GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomThe site is so simple, you can utilize the entire pre-prepared curriculum and lesson plans or just add pieces of it to your current curriculum. Integrate the lessons into your language arts component as cross-curricular activities. The pre-K to 1st grade activities and curriculum are available in Spanish. Choose the Spanish version for ESL/ELL lessons or enrichment activities. The Spanish version would be a great supplement for secondary Spanish teachers. Have your science or health class create a Heart Health wiki or use Mapskip (reviewed here) to map out walking landmarks for your community.
Grades1 to 10
NOTE: Because of the nature of the videos and online comics, be sure to preview, before sharing them with your class so you can decide whether your students' maturity level can handle it. This site does have some information about fundraising and the company's missions, but there is some real educational value here!
In the ClassroomKeep your students healthy and informed using this site! The Adventures of Super Toilet would be ideal for teaching a lesson to primary grade students (or older students) about good personal hygiene. The concepts are entertaining and create questions within the students' minds. It would help raise the students awareness of the sanitation process and the importance of being clean. This site would be especially useful during the flu season.
In the facts section of this website, you can see countries involved which would be the basis for a lesson in cultures of the world. Students could read about other countries and discuss how lives of other children are different from their own lives. Have students create a Venn Diagram, using an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here), to compare their own lives (and sanitation) to another country listed at the site.
Older students would benefit from viewing video clips as part of health, family and consumer science, or even world cultures classes. Older students would grasp the humor of the comic strips (but be prepared for the laughs).
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomFor a short lesson, students could work in pairs to create "clue bags" about the scientists by reading the information and putting objects (drawings, science supplies, personal things from their book bags) into a paper bag. The bags would then be circulated between pairs where the site could be used to decipher the clues and identify the scientist. The site would be great for a "mystery scientist project" where you assign small groups of three to four students to a scientist and have them create a short presentation without the name of the scientist and have the groups that are observing solve the scientist mystery with the site. Why not create multimedia projects such as podcasts, online books, or a talking photo. For creating podcasts, use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report using ThingLink, reviewed here. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
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tag(s): speaking (24)
In the ClassroomAccess to a microphone is required to record a voice. There is an option to use text to voice (however, it does not have great sound.) Import audio from a file or use a cell phone instead to capture audio. Only one minute of audio can be recorded so be brief. Students need to carefully think of their narrative before recording. Users must be able to copy and paste html code for use in an external site.
Use the controls to create your character's style, click customization to further refine your character, change your background, and add your voice. Keep in mind that animated backgrounds may take longer to load on your site. When done, click publish to view and copy the embed code which can then be used on a blog, wiki, or web pages.
Monitor all aspects of student production and use for appropriateness and copyright. If concerned about using student email, consider creating a class account for students to use. Be sure that students understand not to change the Voki of other students if using a class account. Check your school district policy about using emails or identifying student information on the Internet.
Introduce and share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this free site to record a greeting for students that can be seen on the start page of your blog, wiki, or website. Record online assignment information that is spoken by the Voki (always more pleasing to look at than the teacher!). Use this to share homework assignments, a message from you (via a substitute), and more. Use a character that is interesting or matches the assignment you may be leaving. Use Voki to record two different opinions or viewpoints and create a poll of students to view reactions. Use the Voki in Math by posing possible solutions to problems and create a class discussion or poll to determine which one is the actual answer. As students are working on projects, create a Voki that provides hints and tips for students. Allow students to use Voki to provide peer assessment to others. Consider using Voki in place of other assignments such as "What I did this summer vacation..." or "Here is information about me..." Use in any language class to record narratives or translations. Students can create a variety of Voki recordings over time which can show their learning of a language over time. Create classroom newscasts using student(s) on a rotating basis. Use Voki for vocabulary exercises which can be created by students or the teacher. The possibilities for this tool are endless. The quick and engaging nature of this tool offers unlimited uses.
Grades3 to 10
In the ClassroomBrainstorm situations that cause fear and identify how the brain processes this information. Explore the similarities of fear responses with the feelings when riding thrill rides. Identify as a class how people respond to fear and ways fear can help you. Creative writing students can explore different ways that people show fear so their writing can describe what fear LOOKS like instead of simply saying, "he was afraid." Why not include this site when studying Poe's tales of terror or as a curriculum-related activity during Halloween season? Check out the "Dealing with Fear" section to help students struggling with anxieties and worry. Emotional or autistic support teachers and school counselors may also find this site helpful in allowing students to understand their body's reactions to fear. Health and psychology classes can use this site to explore the physiology of fear.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): ecology (135)
In the ClassroomUse the story prior to discussing roles in the environment. The site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. In early grades, the teacher or an advanced reader can read the words aloud. Use the story to discuss the roles and interactions of the animals in the story. Assign students to make concept maps on paper or electronically to use the vocabulary and understand the interactions. Use an online tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share the concept maps. Assign groups a different ecosystem or biome. Student groups can identify organisms in that environment that fill those roles. Create a conventional or multimedia project to show information to others in the class.
GradesK to 4
NOTE: the popularity of this site can make it slow to load, especially at peak times. Open it on the classroom computer before the lesson so it is in the "cache," and avoid heavy traffic times such as 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time when schools are online across the U.S.
In the ClassroomIf you are teaching about dinosaurs, herbivores, carnivores, measurements, and many other topics, share this site on your interactive whiteboard. Share parts of the video clips and then discuss the science concepts discussed. Have students use the "Field Guides" to learn more about specific dinosaurs. Have cooperative learning groups create multimedia presentations about the dinosaurs they study. How about creating a class DinoWiki (dinosaur wiki). Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Be sure to list this site on your class website for all of your dinosaur loving students to view at home!
NOTE: Open this site on the classroom computer before the lesson so it is in the "cache," and avoid heavy traffic times such as 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time when schools are online across the U.S.
Grades2 to 6
tag(s): darwin (11)
In the ClassroomUse this resource to uncover and discuss environmental concepts as well as adaptations in living things. Students can identify characteristics of living things, how organisms adapt, and how to identify and solve problems. Share this on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site with a partner or individually. Since the explanations are in text form, be sure to partner weaker readers with a stronger reader.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomDuring a physics unit on simple machines, have students look at the various components of the heavy equipment and analyze which simple machines they see as PART of these huge machines. Doing a unit on inventions? Discuss how the inventions of these machines were designed specifically to meet a need. Use this site during a unit on engineering as you learn about how these machines are designed to accomplish a specific task. With older students, discuss the uses of the anti-mine equipment. Create a class "Construction Wiki" where all students contribute after researching specific equipment. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
GradesK to 12
If you are creating your own, you can add images, video, or audio. Study flashcards online or share with others in created study groups. Use flashcards to learn new information (question and answer are side by side,) study (shows the question and then the answer,) or quiz themselves by entering answers. Create a game with the flashcards by using a timer and score board on the site. Share flashcard sets with others by sending a URL address or create study groups to share. View public flashcards created by others by using their search feature.
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomYou can access the already created flashcards without any account, email, or age requirements. However, if you wish to create flashcards, an email and birth date is required to create an account. Users must be 13 years of age or older.
Using Brainflips: Use the Deck panel to enter flashcard deck title and other basic information. Use the Card panel to add, edit, and change the order of the flashcards in the deck. Create text or multiple choice answers for each flashcard and even enter alternative answers. Click "Insert" above the question field to add images, audio, and video to flashcards.
Safety/Security: Since an email and birth date are required, consider creating a class account for teacher use or for groups of students to use. Create teacher flashcards for class use by creating card decks and providing the URL for students to use. You may want to send students to the flashcards via a direct link to the deck.
Facts, spelling words, vocabulary, definitions, foreign language, root words, historical names --- all can easily be typed into this flashcard format for any subject. Plan a system of tags for sets on related material so they can be grouped. For example: tag all geography terms "geography" and all words from the same science chapter using the chapter number or topic. You can use multiple tags, too! In the computer lab, using a projector or interactive whiteboard, walk your students through making their own sets of flashcards or using teacher created flashcards for student and group use. Students or parents can then access their electronic cards at home or anywhere with a specific URL that can be placed on any teacher blog or website. No email address is needed to use the cards, only to create the cards. Include the link to your sets on your web page for students to study before tests. Collaborate with other teachers to create useful sets for all to use. Rotate responsibility each marking period among student groups in your class to create a set for each chapter/unit/week for the rest of the class to use as review. Give a special award (or bonus points) for the most creative, complete set that marking period. Learning support teachers may want to work together with small student groups to create verbal and visual card sets to accompany the chapters they are studying. Involve the students in the process so they can reinforce new content as they create their own "study materials" with color coding, images, and more.
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomFind images to illustrate curriculum topics, such as historical photos and cultural images. Include them in activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Art teachers can use images freely to illustrate design concepts. Create montages of images from eras in history, a culture, or scientific concepts to give visual learners a way to remember new content. "Harvest" images for students to use in their own projects, saving them on a local drive or computer (copying these images is OK!). Have students select an image as an inspiration for a writing assignment or blog post. Upload images to ThingLink, reviewed here, and have students critique or explain it orally in a world language, science, or social studies class. Have student groups use these copyright-safe images (with credit, of course) in their online Bookemon books, reviewed here, about a curriculum concept.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse the activities, videos, songs, and puzzles to reinforce the lessons during center time. Have students create their own superkids character using their favorite fruit or vegetable. Students can compile their own fact sheets using the information provided on the website. Have students report to the class all of the pertinent information they located about their assigned fruit or vegetable and the overall affects it has on their diet and within their body. Conduct a taste-testing for students to try new fruits and vegetables on the list. Check out Mia Mango's Recipe Maker by allowing students to create and name their own recipes and proceed to make them in class or at home. Be sure to catch some of the activities on video (if district policy allows) and share the video using a site such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Consider having students video their own cooking show or short commercial.
Send a list of the superkids characters home and have families choose 5 new fruits or vegetables from the list to try together. Encourage families to post their comments about the new fruits and vegetables to the class blog.
Grades3 to 9
In the ClassroomThis site could be used to study photosynthesis, seed germinations, and the basic requirements of life. Share the slides on your projector or interactive whiteboard. The teacher could set this up and grow the seeds and then show them to the students to begin an inquiry. This could lead to discussions on oxygen and carbon dioxide, limiting factors, environment, and growth. It could be used as a long term project where students journal the daily or weekly changes of the seeds. Have cooperative learning groups take digital pictures of their progress and narrate the photos. Have students upload a photo they have taken and add voice bubbles to chronicle the progress using a tool such as Superlame, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): dictionaries (56)
In the ClassroomImagine the sense of accomplishment your class will feel if you allow them to submit definitions to this site. They become the Merriam Websters in your own classroom. Definitions don't need to be perfect as the online community will continually edit them. One drawback at the present time is that not all words have definitions. This site is still "under construction" and being built upon daily. Classes can get in on the ground floor in providing definitions for these incomplete areas. Assign cooperative learning groups to explore various vocabulary words in social studies, science, math, music, or art class. Have the groups add their new vocabulary words into the "Kids Open Dictionary." You may find the usefulness of this site in the generating of definitions for now. (This will be a moot point as the dictionary becomes filled.) As you study dictionary skills, work as a class on your interactive whiteboard to write definitions together and discuss the format of dictionary entries.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomCreate a "Recipe of the Day" using the Tickets for Fresh Adventure. Share the recipes on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Or print and laminate the recipes and create a learning center. Break students into small groups and have them create the dish together. Integrate language arts into the fun by including a "Food Journal" to record student thoughts and observations regarding the process of making the dish, the difficulty level and if they would make it again. How about creating a class wiki. Even if students are too young to type themselves, you could highlight the activity for the students and parents to see both in and out of the classroom (with student input, of course). Use the site ChooseMyPlate (reviewed here) to identify the food groups that are used in each recipe. Videotape each group making one of the recipes and use as a class presentation for various skills such as following directions and sequencing. Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Teach across the curriculum by adding the math concepts of measurement to the lessons. Be sure to list this site on your class webpage so students (and parents) can try some of these tasty treats at home.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomDownload and install the Skype software. If you are not allowed to install software on school computers, ask to have a single laptop available that is Skype-capable so you can borrow it or else explain to your principal that you are planning a series of Skype visits in your classroom so your techies will install it in your classroom. You will need a computer with built-in or separate microphone and speakers and optional webcam. If you plan to use a webcam, you must know how to start it. A single teacher-controlled Skype account will work in most school settings.
If you prefer written directions go to Help >> Step by Step Help to get started. Or ask a student to show you (without seeing your password). You will need to explore the tools in Skype to locate where to enter the SKYPE name of the person you wish to call, start the call, and answer calls. Do NOT set your copy of Skype to "remember me" on a school computer! If students are to participate in the Skype call, you may want to have a "hot seat" at the Skyping computer so they can sit at a mike so their questions will pick up better for the person at the other end.
Be sure to set Skype so it does not open every time you start up the computer. Manually start the program when needed and do not leave an obvious Skype icon on the desktop for "clever" students to find. Protect your password -- do not post it on the computer. A teacher-controlled account is best for Skype classroom use to prevent unauthorized calls by students. Your user name will show on the screen for students to see, so be aware of that when you create your account.
Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites or this blog for contact information). Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom