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

 

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ClassWish - ClassWish.org

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
Just as the name implies, this site offers the opportunity for teachers to post a wish list of items wanted for the classroom. The list can be shared with others ...more
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Just as the name implies, this site offers the opportunity for teachers to post a wish list of items wanted for the classroom. The list can be shared with others in the community, providing a way for people to donate and receive a tax deduction. Sign up is easy, search the site for your school, click teachers, then create your wish list. Be sure to visit the wish list tool kit that offers suggestions for publicizing your list. When donations are received, the teacher is notified and can order items to be sent directly to school. Donors can recommend what they want to be purchased; however, it is up to the teacher how to spend the money. Administrators and school PTO/PTA's can also create their own wish lists.

tag(s): grants (19), service projects (22)

In the Classroom

Use 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?

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FFFBI: Missions - WGBH

Grades
4 to 9
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FFFBI (Fin, Fur and Feather Bureau of Investigation) Academy is designed to help upper elementary and middle school kids -- especially those with attention issues -- manage the problems...more
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FFFBI (Fin, Fur and Feather Bureau of Investigation) Academy is designed to help upper elementary and middle school kids -- especially those with attention issues -- manage the problems they face with schoolwork, homework, and even managing their binders. Each interactive is designed to teach useful skills and strategies, while continually encouraging you to complete increasingly difficult tasks. To increase interest, the FFFBI Academy uses its humorous spy theme and frequent reinforcements for successful game play. National Geographic has partnered to help produce this series of geography-themed missions. In each, students are introduced to a new country and receive a dossier of documents to help complete a mission. Each dossier contains maps, forensic information, media and wiretap intercepts, background information, and images. Each mission requires students to exercise geography skills and basic problem-solving in six interactive challenges. Each mission follows National Geographic's geography standards. Upon completion, a short Coffee Guy quiz debriefs students about the knowledge they have gained. There is an excellent teacher's section of the site containing a summary of each activities with tips and an approximate time to complete.

tag(s): map skills (77), mysteries (23), problem solving (293)

In the Classroom

Share 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.

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Inspire My Kids - Mike Stutman and Kevin Conklin

Grades
K to 12
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Find inspiring, age-appropriate, real-life stories, videos, and projects to share with children and teens. The site hopes to help these students take positive actions and become the...more
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Find inspiring, age-appropriate, real-life stories, videos, and projects to share with children and teens. The site hopes to help these students take positive actions and become the best people they can be. Stories offer great examples of values like courage, determination, honesty, humility, kindness, responsibility, and tolerance. The stories range from incredible kids inspiring other kids, to amazing animals demonstrating admirable qualities, to the invention of inspirational social causes. Stories are searchable in several ways - by values, topics, age range, and format. Formats include articles, podcasts, reference, and videos. You can also sign up for the site's newsletter including updates and new article information.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): behavior (43), bullying (50), disabilities (22), school violence (14), service projects (22)

In the Classroom

Share 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 expand learning with the challenge to create 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. Have students create printed comics (or rough drafts) using Printable Comic Strip Templates, reviewed here, or exchange paper for a digital online comic with one or two characters. Use ToonyTool, reviewed here. Students can create an online comic strip by using Write Comics, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Print what you like - printwhatyoulike.com

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
Hate to waste paper? Use this free resource to print web pages without wasted white space, ads, or extra pages. Enter the URL (web address) of the website you wish ...more
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Hate to waste paper? Use this free resource to print web pages without wasted white space, ads, or extra pages. Enter the URL (web address) of the website you wish to print, rearrange the elements, and print! To rearrange, edit the items on the left navigation bar. Choose to show or hide the background, images, or margins. Change the font or font size. Save your changes as a pdf for later viewing. Create an account for more features such as "change sets" which allow your formatting options to be applied to other pages from the same website and clips. Use the clips or pieces from various web pages to create a simple page that houses them all. Add the bookmarklet to your browser by simply dragging it to your toolbar. Be sure to check out the demo and videos.

tag(s): conservation (121)

In the Classroom

Use 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.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Geniquest - The Concord Consortium

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Use the tutorials, quizzes, and animations at this site to learn about meiosis, genes, and heredity. Use traits of dragons to identify and follow how regions of parents' DNA lead ...more
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Use the tutorials, quizzes, and animations at this site to learn about meiosis, genes, and heredity. Use traits of dragons to identify and follow how regions of parents' DNA lead to inherited traits. Conduct virtual breeding experiments with drakes, a kind of dragon, using real genetics (using mouse DNA) and real data in an environment that guides the learning of genetics by conducting experiments in a virtual environment. Create a registration as a teacher. Add classes and create a special word that students will use to sign up and be part of the class. View their progress and data by clicking on My Classes. Be sure to check out the Getting Started and FAQ sections for help. Click on Activities along the left. Choose from the Intro, Part II Intermediate Activities, or Part III. This site requires Java. Get it here.

tag(s): genetics (88), meiosis (15)

In the Classroom

To 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.

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PrimaryPad - Primary Technology

Grades
2 to 12
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Primary Pad is a web-based collaborative word processor perfect for students (both elementary and secondary.) The tool is straightforward and easy to navigate. Up to five people can...more
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Primary Pad is a web-based collaborative word processor perfect for students (both elementary and secondary.) The tool is straightforward and easy to navigate. Up to five people can simultaneously collaborate in real time on a single web document using a free, public account. Each contributor's text is highlighted in a different color. There is a side chat window that allows for dialogue. A free Primary Pad Public account allows you to save up to ten revisions of a document for 30 days. The "timeslider" feature replays the sequence of edits and the development of the text. This makes it easy to assess the contributions of each team member. Share and edit text files by importing them directly into a Primary Pad document. With a Public account, documents are read only files. Send private invites to people you want to have "read and write" privileges. It is possible to access Primary Pad in eighteen different languages. Once a document is complete, export it as a PDF, Word doc., and HTML file directly onto a desktop.

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.

tag(s): chat (45), writing (359)

In the Classroom

This 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.

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ArcGIS - ArcGIS.com

Grades
8 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use maps from around the world as an entry point for information, statistics, and discussions. Create or view maps that communicate information; then share your maps with others. View...more
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Use maps from around the world as an entry point for information, statistics, and discussions. Create or view maps that communicate information; then share your maps with others. View maps made by others by clicking on the Gallery or Featured Maps. Hover over the map to view a description, reviews, and more details. Within the site, you will find tools for building and sharing maps. Click on Map to view directions for creating your own map. Find a variety of basemaps, specialty layers, applications, and tools that you can use to create an awesome map. Find helpful collaborative groups. Create web apps and mobile apps as well. Your maps can be shared by url or embedded in a wiki, blog, or web page.

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!

tag(s): earth (224), maps (294)

In the Classroom

Create 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!).

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ZimmerTwins.com - Jason Krogh

Grades
1 to 8
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Looking for a different, engaging way for students to create reports? At ZimmerTwins.com you can create and share movies on your own or using their starter videos. Share created movies...more
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Looking for a different, engaging way for students to create reports? At ZimmerTwins.com you can create and share movies on your own or using their starter videos. Share created movies using the code generated after publication. You must be a member to save movies; membership is free. You can create one account to be used by both you and your students. There is a page just for teachers with lesson ideas to use with your students. Students do not need drawing skills; they simply insert and edit characters and text available with the site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (140), movies (66), video (261)

In the Classroom

Even in the younger grades, the students would enjoy sharing these clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Create a class video together on your interactive whiteboard. Publish the video on your website or blog. Assign groups of students to create videos with facts on lessons learned (one group does reptiles, another mammals, another birds, etc.) to create a group of videos to cover your entire unit. Challenge students to create a persuasive video as a starter before a writing project. Use the movies already on the site as story starters for struggling writers.

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