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5 Sources for Free and Legal Images - The Blog Herald

Grades
K to 12
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These five sources provide Creative Commons images and videos for use in your blog/wiki/web site LEGALLY. Model your ethical use of media by sharing these with your blogging...more
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These five sources provide Creative Commons images and videos for use in your blog/wiki/web site LEGALLY. Model your ethical use of media by sharing these with your blogging students or using them on your whole-class blog or wiki. The sources include abstract photos and current events new stories, as well as general photos. Each has its own search/browse features. The services include: Voxant Newsroom, PicApp, GumGum, Zemanta, and PhotoDropper.

tag(s): blogs (88), images (266)

In the Classroom

Since 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.
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Gapminder World - Gapminder

Grades
6 to 12
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Use Gapminder World (with no login required) to see how countries vary and change over time in economics, health, and environment. Click the MAP tab as a good place to ...more
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Use Gapminder World (with no login required) to see how countries vary and change over time in economics, health, and environment. Click the MAP tab as a good place to start. Follow all trends and click play to animate the country bubbles through a timeline. Click on a specific bubble (country) to follow through time. Each axis of the graph can be customized for a large number of combinations. Video tutorials and a pdf of directions are available. Share your chart through the use of a link or take a snapshot of your screen using print screen functions. There is also this page of help and ideas specifically for teachers. Be patient. This site has a lot of information to load, so you may have to wait a bit!

tag(s): countries (76), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Be sure you and your students begin by "playing" with the controls to figure out the many tools available on this dynamic site. Be sure to peruse by this page of ideas specifically for teachers. Use this site to generate questions from students for continued research in health, environmental, and civics topics that students will relate to. Manipulate each axis (using pulldowns) to create a dynamic graph and follow all or a few of the countries (bubbles). Questions resulting from the graph can be used to define research leading to further understanding. Have students obtain background information that can lead to further research on social issues in the U.S. and around the World or use this tool as part of oral/visual presentations comparing countries and cultures. Be sure to use your interactive whiteboard or projector.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Stormpulse - Stormpulse

Grades
6 to 12
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Scroll through the earth to watch the current paths of tropical storms/hurricanes. View satellite imagery, news, up to date coastal weather, or view storm archives from 1850 to present....more
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Scroll through the earth to watch the current paths of tropical storms/hurricanes. View satellite imagery, news, up to date coastal weather, or view storm archives from 1850 to present. This is not considered an actual weather source but is an aggregate of information on storms. Probabilities of storms and hurricanes are given, based upon weather movement. This interactive site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): hurricanes (35), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Watch storm movement and predict potential path. Use archives to determine common paths, areas where storms are more prevalent, change in numbers of hurricanes in different decades, etc. Use this site as a springboard for further research and better understanding of causes of hurricanes, factors that change the movement, destruction from hurricanes, or how best to prepare for hurricanes. Students can create traditional (poster, bulletin board) or multimedia presentations (newscasts, wiki, blog) on storms or even "create" a mythical storm of the future that follows predictable patterns, documenting it on a class weatherwiki.
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The Online NewsHour Extra: Video Clipboard - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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Are you looking for a new way to get your students excited about current events and the news? This site (a new feature of the PBS NewsHour) provides daily (Monday ...more
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Are you looking for a new way to get your students excited about current events and the news? This site (a new feature of the PBS NewsHour) provides daily (Monday - Friday) video blogs. The blogs come complete with a video clip, summary, quotes, thinking questions, and more. (Don't miss the link to "How to Use this" with tips for downloading veido in advance of your class and how to use it). Video topics relate to current events but extend back into background that lead up to today's events. Some of the "extras" include transcripts, printables, and the ability to post comments. If you post a comment, you must provide your name, city, state, and email address. BE CERTAIN to check your school's Acceptable Use Policy and obtain parental permission before allowing students to comment on the video blogs.

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. The videos require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Share these video blogs with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector as you discuss current events and related issues. Share this link on your class web page as an option for weekly current events articles you require from students. Take advantage of the free resources (quotes, warm up questions, discussion questions, printables, and other resources). If you teach reading or are working to help learning support students build comprehension, you will find terrific passages for teaching comprehension, inferencing, summarizing, and more, all with meaningful news stories as the focus. If your school's Acceptable Use Policy allows, have students post their own comments to the video blogs. Another idea: have your students create their own wiki about current events in local and/or national news. Invite students to create their own multimedia packages using video clips and their own text to explain an issue and its history.
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Screencast-o-matic - Big Nerd Software

Grades
4 to 12
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Use this simple and free tool to create a video recording of your screen to upload and share on a teacher web page, wiki. blog, etc.. This is an easy ...more
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Use this simple and free tool to create a video recording of your screen to upload and share on a teacher web page, wiki. blog, etc.. This is an easy way to create a tutorial from your own computer screen. When you visit sites that have tutorials on how to use their software, you are looking at a screencast. Use this site to give specific directions on how to use different applications in and out of the classroom. Audio is not necessary for the screencasts but may be beneficial, depending upon the tutorial. An example can be found here.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): tutorials (47)

In the Classroom

Users 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.

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mapdango

Grades
4 to 12
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This online mapping tool is really a "mash-up" (online technology combo) of many tools that allows you to see various cities and countries throughout the world. The site is powered...more
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This online mapping tool is really a "mash-up" (online technology combo) of many tools that allows you to see various cities and countries throughout the world. The site is powered by GoogleMaps, but clicking on Map opens up other content. There is a "place of the day" offered daily. In addition to showing the location on the map, there are photos, news stories, current weather conditions, articles about the location, events happening in the area, videos (powered by YouTube), and demographic information about the area. There is a link on the top of the page, Countries , as well as a search box to search by location name. Note that the "Social" link leads to many social tools possibly inappropriate for the classroom. Since much of the content is designed for the general public, it is s good idea to preview places you plan to "feature" in class.

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 (79)

In the Classroom

Navigating 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.
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After the Deluge - Smith Magazine

Grades
6 to 12
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This issue of Smith Magazine features an online graphic novel of the events of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on New Orleans and related communities. Since there are very few ...more
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This issue of Smith Magazine features an online graphic novel of the events of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on New Orleans and related communities. Since there are very few words, it's perfect for students of all ages and English ability levels. The drawings are in chronological order and include weather pictures and before and after pictures, as well as specific events of the hurricane.

Warning: Be sure to PREVIEW each section before you show it to the class since there is some profanity in the speech of some characters.

tag(s): graphic novels (7), hurricanes (35), novels (24)

In the Classroom

In light of the increase of hurricane activity, this is a wonderful resource to introduce this weather topic. Use it also in art class, graphic design, and with ESL and ELL students learning to tell stories. Use this site to introduce the world of graphic novels to students who are reluctant readers. Have your class make their own graphic novel about another catastrophic or historical event, either in groups or individually. Check with your administration to be sure it's OK to use this site at student computers since there are spaces for students to respond and also to submit their own work. If that's a problem, use it with your classroom computer and project the novel on the whiteboard (avoiding scenes with questionable vocabulary). Extend the lesson by having students create their own collaborative graphic account of a local history event or fictional tale in small groups.

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Hurricane Hunters Association - Hurricane Hunter Association

Grades
4 to 12
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Hurricane Hunters is a resource to find photos and data from past hurricanes. Hurricanes and data are archived by year. Find photos from above a hurricane with logs and information...more
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Hurricane Hunters is a resource to find photos and data from past hurricanes. Hurricanes and data are archived by year. Find photos from above a hurricane with logs and information from the planes that follow the storms. Research more information about science and meteorology by using the multitude of links provided. Real time data of current storm conditions in the world are available on the website. View spectacular photos in the "Photos" section or click on "Questions" to read the most often asked questions and their answers. In the "Questions" is a link to a cyberflight that walks through the before, during, and after of a Hurricane Hunter flight. This site is mostly text and pictures.

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.

tag(s): hurricanes (35), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Compare 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.
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Open Book Scenarios - Teaching Australia

Grades
K to 12
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This professional resource offers a possible look (scenarios) into the future of education. This site is a good illustration of the fact that teachers all around the world are aware...more
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This professional resource offers a possible look (scenarios) into the future of education. This site is a good illustration of the fact that teachers all around the world are aware of the changes that are necessary in education to respond to new technologies and globalization. The goal of the scenarios is to look at the possible education system in Australia in 2030. The creators narrowed down the futuristic world into four categories/scenarios. The first scenario offers a tolerant and harmonious society. The second scenario depicts a highly competitive world. Scenario three represents the society as polarized. The final scenario shows a world violent and fractured. The seeds of each of the possible societies are visible today. The scenarios demonstrate the importance of engaging with change and how THAT creates your ability to anticipate issues in the future, raise awareness, and create change! Click on Teaching for Uncertain Futures to view the book in its entirety. The links require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): australia (35)

In the Classroom

Teacher 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.
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Behind the News - ABC News Australia

Grades
6 to 12
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This site presents an oral and visual summary of weekly news stories from Australia. Transcripts of the broadcasts are also available. Look at the new stories, but also enjoy the ...more
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This site presents an oral and visual summary of weekly news stories from Australia. Transcripts of the broadcasts are also available. Look at the new stories, but also enjoy the archives. The Teacher Zone page includes worksheets and other suggestions of ways to use the stories for learning. The Student Zone shows videos and still photos of related news stories submitted by other students. There are also quizzes, polls, and other features..

Be aware, although most of this site is free, there are a few items (for example, CDs) that are for a fee. This site opens slowly and requires a FAST Internet connection. This site requires Flash and Windows Media Viewer. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): australia (35), news (261), point of view (9)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a way to teach point of view and bias in news reporting. Have students compare the Australian broadcast on topics that are also covered by U.S. media. How do the presentations of the main points differ? Have your students rewrite an American news story from what they think the Australian point of view might be. Use this site when teaching current events or world cultures, particularly Oceania. If you have technically-capable students, have them create annotated, side-by side comparisons using multimedia/video software and clips from these and American broadcasts (with appropriate citations, of course).
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Power Point Activities - Kim Overstreet

Grades
3 to 8
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This site has a collection of PowerPoint programs which can be used as learning reviews, particularly academic forms of the popular TV jeopardy game. Other popular games in PowerPoint...more
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This site has a collection of PowerPoint programs which can be used as learning reviews, particularly academic forms of the popular TV jeopardy game. Other popular games in PowerPoint form here include Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Hollywood Squares . For those who want to create their own games for review, detailed directions are available. Other ideas for using PowerPoint lessons in teaching include math activities and literature accompaniments. Links to other PowerPoint lesson collections complete the offerings of this site. These are great tools for studying and helping students understand how they learn best.

In the Classroom

Share 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.

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English as a Second Language Podcast - Center for Educational Development

Grades
6 to 12
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These up to date podcasts of high interest differ from other podcast sites: the language used and the speed of delivery are simpler and slower. ESL and ELL students will ...more
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These up to date podcasts of high interest differ from other podcast sites: the language used and the speed of delivery are simpler and slower. ESL and ELL students will readily comprehend the podcasts and learn new vocabulary in context. Difficult vocabulary is explained. Summaries of each podcast on the opening webpage provide the main content and pedagogical focus. The podcasts on this site are free; students can listen to them directly from the web, download to a local computer, or place on an MP3 player. Each podcast does contain a brief advertisement for other purchasable features, including Learning Guides, complete transcripts, cultural information, and vocabulary assistance. Be sure to preview the podcasts before sharing them with your students to ensure age appropriateness. Topics are generally for older students or adults. If you download the podcasts to the computer, you will need Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): listening (91), podcasts (52), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Have your ESL and ELL students listen and write their own summaries in groups or independently. Or ask them to write comprehension questions and answers to check their own understanding and challenge classmates. Have them compare information from the podcast to information on the same subject from other sources. Challenge students to present a one-minute summary. Have them prepare their own podcasts using the same format on subjects of their choice.
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On-Line ESL News - VOA

Grades
5 to 12
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This site features news stories and articles of general interest in simpler language. Text scripts of the news features appear on the screen as students open the page. Most of ...more
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This site features news stories and articles of general interest in simpler language. Text scripts of the news features appear on the screen as students open the page. Most of these news articles offer streaming audio for listening as students follow the text.The general interest articles range in topic from science and technology to global culture to studying in America. There are minor advertisements at this website. The news is available using RealAudio. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): listening (91), news (261), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Ask intermediate to upper level ESL and ELL students to research, write, and record a podcast of similar news. Poll students to find out which words in the broadcast are difficult for them, and assign a few words to each student to look up and explain. Ask ESL and ELL students to share similar stories from their home cultures. Learning support teachers will want to share these easy-to-understand news stories for their students' weekly current events "articles."

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Nations Illustrated - AMIXIMA Corp.

Grades
K to 12
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Are you looking for pictures of countries throughout the world? If so, this website is your one-stop destination. At this website you will find over 7,000 pictures (more are added ...more
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Are you looking for pictures of countries throughout the world? If so, this website is your one-stop destination. At this website you will find over 7,000 pictures (more are added everyday). The pictures are from countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Africa. The countries are each broken down into sub-categories by city or even topic (such as "The Morocco Landscape"). In addition to the pictures, you can also break down many of the pictures into slide puzzles to recreate or even send them as an e-card to friends or family.

The Terms of use state that photos may be used for personal, non-commercial use and that you must abide by copyright restrictions with each photo. Any restrictions to use are listed in the information below each picture. Be sure to personally model ethical behavior and have your students learn to credit the photos, no matter how they are used. Use any photo information provided, including the title and URL where you can see the picture.

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..

tag(s): africa (180), air (163), architecture (84), asia (73), countries (76), europe (75), south america (39)

In the Classroom

There 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Online Newspapers - Web Wombat Pty Ltd.

Grades
5 to 12
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Never again wonder where to find a newspaper. This site accesses thousands of newspapers with just a simple sign-in from the drop down information search page. There are newspapers...more
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Never again wonder where to find a newspaper. This site accesses thousands of newspapers with just a simple sign-in from the drop down information search page. There are newspapers included from South East Asia, Central America, Middle East, and nearly every country throughout the world. There are some minor advertisements at this website.

tag(s): africa (180), asia (73), central america (13), middle east (30), news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

Students can update reports and research by accessing newspapers from around the world. Any of your favorite newspaper learning activities can transfer to a newspaper in another part of the USA or world. Foreign language teachers and students will enjoy using the foreign presses for authentic learning. Social Studies teachers can assign students to compare points of view on world issues or perceptions of the U.S. via various newspapers.

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A Teacher's guide to the Holocaust - Florida Center for Instructional Technology

Grades
4 to 12
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This website features a wealth of information regarding the holocaust, including primary source documents, galleries, maps, and movies Browse the incredible amount of information available...more
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This website features a wealth of information regarding the holocaust, including primary source documents, galleries, maps, and movies Browse the incredible amount of information available at this guide. Identify plays and other resources used to document history from the Holocaust. The resources also include software and their sources, as well as interactive quizzes. Other links include a Holocaust timeline, People (groups that played a role in the Holocaust such as victims, resisters, bystanders, etc.), and the Arts. The activities include lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school. The lesson plans include social studies, arts, language arts, thinking/research, and ethics/responsibility. This website requires QuickTime. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): hitler (10), holocaust (39), jews (20), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use 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.

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OnGuard Online - U.S. Government

Grades
4 to 12
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Onguard Online has compiled resources for computer users to help keep their computers safe and internet transactions worry free. Topics range from e-mail scams to Identity Theft, Internet...more
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Onguard Online has compiled resources for computer users to help keep their computers safe and internet transactions worry free. Topics range from e-mail scams to Identity Theft, Internet Auctions, Spyware, Wireless Security, Phishing, Social Networking Sites, Online Shopping, Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing (P2P), VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), Laptop Security, and Investing Online. There are games for Elementary students as well as useful tools and tips for more sophisticated users including adults. Spanish speakers can switch the site to Spanish for their convenience. The Federal Trade Commission maintains the site, but the information comes from an impressive collection of agencies including The Office of Homeland Security and i-Safe.

tag(s): internet safety (109), safety (92), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Survey 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.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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NPR: Election 2008 - National Public Radio

Grades
6 to 12
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Sifting through the volume of information on the 2008 Presidential elections could be a full-time job! If you want a handful of sites that give you current, unbiased (as much ...more
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Sifting through the volume of information on the 2008 Presidential elections could be a full-time job! If you want a handful of sites that give you current, unbiased (as much as any political information can be!) data about the election, consider using this NPR site. It starts with a flash-enabled US map that is currently reflecting the status of primaries and caucuses. You can link to a nice side-by-side comparison of candidates' views on central issues like Iraq, the economy, health care, and climate change. There is a helpful primary calendar that keeps you posted on where we are in the process. Finally, there is updated news and commentary about the campaign season. This site requires FLASH, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

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

In the Classroom

Of course, civics and government teachers focus on Presidential elections past and present and will find this site quite useful. Other teachers who regularly do "current events" discussions can also find simple, direct, and up-to-date information that can be used to inform, debate, or share on an interactive whiteboard. Make this site a Favorite and share it on your teacher web page for students to use for research on individual candidate platforms. Encourage students to check the site regularly for updates. Use it to help students stage a mock debate or mock election.
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Inspiration Lane - Susan Alyn

Grades
4 to 12
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This dynamic site offers a blog-style newspaper for ESL/ELL students and could also be used in other academic areas. The daily entries follow the same basic format: "Quote of the ...more
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This dynamic site offers a blog-style newspaper for ESL/ELL students and could also be used in other academic areas. The daily entries follow the same basic format: "Quote of the Day," "This Day in History," "Article of the Day," "Comic Creators," "Cooking State," "Match Up," "Museum Town," and "Caption Central." All change daily! "Today's English Lesson" changes on weekdays. Like a newspaper, teachers and students can read a single feature or the entire sheet. Interspersed with the information are grammar reminders and practical applications. For foreign language students and beginning language learners, there is an option to translate the page into Korean, French, German, Italian, Portuguese,Spanish, Japanese, simplified Chinese and even Arabic!

tag(s): cooking (34), news (261), pronunciation (44), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Project 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?
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Gapminder - Gapminder

Grades
7 to 12
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Gapminder is an interactive site designed to present world demographic information in a highly visual way. Using either a world map, or a chart with "bubbles" sized according to ...more
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Gapminder is an interactive site designed to present world demographic information in a highly visual way. Using either a world map, or a chart with "bubbles" sized according to each country's population, users can track 30 years of change in a wide variety of economic and social indicators (for example, population size, percentage of GNP dedicated to military spending, proportion of girls in school, infant mortality). Math teachers can use the site to demonstrate data analysis skills with meaningful data. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): data (148), demographics (19)

In the Classroom

The site would be best used on an interactive whiteboard, although computer-savvy students could access it individually. The world data presented might supplement lessons in economics, civics, world cultures, current events or modern history. Teachers should plan to spend a chunk of time previewing the site before using, however, as the interface is not entirely intuitive. There is a tutorial, but it will take some experimentation to discover the various ways to manipulate the data and present it graphically. There is also this page of ideas specifically for teachers. You can compare individual countries, or zoom into geographic regions. "Mature" teachers who learned bar graphs and pie charts may find the choices a little overwhelming, but with a little noodling around, will be able to graphically illustrate concepts in ways never before possible.br br Challenge your students to retrieve and use some of the data in support of an essay thesis, oral presentation, or debate.
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