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Dangerously Irrelevant: Internet Democracy - Scott McLeod

Grades
9 to 12
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"Dangerously Irrelevant" is the blog of education professor Scott McLeod from Iowa State University. He is interested in the interplay between technology and education, and his blog...more
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"Dangerously Irrelevant" is the blog of education professor Scott McLeod from Iowa State University. He is interested in the interplay between technology and education, and his blog brings together a number issues and ideas that teachers ought to be thinking about. This section of the blog provides resources for social studies teachers who are including content related to the upcoming Presidential elections. Organized by candidate, McLeod provides links to YouTube videos about each candidate. He also provides instructions for downloading YouTube videos through a secondary program so they can be emailed and accessed by teachers whose school districts block access to YouTube. Social studies teachers need to teach students how to critically assess the huge volume of information on the internet about candidates for political office. Campaign strategists spend enormous amounts of energy and money trying to "market" voters, and if students are to be informed voters in the near future, they need to recognize these tactics and learn to access concrete information.

tag(s): elections (73), politics (97)

In the Classroom

Teachers can use these videos to demonstrate political tactics and help students navigate election promises and propaganda. Because these videos come from YouTube, which does little to monitor its content, content should be carefully previewed before using. Share the site or specific videos on a projector or interactive whiteboard as part of class discussion. If your network permits it, provide a local copy of specific videos for students to critique and compare. They could embed the videos in a wiki and write the critique as a collaborative project with small groups. Or have them present a video to the class as if they were on a campaign staff analyzing the opponent's tactics for a campaign staff meeting.

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Teacher to Ranger to Teacher Program - National Park Service

Grades
K to 12
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The National Park Service offers this unique opportunity for teachers in low income schools to spend a summer a park ranger, then "bring the parks into the classroom by developing ...more
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The National Park Service offers this unique opportunity for teachers in low income schools to spend a summer a park ranger, then "bring the parks into the classroom by developing and presenting curriculum-based lesson plans that draw on their summer's experience." If you are a budding naturalist, seeking a summer job that will make you a better teacher and bring the real world into your classroom, this opportunity may be for you. Only certain parks are involved, and the offerings on the web site change often,so keep checking back.

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StumbleUpon - StumbleUpon

Grades
8 to 12
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Want to "stumble upon" some great sites? Use StumbleUpon to browse websites without having to enter search terms and click through search pages. Choose categories that you are ...more
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Want to "stumble upon" some great sites? Use StumbleUpon to browse websites without having to enter search terms and click through search pages. Choose categories that you are interested in. These can be updated at any time. Choose hobbies, interests, or teaching subjects. When the StumbleUpon button on the tool bar is pressed, StumbleUpon presents a website to fit your interests. Simply click the thumbs up "I like it" or the thumbs down symbol on the tool bar to "teach" StumbleUpon what you like. StumbleUpon seeks out interesting pages you might otherwise not see. The more you Stumble and indicate your preferences, the more Stumble Upon will refine its understanding of what you like. On the StumbleUpon site, you can see your favorites, as well as the top rated websites, videos, and photos from their many "stumblers." Firefox or Internet Explorer is required.

tag(s): bookmarks (68), evaluating sources (16), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

The best use of this site is for teacher research. Hit the Stumble button once or twice a day to find new ideas and new sites for teaching. Skills needed: Join the site (free, but requires email). Download and install the tool bar for Firefox or Internet Explorer and create your "identity." Click the Stumble button. Though you may not get websites relating to just one specific topic, many in your field or interest group will come up. Bookmark these for later use. LOG OUT of Stumble Upon when you are not at your computer to avoid unauthorized use.

Be wise and choose your interests carefully. For example, if you are interested in photography, you will receive random photo sites. Though many have wonderful photos, a few may have questionable content not appropriate for education. Since StumbleUpon has other uses, such as "dating" and "friends," and the ability to see other "popular" sites, you will want to use a single class account to model and teach web site critique and evaluation as a whole class. Individual student profiles can be problematic to supervise unless your school has built a strong, enforceable Acceptable Use Policy, signed by both student and parent, that holds the STUDENT accountable for his/her behavior, not you.

If your school uses a filter (U.S. schools are required to do so by law), any streaming media and other sites may be blocked. If you "Stumble" at home and find a useful site, follow your school's technology policy to request unblocking of specific URLs that are directly related to curriculum.

Editorial comment: Be sure to SHARE your reason for using the site with administrators and school decision-makers to demonstrate why school policies should permit such powerful tools for teaching and learning. You may have to "prove" the worth of StumbleUpon by providing specific examples of the content you have found through this tool, especially since many schools prevent users from downloading and installing any software at all. Be sure to talk about -- and follow through on -- teaching students how to critique and evaluate websites as research skills. General surfing the web in the classroom is not considered best practice, and your example will speak volumes. You may need to become an expert "Stumbler" at home to build your case for accessing and demonstrating the tool at school.

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ConnectSafely - Tech Parenting Group

Grades
K to 12
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This site is a discussion-opener on safe use of the "social web." Some of the tools included are social networking sites, virtual worlds, chat, cell phones, video-sharing, and more....more
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This site is a discussion-opener on safe use of the "social web." Some of the tools included are social networking sites, virtual worlds, chat, cell phones, video-sharing, and more. There are tips and advice for just about any medium kids and adults use today, as well as discussion forums where parents can ask questions and share information. Each article and advice section can be emailed at the click of a mouse. You can also download and share printable version (site creators do ask that you not modify them and that you simply tell them if you do download and share). While some posts may not represent your point of view, the important thing is to open dialog.

tag(s): internet safety (118), safety (92), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Include this link on your teacher or school web page for parents to access as part of a plan to work together. Consider using it as a hub for an evening discussion session with parents and students in a "round table" to air concerns and work together. Simply blocking or ignoring these tools is not educating or helping our kids. We want our students to grow into safe and responsible citizens both online and in person. If your school can involve and inform parents and students, you will have a better likelihood of using the new tools of the web in productive classroom settings, as well.

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Online Stopwatch - online-stopwatch.com

Grades
K to 12
10 Favorites 1  Comments
  
What a wonderful tool to use in any classroom. This website provides an online stop watch (as the name suggests). On the home page, you have your choice of a ...more
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What a wonderful tool to use in any classroom. This website provides an online stop watch (as the name suggests). On the home page, you have your choice of a stop watch (counting up from 0) or a countdown (for the number of minutes or seconds you choose). There is even a "large stop watch" link that makes the counting a full-screen adventure (perfect if you are using your desktop computer at a distance -- easier for students to see). The stop watch and countdown both require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): counting (113)

In the Classroom

There are many uses for this practical online tool. Get out your interactive whiteboard or projection screen (or even the classroom desktop computer) and make sure the speakers are turned up. Use this tool for students to practice speeches, or to limit time for a quiz or spelling test. Shrink the stopwatch window in the corner of your interactive whiteboard as you time different teams completing a drag-and-drop challenge. The countdown feature could also be used for timing the rotations from center to center. You can even use the timer for reading fluency exercises or physical education warm-ups! A clever classroom management tool would be to start the visible count-down on your computer screen when you want the class to settle down for directions or to transition to the next subject. Kindergarten students can practice counting along with the watch!
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Comments

This is truly a wonderful tool, it uses flash though so it won't work on the iPad, in that case I suggest using http://ipadstopwatch.com it does the same thing but also has it's own unique features. Luis, , Grades: 0 - 12

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Eight Forty-Eight: Cyber Bullying - Chicago Public Radio

Grades
3 to 12
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This article, available in both audio recording and print on the web page, shares a parent's experience discovering that her daughter has been the victim of cyberbullying. The article...more
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This article, available in both audio recording and print on the web page, shares a parent's experience discovering that her daughter has been the victim of cyberbullying. The article is written from an adult perspective, but the facts and feelings it reveals are very real to anyone. Parents with children as young as elementary grades should be aware of things they should watch for, say, and do to help their children. Teachers should read it to understand the nature of the problem, as well.

tag(s): bullying (51), cyberbullying (48), internet safety (118), safety (92)

In the Classroom

Share this article with parents in a newsletter or school web page so they, too, can be involved in talking with their children about cyberbullying. Use it as a discussion starter for a parent organization meeting or possibly in a group of middle school students to open the conversation about their experiences and how different they are from what their parents were familiar with as children. Both parents and children would benefit from open dialog on the subject as part of a consistent effort for Internet safety in your school and homes.

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Understanding and Raising Boys - PBS

Grades
K to 12
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It isn't easy being a boy growing up during the 2000s. This revealing website discusses how parents (or teachers) can better understand and raise boys. The objective is to help ...more
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It isn't easy being a boy growing up during the 2000s. This revealing website discusses how parents (or teachers) can better understand and raise boys. The objective is to help parents to raise boys who feel confident, succeed in school, and grow up resilient and responsible. The interactive features include slideshows and videos. The topics of this helpful website include "Boys in School," "The Search for Masculinity," "Active or Aggressive Boys," and "Emotionally Strong Boys". There is also a question/answer section. Some of the activities require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

In the Classroom

Provide this website in your class newsletter or as a link from your teacher web page. There is also pertinent information for teachers at this website. Use this site to help better understand the boys in your class before you pick up the phone to call home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Common Craft - Common Craft Productions

Grades
K to 12
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This is a TeachersFirst Edge Entry for ANYONE who wants to know more about new technologies. No special skills needed. Watch and learn. If you are embarrassed to say that ...more
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This is a TeachersFirst Edge Entry for ANYONE who wants to know more about new technologies. No special skills needed. Watch and learn. If you are embarrassed to say that you don't know what all the "new web 2.0" terms are all about, this one is for you (and probably for your students' parents, as well). Common Craft uses a very simple, visual method of explaining all the latest technologies so that anyone can understand, using short video clips narrated by a positive and respectful voice. The next time you hear someone talking about RSS feeds or some other new doo-dad, stop here first so you will know what they are talking about. Did you think you were the only one who did not know? Fear not. This site has incredible popularity because there are LOADS of people quietly questioning -- just like you. To view the video clips FREE, click on "Video Library" and the topic that you wish to view. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers the videos for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (85), bookmarks (68), social networking (112), video (278), wikis (21)

In the Classroom

Start by looking at "Most Viewed" and "Most Popular Right Now," but don't be afraid to search for other topics that have you wondering. You will definitely want to make this site a Favorite and tag is as "professional" information to keep you informed. Share it on your teacher web page to help out your parents, too!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Tiny URL - Gilby Productions

Grades
K to 12
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This very simple little tool allows you to copy a LONG URL (web address), paste it into this web page, and get back a very short URL that fits far ...more
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This very simple little tool allows you to copy a LONG URL (web address), paste it into this web page, and get back a very short URL that fits far more easily on your teacher web page, in your handouts, or on your blackboard for students to enter.

In the Classroom

If you make a map in Google Maps, an online graphic organizer, a set of online flash cards, to anything else that allows you to share my emailing or copying a URL, this tools will save you from endless errors or emails full of ten-line URLs. Be sure to show your middle and high school students how to use it, as well. This will solve the problem of URLs that get split and no longer work when the text wraps around to another line.

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Tools and Templates - Education World

Grades
K to 12
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This website is full of templates that are ready to use, just download and print. Many templates can be customized. Topics are too numerous to list. Sample topics include ice ...more
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This website is full of templates that are ready to use, just download and print. Many templates can be customized. Topics are too numerous to list. Sample topics include ice breakers, back to school, graphic organizers and parent-teacher communication.

tag(s): back to school (62), calendars (47), classroom management (159), graphic organizers (39)

In the Classroom

Check out the icebreakers for the first day of school, and back to school sections for many ideas and ready to use templates. Remember that if you want to SAVE a file from a download, you should RIGHT-click the link and choose "Save Target As" to save it to your computer.

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Auto English - Bob Wilson

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This is a wonderful new "labor of love" resource for second language learners and ESL teachers created by an English teacher living in Spain. It includes the typical ...more
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This is a wonderful new "labor of love" resource for second language learners and ESL teachers created by an English teacher living in Spain. It includes the typical grammar lessons, flash cards, worksheets, phrasal verb practice, and idioms, but also less typical links to many video lessons and a few audio mp3's. Many of the sections have unique applications; for example, the vocabulary section has both online interactive practice and printable materials for the same lesson. The puzzles and games section includes a variety of printable worksheets. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): grammar (212), idioms (45)

In the Classroom

This is a good overall site you can rely on for a variety of ESL purposes. Use it to find lessons and review activities for your ESL students.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods - Ralph Lengler and Martin J. Eppler

Grades
8 to 12
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Who says the chemistry department can monopolize the periodic table? This site highlights various charts, graphic organizers, tables, and other ways to express information visually....more
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Who says the chemistry department can monopolize the periodic table? This site highlights various charts, graphic organizers, tables, and other ways to express information visually. The presentation makes the sell (or better grade). Teachers, especially secondary school, will appreciate this page to show the various ways to make their students' presentations more meaningful. Those who teach advanced reading skills and how to interpret visual data will love all the examples, as well. Hold your mouse over each square of the periodic table to view each type of visual.

tag(s): design (88), periodic table (51)

In the Classroom

Viewing this with the entire class will be more effective with the interactive whiteboard or projector. Teachers in any subject will find this site invaluable in teaching how to make strong visuals for oral or written presentations. What powerful evidence for multiple intelligences! Your visual/spatial students will LOVE this one, and others will learn to build that intelligence. Try these same strategies in YOUR PowerPoint presentations to communicate ideas visually, without being "powerpointless" at back to school night!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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OneWebDay

Grades
K to 12
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"The mission of OneWebDay is to create, maintain, advance, and promote a global day to celebrate online life." Started in 2006, One Web Day is a day for awareness of ...more
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"The mission of OneWebDay is to create, maintain, advance, and promote a global day to celebrate online life." Started in 2006, One Web Day is a day for awareness of the power of the Internet and activities to highlight its use in positive ways. While part of the mission of OneWebDay is a sort of "Earth Day for the web," a chance to highlight and preserve the things that make the web a healthy place to learn, work, and share -- all in an ethical way. Schools may want to take the day (or the closest school day)to highlight how much we benefit from the web and how students and families can use it safely and positively.

tag(s): internet safety (118), safety (92)

In the Classroom

Some ideas to celebrate the day: Send class emails to the web sites you find most useful to thank them for their contributions to your class' learning. Find a school web site in another town or country and email the webmaster to relay a "hello" to a classroom there. Make a class wiki to share all the positive things you gain from the web---and invite parents to join in, too. Have students keep a web "diary" for 24 hours, noting every time they use or benefit from someone else using the web (even the weather man on TV gets his/her information from the web!). Predict how many "web contacts" your class will have, then add them up to see how close you came. Plan a OneWebDay event for your school and share it on the OneWebDay site or with the local press. With primary grade students, take the time to point out which activities you do in class come from the web (these children see "the computer" as the genie of all things and do not distinguish between the web and a CD game). Make a giant "web" out of yarn and "connect" everyone on the playground. Send an email from your class to the principal, telling him/her about OneWebDay. What else can you think of?

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Rubistar - 4teachers.org

Grades
K to 12
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This online tool gives teachers an easy way to find and create rubrics to fit any project. Join for free, then browse existing rubrics made by others or create your ...more
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This online tool gives teachers an easy way to find and create rubrics to fit any project. Join for free, then browse existing rubrics made by others or create your own, starting from scratch or from a template provided. You can even make rubrics in Spanish. Search rubrics by keyword or by subject. Choose "permanent rubric" if you wish to save your rubric on the site for more than a week. You can use one of your previous rubrics as the basis for a new one, simply by choosing to "duplicate" it (then make changes). This site receives funding through the U.S. Dept of Ed, so they do "track" use by zip code. There is also a tool to analyze your rubric scores for a project, though it seems a bit cumbersome.

tag(s): assessment (114), rubrics (32)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to create rubrics in advance for any project you assign and share them with students. If you realize that you need to make changes before the final projects are turned it, it is easy to do so from the saved rubric. >

Once your students are completely familiar with the rubric process, consider allowing them to have input into designing a rubric to evaluate something: new inventions, the best way to solve an engineering problem, best mystery, the best design for a bridge, etc. Then use this tool together as you design a class rubric on an interactive whiteboard or projector. What a great way to develop higher order thinking skills!

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Icebreakers, Games, and Fun Group Activities - icebreakers.ws

Grades
K to 12
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Start the first day of school or a new marking period with a getting-to-know you activity from this great, searchable collection. The activities are designed for all ages, so some ...more
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Start the first day of school or a new marking period with a getting-to-know you activity from this great, searchable collection. The activities are designed for all ages, so some will not work well with very young ones (such as writing things on slips of paper). The site is easy to navigate and sorts ideas by group size and activity level for easy retrieval. You are also invited to submit your own ideas. Since the site is designed for general use, not for schools, some ideas may be impractical in a classroom setting but could be easily adapted.

tag(s): newbies (15)

In the Classroom

New or veteran teachers who want students get to know each other as they enter a new school (starting middle school, for example), want to observe them so YOU get to know them, or need to build better team skills with a challenging class or club, will find ideas to try. Mark this one as a Favorite so you can find it again, since "first day" activities tend to get lost in the flurry ---and in the fading memory-- during the year.

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NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grants - NEA

Grades
K to 12
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This is an ongoing grant opportunity for teachers. Public school teachers or support professionals Pre-K-12, and faculty or staff of public colleges or universities are eligible. Grants...more
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This is an ongoing grant opportunity for teachers. Public school teachers or support professionals Pre-K-12, and faculty or staff of public colleges or universities are eligible. Grants of $5000 will be awarded to "improve the academic achievement of students in U.S. public schools and public higher education institutions in any subject area(s). The proposed work should engage students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen their knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students' habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection." See their site for more information.

tag(s): grants (18)

In the Classroom

Deadline: Ongoing, three times per year

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Philanthropy News Digest - The Foundation Center

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
If you are searching high and low for grant sources that might help you or your school, this is a highly-respected central listing for grant sources. to investigate. Use the ...more
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If you are searching high and low for grant sources that might help you or your school, this is a highly-respected central listing for grant sources. to investigate. Use the Education Section to look for grant RFPs (Requests for Proposals) that match what you seek. If you have to really "stretch" the criteria to make your project fit, it probably is not worth your valuable time.

tag(s): grants (18)

In the Classroom

This is an ongoing listing with no "expiration date," so check back often.

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Donors Choose - DonorsChoose.org

Grades
K to 12
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Have you ever wished that you could apply for money for a simple (or not so simple) classroom project, but found you had nowhere to turn? This organization provides a ...more
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Have you ever wished that you could apply for money for a simple (or not so simple) classroom project, but found you had nowhere to turn? This organization provides a means for teachers to write a proposal and allows donors to find them and provide funding, even in small amounts, toward the teacher's project. The organization allows donors to fund all or part of a project and to fund the "fulfillment," i.e. the administrative costs the organization has in staffing, providing web space, etc. As of this review (Summer, 2007), not all regions of the U.S. are part of this service, but they are expanding. See the Regions pulldown for a listing.

tag(s): grants (18), service projects (24)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a potential funding source or make a donation. Join the site (free). Then take the time to write up a clearly-worded project proposal, and make sure you have administrative permission to do so, since the school name will be visible on the web site. You can even make the project a challenge to your school community, if you wish.

If you are a student council or Key Club adviser, make one or more of the projects on this site your targeted service project for the year. Encourage philanthropy to support good causes: kids helping kids!

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Safe Teens - safekids.com

Grades
7 to 12
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This site is the teen partner to safekids.com. Its additional offerings include a wonderful cyber-dictionary parents can use when they are totally puzzled by acronyms their children...more
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This site is the teen partner to safekids.com. Its additional offerings include a wonderful cyber-dictionary parents can use when they are totally puzzled by acronyms their children are using in email, chat rooms, and text messaging (Note: the language is realistically what some teens use---asterisks replace "bad" words, but the abbreviations could teach the timid more than they want to know). Highlights for teens include tips about safe blogging, warnings about grooming, general Internet safety info, and accompanying info for parents. A link to blogsafety.com allows users to report abuses and suspicious behavior that might occur on blogging or social network sites. Links to current articles about Internet misuse keep the site current.

tag(s): chat (51), internet safety (118), safety (92), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point when teens have questions about blogging, cyber safety, and correct Internet behavior so they know what to watch for should something unethical occur. Be sure to share it with parents via your teacher web page or at open house, as well. As you begin web-based activities in class, take the time to repeat the basics found here, even if another teacher is supposed to "cover" this topic.

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Safe Kids - safekids.com

Grades
1 to 12
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This site offers information to children, teens, and parents about how to stay safe online and keep your computer safe. It contains information sheets for various levels, downloadable...more
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This site offers information to children, teens, and parents about how to stay safe online and keep your computer safe. It contains information sheets for various levels, downloadable parent and child online safety pledges, and slide shows about Internet safety. The slide shows do require the user to register at myspace.com, so this requirement may preclude usage at school. There is even a SafeKids song, but it downloads slowly, even on a fast connection (opt for the dial-up version). Younger children will also enjoy the online safety quiz. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): internet safety (118), resources (107), safety (92)

In the Classroom

Include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access as a reference. Share the printables with parents at open house or conferences. As you introduce web-based activities in your classroom, pause to rmind students of these safety rules, even if someone else is supposed to "cover" them in their classroom. Parts of this site require the use of myspace, so be sure to preview it and match the requirements to your school's regulations.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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