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Mindcipher

Grades
3 to 12
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Mindcipher provides riddles and mind puzzles in various subject areas including math, logic, physics, computer science, and lateral thinking. Puzzles are categorized based on easy,...more
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Mindcipher provides riddles and mind puzzles in various subject areas including math, logic, physics, computer science, and lateral thinking. Puzzles are categorized based on easy, hard, most liked, and most commented on. Advertisements can be distracting. May work better as a resource for elementary teachers.

tag(s): problem solving (272), puzzles (208), riddles (15)

In the Classroom

Allow older students to sift through puzzles and identify one they want to solve. Have students present their problem solving strategies to the class by creating an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here that showcases their thinking. Identify puzzles that younger students have the knowledge to solve, and then have them solve the puzzles with a partner. They can then showcase strategies in a glog.

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Puzzle Playground - Smart Kit

Grades
1 to 12
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This site includes many different types of puzzle and brain games that will keep students motivated throughout the school year! There is a TON to offer at this site. ...more
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This site includes many different types of puzzle and brain games that will keep students motivated throughout the school year! There is a TON to offer at this site. Start out easy with a memory match game, move on to strategy activities and work your way toward the Physics Puzzle activity. Interactives are sorted into categories such as word puzzles, logic, spot the difference, and much more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): logic (235), problem solving (272), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

This 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Algebra Meltdown - Manga High

Grades
3 to 8
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Practice basic linear algebra with this interactive site where the players help scientists working at a nuclear generator. The scientists are impatient, so you have to be quick to solve...more
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Practice basic linear algebra with this interactive site where the players help scientists working at a nuclear generator. The scientists are impatient, so you have to be quick to solve the equations to guide the atoms through each machine on time. Be sure to check out the achievements section which provides information on math skills used at each level. There are some unobtrusive advertisements at this site. You can play without joining or register for a free, basic school account to save some scores.

In the Classroom

Have 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Tangram House - Andrey Orlov

Grades
2 to 8
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Tangrams are a form of old Chinese puzzles that provide the opportunity for developing spatial sense and problem solving skills. Tangram House provides choices of tangram puzzles to...more
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Tangrams are a form of old Chinese puzzles that provide the opportunity for developing spatial sense and problem solving skills. Tangram House provides choices of tangram puzzles to solve using the seven basic pieces that form a square. Hints can be turned on for beginning users. The activity can also be downloaded in a zip file to play when not connected to the internet. Be sure to click on the Help and Settings icon to learn more about how to flip, turn, and rotate the tangram pieces.

tag(s): tangrams (14)

In the Classroom

Introduce 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!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Plastelina Logic Games

Grades
3 to 8
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Test your logic and patience with these interactive logic games. Plastelina offers the option of registration and payment for a password which allows access to all of the activities...more
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Test your logic and patience with these interactive logic games. Plastelina offers the option of registration and payment for a password which allows access to all of the activities on the site; however, many are free and can be played without registration. Free interactives are clearly marked next to the titles. At the time of this review, five activities were FREE.

tag(s): logic (235), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Have 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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LEGO Education Activities - LEGO Education

Grades
K to 12
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Lego Education Activities are designed to be rich, fun-filled, creative learning experiences. They offer educators a means to use LEGO sets as essential tools that engage students while...more
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Lego Education Activities are designed to be rich, fun-filled, creative learning experiences. They offer educators a means to use LEGO sets as essential tools that engage students while challenging their creativity and enhancing their knowledge and comprehension. As a thinking teacher, you only need to look on the Teachersfirst Editor's Blog here to realize what a hot topic teaching creativity is and how it fits into the classroom. From role-playing and meeting the needs of early childhood development to theme-based sets for older students, LEGO Activities offer a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching. There are also specific sets designed to cover specific subject areas, including technology curriculum. As you browse the activities, you will find obvious connections to curriculum in simple machines and other science topics, as well. Stay current and find a lot more stimulating ideas by checking out the LEGO Education and LEGO Smart Blogs available from theLego Education Activities page.

tag(s): creativity (109), critical thinking (108), logic (235), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Expose 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).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Twitter - Twitter, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief...more
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief "tweet." Tweets are much more than messages to share what you are eating for lunch! Use this popular microblogging and social networking tool for a great way to communicate with teaching peers and real world people you may not have a chance to otherwise meet. Reply to others to create conversations for some of the best professional development around. Each "tweet" or message may not seem extraordinary, but using the sum total of tweets from those you "meet" on Twitter can have an amazing impact. Use your profile and settings to add a bio and other information, change your security settings from public to protected, find those who follow you, and more. Post your tweets through the website, mobile devices, or myriad of applications to manage tweets and followers. Keep track of your favorite tweets by starring them. Refer to your favorites list as needed. Wish you could take back a tweet? Click the trash can beside the post to delete (however, others may have already seen and responded.) Find many opinions about Twitter on and off the Internet. Remember you will gain only as much as you put into this service. Build a network of helpful colleagues to become a better learner (and educator). Anyone can learn from Twitter, even a class of elementary students! Still not sure what Twitter is about? Find a great explanation of how it works in this review.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social media (16), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Bring 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.

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Only Connect - BBC

Grades
6 to 12
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This fast paced, highly interactive activity will keep students interested while developing vocabulary and thinking skills. Sixteen words are presented on a board, the goal is to sort...more
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This fast paced, highly interactive activity will keep students interested while developing vocabulary and thinking skills. Sixteen words are presented on a board, the goal is to sort them into four groups of four related words in three minutes and then name the word that connects all of them together. Patience and thinking outside the box are needed to be successful. There is no need to register to play for fun, and there are choices of many walls. Tournament play is also included; however, registration is required. Only Connect walls can be created for any subject or topic discussed in the classroom.

tag(s): puzzles (208), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Try 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Gymnasium For Brain - Sitalakshmi Seshadrinathan

Grades
3 to 12
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The goal of this site is to make Math fun and provide mental exercise and stimulation. 100's of warm-up puzzles are provided that require logic and problem solving to come ...more
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The goal of this site is to make Math fun and provide mental exercise and stimulation. 100's of warm-up puzzles are provided that require logic and problem solving to come up with a solution. Hints are provided as well as the solution. The Speed Math section demonstrates different "tricks" as alternatives to standard algorithms in a detailed explanation. Another section demonstrates different Math patterns and how they are formed and expanded. The Kids Corner provides simpler problem solving activities for younger students. Free membership to the site is available.

tag(s): logic (235), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Use 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.

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Dipity - Underlying, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline...more
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline display. With just a click the same information can be shown as a flipbook, map, and list. Sharing is simple through widgets that can be embedded on blogs or websites as well as quick links to common networking sites.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Click on "add an event" and complete as much information as you can about the event. Types of information that are provided include: title, date, description, picture, link, location, and video Url. If you do not have a complete set of information, the event will still look good in the timeline! Also, please note that you cannot create imaginary locations. The site does verify the place entered as location is a real place.

Use a created, identifiable to the outside world team name to preserve student internet security. This way, students do not need to create their own accounts. Be careful when having students enter locations, if it is historical project, real dates and times are safe to use. However, if students are creating personal type timelines, use general locations like city and country or even just country. You can control who can see the timelines, and who can edit the timeline. Use caution here!

Create a timeline of classroom events throughout the school year. During a unit on inventions, having different students add each invention to the timeline along with pertinent information to create a very visual display of the chronology of the introduction of each item (great for review!). Use for an author study to compare and contrast lives of authors and add historical events to put each author's works into perspective. In science class, have students create a timeline of scientific discoveries or the life of a plant, animal, or scientist. Challenge students to create cross-disciplinary timelines showing historic, scientific, and artistic events during the same time period, such as the Renaissance or a decade during the 20th century, so they can see trends. Make timelines of environmental concerns, such as the Gulf Oil Spill--or a history of environmental disasters. Create timelines for historic events -- local or global. Make family histories in world language classes using vocabulary and grammar skills to describe family members in the new language. Create a class timeline to add to your classroom wiki and have students add information as the year advances so that they can look back on all that they have accomplished.

Need a challenge for your gifted students? as the study history or a scientific discovery, have them make a timeline that shows other events happening in the world at the same time. Have them create a "family tree" for endangered species using this timeline tool. Add pictures, locations, and names of related species and causes for the threat to that animal. Have them map out the steps leading to a war or civil rights event, adding the more subtle causes and people not included in the regular curriculum.

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Windows to the Universe - National Earth Science Teachers Association

Grades
4 to 12
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Though Windows to the Universe is basically a science site, it has many links that will connect science with language arts, history and math. Find an abundance of information and ...more
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Though Windows to the Universe is basically a science site, it has many links that will connect science with language arts, history and math. Find an abundance of information and activities for your classroom. There are numerous science categories, and within each category you can choose "Beginner," "Intermediate," or "Advanced." This site has excellent visuals and numerous topics, and several educational interactives (under "Games"). Don't miss it!

tag(s): geology (81), planets (123)

In the Classroom

You will want to preview the categories and levels your students are to explore. Investigate categories with your students, using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have small groups of students choose a subcategory to further explore. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here to share what they learn.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Teachable Moment - Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility

Grades
K to 12
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Teachable Moments provides lesson ideas and plans for "just in time" events happening around the world. All of the activities foster a positive classroom environment and focus on critical...more
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Teachable Moments provides lesson ideas and plans for "just in time" events happening around the world. All of the activities foster a positive classroom environment and focus on critical thinking. Lessons can be found for elementary, middle, and high school students. Lessons contain some combination of text, links, video, and audio. Some lesson plans available at the time of this review included Islam and Islamaphobia, Just How Broken is the Senate, and many others. All lessons are presented in a "standard" lesson plan format and provides the time needed for each portion of the lesson. The offerings can also help misinformed or alarmed students to better understand events in a context appropriate for their age, unlike the screaming headlines they may hear on the television or elsewhere on the web.

In the Classroom

This site will fit perfectly into any social studies, history, or current events class. Use the lessons to discuss important events that are happening right now. Several of the lessons have links to video so use them with an interactive whiteboard or projector. In addition to lessons on current events, use the essays and ideas on teaching strategies to improve your teaching skills. Teachers of gifted will appreciate this site to help their students who are often well beyond their years in their concern over news events.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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September 11 Teacher Awards - Tribute World Trade Center Organization

Grades
K to 12
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Are you looking for ways to inspire meaningful discussions of September 11th and to help make sense of this tragedy? The Tribute World Trade Center Visitor Center of New York ...more
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Are you looking for ways to inspire meaningful discussions of September 11th and to help make sense of this tragedy? The Tribute World Trade Center Visitor Center of New York City presents awards to honor teachers who have created exemplary educational projects for students to express and sustain the memory of September 11th. This site shares their projects from the globe and involving all aspects of the arts and humanities, including history, language arts, visual, media and performing arts. Although this site is mainly designed for grades 5-12, there are some activities for younger elementary students found in the "Resources for Your Classroom" section of the site.

tag(s): sept11 (21), terrorism (49), terrorist (16), tolerance (10)

In the Classroom

Use these award winning ideas to commemorate September 11 in a lesson to demonstrate unity or build worldwide understanding. Use the concepts as a springboard to a collaborative project. Ideas vary from sending chains of origami cranes as a wish for peace, composing and singing a song for unity with an online tool such as Woices (beta) reviewed here), writing letters to local politicians, creating poems and transforming them into digital videos or multimedia presentations using ThingLink, reviewed here, or taking responsibility for the environment while creating a sense of community by planting gardens. Choose from many ways to inspire students to recognize the importance of September 11 and to involve them in working together to become a more tolerant society. You might be so amazed with the results that you will want to submit your students' projects to be considered for next year's Tribute Center September 11th Teacher Awards. The annual award ceremony takes place on February 26, to commemorate the 1993 first attack on the World Trade Center.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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MathSlice

Grades
1 to 12
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The mission of MathSlice is to provide interactives and worksheets for elementary aged children; however this site contains much more. Basic math worksheets are available in many different...more
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The mission of MathSlice is to provide interactives and worksheets for elementary aged children; however this site contains much more. Basic math worksheets are available in many different areas of math concepts beginning with addition going up through scientific notation and percentages. In addition, there are links to ipad games that teach math skills. Many other interactives are available on the site including math millionaire, scrabble, connect 4 and dozens more. In addition to Math, there are activities for Geography, science, music, early literacy, and Spanish.

tag(s): light (46), logic (235), puzzles (208), sight words (37), sound (101), worksheets (60)

In the Classroom

Display games on the interactive whiteboard or projector for students during indoor recess times. Allow students to try the interactives during computer time to reinforce current concepts taught. This is a great link to post on your class website for students (and parents) to try at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Brain Den

Grades
4 to 12
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Brain Den offers a variety of brainteasers to test logic skills. Brainteasers, games, and puzzles range from geometry to algebra to paradoxes to optical illusions. Although most of...more
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Brain Den offers a variety of brainteasers to test logic skills. Brainteasers, games, and puzzles range from geometry to algebra to paradoxes to optical illusions. Although most of this site isn't highly interactive, it does offer a wide variety of brainteasers for nearly all ages. This is a great site for gifted students. *Advise students to ignore the advertisements.

tag(s): brain (72), logic (235), optical illusions (11), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Enrich gifted students' learning by having them explore the puzzles and teasers on this site. Try having students solve the geometry puzzles or algebra puzzles and then ask them to present their solution to classmates using a multimedia presentation. Challenge students to create a video and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Students could also try to create their own puzzles. Share the puzzles on a "glog" (online poster) using Glogster EDU, reviewed here.

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fastr - a flickr game - random chaos

Grades
3 to 12
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Guess what a group of photos have in common with this simple game that draws from flickr images. The game shows a group of images, and you must guess what ...more
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Guess what a group of photos have in common with this simple game that draws from flickr images. The game shows a group of images, and you must guess what "tag" the images have in common.

tag(s): flexibility (5), images (266), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Share a fastr game on your projector or interactive whiteboard to get the mental juices flowing at the start of class. Build word choice vocabulary for speech/language students or ESL/ELL students as they guess what word the photos have in common. Extend the experience by having students create their own groups of images (perhaps even taking their own with a digital camera) to support a curriculum concept, such as "omnivore" or "well." Use this tool in combination with a Flickr search tool such as FlickrCC reviewed here to help students understand tagging and see how an unusual combination of images can share the same tag.

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Club Bing Games - Club Bing

Grades
4 to 8
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Access a motivational variety of memory, trivia, brainteasers, word games and puzzles to provide FREE educational interactives. When you first log on to this site, it asks you to join...more
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Access a motivational variety of memory, trivia, brainteasers, word games and puzzles to provide FREE educational interactives. When you first log on to this site, it asks you to join Bing, a free search engine, however, do not be fooled. Most of the interactives may be accessed without a username and password.

tag(s): brain (72)

In the Classroom

Explore this website to determine which learning activities are worthwhile and will help your students learn or reinforce a skill. Include this site on your class webpage and save it in your favorites on your classroom computers. Be sure to tell students not to sign up for membership; just click on the "play now" button. Having a number of easily accessible, motivational activities keeps students engaged while using technology, when others may still be working on an assignment.
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The Abacus - Luis Fernandes

Grades
5 to 12
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This site takes students through the history of the Abacus across various cultures and time periods in addition to showing how to use an abacus for calculating math problems. Students...more
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This site takes students through the history of the Abacus across various cultures and time periods in addition to showing how to use an abacus for calculating math problems. Students can follow directions to make their own abacus. Click to practice using an abacus to solve problems in addition, subtraction, square roots, cube roots, and more. Explore some of the artistic renditions of the abacus as inspiration for a visual-artistic math project.

In the Classroom

This site would appeal to gifted math students. Have students learn about the abacus and challenge them to find another influential math tool. Ask your students to create a multimedia presentation from the information or demonstrate the use of an abacus on an interactive whiteboard. Challenge students to create a video and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Have students compare and contrast math tools using an interactive whiteboard. Have groups compare two tools using a tool such as the "Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram" (reviewed here).

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Stormboard - Edistorm.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Take brainstorming to a whole new level, including easy collaboration with others. Use Stormboard to place sticky notes, photos, and videos on a shared whiteboard. As you enter information...more
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Take brainstorming to a whole new level, including easy collaboration with others. Use Stormboard to place sticky notes, photos, and videos on a shared whiteboard. As you enter information on your sticky, new suggestions pop up along the bottom. Use this phenomenal aspect of Stormboard as suggestions by their "Idea Bots" may take you closer to your goal. Revisit "storms" as they are saved which adds more perspectives when viewing later. Let others' ideas incubate a bit and return to see what they have added. Free accounts allow up to 5 users, 1 administrator, and unlimited "storms."

Begin by entering the name of your storm, choosing privacy options, adding a description, and inviting users to join in (Stormboard members or by email). Type on the stickies. Drag them to arrange. Stormboard will suggest possible new stickies along the bottom. The center sticky on your screen will drive the "smart" suggestions. If Stormboard's suggestions take you away from your goal in your description, move another sticky into the center spot or close the suggestions area. Use the viewfinder to see where all your stickies are located. Group related ideas together by aligning them together or color-coding them. Contributors can drag an "idea vote" to mark the ideas that they like best. Click on the tab "Top Ideas" to view those with most votes. Click on "All Unrated" to view all, including those with no votes (great idea if you may have missed one).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), creative fluency (8), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Consider creating a classroom account for use with your students. Require them to initial their stickies in order to know which idea is whose. Use for any decision-making activity such as "What kind of pet should I buy?" Also use to generate related vocabulary words about a topic by entering their first word and letting the "Idea Bots" suggest stickies along the bottom. This is especially good if students must find information for a presentation or learn about a particular theme or topic. Share this site with your gifted students to use for organization, brainstorming, or collaboration with others outside their class. Social studies classes could brainstorm on how they might travel back in time to solve a political crisis or avoid a war. Lit classes could "storm" better outcomes for a novel or play based on evidence from the first portion of the text (for example, what if Romeo and Juliet had used Stormboard first?). Many issue-based or ethics-based problems in Science and Health can also be organized, debated, and discussed in this space. Why are some ideas "Top rated" over others?

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TeachersFirst's Study Skills Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help students learn their most effective study strategies. The collection includes specific study tools, reading...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help students learn their most effective study strategies. The collection includes specific study tools, reading strategies, review ideas, and notetaking methods that students and teachers can try as lessons in themselves or --even better-- as they go about the regular curriculum. Whether you want to use a graphic organizer, create your own electronic flash cards, or simply learn how to approach a test, there is a resource to help. Learning Support teachers and teachers of gifted will also want to share these alternate ways for students to organize and retain concepts, vocabulary, and more.

In the Classroom

Make learning how to learn part of your class routine at any grade level and in any subject. Feature one or more new study strategy each month and share this entire list as a link from your class web page for students and parents to access both in and out of school.

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