TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 21, 2024

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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iThrive Sim- Digital Simulation Games - ithrive games

Grades
9 to 12
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Engage and enhance students' civic and social-emotional learning (SEL) using simulations by iThrive Sim. The simulations are for high school students in social studies, history, and...more
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Engage and enhance students' civic and social-emotional learning (SEL) using simulations by iThrive Sim. The simulations are for high school students in social studies, history, and humanities classes. The digital simulations are designed to support student-driven learning, and the storyline is determined by the actions students take together. The page includes links to three learning scenarios where teachers can preview the game. Registration with a school email address is required to play. The resources on this site are designed for high school students.

tag(s): collaboration (91), flipped learning (9), game based learning (175), Online Learning (42), simulations (9), social and emotional learning (86)

In the Classroom

Teachers can find links to individual games, downloadable curricula for various video games, lesson plans, and teaching resources. These game simulations are designed to build skills in decision-making, understanding bias, compromise, advocacy, and collaboration among students. The games support face-to-face interaction and can also be adapted to the needs of online and hybrid learning environments.

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Overcoming Obstacles K-12 Curriculum - Community for Education Foundation, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Overcoming Obstacles free curriculum shares hundreds of lessons based upon a foundation of thirty life skills. Skills include effective communication, making informed decisions, setting...more
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Overcoming Obstacles free curriculum shares hundreds of lessons based upon a foundation of thirty life skills. Skills include effective communication, making informed decisions, setting goals, respecting one another, and more. Find content organized into four grade bands, beginning with kindergarten through second grade and finishing with high school. Each printable lesson starts with a plan that includes goals, objectives, and a materials list. In addition to specific lesson instructions, each activity includes additional extensions to practice and reinforce skills taught. All information is available without registration; however, registering on the site allows you to customize lessons before downloading and saving. In addition, student activity sheets are available for download in 25 languages.

tag(s): communication (133), conflict resolution (9), OER (43), problem solving (226), social and emotional learning (86)

In the Classroom

Use the Overcoming Obstacles curriculum as a stand-alone life-skills curriculum or as a supplement to your current social-emotional learning (SEL) teaching materials. If you cannot take advantage of the complete curriculum, use the site's library to find lessons and activities on specific topics to address in your classroom as needed. For example, if peer pressure is a concern, select that activity to include in classroom lessons. Many of the activities include role-playing, extend these activities by creating student-led podcasts using Buzzsprout, reviewed here. Create podcasts with different scenarios for students to role-play appropriate and inappropriate responses, including suggestions for making informed decisions.
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Along - Gradient Learning

Grades
6 to 12
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Along is an online tool for providing digital check-ins and reflection activities with students using audio, video, or text. Share a question with some or all students to encourage...more
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Along is an online tool for providing digital check-ins and reflection activities with students using audio, video, or text. Share a question with some or all students to encourage making connections and check in on student wellness. Students select an option to share their responses, and the teacher views reflections within the Along dashboard. Follow up with students as desired to continue the conversation or to make personal connections with all students. Use the tips and content provided by Along to select research-based questions designed to help students build life skills and confidence. Teachers with students under 13 years of age will need to send home a letter of consent, which Along has provided in Spanish and English and for print or to email. There is also a code of conduct which all students must agree to. To find this information and the forms - from the home page scroll down to and click Code of Conduct from the bottom menu.

tag(s): classroom management (126), communication (133), social and emotional learning (86), Teacher Utilities (151)

In the Classroom

Along makes it easy for you to implement this tool into your classroom with their many free resources. Resources include guides to introducing Along to students and fellow educators. Share the privacy information guide with parents as you begin using this tool. Begin by using the customizable calendar as a method for planning to introduce and use Along. Consider using the information found on the site to create and share a presentation about this product using Google Slides, reviewed here, or by creating a short video using Adobe Creative Cloud Express Video Maker reviewed here. Be sure to show students how to prepare for their responses. If you find some students are reluctant to use one of the modes, for instance, the video, work with that student to help them feel comfortable. Uses for this tool are only limited by your imagination, and it's perfect for staying updated on the social-emotional learning (SEL) of your students. Check-in with students during long projects or reports to see where they are in the process and if they have any frustrations, check-in after a science lab to see who has questions, ask students at the end of a project or lab what they would do differently next time. Check-in with Language arts book groups to see how students are doing with the novel, their group, the project at the end, etc.
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WellCheq - Jodi Miller

Grades
K to 12
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WellCheq is a digital application that provides a daily wellness check-in for students. Students log in each day and answer two questions - how are you feeling today, and how ...more
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WellCheq is a digital application that provides a daily wellness check-in for students. Students log in each day and answer two questions - how are you feeling today, and how are you doing overall? This information is then immediately available to the teacher or counselor. WellCheq tracks both individual and class data over the short and long term. Students reporting a three (out of five) or lower are identified with an email to the teacher and go on the Students of Concern page. Students log in through the student portal to provide responses and access suggested resources. There is a link for students to ask for help using the "Cheq on me" button. Create and use a teacher account to add and manage classrooms and access reports. Reports include daily information, students of concern, as well as longitudinal class and student reports.

tag(s): emotions (47), identity (28), social and emotional learning (86), Teacher Utilities (151)

In the Classroom

Add rhis program to your social-emotional learning (SEL) resources. Share WellCheq with your school counselors for possible use in monitoring the mental wellness of students. If your school doesn't want to use a program such as this, consider other possibilities for sharing wellness tips with students and parents and share resources for obtaining help when needed. Find resources at the TeachersFirst Resources for Self-Identity Special Topics Page.

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Change Begins at School - Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility

Grades
K to 12
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Morningside Center provides resources for K-12 educators that encourage social responsibility and help develop social and emotional skills. The site was created following 9/11 to help...more
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Morningside Center provides resources for K-12 educators that encourage social responsibility and help develop social and emotional skills. The site was created following 9/11 to help teachers address sensitive issues that arose in the aftermath of the tragedy. Select the Classroom Resources section to find and filter TeachableMoments lessons. Sort by topic area, subject, and grade level or search by keyword. Each lesson includes instructions and background information as well as links to supporting material. The site is constantly updated with lessons relating to current events. Many activities include links to YouTube videos, if your district blocks YouTube; the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): bullying (49), climate change (88), conflict resolution (9), disasters (36), diversity (38), elections (80), holidays (167), Juneteenth (22), politics (113), racism (76), religions (77), social and emotional learning (86), women (137)

In the Classroom

Engage students in any of the provided lessons by starting with a simple poll using Slido, reviewed here. For example, ask students if they are familiar with the topic discussed, have experienced a similar emotion, or display an image on your whiteboard and ask students if they know what it represents. Enhance learning throughout any of the lessons by sharing additional resources using a curation tool such as Padlet, reviewed here. Add links to videos, articles, or online activities related to the lesson's content. As you complete lesson activities, extend learning by asking students to share their understanding by creating digital books using Book Creator, reviewed here, flyers made with Adobe Express for Education, reviewed here, or infographics created with Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here.

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SpeakUp! - Martie Gillin

Grades
5 to 12
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SpeakUp! is a non-profit organization that provides resources to support teens in their social emotional learning while developing positive relationships with adults. Their programs'...more
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SpeakUp! is a non-profit organization that provides resources to support teens in their social emotional learning while developing positive relationships with adults. Their programs' focus is on encouraging teens to have supportive conversations that help teens deal with any issues. Register for upcoming programs or learn how to become a SpeakUp! school. Be sure to check out the link to the site's resources that includes helpful guides with contact information for help with many different topics, including suicide, drug abuse, bullying, and more.

tag(s): bullying (49), cyberbullying (41), diseases (67), drugs and alcohol (27), eating disorders (7), sexuality (15), social and emotional learning (86), social media (54)

In the Classroom

Share the resource guides with parents and students on your class website to use when facing any of the covered topics. Use Padlet, reviewed here, or Wakelet, reviewed here, to curate and share helpful guides for parents and students within one collection. As you and your class discuss problems that face teens, ask students to use Canva Edu, reviewed here, to share what they learn. For example, have students create posters to display in the classroom that include the dangers of drug abuse and include tips for helping someone that displays signs of drug abuse. Ask other students to design and share infographics that include facts and figures discussing cyberbullying, along with suggestions on how to respond to bullies.
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CASEL Program Guide - Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Grades
K to 12
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The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) provides support and tools that include high-quality information for social and emotional learning. The guide...more
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The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) provides support and tools that include high-quality information for social and emotional learning. The guide shared on this page provides a framework for evaluating social and emotional programs for preschool and elementary programs, and middle and high school. Open the PDF link to view or print the guide. The guide includes an in-depth discussion of the methods used to rate programs, along with charts with ratings and information on the effectiveness of the programs. To get started download the Quick Guide toward the bottom of the page.

tag(s): professional development (392), social and emotional learning (86)

In the Classroom

The guide shared on this website provides a structured framework for evaluating any social/emotional learning program. Use the information to analyze any programs or tools being considered for use in your classroom. Share this guide with administrators in your district to use when considering implementing new learning programs. Create your own evaluation framework based on this information using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to serve as a useful look at the pros and cons of the resource being considered.
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Education for the Real World - EVERFI

Grades
2 to 12
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EVERFI provides free digital curricula in real-world skills through interactive, game-based lessons. Topics include financial education, STEM and career readiness, social and emotional...more
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EVERFI provides free digital curricula in real-world skills through interactive, game-based lessons. Topics include financial education, STEM and career readiness, social and emotional learning, remote learning, summer learning, and more. Select any topic to view the courses offered with a summary and grade-level suggestions. Each unit is correlated to Common Core Standards and includes features such as videos, games, digital lessons, and teacher guides. Use the teacher dashboard to create classes and enroll students after completing the free registration information. Once registered, use the site's features to assign topics that are available for both online and offline learning.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (155), financial literacy (92), game based learning (175), literacy (110), mental health (34), social and emotional learning (86), STEM (267), Teacher Utilities (151)

In the Classroom

Discover the many free resources on this site to provide individual lessons or complete learning units for your students. As students complete assignments, use the many offerings found at Class Tools, reviewed here, to enhance learning through creating timelines, completing graphic organizers, and more. For activities that include new vocabulary, use a digital game creation site such as Baamboozle, reviewed here, to review and practice new words and terms. Have students show what they know upon completion of any of the activities using Adobe Express for Education, reviewed here, to create a collage, poster, flyer, or multimedia presentation sharing their knowledge of the subject.
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Classroomscreen - Laurens Koppers

Grades
K to 12
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Classroomscreen is a background utility for use with interactive whiteboards or projector screens. Choose from circles at the bottom of the screen to add 13 widgets including a calming...more
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Classroomscreen is a background utility for use with interactive whiteboards or projector screens. Choose from circles at the bottom of the screen to add 13 widgets including a calming background, random name picker, text, timer, and clock. Drag items to place them on the screen as desired. You can use Classroomsceen without signing up, but will get more features, for free, if you create and account. There is also a premium version, but this review is only for the free versions.
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tag(s): classroom management (126), emotions (47), functions (52), iwb (33), multilingual (67), social and emotional learning (86), Teacher Utilities (151), time (92)

In the Classroom

Use Classroomscreen on your interactive whiteboard for quick access to many commonly used tools. Enhance SEL for your students by using the backgound widget to set a calm tone for learning as students enter the classroom, use the timer for destressing during activities. Add to student computers for access to a calculator and text box for notes. ENL/ESL teachers will enjoy the multi-language feature, set it up under Personalize. Use the different backgrounds as inspiration for creative writing projects.

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Teach With Movies - TeachWithMovies.com, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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Hundreds of teachable movies! That's how many lesson plans or guides you'll find at Teach With Movies. Search one of the numerous categories to locate the movie, documentary, or short...more
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Hundreds of teachable movies! That's how many lesson plans or guides you'll find at Teach With Movies. Search one of the numerous categories to locate the movie, documentary, or short you want. Some of the categories are Subject Matter (and not just math, science, history, etc.), Social-Emotional Learning (themes like Ambition, Coming of Age, and many others), Appropriate Age (three through adult), and Set Up the Sub (found on the top menu under Features), just to name a few. Lessons include a general summary of the film and discussion questions with answers. Most also include a rationale for using the movie, the subjects, topics, and themes, if there is a book - a bit of background and review of it, objectives, possible problems, historical context, and more. Of course, the topics for consideration depend on the film. Sign up for the newsletter to see when there are lesson guides for the newest movies. Whether culminating a unit or introducing one, using these lessons and guides along with the video will help to make a lasting impression about your topic.

tag(s): difficult conversations (58), essays (21), movies (51), questioning (32), social and emotional learning (86), social skills (22), worksheets (70), writing (318)

In the Classroom

Movies offer an entertaining format for history and thematic studies. Use a video to add to the learning experience of students who are visual and auditory learners. Use this site to find videos in a wide range of topics to share on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector. Take advantage of the free lesson plans for classroom use. Preview the lessons before viewing and convert those that can be to a real-time discussion to engage students WHILE they watch a video! Enhance classroom learning and technology use and achieve this by setting up a backchannel chat using GoSoapBox, reviewed here. Alternatively, if you are distance or remote teaching or have a blended classroom, use VideoAnt, reviewed here, to ask questions and have students respond directly on the video.

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Big Ideas Video Series - Class Dojo

Grades
K to 8
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The Big Ideas Series, offered by ClassDojo, provides ten video topics encouraging students to explore different ways to healthy social emotional development and learning. The videos...more
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The Big Ideas Series, offered by ClassDojo, provides ten video topics encouraging students to explore different ways to healthy social emotional development and learning. The videos discuss concepts such as Empathy, Perseverance, Positive Thinking, Gratitude, Mindfulness, and more. Each topic has a series of short videos and includes a discussion guide to download for classroom use and a page with take-home questions for parent use.

tag(s): brain (55), emotions (47), empathy (27), learning styles (18), social and emotional learning (86), social skills (22)

In the Classroom

You may want to start your school year by sharing the three part video series on Empathy. Each video is five minutes and has a discussion guide. As a follow up use the Ripples of Kindness activity in small groups. Share younger students' observations on a whiteboard or poster. Older students can share their observations using a tool like Stickies, reviewed here. Dotstorming allows participants to add comments. Share other videos with a projector or on an interactive whiteboard to introduce a video each week and explore the discussion questions together. These videos could be very useful when preparing and motivating students for upcoming standardized testing or at the beginning of a school year to set a tone that everyone can learn. Include a link to videos on your class web page for parents to discuss at home with their student, and be sure to send home the take-home questions with topics to talk about.
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Happier - Nataly Kogan

Grades
3 to 12
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Share positive moments and increase your happiness! Share by describing your happy moment, upload a picture (not required), and place it in categories you create, such as working out,...more
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Share positive moments and increase your happiness! Share by describing your happy moment, upload a picture (not required), and place it in categories you create, such as working out, family, and more. Click Share to share with others, including on Twitter or Facebook. Why use categories? If you are lacking motivation for working out, viewing your positive messages from before can definitely help! Connect with others and comment on their happy moments! Read helpful tips to center you on happiness, find mini-courses, and use daily reminders to increase your happiness. Read the many articles on your journey to a happier YOU! This site/app is easy to use with today's busy lives, and interactivity is grounded in actual science.

tag(s): emotions (47), mental health (34), psychology (67), social and emotional learning (86)

In the Classroom

With testing, social pressure, and the desire to do well use Happier in class to reinforce social-emotional learning (SEL) by celebrating the small steps and successes on which students should be focusing. Teach students to identify positives along the way, no matter what the test or situation's outcome. Consider asking what did you learn from the situation? Identify categories that encompass all of the student's lives and focus on finding happy moments in all areas. Be sure to use this yourself! Find the positives in every facet of your day building happiness day by day. Psychology and Sociology classes can use this as an experiment about happiness, collecting student or family data through the year.

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Pear Deck - Pear Deck

Grades
K to 12
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Plan and build interactive presentations directly from your Google Drive! Share your presentation on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Your participants can contribute to your...more
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Plan and build interactive presentations directly from your Google Drive! Share your presentation on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Your participants can contribute to your presentation using their own device! You and your students will find Pear Deck to take the stress out of presenting and following a presentation, reinforcing SEL (social-emotional learning). Simply install Pear Deck and go to your Google Drive. Next, click Create and choose the Pear Deck icon (in your Google Drive). An untitled Pear Deck file can be found in your drive. Click on "Untitled Pear Deck" and rename this file. To create slides, choose "Normal slide" for standard text slides that are not interactive. Add images and text blocks, and a title. Choose a "Draggable slide" to enter a question for input. Add a line or dot for participants to answer the question. Use the "Multiple Choice" slide to enter a question and answer choices. To present, click "Start Presenting." You can use the option to "Open Session Dashboard" and see all of the participants who joined the presentation. You can also choose "Open Projector View." While presenting, use the "Add a Question" tool to enter a last minute question. That can be as simple as a thumbs up or thumbs down choice to check on understanding. Make sure you "End Session" to save the results from the questions. The free account provides basic interactive questions and is especially good for formative and summative assessments and automatic graded answere. Help can be found by clicking on Menu and then Support. Find more information about Google Drive here.
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tag(s): assessment (148), differentiation (86), emotions (47), gamification (77), slides (42), social and emotional learning (86)

In the Classroom

Invite students to join. Students will not see your slides UNTIL you start the presentation. Use the presentation tools. Students' view of the presentation follows the changes you make. Be sure to become familiar with these tools before using the tools with students. As students join, their names appear in the dashboard view. Tools include Lock and Unlock Responses from students, Hide and Show Responses, Ask Again, and more. Answer the questions more than once if desired. Pear Deck maintains the results of both attempts.

It may be a good idea to open both the Session Dashboard and the Projector View before using with the students. Keep each in separate tabs (or use a different device such as a tablet for one of these). Be sure to turn off student responses and lock responses UNTIL every student has responded (so students will not be swayed by other responses or change answers). With the draggable slide, insert an image that requires quick input such as where a basketball thrown at a hoop will land, where on a timeline image a specific event occurred, or where erosion would be deposited on a river bend picture. You might consider using Pear Deck as a check in or exit ticket using emojis for feelings or depth of understanding. This resource is invaluable for presenting questions for quick formative assessment of the content that students are to learn in any subject area!

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Do Nothing for 2 Minutes - Alex Tew

Grades
K to 12
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Remember to take a 2-minute stress relief break in your classroom and reinforce social-emotional learning (SEL) simultaneously with Do Nothing for 2 Minutes. When you enter the website,...more
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Remember to take a 2-minute stress relief break in your classroom and reinforce social-emotional learning (SEL) simultaneously with Do Nothing for 2 Minutes. When you enter the website, the 2 minute timer begins. Relax and enjoy the soothing sounds of waves and the beautiful beach image. If you do anything, such as move your mouse, the timer resets challenging you to take the full 2 minutes of relaxation time. What a fabulous tool for lowering your stress or refocusing!

tag(s): social and emotional learning (86), stress (8)

In the Classroom

Use Do Nothing for 2 Minutess to settle students down after activities or during transition times. Use it to relax them before "big tests." This site may be perfect for those students that need a little quiet time in their daily routine. Use this site with any students who may need some quiet time between transitions. Share this site to use with students while studying. They could study for 15 minutes (or longer, depending on the age) and "earn" two minutes of relaxation. If students feel stressed out about a project, try starting with this 2 minute relaxation exercise to calm the nerves. Use this site for yourself: relaxing, destressing, and enjoying life for a quick 2 minutes. Use this tool during a unit in study skills to talk about ways to refocus as you study. There is great value in incubation time before actually launching into a new project or creative challenge, and this tool can help!

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