Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site when social studies students are doing reports on world cultures. Check out your own state (or country) and see what you can learn. ESL and ELL students may enjoy sharing the information displayed here about their individual countries and languages with American students who might have no idea of the cultural differences among members of the same country. Use this map as a discussion starter I your world cultures class about migration patterns and the power of a common language to encourage cross-cultural pollination.
Grades1 to 12
Be sure to check out "What's New" for recent additions. Go to "Main Page" and try the search box; it's a good place to try to find the links you remember from awhile back but have lost track of.
In the ClassroomProvide this link on your class website. Use this site for vocabulary ideas with your ESL and ELL students AND in your world language classes or mainstream language arts classes. The variety at this site offers something for every classroom learning English or another language.
Grades1 to 12
Be sure to preview stations and programs to be certain the offerings are appropriate for your classrooms and student ages. International students will enjoy the opportunity to check out news and other events from their original countries. Some of the European TV sites offer bilingual programming; English language summaries often accompany the news in many languages.
In the ClassroomAdd interest to a foreign language class by checking out the news in your target language using this site. Supplement language study with cultural opportunities by using the music sites. During major world events, compare news coverage from different English-speaking sites to see the different angles provided from different cultures. As you read stories or study customs from other lands, use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to share a taste of the world with your elementary students. If your school has a student handbook or special supplement for international students, recommend this site as a way to check the news and cultural happenings from their first countries. All students will enjoy coverage of international sporting events.
Grades6 to 12
Membership is free and has many perks. You are able to comment and/or grade the video clips or even submit your own video. Registration does require some personal information: a username, password, email address, and date of birth. ALL USERS MUST BE OVER 13-years of age! Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using fictitious names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to 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. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
Warning: not all videos are suitable for the classroom. Be sure to preview what you wish to share. If you choose to allow your older students to navigate this site on their own (for research or a class project), be sure to set boundaries on which videos to watch, consequences for going elsewhere, and WATCH CAREFULLY! Some videos explain "how to" do things that are unsafe or inappropriate for school-ages audiences. Wonder How To does include unobtrusive advertisements. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomUse these fabulous "how to" videos for informative writing projects in speech, science, or even with your gifted students. The site does provide excellent research. You may want to link directly to the specific videos you want students to see in order to avoid other, less-desirable options. Share the "how to" videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an anticipatory set for a new lesson. For a final project, have students create and submit their own "how to" video using YouTube or using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is fairly simple to use. Join the site (free) and log in. Navigation of the site is simple. Click on Tree to start your family tree (or Timeline to use that free resource. For the family tree, arrows are provided to add family members. The arrows pointing up indicate a parent, arrows to the left or right are used to add a wife/husband or brother/sister, and arrows pointing down are used to add a son or daughter.
This site allows users to set-up their family tree or timeline as PRIVATE. It allows you to control who can and can't view your profile, family tree, and other information. For more information about this feature, visit the Settings link (on the top right corner). Before you plan your family tree project, be sure to get parental permission.
Possible Uses: Use this site to create family tree projects in elementary or middle school classes. Have high school students create family trees as part of an immigration unit studying patterns in social studies classes. In science class, have students create fictitious "people" as they study genetics. With younger students, create a class timeline sharing important dates for individuals (i.e. birthdays) and class dates (field trips, tests, or other special events). Have students share their family trees on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to "advertise" this project on your class website (and newsletter, if applicable) so students have time to gather names, birthdates, and other information about family members. In world language classes, have student create a family tree using the correct vocabulary for relatives and talk about it as they share it on the interactive whiteboard. When researching famous people, reading biographies, or even reading literature have students create a family tree illustrating their discoveries about their famous person, writer, artist, musician, explorer, literary character, etc.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this in reading classes studying English idioms and figures of speech or in middle level French and Spanish classes to help students remember idioms in those languages by aligning them with similar expressions in English. Include the site in your class web page for easy access from computer labs or home.
Challenge your class to create an illustrated idiom wiki in English or the language you are studying, adding digital pictures to "illustrate" the idiom literally and in its figurative meaning: Ex. "feeling blue" with a photo of a person shaded blue, then one of a SAD person. Be sure to include the text and a link to the page on this site for visitors to hear the clip, as well.
Grades8 to 12
Because this is a site for the general public, there may be some books with content not desirable for your classroom. Avoid sending students directly to the home page to see "Featured" books without previewing the page that day and/or announcing a policy about which books they are allowed to investigate.
RSS feed to a classroom RSS reader account such as Google Reader might be the safest way to control the content that "arrives" without safety/policy concerns. If you want students to receive emails from this site, check with your school's Acceptable Use Policy AND be sure to check with the parents! You may want to consider creating a Gmail account (rather than your personal or work email). 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. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
tag(s): literature (276)
In the ClassroomSuggest this site to advanced high school students who want to increase their knowledge of classical literature. Set up an RSS feed of a foreign language book to appear on your class web page or blog or even go to student cell phones: a new episode each day without ANY work by you! Use this also when teaching classic children's titles. Be sure to check with your principal and parents first to be sure receiving this type of email is OK with everyone. Have the pages sent to your RSS reader, personal or professional email address and share the pages with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create a class wiki to discuss the current class book being read or make comments on the class blog about the episode that day. In world language classes, this is an easy way to "prompt" a writing lesson IN the language for grammar and writing practice.
Grades4 to 12
Be aware: this site also has advertisements for books for sale. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): map skills (81)
In the ClassroomNavigating the site is fairly easy. Manipulate the map as you would on Google Maps (zoom, drag, etc). Simply click to read the articles, weather reports, and view the photos or video clips (teacher-previewed, of course). Use this fabulous site as an addition to your geography class or as a reference when looking up ANY world location from current events, literary settings, and more. Take your students virtually to a new location every day! Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge students to write a blog as a native from the highlighted country. In world language classes, have students plot a trip or write an imaginary story of their dream trip to Spain, Mexico, France, China (or whatever country/language they are studying). Take your students on a virtual trip to the native countries where the language is spoken. Have your ESL or ELL students take the class on a virtual tour of their home country.
For a more extensive project, have your students work on "building up" the Mapdango resources available for your area using the various tools that Mapdango draws upon. Of course, you will need to work within school policies to access these tools. Add more pictures to Panoramio, contribute more detailed articles to wikipedia, etc. Be sure to include the link to YOUR town's Mapdango entry on your class web page!
Safety/Security Concerns: Registration is required to use the social features, but they are not necessary for "exploring" a location. Make sure you have a clear class policy and consequences regarding the social features of the site. This site is so rich in information that it is a good one to use to teach ethical and safe use of web resources, especially how to avoid non-essential portions of a good site.
Grades1 to 9
In the ClassroomUse this site in your beginning Spanish classes or with ESL or ELL students. Demonstrate the activity on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students work on individual computer or with a partner to try "the race" themselves. This is an excellent site to list on your class website or in your class newsletter for students to use at home for additional practice. Have students create their own questions and "real life" game. Take your class to the gym and play a real life version of this game. Even better, borrow some sit-down scooters from the phys ed department for your Spanish/English race.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): spelling (166)
In the ClassroomCheck school policies about establishing a "class" log in with an official email address instead of having the students use their own. 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. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
Refer students to improve their oral comprehension or applied spelling skills at this site. Teacers can also create or assign recordings for required listening and dictation, differentiating for each student's level. There are some French recordings that could be used in a world language class, as well. Why not have your students create their own recordings to challenge their classmates?
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomSend your Spanish, French, German, and Italian beginning level students to this site for review and practice. ESL and ELL students will benefit from the practice. Be sure to list this site in your class newsletter or on your class website, so students can practice at home.
Grades1 to 12
This site requires registration (with an email address and user name). The registration page says that the site is available "by invitation only," however our reviewers found that we were able to register. This site requires Windows Media Player. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomUse this site to tape read-alongs for reluctant readers, ESL, or ELL students. This site is especially useful for ESL, ELL, speech, world language, and special education classrooms. Have your students use initials or assign logical pseudonyms (Ex. MsGper2-12, MsGper2-13, etc.) for their user names. Keep your own record of their user names and passwords for accountability in case there are any problems. Make this site available on classroom computers with ear phones for any time students want to hear something read.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomClassroom applications abound. Imagine your class chatting with pen pals in Crete or Amsterdam, and asking them current events questions. Imagine practicing foreign language skills using this tool. Send messages to experts in other countries as your class researches their culture. Travel around the world virtually, through discussions with other classrooms in foreign countries. Use two laptops and you and your ESL or ELL student can chat while learning each other's language, since all translations are on screen. Caution: As with all instant messaging, you would want to only talk with pre-approved people. This is not a program you would want your students to use unsupervised. There are forums, a blog, and chats already set up (look in your "room drawer" after you log in). Preview these to select the best venue for your class' purposes. Since the site requires a membership, you will most likely want to use a single class account so you can monitor how it is being used and avoid inappropriate contacts. If you do use student accounts, check your school policies on using student email to register and make sure classroom use is within approved school policy. This beta is constantly adding new features. Check the blog for the latest.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomEstablishing membership requires an email account. Check your school policies about accessing/sharing student email on school computers. 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. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. You will want to join and explore the site before assigning students to use it so you know how to navigate.
Assign specific "lessons" for your ESL or world language students, but be aware that the free version does not permit you to monitor progress on student accounts.Therefore you will want to use this as a practice site more than a formal assessment tool. Demonstrate the navigation on your projector or interactive whiteboard before assigning students to work independently. If you have mp3 players available, you can load a listening assignment for students to "take out." Be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Refer your ESL students to this page if they are impatient to become fluent quickly.
Grades4 to 9
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites and use it as a jumping off point for research or lessons on the various topics offered at this site. If you have a history buff in your class, share this site with him/her as a place to spark an individual project, even in world language classes where history and culture are part of the curriculum.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch the multitude of webquests that are "ready to go" at this site. If you are looking for a more personal touch, you can create your own webquest for each class, tailored to what you want to cover or want students to research. This site also provides a place to post a personal portfolio of your work (if you choose to include any student work, you must have written permission to do so from the student and his or her parent). You might also want students to create webquests as final products of group research projects. Be sure to provide a meaningful rubric for the essential features.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a world cultures or geography unit or lesson on an interactive whiteboard or projector. This site offers a visual approach to studying and comparing other countries and interesting research information to use for independent projects. This site is also excellent for enrichment. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class. Use this site to introduce the countries your ESL and ELL students represent. Have your ESL and ELL students guide the interactive picture tour for the class. World language teachers can use this site as part of their cultural studies.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomTour Ancient Mexico as a whole class activity with an interactive whiteboard or projector. If students have access to computers, let groups delve into selected topics and create travel posters and brochures as their research projects. Students can look at the cities in ruins, explore architectural styles and ceremonial uses of the buildings, and find contemporary examples.
Grades2 to 10
Be sure to turn off your pop-up blocker so you can "see" all the site content. Although the pronunciation is in British English, this is a great, high-content site. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..