Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomNavigating this site is rather simple. Simply click on one of the tabs across the top of the website: Home, Focus Areas, Projects, Connect, Forums, How-To, and ePal Tours. Parts of this site require log-in. Registration does require an email address. The site does offer SchoolMail, the leader for FREE "kid-safe" email.
A lot of safety features are already put into place at this site. The SchoolMail (email service offered at this site) offers monitored mail, instant translations, spell-check, anti-spam filters, and virus protection. To learn more about the safety features at this site, check out the ePals Tour link.
This site offers an amazing assortment of class activities and possibilities. Collaborate with schools in Africa (or 200 other countries) for a geography project. Have your students find ePals to correspond with and practice writing skills in English or in a language you are studying. Use the ready to go lessons and interactives at the "Focus Areas" and "Projects" links. Get additional ideas for projects, by visiting the "Projects" link or propose one of your own based on ideas from TeachersFirst suggestions you read in other reviews, lesson plans, and articles. After viewing one of the informative videos, challenge your students to study one of the topics available at this site and create their own videos. Use a tool such as TeachersTube, to share the video clips, reviewed here.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
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
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades3 to 7
tag(s): landforms (45)
In the ClassroomUse this site during a unit on landforms, or for research about the landforms. Have students create multimedia presentations about landforms. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of local landforms (with audio stories and pictures included)! Share the Mapskip presentations on your interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch the site for your content area. Take advantage of the free lesson plans. If you aren't familiar with Google Earth check out the site (reviewed here). There is a lot to explore with this multi-faceted tool, Google Earth. If you do not have it installed for FREE on your school computer, use this lesson blog to demonstrate to your administration why you should.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on Antarctica and the scientists living there. To highlight information, preview the site and create graphic organizers to guide students through and find the important information. For help making graphic organizers, try Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here)
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is ready to use in class. Have cooperative learning groups explore various aspects of the holiday and Mexican culture.If you have time, have them make their results into a class wiki with a page for each angle. Have students write a journal entry (as a blog) from the perspective of someone living in Mexico during the 1800s. Share maps of Mexico on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups create commercials highlighting what they have learned (be sure they include some new vocabulary words) or even a video advertisement for your class's Cinco de Mayo celebration. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomWorld language and ESL/ELL classes (using a whole class account) or individual students (if a specific school permits students to join sites) can maintain their own word lists with pronunciations. They can submit words to hear them pronounced by native speakers or pronounce them themselves. A teacher could submit words or assign students to explore and find a list of personal words to learn each week. Students can also compare pronunciations of the same word by several different speakers coming from different countries (Mexican Spanish vs. Spanish from Spain etc.). ESL students will no doubt enjoy disputing the pronunciation of words from their native languages! This is a perfect collaboration of geography and world language classes. Share the maps on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This site could also be useful as a learning center, for students to practice pronunciation. (Don't forget the headsets!) List this link on your class website for students to use for at-home practice!
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this map on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use with your ESL/ELL students to show the class where most settlers from their specific countries go. Talk about your American students' origins and check to see where their ancestors may have settled. Use this interactive map to teach about various kinds of map making and map keys. Use this site to reinforce your students' understanding of timelines. Have cooperative learning groups investigate a specific decade. Challenge the groups to create multimedia presentations to share with the class: blog post from a settler during their "decade" or maybe an interactive timeline of a fictitious settler family using a tool such as TimeRime (explained here).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThe long term nature of the treasure hunt would make this a good enrichment activity or extra credit project for students. Alteratively, the class could act as a team and undertake one chapter at a time as an ongoing project. The project might also make a good summer enrichment opportunity for students, be good for home schools, or work well with summer day camp groups.
Grades2 to 12
Be aware: this site does include some unobtrusive advertisements. Some of the slideshows and videos require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomInclude this site in assignments students have to prepare for presentations. Look for photos of any recent news event, even events obscure enough not to be included in American newspapers. Share an image or gallery of images on your projector or interactive whiteboard in a world language class as you discuss it in the language and learn about the culture and news in far off places. Link to certain galleries from your class web page or from student presentations to show examples of concepts and life in other places. Save this site in your favorites, for students to easily access during research projects. Use the photos as a writing prompt in current events or writing classes. Or create a visual current events "quiz" by displaying a gallery of mages and asking students to explain the background of the story. Speech or ESL/ELL teachers can also share images and ask student to talk about or describe them. Let the students select the image they wish to discuss!
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students try this site on individual computers. Provide this link on your class website for students to access for practice both in and out of class. This is a perfect addition to a geography or world cultures class!
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomSocial studies and language arts teachers will enjoy this site when talking about diversity, second generation immigrants, living between two cultural worlds, etc. Use some of the story extracts when your school is celebrating holidays around the world. Share the audio clips. And be sure to TURN UP THE VOLUME. When studying folk literature and culture, have your students search through the extracts for evidence of underlying myths and universal tales. Have your ESL students from Hispania compare their experiences to those in the stories.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): china (67)
In the ClassroomThis site would be a great introductory lesson into a unit on China. Show the panoramic video on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Allow students to conduct the walk by choosing where the video takes them. Have students explore this site with a partner and then find a photo (legally permitted) of the Great Wall of China. Have students use UtellStory, reviewed here, to narrate the photo that they chose. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the lesson plans that are relevant to your class as you study different cultures, history, racial tensions in the U.S. , or even character education. Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. With older students, have cooperative learning groups explore different lessons. Have the groups create a multi-media presentation sharing their discoveries. Have the groups create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon . You could also use this site as the core of a contemporary topics debate series.
Grades6 to 12
The Lost Book has been developed through the efforts of many groups including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Bookcrossing.com, and Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature. Be certain to preview any video before you share, as our editors did notice one questionable word in the introduction episode. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThis is a great opportunity to work with others around the world in a controlled environment within the classroom. Every episode offers opportunities for students to PARTICIPATE in the story, rather than being passive observers. Share the "catch-up video" on your interactive whiteboard or projector (previewed, of course). Have students vote as a class or individually. Have your class create their own interactive stories. There are many creative options. Have students create a collaborative wiki with a new episode on each successive page. Or have students work in cooperative learning groups to create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
Note that all jeopardy templates created become part of the domain and can be used by others.
In the ClassroomUse any already-created game as a quick assessment of prior knowledge or review on projector or interactive whiteboard.
To prevent others from editing your template you create a password when you start. Others will be unable to edit your created game without your password. After creating your password, you are taken to the familiar blue jeopardy screen. Here, enter the title at the top and the topics at the top of the columns. Click on a dollar amount under each topic to enter the clue and the What is... question in a pop-up box. Click done to enter the information. The dollar value square becomes blank to let you know it was completed. When done, click "Save." Click on Browse to view random template titles or enter a term into the search bar. On the "Build" page, follow the quick instructions and even browse tips for editing. When done, an internet link will be given for your Jeopardy game. Put this link in any website, blog, or wiki for students to click on and review information for study.
Use this as an introductory activity to uncover misconceptions. For example, prior to a unit on viruses, create a jeopardy game about myths and truths about viruses. Share the Jeopardy activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these as a starting point for understanding concepts in the unit. Create review games for students to learn and remember content. After making one game together as a class, allow students to make their own games to challenge each other on segments of the material. This not only provides students with material to review, but the creation of a game takes thought and understanding of the material. Be sure that students understand how to create such a game and how to choose parts carefully. Check student games prior to saving. Maintain a page of Jeopardy links for review of a wide range of curricular topics.
GradesK to 12
The PACE Trek 2009 challenge all began because of a promise that Paul James Staso made to his daughter's 5th grade class. Mr. Staso promised that he would run solo across the United States. During the summer of 2006, Mr. Staso ran the 3,260 miles that he had promised. There is a video included at the website that highlights his journey. Since then, Paul James Staso has begun to challenge students to get fit (and he even teaches geography during the trek). This website requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomFor the PACE Trek 2009, classes need to walk or run every day during the 17-day challenge. This totals no more than 10-minutes per day. Registration is free. Click on your age group to read overall curriculum goals, expectations, and to register your "team". Why not include the challenge as a joint project between your Health/P.E. classes and geography curriculum?
Mr. Staso will also teach about the geography of Alaska as he travels. What a wonderful way to get your students excited about exercise. Now, get going!
Grades4 to 12
The site can be viewed in English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, or German. Although the text and statistics are familiar, they have been updated for this video with its vivid closeups and haunting music. The text upon which the video is based is also online here. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomUse this to introduce social studies units on countries in the third world. Use it as a jumping off point when asking your students thoughtful questions about the relative prosperity of people in the U.S. compared to a lot of the rest of the world. Use it also when studying recycling, tolerance, and world cultures.
Share the video on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students respond to what they found most surprising using a class wiki or blog. In math class, use this video to start a real-world statistics/data analysis project or a discussion of proportion.
Grades3 to 9
In the ClassroomShare the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work with a partner to try out the puzzles on their own. Have students (or groups) create their own word puzzles to share as a class challenge as a student-run interactive whiteboard activity or share them on a class wiki.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomSince the site is so specific to the relevant lyrics, it's fun to have students see exactly what it is being visualized. Also, since the lyrics go fast, it is sometimes difficult to make out all the references, so this is helpful for that reason. This is a great conversation starter with high school students. Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Watch the entire video and then play it again and pause the video on topics that relate to your current units of study. Use this site to find research topics for individual students or cooperative learning groups. Have the groups create multi-media presentations about their research topics. How about creating their own videos and sharing them using Teachertube, reviewed here. Or have students find a picture sharing their research topic and narrate their picture using UtellStory, reviewed here. Other options include creating a wiki, blog, or PowerPoint.
Grades6 to 12
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.