TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 5, 2012
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
GradesK to 4
Choose books several ways: latest additions, popular books, classics, or by clicking on keyword tags at the right side. Creating an account isn't necessary, but it does provide the option of saving books to your library. You can also choose the campaign to receive book donations from their account. What an excellent way to give without spending a penny!
In the ClassroomUse this site on your interactive whiteboard as you read aloud for students to follow along; stop occasionally and allow students to read portions of the book. With younger students, share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, and read the story to the class. Use this site as a resource for additional reading materials in the classroom by creating a link on classroom computers. Encourage students to read books and enjoy giving books to others in need. Set a goal for books to read using the site as a way of developing a sense of giving back to the community. Share this link on your class website for families to learn how to "read and give." Maybe even set a year long goal for a donated book total for your class.
Grades3 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomUse this site as part of a school-wide physical fitness program to determine places that students can walk to instead of driving. Have students use their home address to determine walkability and locate destinations nearby. Physical Education teachers may want to use this site to demonstrate easy ways students can improve fitness by walking to nearby locations. Compare different communities around the country for walkability. Have student groups research to discover the fitness level of these communities and/or the importance of environmental concerns to the citizens there. For a big challenge, have student create an infographic that shows the relationship between walkability and health or pollution data. Or have them design a "dream" walkable neighborhood to practice map skills. Share this link on your website for families to view together.
GradesK to 6
tag(s): animals (316), ecology (133), electricity (96), environment (321), human body (131), life cycles (23), light (57), plants (173), plate tectonics (22), rocks (51), space (229), stars (69), water cycle (32)
In the ClassroomTry incorporating some of these interactive stories in your existing science lessons, especially ones where you need to make a stronger connection between the content and life. Have older students read the story via a link on your website. With younger children, display stories on the interactive whiteboard and read through the story with them or have them partner read at a center. Talk about the stories relevance to the science that they are learning, and have students look for proof that the stories are scientifically accurate.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomVisit the site as part of your classroom study of physics. Share videos and/or interactives from the site on your interactive whiteboard to complement existing lesson plans or plans from the site. Then allow students to explore on their own. Provide the link to this site on your desktop for students to visit during indoor recess (in elementary school). In older grades, be sure to list this helpful link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the class. Have students investigate specific activities or information available on this site and create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
A free registration process allows kids and teens to track personal accomplishments. Email is required ONLY for teen accounts, not "kids." The registration information required is minimal and is legally appropriate for the age level.
In the ClassroomCheck school policy on setting up student accounts or work together with parents on this. Parents (or teachers) can use the Fit Jr. with younger students. Read the audio books together, try the interactives, and read the articles together. The Fit Kids portion of this website would be great for fifth and sixth grade physical education or health classes. Set up a classroom challenge for students to gain at least 30,000 fit points per week for four weeks. Include families for greater success. Have students track and monitor their progress over that time with the site. Tracking their own progress will be educational and fun! Keep a class "Workout Wiki" that can serve as a meeting place and neutral location to store exercise goals and nutritional changes. Maybe even include a recipe area for fit foods.
Grades5 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomTry using "Lose It!" in health classes as early as fifth grade to help students become aware of how they spend their calories in a day and just how much they are consuming. Sometimes just this awareness is enough to help some kids stay healthier. Have students do a baseline record what they eat and do with no set rules for three days to a week. Have students analyze with their free weekly reports: what they consumed, how much, and what vitamins and other nutrients that they may need to increase. If students are comfortable sharing information with each other, have them compare reports to get a better and more realistic view of their intake. Have students create a plan to make small changes to diet and activity for a week at a time and then have them check their reports again. This could be a year long, month long, or two week long process. Depending on the incidence of childhood obesity or malnutrition in your area, you can adjust this to fit your needs. If you are concerned about student privacy, create an account for a fictitious person that the entire class can use to analyze hypothetical food intake and more.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIn the simplest form, Pearltrees could be used to store links for classes that you are teaching or taking. More creatively, however, you could use this site to create a guided online field trip from one site to another. Even try pairing Pearltrees with the use of a highlighting style website such as Webklipper reviewed here, to direct students to the information on the site that you, as their teacher, want them to see. Try turning the tables on your students, and have them create a Pearltree for short research projects or as a working bibliography for their research papers. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Requires download/installation of software
This is my favorite bookmark tool for my use. I have not used it with students but I love it for organizing things I want to go back to over and over.Charity, MD, Grades: 9 - 12
Grades5 to 9
In the ClassroomMake math relevant to any student. Assign weekly problems from the site for homework or daily classwork. Ask students to create new problems to be solved by classmates using the topic of the week or local topics of interest. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Use the archives to find problems available from previous months.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomWorld history, and world culture teachers could use this video by putting in a city and country where you know there are historical buildings from the time period you are studying. Science and math teachers could put in cities and countries for the origins of famous scientists or mathematicians or locations of major environmental events. And, of course, world language and geography teachers can input any city and country you are studying.
Any student, but especially ESL/ELL students, will discover forgotten memories after putting in an address and watching the film. Students who have always lived in the same home may want to put in the address of a favorite relative or vacation spot. At the end there is a prompt to write a postcard; however, it cannot be mailed to anyone in particular. So, have students jot memories ignited by the video on paper or in an open word processing document. Have them use one of the memories as a prompt for a memoir. Have students create blogs to record their memoir. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, have students create blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Loose Leaves, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration.
During Poetry Month or a poetry unit, talk about the song lyrics as poetry, then have students write their own poems and read them along with their personal location video (with sound muted). Make poetry a personal performance piece!
Have you ever wanted to show your students the setting of a novel you are reading as a class? Imagine using the setting for Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet and putting in the street, city, and zipcode for Hyde Park and the University of Chicago. Powerful! At the end of the book there is a chase scene, and the students will really be able to visualize this section of the book. You might want to show the setting at the beginning and ask the students to write about why the person is running. After reading the novel, students could select different music to fit their impression of the book. Just mute the music in the video and allow their selection to play. Have students explain why they felt their choice fit that part of the novel better. Have students do this and vote on the musical selection they think fits best by using a tool such as Votesy, reviewed here.
This video could also be used as a prompt for a creative writing. Ask the students to listen carefully to the words in the music and connect the runner with the words, and explain why the figure is running? What might the figure be running from? Toward? Or, students could create a poem for the video, and even put the poem to music, or use the music from a favorite song for their poem. This site invites creativity and multimedia responses.