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Design*Sponge - Grace Bonney, Ed.

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9 to 12
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This design blog from a team of contributing designers and New York-based editor Grace Bonney features multiple daily posts of design ideas from homes, thrift stores, and occasional...more
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This design blog from a team of contributing designers and New York-based editor Grace Bonney features multiple daily posts of design ideas from homes, thrift stores, and occasional traditional artwork. There is also information about student design competitions and shows worldwide. Be sure to explore the various categories, from DIY projects to city design "guides." The visual inspirations and discussion starters will elicit reactions from, "What's such great design about that piece of junk?" to "Wow, what a creative idea!" The rapidly-growing collection can inspire ideas for invention, writing, artwork, and formal design projects. There are also video clips that require Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): cooking (35), crafts (43), recycling (58)

In the Classroom

Share images and posts from this blog on your interactive whiteboard or projector to illustrate basic principles of color, line, and other art elements (use those whiteboard drawing tools for students to highlight and label!). After sharing a trend from this blog, ask your art or design students to take digital pictures illustrating that trend in their own home or local mall. Create a class wiki connecting what YOUR students see with what professional designers see. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

As an environmental awareness project, focus on recycled goods and their use as "design elements" in chic homes. Challenge visual/spatial intelligence and engage your visual learners by using this blog as a writing prompt option for student blogs, descriptive writing, or persuasive essays on America materialism or the environment. In science class where you may be studying the laws of motion or the nature of light, allow your "artsy" students to use objects from this blog as illustrative examples of curriculum concepts, connecting something they care about with the science curriculum. Ex. Why is this kind of metal better suited for a lamp? Offer this site as one of many optional links from which they may choose examples, along with more traditional "scientific" sources.

World language students will find the city design guides a wonderful way to study culture in other lands -- and practice describing it in the language of study!

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The Story of Stuff - Annie Leonard and Free Range Studios

Grades
6 to 12
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Watch the story of stuff movie, an interactive 20-minute video about where our stuff comes from and the effects of consumption on our society. Use the tabs along the top ...more
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Watch the story of stuff movie, an interactive 20-minute video about where our stuff comes from and the effects of consumption on our society. Use the tabs along the top of the video to skip around to the specific chapters or click a link for more information about the topic. Play the video from the site or download to your computer. Other downloads include posters and related items. Subscribe to the blog and receive updates and new information. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

tag(s): earth (231), earth day (113), environment (319), resources (112)

In the Classroom

The most difficult aspect in learning about the environment is understanding how the "stuff we use" impacts more than students can imagine. Use this thought-provoking movie to stimulate class discussions, get students thinking, and create awareness. Students can take aspects of the video and do group research of additional information needed to understand. Students can also create awareness campaigns, poll friends and families, blog, or create other multimedia articles. Looking for some creative multimedia options? How about having students create public service message podcasts ("Stop! Where do you think that ___ came from?") using a tool such as podOmatic, reviewed here. Or create videos and share them using SchoolTube, reviewed here.

Students can research the origins of many popular items in their lives, tracing the materials used and the resources needed to create and transport the materials and the product. Students can create a Google map or Click2Map, reviewed here, showing the movement of materials throughout the world from resource to send product to consumer.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Video: CFL Light Bulbs in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
2 to 12
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This website offers a short video (about 3-minutes) highlighting the enormous benefits (both to your bank account and environment) of using CFL bulbs (rather than the old traditional...more
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This website offers a short video (about 3-minutes) highlighting the enormous benefits (both to your bank account and environment) of using CFL bulbs (rather than the old traditional light bulbs). The video focuses on energy, environment, electricity, ways to save money on your electric bill, how CFLs decrease and prevent pollution and global warming, and how easy they are to use!

Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): earth (231), earth day (113), energy (203), fossil fuels (18), light (49)

In the Classroom

Share this site in your science class on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge students to research another way to conserve energy and save money in their family budget. Have students create their own "in plain English" style video. All they need is a tripod, video camera (flip video would work), paper drawings, and a script. Share the "student-created" videos on a tool such as TeacherTube (explained here) and embed them in a class "Energy-saving" wiki. You may want to consider providing this link on your class website for parents to view at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Video: Investing Money in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers a short video (4-minutes) focusing on investing money. Learn about the stock market, savings, and basic economics. The site explains the risks and benefits of investing...more
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This site offers a short video (4-minutes) focusing on investing money. Learn about the stock market, savings, and basic economics. The site explains the risks and benefits of investing and saving money. There is a link provided to embed the video. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): investing (8), stock market (13)

In the Classroom

Share this video with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups research other aspects of economics or business and create their own videos. Share the videos on Teachertube (explained here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Video: Borrowing Money in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
5 to 12
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This short video demonstrates the risks, benefits, and realities of borrowing money. The video offers simple pictures to explain the complex topics. Despite a paid membership model,...more
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This short video demonstrates the risks, benefits, and realities of borrowing money. The video offers simple pictures to explain the complex topics. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): business (58), money (186)

In the Classroom

Share this video with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector or embed it in your class web page or wiki during your unit on credit or percent. Have cooperative learning groups research other aspects of savings, borrowing, or economics and create their own videos. Share the videos on Teachertube (explained here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Video: Saving Money in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers a short introductory video about savings. Learn the basics of savings, compound interest, and how money continues to grow over time. Despite a paid membership model,...more
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This site offers a short introductory video about savings. Learn the basics of savings, compound interest, and how money continues to grow over time. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): money (186)

In the Classroom

Share this video with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups research other aspects of economics and create their own videos. Include this video as you teach about interest in math class, then have students create a video advertisement for a savings program. Share the videos on Teachertube (explained here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Let's Move - White House

Grades
4 to 8
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The close relationship between promoting physical fitness and the White House can be followed through the many topics at this site: Learn the Facts, Eat Healthy, Get Active, Take Action,...more
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The close relationship between promoting physical fitness and the White House can be followed through the many topics at this site: Learn the Facts, Eat Healthy, Get Active, Take Action, and Join Us. Some of the more specific topics highlight how to limit TV time, the importance of trying new fruits and vegetables, planting a garden, and more.

tag(s): fitness (51), myplate (27), nutrition (159), presidents (132)

In the Classroom

Health and PE teachers can collaborate with classroom teachers and present White House-related health initiatives while students are learning about the presidency in the classroom. Challenge students to explore a specific area of this site and create a project to share with the class using a tool such as Prezi (reviewed here)
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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History of St. Patrick's Day - A&E

Grades
6 to 12
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You might not want to do an entire lesson on St Patrick's Day, but a few short activities in observance of the holiday could be a nice addition. This site ...more
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You might not want to do an entire lesson on St Patrick's Day, but a few short activities in observance of the holiday could be a nice addition. This site offers just that. The best feature is a short video that delves into the history of the holiday and explains why it is still celebrated today, but there are several other options. Test your students' knowledge of St. Patrick's Day trivia with two interactive quizzes. Or use some of the site's other links as the basis for a teacher-created "treasure hunt." Other highlights include recipes, reference information about many famous Irish men and women, parade information, and more.

This site is very well done and offers a lot of information. If you are doing any activities about St. Patrick's Day, don't miss this site. Be aware: there are advertisements. There is a short commercial (10-seconds) prior to the informative video. This site does require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): holidays (151), ireland (12), st patricks day (14)

In the Classroom

Share the video on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work in cooperative learning groups and complete research papers about the famous Irish people highlighted at this site or other research topics of interest. Have the cooperative learning groups create a multimedia presentation such as a blog or PowerPoint. Family and Consumer Science teachers could use this site to find some recipes to try out in class!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Google Trends - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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Want a concrete indicator of public curiosity and concerns from the source they use most? Try Google Trends (formerly known as Google Zeitgeist). This simple tool tells what people...more
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Want a concrete indicator of public curiosity and concerns from the source they use most? Try Google Trends (formerly known as Google Zeitgeist). This simple tool tells what people are searching most on Google (country by country), correlating it to the news and other major dates. Click on the year trends to view all of them and click on those of interest to you. Or scroll down the landing page instead to see the big headline makers of the year. For example, use the 2008 summary to see the spikes in certain Google searches connected with events during the 2008 U.S. political campaigns. Get a quick snapshot of popular culture "hot topics" or personal concerns during tough economic times, simple by seeing what people are searching on Google. If you are trying to build world-awareness and 21st century learners in your classroom, keep Google Trends handy to spark discussion and curiosity.

tag(s): consumers (18), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Teachers of gifted will want to share this as a must-read site, but all students would benefit from hypothesizing about the world trends that generate Google searches. Share this resource on your teacher web page or classroom computer for handy access. As you discuss current events, government, politics, of even consumer behavior, use Zeitgeist to ask questions: Why are people searching this now? What did people in other countries search while Americans were focused on Sarah Palin or bank bailouts? Show a Trends listing on your projector or interactive whiteboard and simply ask the question: Why? Challenge students to discuss possible reasons for what they see in small groups or in blog posts. Use a Trends finding as a prompt for a debate or essay in English class. Use the trends as indicators of consumer behavior for discussions in business or FCS classes. Use search wordings from other countries in your world language classes to sharpen awareness of cultural differences and similarities.

Just ask WHY? and watch your students leap to higher level thinking as you challenge them to prove it with other findings from the web or research.

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Valentine's Day Coupon Book - Activities for Kids

Grades
K to 5
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This site offers a basic printable coupon book (cover page and all). There are coupon books to create for kids (for example, a free dessert) or adults (for example, a ...more
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This site offers a basic printable coupon book (cover page and all). There are coupon books to create for kids (for example, a free dessert) or adults (for example, a free car wash). There are black and white or full color page options.

tag(s): holidays (151), valentines day (15)

In the Classroom

Have your students make and decorate these printable coupon books to give as Valentines to their parents and family members. Make up some coupons of your own, too!

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HeartPoint - HeartPoint

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6 to 12
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HeartPoint has created this site that takes a creative approach to teaching students (and adults) about the heart, heart functions, and heart problems. Highlights include "Foods You...more
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HeartPoint has created this site that takes a creative approach to teaching students (and adults) about the heart, heart functions, and heart problems. Highlights include "Foods You Will Love" and "Health Tips". Be sure to visit the "HeartPoint Gallery" for detailed pictures, descriptions and other information.

tag(s): heart (44), nutrition (159)

In the Classroom

FCS and health teachers can use this site for student research or scavenger hunts about the heart. The recipe section would be great for FCS classes learning to plan healthy menus. Health/PE classes studying life habits and disease will find lots of information on cardiac conditions and prevention.

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nrgBalance - Penn State Hershey

Grades
K to 12
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This informative website offers teachers, students, and parents ideas about how to get fit and be healthy. The focus of the site is 1-2-3-4-5: 1 hour of physical activity, 2 ...more
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This informative website offers teachers, students, and parents ideas about how to get fit and be healthy. The focus of the site is 1-2-3-4-5: 1 hour of physical activity, 2 hours (or less) of screen time (TV or computer), 3 meals a day, 4 or more glasses of water daily, and 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables each day. There are also links to help you stay healthy during the holidays, contests, the Learning Center with several webcasts (with full screen options), and more! This site requires Adobe Acrobat and Flash. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): obesity (18)

In the Classroom

Share the webcasts in your health and physical education classes using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Try some of the contests as a class. Challenge students to make one of the five suggested changes in the 1-2-3-4-5 project. Why not try one of the changes each month from January through May? Have students create a class wiki to keep track of their successes (and failures) during the challenge. At New Year's, this is a great site to share for resolutions!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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NMAI: Identity by Design - Smithsonian

Grades
6 to 12
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native...more
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native women's clothing as insight into Native American culture of the time period, and features stunning photographs of Native dresses and commentary by present-day Native women. The site both describes the ways Native women made their clothing in the 19th century and the ways that clothing can give us important clues about the role of women in Native society. Of interest also are the ways clothing began to reflect the influence of the dominant white culture on traditional Native practices. The site also includes information about today's Native Powwow dance competitions which bridge the distance between traditional culture and the modern world, and bring 19th century Native women's clothing and costume into the 21st century. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): clothing (9), native americans (77), women (92)

In the Classroom

Traditionally, American history has been taught as the story of the dominant European culture's triumph over more primitive Native cultures. Native American culture is too often pictured as one-dimensional rather than as a rich collection of diverse tribes and cultures. If Native women are featured at all, they may be represented only by Pocahontas and Sacajawea. This site allows a fuller exploration of the variety of Native women's cultures and would serve as an outstanding supplement to a study of the European settlement of the West. The photographs of the women's dresses are lovely and would display nicely on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The commentary would be useful for any student doing more in-depth research into Native culture. The site's focus on women's roles and culture would also fit nicely with a unit on women's history. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. To extend the clothing-as -culture approach in your classroom, ask students to create a wiki showing the role of clothing in ethnic subcultures of the U.S. today or at other places and times. Middle school grades might want to work together with the art or FCS teachers on this.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kids a Cookin' - Kansas State University

Grades
1 to 8
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Kids a Cookin' is loaded with simple and easy recipes. Each recipe comes with a how-to video. The site also provides lesson plans and a glossary of terms. Be sure ...more
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Kids a Cookin' is loaded with simple and easy recipes. Each recipe comes with a how-to video. The site also provides lesson plans and a glossary of terms. Be sure to watch the food safety and healthy eating tips videos prior to the start of cooking activities. There is also a link to view this site in Spanish. (The Spanish, Espanol, button is to the left of the title).

If you use the back button, you may end up in a different language! If this happens, click English or Espanol, to return to the preferred language. This site requires RealPlayer and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): cooking (35), directions (19), measurement (160), spanish (110)

In the Classroom

Use the recipes to enrich lessons about sequencing and directions. Students could write the directions according to what they see on the video or practice following the directions by making the recipes in small groups. They could even present their recipes to the class in a cooking show format. Try having students write the directions in a wiki and enhance it with digital photographs. This site would be a beneficial addition to Family and Consumer Science or health units. You may want to add this link to your class website for students to "cook up some fun" at home.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Good Guide - Good Guide, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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Confused over what is considered a good, safe, non-toxic product? Use this site to quickly see the best products in categories such as hair care, baby care, and household cleaners....more
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Confused over what is considered a good, safe, non-toxic product? Use this site to quickly see the best products in categories such as hair care, baby care, and household cleaners. Quickly search the top choices for a particular type of product.

In the Classroom

Use this site for students to identify the best products to use in a Food and Consumer Science class product comparison. Students can conduct their own research by using the different products suggested and then vote to make their own choice. Students can create advertisements for their favorite product using traditional or digital media. In Science, students can devise experiments to test various products like shampoo for the properties most desired (for example, lathering ability.) Students can identify ingredients that are not in the top products and research to determine why they are added in the first place.

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Mashable: 50+ Places to Buy Groceries Online - Sean P. Aune

Grades
4 to 12
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Looking for a way to teach real shopping lessons without actually going to a store? This blog post includes links to online grocery shopping from all over the U.S. Since ...more
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Looking for a way to teach real shopping lessons without actually going to a store? This blog post includes links to online grocery shopping from all over the U.S. Since the stores are in business to make money they will, of course, include advertisements on their sites. Teachers will want to discuss advertising links and why students should avoid them to stay on task.

In the Classroom

Use these virtual stores to teach real-world lessons in math, FCS, ESL, ELL, and economics lessons. Special Ed teachers may also want to use these sites to help students with life skills. Have students compare pricing in online venues vs. bricks-and-mortar stores. Use the pricing to teach unit pricing, comparison shopping, percent, and more.

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Consumer Reports Blogs - Consumer Reports

Grades
6 to 12
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Teens spend a lot of money. And they influence the spending of a lot more. Marketing companies know this and pitch their products mercilessly to the teen age demographic. With ...more
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Teens spend a lot of money. And they influence the spending of a lot more. Marketing companies know this and pitch their products mercilessly to the teen age demographic. With their high need for acceptance and affiliation, teens are also very susceptible to these marketing pitches. This site, part of the well-respected Consumer Reports site, offers commentary in several areas of interest to teens: electronics, cars, money, and shopping. Each topic area includes a full post and a blog. There are also links to news, forums, and videos. Offered without the hype, these reviews and observations may help teens cut through the marketing to learn to make intelligent consumer decisions, and learn to manage their money responsibly.

In order to comment on the blog, you must enter your name and email address. Rather than using your personal or work email, consider creating a Gmail account. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

tag(s): advertising (34), business (58), safety (90)

In the Classroom

Family and consumer science, business, or "Life 101" classes might ask students to research common teen purchases using this site as a resource. Similarly, economics or psychology classes might consider the impact of marketing on purchasing, and how advertisers target and influence their audience. Follow up by having students generate their own blog entry on a product comparison they do as a project.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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25+ Tools for Accounting and Budgeting - Sean P. Aune

Grades
7 to 12
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This blog, created by Sean P. Aune, offers a collection of Web 2.0 tools which could be useful in business education, math, family and consumer science, or economics classes. Some ...more
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This blog, created by Sean P. Aune, offers a collection of Web 2.0 tools which could be useful in business education, math, family and consumer science, or economics classes. Some of the sites offer ways to save money, create a budget, analyze your expenses, find hidden fees, and more. The four main areas of the site include Business Accounting, Personal Accounting, Personal Budgeting, and Shared Accounting. Each link on the blog includes a brief description of the site.

Be certain to consider your school's Acceptable Use Policy before creating any STUDENT accounts on any of the tools. There are comments (students can both read or add comments), so be sure to supervise their navigating or do this as a class on an interactive whiteboard or projector. For tips on using Web 2.0 sites in your class visit the TeachersFirst Edge Tips. Some of these tools require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): business (58), counting (120), money (186)

In the Classroom

Use this site to help your students learn how to budget their money and expenses. Read through the descriptions of the 25+ tools and find out which ones may be useful in your subject area. Have students choose one of the tools to create a monthly budget a week or so prior to the start of the month. Have students keep calculations (using the site) throughout their "budgeted month" and see how well they can stick to their own budget. You may want to include this link on your class website so students can access the tools at home. You could also assign students to try more than one tool and compare them. Since students are used to using web tools for everything, challenge them to make the decision about which tool is best.
 
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Health Assist - HealthAssist.net

Grades
6 to 12
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Confused about the information and myths about health and nutrition? Use this site to gain valuable information about a wide variety of topics. Find articles in categories such as "Food,"...more
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Confused about the information and myths about health and nutrition? Use this site to gain valuable information about a wide variety of topics. Find articles in categories such as "Food," "Health Conditions," "Remedies and Therapies," "Health Tips," "Health Products," and "Tools and Lists." View a "Tip of the Day," "Latest Articles," "Interesting Health Facts," and "Latest Health News." Click on the abstract of an article of your choice to read the entire article. Sources and References are included.

tag(s): nutrition (159), obesity (18)

In the Classroom

Students can brainstorm health and nutrition concerns among their class and then work in groups to obtain information and dispel myths. Students can survey their class or school to obtain information on what students their age know. Have groups present information to the class learned through the survey and research on the site. Additionally, students can create a newsletter for the class, school, or community or publish information to a wiki or blog. Students can also create a goal for personal wellness and health. Their action plan can use relevant facts and information from this site. For example, students can research TV viewing habits, habits that can make a person fat, and identifying unhealthy food.

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Tox Mystery - National Library of Medicine

Grades
2 to 9
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Do students know the hazardous items that exist in a home? Use this easy to use tour through a house to find them. Click on a room to identify hazards ...more
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Do students know the hazardous items that exist in a home? Use this easy to use tour through a house to find them. Click on a room to identify hazards that exist in the house. In each room, the student is told how many hazards exist. Only the actual hazardous objects animate when hovered over. Clicking on what you believe to be a hazard brings up a question to answer. After the answer, more information is written and spoken. Choosing an incorrect answer brings up information about the incorrect response and an urge to try again. Links along the bottom lead to the "National Library of Medicine," "Parent Resources" which provide a multitude of links for more information, "For Teachers" which supplies lesson plan ideas including packets to print, extra activities and resources, as well as Activity pages. Click on "Getting Started" for a pictorial description of using the site. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): chemicals (41), safety (90)

In the Classroom

As part of a safety unit; see how many items a student can correctly find. Use this as an introduction to a basic science unit in order to demonstrate Chemistry around the house. Use as an initial activity to identify what students already know or need more information about. Students can use the activity as a springboard for ideas for community awareness projects and posters of common household hazards. Students can research more in depth into the hazards and present their findings to the class using traditional means or use of digital and whiteboard resources.
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