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The Free Dictionary - Farlex, Inc

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4 to 12
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The Free Dictionary is much more than a dictionary; it also includes a thesaurus, encyclopedias, a literature reference library, and lots more! Browse the home page to find Word of...more
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The Free Dictionary is much more than a dictionary; it also includes a thesaurus, encyclopedias, a literature reference library, and lots more! Browse the home page to find Word of the Day, Article of the Day, In the News, Quotations, Today's Birthday and Holiday, and Hangman. Choose the Spelling Bee to test spelling skills in levels. Your ESL/ELL students can discover and "play" with English words using this site. Browse to find dictionaries for many other languages and specialized needs such as medical and legal dictionaries.

tag(s): dictionaries (46), quotations (22), thesaurus (22), vocabulary development (100), word choice (25)

In the Classroom

Set this site as the home page on classroom computers for students to read and find interesting articles and games. Create an account to customize the page to display information to suit class needs. Use information found on this site for quotes, interesting trivia, and much more. Display on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and discuss articles and information with your class.

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A Moment in Time - New York Times

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6 to 12
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What just happened here? The New York Times offers hundreds of user-submitted photographs from all over the world, each capturing "a moment in time" on a Sunday in May, 2010. ...more
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What just happened here? The New York Times offers hundreds of user-submitted photographs from all over the world, each capturing "a moment in time" on a Sunday in May, 2010. Search by theme, and then give the virtual globe a spin to select a location from which to view your moment in time. Repeat. You won't want to stop. See the world in images from all over the world, all on the same day.

tag(s): creative writing (131), cross cultural understanding (85), debate (34), expository writing (30)

In the Classroom

Each of the "moment in time" photographs provides a wonderful thinking/writing/discussion prompt. What Just Happened Here? If it happened somewhere far away from me, how is it different from what happens in my backyard? What do I have in common with what is pictured? What don't I understand? Use this site to generate ideas for writing, for art, for debate. Use this as an avenue to open discussion about different cultures. Imagine a "moment in time" from another date, such as June 6, 1944, Sept 11, 2001, or an ordinary day in 2014. Challenge students to imagine and create their own moments in time to share.
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Digital Storytelling Resource Kit - tech4learning

Grades
4 to 12
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Find five lesson plans that meet the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts to do digital storytelling using video. Sign up (email required) to get started. Lessons are...more
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Find five lesson plans that meet the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts to do digital storytelling using video. Sign up (email required) to get started. Lessons are based on inquiry and solid writing. Students then convert their writing into a movie or podcast. The choices include a conservation issue where the students write a persuasive essay and use the argument to create a public service announcement, book talks, news casts, and more. To sign up, simply fill in a short registration form and start downloading your digital story telling choice.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): descriptive writing (27), expository writing (30), inquiry (32), persuasive writing (41), podcasts (41), video (175), writing (312)

In the Classroom

Why re-invent the wheel? Take a look at these plans for inquiry based research and the projects for summative assessment to infuse into your lessons. The digital storytelling lesson plans are free, and so are some of the resources they suggest using, such as Pics4Learning reviewed here. However, the video program (Frames) that the lesson advises is not free. Instead, use Picovico reviewed here, or Animoto reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Garbology - Naturebridge

Grades
3 to 12
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Garbology is an interactive that teaches about garbage and answers the question, "Where should my waste go?" While exploring, uncover startling facts about trash, waste, recycling,...more
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Garbology is an interactive that teaches about garbage and answers the question, "Where should my waste go?" While exploring, uncover startling facts about trash, waste, recycling, reuse, landfills, and composting. Find lessons and activities to extend your Garbology knowledge, from how to pack a waste-less lunch to getting the dirt on composting. The Trash Talk blog gives stories of conservation in practice.

tag(s): earth day (105), environment (279), recycling (48)

In the Classroom

Sweeten the smell of garbage at Garbology with this engaging site. Introduce the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore independently or in small groups. Tickle students' interest and get them digging away at Garbology! Use at centers or offer as a resource for projects on conservation. Put students into groups and offer a different lesson for every group. Students can then create and share their findings in a multimedia presentation! Introduce at science night and challenge families with a new goal: reducing waste! As a school, compete between classrooms to discover all of the changes that each can make. Collect data, analyze, and present findings.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Smarty Pins - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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Smarty Pins is an online game combining Google Maps with historical trivia questions. Start a game, and a trivia question pops up requiring an answer that can be mapped. The ...more
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Smarty Pins is an online game combining Google Maps with historical trivia questions. Start a game, and a trivia question pops up requiring an answer that can be mapped. The game gets you started in the right general location, but you have to drop a pin in the right spot to answer the question. Your score depends upon how close you are. Starting with 1000 points, you lose a point for every cumulative mile you are away from the target(s). The questions come from broad categories like science, history, current events and entertainment, and it's possible to narrow your questions to just one of the categories.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (68), map skills (70), maps (236), trivia (15)

In the Classroom

Smarty Pins would be great as a reward for students who finish work promptly, for advanced students who have completed an assignment before other students, or as a way to focus student attention quickly at the beginning of class. It can be used collaboratively from an interactive white board, or it launches from both the Android and the iOS Google map app or from a desktop. Challenge your students to design their own geography quizzes using Mapskip, reviewed here, adding their own "stories" with questions.

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Totally History - totallyhistory.com

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4 to 12
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Totally History offers a brief overview on many historical events and topics. Choose from categories including art history, U.S. history, world history, famous history, and the history...more
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Totally History offers a brief overview on many historical events and topics. Choose from categories including art history, U.S. history, world history, famous history, and the history of technology. Within each topic, find facts and a several paragraph overview of the content.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): american revolution (65), art history (49), civil war (128), presidents (111), religions (47), vietnam (32), world war 1 (35), world war 2 (134)

In the Classroom

Totally History offers a starting point to find basic facts and information on many topics. Use material from the site to introduce any topic such as presidents or events in World or American History. Share with students to use as a resource for classroom projects and reports. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a president or any person or event in history.

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Fracking Across the United States - Earth Justice Org.

Grades
6 to 12
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View this interactive Google map to discover where "fraccidents" have occurred and a description of what happened. A "fraccident" is when something goes wrong at a fracking site. Hydraulic...more
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View this interactive Google map to discover where "fraccidents" have occurred and a description of what happened. A "fraccident" is when something goes wrong at a fracking site. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" is drilling to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas. Fracking is a controversial technology, and this site is one organization's efforts to slow the pace of industrial gas development. So you will notice some bias. Find out if anything like this has happened near you. At the bottom of the page is a video, "Finding Their Way." It is about a Williamsport, PA couple who developed strategies to stop industrial gas development in Rider Park, land consisting of forests, rivers, and fields. The video also gives statistics about how quickly fracking wells were built in Pennsylvania from 2007 - 2010.

tag(s): disasters (35), energy (165), environment (279), geology (70), natural resources (47), oil (44), resources (101)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector during a study of fossil fuels, geology, or energy and government policy. Show students an overview of the interactive map and the states listed below it. Have partners select a state, click on the skull and crossbones, and read about the "fraccidents" that have happened. Have students record the state and the facts about the "fraccident" using an online bulletin board and stickies such as Lino reviewed here. At this point, have students research the positive side of fracking and/or alternative versions of what happened in this "fraccident." Students could then write argument/persuasive papers. Math students could determine the frequency of accidents from fracking over the years and predict what might happen in the states targeted for fracking in the future (listed below the map). Students could view the video at the bottom of the page and discuss the steps taken to stop fracking in Williamsport, PA.
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Smithsonian: Energy Innovation - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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Explore the leading U.S. states in the production of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." There are three parts to this interactive map. Major Shale Plays shows where...more
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Explore the leading U.S. states in the production of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." There are three parts to this interactive map. Major Shale Plays shows where extraction is considered both technically possible and profitable. In State by State Comparison, simply click on each state to show a chart of production rates and reserves. Where is Fracking Happening? provides a legend displaying Shale gas wells and Plays and Basins. Click on the map to zoom in. The accompanying article provides information about technology, earthquakes, and the liquids used in fracking.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): energy (165), environment (279), geology (70), natural resources (47), oil (44), resources (101)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site with an interactive whiteboard or projector and big screen. View together as a class to show students how the interactive map works. Have pairs of students go through the interactive maps and write down key phrases for information they learn. Then have the pairs create a word cloud of the important terms learned from this site using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here. This site could be used in a unit on contemporary environmental issues or energy. Use it for background research for a class debate on fracking. It would also provide evidence for a Common Core-style writing piece developing an argument and supporting evidence. In a government or civics class, this information could be part of a class discussion on how government policies can affect the environment.

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Extracting Natural Gas From Rock - New York Times

Grades
5 to 12
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Learn the steps in extracting natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" with this interactive. The platform shows each step in drilling to fracture shale rocks to release...more
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Learn the steps in extracting natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" with this interactive. The platform shows each step in drilling to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas. On the left side of many of the frames are explanations of problems that may occur in that step in the process.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): energy (165), environment (279), geology (70), natural resources (47), oil (44), resources (101)

In the Classroom

Use this resource in science, current events, government or civics classes when studying environmental issues or for issues about regulation. Before sharing this interactive article with students, identify concepts that need an explanation in class. Have students create a four square chart (fold paper "hamburger" style) and list what they know about fracking in one square. Students then explore this interactive to determine whether their statements are correct or false. In the square next to their brainstorm, have students correct their misunderstandings. In the third square, they can list the possible problems with each step. Use ProConIt, reviewed here, and search for fracking debates. In the fourth square have students record the "pros" for fracking in the ProConIt debates. Students in current events and language arts classes can then write opinion pieces or argument and persuasive papers. Read the site to become informed about this controversial topic as it may become a political issue in upcoming elections in some locations. For younger students, have pairs go through the interactive sections and write down key phrases for information they learn. Then have the pairs create a word cloud of the important terms learned from this site using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here, Tagxedo, reviewed here, or WordItOut, reviewed here.
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Finding Dulcinea Online Guides and Resources - Mark Moran

Grades
5 to 12
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Finding Dulcinea is a tool that selects and annotates credible, trustworthy websites into an online newspaper format. In addition to current content, the site also offers over 550 web...more
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Finding Dulcinea is a tool that selects and annotates credible, trustworthy websites into an online newspaper format. In addition to current content, the site also offers over 550 web guides providing resources for topics such as health, teacher resources, and global warming. Be sure to check out the Beyond the Headlines section of the site for in-depth looks at topics such as Why Do We Have Daylight Savings Time? View the site tour video located here to understand the set-up and how to use the site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): careers (106), cultures (85), financial literacy (58), mental health (17), news (167), newspapers (47), religions (47), sports (79)

In the Classroom

Share articles from Finding Dulcinea with students on your interactive whiteboard when discussing current events. Create a link on classroom computers for students to read on their own. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings from any article using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here.

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Planet Nutshell - Joshua Gunn

Grades
4 to 12
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Planet Nutshell offers short, comic videos hosted on Vimeo explaining diverse topics such as Internet safety, financial aid, and climate change. Many videos include a suitable grade...more
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Planet Nutshell offers short, comic videos hosted on Vimeo explaining diverse topics such as Internet safety, financial aid, and climate change. Many videos include a suitable grade range with the title and run three minutes or less in length. Share videos using the share link provided with the direct URL to the Vimeo site or embed code. Save videos for later viewing on your Vimeo account.

tag(s): climate change (48), financial aid (11), internet safety (93)

In the Classroom

Include videos during your Internet safety or climate change unit and view on your interactive whiteboard. Embed on your class website or blog and have students create animated movies online using Dvolver - Movie Maker, reviewed here,. Consider sharing one of the short Internet safety videos with parents during an Open House or Meet the Teacher night.
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The Internet in Real-Time - Jeff Thomas Stech

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6 to 12
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Find a captivating, animated infographic that shows how rapidly data generates on the Internet. At the bottom is a changing account of data generation for every 10 seconds. This infographic...more
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Find a captivating, animated infographic that shows how rapidly data generates on the Internet. At the bottom is a changing account of data generation for every 10 seconds. This infographic is actually live! There is a link at the top where you can click and watch the Internet giants accumulate wealth in real-time.

tag(s): data (142), images (210), infographics (39)

In the Classroom

Share both of these infographics on your projector or interactive whiteboard (RIght click to open the wealth accumulation link in another tab). Use these infographics as a discussion starter about Internet safety, media literacy, or in just about how data proliferates in today's world. Discussion starters for the Internet in Real-Time could be about who could take advantage of and use this information, what factors (time of day, holidays, etc.) affect the rate of increase, how do "they" keep track of this? A discussion starter for the one about wealth might be to see how many students know about the controversial 1% of the wealthiest people in America, and then have them research how many of the 1% own or have invested in these companies? In a math class about data, use this as an example of how people draw meaning from numbers.

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Great Lakes Echo - MSU Department of Telecommunications, Info Studies, and Media

Grades
6 to 12
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Find a constantly updated collection of informational articles about the environment of the Great Lakes. Subscribe to receive news of current feature articles. The variety of article...more
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Find a constantly updated collection of informational articles about the environment of the Great Lakes. Subscribe to receive news of current feature articles. The variety of article topics is sure to catch the interest of almost any reader. The articles have Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike licenses so are free to use and recopy (be sure to attribute!).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (218), fish (22), insects (58), plants (113), pollution (64), water (108), watersheds (13), weather (168)

In the Classroom

Use this resource in a science or environmental science classroom to identify and learn about various problems affecting the Great Lakes. Many of the concerns are representative of watersheds and freshwater bodies in other locations, as well. These articles are also valuable to examine current events in a social studies or civics classroom, identifying the impact of current environmental challenges on society and of society on the environment. Use these articles to provide experience with reading informational texts. Annotate an article using one of many annotation tools such as Scrible or Crocodoc, as part of "close reading." Compare the environmental issues of the Great Lakes with those of other water areas. Add this link to a bank of resources for students to use in research of issues affecting waterways.

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Science News for Students - Society for Science and the Public

Grades
6 to 12
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Find science current events and more with this wonderful site. This section also includes information on STEM careers and teaching science to teenagers. Find interesting articles and...more
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Find science current events and more with this wonderful site. This section also includes information on STEM careers and teaching science to teenagers. Find interesting articles and information about Atoms and Forces, Earth and Sky, Humans and Health, and more. Below each article is words used in the article and their meanings. Find information about science projects in the Student Resources section.

tag(s): news (167), science fairs (19), scientific method (48), scientists (47)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check the Educators section to find articles by curriculum topic. Use this site as a resource for current events projects or to relate classroom material to students lives and the world around them. Use the articles by finding an interesting tidbit of information to capture student attention before the start of a new content unit or chapter. Be sure to point out that science discoveries have led to the information about the natural world that we presently have today. Challenge cooperative learning groups to investigate one of the topics and create a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Be sure to include this link on your class page for students to find interesting articles and information about Atoms and Forces, Earth and Sky, Humans and Health, and more. Add the RSS feed from this site to your class Flipboard account.

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Top Documentary Films - topdocumentaryfilms.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Top Documentary Films contains a large collection of documentaries from around the world. Choose "Browse Documentaries" to explore documentaries available, or click on categories to...more
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Top Documentary Films contains a large collection of documentaries from around the world. Choose "Browse Documentaries" to explore documentaries available, or click on categories to view by topics such as Politics, Science, etc. Choose the documentary list to view a complete listing of all available films. Each listing includes a short description along with a link to view the video. Videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube. Be sure to PREVIEW videos before showing to a class as they are unmoderated. Comments are also unmoderated. There is a wonderful disclaimer at the lower left of the home page about bias and documentaries. It is well worth noting as you watch ANY "documentary."
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tag(s): advanced placement (15), animals (218), artists (55), biographies (37), drugs and alcohol (7), environment (279), evolution (97), hiv/aids (17), humor (12), media literacy (43), mental health (17), money (174), politics (82), psychology (48), religions (47), sports (79), vietnam (32)

In the Classroom

Use this site to find videos in a wide range of topics to share on your interactive whiteboard, on a projector, or as a link on your class web page. Use videos to demonstrate different points of view. Then use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare and contrast information. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from any film using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here). Want to engage students WHILE they watch a video? Why not set up a backchannel chat using Todaysmeet, reviewed here. Be sure to ask your class if there could have been any bias in the video you watch together. What film techniques influence our thinking?
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Trove - Rob Malda

Grades
7 to 12
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Discover and curate personalized news stories using Trove. Browse through ready-made Troves that may be of interest, and "follow" them. Create an account using your email or social...more
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Discover and curate personalized news stories using Trove. Browse through ready-made Troves that may be of interest, and "follow" them. Create an account using your email or social network login. Create and curate your own Trove by following the instructions on the site. This tool will work on iOs devices or on the web. At this time there is no Android app available.

tag(s): news (167), newspapers (47), social networking (103)

In the Classroom

Use Trove to create student-navigated lessons or review materials for any topic. Create a whole class Trove account to follow Troves safely under teacher supervision. Allow students to set up their own accounts if over 13 and permitted under school policies. Have students work together in groups to create their Trove on current articles they can use in a research project. Have student groups create Troves of articles in the news related to the curriculum topic you are studying. For example, collect articles about disappearing habitats, design concepts that use new engineering materials, food and religion in a certain culture, or climate change and weather. Demonstrate a new math concept using articles found on the Internet. Create a class study guide for students to access before the big science test! Include Trove as part of your current events lessons and allow students to explore articles demonstrating different points of view. Use Trove as a professional resource for following current topics in education such as standardized testing or Common Core Standards. Speaking of Common Core, the articles collected in Trove could serve as practice with informational texts. Library/media specialists can collect Troves to teach students about using media in research projects.

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Foodopoly - Food and Water Watch

Grades
5 to 12
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Think you know about food and the food system responsible for growing, processing, and getting it to your table? Begin with the quiz to see what you really know. Along ...more
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Think you know about food and the food system responsible for growing, processing, and getting it to your table? Begin with the quiz to see what you really know. Along with the right answers, you will receive background information and some shocking statistics. View the Get The Facts tab to access an assortment of Infographics about what is in the grocery aisles.
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tag(s): nutrition (135)

In the Classroom

Begin with the quiz to see what students know. Share the quiz on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students take the quiz independently in a BYOD classroom (or computer lab/laptops). As they take the quiz, students can note items that interest or disturb them. Begin a class discussion with the most interesting or shocking items they learned from taking the quiz. Research the history of the Farm Bill, the FDA, or the USDA. Compare diets of today and of the past, and identify differences and medical issues (good or bad.) Create a debate about monopolies in food production and lack of oversight in the food industry. Have students investigate one food aisle and share what they learn.

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Audio Expert - AudioExpert

Grades
1 to 12
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Audio Expert is a free and simple online audio editor, file converter, and sound recorder. This tool has all of the standard functionality of an audio editor. It provides students ...more
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Audio Expert is a free and simple online audio editor, file converter, and sound recorder. This tool has all of the standard functionality of an audio editor. It provides students and teachers with an easy way to create a podcast or even a ringtone for a cell phone. The Audio Expert can also be used as a powerful audio file converter that will allow you to modify your file format, bit rate, and frequency. If your computer is equipped with a camera and microphone, you can use Audio Expert to record your own sounds. You can download completed files.

tag(s): podcasts (41)

In the Classroom

Use Audio Expert in early grades to promote literacy by recording your students and creating an audio portfolio record of their reading. Use this tool with ESL/ELL students to practice fluency and hearing themselves speak. Use Audio Expert to record parents, principals, lunch ladies, librarians, relatives, and bus drivers all telling your favorite class story. During writing time, allow students freedom from the pencil to express their true creative voices. Also dabble into digital storytelling to create a lesson in adding voice, emotion, and characterization. Record audio interviews at a local nursing home, fire stations, or museums to recollect times such as wars, the Great Depression, Civil Rights Movements, or as a primary source at memorable events. Record world language conversations as a student project. Make music class or the school band a gold recording!

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Headslinger - James Bottorff and Mandy Bottorff

Grades
7 to 12
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Discover, read, collect, and share news from multiple sources with Headslinger. Browse links to popular news sites to find interesting news articles, tweets, and Facebook posts. Save...more
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Discover, read, collect, and share news from multiple sources with Headslinger. Browse links to popular news sites to find interesting news articles, tweets, and Facebook posts. Save to your favorites using the "Sling it" button and place in a folder you create and categorize. Easily find saved articles and news sources using the navigation bar at the top of each page. Find new sources using links included with each story to sources similar to the one you are viewing. When you are ready to share articles, use the social networking buttons included with the article to share on Facebook, Twitter, and email. Register to create an account to save stories; however, registration isn't required to browse and share articles.

tag(s): bookmarks (58), journalism (30), media literacy (43), news (167), newspapers (47)

In the Classroom

Find and share interesting stories with your classroom from many resources using Headslinger. Create folders of sources that supplement curriculum topics such as pollution, engineering, or space. This is a terrific way to collect articles during an election cycle for students to compare bias in various publications! Challenge older students to create their own Headslinger account and share news articles demonstrating different points of view or topics of special interest. Bookmark and save Headslinger to find and use interesting current events articles for classroom use. With the CCSS emphasis on informational text, Headslinger could provide an unlimited source of reading material. Create professional collections to keep track of trends and topics in education.

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60-Second Civics - The Center for Civic Education

Grades
7 to 12
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60 Second Civics offers podcasts covering one important concept at a time in 60-second narratives. They are updated daily. Short Attention Span? This site is perfect for you! There...more
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60 Second Civics offers podcasts covering one important concept at a time in 60-second narratives. They are updated daily. Short Attention Span? This site is perfect for you! There are nearly 2000 podcasts to explore. You can subscribe to the podcast series through an RSS feed, on iTunes, or access them directly through the website. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be searchable by theme or content, so you'll just need to scroll through them if you're looking for a specific topic or issue. Tip: when you hover your cursor over the word PLAY, it doesn't change to a pointing hand. Click on the word anyway to start the podcast. 60-Second Civics is part of a larger site that contains lesson plans, teacher resources, video clips, and a photo gallery on all aspects of citizenship.

tag(s): bill of rights (26), branches of government (39), constitution (69)

In the Classroom

Need a quick lesson starter or attention grabber at the beginning or end of each class? Try a 60-second Civics lesson. If you access the day's podcast via the website, you'll also find a one-question multiple choice quiz that relates to the podcast so you can check for content acquisition. These podcasts are perfect for a civics or government class! Share the podcasts on your projector (or interactive whiteboard) so the entire class can hear the podcast and see the quiz at the end. If you are the adviser for the school news program, these would be a terrific addition, ready to go for you every day. During the run-up to Consitution Day in September, include these in the morning PA announcements. Load the podcast on iTouches or other mobile devices in the media center for students to browse and learn. Encourage students to create their own "stump the teacher" or "stump the student citizen" quizzes based on these podcasts. Use one of the many poll/quiz tools in the TeachersFirst Edge.

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