TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Nov 10, 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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Sail the Book - Sail the Book

Grades
8 to 12
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Sail the Book does what we all wish we had time to do: it pulls together works of literature--all of which are focused on maritime themes--and uses Google Earth technology ...more
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Sail the Book does what we all wish we had time to do: it pulls together works of literature--all of which are focused on maritime themes--and uses Google Earth technology to bring them to life. With so many online resources out there, it's great to encounter a truly well-integrated interdisciplinary site that draws on the strength of 21st century technology to transform classic literature. Each of six books, including Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle, is presented in full text form, chapter by chapter. Each chapter is accompanied by a "tour" linked to Google Earth, and here is where the fun begins! The tours include a number of Points of Interest that open in Google Earth as well as questions and activities that link to passages within the text. Taken as a whole, this is an interdisciplinary approach at its best, combining geography, history, science, art and literature into one tidy package. If you aren't sure where to get started, visit the Video Tutorials to learn more! The video clips are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.

tag(s): literature (218), marine biology (27), oceans (143)

In the Classroom

Developed by a teacher, Sail the Book is exactly what all good teachers wish they had time to do: create imaginative, integrated units that take advantage of today's technology. Sail the Book could be used in conjunction with a regular classroom study of one of the works of literature included. However, a reasonably self-directed student could undertake an independent reading of any of the books, using Sail the Book to gain further insight. Alternatively, the "tours" might help struggling readers or non-native readers get the most out of these works, helping the words come to life through more visual terms. The site seems uniquely suited to a multi-disciplinary setting like a gifted enrichment class, where students are free to pull from a variety of curricula--science, literature, geography, and history--to add value and rigor to the traditional classroom. The site is easily adaptable. Use one chapter. Use one full book. Do the tours with the activities or without the activities. And once your students have done a tour, ask them how THEY might construct a tour of their own related to some other work of literature they love. Creating their own could be an ideal unit for a gifted classroom or for gifted students going above and beyond the "regular" unit.

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The Science Behind Fall Colors - Explore Asheville

Grades
3 to 12
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Take a look at the science behind changing leaf colors with this interesting site from Explore Asheville. View a time-lapse video of changing colors, learn about the early Greek's theories...more
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Take a look at the science behind changing leaf colors with this interesting site from Explore Asheville. View a time-lapse video of changing colors, learn about the early Greek's theories on why colors change, and find out about changing colors around the world. Information is presented in videos, Google Earth files, and slides. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): plants (147), seasons (32), trees (22)

In the Classroom

Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare changing leaf colors in North Carolina with those in your area. Challenge students to create online, interactive posters, infographics, or presentations using a tool like Genial.ly, reviewed here. Set up a Twitter exchange with another classroom around the country to compare changing leaf colors in your communities. Looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page. Find additional fall color sites on TeachersFirst to explore other locations.

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I want to be... - The Ad Council

Grades
4 to 12
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Learn about recycling and the vast array of products that are made out of recycled materials. Use the Recycling 101 section to learn about the various types of materials that...more
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Learn about recycling and the vast array of products that are made out of recycled materials. Use the Recycling 101 section to learn about the various types of materials that are recycled, how to recycle them, and the new items they become. In Recycling Journey, follow an item from curbside pickup to the new item it becomes. Visit Do Your Part and share information about recycling with others you know via social media. Put in your local zip code to find opportunities to recycle in your local area.

tag(s): earth (189), earth day (71), natural resources (42), plastics (3), recycling (46), resources (90)

In the Classroom

For Earth Day or everyday, use this site to raise awareness about the energy that is used to create items and how energy can be saved by using recycled materials. Students can research statistics about the various items used in the United States and abroad. Discover why recycling is an important endeavor to combat pollution and energy use. Create a public service announcement for your school or community to learn more about the benefits of recycling. Initiate a recycling campaign and create a center for recycling many items from the school including paper. Classes can tally the pounds of materials saved for recycling. Have students create informational commercials and share them using a hosting service such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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Founders Online - National Archives and University of Virginia

Grades
6 to 12
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Founders Online is an archive from the National Archives of over 119,000 fully annotated primary source documents from six of the nation's founding fathers: George Washington, Benjamin...more
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Founders Online is an archive from the National Archives of over 119,000 fully annotated primary source documents from six of the nation's founding fathers: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Enter any search term or browse by author, recipient, or time period. Each document includes information such as author, recipient, date, and links to other similar documents if available.

tag(s): american revolution (73), colonial america (94), colonization (16), constitution (86), declaration of independence (12), franklin (8), jefferson (20), primary sources (99), washington (24)

In the Classroom

Search and view information from this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Find documents from similar time periods and events to compare and contrast different points of view. Have students download to create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) usingTimeline JS, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about any of the founding fathers included on this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mathics - Jan Poschko

Grades
10 to 12
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Mathics is a general purpose, online algebra software system. Use the online version of Mathics with Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. Tech-savvy users can also download and install the program...more
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Mathics is a general purpose, online algebra software system. Use the online version of Mathics with Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. Tech-savvy users can also download and install the program on your computer. Browse the online documentation for an overview of how to operate Mathics. Explore the gallery for many examples of the program in use. (Be sure to wait for everything to load.) To get started, click Use Mathics Online.

tag(s): charts and graphs (174), functions (60)

In the Classroom

Mathics is for advanced math students who are also interested in computer programming. It would be ideal for use with gifted students to explore mathematics concepts and theories. If you feel unsure of how to use this site, be sure to view the Gallery for examples and more information.

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Earth Engine - Google

Grades
7 to 12
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This free collection uses satellite imagery to show changes in land use across the Earth since 1984. This landing page explains the time lapse project and showcases a group of ...more
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This free collection uses satellite imagery to show changes in land use across the Earth since 1984. This landing page explains the time lapse project and showcases a group of Featured Sites using time lapse satellite imagery. Enter a city in the search bar at the top to find data from other areas. Note: Keep in mind that imagery may not be available in all areas since the year 1984. This tool however shows exactly how areas have changed in many key areas such as the Amazon Rainforest, Dubai, and Las Vegas. Look at other natural areas such as the Aral Sea or the Columbia Glacier. This site uses Google Maps and/or the Google Earth browser plugin, so pretest it to be sure it works on the computer(s) you want to use in a classroom.

tag(s): biomes (132), ecosystems (75), environment (249), geology (65)

In the Classroom

Use on an Interactive Whiteboard or projector to see the land use changes in various locations "happen" in an instant. Discuss the reasons for the changes or brainstorm possible reasons. Use this as an introductory activity to various ecology or environmental topics. Research the native plants and animals displaced by human expansion in these locations. What environmental impacts are occurring in these areas? How have other locations changed in response to new uses such as Marcellus shale drilling, mountaintop removal for coal, etc? Discuss the possible changes and search out time lapse images that show changes. Have students create a "wanted" poster naming the "villains" who caused lasting damage to the environment, using a tool such as Poster My Wall, reviewed here.

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Culture Street - culturestreet.org

Grades
K to 5
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Culture Street introduces young people to contemporary writers, artists, and film makers and offers the opportunity to create unique work with the site tools. Choose from the many activities...more
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Culture Street introduces young people to contemporary writers, artists, and film makers and offers the opportunity to create unique work with the site tools. Choose from the many activities such as Paint Studio, Picture Book Maker, Super Action Comic Maker, and many others. Explore each of the four channels for an in-depth look at art, film, stage, and books. Scroll through the latest information to read about different artists and organizations. You must register to ACCESS this site. This website is funded in the United Kingdom. However, users outside of the UK are welcome to use all parts of the site once registered. .

tag(s): comics and cartoons (39), creative writing (120), digital storytelling (128), preK (242)

In the Classroom

Create and share picture books using the Picture Book Maker Tool and the Super Action Comic Maker. Once students have created books, print to use at reading centers or create links on classroom computers for reading online. With younger students, have them create pages and then add their weekly spelling words scattered on the pages. This will give them practice both writing (typing) and reading their spelling words! Create short stories about a story's main character, setting, conflict, etc. instead of book reports. Images are limited, but text of any kind can be added.

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