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Powering a Nation - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Grades
6 to 12
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Who is right when it comes to energy, its creation, and its use? Many of the issues are difficult to understand, and all sides are usually not heard. This site ...more
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Who is right when it comes to energy, its creation, and its use? Many of the issues are difficult to understand, and all sides are usually not heard. This site offers a great introductory animated presentation explaining many of the concepts and problems. Students hear the stories about industries, people affected, and the ways that our society contributes to energy problems. After sharing the initial presentation, scroll down the page to read and/or watch more about "Climate Refugees," "Mining the Mountains," "Debating Coal's Future," and several other topics. New topics are added frequently. And at the time of this review, this site was kept very up to date. Articles and resources offer different angles on energy issues. Look for articles that are all about the lives of all people, how energy works, energy issues of today, and the future of energy. The variety of topics at this site is great, as is the material. If you teach science, social studies, geography, or current events, don't miss this site.

tag(s): coal (14), energy (197), fossil fuels (18)

In the Classroom

Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector for some deep class discussion and debate. Use any of the articles as a starting point in class or simply to introduce an energy unit, then revisit new issues throughout the unit. For example, read "Power from Plants" to learn about biofuels, their use, and future for energy. Read about a few biofuels. Students can then find information on other biofuels, their use, and problems with the use. Students can find data on use of fuels, analyze and make recommendations, create literature such as brochures, wiki or blog pages, or other displays to show information for others to understand. Create a debate in your classroom using the opposing voices for and against use of certain fuels. Why not have cooperative learning groups create multimedia presentations to present their findings. Give the groups some options, such as creation online posters using a site such as Padlet (reviewed here). Have students create informational commercials and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Or create a class wiki on types of energy researches, the good, bad, and ugly! Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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Global Issues - Global Issues

Grades
9 to 12
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Global Issues are on the minds of students and are applicable in a variety of different classes. Use this site to find articles (frequently updated) on and related topics. Pages ...more
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Global Issues are on the minds of students and are applicable in a variety of different classes. Use this site to find articles (frequently updated) on and related topics. Pages can be printed or emailed/bookmarked to another who is interested. Use an RSS feed to stay up to date on changes to the site. Though many of the articles are written by the site owner, the articles have extensive facts, graphs, links, and charts.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Use this site to raise awareness of global issues or as material to teach critical research or expository writing. Students can research other sources for information to verify or debunk the material in the article. Students can analyze information from various sources for bias and use of facts. Have students use this as one of several sources for support in persuasive essays or letters to the editor. Use the articles to practice important reading skills, such as main idea or summarizing, marking up the article on interactive whiteboard. Students can also post findings, viewpoints, and solutions onto a personal or class blog. Have cooperative learning groups choose a topic to research and become "experts" about. Have the groups create multimedia presentations to share with the rest of the class. Have students create a multimedia presentation using ThingLink, reviewed here. Challenge students to find a related photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map (with audio) where the global issues are taking place. Another option, have students create videos and share them on a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.

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Job Voyager - ipums.org

Grades
8 to 12
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This interactive graph (created with information from the 2000 U.S. Census) shows all jobs and the percentages of people who worked them from 1850-2000. Students can scroll up over...more
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This interactive graph (created with information from the 2000 U.S. Census) shows all jobs and the percentages of people who worked them from 1850-2000. Students can scroll up over any given year to see any job and the percentage of Americans working that job during that year (gender indicated). A few do have "missing data," but most are complete. By clicking on the job, a new screen appears which shows the percentage of workers but divides the workers into male and female (pink and blue traditional colors help to differentiate between the genders). The site reflects the growing number of female workers, the loss of agrarian occupations, and the changing fields of importance, to name a few trends. Besides viewing the breakdown of male and female employees, you can also select one field and analyze its place in society today and during any given year. Occupations range from teachers to salesman to farmer to clerical worker and countless others. You can also search by letter and all the occupations beginning with that letter will come up graphed by percentages across the span of years.

tag(s): time (144)

In the Classroom

This is a great find for the interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this site with career counseling staff, as well. Use this site when studying U.S. history and economics. Compare the role in society of various occupations (such as a farm laborer) from the 1850s to 2000. Have students hypothesize about why the changes occurred and predict what might show in census data in 2010 and beyond. Use this when teaching graph reading and graph creation, as well. As with any data on the Internet, you will want to challenge students on how they know whether this data set is reliable -- what is the source?
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Going for the Gold - 2009 United States Olympic Committee

Grades
2 to 12
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Follow the United States Olympic athletes at this interactive website. Find out current news about the athletes, read biographical information, read the athlete's blogs, watch video...more
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Follow the United States Olympic athletes at this interactive website. Find out current news about the athletes, read biographical information, read the athlete's blogs, watch video clips, explore the articles, and more. Click on "Resources" and then "U.S. Olympic Education" to find some lesson ideas to use in your classroom. There are some minor advertisements at this website.

tag(s): china (66), olympics (47)

In the Classroom

Use this site to research American athletes. Share the video clips, read the blogs, and view the pictures on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Don't miss the lesson ideas (in the "Resources" section). Share this site on your class website, so families can follow the U.S. Olympians.
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Equal Exchange's Fair Trade Curriculum & Educational Resources - Equal Exchange

Grades
4 to 10
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This collection of pdf lesson plans centers around 3 main topics: how we get our food, what the Fair Trade movement is doing for farmers and eaters, and what coops ...more
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This collection of pdf lesson plans centers around 3 main topics: how we get our food, what the Fair Trade movement is doing for farmers and eaters, and what coops are. The complete curriculum is downloadable and printable, and the daily lessons at this site offer support and extra activities. One lesson, translated for Spanish teachers, offers students an activity so they can understand "What's Fair?" One of the most exciting parts of the website is a collection of videos of Dominican children talking in Spanish about cocoa production! The lesson plans include a variety of activities for students and include projects in math, writing, civics, research, geography, art, music, and international culture.

tag(s): air (163)

In the Classroom

Use these lessons as part of a unit in social studies, Family and Consumer Science, or several other subjects. Take your students on a visit to a local food coop or invite one of their members to speak to your class live or via Skype (explained here.). Have students do a project comparing coop grocery sales with the more commercial establishments. Maybe even have student groups create an online Venn Diagram comparing the two using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). If you have international students from the Dominican Republic or other cocoa producing countries, share this site with them and allow them to compare what the students say on the video to their own experiences. Create your own videotaped interviews with food growers or their families. Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.
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TweenTribune - Alan Jacobson

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K to 12
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several ...more
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several new features, including a Dashboard for assignments and classrooms, assigning a story to all with one click, self-scoring quizzes for articles, and Smithsonian's STEM-based 1-minute videos. There are now free apps for the iPad and iPhone. TweenTribune continues to include open-ended critical thinking questions and a daily quiz using multiple sources. This site is still jam packed with current news stories that are chosen by site coordinators for all reading levels. The articles are easy to read, relate to, and understand. The site is easy to navigate with a subject indexed toolbar, and it is searchable. There is even a "your town" section for local news stories. All stories are current because the creators scour the internet weekly for age-appropriate material. It greatly reduces the pressure of searching by giving an article research tool that is much more specific than simply using a search engine.

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

In the Classroom

The sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here). In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.

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Newsy - newsy.com

Grades
5 to 12
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This site presents current news stories from multiple perspectives, featuring videos and commentary from the world's top newspapers. All the video news clips offer a complete transcript...more
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This site presents current news stories from multiple perspectives, featuring videos and commentary from the world's top newspapers. All the video news clips offer a complete transcript (click on "transcript" just below the video window). General topics covered include the U.S., the world, the environment, culture, technology, economy, and politics. Students can see short news clips, make comments blog style, and read news articles from newspapers around the world. Anyone can view the material, but you must register to be able to make comments. Check your school policies about accessing/sharing student email on school computers. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

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

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for your interactive whiteboard or projector, learning station, or on individual computers (with headsets). Use this site to keep your students up to date on current events. Have students compare the different versions of the same news stories to try and ferret out the facts and the way points of view affect reporting. Project the scripts on an interactive whiteboard to have students highlight language choices that provide a certain slant. ESL/ELL students will benefit from listening to the short news clips and being able to see the transcript of the report. Have your ESL/ELL students write their own comprehension questions and answers based on the podcast to check their own comprehension and to exchange with classmates. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare the differences in two newspapers' versions of the same news. Have ESL/ELL students present the news from a newspaper familiar to them if possible by having them prepare an introduction and questions. Learning support students can use the transcripts and videos in combination to understand and report weekly current events assignments for social studies class.
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The Big Picture - Boston.com (Part of the Boston Globe)

Grades
6 to 12
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This website offers large, poignant, and significant pictures from different current events and history. The pictures are stunning and definitely help tell the story which further...more
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This website offers large, poignant, and significant pictures from different current events and history. The pictures are stunning and definitely help tell the story which further enhances student understanding. The site can be searched by category or by archived dates. Although this site doesn't appear to be updated on a regular basis, it is updated at least once every few months. Note: the images are large so may take a while to load! It is worth the wait.

You are able to post comments. You may want to preview the comments before allowing students to view. Posting comments requires an email address. Check your school's acceptable use policy regarding student email use. Rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

This site would be great for a multitude of subjects and may be best implemented with an interactive whiteboard or projector. One suggestion is to show a picture on the board as students enter the room and pose one question about it. It would create a great prompt for discussion or journaling. Students could also access pictures and create their own stories or presentations of the actual events. Students could create a news story and post it to the classroom wiki where available. Do you want to learn more about wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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Refdesk - Refdesk

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this free site for finding the best information on the Internet. Enter the search term directly into the fields you wish. Refdesk provides many search engines to choose from. ...more
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Use this free site for finding the best information on the Internet. Enter the search term directly into the fields you wish. Refdesk provides many search engines to choose from. Use the dictionary and thesaurus, search literature, scan news, or read about articles, pictures, or headlines of the day. Refdesk provides one place to find an abundant amount of information at your fingertips. Students should be cautioned to not click on ads which are scattered throughout the site.

tag(s): news (261), thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Use this link in the resources section of your wiki, blog, or website for students to quickly find or use information from the Internet. Build information literacy as your students do research. As a beginning activity, have students use the same search term but use different search engines and identify the differences in the top results. Use Refdesk to find interesting information for writing prompts or discussions/blog posts for the day. Use this site for research projects, homework help, and more.

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News for You Online - New Readers Press

Grades
4 to 10
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This online version of the traditionally used ESL/ELL newspaper, "News for You," has a few up to date stories available for free and an archive of stories from the past ...more
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This online version of the traditionally used ESL/ELL newspaper, "News for You," has a few up to date stories available for free and an archive of stories from the past few months as well. Besides reading the stories, students can also hear them. The accompanying teacher's guide in pdf format has comprehension and discussion questions, vocabulary help, and a loosely related grammar activity. A separate classroom ideas section has something appropriate for nearly all classrooms.

To read/listen to the articles, you must put in an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Have students make a vocabulary list of new words they see/hear from the stories each week. Include a story from NFY every week to present a slightly different take on the television news or paper news headlines. Have your students create their own "headline" news and video the projects! Share the videos using a tool such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Real Clear Politics - Real Clear Politics

Grades
9 to 12
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If you are a politics geek, this site will occupy you for hours! "Real Clear Politics" is a collection of video clips, editorials, blog postings, and news stories on current ...more
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If you are a politics geek, this site will occupy you for hours! "Real Clear Politics" is a collection of video clips, editorials, blog postings, and news stories on current politics. The site strives to capture both the left and the right, and "everything in between" and carries the full range from Limbaugh to Olbermann; from the Wall Street Journal to the Nation. If you and your students don't have time to catch all the evening commentary programs, read half a dozen papers, and search the blogsphere for facts and opinion (and who does?) this site might be a great place to start each day. Stories are categorized by date and by topic and there is a link to video content.

tag(s): politics (99)

In the Classroom

Make this site available in Favorites on your classroom computer for students to refer to often when they have questions about current events or politics or build deeper understanding. You may also want to list this link on your class website or wiki, so students can access the page both in and out of the class. Consider using the site as an icebreaker at the beginning of a class: pick one of the polls or short video clips (share it on your interactive whiteboard or projector) and discuss. Use the site to demonstrate how to negotiate the partisanship in political reporting on television and to teach students about how political bias affects the tenor of the conversation about current events. After doing research, have cooperative learning groups create podcasts or video commercials highlighting a recent event or political figure. Create FREE podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Share student-made videos on a site such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.
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Frontline: Breaking the Bank - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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A website connected to an episode of Frontline, this site looks at the recent collapse of several large "superbanks," and how these bank failures have been connected to the general...more
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A website connected to an episode of Frontline, this site looks at the recent collapse of several large "superbanks," and how these bank failures have been connected to the general economic downturn. Many PBS shows' sites are built around the concept of having students "watch the show and discuss"; these require teachers to buy or find a copy of episode. However, this site includes access to the full episode (requires Flash), which can be viewed as a whole or in sections. The resource list is very comprehensive and would give students who are researching national or global economics many good sources. Finally, there is analysis, set up in Q&A format that stands alone, and could be used if you don't want to use classtime to view the video episode.

tag(s): banks (11), money (193), recession (3)

In the Classroom

Although this site deals with the 2008-2009 banking crisis at a level that is probably more in-depth than most teachers have the opportunity to deal with, it would be useful for an economics class or a recent American history class. You might consider some portions of it during a discussion of the Great Depression in the 1930s, to help students connect that economic time with the present. Finally, this might be a good resource site for students who are interested or who are working on more comprehensive projects. Why not have students create a multimedia presentation of their own demonstrating their understanding of the connection between the bank failures and the economic downturn. Have students create (and respond) on class wikis. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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Swine Flu: What you Need to Know - Nemours

Grades
K to 12
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Nemours' balanced approach makes this explanation of swine flu very helpful for parents, teachers, and kids alike. Not only does the article share the basic facts and simple strategies...more
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Nemours' balanced approach makes this explanation of swine flu very helpful for parents, teachers, and kids alike. Not only does the article share the basic facts and simple strategies fo staying healthy. Included are links to related articles for kids and for teens. In the lower area of the page (just below the clickable page numbers), look for "More on this topic" and click on the tab "For Kids" or "For Teens." The common-sense approach will help prevent spread of the disease and reassure frightened students in terms they can understand.

In the Classroom

Share this resource with your building principal and with parents to help control any panic about a possible pandemic.

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Immigration Explorer - NY Times

Grades
3 to 12
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This site offers an interactive map that displays the population and ethnicity of the counties of the United States. Readers can select various ethnic groups and find out where they...more
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This site offers an interactive map that displays the population and ethnicity of the counties of the United States. Readers can select various ethnic groups and find out where they settled. A drop down menu has lists of immigrant groups. The color coded map of the U.S. displays settlement locations for specified groups. Separate countries available include many Asian and European countries. African countries are not listed separately, unfortunately. Another feature allows students to move the timeline marker to show immigration in different years. The timeline includes the 1880s through the 2000s. This interactive map does require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Share this map on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use with your ESL/ELL students to show the class where most settlers from their specific countries go. Talk about your American students' origins and check to see where their ancestors may have settled. Use this interactive map to teach about various kinds of map making and map keys. Use this site to reinforce your students' understanding of timelines. Have cooperative learning groups investigate a specific decade. Challenge the groups to create multimedia presentations to share with the class: blog post from a settler during their "decade" or maybe an interactive timeline of a fictitious settler family using a tool such as TimeRime (explained here).
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Banned Books Week - American Library Association

Grades
3 to 12
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To celebrate America's history of the freedom to read, the American Library Association sets aside one week every year to celebrate that freedom by bringing the most important banned...more
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To celebrate America's history of the freedom to read, the American Library Association sets aside one week every year to celebrate that freedom by bringing the most important banned books to the attention of everyone. Traditionally the last week of September, in 2009 it is being held September 26 - October 3rd. Go to the website and vote for your favorite banned book and have your older students do the same! Find out what books have been most frequently challenged. Find out about the history of book burning, print out posters for your classroom, and find out how support of this week adds to the intellectual freedom of all readers: students, teachers, librarians, and other adults.

In the Classroom

Compare the banned book list with your curriculum. Find out how many of your students' favorite books (like To Kill a Mockingbird) have been on the list.

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Pixcetera - AOL

Grades
2 to 12
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This is a great source for a massive number of pictures on the web, especially recent pictures. Students and teachers can search for pictures, video, news photos, a specific topic ...more
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This is a great source for a massive number of pictures on the web, especially recent pictures. Students and teachers can search for pictures, video, news photos, a specific topic etc. and have many pictures to choose from. The pictures are well organized and easy to search. They are displayed in Flash, however, so you cannot download them or use them elsewhere. You CAN link to a gallery of images or display it on a projector or computer screen. To get the link for a gallery, click share, choose "email" and copy the link that appears in the email that pops open.

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.

tag(s): news (261), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Include 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!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Google News - Google

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Google News provides a quick way to find news stories from all over the globe, including print media, television, and web articles on any topic you enter. Use Google search ...more
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Google News provides a quick way to find news stories from all over the globe, including print media, television, and web articles on any topic you enter. Use Google search terms just as you would for a general Internet search. you can also customize your Google News page to "serve up" topics of interest to you, assuming you have an iGoogle account.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Set 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.

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Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator - Earthday Network

Grades
6 to 12
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This quick quiz provides the user with his or her ecological "footprint." Based on the answers given, the student can see how much space his or her lifestyle takes ...more
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This quick quiz provides the user with his or her ecological "footprint." Based on the answers given, the student can see how much space his or her lifestyle takes up in the world (based on foot eaten, modes of transportation, size of house etc.) and how that compares to others in the world. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): conservation (127), earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317)

In the Classroom

This would be a great Earth Day activity, although younger students may not know how to answer some of the questions (the square footage of their house, the size of their hometown). The information gives students very concrete feedback about the environmental impact of their life on the planet. Taking the quiz takes only a few minutes, but the discussion it yields could easily fill a whole class period! If individual computers aren't available, share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Horse Racing & KY Derby - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Explore vocabulary and word activities related to the Kentucky Derby on this extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more. Find interactive vocabulary activities the same list of...more
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Explore vocabulary and word activities related to the Kentucky Derby on this extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more. Find interactive vocabulary activities the same list of using Kentucky Derby vocabulary words. There are printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Share the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector or make them available as links on your teacher public page. Have students (or groups) create their own illustrated dictionaries of terms using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. As you add more vocabulary lists during the year, have them select their favorite 6-10 terms from each list to add to their "book."

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Capitol Words - Sunlight Foundation

Grades
4 to 12
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This site provides a visual map of the words used every day by members of Congress. Students can see a map of the U.S. to check out how their states ...more
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This site provides a visual map of the words used every day by members of Congress. Students can see a map of the U.S. to check out how their states compare in number of words with other states. They can also enter their state and pick out a specific lawmaker to see his/her words on any given day. The words appear in both a word cloud, where the most used words are the largest, and also in list form. Students can also search from two special lists, one of the most talkative, and one of the quietest lawmakers! When students are interested in a particular word in the word cloud, clicking on it leads to a graph of its past usage. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): congress (33), speech (92)

In the Classroom

Use 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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