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Andy's Los Alamos Blog - TeachersFirst

Grades
7 to 12
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TeachersFirst is proud to offer this chance to experience the life of a physics researcher through the eyes and dry humor of our own physics blogger, Andy. As an undergraduate ...more
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TeachersFirst is proud to offer this chance to experience the life of a physics researcher through the eyes and dry humor of our own physics blogger, Andy. As an undergraduate not long out of the high school physics lab, Andy brings us into the "real world" of scientific research but can still connect with the middle or high school student who may be wondering, "When am I ever gunna use this stuff?" Spending the summer of 2007 at Los Alamos National Labs, Andy shares his day-to-day discoveries and gives your students a chance to respond to the blog, perhaps connecting to a "real" scientist for the first time.

In the Classroom

Share this resource with your science students or gifted classes on your teacher web page and encourage them to follow it throughout the summer. Andy promises to keep all of us up to date and, within time constraints, respond to meaningful comments.

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Protopage - Protopage

Grades
K to 12
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This online tool creates a highly visual "home page" that can incorporate multiple elements simply by dragging and dropping them in place. Not unlike Google's personalized homepage,...more
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This online tool creates a highly visual "home page" that can incorporate multiple elements simply by dragging and dropping them in place. Not unlike Google's personalized homepage, the elements look like little sticky notes or boxes, but there is far greater flexibility and a wider variety of content readily available. You can also make the page local (simply use it as the "home" on your classroom computer), shared by a select group (passworded), or completely public. You can easily make a theme or unit page for quick access of resources, complete with directions.

tag(s): resources (112)

In the Classroom

How would you use this in your teaching? Create a set of RSS feeds for current events or a specific curriculum topic such as weather and make them available for an in-class activity, complete with directions. World language, world cultures, or geography teachers can profile a location on the globe, complete with local weather and news. Make separate tabs for separate activities. Students can access them by password or publicly from outside of class, as well. For primary grades, make simple instructions right on the desktop for a computer center activity. Use color coding of the instructions to differentiate for different children (Sam, I want you to do the yellow one). If your school permits students to set up accounts on web services, have groups make Protopages on an assigned topic, collecting and organizing resources, images, and information: "A Protopage Guide to Cells" or "Shakespeare's Times." Gifted and highly-able students will go crazy!

Skills needed: Join (free). Check out the Intro, Overview, and Quickstart to see how it works. Play to your heart's content, including making tabs. Learn about RSS feeds and other Widgets-- including sticky notes. Share the URL with those you wish to have use it. Note: this works on Internet Explorer 6 and higher and on Firefox. If your users are on older web browsers, the developers recommend upgrading. This may be a problem for some. Check with your end-user computers before you spend too much time making the perfect Protopage!

If you allow students to create their own Protopage, you will need to have very specific rules about content, since there are non-educational elements available.

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Secrets of the Dead: The Sinking of the Andrea Doria - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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This site accompanies a PBS episode on the sinking of the Andrea Doria. Following a "crime scene investigation" model, the episode looks at the controversy behind the collision between...more
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This site accompanies a PBS episode on the sinking of the Andrea Doria. Following a "crime scene investigation" model, the episode looks at the controversy behind the collision between the Doria and the Stockholm in 1956, and efforts to examine the wreck off the coast of New England. The site's usefulness is not limited to history teachers, however! There is a significant portion devoted to the science of deep sea diving.

In the Classroom

Use the excellent flash-enabled interactive "Diving Deep" to illustrate the physical properties of deep-sea diving that can endanger the lives of divers. There is also a detailed lesson plan in the Teacher Toolbox section that offers hands-on activities for exploring gas laws that affect divers, and printable handouts that provide questions on the lessons.

As you study the decades of the 20th century, this site could also be an interesting independent project source for a student interested in the 50's. Gifted students as young as upper elementary might find it a springboard for a comparison of maritime disasters.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Foreign Languages - South Carolina ETV and ITV

Grades
1 to 6
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This Website is designed to meet the needs of schools that would like to offer foreign languages but have no language. It serves as an introductory-level course in French, German, ...more
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This Website is designed to meet the needs of schools that would like to offer foreign languages but have no language. It serves as an introductory-level course in French, German, or Spanish. Each 10-15 minute lesson presents many words, with emphasis on the spoken word rather than the written word. Teachers of gifted may have students who want to learn a language as independent study using this site. This site requires Adobe Acrobat Reader and Windows Media Player. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): french (88), german (64), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Share the videos as a whole-class lesson on a projector. You will need speakers for the audio portions of this site. Include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access as a reference. As you study different continents or cultures, include a little of the language to expose your students to the "sounds" of other places. If you have ESL students in your class, share a video for the native English speakers to better understand the experience of learning a new language.

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Robotics: Sensing, Thinking, Acting - Tech Museum of Innovation

Grades
6 to 12
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The Tech Museum of Innovation's online interactive exhibit about robotics includes fascinating history about robots seen from different angles. A video of Hans Moravec of Carnegie Mellon...more
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The Tech Museum of Innovation's online interactive exhibit about robotics includes fascinating history about robots seen from different angles. A video of Hans Moravec of Carnegie Mellon University discusses the components of a robot. Another section of the display examines ethical questions about the line between humans and robots and includes audio files of scientists responding to the questions (requires Quicktime). Site visitors can also respond.If you think you can't be creative with robots, take a look at the robot artists' section and view their creations. Finally, you can try driving your own robot in a virtual simulation. This section requires the Shockwave plugin. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): engineering (124), ethics (16), robotics (25)

In the Classroom

Explore the world of robots as part of a tech ed, gifted, science, or physics class. Be sure to include some of the discussions of ethics and technology as part of your unit. This site would also provide excellent background research for debate topics on technology and ethics. Note: the site was started prior to the 2003 Mars lander problems. Be sure to talk about what we know now about those robots, as well.

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Pyramids: The Inside Story - NOVA: PBS

Grades
5 to 12
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Learn about each Egyptian pyramid by following explorers through the excavations, and learn about the exciting history of pyramid discovery and uncovering! View detailed inside views...more
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Learn about each Egyptian pyramid by following explorers through the excavations, and learn about the exciting history of pyramid discovery and uncovering! View detailed inside views of each site. Learn how to decipher hieroglyphics as you make your way through this fascinating site. Read about current digs and restoration efforts. The virtual exploration portions of the site require Quicktime. There is a link to download it, or you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): archeology (32), egypt (67), pyramids (29)

In the Classroom

Use the lesson plan to build a scale model of a pyramid in your classroom or assign your students to explore the pyramids and collect information to compare them to burial customs of other ancient civilizations. You will definitely want to make this site available as a link from your teacher web page for further exploration. Teachers of gifted could use this as a springboard for an entire Egypt unit.

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Mad Sci Network - Mad Sci Network/Third Sector New England

Grades
K to 12
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This great reference resource is an attractively packaged compilation of ways to get answers to questions about science. Offerings include a place to ask questions from K-college, access...more
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This great reference resource is an attractively packaged compilation of ways to get answers to questions about science. Offerings include a place to ask questions from K-college, access to a search engine, a list of FAQ's on common topics, a library with links to other relevant sites, a knowledge generator, an archive of lab experiments, and other assistance with science fair projects. The Mad-Sci labs also has a "Guided Tour of the Visible Human" section on human anatomy, with many images of cross-sections and internal organs.

tag(s): air (163), experiments (71), scientists (69)

In the Classroom

Navigate the human body and label parts on an interactive whiteboard, or find the appropriate experiments for all your science concepts. By searching the question archives, you can find answers to questions at all levels. Be sure to include this link on your teacher web page year-round to promote curiosity about science. Teachers of gifted will love this one as a treasury of open-ended ideas on science by scientists.

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Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog - Geoffrey Chaucer et.al.

Grades
9 to 12
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Those studying Chaucer and middle English will find this site hilarious, intriguing, and downright addicting! Besides the blogs all being in middle English, it includes "Howe to Reade...more
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Those studying Chaucer and middle English will find this site hilarious, intriguing, and downright addicting! Besides the blogs all being in middle English, it includes "Howe to Reade My Writinges; Basic Glossary; Notes on translatynge Middel Englysshe; On my Englysshe; Elizabeth Renfeldes Notes on Pronounciacioun and Vocabularie as sidelight links on the left.

Under the heading "Linkes of Sentence and Solaas" there are links to a variety of related sites that are rich in information as well as interest. A favorite was the Virtual Tour of Dante's Hell.

tag(s): authors (120), chaucer (5)

In the Classroom

You are limited only by your imagination in the use of this site with high school students. Assigning different "translations" would be the least of the activities. Connecting and writing or reporting on the many related sites can create endless projects from "Market Day" to storytelling to panel discussions to powerpoint demonstrations.

DO be aware the "Playing on my Ipod" will take students to other student sites, so you might want to limit and be specific about what you want them to do; checking that first yourself may prove that your school filtering blocks those sites anyway. There is also a link to buy shirts from zazzle.com with Chaucer-related sayings on them; again, your filtering may block this, or you might want to specifically deal with that issue. In any case, there is too much "good stuff" here not to use at least some of it for fun and learning if you teach Chaucer et. al. Teachers of gifted students may find this site a marvelous prototype for creating a similar author-centered blog or wiki.

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Brainteasers, Puzzles, and Riddles - NIEHS

Grades
2 to 8
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This site invites visitors to explore different parts of the brain where certain abilities can be found then use that brain to enjoy a wide variety of puzzles and brain ...more
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This site invites visitors to explore different parts of the brain where certain abilities can be found then use that brain to enjoy a wide variety of puzzles and brain teasers. For students who enjoy word, math, and pictorial puzzles, this site is a must! Also included are quizzes and proverbs as well as links to other brainteasers. Several games require the Flash plug in. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): puzzles (208), quiz (84), quizzes (96)

In the Classroom

This site is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class. Give students extra credit for creating their own puzzles to share with the class, especially puzzles on topics you have been studying, such as "rock riddles" or "triangle trivia." This site is also a great safety net for substitutes looking for an educational "filler."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Countdown Investigations - Woodlands Junior School

Grades
3 to 8
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This website has three distinct activities - trying to get close to a target number, creating the longest words, and a conundrum activity. Be sure to visit the "more ...more
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This website has three distinct activities - trying to get close to a target number, creating the longest words, and a conundrum activity. Be sure to visit the "more rules" link to learn more about these educational and engaging activities. The math activities will develop number sense, and the word activities will increase vocabulary and spelling skills. Both build mental flexibility and problem solving. Whichever you choose, these will make ideal class starters to "warm up" fuzzy brains. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): addition (250), division (172), multiplication (227), spelling (168), subtraction (207), vision (87)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard. Divide the class into teams for a competition, doing one activity each day to start your class. The tournament could go on for months.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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CAST UDL Book Builder - CAST

Grades
K to 12
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This fabulous, FREE online tool allows you to create your own interactive "books" to help young readers learn reading strategies to build comprehension. The tool allows you to enter...more
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This fabulous, FREE online tool allows you to create your own interactive "books" to help young readers learn reading strategies to build comprehension. The tool allows you to enter your own text, images, and hints. The finished product is a very polished-looking book in a form that you can save on your computer or burn to a CD and use over and over and over with students for years to come.

Be sure to try the model books and read the tips for writers and illustrators. Take the time to learn the tool. Click to see a sample we made for you and placed on our site.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), reading comprehension (116), reading strategies (45)

In the Classroom

Locate or create your own copyright-free text and images for which you have the rights to make more than one copy (Fair Use does not apply!). Copy/paste the text and resize/upload the images--following simple directions to create the pages and accompanying hints. Be sure to learn about the three interactive characters who teach the strategies! Publish and download the files of the finished "books" and save on your computer. Extract the zipped files and save locally, on your network, or burn to CD so your students can access them directly.

The uses of this one are endless. If you take the time to get permission from the publisher to use text from some of your textbooks or reading books, you could create interactive versions to use in your classroom or with special ed students. More simply, use student-written stories and artwork (scanned -- or created in Paint) to create the "book." Imagine creating a class "book" at the end of a unit on Communities or Animals, and including images you take with your digital camera. If you copy the CD's, students could sign out the "book" and read it to relatives using their home computer. You can keep the "library" of past books to help future classes. Or ask your middle/high school or gifted students to create books as writing/service project for struggling readers to use.

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Cogito - Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth

Grades
7 to 12
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This powerful site will challenge your brightest students and get everyone thinking. Designed to spark interest of young scientists and thinkers in real world issues, this site is run...more
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This powerful site will challenge your brightest students and get everyone thinking. Designed to spark interest of young scientists and thinkers in real world issues, this site is run by Johns Hopkins' famous program for gifted youth. Find feature articles on current research, Nobel laureates, and hot topics such as global warming. Explore the links for MANY outstanding sites not specifically for "education" as much as for real-world investigation and learning.

tag(s): careers (132), energy (198), gifted (96), summer (12)

In the Classroom

Teachers with high level, AP, or gifted students will want to explore this site during the summer months for inspiration and resources to use throughout the year. If your gifted program requires individual projects, send your students here to find ideas and to get energized! Even "regular" teachers, especially in the sciences, will want to share some of the current research topics and interviews that fit their curriculum. If you are looking for ways students and environmental clubs can get involved, check out the "Get Involved" section in the Sites and Tools menu.

One simple way to use the Interviews in a regular science classroom would be to have students research and act out an interview with a "mock" scientist, explaining what he/she does in order to expose students to the many fields included in the sciences.

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Family Math Balloon Ride - Lawrence Hall of Science

Grades
1 to 6
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This mind-stretching math activity challenges students to beat the computer or another student at a game of numbers. There are a certain number of strings connected to a hot ...more
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This mind-stretching math activity challenges students to beat the computer or another student at a game of numbers. There are a certain number of strings connected to a hot air balloon (the number of strings changes with each game). Students take turns with the computer trying to cut the final string. During their turns, the computer or student may choose to cut one or two strings. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): addition (250), logic (235), subtraction (207)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard to challenge your student to this fun logic activity as a warm up to math class, especially when studying even/odd numbers. Your students will develop a new kind of number sense and improved strategy skills as they try to win.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Space Poem Chain - Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency

Grades
6 to 12
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Cross over from science to literature by participating in the Space Poem Chain. This "chain" originates in Japan, where weekly submissions have been selected during the six months from...more
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Cross over from science to literature by participating in the Space Poem Chain. This "chain" originates in Japan, where weekly submissions have been selected during the six months from October 2006 to March 2007. Click on "concept" to read the background and details. The completed Space Poem Chain will be recorded on DVD and in late December 2007 sent up to the International Space Station in the Japanese Experimental Module Kibo. The project hopes to continue after this initial phase. The poem follows a traditional Japanese poetry form, but entries mat be submitted both in English and Japanese. See the full work, with beautiful space image backgrounds by clicking on "Space Poem Chain Gallery >Enter." The poem display requires FLASH and is sometimes slow to load.

tag(s): gifted (96), poetry (228), space (205)

In the Classroom

Share this site as a unique participatory poetry experience, even after the initial project publication. Perhaps your students would like to launch a poetry chain within your school or on a class wiki open to students around the world. Teachers in science, English, and even gifted program classes have a unique opportunity to awaken interest. Make creative writing an open experience-- one that may even appeal to the "rocket scientists" in your class.

When you first visit the site, you may be prompted to download a Japanese language plug-in. You will be able to READ the site without it, but the legibility improves dramatically if you are permitted to download plug-ins on your computer.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Saxon - Math Stumpers - Saxon

Grades
6 to 12
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This website was created to correspond with the Saxon mathematics books (grades 6-12). This site provides math stumpers and numerous activities. The topics include algebra, physics,...more
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This website was created to correspond with the Saxon mathematics books (grades 6-12). This site provides math stumpers and numerous activities. The topics include algebra, physics, calculus and more.

tag(s): gifted (96)

In the Classroom

These math activities are easy to use and ready to go. Use these for daily morning challenges or additional enrichment for your advanced or gifted students. Solutions are provided.

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Saxon - Math Enrichment - Saxon

Grades
K to 12
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This website was created to correspond with the Saxon mathematics books (all levels). This site provides basic enrichment and can easily be used without the Saxon textbooks. There...more
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This website was created to correspond with the Saxon mathematics books (all levels). This site provides basic enrichment and can easily be used without the Saxon textbooks. There are activities available for all grades and many topics (including algebra and calculus).

tag(s): enrichment (13), gifted (96)

In the Classroom

These math activities are easy to use and ready to go. Use these for daily morning challenges or additional enrichment for your more able students. Include the link on your teacher web page for students to use during school and at home.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Francais Interactif (Interactive French) - Dept of French and Italian, UNiversity of Texas at Austin

Grades
6 to 12
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Learn first year French, learn about French culture, and practice to supplement your current classroom lessons using this highly interactive site created by faculty and students from...more
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Learn first year French, learn about French culture, and practice to supplement your current classroom lessons using this highly interactive site created by faculty and students from UT Austin while on-site in Lyon, France. Preview all vocabulary and grammar topics from the Bienvenue section and at the opening page of each chapter. Start with the audio alphabet and go through thirteen chapters, including topics such as love and money! There are videos throughout the program, made by the Texas students (certain to be a hit with your high schoolers!)as well as web-based activities with questions to answer. Your students can even download or RSS feed all the videos as podcasts via iTunes. This is a real treasury of great lessons, ready to go! Gifted students or those who would like to teach themselves French independently could do well with this site, also. You MUST have Quicktime to play the audio and video.

tag(s): france (40), french (88)

In the Classroom

Play the videos on a projector in class as you start each topic or put the link for each chapter on your teacher web page for reinforcement and review. Be sure to allow time for the videos to download. Make sure you have speakers or headphones, as well. You need the Quicktime plug-in. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

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Google Maps - Google

Grades
1 to 12
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in...more
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in the world. Type or paste in an address and click "search maps." If you click Satellite or hybrid versions of the map, you will see actual satellite images of the terrain. Zoom in and out, use the street view "orange man" to walk among the buildings and trees, or plan and share a route easily with Google Maps. Using your (free) Google membership allows you to save favorite places and more. Find businesses and other features near a specific map location: hotels, restaurants, schools, parks, and more. Google Maps has become more and more sophisticated, now offering many features previously only available in Google Earth, such as opening and/or saving placemarker files. Unlike Google Earth, Google Maps does not require software installation and does not use as much bandwidth for constant reloading. You can even play a tour of places you mark in Google Maps. They just keep adding more features! Google Maps is available as a free app for Android and iOS, too. The handy embed codes let you put any Google Map in a web page, blog, or wiki. Of course you do not need a membership or any special skills to simply SEE, share, or navigate a map. Membership gives you more ways to save.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (198), directions (20), maps (287)

In the Classroom

If you teach geography, this one's a must. It is also helpful for showing students WHERE a story or news event takes place. In lower grades, use it to show students basics of their community. Teach map skills by showing students their own community. Zoom in on their street or on the school. This site and its more sophisticated cousin, Google Earth, are great on an interactive whiteboard. Set up a class Google account (or use student accounts if permitted). Have students create their own custom route plans to tour historic sites. Challenge math students to plan the most economical route to visit several vacation destinations, including gas mileage and gas prices. Have students create placemarker files of the important places in the life of a famous person or the route traveled by a particular unit during the Civil War. Have student groups create placemarker files to show environmental sites, habitats, landforms, or anything you can place on a map. Embed projects in a class wiki using the handy embed code offered as a sharing option.

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Activities: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - TeachersFirst

Grades
4 to 8
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TeachersFirst offers a chapter-by-chapter set of activities for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix . Designed to be used after each chapter, the activities include science...more
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TeachersFirst offers a chapter-by-chapter set of activities for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix . Designed to be used after each chapter, the activities include science searches, writing, and art projects suitable for individual or group use. The ideas and activities ask you to respond, extend, discuss, create, and more. There is simply no better way to try new "After Reading" strategies. Don't miss this great collection as a way to encourage anyone to get the most from reading and re-reading a new favorite. Find links to activities for two other Harry Potter books on the Intro page.

tag(s): harry potter (12)

In the Classroom

Share the link on your teacher web page or in a parent newsletter, if you don't have time to do all the activities at school. Challenge students to design similar activities to accompany other Harry Potter (or other favorite) books.

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Activities: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - TeachersFirst

Grades
4 to 8
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TeachersFirst offers a set of chapter-by-chapter response activities for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Use art, writing, and web research to answer questions or think...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

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TeachersFirst offers a set of chapter-by-chapter response activities for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Use art, writing, and web research to answer questions or think about the issues in a particular chapter. Ideal for individual use, and many of these could serve as the basis for a group discussion on topics like loyalty and leadership. The ideas and activities ask you to respond, extend, discuss, create, and more. There is simply no better way to try new "After Reading strategies. Don't miss this great collection as a way to encourage anyone to get the most from reading and re-reading a new favorite. Find links to two other sets of Harry Potter book activities on the Intro page.

tag(s): harry potter (12)

In the Classroom

Share the link on your teacher web page or in a parent newsletter, if you don't have time to do all the activities at school. Ask students to design similar activities to accompany other Harry Potter (or other favorite) books.

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