TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 14, 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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Seymour Simon: Award Winning Children's Author - Seymour Simon

Grades
2 to 8
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Seymour Simon's author site is the perfect compliment to his many award-winning non-fiction books (almost 300). Presented in many formats, content appeals to many learners. Use this...more
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Seymour Simon's author site is the perfect compliment to his many award-winning non-fiction books (almost 300). Presented in many formats, content appeals to many learners. Use this site with those who learn from text, images, or hands-on. Free enrollment in the site allows access to many features such as teacher guides and resources, project ideas, and discussion boards. Other areas of the site for adults include videos, an interactive science dictionary, and searches for any science topic. Be sure to check out the Science News area under the kids portion of the site. Labels range from Alana G (their 10-year-old environmental blogger) all the way to Writing Wednesday. Also check out the informational bio of Seymour Simon and the FAQ which answers questions on many of his book topics. If interested, you can also request a school visit or Skype session with the author!

tag(s): animals (284), brain (55), butterflies (14), earth (184), earthquakes (45), environment (237), human body (93), hurricanes (36), insects (69), light (51), oceans (150), planets (112), plants (147), solar system (109), spiders (10), stars (68), sun (70), tornadoes (15), volcanoes (56), weather (165), whales (11)

In the Classroom

Enroll on the site using your email address. Access and use teacher guides along with Seymour Simon books during Guided or Independent Reading. View videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to learn more about the author and watch ebooks. Share Seymour Simon's bio with students when using his books as part of a non-fiction unit -- perfect for Common Core informational texts! Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to explain or review any of Seymour Simon's books or articles from the Science blog. Use a site such as Blabberize, reviewed here, to create "talking" avatars. Create a link to the site on classroom computers for students to explore items such as the Science Dictionary or read and discuss items from the Science News.

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Playfic - Andy Baio and Cooper McHatton

Grades
4 to 12
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Create interactive, text-based games with this simple tool. Perhaps you remember a text-based game called "Adventure" from back in the early days of computers. Be sure to use the tutorial...more
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Create interactive, text-based games with this simple tool. Perhaps you remember a text-based game called "Adventure" from back in the early days of computers. Be sure to use the tutorial on the home page that also teaches you how to navigate the stories themselves. By clicking on the "About Us," you can view the "cheat sheet" that will certainly make your first creative attempt at Playfic more enjoyable. Experiment with Playfic games created by others and time yourself. if you get stuck, you can look at the source code. Create your own Playfic for any topic that interests you, whether it's fiction or not. Note that there is no moderation on games created by others, so preview before sharing with young people.

tag(s): creative writing (119), creativity (91), digital storytelling (144), gamification (73), mysteries (20), puzzles (143)

In the Classroom

"Gamification" of learning is a hot topic in 21st century learning. Use this simple tool to make it happen. Use for any digital storytelling: fact or fiction. In social studies, have students create an interactive game based on life during the Depression or any historic era. Have them create a "Where in the world is ..." for geography. World language students could make a simple game (in the language they are studying) about daily life. Gifted students will love creating games on their favorite topics, so make this a research-and-create-a-game approach for independent projects. Science students could make a game about what might happen in certain weather or life as a fossil. Have your language arts students create mystery or survival stories or even a different ending to a story you've read together. Warning: all stories are PUBLIC and your students will be able to view other's stories. You'll either want to have a class account or monitor this closely.

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Medpedia - Medpedia, Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
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Medpedia is a database of articles about a variety of medical conditions. Using this Wikipedia-style tool, you can find interesting information, pictures, and related information and...more
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Medpedia is a database of articles about a variety of medical conditions. Using this Wikipedia-style tool, you can find interesting information, pictures, and related information and resources. Begin by asking a medical health question or click on See All Articles to browse them alphabetically.

tag(s): diseases (67), medicine (55)

In the Classroom

Use these articles for research when discussing genetic disorders, infectious disease agents, or any other research topic. Health classes and biology classes can use this as one source for research projects. Be sure to include this link on your class site as places to find information.

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PDFescape - Red Software

Grades
K to 12
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Use this site to be able to edit PDF documents. It is free and easy to use. Upload your PDF document or link to an existing online PDF. Add additional ...more
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Use this site to be able to edit PDF documents. It is free and easy to use. Upload your PDF document or link to an existing online PDF. Add additional text or free hand writing. Create drawings or add images. You can create PDFs, edit PDFs, fill-out existing PDFs, save/print PDFs, and more. When finished, download the final product. No sign up is required to use most features. If you must complete entry forms, applications, or other PDF forms, this tool can be a lifesaver.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): Teacher Utilities (148)

In the Classroom

Use to alter documents that may have been saved as a PDF in the past. Save this site in your professional resources. If you work with students who request college recommendations or need to fill out forms for scholarships or jobs, be sure to share this tool with them!
 

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