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National Invasive Species Information Center - United States Department of Agriculture

Grades
2 to 12
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Find out what an invasive species is and why they are such a problem on this site. Use the links along the left to search by geographical location or by ...more
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Find out what an invasive species is and why they are such a problem on this site. Use the links along the left to search by geographical location or by type of invasive (plants, animals, laws and regulations, etc.). Check out the Spotlights that includes Identification, an Interactive Learning Module, and Education. Use the links found on this page to view a vast array of information about invasive species.

tag(s): animals (290), bacteria (30), conservation (128), ecosystems (86), plants (155), population (62)

In the Classroom

Be sure to place this link on your school website for access by students. When discussing invasive species, consider a project for reporting on individual invasive species with students using the information found here to choose one to create a report or multimedia product using one of the many tools featured on TeachersFirst Edge.

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Get Caught Recycling - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Grades
K to 12
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What is e-waste and what to do with it? Find information about recycling, including e-waste, on this site. Though this site is for the State of Kansas, the information found ...more
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What is e-waste and what to do with it? Find information about recycling, including e-waste, on this site. Though this site is for the State of Kansas, the information found here will be helpful material for anywhere. Find great information on "Why Recycle?" and "How Can I Recycle?" including the often forgotten message about reducing the use of items that need recycling in the first place. Be sure to check the section on e-waste and recycling, and also check out the Earth Day resources found on this site.

tag(s): energy (202), natural resources (60), recycling (57), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Research how to recycle materials including e-waste on this site. Follow with research about recycling in your state. For Earth Day or everyday, use this site to raise awareness about the energy that is used to create items and how energy can be saved by using recycled materials. Encourage students to keep track of what items their family throws away (or make an audit of what is thrown away at school). Students can research statistics about the various items used in the United States and abroad including the most discarded items in landfills. Research why recycling is an important endeavor to combat pollution and energy use. Assign small groups to create a public service announcement for your school or community to learn more about the benefits and encourage recycling. Use one of the many multimedia tools reviewed by TeachersFirst here. Initiate a recycling campaign and create a center for recycling many items from the school including e-waste. Classes can tally the pounds of materials saved for recycling including paper. Have students create informational commercials and share them using a hosting service such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Use the many broadcast and print resources on this site as inspiration.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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What Tree Is It? - Ohio Public Library Information Network

Grades
4 to 12
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Find the name of that unknown tree with this easy to use resource. Choose from prominent characteristics at each step to find the name of the Northeastern US tree. Though ...more
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Find the name of that unknown tree with this easy to use resource. Choose from prominent characteristics at each step to find the name of the Northeastern US tree. Though this site is about the trees in Ohio, many of them can be found throughout Northeastern US. Pictures accompany each characteristic to better make the right choice. Click each correct characteristic to reach the name of the tree. Click on the name to read more about the characteristics of the tree, including leaves and fruit. Continue to read about the history, uses, and environment where the tree grows.

tag(s): plants (155), trees (29)

In the Classroom

Stumped at the naming and identification of trees? This easy to use resource is a great one for students who tend to be confused with conventional dichotomous keys. Find samples of these trees on your school campus, community, or elsewhere. Use this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector as a class to demonstrate how to use a dichotomous key and explain how features of a leaf are much like our features (different and useful for identifying). Use the samples to work as lab groups to identify the name of the tree and report about tree uses. Be sure to discuss the importance of tree variety in the environment for all living things. Research the animals that call each of these trees their home or depend upon them for food or shelter. Consider clever projects about the trees. Create a wanted poster for your tree including uses of the tree by humans or other animals. For example, the Butternut Tree would read: "Wanted for imitating the Black Walnut. Last seen in ravines and stream bottoms. Reward of the Butternut's sweet flavored and oily nuts offered by squirrels." Encourage critical thinking of students by bringing a variety of leaves (attached to twigs). Students work as a class to create the characteristics to help identify them, focusing on only two choices at one time. Test their identification key with a leaf not encountered yet.

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Groundwater Adventurers - National Groundwater Association

Grades
K to 12
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Find resources to enhance student understanding of groundwater and issues related to its use. Resources include coloring pages and word puzzles, experiments suitable for primary and...more
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Find resources to enhance student understanding of groundwater and issues related to its use. Resources include coloring pages and word puzzles, experiments suitable for primary and secondary students, and fun facts and activities to use with your class. Be sure to check out the lesson plans found with the experiments for great ideas for young people of all ages.

tag(s): conservation (128), ecology (135), natural resources (60), pollution (67), water (130), water cycle (33)

In the Classroom

Use the many experiments with your students to understand the importance of water, its use, where it is found on Earth, and problems associated with water resources. Experiments are divided by grade into Pee Wee Adventurers, Junior Adventurers, and Senior Adventurers. Use the Edible Earth parfaits with primary grades to identify water resources. Discuss how we use water and how water is necessary for life. For high school students, the Hydrogeology Experiment on Surface Water is a wonderful experiment in observing water runoff of various surfaces. Use these as inquiry activities before discussing fully in class, drawing on what students observe from the activity as you discuss the important content about water resources. Be sure to connect student understanding about the water cycle to material learned on this site. Identify how water is wasted in the home and at school. Create pledges for students and their families to conserve water resources. In the middle grades, create an Aquifer in a Cup. Create an action campaign, pairing a fact about water learned from the site and a specific recommendation to students and their families that can help reduce water use and pollution. Create posters or announcements that increase the knowledge of the student body. Have students create online posters using Poster My Wall, reviewed here.

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Word Writer - BoomWriter

Grades
2 to 8
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Develop vocabulary through interactive activities with a 21st Century twist! This interactive offered by BoomWriter, reviewed here, offers an exciting...more
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Develop vocabulary through interactive activities with a 21st Century twist! This interactive offered by BoomWriter, reviewed here, offers an exciting vocabulary development application useful in all content areas. Choose specific words to incorporate into a writing project. Specify a word limit and list any other guidelines desired. You can create a story or sentences to submit. WordWriter then tracks the use of selected words and checks off each vocabulary word typed. After submission and approval of all writing projects, WordWriter offers the option for an anonymous peer review portion of the process and members vote for the piece they feel best uses the vocabulary. Another great feature of the program is vocabulary word crowdsourcing. You can see the most popular words for a particular grade added by other teachers from around the world!

tag(s): creative writing (170), digital storytelling (153), interactive stories (31), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (124)

In the Classroom

Use this site to excite students as writers while still incorporating classroom goals of vocabulary development. Encourage students to read other students' writing for ideas about what makes a story interesting. Create a friendly competition within your grade level by starting a book and choosing a winner. Create new books in any content area and use for review throughout the year.

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Random.org - Dr. Mads Haahr

Grades
K to 12
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Do you need to choose items in a truly random way? If so, this site is for you! Random.org offers many different categories for receiving randomized information. Choose from the ...more
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Do you need to choose items in a truly random way? If so, this site is for you! Random.org offers many different categories for receiving randomized information. Choose from the links for random lists, coin flippers, dates, passwords, dice rolls, and much more. Follow directions on each page to set the form and receive results. There is also an app for both Android and iOs devices.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (171), gamification (75), probability (131), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Use Random.org to generate any kind of list you need such as groups for field trips, random dates for history research, and random places on a map. Use the name generator to select a student to do an activity or to answer a question. Allow students to use the name generator to choose the classmate who comes next. Use the generator tools as part of your probability unit to chart how often names or coins appear with random selections.

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McGruff the Crime Dog - McGrufff.org Milstein Family Center

Grades
2 to 5
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Join McGruff, the crime dog, and take a bite out of crime. Interactive activities promote child protection and safety. Learn more about bullying, school safety, and safety tips. A video...more
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Join McGruff, the crime dog, and take a bite out of crime. Interactive activities promote child protection and safety. Learn more about bullying, school safety, and safety tips. A video illustrates a cartoon character's reaction and solution to bullying. An advice section creates conversations for bullies about getting along, community safety, advice for all seasons, guns and drugs, home, school, and online safety. Free downloadable posters include a circle of respect activity and advice in PDF format. A link for parents directs them to the National Crime Prevention Council.

tag(s): bullying (52), digital citizenship (65), internet safety (108)

In the Classroom

Looking for ways to develop your health, wellness, or leadership curriculum? Use the videos, interactives, or advice as the basis for your lessons or further discussions on Internet safety. Present at a parents' night as advice for protecting your child on the Internet. Include this in your technology curriculum as a resource. Post on your website as a reminder to students and parents for your technology expectations.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Science Trek - Idaho Public Television

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K to 6
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Science Trek is an integrated web and broadcast tv project introducing science topics to elementary students. In addition to the broadcasts, Science Trek provides accompanying material...more
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Science Trek is an integrated web and broadcast tv project introducing science topics to elementary students. In addition to the broadcasts, Science Trek provides accompanying material for teacher and parent use. Each month of the school year a new broadcast answers students' science questions and provides additional resources. Currently there are more than 90 topics available. Choose from any topic to view the web broadcast and explore resources such as games, facts, and glossaries.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animal homes (44), animals (290), archeology (32), body systems (58), brain (71), earthquakes (50), ecology (135), endangered species (39), food chains (22), forces (45), fossils (46), gravity (49), habitats (84), heart (44), human body (126), mass (22), moon (73), planets (127), plants (155), rocks (50), simple machines (38), soil (18), sound (105), STEM (151), volcanoes (65), water (130), weather (194)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free resources on the site to supplement your current teaching materials in many science topics. Create a link on classroom computers for students to view videos and share a link on your class website for students to view at home. Have students create online posters individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here. Don't forget to find the standards link within each resource to align to Common Core Standards.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Rainforest Concern - Rainforestconcern.org

Grades
K to 12
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Transport yourself to the rainforest, the richest and most important environment on the planet! Use the links in the interactive to find out why the rainforest is important. Become...more
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Transport yourself to the rainforest, the richest and most important environment on the planet! Use the links in the interactive to find out why the rainforest is important. Become acquainted with the plants and animals that call the rainforest their home. Learn ways that everyone can help the rainforest in the Help the Rainforest section. Find out how much rainforest is being depleted in Vanishing Rainforests. Solve the Rainforest Riddle and take a Quiz about the rainforest. Test your knowledge of rainforest life in Sounds of the Rainforest. At the time of this review the directions for installing the e-flet on your PC or printing it were not working. The actual e-flet is working and is beautiful.

tag(s): animals (290), ecology (135), ecosystems (86), environment (317), medicine (70), natural resources (60), plants (155), rainforests (15), resources (112)

In the Classroom

The Rainforest Concern will make a colorful overview introduction to the rainforest. Learn about its features as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. As you read about the various animals or plants, discuss what the animals would sound like or what the plants would hear around them. Create a travel brochure about the rainforest with the information that you find on this site. Expand your research to find more information than found on this site. For example, assign a project to find other rainforest plants with the potential for medicinal use. Find other items from the rainforest that are useful to others (and whose harvest does not destroy the rainforest). Create a pledge campaign, informing others and joining in to reduce the purchase of items that destroy the rainforest. Become a plant or animal from the rainforest and write a short story from that organism's point of view including the interaction with other organisms it would encounter. Use one of the many Digital Storytelling tools, reviewed here. Publish the class stories as "Stories from the Rainforest."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Photos for Class - Clever Prototypes, LLC

Grades
K to 12
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Here is an excellent site for finding images for non-commercial use that will have the proper citation downloaded with it. Find a photo you want to use. Click the download ...more
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Here is an excellent site for finding images for non-commercial use that will have the proper citation downloaded with it. Find a photo you want to use. Click the download link under the picture. The downloaded image will have the appropriate attribution information with it. Note: right clicking on the photo will not produce the attribution information. Our editors found all photos to be "class appropriate." However, it is always best to use caution with image searching. Provide students with clear guidelines and expectations.

tag(s): images (275), photography (162), search engines (65)

In the Classroom

Have students use this site for Creative Common images for any report, newsletter, or project. The images from this site are all supposed to be G-Rated for classroom use. The search engine uses Flickr safe search, and other built-in filtering so all images produced should be appropriate for school use. Have students create an annotated image or build a story including text boxes and related links using images found on this tool and a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Be sure to keep a link to this site on your wiki, blog, or web page for students to use whenever they are working on a project.

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Antarctica: The Frozen Continent of the South Pole - Enchanted Learning

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for great information on Antarctica? This site offers a variety of information about explorers, views from space, dinosaur fossils, surviving the cold, and more. ...more
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Looking for great information on Antarctica? This site offers a variety of information about explorers, views from space, dinosaur fossils, surviving the cold, and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (290), antarctica (29), continents (49)

In the Classroom

Provide this link to students on your class page. Provide time to view various pages of the site to gather general information to discuss as a class. Be sure to share the view from space and the map/geography on an interactive whiteboard or projector to the whole class. Identify the various Antarctic visitors (both human and other animals that come and go). Students can write a letter home and pretend to be one of the many visitors using information from this site in their creation. Consider using Throwww, reviewed here, for the letter. Throwww allows you to create "quick and easy" blog to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided and this site is as easy as using a basic Word program!
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mySkillBoard - Rob Steller and Josiah Hills

Grades
K to 12
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mySkillBoard is an online tool for managing and tracking student data aligned to Common Core or individual standards. Create student groups and add your activities to match standards....more
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mySkillBoard is an online tool for managing and tracking student data aligned to Common Core or individual standards. Create student groups and add your activities to match standards. Quickly input each score and view data through several different visualization options. This site is optimized for use on any device allowing you to input and track student performance at any time. mySkillBoard will work on any device with a modern web browser and an Internet connection.

tag(s): assessment (105), classroom management (148), differentiation (50)

In the Classroom

MySkillBoard requires a bit of a learning curve due to a lack of tutorials on using the program. However, it may be useful for differentiating student instruction in any classroom. Add each class or group of students to document. Follow learning goals and mastery of standards. Use mySkillBoard together with other teachers to monitor and document student progress in all learning areas.

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Edcite - 2014 Edcite Inc.

Grades
1 to 8
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Give your students practice and instruction in standardized test style format. Find an easy way to create Common Core assignments using PARCC and Smarter Balanced question types. Passages...more
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Give your students practice and instruction in standardized test style format. Find an easy way to create Common Core assignments using PARCC and Smarter Balanced question types. Passages allow for highlighting, graphs, image labeling, and video sections for background knowledge. Questions include a section for written response to improve evidence-based answers as well as multiple choice. Teachers can share their assignments or use other teacher created assignments. Students receive immediately graded feedback. With a free teacher account, save questions to your library.

tag(s): assessment (105), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

Use technology to motivate and engage your students. Give these quality text passages personalized to your class needs. Use as a teaching tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Continue to use individually or as small group instruction. Pair a weak reader with a strong reader for independent pair work. You can easily differentiate by creating tiered assignments to meet each students' needs. Share at your next staff meeting to provide collaboration between teachers. Use in a flipped classroom and have students complete the work at home. They will still receive immediate feedback! Use at parent gatherings to provide an example of the grade level expectations. Put on your classroom website as a way to practice at home. Before assigning questions to individual students you might want to check the readability of the questions or supplied readings. Use a tool such as The Readability Test Tool, reviewed here. This reviewer found the articles in some grade levels to be about two years higher in reading level than the grade listed for the question.
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Goodbits - Charles Bergeron, Kalvir Sandhu, Philippe Creux and Godfrey Cha

Grades
K to 12
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Finally! A tool to create a professional looking email newsletter in minutes! Goodbits has simplified the task of designing a newsletter by having sections and changing the layout easily....more
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Finally! A tool to create a professional looking email newsletter in minutes! Goodbits has simplified the task of designing a newsletter by having sections and changing the layout easily. You can also crop images where necessary. Just find and collect your content, plug it into Goodbits, and they will make it beautiful. You can read the newsletter on most browsers and mobile devices. You can add links via mobile devices; however, they recommend creating and sending newsletters on a computer. Goodbits uses Mail Chimp, reviewed here, but plans on using other email programs in the future. The sign up is quick, just your name and email, and you are set to go.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (170), descriptive writing (43), digital storytelling (153), expository writing (44), journalism (55)

In the Classroom

Consider using Goodbits to create a daily newsletter about what students learned in class, and then present it as a recap at the beginning of the next day. Be sure to add images and charts where possible for visual students. Eventually, students could do this on their own at the end of the class. A newsletter would build an excellent learning journal and could be used to study for a test, or as a source for writing a final essay. Writing for digital publication is an important element of Common Core writing. In science and math classes, students can design a newsletter about a famous scientist or mathematician. In science class, students can develop a newsletter to explain to a younger student about cells, life cycles, or any science topic. Do an author study with the end project being a newsletter. For literature circle end projects have the group create a newsletter about the plot and characters. Create digital magazines for any subject or topic: explain an event in history, demonstrate different types of animals or habitats. With the Goodbits newsletter tool, it will almost seem effortless to send home a weekly or monthly newsletter to parents with ongoing news of class activities, announcements, schedules, and more.

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The Great Backyard Bird Count - Cornell University

Grades
3 to 12
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Join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count every February anywhere in the world. Help scientists collect data to get an annual snapshot of ...more
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Join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count every February anywhere in the world. Help scientists collect data to get an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. Detailed information contains a tool kit with instructions and a how to video, data forms, bird lists, and an online bird guide. Submit your observations and explore the data that was submitted by area, range, and submission map. Count birds any time of the year by clicking on the ebird link on the home page.

tag(s): birds (54), service projects (28)

In the Classroom

Involve your class in discovering the world of birds, the environments, and how they effect ecosystems. Determine the birds in your area and ways to attract birds. As a class or at home, have students participate in Project Feeder Watch and analyze their own data. Compare with other places in the country or world. Have students create a multimedia presentation to share their results. Use one of the many multimedia tools reviewed by TeachersFirst here.
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Success Certificates - 2012 Certificate Web Design by Us

Grades
1 to 12
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Here is the solution to all your certificate needs. Find free printable certificates for school, sports, family, or fun. Change color schemes or formats, select and add your text, and...more
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Here is the solution to all your certificate needs. Find free printable certificates for school, sports, family, or fun. Change color schemes or formats, select and add your text, and be ready in seconds. Print or download to save.
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tag(s): worksheets (62)

In the Classroom

Make your students' day by recognizing their hard work and efforts! Use this tool to recognize students in seconds in a fun, free way. Ideas for student use include having students choose characters from a book and create a certificate for them. Next have students elaborate and describe the reasons why this certificate is awarded. During Thanksgiving, let students become more aware of all the people that help them and nurture them. Use with younger buddies to give them the idea of thankfulness and appreciation. During a study of communities, have students choose a community worker and send a certificate of thanks. For older students help them set the sites high, and create the certificate they want to receive in the future. What goals do they need to set to achieve this?
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PhotoCat - photocat.com

Grades
K to 12
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PhotoCat is a free online photo editing service. Edit and retouch images easily. Make photo collages in just a few simple steps. Upload any image from your computer. If the ...more
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PhotoCat is a free online photo editing service. Edit and retouch images easily. Make photo collages in just a few simple steps. Upload any image from your computer. If the image is too large PhotoCat will ask to reduce it automatically. Choose from the many options such as special effects, retouching tools, frames, text, and more. Once completed save your image to your computer or share using social networking links.

tag(s): editing (68), images (275), photography (162)

In the Classroom

Use this tool anytime that photos need to be edited for use on class blogs, wikis, or in presentation tools (reviewed here). In primary grades, this tool could be useful for teachers to use to edit pictures from a field trip, science experiments, and more. Share the editing process with your younger students using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Edit together! Encourage older students to use this site themselves on images for projects or presentations. Use this tool in photography or art classes. Use the editor to edit pictures to fit styles of pictures when doing historical reports or to set a mood. Use text options for the photos themselves to tell the stories. Have students annotate or label Creative Commons online images of cells, structures of an animal, and much more.

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PBS Interactive Whiteboard Games - PBS Kids

Grades
K to 5
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PBS Kids offers a large selection of interactive whiteboard activities exploring different curriculum topics. All activities are related to their popular TV characters. Scroll through...more
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PBS Kids offers a large selection of interactive whiteboard activities exploring different curriculum topics. All activities are related to their popular TV characters. Scroll through to find resources sorted by math, language arts, social science, and the arts. Each activity includes a short description and suggested grade level. Find activities for sight words, vocabulary, estimation, measurement, civics, gravity, and much more. Click on any link to go directly to the activity or download.

tag(s): design (83), environment (317), estimation (46), game based learning (113), gravity (49), literacy (106), measurement (159), operations (123), painting (66), patterns (85), reading comprehension (119), sight words (37), suffixes (14), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (124)

In the Classroom

Use activities from this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to supplement current lessons. Create a link to specific activities on classroom computers for use as a learning center. Allow students to explore these sites on individual computers. Share links to games and activities on your class web page for students to try at home.
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The Little Memory - Ivan Tse

Grades
2 to 12
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The Little Memory provides an online tool for diary writing and journaling. You can download the app for iOS devices, use it on a web browser, or download the Chrome ...more
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The Little Memory provides an online tool for diary writing and journaling. You can download the app for iOS devices, use it on a web browser, or download the Chrome extension and start to write! Upload pictures, tag your location, and share with other friends using social media links. Change settings to allow private or public viewing of any entries. Choose the star icon to save memories as favorites. Choose "stat" to see your statistics such as number of entries, current and longest writing streaks, and photos used. Earn photo credits by sharing memories with others. Click the World Memories icon to view entries by other users; however, these are not moderated.

tag(s): creative writing (170), DAT device agnostic tool (171), journals (21)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students to create their own private diary or journal. Use The Little Memory as a good option for students to use for prewriting and brainstorming before beginning writing projects. Create your own account and use The Little Memory as a tool for reflecting on lessons and classroom activities each day. If you have individual laptops for students, or are in a BYOD school, why not begin class with an entry each day. Have students keep a simple, yearlong journal of the highlights of their learning. Use The Little Memory as lesson "closure" writing a summary of each day's events. For young students who cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here; this tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class.

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Paradise Earth - Dr. Thomas Lovejoy

Grades
4 to 12
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We all know tropical rainforests are special, but many of us will never have the chance to visit one. Visit Paradise Earth (PE) as the next best thing. This site ...more
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We all know tropical rainforests are special, but many of us will never have the chance to visit one. Visit Paradise Earth (PE) as the next best thing. This site was created by a renowned scientist and founder of the Nature TV series. Explore information from experts, learn about Ecotourism, and discover plants for Medicine and Health. Find interactive activities in KidsTV, Games, and Education. Find great information on species by clicking on the PE Article Database. Choose plants, animals, or birds then select a continent along the right to view a large number of species and information about them. Read a Rainforest Story that discusses the richness of the Rainforest and what it has to offer.

tag(s): animals (290), biodiversity (38), biomes (104), birds (54), conservation (128), plants (155), rainforests (15)

In the Classroom

Use this resource for great information about the rainforest with messages and expertise by scientists in the field. Follow the Rainforest story, identify why preserving the rainforest is important. Create a project where students report on various species from a continent to the rest of the class. Pin up drawings or posters of these species around the room, and then challenge students to connect them as a food web using yarn or string across the room. Create complex questions to identify the importance of each of the species. Encourage students to identify how all species have value and identify three other organisms that could not live (or maybe could live if it were prey) without that species. Create an advertisement for a medicinal plant to use in place of synthetic medicines. Consider a Wanted project, using a species from the rainforest and including who wants to find that species and why it is so important. Have students create online posters individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here. Explain biodiversity and why it is so important. Create a wall collage with all of the information discussed during the class discussion.
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