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OK2Ask: Resource Roundup: FREE Tools from the Edge - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from January 2017, opens in Adobe Connect. Looking for new tech tools to use? Go to the cutting Edge with ...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from January 2017, opens in Adobe Connect. Looking for new tech tools to use? Go to the cutting Edge with TeachersFirst! Discover tools you and your students can use to create images, timelines, whiteboards, mind maps, and more. Learn how this collection is categorized so you can explore the Edge on your own. Find inspiration and timesaving tools in this fast-paced session while learning classroom applications for these tools. Remember, it's OK2Ask''®. As a result of this session teachers will: (1) Explore the edge categories and tools available at TeachersFirst; (2) Prepare to plan and implement a student-centered, curriculum-related use of the resource(s) of choice as part of an upcoming teaching unit; and (3) Plan how to use one of the edge tools to organize, communicate, or create in your classroom. This session is for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels.

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
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OK2Ask: Digital Storytelling In the Classroom (Pt 2) - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from January 2017, opens in Adobe Connect. Come to this TeachersFirst Ok2Ask webinar and see digital storytelling...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from January 2017, opens in Adobe Connect. Come to this TeachersFirst Ok2Ask webinar and see digital storytelling as an effective way to learn content. Building on our fall session, learn how to successfully implement a digital storytelling project in your science, social studies, health, or other content area classes. Discover ways to improve student communication skills. Explore options for integrating a digital storytelling unit into your curriculum. Our digital storytelling guest expert, author, speaker, writer, Bernajean Porter, joins us to continue our journey into digital storytelling. Remember, it's OK2Ask'®. As a result of this session teachers will: (1) Discover ways to integrate digital storytelling into any content area; (2) Understand steps for successful implementation of a digital storytelling project; and (3) Plan a project that integrates digital storytelling into science, social studies, or math curriculum. This session is for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels.

tag(s): digital storytelling (147)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Flipgrid One - Charlie Miller & Brad Hosack

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2 to 12
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Flipgrid is a video discussion tool with capabilities for sharing student responses through video. Flipgrid One is the free version of Flipgrid offering the use of a single grid to...more
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Flipgrid is a video discussion tool with capabilities for sharing student responses through video. Flipgrid One is the free version of Flipgrid offering the use of a single grid to incorporate the Flipgrid experience. Single grids allow users to include unlimited topics and student responses. This version also provides security settings including password protection. Begin by creating your grid and personalizing settings to fit your needs. Easy-to-follow directions guide users through the process of setting up a video response. When finished, use links to share the URL or embed your Flipgrid into a website. Students access your Flipgrid using the access code provided when sharing your topic.

tag(s): assessment (102), DAT device agnostic tool (159), video (259)

In the Classroom

Flipgrid One is a versatile tool for use in any subject. Create prompts for students to respond to about anything and everything. Challenge students to reflect on their learning at the end of a unit, research project, or literature circle. Here are just a few example questions to ask: What are some things you did well on this assignment? What mistakes did you make on your last assignment that you did not make on today's assignment? What would you do differently? What would you like to learn more about?

For professional use, create a topic for peers to discuss. Ideas might include discussing concerns with implementing new technology or curriculum. Have fellow teachers share articles of interest from professional journals. Use Flipgrid One to implement a book talk on a topic of interest.

Use Flipgrid as follow up for a flipped assignment. Ask students to explain what they understand and/or still don't understand about a concept. You can review the responses before class the next day. Use it as an exit "slip" before students leave class or as a warm up at the beginning of class (what do they remember about the lesson taught yesterday). World language students can practice speaking in their new language and choose the best video to turn into their teacher. Student or teacher can explain a series of steps in an assignment or concept, one at a time (great for differentiation). Math students can explain the steps they took to solve a problem and why. Art students can explain a creation, either theirs or a famous artists, talking about techniques. Music students can perform and explain their learning, or reflect on their performance.

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TeachersFirst's Resources for Gamification - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about and use gamification in the classroom. Various subject areas are included...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about and use gamification in the classroom. Various subject areas are included in the collection. Explore online workshops to learn more about gamification. Find tools that you can use to gamify your classroom. Remember to start small with gamification and add more to your gamification "toolbox" as you are more comfortable.

tag(s): coding (50), game based learning (109), gamification (69), polls and surveys (52)

In the Classroom

Create your own games for review and classroom activities. As a final assessment, challenge students to create their own games to share with their peers. Use this collection to find the best gamification tools on the TeachersFirst site!

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TeachersFirst's Resources for Game-Based Learning - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about game-based learning and how to incorporate games into teaching and learning....more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about game-based learning and how to incorporate games into teaching and learning. Engage your students in the way they love to learn - games! Explore resources for quick practice or create your own games using these tools. Nurture problem solving, logic, and creativity.

tag(s): coding (50), differentiation (48), game based learning (109), gamification (69), logic (237)

In the Classroom

Share these tools on your class website or blog for students to use both in and out of the classroom. Use these tools to differentiate and reach all students at the various levels. Challenge your students to create their own games for review of content or acceleration options.

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Grammarly - Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko

Grades
K to 12
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Check your blogs, emails, and other written content for grammar and spelling using Grammarly. Consider it your second set of eyes for proofreading any document. Copy and paste text...more
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Check your blogs, emails, and other written content for grammar and spelling using Grammarly. Consider it your second set of eyes for proofreading any document. Copy and paste text into Grammarly's text editor, or install the browser extension for use on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Grammarly also includes an add-in for Windows OS for use in Microsoft Word and Outlook. Use Grammarly to flag 250 types of errors, including context-optimized synonym suggestions. Click on underlined words to view and correct errors. This review is for the free edition of Grammarly, which includes the browser extension.

tag(s): editing (62), grammar (217), spelling (169), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Use this visual revision program with your students who are ready to refine and improve their writing. Have students copy and paste writing projects into the text editor for a final check for spelling and grammar mistakes after making their last revisions. Continued use of Grammarly helps students correct writing on their own after seeing common errors in their writing. Never send out a newsletter or post to your web page with spelling or grammar errors again! Use Grammarly to spell check and suggest corrections for any published writing projects. Although Grammarly offers premium accounts, the free features provide a robust set of tools for use in all classroom situations.

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Playbuzz - Shaul Olmert and Tom Pachys

Grades
9 to 12
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Create and share interactive content with Playbuzz. Browse through to find and participate in polls, quizzes, trivia, and much more. Additional free features include a Video Snaps tool...more
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Create and share interactive content with Playbuzz. Browse through to find and participate in polls, quizzes, trivia, and much more. Additional free features include a Video Snaps tool for sharing portions of a video and Flip Cards. Create an account, then make content to embed and engage with other participants. Warning: this site contains content that is not moderated, be sure to view information before sharing with students.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (159), flash cards (47), polls and surveys (52), quiz (85), trivia (18), video (259)

In the Classroom

Share Playbuzz with students to create interactive classroom content. Have students create polls for favorite characters in books, use the Video Snaps tool to share significant portions of a video, or use Flip Cards in place of traditional flash cards. Create interactive content for your classroom lessons including trivia to introduce new lessons or create a Gallery Quiz to match images to clues. The possibilities are as unlimited as your imagination and those of your students!

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Simplenote - automattic.com

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K to 12
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Simplenote is a note-taking tool that updates information across all of your devices. Download the app for mobile devices and onto PCs. Notes update immediately, no need to save. Use...more
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Simplenote is a note-taking tool that updates information across all of your devices. Download the app for mobile devices and onto PCs. Notes update immediately, no need to save. Use the scroll bar to go back in time and find notes from a previous time. Use tags or search to find notes created. Simplenote also allows for collaboration with other users.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (159), organizational skills (121)

In the Classroom

Use Simplenote for all notes and ideas in all aspects of your busy life. Keep your file system with you all of the time! Instruct students in the use of Simplenote for notetaking needs. Share outlines and study guides with students. All members can collaborate and add thoughts. Offer as a way to improve organizational skills.

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Baamboozle - baamboozle.com

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K to 12
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Baamboozle is a quick and easy-to-use tool for playing and creating games. It doesn't require registration to play. Choose the "Play games now" link to go to all games saved ...more
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Baamboozle is a quick and easy-to-use tool for playing and creating games. It doesn't require registration to play. Choose the "Play games now" link to go to all games saved on Baamboozle. Scroll through to view games, or search for a term. Divide the group into two teams and begin play. Each team chooses a number from the game board and answers the question. Check for accuracy; then, Baamboozle keeps track of scores. Use games found on the site, or create games on any device. Registration with email is necessary to create your own games.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (159), flash cards (47), game based learning (109), preK (281)

In the Classroom

Save Baamboozle in your bag of tricks for a quick review of any content. Have students create games to share with the class when reviewing for quizzes and tests. Bring excitement to professional development by creating a Baamboozle with materials you are sharing. Be sure to provide a link to Baamboozle games on your class website for students to play at home.

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EasyWrite - Deekshith Allamaneni

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K to 12
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EasyWrite is a simple to use writing tool for creating easy to understand content. Just type your text into the text box and begin writing. EasyWrite highlights words not found ...more
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EasyWrite is a simple to use writing tool for creating easy to understand content. Just type your text into the text box and begin writing. EasyWrite highlights words not found in the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English language. At the time of this review, EasyWrite worked best with Chrome or Mozilla FireFox.

tag(s): digital storytelling (147), independent reading (129), process writing (43), vocabulary (323), writers workshop (32)

In the Classroom

Have students use EasyWrite to retell difficult text in an easy to understand way. Retell Shakespeare passages in simple English or breakdown complicated directions into simple terms. EasyWrite is perfect for use with ESL/ELL or special education students. Choose any complex or difficult text and break it into simpler terms for easier understanding. Do this by adding a free browser extension such as Grammarly (for Chrome, Safari, and FireFox), reviewed here, or After the Deadline (for Internet Explorer), reviewed here, to classroom computers and devices. Turn the theory of EasyWrite upside down - have students paste their writing projects into EasyWrite. If there are only a few highlighted words, have them develop more interesting and complex writing passages. Have students take a screenshot of their original work to include with a final draft.

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Hippani - Hippani Ltd

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6 to 12
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Hippani is an HTML animation software download for creating apps, animations, and more. There are many tutorials available making it easy for beginners to start creating professional...more
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Hippani is an HTML animation software download for creating apps, animations, and more. There are many tutorials available making it easy for beginners to start creating professional looking results. There is a free and professional version. The free version allows you to create HTML animation and GIF's. With the free version, you can also test out the professional version during the free 30 days trial. Works with Windows and Mac OS X, however, the web apps created can be converted to iOS, Android and Windows phone apps via another program.

tag(s): animation (64), coding (50), images (269)

In the Classroom

Download Hippani's software onto classroom computers to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to explore and see what they can make. Then, for those who show an aptitude for coding, take advantage of the free 30-day use of the professional edition. Have students browse through the gallery and tutorials to learn about the features of Hippani. Allow them to explore and create on their own as part of your MakerSpace or as a center. Challenge students to use this software to create animated GIFs such as demonstrating how simple machines work, changes in landforms over time, or significant events from novels.

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The Gamification of Education - Knewton

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K to 12
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The Gamification of Education is an infographic containing information and statistics about the potential for using games in the classroom. Scroll through to find out the components...more
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The Gamification of Education is an infographic containing information and statistics about the potential for using games in the classroom. Scroll through to find out the components of games that are useful in learning, examples of ways to use games to deliver content, and a short history of the evolution of learning games online.

tag(s): game based learning (109), gamification (69), professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Share this infographic as part of any professional development session on gamification in the classroom. Use the embed code to add this to your class website to share with parents as an opportunity to discuss the learning benefits of games in the classroom (and at home). Include this infographic during your Parent Orientation session as you discuss learning methods used in your classroom.

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PBS Summer Adventures - PBS Kids

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K to 3
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Not just for summer! Enjoy learning at home all year-round with PBS Kids Summer Adventures. Click on the calendar for new daily adventures such as using bath time to explore ...more
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Not just for summer! Enjoy learning at home all year-round with PBS Kids Summer Adventures. Click on the calendar for new daily adventures such as using bath time to explore math or learn how to make a bird feeder. Scroll through the site to find reading charts, map skills, activity booklets, and much more. Did you find this site too late for summer? No worries, there are plenty of activities to do throughout the entire year.

tag(s): calendars (45), literacy (104), preK (281), reading lists (76), summer (13)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many free activities on this site; be sure to share with parents for ideas on learning at home. Consider having a "summer" day in the middle of winter as you enjoy summer activities in the warmth of the indoors. Share with parents at the end of the school year as a great resource for learning during the summer months.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Panzoid Tools - Panzoid.com

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7 to 12
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Create and customize introduction clips, banners, and thumbnails for social media with Panzoid. Choose from the Clipmaker 1 or 2, or the Backgrounder to start. Use the tools in each...more
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Create and customize introduction clips, banners, and thumbnails for social media with Panzoid. Choose from the Clipmaker 1 or 2, or the Backgrounder to start. Use the tools in each program to format text, add videos or images, and customize the display. When finished, follow links to download and use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): multimedia (58), video (259)

In the Classroom

Panzoid features may require a bit of learning curve. Demonstrate how to use these tools with an interactive whiteboard or create tutorials for the different tools on Panzoid using a site such as Screencast-O-Matic, reviewed here. Embed the tutorials on your class website for student use at anytime. Have students use Panzoid to add pizzaz to videos or personalize custom backgrounds for presentations.
 

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My Physics Lab - Erik Neumann

Grades
8 to 12
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Discover a large variety of physics simulations and interactives at My Physics Lab. Each simulation also includes an explanation of the math and physics involved. Also, check out the...more
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Discover a large variety of physics simulations and interactives at My Physics Lab. Each simulation also includes an explanation of the math and physics involved. Also, check out the How Does it Work? section of the site for help with the simulations and information on the math and software involved. Requires Java software.

tag(s): molecules (44), motion (60), newton (26)

In the Classroom

Since My Physics Lab requires Java software to run the interactives, be sure it's installed on your classroom computers before students try to use it. Introduce activities on an interactive whiteboard to explore physics concepts together. Allow students to investigate the site on their own, then have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Piktochart, reviewed here.

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Science Alive! - Mr. Truss's Science Classes

Grades
6 to 9
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Science Alive! is a wiki project created by two middle school classes to share information on science topics of their choosing. After choosing a topic, students created their wiki page...more
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Science Alive! is a wiki project created by two middle school classes to share information on science topics of their choosing. After choosing a topic, students created their wiki page to demonstrate understanding including higher-order thinking skills based on Blooms Taxonomy. View pages by topics on the left side menu bar. Other links include student evaluations of the project along with the teacher's very in-depth reflection of the wiki project and experience.

tag(s): brain (73), experiments (72), fish (25), heart (44), optical illusions (12), optics (14), reptiles (12), senses (29), space (207), stress (15), tsunamis (17), wikis (20)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this wiki to use as a model for creating a wiki with your students. Be sure to read Mr. Truss's reflections on the wiki project if considering doing a wiki with your students. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Wall of Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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2 to 12
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Wall of Birds is a cool interactive map from Cornell's Bird Academy based on an epic mural Found at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The site features species found around ...more
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Wall of Birds is a cool interactive map from Cornell's Bird Academy based on an epic mural Found at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The site features species found around the world spanning 375 million years using content from the All About Birds website, reviewed here. The colorful world map depicts 243 birds, one from each taxonomic family, showing where to find each on the globe. Find extinct species on the mural in black-and-white, and you can zoom in and out and pan to see the progression of evolution that led to modern birds. Click on each bird picture and a window opens with its name, family name, natural history, a sound file of its call, and a map showing where to observe it. A social media aspect lets you vote for favorites and check out a leaderboard.

tag(s): birds (51), evolution (101), map skills (80), maps (289)

In the Classroom

This enticing and engaging site will stimulate interest in birds at any level and works on any device. Explore the world of birds on an interactive whiteboard or projector with your whole class or have small groups or individuals research particular species. The lower right-hand navigational buttons, help explore the map and lead to other content about it. Using the map as an example, have students create their own maps featuring local, national, or international animals using Google Maps, reviewed here, or on paper. Research birds online using Audubon Adventures, reviewed here, or with bird guidebooks. Using a mobile device, have students collect their own bird pictures and calls to share in an online presentation, using a tool such as Sway, reviewed here, or on a Google Map. After watching the "Behind the Scenes" video whose link is in the right-hand corner of the Wall, have students work collaboratively to create a class mural of local birds or other topics.

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Global Forest Change Explorer - Univ of MD, Google Earth Engine & Science in the Classroom

Grades
6 to 12
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Discover and learn about changes to forests from around the world with this interactive tool. Explore the data from three different perspectives - countries, ecosystems, and hotspots....more
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Discover and learn about changes to forests from around the world with this interactive tool. Explore the data from three different perspectives - countries, ecosystems, and hotspots. The Global Forest Change Explorer also includes a downloadable curriculum and a four-page questionnaire for students to guide them around the site and test knowledge.

tag(s): conservation (128), forests (30), maps (289)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to explore this tool with a focus on a specific area or country. Have them create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here. Have students create commercials with their ideas for saving the forests using a tool such as Powtoon, reviewed here.

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Teach With Movies - TeachWithMovies.com, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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Four hundred and counting! That's how many lesson plans or guides you'll find at Teach With Movies. Search one of twelve categories to locate the movie, documentary, or short you ...more
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Four hundred and counting! That's how many lesson plans or guides you'll find at Teach With Movies. Search one of twelve categories to locate the movie, documentary, or short you want. Some of the categories are Subject Matter (and not just math, science, history, etc.), Social-Emotional Learning (themes like Ambition, Coming of Age, and many others), Appropriate Age (three through adult), and Set Up the Sub, just to name a few. Lessons include a general summary of the film and discussion questions with answers. Most also include a rationale for using the movie, the subjects, topics, and themes, if there is a book - a bit of background and review of it, objectives, possible problems, historical context, and more. Of course, these topics for consideration depend on the film. Sign up for the newsletter to see when there are lesson guides for the newest movies. Whether culminating a unit or introducing one, using these lessons and guides along with the video will help to make a lasting impression about your topic.

tag(s): essays (22), movies (66), questioning (32), video (259), worksheets (61), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Movies offer an entertaining format for history and thematic studies. Use a video to add to the learning experience of students who are visual and auditory learners. Use this site to find videos in a wide range of topics to share on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector. Take advantage of the free lesson plans for classroom use. Preview the lessons before viewing and convert those that can be to a real-time discussion to engage students WHILE they watch a video! Achieve this by setting up a backchannel chat using GoSoapBox, reviewed here.

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Skimcast - Bill Hollingsworth

Grades
5 to 8
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Read less to find out more! Pressed for time? Use Skimcast to pare down articles you need to read. Just get the facts - choose a summary anywhere from 1 ...more
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Read less to find out more! Pressed for time? Use Skimcast to pare down articles you need to read. Just get the facts - choose a summary anywhere from 1 - 99% of the article. Paste in a URL or upload a PDF. Not only will you get the entire document back with the summary highlighted, but also see a list of clickable theme words and phrases to the right of the document. Click one and see it highlighted where ever it appears in the article. Use Skimcast on the web or find a button at the bottom to add it as a Chrome browser extension on your toolbar. To more fully understand this tool, read the Top Tips.

tag(s): note taking (33), reading strategies (46), summarizing (14)

In the Classroom

Skimcast would be the perfect tool to show students how to take notes for a report or speech or create a study guide during, or at the end of a unit of study. Work together as a class and read the sentences that are just the relevant facts. Then show students how to pull out just the important words - deleting all prepositions, articles, and connector words. Resource teachers can use Skimcast to make reading from core classes shorter and easier for their students. ESL/ELL teachers can use this tool to make the text more understandable to limited English speakers. Before introducing Skimcast to students, you may want to review Fact Fragment Frenzy. You will find this linked in Research Building Blocks, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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