In the ClassroomPlan your personal professional development on your own or with a teaching buddy to learn more about Google Earth (GE) and plan activities for your classrooms. Even if your access to GE is limited to a single class computer, work together with a small team of student "GEniuses" to prepare class placemarker files, then have the team teach other students, as well. If your school has personal professional development plans or allows teachers to suggest topics for professional workshops, include this link, along with other GE resources from TeachersFirst, as your inservice day agenda.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse tutorials from this site to learn more, or try some Google Earth files from TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission to get a taste of what the program can do. Get started by exploring the different LAYERS available in the left side and searching a location you know. Locate and try the tools to drag, tilt, zoom, and even measure distance. Extensive user forums are available through the help menus.
Placemarker files created by you "live" on the computer where you make or save them and are not shared on the web. Note that your computer will ask whether you wish to save your "temporary places" (any places you have marked during a session) each time you close Google Earth. If many students use that computer, you may find you have a disorganized mess of saved places. Be sure to direct students to either name their saved places logically and file them into folders or NOT to save them to My Places! Students and teachers can create placemarker (.kmz or .kml) files and share them as email attachments, files on a USB "stick," or any other means you would use to share a file, just like a Word document.
Another practical tip: if students are using Google Earth on several machines at the same time, you may put a heavy load on your school network. Plan accordingly, perhaps having groups alternate their Google Earth time if it becomes sluggish.
Use Google Earth to teach geography or simply give location context to class readings or current events, especially on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Ex. you can tilt to show the peaks scaled by Lewis and Clark or volcanoes that rise in the Aleutians. Have students show the locations of historic events or literary settings and create placemarkers with links to learn more. Placemarker text is editable by going to the placemarker's "properties" or "info," so students can enter the text description, place title, and any inks they want to include, such as a link to a certain passage of text, an image of a character, or news image/article for a current events map. Students who know html code can get even more sophisticated in what they include in placemarkers. Have students/groups create and play a "tour" of critical locations for global warming, a comparison of volcanoes, or a family history of immigration. Navigate the important locations in a work of literature using Google Lit Trips or search the web for placemarker files connected to civil war battles, natural resources, and more. Turn layers on and off to look at population centers and transportation systems. Teach the concept of scale/proportion using a tactile experience on an interactive whiteboard and the scale and measurement tools. See more ideas at the teacher-created Google Earth 101 wiki reviewed here. Even if you do not venture into creating your own placemarker files, there are many already made and available for use by teachers and students. TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission includes a weekly file to follow the Mission.
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).
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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomDivide students into groups to peruse a given theme or an ancient civilization. Student groups can ask additional questions to begin a search for even more information and present their findings to the class. Discuss parallels among ancient civilizations through the discussion of these themes as well as comparisons and contrasts with present society. Create a visual display of life in these societies or share food and traditions that might have existed. Try some multimedia projects like a Venn Diagram comparing a certain theme of ancient civilization to present society using an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the themes. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
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.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site in your World Cultures class as you teach students about Judaism. Have cooperative learning groups read this information and create multimedia presentations, such as an online book using Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): rosh hashanah (7)
In the ClassroomHave cooperative learning groups explore this site together to learn more about this holiday. Challenge students to create a multimedia presentation. How about a podcast using PodOMatic (reviewed here).
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.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): constitution (82)
In the ClassroomBefore you start planning your Constitution Day activities, check out this FREE site. Since this site was created by the National Constitution Center, you can be sure that the material is of high quality. Share the audio and visual on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Take advantage of the lesson plans and more.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomShare one or more clips (selected from a full episode) on a projector or interactive whiteboard as part of your study of a time period in history or assign students to research different events, asking them to answer big questions such as, "What role does climate play in a community's growth and government?" or "What might have happened if the weather had been different on this day?" Have students write a blog post as an eyewitness to the events or create a class wiki on the impact of geography, climate, and other "earthly" factors on the decisions that humans make. Create one wiki page per event and assign small groups to write the pages as newspaper articles at the time and another page using historical perspective. Don't forget to add mock news pages about what might have happened if the weather had been different! Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. The same assignment could also be done on video as a series of podcast "news" stories. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Use these videos as part of your science study of weather so students relate the hard data to human events. Have students use a multi-angle approach using both scientific data and human data about the event to create a weather wiki or multimedia project such as mock interviews at the time of the event and ten years later.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): dictionaries (57)
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 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
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThe sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using podOmatic, reviewed here. In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.
Grades3 to 12
Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. This is explained here, and tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class.
tag(s): countries (77)
In the ClassroomUse this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of any country or culture. Another obvious use of this site is for any type of country research projects. This site allows students to explore their previous beliefs about cultures, in the "exploring your cultural baggage" section.This site is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class. This site does include the ability for the general public to submit their own cultural information. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. You may want to limit use to whole-class activities or prohibit accessing the "add to the guide" portion of the site. ESL and ELL students will be proud to make reports to the class about their own countries using this site as backup and illustration. Share this site with language teachers who are taking students on trips beyond the U.S. or as a general resource for cultural information.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomAssign students various countries within a data set to make comparisons. Tie the data to biological, geographical, cultural, and social issues that exist in the world. Bring a greater understanding to economic and environmental issues currently a problem in many countries throughout the world. World language classes can see this data to help students understand the cultures of the countries where the language is spoken. Have students use an online graphing tool such as Chartgo, reviewed here to display results. Compare specific attributes of two countries using an online Venn Diagram, such as the one (reviewed here). Another idea: have cooperative learning groups use this resource to create online books about the country using a resource such as Bookemon, reviewed here. How about having students research using this site and then create a project using Woices, (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place.
Grades4 to 10
tag(s): presidents (130)
In the ClassroomHave students work in cooperative learning groups, divide up the vocabulary words, and have each group find the definitions for their assigned vocabulary words. Have the groups share the meaning of a few of their words, by narrating a political picture using ThingLink, reviewed here. Have the groups share the pictures/stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to also check out the interactive word puzzles! They are of varying difficulty levels.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomIf using a phone, understanding calling plans and additional charges is needed. You must know how to use embed codes to place audio files within your blog, wiki, or website. No login is required! Simply click the "Get Yours It's Free" button. Choose the method to create the audio and preview and edit the file. Enter your email address to receive a link to your file. Click on the link to grab widgets. Copy the code and place in your blog or website.
The tool does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students mark their contributions in order to get credit. Consider using a class email account set up for this purpose. Be sure students understand the appropriate use of this email account.
Classroom use: Use this service to record audio of passages used in class, homework assignments, and other written material. Young students can practice reading aloud at this site (and listen to themselves), showing improvement in fluency as the year goes on. Have students use this site in place of a traditional book report. Have cooperative learning groups create a news broadcast and share it using this site. Use this site with ESL/ELL students just learning the English language. Use this site in world language classes for students to hear and learn the pronunciations. Place the embed code in a site that students can access outside of class for review, identifying directions, and listening to text. Speech and language teachers can use this tool to record student articulation and demonstrate progress through the year.