TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 19, 2010

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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reencoded - reencoded

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
At reencoded you will find beautiful, interesting photography you can use as writing prompts. The URL for this review is just one of the pages of cool photography you will ...more
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At reencoded you will find beautiful, interesting photography you can use as writing prompts. The URL for this review is just one of the pages of cool photography you will find at this site. Since this is a blog, the front page will change frequently, so be sure to bookmark your favorite pages. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "older entries" to find a plethora of material.

tag(s): writing (281)

In the Classroom

Using photos as prompts is good for the students who have writers block, are having problems visualizing what they want to convey in words, or for young writers just starting out. Giving students a photo helps them to form a story and makes their ideas more concrete. Use your projector or interactive whiteboard to project one of the photographs and have students envision the photo as a video that has been put on pause. Ask students to come up with ideas for what happened in the video before it was paused, and what will happen once the video is on "play" again. Have students annotate the picture with the ideas the class comes up with using FotoFlexor, reviewed here, and then let them get started writing their story to go with the photo. You could do several of these and make a class book of the students' writing. For this you might want to use Book Creator reviewed here, to publish student writing and to give your writers workshop publishing a professional flare.

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Madlibber - Sean Huber

Grades
2 to 12
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Madlibs have come a long way since 1953 when they were invented. This site has an online Madlib creator you can use in many different ways. It's easy to access, ...more
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Madlibs have come a long way since 1953 when they were invented. This site has an online Madlib creator you can use in many different ways. It's easy to access, and there is no registration needed. Just click on "create a new madlib" and you'll be presented with a template. There is a sample story so you get the idea of how to create one. You will also get to put in tags so you can find your Madlibber again. The site also lists current madlibs that others have created. Beware of some of the content of the already created madlibs, if you intend to allow students to use this site independently.

In the Classroom

Create a Madlib using Madlibber and share it with your class using your interactive white board and projector to reinforce curriculum topics such as types of plants or famous inventors. Either show the students how to make one about the curriculum topic, or have students operate the board/computer while others suggest words to fill in the blanks in one you have prepared. Madlibs can be used in so may ways: teaching parts of speech, reviewing for a quiz, introducing a new subject, or even as a "Cloze" reading story. Use this site as a station on one of the computers in your class. Put the direct web address (URL) for your Madlibber on your class web page, since some of the public Madlibbers may not be appropriate for your students. Give extra credit to those who work outside school to create classroom-appropriate madlibbers for others to use as review (and share the direct links on your class web page).

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Talking History - Talking History

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site represents the archives of a regular radio program and podcast that uses recordings--either archival material as primary resources, or recordings of experts discussing a topic--to...more
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This site represents the archives of a regular radio program and podcast that uses recordings--either archival material as primary resources, or recordings of experts discussing a topic--to highlight a historical issue. The topics are fairly narrow and all over the map: Jane Addams on the Evils of Prostitution (1912), Racial Cleansing in America (2007), James Keir Hardie on Women's Suffrage in Britain (1905), Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (1865), and many more!

tag(s): listening (70), oral history (13), podcasts (60)

In the Classroom

Students are "listening" to something all the time; usually is plugged into their ears through earbuds. But as skilled as they are at multitasking, can they listen to a first person account of an important historical event? Can they listen to a scholarly lecture? Might they prefer to listen to a book rather than read it? This site might help you and your students explore these issues. It's not so much about the individual topics on this site; it's about teaching students new ways to access information effectively. For those students who are not strong readers this site may be a way of recognizing their learning style as equally important.

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Pyramid Panic - Manga High

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site provides good practice for higher level geometry skills, such as applying formulas, Pythagorean theorem, and other knowledge to find the area of geometric shapes. The idea...more
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This site provides good practice for higher level geometry skills, such as applying formulas, Pythagorean theorem, and other knowledge to find the area of geometric shapes. The idea of the activity is that the player is a mummy who has been prematurely entombed in a pyramid and must find his way out by solving geometry puzzles and building a path across the voids in the building. No registration is required on the site; however, teachers may create a free account to add student information and save scores. Be sure to check out the Achievements section that provides information on math skills practiced in the game.

tag(s): pythagorean theorem (22)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector and have a student navigate a demonstration. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Provide this link on your class website for students to access at home. Consider setting up an account to use the site as a formative assessment during geometry units.

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Instapaper.com - Marco Arment

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create a Read Later bookmark to send to any device for reading later. Though this tool is a download all you need to do is drag the bookmarklet to your ...more
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Create a Read Later bookmark to send to any device for reading later. Though this tool is a download all you need to do is drag the bookmarklet to your browser toolbar. As you find articles to read later, be sure to click on the bookmarklet to save. Create folders to organize your articles and even create an RSS feed for the folder. Send instapaper articles to an iPad or iPhone (use the app) or send to your Google Reader. Instapaper can also be connected with the Kindle (click on the Account tab for information including the cost from Amazon for doing so.)

tag(s): bookmarks (49)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to set up their free account and manage bookmarklets in their browser toolbar. Be sure to click on the Account tab to set a password or change your username. Be sure to check with your IT Department before adding on to your browser. (Some school computers may be locked down, preventing this capability.) When articles are out of sight, they are often forgotten. Decide where you plan to access articles later (iPhone app, Google Reader) to catch up on the articles you have found interesting. Download your articles in a printable file or export the entire list as a .csv or .html file. Archive your articles and easily retrieve them from the tab along the top.

Safety/security: If students are using Instapaper, plan ahead for classroom use. Be sure that students are aware of appropriate and inappropriate use, even if inappropriate articles are added to the account from home. Make sure that you have district and parent permission. Spell out consequences for inappropriate use. Students must have individual accounts (email required).

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