Grades2 to 12
Be aware: this site does include some unobtrusive advertisements. Some of the slideshows and videos require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomInclude this site in assignments students have to prepare for presentations. Look for photos of any recent news event, even events obscure enough not to be included in American newspapers. Share an image or gallery of images on your projector or interactive whiteboard in a world language class as you discuss it in the language and learn about the culture and news in far off places. Link to certain galleries from your class web page or from student presentations to show examples of concepts and life in other places. Save this site in your favorites, for students to easily access during research projects. Use the photos as a writing prompt in current events or writing classes. Or create a visual current events "quiz" by displaying a gallery of mages and asking students to explain the background of the story. Speech or ESL/ELL teachers can also share images and ask student to talk about or describe them. Let the students select the image they wish to discuss!
GradesK to 12
tag(s): news (262)
In the ClassroomSet up specialized Google News searches for topics relevant to what you teach: biodiversity, current events topics that connect to your curriculum, or even your school name. Set Google News as the computer's home page and you have an instant "connection" to the real world right in your classroom. You can also customize Google News to education topics of interest to you for professional growth, such as special education, autism, NCLB, etc. Social studies teachers will also want to compare news articles collected on Google News for a current topic to help students see that news coverage is not always balanced. Ask students to compare articles from within the U.S. and those on the same topic written in other countries or by varied sources.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site when studying specific states and their Congressional representatives. It's also a great site to use when preparing students to give speeches. Talk about whether the most popular words are overused or should be included in speeches at all times. Use this site as an anticipatory set to introduce a unit or lesson on government.
Have students create their own "word cloud" using a site such as Wordle (reviewed here by TeachersFirst). Students could create a Wordle about any topic area being studied. Share your students' Wordles on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades1 to 6
In the ClassroomMake a "Speak Out" bulletin board, and videotape your students as they speak out on issues that relate to your school, community, and nation. Issues may be submitted for voting by going to Big Dialog (explained here). Click on the 'About' link at this site for submission voting information.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site has countless uses in the classroom of various grade levels. Share this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. With younger classes, use this map to teach about map legends. Use this when studying ecosystems, environmental issues, economics, current events, world birth and death rates, pollution problems, and conservation. Leave the site open for a few hours for students to see the changes. This site is an excellent resource for research projects on countries throughout the world.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomNo matter what subject you teach, you can find something to fit in your plans for Presidents Day or the Lincoln Bicentennial. Use these ideas and adapt at will. You can even email an idea to your teacher colleague to save a friend time!
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 (49)
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
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 (37)
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.
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 (24)
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)