Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBe 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomWatch 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.
Grades6 to 12
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 (262)
In the ClassroomShare 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.
Grades4 to 12
This site includes advertising.
tag(s): tutorials (49)
In the ClassroomUsers will need to know how to use whatever computer software, website, or skill they are demonstrating. Following basic directions and managing browser windows or tabs are a must, as well as the managing settings of the computer being used. The site demonstrates how to troubleshoot problems on both PC's and Mac's.
Click "create" to start. As the screencast is being created, files will need to be written temporarily to the desktop. A security screen will pop up that asks to run the application. You will be asked to "trust" or "not trust" the security certificate. Depending upon your school's Acceptable Use Policy and computer security settings, you may not be able to complete these steps. Choose the screen size when played and whether audio will be needed (audio can be tested here as well, which is recommended: settings may need to be adjusted for different microphones.) Open a new tab or browser window and enter the web address of the site (or software) that will be the subject of your screencast. Drag the black frame by clicking the line and dragging it in order to choose what will be recorded during the screencast. The microphone icon has a green bar that shows recording levels. A green arrow showing instead of a green bar denotes that sound is not being captured. The red button is used to start recording while the black "X" stops the recording. Once you stop recording, click on your screencast tab or browser window and preview your recording. You can then either upload or discard your screencast. At this point you can create an account easily. Save your screencast to a channel of your own. Use the embed code to place your screencast into a blog, wiki, or other site. You can also use a widget code to embed the screencast player into a website. Screencasts can then be made from your other site and will save directly to your screencast channel. Screencasts can be set to different levels of privacy and comments can be turned on or off.
Teachers who must request certificate approval by tech staff may want to try this tool at home and create some sample projects to convince administration of its educational value. Unless checked to turn off comments, this site will allow comments on your work. Many districts prohibit such interaction and steps should be taken to prohibit commenting from others. When using the widget, the tool does not attribute work to specific students. You may wish to have the students identify their work while creating the screencast. Screencasts will only be able to be viewed when using an embed code in a site, wiki, or blog. By marking the screencast "searchable," it can be available to the public. Recently created screencasts do not appear on the home page of screencast-o-matic. Students are able to self-register, but you may want to keep a record of logins and passwords for students who forget.
Make how-to demos for instructions on using and navigating your class home page, class wiki or blog, or other applications you wish the students to use in creation of classroom content. By narrating how you want students to navigate through a certain site or section, you can eliminate confusion, provide an opportunity for students to use the information as a refresher for the future, and maintain a record for absent students. Software demonstrations add an increased flexibility with helping students who need it while allowing students to begin and work at their own pace. Added audio is a great asset for many students including learning support and those who might need to access the material in smaller "chunks." Use this site for students to give "tours" of their own wiki or blog page. The presentation of their web-based projects and resources can be more engaging. Use screencasts to critique or show the validity of websites, identify a resource site they believe is most valuable, or explain how to navigate an online game. Challenge your gifted students to create a screencast as a final project rather than a more traditional project. Social studies teachers could assign students to critique a political candidate's web page using a screencast. Reading/language arts teachers could have student teams analyze a web site to show biased language, etc. For a powerful writing experience, have students "think aloud" their writing choices as the record a screencast of a revision or writing session. You will probably need to model this process, but writing will NEVER be the same! Math teachers using software such as Geometer's Sketchpad could have students create their own narrated demonstrations of geometry concepts as review (and to save as future learning aids). Teachers at any level can create screencasts to demonstrate a computer skill or assignment, such as for a center in your classroom or in a computer lab. Students can replay the "tutorial" on their own from your class web page and follow the directions.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Requires download/installation of software
Grades6 to 12
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.
In the ClassroomIn 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.
Grades4 to 12
A link to a "Hurricane Hunters Gift shop" is found on the main page and students should be advised to avoid such an advertisement. The site requires Flash for storm updates. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomCompare numbers of hurricanes of various years. Plot locations, and storm paths on the same chart (or in Google Earth) to determine the origination point and landfall or end point of the hurricanes to draw conclusions. Use the information to determine the physical characteristics of the hurricanes (instead of looking them up in an encyclopedia). Determine the areas of the world where hurricanes occur in order to understand factors responsible for hurricane formation. Have students track a current hurricane and use information learned on this site to predict the spot where it will make landfall and provide reasoning for their choice.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): australia (37)
In the ClassroomTeacher ed institutions and graduate classes you are taking on contemporary issues in education may want to explore these scenarios for discussion. Even high school classes exploring careers or trends in current events may discuss the reshaping of education over the next 20+ years as today's high schoolers become tomorrow's teachers. Teachers of Gifted working with forecasting and futures will find this an interesting model.
Any teacher planing to remain in the profession will want to think about how these scenarios might affect YOUR classroom in some way in the near future.
Grades6 to 12
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.
In the ClassroomUse 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).
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomShare this site as a way to review before tests. Have students create their own PowerPoint game shows to review concepts learned in class. Share the PowerPoint presentations on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHave 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.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomAsk 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."
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents 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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the activities presented on the site, such as Bioethics of Eugenics or the role of Propaganda during the Holocaust. You can use many of these resources to compare present day beliefs or thoughts about the holocaust, or to evaluate current websites/blogs for accuracy. Social responsibility and action from that period can be compared to current crises in the World today. Students can also use the information to determine the reasoning behind the actions of each of the groups and write an editorial about that group's beliefs or create a piece of artwork depicting their thoughts and emotions.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSurvey students about their online usage and behaviors. This can be done informally as a class discussion or as an online survey that is filled out by students. Create a quick poll using SurveyPlanet, reviewed here. Use a projector and or a whiteboard to display the results and discuss the results of the survey with the class. Emphasize the importance of online safety and introduce the OnGuard Online website as an important resource for accurate and current information. Why not have cooperative learning groups investigate one of the topic areas provided (such as identity theft). Then have the groups make a multimedia presentation to present their findings to the class. Use one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Younger students can be introduced to the online games that teach appropriate and ethical online behavior. A scavenger hunt or questionnaire can be created for older students to explore the many issues that arise while online. As an extension activity students can role play different scenarios that they are confronted with when they are online and how they can respond in a safe ethical manner.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomOf 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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomProject this on your whiteboard at the start of your lesson as students enter or to wrap up the final five minutes with interesting clips from history, quotes, ESL in music etc. Encourage your students to try a new vocabulary word each day on their own. If your students have Internet access outside of class (even in study hall), require a weekly current events response for writing practice--perhaps on a class blog?
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomThe 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.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site would be most useful to students doing research on the 9/11 attacks, but also could provide teachers with supplemental material for a lesson on the events of that date. Although teachers will remember the day vividly, most students were young enough when it occurred that their memories will be clouded. Another use for this site is as an example of the power and necessity of primary sources in documenting any event. Compare these resources to accounts we have of Pearl Harbor and other major events as you ask student to conduct an interviewing project of their own, perhaps of local history.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomPreview carefully for younger students. Use the site in your discussions of current events and terrorism-related topics or share it as a resource for high school students doing research projects. As politicians talk about Sept 11, this site can help fill the gaps in your students' background. You can easily demonstrate primary and secondary sources with these engaging examples.
Grades5 to 12
Note: Teachers should PREVIEW content before using it in class or assigning it. Some slang and topics are not appropriate for younger students, though most of it is excellent. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.. Downloads for mp3 players are available for free.