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BioMedia - BioMEDIA Associates, LLC

Grades
7 to 12
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This site features unbelievable microscope images and videos to engage you in tiny life you cannot see with your eye alone. Though a commercial site that actually sells images and ...more
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This site features unbelievable microscope images and videos to engage you in tiny life you cannot see with your eye alone. Though a commercial site that actually sells images and footage, several tabs are worth a close look. The "Micronaturalist Notebook" tells a story about the organisms with detailed and labeled pictures. Use the information to learn about the intricacies of microscopic life. Find specific organisms in the "Biogalleries." Many of the pictures showcase the larva and the adult forms of these organisms.
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tag(s): animals (276), microorganisms (14), microscopes (13)

In the Classroom

Use these organisms to discuss various Phyla or Classes of organisms to identify the similarity and differences among them. Use the Micronaturalist Notebook as a template for students to create information pages about what they see in their class lab. Create pages on a blog, wiki, or site to share with others. Use these images on an Interactive Whiteboard (or projector) and make them larger than life! Ask stimulating questions such as "How do these organisms show that they are indeed living?" or "Which of these organisms are most like another?" Share the responses to identify the characteristics of living things or discuss the similarity of structure and function among them.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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VocabAhead Vocabulary Videos - VocabAhead Team

Grades
9 to 12
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Use VocabAhead in your classroom for teaching SAT and ACT vocabulary words (or simply to build vocabulary). This free vocabulary building system offers vocabulary videos, searchable...more
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Use VocabAhead in your classroom for teaching SAT and ACT vocabulary words (or simply to build vocabulary). This free vocabulary building system offers vocabulary videos, searchable by beginning letter of the word. You can also create your own word lists, share your lists with students, use flash cards for quick review, and test yourself by taking the online quizzes. You will welcome the fresh perspectives and interactive learning activities for teaching and practicing ACT and SAT words.
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tag(s): vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Project this vocabulary website on your classroom whiteboard or projector and share a few quick ready-made vocabulary videos. They are quick, fun, and memorable. They also provide a way to associate words and make the definitions stick. This will especially have value for visual learners and ESL/ELL students. Use the easy to navigate, alphabetized word lists as they appear on the website, or create your own sets from the lists for assignments. Sign up to receive the Word of the Day. Share the link to this site on your web page for students to access at home. Let your students create their own vocabulary videos to share with your class. Share the videos using a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.

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Spreeder - 7-Speed-Reading

Grades
7 to 12
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Learn to read at a faster pace with much better reading comprehension using Spreeder, a free online speed reading service. Use passages of your choice by simply loading (or copy ...more
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Learn to read at a faster pace with much better reading comprehension using Spreeder, a free online speed reading service. Use passages of your choice by simply loading (or copy and paste) the text, and Spreeder will pace through it at a speed you set. You can adjust your speed as your reading comprehension increases. There is also a feature to increase "chunk" size, an effective strategy used in reading instruction. Get the free app for Chrome or use the practice box on the site. There is a paid "training" portion for this tool. This review is only for the free portion.
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tag(s): reading comprehension (116), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

In this era of high-stakes testing, it is imperative that students be able to read and comprehend at an expected rate in order to complete the tasks within the designated time. Think about the implications for improving state test scores and PSAT or SAT college entrance exams! Demonstrate Spreeder on your classroom projector or interactive whiteboard by copying and pasting practice passages from your state's Department of Education link to state testing. Link to SAT practice sites such as College Board SAT Preparation Center, reviewed here, or Test Prep Review, reviewed here. Provide opportunities for students to try it on individual classroom computers. Provide a direct link to Spreeder from your classroom web page or wiki. This will enable motivated students to take charge of increasing their own reading speed, or you may want to incorporate it with homework assignments and make parents aware of it.

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101 Questions - Dan Myer

Grades
2 to 12
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At 101 Questions, look at the image or video, and then write a question for the picture. The question can only be 140 characters total. You can also click to ...more
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At 101 Questions, look at the image or video, and then write a question for the picture. The question can only be 140 characters total. You can also click to skip a picture. Submit your own picture or video, and get points for the perplexity it inspires, or even join the top 10 lists. Save images to your favorites and classify by tags using your membership. Note that the public can participate so some responses may not be appropriate for younger viewers. Preview and monitor or have an adult operate the site together.

tag(s): creative writing (166), creativity (109), images (266), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Creative fluency begins here! Set up a whole class account. Use this site in language arts: discover main idea, details, cause and effect, or even an inspirational writing prompt. Find ways to group images together based on characteristics or attributes. Use in gifted or enrichment situations, for inspiration for problem-based learning. Sequence the images to find ways to form a logical plot. Find ways to make Perplexors out of the given image. In math, write short word problems to accompany images or videos. Find ways to illustrate vocabulary definitions with examples and non-examples. As a morning work challenge, find questions, details, or even other questions. As a writing challenge, look for the image that conveys the mood or feeling you are trying to convey. In science, submit examples to illustrate scientific concepts. Use to generate scientific method style questions based on the given image. In social studies, find images to convey feelings represented by the time being studied. Challenge students to make a historical statement or political statement by finding and adding to an appropriate image. ESL/ELL students can use this site to help acquire conversation/questioning skills. In world language class, have students generate questions in their new language, even if they do not post them. In art, find mood, theme, style, or self expression images. Be sure to monitor the blog content. Put similar content on your own classroom blog. Challenge students to create their own 101 question images or videos to share on your class blog, inviting viewers to respond with questions in the comments.

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ThinkExist - Harold S. Geneen

Grades
4 to 12
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ThinkExist is a Quotation Search Engine and Directory with over 300,000 quotations by over 20,000 authors in the English language. Find quotes by author, topic, keywords, or contributors....more
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ThinkExist is a Quotation Search Engine and Directory with over 300,000 quotations by over 20,000 authors in the English language. Find quotes by author, topic, keywords, or contributors. Narrow your search by subtopics such as nationality or theme such as love or wisdom. Membership to the site isn't required to find and share quotes; however, registration with email allows you to save favorite quotes, receive a quote of the day email, and become a contributor. This site does include significant advertisements that seem to adjust depending on what you search. Preview and monitor young people suing the site. Depending on what search terms they enter, the ads may not be "student appropriate."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): famous people (19), quotations (23), search engines (65), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Use the site to have a quote of the day (or week) for your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the site with students to use when in need of a quote for classroom projects. FInd writing prompt quotes based on a search term. In literature or social studies classes, look at the list of quotes by an author or famous person. Invite students to create online posters (or traditional bulletin boards) about the author/person using selected quotes. Use an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here).

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Pomodoro Timer - Ryhan Hassan

Grades
3 to 12
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Manage time more effectively using this online timer that reflects the Pomodoro time management technique. Based on the belief that proper time management and use of materials will...more
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Manage time more effectively using this online timer that reflects the Pomodoro time management technique. Based on the belief that proper time management and use of materials will increase productivity, this timer is set for 25 minutes. This allows for a 5 minute rest period before restarting the activity. Click start and the timer counts back from 25 minutes with a digital display and timeline bar.

tag(s): organizational skills (122), time (144)

In the Classroom

Display the timer on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to encourage students to maintain focus and put forth effort for 25 minutes with the understanding that a break will follow. Challenge older students to research the Pomodoro time management method and share other time-management techniques.

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Rich Chart Live - Blue Pacific Software

Grades
8 to 12
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Rich Chart Live is an online chart creator that instantly creates Flash charts (and other formats) that can be easily shared. Choose a template from the many options. Begin adding ...more
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Rich Chart Live is an online chart creator that instantly creates Flash charts (and other formats) that can be easily shared. Choose a template from the many options. Begin adding data, style choices, color options, and layout. An animation option is available to apply to the chart's axes and elements and can be customized with speed options. When finished, click Publish. Charts can be opened in a new page, saved to a PowerPoint, or embedded into a blog via copy and paste. You can also "drag and drop" the link to the char onto your desktop (and thus get its url). Opening the link in "free mode" asks for an email address first, but even abc@123.com works.
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tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148)

In the Classroom

Create colorful and interactive charts on the fly at anytime by using this website. Display the website on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Watch charts change by using different inputs and customization options. Challenge students to predict and draw what charts will look like before changes are applied. Use the site to compare and contrast different ways to present information and discuss styles that work best in different situations. Create a class wiki and embed different examples of charts with explanations of how the chart was created. Have student use the discussion on the wiki to explain what the chart tells them. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Photoshop Express Online - 2012 Adobe Systems

Grades
6 to 12
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Photoshop Express Online is a free online storage site for all of your digital photos. Upload, edit, and organize your own library with 2GB of free storage. Create your own ...more
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Photoshop Express Online is a free online storage site for all of your digital photos. Upload, edit, and organize your own library with 2GB of free storage. Create your own personalized homepage that can be private or shared with friends. Find online tutorials such as; Light, Color, and Composition, Envisioning Improbable Realities, Keeping Ideas Fresh, and Combining Artistic Mediums. Submit questions or join the blog, After photo editing, add a description, or share with friends and family. Fill out a profile to get notifications of the latest products (NOT free).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Find plenty of room for all of your classes photos! Edit the photos to create quality prints. Organize into libraries to share with students and parents. Have a library for every class, assignment, every year, or yearbooks. In lower grades, set up a teacher account for the whole class. Communicate with parents, pen pals, or with collaborations between schools. In art classes, look at the possibilities of quality photography. In upper grade technology classes, create free galleries for each student (over 13), and highlight some of the latest photo editing software and apps. Use in science classes as a way to store data in digital images. In language arts, create stories through photos or make wordless picture books. Store student portfolios in digital format in your gallery. Journal throughout your school year in pictures.

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Edublog - Edublogs.org

Grades
K to 12
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Blog your way into the latest social technology using Edublogs. Use the free service to set up a blog as a student, teacher, or campus. This education friendly tool avoids ...more
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Blog your way into the latest social technology using Edublogs. Use the free service to set up a blog as a student, teacher, or campus. This education friendly tool avoids some of the "public interaction" that can offer inappropriate content. Upgrade to more advanced features, to include more options. The additional information on blogging makes this site very valuable even if you already have a blogging platform. Find a plethora of advice, tutorials, pdfs, and lesson plans for blogging. This site is a great reference site for all who are beginning to use blogs, or even look for more varied and effective ways to log with students, or even other classes. Compare this tool to other free blogging tools mentioned in TeachersFirst's Blog Basics for the Classroom . This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.
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tag(s): blogs (88)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite for all of your blogging needs. Find very informative instructions on blogging, and follow the student blogging challenge lesson plans. ) Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Peruse through the various subjects and discover how other teachers use blogging in their classrooms. Using the given PDFs on blogging start up, parent guidelines, incorporating into subject areas, and adapt to make them suitable for you. Look at a variety of examples to help devise your own unique style to meet your students' needs.

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Build Your Own Robot - SaveYourself.com

Grades
K to 4
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Create and design your very own robot. Choose different features to add from options on the site: heads, legs, arms, body, and objects. Drag the objects to where you want ...more
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Create and design your very own robot. Choose different features to add from options on the site: heads, legs, arms, body, and objects. Drag the objects to where you want them. You can stretch, rotate, and color each piece. For examples and ideas, a gallery of the last 50 robots created and submitted is available for viewing. You can submit your robot to the site. An email address is required. You can also email it to yourself so you can keep the url. Or simply take a screen shot to save the robot (Shift+command+4 on a Mac or PrntScrn key to COPY the image on Windows.) PASTE the screenshot into a document or slide.

tag(s): creative writing (166), creativity (109), parts of speech (68), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to use the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore and experiment on their own. This site would be great for teaching adjectives. Have the class create robots then write descriptions. Then have the class try to match each robot to the written descriptions. Use the created robots as a story starter for creative writing assignments.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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In-sites to Einstein - Jen Farr

Grades
7 to 12
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Find everything you would want to know about Einstein on this cool site! Read information such as a bibliography, his work and contributions, specific information about his theories,...more
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Find everything you would want to know about Einstein on this cool site! Read information such as a bibliography, his work and contributions, specific information about his theories, and even quotes he has made. A vast array of sites is listed in each section, and much of the information is actually located elsewhere on the web.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (101), scientists (69)

In the Classroom

Have groups of students spend time perusing the topics and taking time to collect information. Share information learned with other members of the class to get a great background on the life and works of Einstein. Use to understand the theories he developed and discuss the difference between laws and theories. Have students (or groups) explore a specific part of this site and write a blog post about what they learn. Use a site such as Throwww (reviewed here). This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. There is no registration necessary! Use this site as part of a unit for the gifted on Great Minds.

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Cellular Visions - Harvard University

Grades
9 to 12
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Find great videos of animations (including narration) of the inner life of the cell, the mitochondria, and other topics. Each video opens in a new window, and the web address ...more
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Find great videos of animations (including narration) of the inner life of the cell, the mitochondria, and other topics. Each video opens in a new window, and the web address can be copied to be shared on a blog, wiki, or website. The inner life videos also can be found without audio. Some of the videos require Flash; others require QuickTime.

tag(s): cells (102)

In the Classroom

Use the animations without audio as an introduction to cell biology. Allow time for students to note what they observe and to guess which cell parts that these may be. Show the video with audio to marvel at what we now know about the internal working of the cell and the cell parts. Follow the video with activities that allow for modeling of the cell on a larger scale to learn the parts.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Metro: Sustainable Living - Metro

Grades
6 to 12
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Make steps towards sustainable living. Find practical and inspiring tips to use at your job, at home, or when traveling. Find incredible resources, ideas, and tips for a better quality...more
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Make steps towards sustainable living. Find practical and inspiring tips to use at your job, at home, or when traveling. Find incredible resources, ideas, and tips for a better quality life for you, your family, and the planet.
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tag(s): environment (317), natural resources (59), recycling (57), resources (112), sustainability (19)

In the Classroom

Though originally for residents of Portland, Oregon, anyone, anywhere can use this resource. Use as a start for good ideas and search for additional information for better understanding. Create blog posts, websites, posters, or other media to share ideas with others to create community involvement in sustainable living. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. When researching and discussing environmental issues, be sure to add practical ways for others to DO something. Challenge your students to create their own community of young people at your school to become involved in sustainable living. Use this site for ideas to launch Earth Day initiatives and public service announcements.

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Book TV - National Cable Satellite Corporation & C-SPAN

Grades
6 to 12
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Watch and listen as popular authors talk about their nonfiction books on this C-SPAN companion website. Book TV features 48 continuous hours of nonfiction books every weekend....more
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Watch and listen as popular authors talk about their nonfiction books on this C-SPAN companion website. Book TV features 48 continuous hours of nonfiction books every weekend. You can easily explore the archived programs, video library, or books and topics by searching the title, author, category, keyword, or browsing all of the listings. Watch the online videos or listen to podcasts of interviews with the authors from Book TV's After Words. There is a lot here to explore, and it appears to be ever-growing! You can find past telecast videos on YouTube, as well, in case you want to be able to download them to use offline. Click the YouTube menu. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.
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tag(s): biographies (87), independent reading (128), interviews (16), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use the online resources from this website to accompany your nonfiction literature. This collection is particularly useful when reading about historical figures. Make books and authors come alive for your students by accessing and projecting videos on your interactive whiteboard and sharing "Book Notes," biographies, and more. Lure students into independent reading by allowing them to explore the videos and find a book they might enjoy reading. After viewing a program or reading a book, have students share their opinions in a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Quiz Factor - Quiz Factor Limited

Grades
4 to 12
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Quiz Factor offers quizzes that are not about your typical "education" topics. There are both popular and specialist subjects. Some topic examples are: Animals and Nature, Cinema and...more
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Quiz Factor offers quizzes that are not about your typical "education" topics. There are both popular and specialist subjects. Some topic examples are: Animals and Nature, Cinema and Actors, Fashion and Design, History and Politics, Religion and Traditions, Science, Sports and Games, Technology and Manufacturing, and many more. At Quiz Factor you can climb the Leaderboards and win prizes. There are three types of quizzes: The Ladder, Time Trials, and True/False. You can also make your own quizzes. (At the time of this review, this feature was "coming soon.") This site is from the UK, and some questions in the General Knowledge section test facts you would know if you've been to the UK.

tag(s): animals (276), cultures (105), design (84), fashion (10), quiz (85), quizzes (97), radio (27), religions (61), sports (97), substitutes (21)

In the Classroom

Set up a computer or two in your classroom for those earlier finishers to take a quiz on a topic of their choice. Do you have students who have a deep interest in a certain topic or subject? Allow them to create a quiz for Quiz Factor. Have the student save the quiz, so you can view it before submission. This would be a great activity for some gifted students! Have students create quizzes after they have completed a research project. They could present their findings to the class, then allow the class to use their notes from the presentation to complete the quiz.

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Thunks - Get Thunking - Ian Gilbert

Grades
4 to 12
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A Thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking yes/no question that stops you in your tracks to look at the world in a whole new light. Over a thousand Thunks are included ...more
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A Thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking yes/no question that stops you in your tracks to look at the world in a whole new light. Over a thousand Thunks are included on the site with simple yes or no responses. View results easily, read comments, or submit your own comment by including your name, email (will not be displayed), and comment. Thunks can be chosen by categories such as good and bad, human condition, or friendship. At the time of this review, we found no evidence of inappropriate public comments (and we looked hard!) , but you might want to preview before turning young people loose on the site.
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tag(s): logic (235), problem solving (272), questioning (31)

In the Classroom

Display a Thunk on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a discussion/debate starter. Have students choose a response and defend their answer. Allow students to discuss their answer throughout the week and survey responses again. Have students create their own Thunks to be discussed in class. Create a bulletin board and allow students to post comments and reactions to the question posed. Use a Thunk as a journal writing prompt. Make this page available for students who are "stuck" thinking of something to write about.

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KikuText - kikutext.com

Grades
K to 12
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Kikutext is a safe and easy way to send reminders to parents via text message. The site is set up so that students do not see the teachers' phone numbers ...more
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Kikutext is a safe and easy way to send reminders to parents via text message. The site is set up so that students do not see the teachers' phone numbers nor do the teachers see the students' or parents' phone numbers. Create an account easily with basic contact information, then share the class code with parents. Parents text the code to be added and begin receiving updates and to respond to text messages. Communication through this site is safe and secure. This service is free; however, standard text messaging fees apply.

tag(s): classroom management (135), parents (56)

In the Classroom

Send out whole-class reminders to parents of upcoming tests, project due dates, school events, and more. Set up this site (and parents and students numbers) during the first week of school or at Back to School night. Use this site as an alternative to conference reminder slips (and save paper). Keep parents "in the loop" about students' behavior, achievement, and more with this tool. Imagine sending a text as you discover missing homework. Suddenly, accountability steps up a notch!

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Zotero - Center for History and New Media at George Mason University

Grades
8 to 12
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Use this "easy-to-use" tool to help collect, organize, cite, and share research sources. Downloadable versaions run as a stand-alone or as a add-on to Firefox. Once installed, the tool...more
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Use this "easy-to-use" tool to help collect, organize, cite, and share research sources. Downloadable versaions run as a stand-alone or as a add-on to Firefox. Once installed, the tool saves information several ways: through a click at the bottom of the web browser, by a click on favorite/bookmark bar, or manually. Files already on computers can be included with files saved from the internet. Items can be grouped and sorted according to individual needs. Information saved through Zotero can be accessed on any computer that has the extension installed. The site includes a helpful quick start video guide explaining features included with the program.

tag(s): citations (34), evaluating sources (13), note taking (32), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Depending on school computer settings, you may need to have tech support install the program for you. Use Zotero to collect and organize classroom resources. Share with older students as a resource for gathering and citing information. Demonstrate how to use the site on your interactive whiteboard including showing the quick-start video. One of the advanced features of the site is the creation of groups. Share this with students who may be capable of using the feature to collaborate with others.

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Children's Music Song of the Month - Nancy Stewart

Grades
K to 4
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Download a free song each month including the audio file, sheet music, MP3 recording, and accompanying activities from Children's Music by Nancy. Also available on the site are monthly...more
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Download a free song each month including the audio file, sheet music, MP3 recording, and accompanying activities from Children's Music by Nancy. Also available on the site are monthly archives since 2006. Many songs include links to similar songs available on the site. Search by categories such as Science, Language, Holidays or alphabetically. Simple instructions for downloading resources are included on the site along with directions for making your own CD with the songs.

tag(s): holidays (147), preK (281), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Use content area songs on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and speakers to introduce new units. For example, when beginning a unit on the Solar System, play "In Our Solar System (Bye Bye Pluto)" to introduce students to the planets' names. Share the site with your school's music teacher as a way to extend activities between subjects. Help students learn Spanish or French by learning songs from the site together. Be sure to share this link with parents. They may want to put some of the songs on the family MP3 player to enjoy on car trips.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Wondermind - Tate Liverpool

Grades
4 to 12
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Wondermind is a set of four mini-activities with accompanying videos, illustrating the fascinating ways our brains work. Experience the activities/illustrations to help prepare for...more
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Wondermind is a set of four mini-activities with accompanying videos, illustrating the fascinating ways our brains work. Experience the activities/illustrations to help prepare for the interactive video that explains an aspect of the brain, such as how we learn language, how the brain develops from childhood to adulthood, how memory works, how we sense our own location, and how we learn self-control. Wondermind, set to the theme of Alice in Wonderland, will delight you with the quirky, clever, or just plain weird art inspired by Alice in Wonderland and used as part of the designs. The activities can be skipped if you prefer to just view the videos.

tag(s): body systems (57), brain (72), human body (121), logic (235), psychology (64)

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers for students to try the challenges and then view videos on your interactive whiteboard together. Check out the learning resources link to view a video with additional ideas for visual perception games and activities. Use as part of your Alice in Wonderland or Lewis Carroll units. If you teach psychology, anatomy, or health, this exploration will offer a new angle into how the brain works. Use the game and video about memory during a unit on study skills and discovering how students learn best. Teachers of gifted may also want to explore this site as part of a unit on the gifted mind. Learning support teachers may also want to use portions to help students better understand why their minds operate differently -- not "badly." Bright Asperger's students might be fascinated by the portion on the prefrontal cortex and how we learn self-control.
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