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State of the Union Address 2011 - guardian.co.uk

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6 to 12
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See a comparison of State of the Union Address language from President Obama, 2011, to past presidents and speeches. These word clouds offer a visual comparison of the most frequent...more
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See a comparison of State of the Union Address language from President Obama, 2011, to past presidents and speeches. These word clouds offer a visual comparison of the most frequent words in different presidential speeches. You can make your own clouds of speech text using Wordle, reviewed here and similar word cloud tools to add to the comparison options.

tag(s): presidents (131), speech (92), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

Share these word clouds on interactive whiteboard or projector to analyze the presidential agendas in a civics or government class. Have students make their own clouds of text from other speeches using Wordle, reviewed here or similar word cloud tools to add to the comparison options. During political campaigns, share this comparison and invite students to create ones of their own between different candidates. In English/language arts classes, use the word clouds to spark discussion of propaganda techniques, word choice, and effective speech techniques. Share this discussion in debate club, as well, to point out the importance of carefully crafted messages. Have students create and compare clouds of their own speech drafts while studying persuasive writing.

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Lemonade Stands - Derek Ramey

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4 to 8
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The goal of the Lemonade Stands activity is to maximize profits over 30 days. You choose the price per cup, lemons per pitcher, sugar per pitcher, and ice per cup. ...more
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The goal of the Lemonade Stands activity is to maximize profits over 30 days. You choose the price per cup, lemons per pitcher, sugar per pitcher, and ice per cup. Since the weather is random, you must be careful in deciding how many paper cups, lemons, sugar, and ice cubes to buy. After making your choices, set the game into motion to see the results. Feedback is given at the end of each sales day to help make adjustments throughout the month. The site requires JAVA.

tag(s): money (193)

In the Classroom

Create a link at classroom computers or the computer lab to use as a center during an economics unit. Chart students' results and have a contest to see who can obtain the highest profits at the end of 30 days.

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21st Century Questions - 21st Century Question

Grades
6 to 12
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21st Century Questions is a collaborative blog designed to pose thoughtful and challenging questions about the impact of technology on society. In partnership with efforts to...more
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21st Century Questions is a collaborative blog designed to pose thoughtful and challenging questions about the impact of technology on society. In partnership with efforts to promote digital literacy skills, teachers, students, and others can use this site either by accessing the questions already posed and exploring them with students, or by posing additional questions themselves. Each post contains a prompt, either in the form of a short video clip, a cartoon, or a short narrative, and then a series of open-ended questions. The rest is up to you!

tag(s): writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

These questions present a wealth of challenging writing prompts, class discussion starters, or extension/enrichment activities for gifted students or high ability writers in science or social students classes, in debate club, or in enrichment programs. Access the site yourself and cherry-pick your favorite questions. Alternatively, provide a link to the site and ask students to explore possible questions they'd like to answer or discuss. Finally, collaborate as a class to develop question prompts of your own as a group project and then post them to the site. Bookmark this site as one of those you go to when you have unexpected time to fill in class, or as a resource for a substitute teacher-led discussion. Science teachers can use technology issues to connect science with real world topics for students who may not otherwise see value in mastering concepts. Assign groups to explore a topic of their choice from this blog and present it in open-ended debate once a month in your science class or as part of a science careers unit.

Comments

This is a treasure trove of prompts to ponder and spur editorial/argument writing. I LOVE THIS! Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Physics Central- Explore - Physics Central

Grades
8 to 12
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Looking for current physics research and articles? This a great place to view. Physics Central's Explore section provides up to date research articles and podcasts that will help students...more
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Looking for current physics research and articles? This a great place to view. Physics Central's Explore section provides up to date research articles and podcasts that will help students understand the present day issues in physics. There are numerous topics available. At the time of this review, some of the engaging topics included FMRIs: the Future Mind Reader, Holograms, Snowflake Science, and several others. There are pictures, clear and understandable text, and interesting podcasts and vodcasts (video podcasts).

tag(s): podcasts (52)

In the Classroom

Use this site for students to relate physics to their everyday lives by finding a current event, reading it, and discussing how it is relevant to them. Discussion can be in class, or posted to a class wiki. It would be a good idea to insert the link to the site on your class website or wiki so that students can access it easily in and out of class. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

Reading teachers looking for informational passages to reinforce and practice comprehension skills will find the current events articles on this site well sited for use on an interactive whiteboard to practice main idea, summarizing, etc.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Study English - Australia Network

Grades
4 to 12
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This site, produced by Australian TV, offers oral lessons for intermediate and advanced level English language learners. The TV productions are available online in their entirety; they...more
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This site, produced by Australian TV, offers oral lessons for intermediate and advanced level English language learners. The TV productions are available online in their entirety; they provide listening, pronunciation, and reading and writing practice for LES candidates. Although based on the Australian curriculum and testing called IELTS, the lessons, vocabulary, and practices are appropriate for any learners of English. The accent on the videos is, of course, Australian. Included in the offerings, in addition to the videos, are tape transcripts, study items, and quizzes.

tag(s): grammar (216), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use this site with ESL/ELL learners as designed. Share the lessons on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If individual computers are available, have students view the lessons independently (with headsets) and create multimedia projects to demonstrate what they have learned. Have students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Better yet, if students get used to the video and exercise formats, have them produce similar videos teaching a few lessons about their home cultures! Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.

Special ed teachers and those seeking combination video/text lessons to use to teach listening/reading comprehension may find these lessons valuable, as well.

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Access, Analyze, Act: From Economic Theory to Financial Reality - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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This series of lesson plans and accompanying resources (don't overlook the right side menu!), addresses economic theory in ways that will help students translate theory into concrete...more
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This series of lesson plans and accompanying resources (don't overlook the right side menu!), addresses economic theory in ways that will help students translate theory into concrete reality. Each lesson plan incorporates a case study, and there are introductory video clips, and interactive content for each. Sample topics like health care, unemployment, labor, imports and exports, and general economic theory.

In the Classroom

This really is a "one stop shop" for lessons on economics. Take time to dig deeply through the resources provided. There are video clips narrated by PBS commentators, interactive resources for use on an interactive whiteboard or projector, an economics glossary (with a widget for your class homepage that allows students to access the glossary directly), podcasts and audio content, and links to further resources. Challenge students to create their own multimedia explanations of key concepts using GlogsterEDU reviewed here, or a concept map created using webspiration reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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PolitiFact: Sorting out the truth in politics - St. Petersburg Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Politicians are legendary for their ability to "spin" or manipulate the facts in their own favor. This site seeks to cut through the jargon and the partisan spin to evaluate ...more
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Politicians are legendary for their ability to "spin" or manipulate the facts in their own favor. This site seeks to cut through the jargon and the partisan spin to evaluate statements made by politicians, using their "Truth-o-Meter." Although the interface is light-hearted (using a scale that runs from True, Barely True, False, and "Pants on Fire"), the facts are well researched and presented.

tag(s): advertising (33), elections (75), politics (99)

In the Classroom

This site is a great resource for students researching politicians and their viewpoints. If you're sponsoring a class debate, keep the site handy for each side to check the assertions of their opponents. When students have questions about the content of political advertising, for example, refer them here to find out more. As an assignment, consider having the class pick a political ad, and using the information on this site, write about how the creator of the ad selected the facts that would best portray the viewpoint of the candidate. They could share their critique on a class wiki or on a classroom bulletin board. Have groups create a "mythbuster" political poster on ThingLink, reviewed here.

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Congress.org - C-Q Roll Call, Inc

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9 to 12
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Congress.org is a product of the larger group of news publications that include Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, both long-time sources of news about Washington politics. The...more
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Congress.org is a product of the larger group of news publications that include Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, both long-time sources of news about Washington politics. The site collects news stories, letters to congress and statements from political advocacy groups in one place for the reader to survey. The site is as non-partisan as possible, and it's possible you will find links to statements from the National Rifle Association next to those from the the Society of Friends. There is also a running accounting of recent votes in Congress for those trying to keep up with current legislation. Be aware, however, that one portion of the site includes letters to Members of Congress written by subscribers; previewing in advance is advised.

tag(s): congress (33), elections (75), house of representatives (9), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Consider placing this site on your class web page for students to use in researching political viewpoints, both in relation to upcoming elections and in ongoing political debate. It's a site for true politics junkies, but will be useful for those who are looking for concise information collected in a readable, easy-to-access format. Use the site during your study of the legislative branch and have groups follow congressional groups of individuals, creating a timeline of their activities using a tool such as XTimeline, reviewed here or Dipity, reviewed here. Embed the congressional timelines in your class wiki for students to compare and critique or to trace an incumbent's activities during an election cycle.

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Recovery.gov - US Government

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9 to 12
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Much has been made about the federal government's commitment to make the fruits of the economic Recovery Act transparent; this site represents that transparency. This site has lots...more
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Much has been made about the federal government's commitment to make the fruits of the economic Recovery Act transparent; this site represents that transparency. This site has lots of boxes and charts. There is a wealth of data here, however, and that may be its greatest strength. Where has the money gone? Track it geographically, track it by category, track as tax relief, track it as job creation, track it by source, track it by grant versus loan versus contract.

tag(s): data (148)

In the Classroom

While students themselves may not be searching for jobs funded by the Recovery Act, the site can answer questions about local uses of Recovery Act money. Use this site as a rich source of real data that can be used to teach about reading charts and graphs, analyzing information and making inferences from that information, and as a prime example of the responsibilities of citizens to see where their tax dollars are going. Groups of students might tackle a particular slant on the Recovery Act and report their findings. Follow up with a class-generated letter to a local legislator about their findings as a writing intensive addition to a largely numbers driven lesson. Or have your students create interactive online posters ("glogs") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here to share with the class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Budget Simulator - Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

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8 to 12
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So often we hear impassioned cries for causes that deserve more governmental funding. At the same time, we know that the government already spends more money than it has. A ...more
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So often we hear impassioned cries for causes that deserve more governmental funding. At the same time, we know that the government already spends more money than it has. A balanced federal budget seems little more than a fantasy. Do students think they can do better? This simulation exercise (it's too important a topic to refer to as a game), guides students through the difficult choices our governments needs to make if it is to balance the federal government. Cut the military? Cut healthcare spending? Cut services for the needy? Once you've made the choices, the simulator will deliver the outcome: were you able to balance the budget by cutting over $1.3 billion in spending?

tag(s): politics (99)

In the Classroom

This would make a wonderful class team competition. Consider dividing the class into groups, or even pitting different sections of the same course against each other. Encourage the students not to breeze through the choices too quickly. The site might be useful for mature younger students if they have the attention span required to make careful and reasoned choices. Another option is to complete this activity as a class on an interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Open Congress - Participatory Politics Foundation

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8 to 12
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While there are whole television networks calling themselves the best political insiders, you still hear what THEY think is important. This site lets you explore the legislative process...more
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While there are whole television networks calling themselves the best political insiders, you still hear what THEY think is important. This site lets you explore the legislative process on your own. Start with the ticker tape style accounting of what's happening in Congress today. Read the blog from the site's administrator. You can focus on a particular state, a particular legislator, or a bill topic. If there is a bill topic you are interested in, click on "The Money Trail" and see which congress person has received the most donations from interested lobbying group. Finally, click on "The Battle Royale" and get a temperature reading on which topics are generating the most interest both IN Congress and within the community following things on the site. There is a LOT of information here, and it's presented in an intuitive and easy to access way.

You should be aware, however, that the site includes a wiki. It allows you to create an account to organize the information you're following, and encourages you to "vote" on bills. Check your school's policies for having students participate in this kind of activity, or create a class account and use that function as a group activity.

tag(s): congress (33), house of representatives (9), politics (99), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site in your favorites for students as a place to do their own research on all things Congressional. Groups of students in a current events, government, or modern history class could research a bill, a legislator, or the process of passing legislation itself. This site will take them way past "I'm Just A Bill..." from Schoolhouse Rock. Have cooperative learning groups research a topic and create a multimedia presentation such as a podcast using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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Guzzle - Lemonchick

Grades
8 to 12
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This news aggregator allows you to select whatever news topics you would like to see displayed. You can choose either to see just the headlines or the headline and its ...more
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This news aggregator allows you to select whatever news topics you would like to see displayed. You can choose either to see just the headlines or the headline and its news source before you read. After customizing the pages, you can click to see a page showing just the items you would like to read. When you mouse over the headline, you can see the first sentence or so of the selected news item before clicking to get it in entirety. Clicking on the headline sends you directly to the original source newspaper. Once linked to the original newspaper, you have the option to search other articles at that source as well.

tag(s): news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

This site is excellent for enrichment, research, or a current events class. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students try out this site on individual computers, or as a learning center. This site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have the students open the site and use the whiteboard tools to set up a class selected news offering for each day.

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Fall 2010 Symposium: The Space Program and Beyond - Lou Frey Institute

Grades
9 to 12
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Watch a live webcast of a symposium on the future of the U.S. Space Program with keynote speaker U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, held on September 27, 2010. These archived webcasts ...more
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Watch a live webcast of a symposium on the future of the U.S. Space Program with keynote speaker U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, held on September 27, 2010. These archived webcasts include topics such as the role of high technology industries, the future of the space program in Florida and across the globe, and student Q/A periods. Although the focus of the symposium is on Florida, many of the topics extend nationally and internationally. The videos do not include a program guide, unfortunately.

tag(s): space (205)

In the Classroom

Share portions of this program in your government/civics classes as an example of the congressional funding/policy process and its impact on economics, scientific development, and more. Assign student groups to trace a single aspect of the space program and its impact on state/local economics, employment, science, and more. Have students create an visual presentation on the impact of a government program using a tool such as GlogsterEDU, reviewed here or stage a debate on the pros and cons of eliminating the space program altogether.

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- Lessonopoly: Science of NFL Football - NBC Learn and National Science Foundation

Grades
5 to 10
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Find great videos featuring the best football players and trainers in the NFL to learn science through the lens of football. THis content was moved from its original home on ...more
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Find great videos featuring the best football players and trainers in the NFL to learn science through the lens of football. THis content was moved from its original home on Lessonopoly to hosting on Gooru. Open the folder to view lesson materials and videos. Choose various science topics such as "Vectors," "Nutrition, Hydration, and Health," and "Projectile Motion and Parabolas" to name a few. View a short video of the concept and click the links to other resources that can be used to learn more about that particular topic. Choose to view and print the lesson plans using a printer friendly option or download as a pdf. Find practice worksheets, teacher keys, quizzes, and other activities. Note that NBC Learn's own video site is usually a fee-based, but this particular collection, hosted on Gooru, is free.

tag(s): sports (97), vectors (25)

In the Classroom

Bring science to life with these great resources. Use the video to pique student interest in the topic and use the lesson plans to really understand the concept to apply to other areas. Use the vectors to understand how science and quarterback throws are related. Follow the lesson plan using the video and the activities. Follow up with actual football throws in the school yard. Measure distances and angles to create data to analyze as groups or a class. Consider creating your own video or slidecast of explanations using students as the stars of the show explaining the concept. Invite Math classes to use your data for their understanding of Vectors as well. Brainstorm other sports where this science concept is also used.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The 50 Worst Inventions - Time Magazine

Grades
4 to 12
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We all know inventions that have changed and improved the world, but what are some of the worst ideas that just never worked out? Time Magazine offers their insight into ...more
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We all know inventions that have changed and improved the world, but what are some of the worst ideas that just never worked out? Time Magazine offers their insight into the 50 worst inventions. This slideshow takes the viewer through some ideas that never got off the ground or never found their way into America's heart - popup ads, Snuggie for dogs, pay toilets, NEW Coke, and more all hold a spot on the top 50. The slideshow can be viewed screen by screen, or the viewer can see the entire list.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to create a list of useless inventions or to invent one of their own. Display the slide show on your interactive whiteboard or projector and discuss if students agree with a product's placement on the list. Generate a list of characteristics that would keep an invention OFF this list! Have students create commercials advertising their new product (or the one they researched). Challenge students to create a video commercial and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Write letters to the product's inventor to find out their feelings about being included on the list.

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Ayiti: The Cost of Life - Global Kids and Gamelab

Grades
5 to 12
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In this role playing activity, students must help the Guinard Family from Haiti receive an education and live a happy life. The activity takes place over four years and is ...more
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In this role playing activity, students must help the Guinard Family from Haiti receive an education and live a happy life. The activity takes place over four years and is divided into sixteen seasons. Students must assign roles to the family at the beginning of each season. As students complete the activity they must keep track of each family members statistics. Each member has statistics in the areas of Wellness, General health, Happiness, Emotional well-being, and Education. To win your family must survive for four years and the healthier and more educated your family is, the better you do in this activity.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115)

In the Classroom

Take your students on a virtual trip to Haiti by sharing this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. The site would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Have them record information in current event journals. At the end of the game have students prepare a short presentation using PowerPoint or an online tool like 280 Slides reviewed here to share with the class on how their family did.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Our Endangered Planet - Newsweek

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5 to 12
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Subtitled "100 Places to See before They Disappear," this page links readers to information about eroding spots all over the world. Clicking on different continents at the top of this...more
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Subtitled "100 Places to See before They Disappear," this page links readers to information about eroding spots all over the world. Clicking on different continents at the top of this page leads to a featured Newsweek article about an endangered geographical location on that continent which may or may not contain information about endangered species as well. Besides information on the cause of danger and a description of the current state of the location, the article contains hints at how the site could be saved. Users wishing to make comments on the articles can create a log in before being able to express their opinions. Causes of the endangerments include climactic change, misuse of resources, geographic switches, and the fragility of man's creations within the area. The site contains articles on 100 challenged locations and edifices.

tag(s): conservation (127), erosion (17)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introduction to a specific continent when studying world geography. Suggest it to students as a research beginner when they are doing projects on conservation and the green movement.

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Arthur: Go Green Challenge - PBS Kids

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K to 2
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This site challenges kids to go green in three easy steps. The site provides printables in seven different categories (Water, Getting Around, Clothes, Outdoors, Food, Everyday Choices,...more
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This site challenges kids to go green in three easy steps. The site provides printables in seven different categories (Water, Getting Around, Clothes, Outdoors, Food, Everyday Choices, and Energy). Then allows students to decorate the worksheet and finally print it out. Each worksheet has three things that a student can do to go green.

tag(s): energy (198), environment (317), water (130)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students brainstorm things they can do to go green in addition to the ones on the worksheets. Place the link to the site on your class webpage or in your class newsletter and have students choose a different topic throughout the school year to complete at home.
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IndebtEd: We're Broke Let's Fix It - MTV Networks On Campus Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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This site has been created to help students become more aware of personal and governmental debt. Through interactives, videos, and articles this site will bring a greater understanding...more
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This site has been created to help students become more aware of personal and governmental debt. Through interactives, videos, and articles this site will bring a greater understanding of how debt effects individuals and the country. Videos by current stars will make this site an interesting one for students.

tag(s): money (193)

In the Classroom

Though this site is geared toward college students, it would be a great addition to any economics, math, or social studies class. Use the national debt clock to see how quickly we are accumulating debt and how much every individual is responsible for. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector and share the informational videos for the class to see. Have students journal a response to the videos. In groups have students read the government and people section and using a web 2.0 tool like Voki reviewed here have students choose a presidential figure to tell how they will solve the nation's debt problem. Place the link to the site on your class webpage so students can take the debt quiz or play the debt ski activity.
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Learn About Congress - Indiana University

Grades
6 to 12
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The Indiana University Center on Congress has prepared a series of learning modules to teach students about the role, history, and responsibilities of the US Congress. Access each of...more
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The Indiana University Center on Congress has prepared a series of learning modules to teach students about the role, history, and responsibilities of the US Congress. Access each of the modules separately, or consider the summary module that incorporates the other, more in-depth modules. Each module functions as a popup, so be sure you have your popup blocker turner off.

tag(s): branches of government (48), congress (33)

In the Classroom

Use these mini lessons on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to the roles and responsibility of Congress in a history, civics, government or current events class. This could also be part of in-depth looks at all three branches of government. As an alternative, students can work independently or in small groups on these modules, and then report back to the class as a whole on what they've learned. Have groups create podcasts about Congress using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
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