Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you're looking for meaty writing prompts, this site is full of interesting and open-ended questions. The questions might also serve as a good data base for a class learning debate. It may also be helpful for students to see that philosophers use formal rules of thinking in answering their questions; they don't just say what they "feel" is right. Understanding that moral and ethical decision making is based on a set of predetermined principles is a concept that many students struggle with. This site would be useful for teaching ethical decision making with students whose thinking has progressed to the point where they are able to think more abstractly and philosophically: a gifted class perhaps? Have a class wiki dedicated to philosophy and profound questions. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomThese films would work well for a more unstructured gifted/talented seminar style class, a current issues class, or a Real Life 101-type class. Some may also be appropriate within an economics, biology, or environmental science curriculum. A civics class might debate the proper governmental role in resolving some of the dilemmas presented. Challenge students to create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here), describing other possible future "what ifs."
Grades1 to 12
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In the ClassroomThis site is ideal to use on classroom computers as a center. Students will think they are playing games; however, they are really expanding their logic and problem solving skills through the interactive activities. This is a great site to list on your class webpage, for students to access both in and out of the classroom. For a bonus/extra credit challenge, ask students to FIND connections between a game and topics/concepts they have been studying and to explain the connections while demonstrating the game on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Hint: start with the Physics challenge.
Grades2 to 8
tag(s): tangrams (13)
In the ClassroomIntroduce on your interactive whiteboard or projector when beginning a geometry unit on shapes and vocabulary such as turn, flip and rotation. Challenge students to discuss how shapes are moved to form tangrams. Provide this link on your class website for students to use at home. This site is great for younger gifted students!
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomHave a team competition on the interactive whiteboard or projector and challenge students to move on to higher levels. Students who aren't playing will still be learning as they try to solve problems along with the players. Use the activity as an introduction to algebra skills included in the interactive, such as multiplying and dividing with negatives. Challenge students to come up with the formulas for multiplying and dividing negatives based on correct responses in the activity.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomHave a team competition as students use the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector and try to see who can solve the puzzles first. Use the puzzles as a quick time filler and revisit on occasion until the puzzle is solved.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomExpose your students to different levels of the learning spiral by challenging them to use problem-solving skills for increasingly difficult obstacles. Students can work in small groups to foster cooperation and teamwork as they sort, graph, follow and give directions, and discuss ideas. Of course you will need some LEGOs, so you might try raiding your own children's toy boxes, include a request in your classroom newsletter for donations, look around for LEGO kits collecting dust on classroom shelves, or put it on your school's PTA wish list. Be sure to have cooperative learning groups video their activities to share with the rest of the class using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBring teaching and learning to new heights by using this service as a great form of professional development. At conferences, use Twitter as a backchannel to expand upon thoughts and ideas during presentations and after. Have a question to ask others' opinion about? Throw it out to Twitter to see the great perspectives given by those who follow you. Start out slowly and look at conversations that catch your eye. Follow people with experience in your areas of interest to gain from the conversations. Start off by following @teachersfirst or @cshively (our leader).
Learn about hashtags -- ways to mark, search, and follow conversations on a specific topic. For example, the #ntchat tag is for new and pre-service teachers and the #edchat hashtag is for all teachers. Participate in these chats which are scheduled at certain days and times or search for their tweets anytime. Find archived tweets from these chats to learn from some wonderful and motivated teachers when it is convenient for YOU. Use other Twitter applications to search or collect specific hashtags.
As a teaching tool, Twitter is amazing! If your school permits access, have a class account to share what you are doing with parents and especially for your class to follow people in topics you study. Studying space? Follow NASA. Studying politics and government? Follow your congressional rep or the White House. Consider using your teacher or class account to send updates to other teachers across the country or across the globe. You can also teach about responsible digital citizenship by modeling and practicing it as a class. A whole-class, teacher account is the most likely way to gain permission to use Twitter in school, especially if you can demonstrate specific projects. That can be as simple as making sure you and that teacher are FOLLOWING each other, then sending a direct message (start the tweet with D and the other teacher's twitter name) or creating a group with your own hashtag for a project such as daily weather updates. Even if you are not "following" someone, you can send them a tweet using @theirtwittername in the body of the message. This is called a "mention" but can be seen by others, too. Compare what your class is observing in today's weather, which topics you will be discussing today, or ask for another class' opinions on a current events issue. Ask for updates about local concerns, such as talking to California schools about wildfires in their area or a Maine school about a blizzard. Challenge another class to tweet the feelings of a literacy character, such as Hamlet, and respond as Ophelia, all in 140 characters or less. Have gifted students? Connect your classroom with the outside world to find greater challenges and connections beyond your regular curriculum.
Learn much more about teaching ideas and tools for Twitter in the many resources listed on TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.
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
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Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomTry this activity together as a class on the interactive whiteboard or projector to encourage discussion of vocabulary presented on the wall. Ask students to create their own Only Connect wall to share with peers.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a resource for a problem of the day activity. Challenge students to solve and provide explanations to logic puzzles and create their own problems. Display on the interactive whiteboard or projector as a springboard to class discussion of the Mathematics involved within each of the problems.
Grades4 to 6
In the ClassroomDemonstrate the use of a protractor on your interactive whiteboard or projector with this activity. Challenge students to guess the angle before measuring with the protractor. Assess understanding of acute and obtuse angles through students' estimates of angles.
Grades1 to 4
tag(s): logic (245)