TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Nov 27, 2011
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
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomScreen share with students in computer labs to demonstrate items such as website addresses, how to locate information on websites, or when learning text editing features such as changing font size or color. Use this tool to collaborate with other teachers when creating lesson plans or student documents. Students with laptops can share the screen with the teacher during presentations to make information easier to view. Share this site with students to use at home when collaborating on projects. Help a homebound student by sharing your class computer screen and opening an audio connection on the phone. Offer "extra help" sessions via screen share at predetermined "office hours" or during a snow day. Have students teach tech skills to their peers using this free sharing app.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a potential funding source or make a donation. Join the site (free). Then take the time to write up a clearly-worded wish list for potential donors to view. Share the site with parents and others in the community using the tips on the site. If you have a sister school in a needy area, this is a great way for them to list their needs and for your own school to organize the donations. Instead of holiday teacher gifts (another coffee cup?!), why not use this tool to request items you really need for your classroom or school?
GradesK to 12
Unlike other web page and online project creators, this tool erases your digital footprint when it is no longer needed!
tag(s): homework (44)
In the ClassroomCreate pages for quick link sharing or for upcoming events such as field trips, class party information, school events, science fair, etc. Pages will automatically disappear after the event without any effort on your part. Create a page to countdown to standardized testing and allow students to add tips and advice on the page as the countdown goes on. This site could be used during long term projects to help students "stay on track." Students can create simple pages to share links to include in presentations so classmates can participate on laptops.
Grades4 to 9
In the ClassroomShare the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector; then assign a challenge each week for students to work on during centers or on laptops in geography/social studies class. Use activities from different countries as an introduction to the country before starting classroom activities. Special Education teachers may want to offer this active alternative to traditional lessons for students with attention issues.
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomShare stories from the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector when learning about character traits such as sportsmanship, perseverance, and responsibility. Use the site as a resource when problems arise in the classroom such as bullying, intolerance, or special needs awareness. Have students use resources from the website as models for writing their own articles or creating a podcast. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Use the stories as models for writing activities and essays. Your students could also draw inspiration from this site to create values comics using one of many comic creation tools in this TeachersFirst collection.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomThis would be a fantastic way to find out what students know about a topic prior to studying in class. Use this as a review, to learn vocabulary, or for rich learning opportunities. Have students create their own games/activities to share with the class. Learning support students would respond well to creating review games rather than doing "traditional" review.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): conservation (123)
In the ClassroomUse in the classroom to save paper and printing ink. Teach students to remove unwanted images and change margins to fit the content on a page. Be sure students save the page as a pdf to view and print again later if needed. Model an environmentally friendly classroom with the use of this resource. Be sure to check with your tech department on the ability to add bookmarklets to the browser toolbar. This resource can be used without signing up - a bonus for the classroom! Use this when technology access is low or you want to print an activity for students to do when you are not there to supervise the technology use. Create in-class reading from blogs or other websites appropriate for your classroom. Make a pdf that can be opened on your interactive whiteboard without all the ads and clutter of the web page so students can annotate, highlight, and even practice reading comprehension skills such as "main idea." List this link on your class website for families to try at home! Use it to share articles with parents, as well--as long as you model proper behavior by giving credit. Best practice ALWAYS includes a url and title/author on any printed article from the web.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomTo use this site in class, set up your class (after registration of course). Add classes and assign activities. Be sure to provide students with a link to the portal as well as the secret word to enter and log in.
This site does not have flashy graphics but uses pure science for inquiry and solving problems. Assign the Intro and Intermediate activities to understand basic concepts. As students conduct experiments, remind them to take snapshots of the screen that they created through the experiments to save for later.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomOn an interactive whiteboard or projector, create an outline of facts or concepts in any subject area. You can assign students to "outline" a chapter or story or assign groups to create study guides using this tool. Why not use a student-operated IWB at the side (as a "sidebar") during lessons and have students continuously add to the outline as a set of class notes. This will help them to become familiar with the traditional, formal outlining format. The class can create outlines together, after a brainstorming session using a tool such as Popplet reviewed here. Use Outliner of Giants for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Create family trees or menus in family and consumer science. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group outlines before tests on a given subject. Have students organize any concepts you study: outline a story, plotline, or plan for the future; outline a step-by-step process (life cycle). As students discover whether they are more visual or verbal, allow them to choose between outline and mindmap/concept map as a planning tool.
This is a great tool for you or your students to use to plan a resume, a masters thesis, or any academic thesis. You may want to suggest Outliner of Giants to students to plan their letter of introduction when submitting college applications. You might even want to use it in your own graduate program!
Grades2 to 12
There is a free three-month trial account that allows files to be either public or private. After three months, you will be notified and asked if you'd like to continue your account as a paying customer. Paid accounts offer additional features. Such as the paintbrush tool, and the file switches into "Primary Paint" mode. The paint mode lets users draw, insert shapes, use background colors, capture a website screenshot and search for images on Flicker. Upload PowerPoint, PDFs, JPGs, GIFs or PNGs from your desktop and use them in a "Paint" document. Use the embed code provided to share the results of a Primary Pad document on a class or personal website. Share a document via url so designated individuals can immediately begin "real-time" collaboration. Send invitations out to participants through email or simply write down the URL.
In the ClassroomThis site may or may not be fully accessible inside your school filtering. You will want to be sure that all portions you plan to use are available when using your school's network. No login or account sign up is necessary for a "Public" account. You or students can simply click the "Create a Public Pad" button and start typing. Discuss acceptable uses and consequences before introducing the site. The downside of this is that anyone who has the link can access a document, and the work is not password protected. Make sure students understand not to share the link with anyone they do not trust or want contributing. Have 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 for accountability in case there are any problems. The free public pad option saves a single file for 30 days, so plan accordingly!
All academic subjects can benefit from "real-time" document creation. Student teams can communicate and create presentations after-school, when sick at home, traveling, or even in-class. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. In science class, have students draft their observations and results from an experiment together. Let students assume the persona and dialogue of a designated character from a literature study book and add an additional scene. Have students re-write a fable with another student(s). Develop a peer-tutor writing program with older students at a different school site. Provide immediate feedback to students as they write drafts. Use the "timeslider" to assess contributions each team member is making to group projects. Embed the finished product onto the school website for others to read. Writing teachers will love viewing and debriefing time-lapses of the writing/revision process using the slider.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Grades8 to 12
If you simply wish to use maps created by others, no special skills or login are needed. Click on areas of the map to zoom in to find the content layers. Click on the little icons at the top left hand column (hover over to see description.) Click on the map legend to get a key for the icons. You can even add to already existing maps!
In the ClassroomCreate a login to create a map, rate maps, or join a group. Follow the directions for creating a map.
Use existing maps to obtain information about a wide variety of topics and issues. Assign a map for students to explore and practice both map skills while accessing content information on environmental issues, economics, current events, world cultures, and more. Provide time for students to view the information and record what they see and connections they make about the material. Offer some thought-provoking questions, such as, "Which part of the world seems to have the highest gas prices? Why?" Create a mind map or use an interactive whiteboard to sketch out all of the information students have found. Use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share mind maps. Have student groups find relevant information, statistics, and resources to understand the map. Work together as a class to add information to a local map about watershed, pollution sources, or animal habitats. Allow students to add relevant layers or create their own maps when completing projects, researching issues, or learning concepts from class. Challenge student groups to build global perspective by exploring a location and learn as much about it as they can by viewing a wide variety of the maps from the Gallery. Have them generate a map information and comparison challenge for peers based on the maps available in the Gallery. In world language classes, have students gather knowledge about a country where their language is spoken and share it in oral discussions (in the new language, of course!).
Grades1 to 8
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