TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jun 17, 2018

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 go to the Featured Sites Archive

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MakerSpace Resources - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about the MakerSpace movement and mindset. Engage your students, challenge their...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about the MakerSpace movement and mindset. Engage your students, challenge their minds, teach cooperative learning, and more. There is no right or wrong way to do a MakerSpace. Use the tools provided to find digital options to use in your MakerSpace area. Read the professional information to educate yourself about the mindset of MakerSpace.

tag(s): circuits (23), coding (66), creativity (117), engineering (132), makerspace (12), musical instruments (51), robotics (27), STEM (184)

In the Classroom

Use these resources for your digital MakerSpace. Find tools for all grades. Don't miss the Twitter Chat for teachers just starting a MakerSpace. There are also a few sites that are more information for educators just learning about MakerSpace. Some of these resources are ideal for individual devices.

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Room Escape Maker - doctorfou.com

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8 to 12
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Room Escape Maker takes the popular room escape adventures online. The only way to escape is to solve a series of puzzles using hints and strategies as you find your ...more
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Room Escape Maker takes the popular room escape adventures online. The only way to escape is to solve a series of puzzles using hints and strategies as you find your way out of the locked room. Browse through the selection of games created by other users to find ideas on how to use this site. When ready, choose "Create Game" to start. Begin with your chosen canvas or background and follow prompts to add items and clues to your escape room.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): game based learning (139), gamification (88), makerspace (12)

In the Classroom

Increase student engagement in any subject through this form of gameplay! Create games to introduce main concepts within the escape room. Ask students to create a game using the information they have learned to share with fellow students. Before creating a game, have students map out information and strategies they will include in a blog format using a tool like Edublog, reviewed here. Ask fellow students to share comments describing their problem-solving process as they try to escape the room.

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Twitter Chat: Start a School Makerspace from Scratch - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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This archived Twitter chat is from July 2016. View this archive to learn how to Start a School Makerspace from Scratch. Browse the tips and tools offered by the chat ...more
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This archived Twitter chat is from July 2016. View this archive to learn how to Start a School Makerspace from Scratch. Browse the tips and tools offered by the chat moderators and participants.

tag(s): makerspace (12), professional development (167), STEM (184), twitterchatarchive (41)

In the Classroom

If you are starting Makerspace, or need some new ideas, view this archive. Share this tool with your colleagues who are interested in Makerspace.

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TechRocket - iD Tech

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4 to 12
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TechRocket offers coding and design courses for kids aged 10 to 18. Earn points and badges through completing courses. Courses provide instruction in Python, iOS, Java, Minecraft, and...more
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TechRocket offers coding and design courses for kids aged 10 to 18. Earn points and badges through completing courses. Courses provide instruction in Python, iOS, Java, Minecraft, and 3D printing. Free membership offers access to five courses and seven free Hour of Code classes.

tag(s): coding (66), Computational Thinking (17), critical thinking (120), design (87), logic (247), problem solving (295)

In the Classroom

Coding is an excellent way to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Use this site as homework, a center, or in a lab setting. Courses are self-paced, so differentiation is easy. Explain to students that coding is a critical skill in today's world filled with technology and will also be a valuable skill in the job market. Many jobs that will require coding do not yet exist. Put a link to this tool on your class website, blog, or wiki. Since registration is via email, for young students consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here; this tells how to configure Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class.

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Robotics Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Bring robotics into your classroom using these fabulous tools and resources. Learn about National Robotics Month, celebrated in April. Use these resources for STEM or Makerspace activities....more
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Bring robotics into your classroom using these fabulous tools and resources. Learn about National Robotics Month, celebrated in April. Use these resources for STEM or Makerspace activities. Find resources for all grade levels.

tag(s): makerspace (12), robotics (27), STEM (184)

In the Classroom

Use these robotics resources during National Robotics Month (April) or any time of the year. If you are just getting started with Makerspace, and looking for some new resources, check out these sites!

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Makerspace Lesson Plans - Gretchen Renshaw

Grades
K to 6
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Are you new to makerspaces or looking for fresh ideas? Makerspace Lesson Plans is a blog by an elementary school Lead Makerspace Teacher including a variety of lesson plans. Criteria...more
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Are you new to makerspaces or looking for fresh ideas? Makerspace Lesson Plans is a blog by an elementary school Lead Makerspace Teacher including a variety of lesson plans. Criteria for inclusion of lesson plans includes activities suitable for beginners, divergent outcomes, and use of low-cost items. Select lessons from different categories to download the complete activity in a PDF form. The colorful images clearly demonstrate how to perform the shared activities with students.

tag(s): blogs (84), coding (66), engineering (132), makerspace (12), STEM (184)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site to include with your makerspace lesson ideas or use it as an excellent starting point to begin makerspaces. Consider using a bookmarking tool such as Pinterest, reviewed here, to find additional lessons and save interesting ideas. As you begin working with students use an interactive whiteboard to have students share thoughts or questions as they begin the process. Have students take pictures of their progress and share in blogs using Telegra.ph, reviewed here. Telegra.ph will create a "quick and easy" blog to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided, and with Telegra.ph you just click on an icon to upload images from your computer, add a YouTube or Vimeo, or Twitter links. It's as easy as using a basic Word program! When finished, have students use a tool like Story Maker, reviewed here, to type a story and draw pictures sharing their makerspace experience.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Makerspaces - Andrew Miller

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K to 12
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Makerspaces is a resource created to help schools and libraries learn about, build, and run makerspaces. Choose the Maker Projects link to find many project ideas including tutorials...more
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Makerspaces is a resource created to help schools and libraries learn about, build, and run makerspaces. Choose the Maker Projects link to find many project ideas including tutorials that incorporate tools such as 3D printers and circuits. Download a free ebook with over 250 resources for any makerspace program. Find out what others are doing with makerspaces by choosing the Makerspace tab, this includes tweets from makerspace users, project ideas, and a showcase of makerspaces in action. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): crafts (39), inquiry (34), makerspace (12), STEM (184)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many ideas and tutorials found on this site when creating a makerspace in your classroom or school. Collaborate with peers to create different makerspaces within your classroom communities. Ask parent volunteers to help teach students about circuits and other technology used in your makerspace.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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GameMaker Studio - YoYo Games

Grades
4 to 12
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GameMaker Studio uses drag and drop features for creating online games without having to learn code. Download the software for use on Windows machines running XP and higher. Tutorials...more
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GameMaker Studio uses drag and drop features for creating online games without having to learn code. Download the software for use on Windows machines running XP and higher. Tutorials provide instructions for beginners and leads learners through complete instructions for creating and sharing games. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): coding (66), game based learning (139), gamification (88), STEM (184)

In the Classroom

Use GameMaker Studio as an interesting way to introduce coding to your class for beginners and experienced coders. Display GameMaker on your interactive whiteboard or projector as you progress through the steps to code a game, then have students create and explore on their own. After school clubs and activities can use GameMaker to learn to code. Use this tool with gifted students for a great challenge. Set up a coding activity center for interested students when they finish class work or for rainy days and snow days. Share this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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Coding Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about coding, and for use as a guide for finding the appropriate tools for use...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about coding, and for use as a guide for finding the appropriate tools for use with all grade and skill levels. Nurture problem solving, logic, and creativity. Find resources for just one hour of code or for use as ongoing technology lessons.

tag(s): coding (66), Computational Thinking (17), critical thinking (120), design (87), problem solving (295), STEM (184)

In the Classroom

Explore these resources for use with after-school computer clubs or as an excellent tool when recruiting skilled parent volunteers. Turn the intimidating content of computer programming into an exciting learning adventure for all with these helpful sites!

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Kotobana - Kotobana

Grades
K to 12
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"Draw" a flower from the visual text of a single word using this simple Japanese tool. The basic tools are labeled in English. Browse the Gallery to see examples. Click ...more
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"Draw" a flower from the visual text of a single word using this simple Japanese tool. The basic tools are labeled in English. Browse the Gallery to see examples. Click +draw to make your own. Enter a single, short word and choose options such as font and color scheme. Give it a name, and it will be added to the Gallery. There are other sharing options for the designs you make, but many are labeled in Japanese! If you click to open it from the Gallery, you can copy its direct URL from your address bar to save as a Favorite or share with others. Turn off autoplay in the Gallery to keep your design on the screen. Roll your mouse over a design (or tap it on a tablet) to make it spin! You can share to Facebook and Pinterest directly. The easiest way to share is by saving the URL or by taking a screenshot of your finished design (Printscrn button on Windows or Command+Shift+4 on Mac). You also have the option to actually print. Note that the gallery could have word designs that may be in other languages or possibly be inappropriate for young people. Our editors found nothing objectionable at the time of this review. Preview to be safe. Click the sound on/off option in the footer to turn off the music as you enjoy the site.

tag(s): design (87), firstday (24), graphic design (36), symmetry (51)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate radial symmetry in an art or math class using this tool. As you teach letter shapes in kindergartens, try making a design to help your students see the shape in this colorful format. If you teach about fonts in an art or graphic design class, this tool can spark discussion about the design elements of letter forms. An idea for elementary or middle school teachers: Have students create "flowers" of their own names (or shortened nicknames) as a getting to know you activity during the first week of school. Post the design screenshot images on your class web page or print them to put in the hallway.

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Virtual Musical Instruments - Virtual Musical Instruments

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K to 12
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Bring the world of music and instruments into your classroom. With Virtual Musical Instruments, you can explore the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, or bongos. Select the instrument,...more
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Bring the world of music and instruments into your classroom. With Virtual Musical Instruments, you can explore the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, or bongos. Select the instrument, and follow the directions for using the keyboard to play the different notes. Create different melodies using different notes or rhythms. Use the guitar tuner to be sure you are in tune. There is no record option on this tool. If you want to record your beat, there are many alternative options (such as using a cell phone, iPod, or an old-fashioned recorder).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): music theory (44), musical instruments (51)

In the Classroom

Virtual Musical Instruments opens up the world of music into many other subjects. In music class, discover the different instruments, sounds, and rhythms the virtual instruments can produce. Allow your students to make their own compositions. Challenge them to determine a way to give the directions for their composition to another person so that they can repeat the original piece. In language arts class, discuss mood in literature. Determine the instruments used, the rhythms, and sounds needed to make that effect. During Readers' Theater, add a musical score for more excitement and engagement with further analysis of the text. Have students create a musical composition that tells a story. Now, play that musical story for the class, and turn it into a writing prompt. Use musical sounds and beats to illustrate the concepts of literature and the use of plot. Determine a melody for each character. Write to explain why each character has that musical composition. Math class brings the study of fractions with types of notes: whole note, half note, quarter note, and eighth notes. Let students create a musical sentence that represents them and write to explain why. Use whatever recording option is most practical in your classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Engineering Games - engineering-games.net

Grades
3 to 12
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Encourage an interest in the fields of engineering, construction, and critical thinking through the many interactives available at Engineering Games. Choose from several categories...more
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Encourage an interest in the fields of engineering, construction, and critical thinking through the many interactives available at Engineering Games. Choose from several categories such as Robots, Logic Games, or Electricity. Also explore popular and new games using the categories provided. Each activity includes a short description and information on how to play. Some more complex challenges encourage you to view and follow in-game tutorials before attempting to play.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): circuits (23), electricity (92), energy (209), engineering (132), game based learning (139), logic (247), machines (27), problem solving (295), robotics (27), rockets (17), simple machines (35), STEM (184)

In the Classroom

Share these excellent STEM activities with your students. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups to find activities of interest. Use Engineering Games to differentiate learning experiences for students based on the difficulty of games. Challenge gifted students with more difficult activities. Provide a link to games on your class web page for students to play at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Tinkercad - Circuits - circuits.io

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4 to 12
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Create circuit diagrams easily with this tool. Drag and drop elements onto the schematic. Name each of the elements (resistors, etc.) and save schematics once you create an account....more
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Create circuit diagrams easily with this tool. Drag and drop elements onto the schematic. Name each of the elements (resistors, etc.) and save schematics once you create an account. Add layers by clicking on the Settings tab. Use the Help tab to find the most common shortcuts with this tool. This tool has been tested in Chrome which is the recommended browser. Other browsers work, though there may be some issues with how items look or perform.

tag(s): circuits (23), electricity (92), makerspace (12)

In the Classroom

This site is a great addition to any classroom lesson or unit on electricity or circuits. Try the activities as a class on your interactive whiteboard or projector, explaining what the symbols mean. Have students complete activities on their own using classroom computers. Take screenshots of your digital different schematics they have created. Have students create an online presentation on electricity and circuits using using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge presentation tools. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Visme, Adobe Spark, Plotagon, and My Simpleshow.

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Snapguide - Heavy Bits

Grades
2 to 12
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Looking for an easy to use "how to" guide? You must visit Snapguide! Find various topics: Sports & Fitness, Technology, Cooking, Music, Arts & Crafts, Gardening, and countless others....more
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Looking for an easy to use "how to" guide? You must visit Snapguide! Find various topics: Sports & Fitness, Technology, Cooking, Music, Arts & Crafts, Gardening, and countless others. You can view all of the content of this site without joining. Create your own "how to" guide on any topic. It's a "snap" to create the directions with pictures. Use your computer or iOS device to create a guide. Download the app onto your iPhone or iPad to create a guide for explaining anything! Each page contains a picture and text to explain the parts for your guide.

tag(s): computers (100), crafts (39), directions (19), fitness (49), makerspace (12), photography (155), sequencing (29), speeches (19)

In the Classroom

Share the ready-made snapguides in various classes: family and consumer science, music, art, photography, science, computer, and more! Create your own snapguides to share with your class on any subject matter. ESL/ELL and other special needs students will learn better seeing the photos along with the instructions. Use Snapguide to explain a lesson or a project that has multiple directions. Use Snapguide for directions for parents. Create a snapguide for your students when leaving plans for a substitute teacher. Students can also create their own snapguides to use as presentations and even for sequencing practice. These are the perfect prompts for writing and giving informative, how-to speeches. Students can explore the guides available and follow directions or even evaluate their effectiveness. Have cooperative learning groups create their own snapguides to share a new topic with the class. Encourage students to use Snapguide to illustrate their math solutions, discuss the completion and science behind a lab experiment, or show cause an effect.

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