TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 11, 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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Slavery Footprint - How Many Slaves Work For You? - MUH-TAY-ZIK HOF-FER

Grades
7 to 12
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Slavery Footprint calculates the number of forced laborers involved in making the products we buy as consumers (such as beans in our coffee). Questions are based on the food...more
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Slavery Footprint calculates the number of forced laborers involved in making the products we buy as consumers (such as beans in our coffee). Questions are based on the food you eat, clothes you own, and even the sports you do. There is even the option to add detail about certain commodities to allow the program to make a more precise calculation. The result gives you the exact number of slaves that "work for you" in the supply chains of your consumption. An interesting portion of the site goes into detail about the methodology used for determining the number of slaves "working" for the respondents. The site also provides their definition of a slave: "Anyone who is forced to work without pay, being economically exploited, and unable to walk away." Be sure to share the opening portion of the site, "What? Slaves work for me?" with students for a wonderful explanation of slavery and the purpose of the site. Note: There is one question in the survey about paying for sex. While sexual slave trade is a very real issue in today's world, you may not want your less mature students to encounter this question. Only you know your school community's tolerance for such discussions.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (125), ecology (133), slavery (66)

In the Classroom

Have students complete individual surveys and graph results, use the information for a basis of class discussions on economy and each individual's impact on the environment. Complete one survey for the entire class on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) using average information found from students. Show the impact of changes in lifestyle by completing new surveys by making lifestyle changes. Have students use a tool such as Buzzsprout, reviewed here, to create a fictitious radio news story from information they learn at this site. Have students use a mapping tool such as Google Earth, reviewed here, to create an audio (and visual) tour of countries included on the survey.

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DOGOnews - Meera Dolasia

Grades
2 to 12
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety ...more
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety of articles, add a book list, a calendar, favorite sites list, add lesson plan instructions, monitor student comments, and more. DOGOnews is kid friendly, colorful, and flexible. After all, DOGO means young or small in Swahili. You can select articles from a number of categories (Social Studies, Science, World, Current Events, etc.). There is an integrated dictionary for challenging words and maps for geographical context. Some of the articles include short video clips. Students may leave brief comments about each article (no login required). Also, typing the word "video" in the search box will bring up the Video of the Week for the past several weeks. The videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. In addition, find a Book and Movie section with a brief summary for the book or movie, and comments. You don't have to join to read the articles, but you do need to join to create a class page. There are many benefits to creating a class page, and it's all free! Don't want to create a class page? You can also embed articles on your current web page.

tag(s): news (258), reading comprehension (129), sports (98)

In the Classroom

Non-fiction reading and background knowledge have found a new emphasis with The Common Core State Standards. It is more important now than ever to help connect students with quality, non-fiction reading and viewing material. Find great news resources and videos of the week to create assignments for your class at DOGOnews. You may want to create a class page and load several news articles. Have students choose from the articles, and email it to themselves. Have students print out the article and complete a "close reading" of the article by annotating it. Then have students who chose the same article get together in groups to discuss their reactions about the article, create a summary together, and create four or five open-ended questions about the article. Lastly, create groups of four, with each student having a different article, and have them present their article to the others in the group and ask them their open-ended questions to trigger a discussion. Create a class magazine from the articles. Or better yet, have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows you to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Strengthen reading comprehension by having an 'article du jour' on your interactive whiteboard or projector as students arrive. Link this site on your homepage.

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YoungZine - Deepa Gopal

Grades
3 to 10
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Youngzine is news and more for the young. Enjoy the different articles, comics, videos, etc. without signing up, or you can sign up to have full access to everything ...more
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Youngzine is news and more for the young. Enjoy the different articles, comics, videos, etc. without signing up, or you can sign up to have full access to everything on this safe site, including teacher tools. General subjects include World News, Science & Technology, Our Earth, Society & Arts. For each class, teachers get a blog where they can post assignments and have students respond. Teachers can register their class for free. You can include specific articles and quizzes for each assignment. Comments are moderated to prevent inappropriate classroom content.

For each of your classes, you see a full report of each student's activities by going to your classroom tab. Youngzine also provides a safe "blog" environment for classrooms - a constructive, creative, and controlled way for teachers to create classroom assignments and foster discussions about current events! The blog can be completely private so outsiders cannot see student comments. Teachers control these settings.

tag(s): blogs (84), communities (38), news (258), service projects (22), summarizing (17)

In the Classroom

Have your students make comments on articles (public comments), take quizzes, rate articles, and participate in contests. You can create custom assignments and have students respond and discuss, right on Youngzine! This is a great way to assess student's understanding and create an arena for a discussion/debate between class students. Or, ask your students to summarize an article, as a way to encourage them to think and write.

There is also a tab for "U Write." This section appears to allow students to write about issues in their community, or programs they've heard about to help a suffering communities. You might consider having your students look at the different articles and decide on a community to help. Have them vote on the community they would like to help by using Votesy, reviewed here.

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BigMarker - BigMarker.com

Grades
9 to 12
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Big Marker is a new, free service for creating and participating in online conferences, chats, webinars, or other get-togethers. Big Marker is a good service for online tutoring sessions,...more
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Big Marker is a new, free service for creating and participating in online conferences, chats, webinars, or other get-togethers. Big Marker is a good service for online tutoring sessions, sessions for brainstorming, and any other online activity where people from multiple computer locations can congregate to share ideas. Create a public or private meeting room. Making the room public allows anyone to join. (There are many upcoming sessions that are public and listed on the main page.) Provide a password to other participants when making the room private. Share screens through the presentation board or write on the provided whiteboard. Chat through many methods including text, audio, and video. The creator of the Big Marker conference controls audio and video options and who is heard throughout the chats. Try the demo room first to become acquainted with the tools available and the interface.

In the Classroom

Use Big Marker for online tutoring or peer tutoring sessions and providing additional lessons to students for enrichment. Use Big Marker for brainstorming, planning, and completing projects. Create professional development opportunities for others in your school or elsewhere. Use for extracurricular activities, home schooling, or other online events. Set up a Big Marker get together during snow days so students can stay up to date with projects and assignments.

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TallJerome Math Songs/Video - Jerome White

Grades
8 to 12
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New Orleans Math Teacher, Jerome White, has created this site to share his classroom productions with others. He has produced videos fashioned after popular songs with Math themes....more
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New Orleans Math Teacher, Jerome White, has created this site to share his classroom productions with others. He has produced videos fashioned after popular songs with Math themes. Examples are Super Geek sung to the the tune of Super Freak, I Solved for X to the tune of I Kissed a Girl, and many more. Videos are presented through YouTube and most are also linked to an original posting with an explanation of the contents. Be sure to also check out his Math Nerdiness page which features his Mathematical explanation of Parallel Parking, Sine Cradle, Rational Functions explanations, and other "Nerdiness." Other linked portions of the site are for more mature students, such as the tattoo designs done by calculus students. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Online Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): angles (87), geometric shapes (169), humor (14), quadratics (30)

In the Classroom

This is a great find for gifted students or to lure in disengaged math students. Allow them to explore the Math Nerdiness and investigate the Mathematical explanations contained there. Share the videos with students on your interactive whiteboard or projector to add a little humor to Math class. Challenge students to create their own video or multimedia presentations using current Math content. Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Virtual Swim - Virtual-swim.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Virtual Swim offers a three dimensional approach to swimming body movements. From butterfly to freestyle, this module offers swimming animations of real Olympic swimmers at different...more
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Virtual Swim offers a three dimensional approach to swimming body movements. From butterfly to freestyle, this module offers swimming animations of real Olympic swimmers at different speeds and different angles. The site is extremely valuable and fun to manipulate with the animations provided! This offers a great real world connection to the universe of physics. This could be great for swimming coaches and physical education teachers alike. STudents more interested in athletics than science might be hooked into studying principles of motion through these animations.

While the site offers custom animation for FREE, there is a cost if you choose to send in a video of yourself swimming both above and below the water surface. Depending how involved you become with using this site, this is not at all necessary, but it is an option.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): human body (133), motion (70), sports (98), waves (22)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Try using this tool in your physics class to analyze motion, to reinforce Newton's Laws, and to explore Bernoulli's principle. Divide your class into teams and have them swim to the head of the class by assigning each group a different stroke and have them explain how the stroke demonstrates Newton's first and third law. Assist students in gathering numerical data to calculate force using Newton's second law. On a more simple level, when using this website in physical education, use the site to demonstrate the proper form for each of the strokes available on the site. Have students share the science of motion in their sport of interest. Fr example, what do runners do to minimize wind resistance at the start of a race?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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English Online Learners - British Council

Grades
6 to 12
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This great ESL/ELL site offers online listening and viewing activities, language games, story telling and a story telling marathon, information on language tests in Great Britain, information...more
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This great ESL/ELL site offers online listening and viewing activities, language games, story telling and a story telling marathon, information on language tests in Great Britain, information and practice with job interviews, and more. Vocabulary and grammar activities are animated and highly interactive. Don't miss the links to Language Snacks, Overcooked, Simon Says, and How To videos. There is an interactive "Wordshake" game similar to Boggle. The range of topics is wide and appealing. The opening page of the site changes weekly and offers new topics, words of the day, competitions, winner announcements, and grammar polls. All material on the site is available in Chinese as well as English. The tab at top right takes you to the extensive Teachers section of the site. Free member registration allows access to more content and offerings customized to your needs. Note that the site is from the UK, so spellings will vary from those in the U.S.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chinese (49), grammar (210), listening (86), vocabulary (315), vocabulary development (120)

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and recommend it to your English learners. Many portions of the site are also appropriate for any English speaking student to improve vocabulary, spelling, and more. Share parts of this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of classroom. Consider having your ESL/ELL students create their own "how-to" videos. Share the videos using SchoolTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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