): art history (72)

In the Classroom

Mark this site as a Favorite for a visual writing prompt activity in the classroom; then ask students to write about the way their artwork makes them feel or what it might "be." Students will quickly grasp the basics and soon be exploring the more sophisticated possibilities of the program. This activity can be a great introduction into an abstract art lesson. Introduce terms such as non-representational or non-objective art. Show the works of Piet Mondrian and Max Ernst. Take the class on a virtual fieldtrip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Discuss how art movements have evolved and changed our ideas of beauty and art. This site is best viewed at 1024 x 768 screen resolution. (On Windows machines, change your monitor settings by RIGHT-clicking on the desktop and going to "Prperties" > Settings).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Scratch - Lifelong Kindergarten Group, MIT Media Lab

Grades
1 to 12
11 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Want to get in touch with your inner child? Get Scratch! Warning: The use of this application is quite fun and engaging! Scratch is a downloaded program that creates interactive ...more
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Want to get in touch with your inner child? Get Scratch! Warning: The use of this application is quite fun and engaging! Scratch is a downloaded program that creates interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. This application can be used for bringing simple ideas and projects to life. It has great use as a paint program without using the animations. Downloads/install files are available for Mac or PC. Other links include a Getting Started pdf, Help screens to show what each block controls and how to use, and a Reference Guide which provides an overview of the interface. A support page is also available for help in using the application.

Material created can only be viewed within the program. Drawings are not saved as a jpg or pic file. However, a "snapshot" of the screen can be created by using these keys in Mac: apple, shift, and 4 and click/drag to surround the portion to save. In PC use: control/print screen. These snapshots can be uploaded or used as a picture in other applications.

tag(s): animation (65), coding (53), drawing (82)

In the Classroom

Quick start: Click stage and in the center pane, click on backgrounds. Click on paint to make a new background. Different colors, pens, and materials can be used to create the background or an image can be brought in from your computer. Objects in Scratch are called a Sprite and can be added in by choosing the folders below the screen. By clicking the script tab, blocks can be moved in to create motion, add sounds (even record your own message), and change the look of the Sprite. Blocks are linked on to each other to create a series of events. A control block dragged to the top of the blocks control which key starts the event. Advanced options include adding variables and other controls.

Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Projects can be shared online; however an account is required.

Work is saved to the computer itself and only shared online via an account. To avoid problems concerning content made by outsiders or issues with sharing, save the work locally and either create your own gallery on a supervised class website/wiki or set up a single account where you share the "best" projects online via your own log-in. Remind students of the school's Acceptable Use Policy and consequences of violations, if you do allow them to join/share. Images used should adhere to all copyright rules. Use pictures taken in class or those with Creative Commons licensing (and provide attribution!).

Practical tips: Students quickly catch on to this program when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they will do/draw/say in their creation in order to keep tabs on what students and their creations.

Possible uses: For the lower grades, Scratch provides unlimited possibilities. Use as a new way to show vocabulary usage. Use the paint program to add information to a picture from your class field trip or science experiment. Use Scratch to help in storytelling a concept in a new and unique way, such as how rocks are formed. In the upper grades, use Scratch to show complex material in a new way. For example, students can draw DNA and show replication, etc. through their drawings and storytelling. Draw the different movements of landforms in plate tectonics. Draw or illustrate solutions to Math problems.

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