Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomUse the information on the site as background information for additional research. The glossary feature will allow students to create individual dictionaries of new vocabulary as they read! The pronunciations allow ESL students to learn new vocabulary as they follow current events. Students can divide into groups to take an area of the world and use the site to gather information about that region for presentation to the class. Have the groups create a multimedia presentation (video, PowerPoint, or blog) to share their findings. Use this site to determine issues that seem to be affecting more than one area of the world. Use the question of the week to research possible solutions and debate or vote as a class.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to share current events with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Study the statistics of the election in your math class. Have a mock election in your class, analyze the results of your class election using graphs and statistics.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomSince 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.
Grades4 to 12
This site includes advertising.
tag(s): tutorials (47)
In the ClassroomUsers will need to know how to use whatever computer software, website, or skill they are demonstrating. Following basic directions and managing browser windows or tabs are a must, as well as the managing settings of the computer being used. The site demonstrates how to troubleshoot problems on both PC's and Mac's.
Click "create" to start. As the screencast is being created, files will need to be written temporarily to the desktop. A security screen will pop up that asks to run the application. You will be asked to "trust" or "not trust" the security certificate. Depending upon your school's Acceptable Use Policy and computer security settings, you may not be able to complete these steps. Choose the screen size when played and whether audio will be needed (audio can be tested here as well, which is recommended: settings may need to be adjusted for different microphones.) Open a new tab or browser window and enter the web address of the site (or software) that will be the subject of your screencast. Drag the black frame by clicking the line and dragging it in order to choose what will be recorded during the screencast. The microphone icon has a green bar that shows recording levels. A green arrow showing instead of a green bar denotes that sound is not being captured. The red button is used to start recording while the black "X" stops the recording. Once you stop recording, click on your screencast tab or browser window and preview your recording. You can then either upload or discard your screencast. At this point you can create an account easily. Save your screencast to a channel of your own. Use the embed code to place your screencast into a blog, wiki, or other site. You can also use a widget code to embed the screencast player into a website. Screencasts can then be made from your other site and will save directly to your screencast channel. Screencasts can be set to different levels of privacy and comments can be turned on or off.
Teachers who must request certificate approval by tech staff may want to try this tool at home and create some sample projects to convince administration of its educational value. Unless checked to turn off comments, this site will allow comments on your work. Many districts prohibit such interaction and steps should be taken to prohibit commenting from others. When using the widget, the tool does not attribute work to specific students. You may wish to have the students identify their work while creating the screencast. Screencasts will only be able to be viewed when using an embed code in a site, wiki, or blog. By marking the screencast "searchable," it can be available to the public. Recently created screencasts do not appear on the home page of screencast-o-matic. Students are able to self-register, but you may want to keep a record of logins and passwords for students who forget.
Make how-to demos for instructions on using and navigating your class home page, class wiki or blog, or other applications you wish the students to use in creation of classroom content. By narrating how you want students to navigate through a certain site or section, you can eliminate confusion, provide an opportunity for students to use the information as a refresher for the future, and maintain a record for absent students. Software demonstrations add an increased flexibility with helping students who need it while allowing students to begin and work at their own pace. Added audio is a great asset for many students including learning support and those who might need to access the material in smaller "chunks." Use this site for students to give "tours" of their own wiki or blog page. The presentation of their web-based projects and resources can be more engaging. Use screencasts to critique or show the validity of websites, identify a resource site they believe is most valuable, or explain how to navigate an online game. Challenge your gifted students to create a screencast as a final project rather than a more traditional project. Social studies teachers could assign students to critique a political candidate's web page using a screencast. Reading/language arts teachers could have student teams analyze a web site to show biased language, etc. For a powerful writing experience, have students "think aloud" their writing choices as the record a screencast of a revision or writing session. You will probably need to model this process, but writing will NEVER be the same! Math teachers using software such as Geometer's Sketchpad could have students create their own narrated demonstrations of geometry concepts as review (and to save as future learning aids). Teachers at any level can create screencasts to demonstrate a computer skill or assignment, such as for a center in your classroom or in a computer lab. Students can replay the "tutorial" on their own from your class web page and follow the directions.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Requires download/installation of software
Grades4 to 12
Be aware: this site also has advertisements for books for sale. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): map skills (81)
In the ClassroomNavigating the site is fairly easy. Manipulate the map as you would on Google Maps (zoom, drag, etc). Simply click to read the articles, weather reports, and view the photos or video clips (teacher-previewed, of course). Use this fabulous site as an addition to your geography class or as a reference when looking up ANY world location from current events, literary settings, and more. Take your students virtually to a new location every day! Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge students to write a blog as a native from the highlighted country. In world language classes, have students plot a trip or write an imaginary story of their dream trip to Spain, Mexico, France, China (or whatever country/language they are studying). Take your students on a virtual trip to the native countries where the language is spoken. Have your ESL or ELL students take the class on a virtual tour of their home country.
For a more extensive project, have your students work on "building up" the Mapdango resources available for your area using the various tools that Mapdango draws upon. Of course, you will need to work within school policies to access these tools. Add more pictures to Panoramio, contribute more detailed articles to wikipedia, etc. Be sure to include the link to YOUR town's Mapdango entry on your class web page!
Safety/Security Concerns: Registration is required to use the social features, but they are not necessary for "exploring" a location. Make sure you have a clear class policy and consequences regarding the social features of the site. This site is so rich in information that it is a good one to use to teach ethical and safe use of web resources, especially how to avoid non-essential portions of a good site.
Grades4 to 12
A link to a "Hurricane Hunters Gift shop" is found on the main page and students should be advised to avoid such an advertisement. The site requires Flash for storm updates. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomCompare numbers of hurricanes of various years. Plot locations, and storm paths on the same chart (or in Google Earth) to determine the origination point and landfall or end point of the hurricanes to draw conclusions. Use the information to determine the physical characteristics of the hurricanes (instead of looking them up in an encyclopedia). Determine the areas of the world where hurricanes occur in order to understand factors responsible for hurricane formation. Have students track a current hurricane and use information learned on this site to predict the spot where it will make landfall and provide reasoning for their choice.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): australia (35)
In the ClassroomTeacher ed institutions and graduate classes you are taking on contemporary issues in education may want to explore these scenarios for discussion. Even high school classes exploring careers or trends in current events may discuss the reshaping of education over the next 20+ years as today's high schoolers become tomorrow's teachers. Teachers of Gifted working with forecasting and futures will find this an interesting model.
Any teacher planing to remain in the profession will want to think about how these scenarios might affect YOUR classroom in some way in the near future.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomShare this site as a way to review before tests. Have students create their own PowerPoint game shows to review concepts learned in class. Share the PowerPoint presentations on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
GradesK to 12
Caution - although this website is appropriate for all ages, since users can submit photographs, please view the photos before sharing them with your class. Some of the activities at this website require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomThere are countless ways to integrate this website into your lesson plans. Why not use your interactive whiteboard to visit a different location every week. Or simply share images of the "real world" setting of a story you are reading or current events article. This website also enables students to locate "real" pictures for research projects. Why not create a scavenger hunt (using PowerPoint or another program). Provide clues for the countries to "scavenge" and then have students research the information to figure out the correct country and use the Nations Illustrated website to copy/paste pictures from each of the locations. The students can create a picture scrapbook of their scavenger hunt.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the activities presented on the site, such as Bioethics of Eugenics or the role of Propaganda during the Holocaust. You can use many of these resources to compare present day beliefs or thoughts about the holocaust, or to evaluate current websites/blogs for accuracy. Social responsibility and action from that period can be compared to current crises in the World today. Students can also use the information to determine the reasoning behind the actions of each of the groups and write an editorial about that group's beliefs or create a piece of artwork depicting their thoughts and emotions.
GradesK to 4
In the ClassroomUse this activity in response to a field trip or outdoor excursion around the school. This lesson allows ESL and ELL students who can't express themselves as well as the rest of the class to be full participants. Teachers might want to review pertinent meta-questions before taking a trip, such as "What is the name of that?," "How do you spell that word?," and "Can you repeat that?" before going outside the classroom.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSurvey students about their online usage and behaviors. This can be done informally as a class discussion or as an online survey that is filled out by students. Create a quick poll using SurveyPlanet, reviewed here. Use a projector and or a whiteboard to display the results and discuss the results of the survey with the class. Emphasize the importance of online safety and introduce the OnGuard Online website as an important resource for accurate and current information. Why not have cooperative learning groups investigate one of the topic areas provided (such as identity theft). Then have the groups make a multimedia presentation to present their findings to the class. Use one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Younger students can be introduced to the online games that teach appropriate and ethical online behavior. A scavenger hunt or questionnaire can be created for older students to explore the many issues that arise while online. As an extension activity students can role play different scenarios that they are confronted with when they are online and how they can respond in a safe ethical manner.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomProject this on your whiteboard at the start of your lesson as students enter or to wrap up the final five minutes with interesting clips from history, quotes, ESL in music etc. Encourage your students to try a new vocabulary word each day on their own. If your students have Internet access outside of class (even in study hall), require a weekly current events response for writing practice--perhaps on a class blog?
Grades1 to 12
tag(s): short stories (25)
In the ClassroomUse the selections from this page to teach specific reading skills on an interactive whiteboard or for students to practice reading and language skills independently at a computer center or on laptops. If you allow students to select their own stories (ages are noted to help them find the appropriate level), they may be more interested in the story, as well.
Grades1 to 8
Note: an annoying audio ad plays when you first enter the site. Turn OFF your sound!
In the ClassroomUse the current events segment as weekly discussion starter or assignment in your social studies class. Share this link on your teacher web page for students to access outside of class. To really build a stronger sense of current events, start a class year-long current events "log" on a wiki and have a differnet student write a "week in review" each week throughout the year, based on the current events provided here or others he/she may know about. Reading teachers may also want to use the articles on this site to teach informational text reading skills on an interactive whiteboard. Reading levels are challenging for grades 1-3. Teachers will need to provide help by reading aloud or partnering readers.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): news (262)
In the ClassroomShare this site with your school's foreign language teachers. Have students do comparisons between English and foreign language versions of the news. If you teach writing, you can find controversial topics as writing prompts for persuasive writing among the articles, as well, and have students find facts to support their positions. Make this site available from your teacher web page for current events assignments. Reading teachers will want to use the articles on an interactive whiteboard to teach main idea and summarizing: highlight key words to use in a main idea or summary sentence you write together below the article.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomLet your students' parents know about this site via your teacher web page or class newsletter. You may also want to share it with your school PTO or PTA.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): spelling (166)
In the ClassroomShare this link with your teaching colleagues, parents, and students on your teacher web page. What a great challenge for a writing prompt!
I shared this with my grade 11 English class as an option for persuasive writing. The length limits really forced them to be economical with their words!Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this link on your teacher page for middle and high school students to use as a reference and build better understanding of this tumultuous region. It will help even younger students understand the region, but parts of this website are not appropriate for elementary students. Preview before you take your elementary class on a virtual field trip to the Middle East.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): iraq (32)