TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 4, 2014
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
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomCheck ahead of time to be sure this site is not blocked at school. If it is blocked, consider subscribing to the blog via iTunes to avoid all the ads. External speakers connected to the computer will help broadcast the sound throughout your classroom. Help students follow along by opening the podcast article (transcript) ad-free using the Readability Test Tool, reviewed here. Project the ad-free article as you play the podcast. Share the link on your class web page or select specific episodes links to offer support for concepts you are studying, such as absolute value or sine/cosine. Extend the concept of The Math Dude by having students write and produce their own math tip podcasts or English tip podcasts to explain the grammar demons that haunt their writing. Use a site such as Spreaker, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomAs climate change's effect is being seen on every region of the Earth, this site is a great resource for finding accurate information and figures. Share this site in conjunction with your science curriculum as well as in government, current events, and geography classes. Click on one of the specific regions of the Earth or choose from the various topics in the icons along the bottom. Divide the World's seven regions among student groups in class. View the various impacts including undernourishment, population, dietary change, food waste, climate impact on crops, disasters, mitigation, and adaptation. Have groups present their regions to the class. View the comparisons by region by choosing one of the various impacts. Click the Climate Impact on People icon and view the infographic information as a class using a whiteboard or projector. Use the information presented to view the source material and understand the science behind the numbers. Use these facts as a springboard to further discussions about climate change impacts. Talk about what governments can do both proactively and in response to the changes. Besides the really large ways to cut carbon emissions, what are the little things others can do to make a difference? Begin a grassroots campaign to make small changes. The many infographics on this site provide valuable experience reading and understanding graphic presentation of information as required by Common Core.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomUse your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and speakers to share the various sounds of animals and birds when studying habitats and the animals who live there. One of the most interesting sections is The Language of Birds. This could be an entire investigative unit completed by your students. Explore the text heavy introduction where you can extract information together with your students. Let them explore the different sections of the contents. In small groups, upper elementary and middle school students could create an online poster about the habitat or bird language they learn about. Try a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here. They could play the bird communication in the background while they are explaining their poster to the class.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomCreate screencasts showing how to do various computer tasks or navigate websites. Demonstrate how to use a website or software for specific tasks within the classroom. For example, show how to use the comment feature in Word for annotating class notes, reading passages, and other items. Make how-to demos for instructions on using and navigating your class home page, class wiki or blog, or other applications you wish the students to use in creating their own projects. By narrating how students should navigate through a certain site or section, you can eliminate confusion, provide an opportunity for students to replay the information as a refresher for the future, and maintain a record for absent students. Software demonstrations add an increased flexibility with helping students who need it while allowing students to begin and work at their own pace. Added audio is a great asset for many students, including learning support and those who might need to access the material in smaller "chunks." Use this site for students to give "tours" of their own wiki or blog page. The presentation of their web-based projects and resources can be more engaging. Use screencasts to critique or show the validity of websites, identify a resource site they believe is most valuable, or explain how to navigate an online game. Social studies teachers could assign students to critique a political candidate's web page using a screencast. Reading/language arts teachers could have student teams analyze a website to show biased language, etc. For a powerful writing experience, have students "think aloud" about their writing choices as they record a screencast of a revision or writing session. You will probably need to model this process, but writing will NEVER be the same! Math teachers using software such as Geometer's Sketchpad could have students create their own narrated demonstrations of geometry concepts as review (and to save as future learning aids). Teachers at any level can create screencasts to demonstrate a computer skill or assignment, such as for a center in your classroom or in a computer lab. Students can replay the "tutorial" on their own from your class web page and follow the directions. As a service project, have students write and record how to screencasts to help elderly or less tech savvy computer users navigate the web, register to vote, or find important health information. Writing for such a project would fit right in with CCSS informational writing and digital writing standards in middle and high school.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Surfmark to collect and organize information for lessons throughout the year. Share with older students (age 13+) -- if school policies permit -- to use when collaborating on projects or as a resource for gathering and organizing information for a research project or year end review. Create a Surfmark and share the link on your classroom web page, have students add their own notes and thoughts then share the finished session on your interactive whiteboard. Surfmark provides opportunities for limitless collaboration and sharing of information from across the web, not only with your class but with others around the world!
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Requires download/installation of software
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomView on your interactive whiteboard or projector to help students visualize and gain perspective of events over time. Here is Today would be great to use when studying dinosaurs, in biology class, in Earth science or geology units, or just as part of a philosophical discussion on the world today. This is a great tool to share with students where "our time" fits into the continuum of the earth's 'life." This site could be used with younger students as well. Share the easier concepts (day, month, year) visually during your calendar math lessons. Extend the concept of proportionality by having older math students create simple visual timelines to scale showing their own life vs the life of the United States and other major, longer periods.
Grades4 to 12
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