TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Sep 2, 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

 

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U.S. Political Conventions and Campaigns - Northeastern University

Grades
4 to 12
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Learn all about U.S. political campaigns and party conventions. Five main sections explain it all: History, Campaign Finance, Nominations, Policy, and Media. Within each section are...more
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Learn all about U.S. political campaigns and party conventions. Five main sections explain it all: History, Campaign Finance, Nominations, Policy, and Media. Within each section are videos and articles about the current state of affairs as well as past practices. Each section offers lesson plans suitable for high school use. The sections also offer short review quizzes that provide instant feedback. Scroll through each section in order or choose from portions with links at the top of the section.

tag(s): elections (75), electoral college (18)

In the Classroom

Although lesson plans are geared to high school, this site is also useful for students in lower grades. Go directly to the quiz portion of each section, display on your interactive whiteboard, and take the quiz as a class as an overview of what students know about the election process. View sections on your interactive whiteboard to help students understand the different facets of a campaign. Assign students (or groups) different sections; then have them present information learned to their classmates. Create posters about the American political process using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here.

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Connect the Dots for Democracy - Witte Design, LLC

Grades
8 to 12
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Address important issues about government policy through the use of infographics with the goal of uncomplicating things for "busy folks like yourself." Government policy discussions...more
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Address important issues about government policy through the use of infographics with the goal of uncomplicating things for "busy folks like yourself." Government policy discussions are increasingly dominated by the media, and each side of the debate spends as much time trying to "spin" the discussion as it does simply communicating the facts. The graphics on this site are extremely well presented. Choose from among several important issues: Jobs, the Deficit, Health Care, Political Language, and the Federal Budget. Each topic includes a slideshow of infographics, a written script to accompany the slides, questions for discussion, and the ability to print a booklet that includes the graphics and text highlights.

What's missing? There is no audio recording of the script that could accompany the slides; you must print the script and read it while viewing the slides. And, despite its goal of "making it simple" for busy folks, you have to dig a little in the site to discover that the author is firmly in the "Progressive" political camp, and that the presentation on Health Care, for example, includes one section on "GOP Myths" and repeatedly slams the Republican party's handling of the health care crisis. To its credit, the sources for the information presented on the graphics are cited. Be aware also that the graphics use language like "We're Getting Screwed!" which may be inappropriate for younger kids.

tag(s): branches of government (54), congress (37), elections (75), media literacy (82), politics (100)

In the Classroom

The infographic presentations would be great for discussions of election-year politics for Civics/Government classes or Current Events debate. They would be better if the accompanying scripts were available in an audio file. Exercise caution, however, because there is clearly a political agenda here. Ironic that a site that purports to cut through the rhetoric is loaded with its own. Use it, therefore, as yet another example of how a savvy media can "spin" the issues. Invite students to look for the bias inherent in some of the information presented. What questions should be asked about the data contained in the slideshow? How could you verify the information? How would you rebut it with your own infographic? Can you find a site that presents an opposing spin on the same topics?

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Royalty Free Music & Songs - Dan-O

Grades
K to 12
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Danosongs.com provides royalty free music for many different purposes as long as you give credit where it is due: Music by Dan-O at DanoSongs.com. Dan creates music, posts to this ...more
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Danosongs.com provides royalty free music for many different purposes as long as you give credit where it is due: Music by Dan-O at DanoSongs.com. Dan creates music, posts to this blog, and offers it free of charge under a Creative Commons license as long as credit is given. This is a really great trade-off for free music for your presentations, movies, video games, websites, blogs, or even excercise tracks. Possibilities for uses are so broad, you just have to use your imagination to add to this list! There is the option of "buying" the songs for $10 to use without giving credit.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): citations (33), copyright (43), podcasts (59), sound (72), sounds (47)

In the Classroom

This website is great to use when making creative product such as movies, podcasts, websites, commercials, or even slide presentations. Often students are at a loss for sounds or music they can legally use. This is a great resource for music and a way to teach about ethical use, citation, and copyright. Subject specific ideas include: having students in physical education classes create playlists for different types of exercise and have them edit them after exercising, relating the beats per minute to how effective their exercise session was. In music class, have students find the beat, add a new instrument track to an existing song, or maybe even create their own song to share with the site creator. In biology or health class, play songs with varying beats per minute and have students take pulses and compare to the music to see the impact that it has on their heart rate and mood.

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MathFlix - Loyola University Chicago School of Education

Grades
6 to 12
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MathFlix is a resource of over 1000 QuickTime videos sorted by topic. The site also includes over 400 downloadable worksheets that reinforce concepts and provide additional practice....more
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MathFlix is a resource of over 1000 QuickTime videos sorted by topic. The site also includes over 400 downloadable worksheets that reinforce concepts and provide additional practice. The videos themselves are hosted at many different locations on the web, but this index makes it easy to find them by math topic. Enter the site by choosing either the "I am a teacher" or "I am a student" icon. The teacher link lists topics by standards and content within each standard. Choose from Number & Operations, Algebra, Technology, and more. Each of these links leads to further subcategories listing video titles to view. The student link leads to clickable images or words, including topic and subcategory. Choose one of these links to go directly to the list of videos available for that topic. Be sure not to miss the links at the bottom of the page. They aren't quite as obvious as information for the videos; however, they include additional information relating to Common Core, assessment, and curriculum support.

tag(s): area (56), charts and graphs (166), decimals (105), estimation (36), fractions (187), inequalities (23), logic (177), money (130), numbers (138), patterns (68), percent (62), perimeter (21), polls and surveys (47), probability (105), problem solving (232), statistics (112), symmetry (36), variables (15), whole numbers (14)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as a resource for math videos to use on your interactive whiteboard or on classroom computers. Watch videos together to introduce or review classroom concepts. Or "flip" your classroom by sharing the videos oor independent viewing before you discuss the topic in class. Share a link to videos on your classroom website or blog for students to use as a review resource at home. Share this entire site on your class website, wiki, or blog for alternative presentations of topics that are difficult. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos of their own on math concepts. Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.

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My American Farm - American Farm Bureau Foundation

Grades
K to 6
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Learn and explore everything about agriculture, food processing, sustainable farming, and equipment engineering interactively at this informate and entertaining site! The activities...more
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Learn and explore everything about agriculture, food processing, sustainable farming, and equipment engineering interactively at this informate and entertaining site! The activities feature different concepts and promote various aspects of agriculture, math, science and society. Hover over the game icon with your mouse to view a short description of the activity, approximate playing time, grade range, curriculum area, and agriculture theme. At the end of each interactive, you can watch short, related video stories from the public television show "America's Heartland." Don't miss the Equipment Engineering challenge. The Educator Resources section contains standards, implementation ideas, and many activity sheets for classroom use. View resources by curriculum area or agriculture topic using the links on the left in this section.

tag(s): agriculture (46), animals (269), careers (132), conservation (93), life cycles (18), plants (141), problem solving (232), rounding (9)

In the Classroom

This site is great during units on plants, farms, conservation, or even inventions and engineering. Create links to games on classroom computers. As students complete games, let them fill out the passport included on the site. Print and use classroom activities included on the site as a supplement to current lessons. Have students create their own comics to explain a topic from the site using comic-creation tools from this collection.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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