TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Apr 21, 2013

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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Would you eat that? - Museum of Science and Industry

Grades
5 to 12
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So what exactly is in our food? Find out here! Use this free tool to identify what is in many of the popular foods that we consume. People born after ...more
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So what exactly is in our food? Find out here! Use this free tool to identify what is in many of the popular foods that we consume. People born after 1980 are the first generation to be raised completely on processed foods (anything that makes our cooking easier.) Contrary to popular belief, these foods are not real and are not made from natural ingredients. Drag the ingredients into the correct place to determine whether you have identified all of the correct ingredients. Learn what is in popular dog food, hot chocolate mix, and more. There is a lot of background music/sounds throughout the activity. You may want to mute your computer or turn down the speakers.

tag(s): cooking (35), nutrition (169)

In the Classroom

Use this tool at the start of a unit on nutrition or macromolecules (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). Assign students the task of keeping a list of ingredients and the reasons for their use. Identify how this is different between completely homemade food (i.e. Sunny D vs. fresh squeezed orange juice.) Students can use this activity as a springboard for further research into many of the processed foods currently consumed today. Students can create a multimedia report or post their findings to a wiki or blog page. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. If you want to learn more about wikis, check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Create from scratch alternatives to the processed foods discussed. Be sure to connect back to why our bodies are unable to process many of these unnatural ingredients correctly. Students can also create newsletters or articles about many ways to avoid and curtail the use of the many processed foods including suggestions for shopping such as "always shop along the outer edges of the stores and not through the center of the store as that is where processed foods are likely to be found." Research the health effects of processed foods including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, and others.
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The Readability Test Tool - Dave Taylor

Grades
K to 12
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Find readability scores for web pages and word documents in an instant! Copy and paste text or enter a site URL to begin. Readability tests include Kincaid, ARI, and five ...more
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Find readability scores for web pages and word documents in an instant! Copy and paste text or enter a site URL to begin. Readability tests include Kincaid, ARI, and five other indexes. View sentence info such as total characters, number of words, average word length, percentage of short and long sentences, and more. View word usage of types of verbs, conjunctions, and other parts of speech as well as type of words used to begin sentences. Click the link provided to view an explanation of each type of score.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): independent reading (117), readability (7), reading comprehension (132)

In the Classroom

Enter any text to view instant feedback on readability, including the directions you write for assignments. Challenge students to make changes to their own writing and increase sophistication of their writing to a level appropriate for their own grade. Talk about how readability works: the types of sentences that make a passage "higher" level, sentence length, etc. Test passages of public domain texts from sites like Project Gutenberg, reviewed here, by famous authors to see how their writing ranks when discussing their writing style. View readability levels of websites before sharing with students to find appropriate reading levels for differentiation.

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BlogBooker - BlogBooker and LJBook.com

Grades
K to 12
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Turn your blog into a PDF book featuring all your blog's entries and comments. This tool works for the following blog tools: WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger. Creating the PDF book...more
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Turn your blog into a PDF book featuring all your blog's entries and comments. This tool works for the following blog tools: WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger. Creating the PDF book is simple. Export your blog by following the directions given for each specific type of blog and then upload the file to BlogBooker. All your content and comments are assembled into a high-quality PDF file. Note that this process can take a few minutes or longer depending on the size of your blog. This is a great way to print your BlogBook or make an archive/backup of the blog. It could also be useful for students and educators as a way to save a blog as a portfolio item. At the time of this review WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger were all 100% FREE!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (78)

In the Classroom

Print your BlogBook to share with your class. Use as a way to have an archive or back up of the class blog. Keep the PDF files for use in portfolios to show student work. Challenge students to create their own BlogBook about a subject they are learning in class. All three tools are free and fairly simple to use. In primary grades, the teacher would need to do most of the Blogbook work. Secondary students could create their own BlogBooks independently or in small groups.
 

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K8Science - Baylor College of Medicine Center for Educational Outreach

Grades
K to 8
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Designed for grades K-8, this site offers video, audio, and slide presentations that cover many important basic science concepts such as viruses and human body systems. Strategies and...more
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Designed for grades K-8, this site offers video, audio, and slide presentations that cover many important basic science concepts such as viruses and human body systems. Strategies and tools for developing scientific inquiry and promoting student investigation are featured on the site. PowerPoint slides are annotated and also peer reviewed for content. The speaker's notes add information about topics that are not only interesting to students but also to teachers. Find lesson plans and other activities, searchable by content and grade level. Find current hot topics such as the bird flu. The science after school section is especially engaging. This site focuses on information to teach as well as short course information on educational approaches in teaching.

tag(s): birds (51), body systems (60), diseases (77), dna (61), earth (224), engineering (131), forces (47), inquiry (30), motion (70), plants (176), rockets (17), scientific method (68)

In the Classroom

Find great activities, information, and resources invaluable in the classroom setting. Share the video clips or online activities on your projector or interactive whiteboard. With the correct information and exciting activities already created, teachers can concentrate on successfully using the information to develop student inquiry and increase the skills for investigating. Be sure to check out the recent additions to find what is new on the site. There are also links to featured lessons and resources along the side.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Civil War Interactive Poster - TeachingHistory.org

Grades
6 to 12
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The Civil War Interactive Poster uses historical images and primary source documents as an entry point for conversation about this period in American History. Click on any of the four...more
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The Civil War Interactive Poster uses historical images and primary source documents as an entry point for conversation about this period in American History. Click on any of the four quadrants to view items up close. Click on any asterisk within a quadrant for links to further image, related learning, and teaching resources. Each asterisk also contains a question to begin thoughtful conversations about the images.

tag(s): civil war (150), emancipation proclamation (10), gettysburg (22), lincoln (79), slavery (68)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for students to emcee on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Open up each quadrant to view images and documents provided. Have students discuss their reactions and thoughts on each of the representations before clicking on the asterisk to find specific information. Use teaching resources provided to add context to Civil War lessons. 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 information provided by one of the images. Use a site such as Blabberize, reviewed here. Blabberize allows you to add speech and annotate images. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Challenge your students to use a site such as Sutori, reviewed here, to create an interactive timeline of information from this interactive poster along with other information learned during your Civil War unit. With Sutori you can include text, images and collaboration.

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Learning Edge - Wellington County Learning Center

Grades
3 to 12
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This online newspaper, designed for ELL/ESL students and adult learners, offers stories on a variety of topics. Topics in the issues include sports, heroes, current events, health,...more
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This online newspaper, designed for ELL/ESL students and adult learners, offers stories on a variety of topics. Topics in the issues include sports, heroes, current events, health, computer usage, and writing. The twelve available issues let you to hear the chosen story read aloud as it highlights words. There are also word work exercises and interactives related to each story. Listen again to any portion of the story as many times as you wish. Difficult words are highlighted and underlined. A click leads to a pronouncing dictionary so you can see the definition and hear the word pronounced. Some of the issues are appropriate for those pursuing vocational careers. Find them under Workplace. This site also offers you practice in writing and the option to submit your own writing for future issues.

tag(s): careers (151), descriptive writing (43), newspapers (99)

In the Classroom

If you work with ESL/ELL students, this is definitely a site to bookmark or save in your favorites! It would also work well with learning support students who need support reading informational texts. Share various segments of this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to peruse on their own (using earbuds). This is a great tool to use to differentiate for your ESL/ELL students' various levels. Spend some time exploring this site to find articles/activities applicable to your students. Be sure to check school policies to see if students can submit their own articles. Use this newspaper as a model for ESL/ELL students to create their own class newspaper. Have students collaborate on an online newspaper following the model of the site. Use a tool such as Crocodoc reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mark Twain in His Times - Stephen Railton, University of Virginia

Grades
6 to 12
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Mark Twain in His Times is a large archive of materials focusing on Mark Twain and how his works were created. Read about specific books. You can also navigate your ...more
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Mark Twain in His Times is a large archive of materials focusing on Mark Twain and how his works were created. Read about specific books. You can also navigate your way through the various other topics: Mark Twain on stage, marketing Mark Twain, or search using one of five different search tools. Choose one of the books to learn background on the book's roots, sources used, and other contextual information. View book agents kits used in marketing Mark Twain books, publisher's scrapbooks, and other images from this time period. Learn how books were bought and sold during Mark Twain's time (very different from today's e-readers!). Play the Mark Twain's memory builder game, designed by him to help people keep historical facts straight.

tag(s): literature (257), mark twain (9)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and use this site when teaching any Mark Twain books. Share images and content on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore on their own. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and more using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Challenge students to upload a copyright-safe photo, and narrate as if it were Mark Twain looking back at his works or his life.

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Vocabulary Web Games - Sheppard Software

Grades
2 to 12
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Enjoy language arts interactives suited for elementary students through adult learners at Vocabulary Web Games. Elementary activities offer review of grammar and punctuation...more
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Enjoy language arts interactives suited for elementary students through adult learners at Vocabulary Web Games. Elementary activities offer review of grammar and punctuation concepts. Activities include Magical Capitals, Comma Chameleon, Adjective Adventure, and more. More advanced (secondary+) activities include practice SAT and GRE prep vocabulary, medical vocabulary, and computer vocabulary using a flash card format. Play word games such as word scramble and hangman by using the other interactive games on this site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): capitalization (16), grammar (202), parts of speech (66), puzzles (202), test prep (87), verbs (36), vocabulary (293), vocabulary development (112)

In the Classroom

Create links to games and practice vocabulary on classroom computers for students to practice language arts skills. Have students preparing for the SAT/ACT or GRE take vocabulary quizzes to find unknown words. Complement this site by creating your own vocabulary flash cards using an online flashcard maker, like Flashcard Stash, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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