TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 13, 2022

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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The Nora Project Resources for Educators - The Nora Project

Grades
K to 12
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The Nora Project offers activities and resources to educators that promote disability inclusion and connect learning about disabilities to real-world situations. For example, visit...more
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The Nora Project offers activities and resources to educators that promote disability inclusion and connect learning about disabilities to real-world situations. For example, visit a virtual calming room featuring relaxing music, puzzles and games, and live animal cams. Download stories about diversity, learn how to host an inclusive event, or visit the Kindness Library to find books and lesson plans. In addition, The Nora Project includes resources for parents with infographics and a planning guide for hosting inclusive playdates.

tag(s): aspergers (7), autism (13), character education (75), disabilities (29), diversity (38), empathy (26), social and emotional learning (77), Special Needs (53)

In the Classroom

Bookmark The Nora Project to include resources for teaching and learning about disabilities and inclusion in your teacher toolbox. Consider curating your resources using Wakelet, reviewed here, into one easy to find collection. Add your peers as collaborators to your Wakelet collection as you continue to find and build additional resources. Ask older students to create infographics and posters to teach others about inclusiveness using Genially, reviewed here. Add links, images, and videos within your Genially projects to create interactive content. Use WriteReader, reviewed here, with younger students to create and share interactive books telling the story of inclusiveness. WriteReader is an excellent tool for creating books with emerging writers as it offers the option to show student writing along with the correct spelling underneath.
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Social and Emotional Learning Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Social-emotional Learning (SEL) is the process by which students of all ages develop and use social and emotional skills, knowledge, and attitudes. Using SEL skills, students better...more
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Social-emotional Learning (SEL) is the process by which students of all ages develop and use social and emotional skills, knowledge, and attitudes. Using SEL skills, students better understand emotion, manage their own, and show empathy towards others. SEL skills also help students set and achieve positive goals. Although this is an ongoing process through all grade levels, you can begin to instill these skills and understandings in even your youngest students. We encourage you to find appropriate tools and resources in this collection to use with your students and in your lessons.

tag(s): emotions (46), empathy (26), social and emotional learning (77)

In the Classroom

Find resources to educate yourself and your students about various topics related to social-emotional learning. This collection includes lesson plans, digital check-ins, toolkits, professional resources, and more. Share this curated list with your colleagues and families.

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Resources Related to Difficult Conversations - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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As teachers, we frequently tackle uncomfortable subjects in the classroom, but polarizing public conversations or events in the news can sometimes make these subjects downright difficult...more
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As teachers, we frequently tackle uncomfortable subjects in the classroom, but polarizing public conversations or events in the news can sometimes make these subjects downright difficult to discuss with students. The resources in this collection will give you ideas on how to start and facilitate tough conversations about topics like inequality, injustice, and politics sensitively while still accomplishing learning goals. You'll also find lessons and activities to encourage respectful conversation, inclusivity, empathy, and understanding.

tag(s): difficult conversations (58), empathy (26), racism (76)

In the Classroom

Explore this collection to use to engage in difficult conversations in your classroom. Learn more about difficult conversations and empathy for others in some of the informational readings.

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Understanding Empathy - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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Empathy is our desire and ability to understand and share another person's feelings and use that information to guide our actions. It's the foundation of respect and inclusivity and...more
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Empathy is our desire and ability to understand and share another person's feelings and use that information to guide our actions. It's the foundation of respect and inclusivity and is an essential component of relationship building, resolving interpersonal conflicts, and understanding cause and effect. In this collection, we share resources that will help you create lessons and experiences that cultivate empathy in your students and informational websites about this important topic.

tag(s): empathy (26), perspective (11), racism (76)

In the Classroom

Help your students to develop empathy for others. Share these resources with your colleagues and school parents by emailing the page or sharing the link from your school web page or on your school's LMS.

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Spent - Urban Ministries of Durham

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8 to 12
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Spent is an online game that teaches the challenges of poverty and the difficult choices facing low-income earners. Throughout the game, players make choices related to income options...more
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Spent is an online game that teaches the challenges of poverty and the difficult choices facing low-income earners. Throughout the game, players make choices related to income options and spending needs. Choices include decisions that affect the health, education, and living conditions of the player's family. The game ends when you run out of money or reach the end of the month.

tag(s): character education (75), difficult conversations (58), empathy (26), financial literacy (92)

In the Classroom

Include Spent as a learning resource to use with your lessons on empathy or difficult conversations. Ask students to spend time playing Spent as a way to explore how choices they make affect their living situation. Enhance learning by asking students to take a screen recording of a difficult choice they make while playing Spent and discuss their thinking behind the option chosen. Use ScreenPal (was Screencast-o-matic), reviewed here, to record and share student's recordings. If you teach older high school students, use Spent to introduce a research unit into understanding poverty in your community. Have students share their learning using multimedia presentation tools like Adobe Creative Cloud Express for Education, reviewed here, or Visme, reviewed here.

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Be Fearless Be Kind - Hasbro Children's Fund

Grades
K to 5
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Be Fearless Be Kind is an empathy toolkit (PDF) developed to help kids become "change-makers" through fostering not only empathy, but leadership, creative problem solving, and teamwork....more
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Be Fearless Be Kind is an empathy toolkit (PDF) developed to help kids become "change-makers" through fostering not only empathy, but leadership, creative problem solving, and teamwork. You'll first find a definition of empathy and why it is important. Then comes the nitty-gritty to use in the classroom: videos, projects, lesson plans, and activities. Some categories include Build the Foundation, Identify Feelings, Self-Regulation, Practice Perspective-Taking, Self-Awareness, Use Problem-Solving Procedures, and several more. All have many ideass for you to use with your students.

tag(s): bullying (49), conflict resolution (9), emotions (46), empathy (26), problem solving (225), school violence (10), social and emotional learning (77), social skills (22)

In the Classroom

Be sure to investigate the abundance of resources and information shared in this free toolkit for use in classroom lessons on social and leadership skills, empathy, and problem-solving. Several portions in the booklet include scenarios and questions for discussions. Extend student learning by challenging student groups to create weekly podcasts addressing common social issues along with suggestions for dealing with them. PodcastGenerator, reviewed here, offers free tools for podcasting. Use the resources and suggestions with character education activities throughout the year. Share ideas from this site with parents to use at home with their children. Create a class (or school) bulletin board with examples of students demonstrating empathy.
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Creating Safe Spaces: Lesson Plans for Social-Emotional Learning - Michelle Manno/USC Rossier School of Education

Grades
K to 6
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USC Rossier School of Education offers several lesson plans for K-6 students, providing support for dealing with bullying and strengthening social-emotional skills. Lessons include...more
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USC Rossier School of Education offers several lesson plans for K-6 students, providing support for dealing with bullying and strengthening social-emotional skills. Lessons include links to downloads for supporting materials. Additional links on the site provide further information about other programs with anti-bullying information.

tag(s): bullying (49), emotions (46), racism (76), social and emotional learning (77), Special Needs (53)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lessons offered on this site; many include suggestions for use on special dates such as Random Acts of Kindness week or Martin Luther King Day. Include ideas found on the site as part of your lessons that teach about racism and how it relates to bullying by others. Share with your school's guidance counselor as a resource for activities and lessons. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, replace paper and pen and enhance learning by having students create blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Penzu, reviewed here. If you are teaching younger students and looking for an easy way to integrate technology and check for understanding, challenge your students to create a blog using Edublog, reviewed here.
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Gift Cards for Good - Google Sites

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1 to 12
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Gift Cards for Good collects gift cards with a "little" left on them and uses them to buy things for charities. This 501C3 tax-exempt organization, was created by a 10 ...more
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Gift Cards for Good collects gift cards with a "little" left on them and uses them to buy things for charities. This 501C3 tax-exempt organization, was created by a 10 year old. Explore the links to find out where to send your leftover gift cards. Find the links to various charities around the world. Find other ideas about how to help around your community (without gift cards).

tag(s): service projects (17)

In the Classroom

Capture your students passion, hearts, and interest in proving that kids can make a big difference. Use this resources as an inspiration for community service projects that can be done -- even by 10 year-olds! Encourage students to look for charities in your area and find out how they can help. Place this link on your class website to further the cause and show parents the power of kids! Include it in your units on character education and leadership. Use it as an example for project based learning, challenging students to write promotional materials and letters explaining their project. Replace the paper and pencil version of promotional materials with one of the tools found at Genially, reviewed here, where students can select to create interactive images, guides, presentations, flyers and others. They can insert surveys, video, audio, maps, and more.

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Random Acts of Kindness - Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

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K to 12
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Inspire people to practice kindness and empathy and pass it on to others. The Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation is a non-profit organization founded upon the powerful belief...more
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Inspire people to practice kindness and empathy and pass it on to others. The Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation is a non-profit organization founded upon the powerful belief in kindness. It is dedicated to providing resources and tools that encourage acts of kindness. Discover inspirational quotes, stories, and posters. They also have a new program titled Kindness at Home and a new High School Curriculum. Explore lesson plans, classroom materials, projects, ideas for courses, and RAK clubs. Find research, videos, and stories about random acts of kindness. Sign up for the newsletter, daily texts, or join the blog.

tag(s): character education (75), classroom management (127), emotions (46), empathy (26), service projects (17)

In the Classroom

Become a "RAKTIVIST" and start a kindness raid on unsuspecting communities, classes, or schools! Give children power and voice through their actions. Partner this with character education programs to make a difference in all the lives you touch. For example, you may want to use the Ripples of Kindness activity included in the Empathy videos at the Big Ideas Video Series, reviewed here. During social studies, find ways kindness has changed the world. Look for times in which kindness was thwarted, such as during civil wars, dictatorships, or wars. Start a research project on world leaders who have changed the world through nonviolence, education, or generosity. Explain the power of nonprofit organizations and all the lives affected. Look into your own community and school to find needs that are waiting for active, caring participants. Create school or classroom rules to promote the power of kindness. Show your students how to embed media transforming their work and enhance their learning by challenging students to create "kindness" commercials and share their knowledge with their peers in a multimedia presentation using Adobe Creative Cloud Express for Education, reviewed here. Alternatively, students could create a video using Typito, reviewed here. Share them using a tool such as SchoolTube, reviewed here. Emotional Support or Autistic Support teachers may find some of the ideas here helpful for talking about how others feel and ways to show kindness in a very deliberate way.
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Iris the Dragon - Gayle Grass

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K to 6
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Iris the Dragon offers children's books to educate young children on mental health and wellness. The site has several FREE, downloadable e-books. There are other materials and offerings...more
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Iris the Dragon offers children's books to educate young children on mental health and wellness. The site has several FREE, downloadable e-books. There are other materials and offerings advertised on the site, but no purchase is needed to obtain the free e-Books. Topics include ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, School Anxiety, Anger, Worry, and more. Raise student awareness and empathy levels for differences in people inside and outside of class. A few e-books are also available in French. Fill in the simple form with your name, books desired, and how you plan to use the books. (No email address is necessary, but can be provided if you want email updates from the website.) There is no "wait" period. E-books are available for immediate use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): adhd (28), aspergers (7), autism (13), difficult conversations (58), ebooks (38), empathy (26), french (73), mental health (33), social and emotional learning (77), Special Needs (53)

In the Classroom

Download books from Iris the Dragon for use in mental health lessons or to address specific classroom concerns. Use books as a read-aloud and display on your interactive whiteboard or projector during class meetings. Again, use the books to raise student awareness and empathy levels for differences in people inside and outside of class. Print and laminate books for use in guided reading lessons. Share this site on your class website for students (and parents) to read together at home. You may want to use the books in conjunction with the Empathy video series at Big Ideas Video Series, reviewed here.
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Inspire My Kids - Mike Stutman and Kevin Conklin

Grades
K to 12
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Find inspiring, age-appropriate, real-life stories, videos, and projects to share with children and teens. The site hopes to help these students take positive actions and become the...more
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Find inspiring, age-appropriate, real-life stories, videos, and projects to share with children and teens. The site hopes to help these students take positive actions and become the best people they can be. Stories offer great examples of values like courage, determination, honesty, humility, kindness, responsibility, and tolerance. The stories range from incredible kids inspiring other kids, to amazing animals demonstrating admirable qualities, to the invention of inspirational social causes. Stories are searchable in several ways - by values, topics, age range, and format. Formats include articles, podcasts, reference, and videos. Under Educators investigate the lesson plans categorized by grade levels. You can also sign up for the site's newsletter including updates and new article information.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): behavior (43), bullying (49), character education (75), disabilities (29), diversity (38), identity (28), school violence (10), service projects (17), tolerance (9)

In the Classroom

Share stories from the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector when learning about character traits such as sportsmanship, perseverance, and responsibility. Use the site as a resource when problems arise in the classroom such as bullying, intolerance, or special needs awareness. Have students use resources from the website as models for writing their own articles or enhance learning with the challenge to create a podcast. Use a site such as podomatic, reviewed here. Use the stories as models for writing activities and essays. Your students could also draw inspiration from this site to create values comics. Have students create printed comics (or rough drafts) using Printable Comic Strip Templates, reviewed here, or exchange paper for a digital online comic with one or two characters. Use ToonyTool, reviewed here. Students can create an online comic strip by using Make Beliefs Comix, reviewed here.

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Do Something.org - Do Something.org Team

Grades
7 to 12
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Do Something.org is one of the largest organizations in the United States that helps young people take action to promote causes they care about and motivates them with realistic,...more
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Do Something.org is one of the largest organizations in the United States that helps young people take action to promote causes they care about and motivates them with realistic, creative inspiration to establish a culture of volunteerism. By tapping into the web, television, mobile devices, and popular media, DoSomething.org empowers and celebrates today's youth as the "Do Something" generation: teenagers who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action. Explore this site for ideas for starting your own project and browse the many causes and volunteer opportunities already in your own area and beyond. Help students discover ways to make a difference. The rules are simple: No Money, No Car, and No Adults permitted for putting your plans into action.

There are suggestions, resources, and support to empower young people and give them the energy to take action and make a difference. Whether their passion is to feed the homeless, end bullying, help even the playing field of educational inequalities, or many more needy causes, this website is chock full of easy to access information and strategies that encourage teenagers to decide for themselves how they can contribute their time and desire to make a difference.

tag(s): character education (75), Project Based Learning (23), service projects (17)

In the Classroom

Do you believe that kids can change the world? What are you doing about that? If you have been thinking about involving your class in some type of community service and project based learning, but need some direction, DoSomething.org is a phenomenal place to "shop" around for ideas. Perhaps you may want to start by showing the film, Pay It Forward, or with a writing prompt, "If you were given time in school to come up with one idea that could be put into action right now by people your age that would make this school or this community a better place, what would it be and how would you put your plan into action?" Have students share ideas in small groups, then introduce them to DoSomething.org by projecting it on your classroom whiteboard or projector, viewing some of the short videos, and using the power of the internet to empower them to act now. Challenge students to collect Internet resources for their cause using Wakelet, reviewed here, where they can add a cover image, background, collaborate with others, and chose the layout they prefer. Next, enhance learning by asking your students to create an interactive infographic using Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here, to explain their ideas about their cause and how they would put their plan into action. Club advisers, school counselors, and teachers of gifted can use the empowering resources of this site to inspire students to ACT.
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Pennies for Peace - Central Asia Institute

Grades
K to 12
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Inspire students to believe they can make a difference in the world. "Pennies for Peace" is an international service-learning project that does not ask families to contribute large...more
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Inspire students to believe they can make a difference in the world. "Pennies for Peace" is an international service-learning project that does not ask families to contribute large sums of money. The author of the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, and his young daughter Amira believe that by donating pennies children can help support education in Afghanistan and Pakistan while simultaneously promoting peace.

Register to receive a free, extensive toolkit that shows how to implement the campaign, provides background resources and curriculum materials. The toolkit is grouped by the grade levels, K-4, 4-8, and 9-12. The Pennies for Peace Curriculum directly links to grade level standards in social studies, math, and literacy. In order to participate schools need to register on-line. There is a page for "kids" that provides facts about a typical village and school and background information about Pakistan and Afghanistan. The tool kit contains videos and photographs as well as maps from National Geographic that are free for download. The videos will take participants through the steps of implementing the project to interviewing Greg Mortenson, possible classroom applications, and short clips to support sections of their curriculum. Address core subjects such as social studies, math, history, geography, science and language arts while enhancing cultural awareness in your students.

tag(s): critical thinking (112), cross cultural understanding (156), service projects (17)

In the Classroom

Launch this campaign together as a school-wide effort or keep it to your classroom. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. The toolkit gives very concrete lesson plans to follow fully or just in parts. One example is for younger students to examine a map of the area in which they live and then compare that to where children in Pakistan live. Essential questions such as "How does where we live effect how we live?" and "What are the similarities and differences between these places?" Ask students to visit the site and enhance their learning by creating an interactive book using a tool like Ourboox, reviewed here, about both geographic locations. Older students can extend their learning by creating an interactive map with a tool like Zeemaps, reviewed here. Use the printable images from this site for your bulletin boards. Older students can participate in book clubs that read either Greg Mortenson's original book Three Cups of Tea or his new book Stones to Schools There is a version of his book for Younger Readers, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Journey to Change the World...One Child at a Time which includes photos and illustrations and a children's picture book Listen to the Wind that may be useful for introducing the project.
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