Grades5 to 12
When you arrive at the site, click your language (there are MANY languages to choose from). Enter your gender, age, and location (optional). Then choose the "game" you wish to try. Some are more commercial (Disney, The Simpsons, or Star Trek). Others have educational value (Harry Potter, Earth, or Classic, Famous people). This is a fun and challenging activity. There are disclaimers that the "game gets smarter" the more you play because the game compiles facts over time. It is involving and fun to play. The site does include some advertisements.
tag(s): trivia (21)
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Teachers could have students research a person, place or thing and then use their research to play twenty questions against the computer. It could also be used as review if posted to the class wiki and then completed independently by students at home. Use this as a first day or first week activity, have students try the 20 question game about names and see if the computer can figure out their name. Use the Earth activity for geography practice in cooperative learning groups or as a class activity. In world language classes, choose the appropriate language to practice vocabulary about animals and other categories of information. As a culminating project in any class, have students create their own 20 question activity and quiz the class! You will be teaching HOTS (higher order thinking skills) as students use classification to create their questions.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThe sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using podOmatic, reviewed here. In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.
Grades2 to 12
Be aware: students should be cautioned that the site sells services to make the photo into a gift (obviously, for a fee!). Other ads may appear on the page, as well.
tag(s): editing (74)
In the ClassroomMany times, pictures taken in the classroom need to be edited in some way, and this online photo editor provides many of the options needed plus a few fun effects. Since no registration is required, students can upload a picture, create effects, and save again on their computer. Advise students to use pictures that they have permission to alter. Using their own photos is one way to ensure this. Be sure to check your school's acceptable use policy. Students should be aware of how to upload and then find their creation. Use this service any time pictures are used for classroom projects, lessons, or activities.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomWhy search for these sites, when the links can all be found in one place? Use this site in combination with TeachersFirst's rich reviews. Students can use these links as a springboard to research and projects. Be sure to save this site in your personal favorites! There is a lot to explore. List this site on your class website and/or wiki for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents can create custom logos for class blogs or site. Logos can also be created for use with multimedia projects and presentations. Have groups design logos for their project or for your class, then use them throughout the year to promote pride of ownership in class projects and accomplishments. During the first week of school, have students design "personal" logos that tell about themselves and include them on your class web page. Demonstrate this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students try out the site on their own.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): colors (77)
In the ClassroomArt teachers can teach basic design and color wheel principles using this tool on an interactive whiteboard or have students experiment with different color schemes to demonstrate their understanding of color concepts. Be aware that some monitors and projectors may not have the color responsiveness that other hardware has, making it more difficult to "see" the subtleties on this site. Use this tool for creation of coordinated website, wiki, or blog pages. Students will find an unlimited number of color schemes to choose from in the creation of their projects. Not sure what a "wiki" is? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomShare images and posts from this blog on your interactive whiteboard or projector to illustrate basic principles of color, line, and other art elements (use those whiteboard drawing tools for students to highlight and label!). After sharing a trend from this blog, ask your art or design students to take digital pictures illustrating that trend in their own home or local mall. Create a class wiki connecting what YOUR students see with what professional designers see. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
As an environmental awareness project, focus on recycled goods and their use as "design elements" in chic homes. Challenge visual/spatial intelligence and engage your visual learners by using this blog as a writing prompt option for student blogs, descriptive writing, or persuasive essays on America materialism or the environment. In science class where you may be studying the laws of motion or the nature of light, allow your "artsy" students to use objects from this blog as illustrative examples of curriculum concepts, connecting something they care about with the science curriculum. Ex. Why is this kind of metal better suited for a lamp? Offer this site as one of many optional links from which they may choose examples, along with more traditional "scientific" sources.
World language students will find the city design guides a wonderful way to study culture in other lands -- and practice describing it in the language of study!
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): greece (27)
In the ClassroomThe collection of videos is ever-expanding, and comments can be left by any member of the public who chooses to join. While our editors found no inappropriate content, teachers would be wise to preview in case some "clever" folks decide to throw inappropriate comments onto one of these outstanding videos. If you join the site (for free), you can collect Favorite videos for quick access to show in class as well as add class comments to videos. We recommend a whole-class account for most uses, at least initially. Assign groups to take turns posting comments to your collected videos, adding their initials so you know who did them. Have art or art history students watch an assigned video or study an artist in small groups and explore the connections available in Notes. Then have them share a concept map about that particular work, historical period, or artist, including the "notes" they would add from their own connections, reactions, and related research. Use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share the concept maps.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): creativity (120)
In the ClassroomShare one or more of these videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard as you talk about artists and art history, and-- perhaps more importantly -- about what "inspires" your students to their own creations. Share digital pictures of a local library or landmark on a projector as inspiration for in-class artwork after watching one of these videos. As you study famous artists, compare the experiences of these New York artists, talking about their own creative process, with accounts by Van Gogh's diaries or authors' writing journals. As your art students prepare portfolios, use these videos as a model for blog entries (or videos of their own) sharing students' thoughts on their own creations and what inspired them. Have students make whole-class or individual wiki portfolio pages with digital pictures of their art projects and reflecting on the ideas behind their work in written text or embedded video clips. Use a safe video sharing site such as SchoolTube reviewed here to post student video; then "embed" them in a class wiki collection.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomWith younger students, share the discussion on an interactive whiteboard or projector to teach basic color terminology in art class, then have them design their own color schemes for a traditional art project, class wiki (great for portfolio sharing), or multimedia project in PowerPoint. You could even use basic shapes and colors on the whiteboard to create and "drag and drop" color swatches to illustrate the ideas. Middle and high school student groups could use this blog as a reference in designing brochures or web pages or critiquing publications in print or on the web. Have students take "screenshots" of web pages and analyze the colors used, posting the images and analysis to a wiki. Better yet, have more techie-students embed web content such as flickr photos within their wiki and analyze it in a caption below the "live" content. Assign an authentic graphic design task such as some of those mentioned in this blog. Teachers of advanced art students will want to share this link on their class web page for students to access both in and out of class as a reference and discussion starter.
Grades4 to 12
There is a link to a detailed lesson plan (including a few lesson plans, printables, and interactives). This site is aligned to national standards. The site requires both Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector during a unit about rotation and/or reflection. Have students work with partners to explore this site together. Have students create their own patterns using graph paper or a drawing program with lines of symmetry and simple "flip horizontal" or "flip vertical" commands. Take advantage of the ready to go lesson plans, printables, and more.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): fish (24)
In the ClassroomUse the aquarium on a projector or interactive whiteboard before beginning any unit on animals, classification, behavior, or biomes. Students can make observations about how different fish act, the ecosystem of the fish, adaptations of fish to their environment, or any other information. Use these observations to begin the discussions of the concepts in your unit. Teach Art or English? Use this site for inspiration for writing poetry, stories, or other forms of artwork.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): vocabulary (315)
In the ClassroomThe options are endless. Search the differences between two types of soils, mitosis and meiosis, presidents or those running for office, of geometric figures, artists or musicians, places to visit. As a way to build higher order thinking skills, this site is ideal, since comparison of attributes requires analysis.
Try creating some lists of your own as a class after using the ready-made ones here. This activity would be easy to do on an interactive whiteboard, with students hand writing the characteristics and dragging them into Similarities and Differences columns before entering them into Diffen. This site could be used in nearly every subject area. Share this site on your class blog or website, for students to access both in and out of the classroom. This is definitely one to save in your favorites.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomDuring your unit on light in science class or your study of photography, have students work in cooperative learning groups, divide up the vocabulary words, and have each group find the definitions for their assigned vocabulary words. This is a powerful way for them to master the vocabulary of photography, light, and lenses. Have the groups share their words and definitions in an online book, using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. And of course, don't miss the interactive word puzzles!
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomSearching the "For Educators" page gives you a wide variety of ideas for using this site and these essays. Since students enjoy using first person point of view in their writing, this might be an inspiration for some. You can use some of these essays as conversation starters on topics you are studying in class. (Example: Penn Jillette wrote his essay stating that he believes there is no god. This could be related to many books studied, such as 1984 or Brave New World.) Have students write their essays as blog entries or record them as podcasts using a tool such as Podomatic, reviewed here, or as an illustrated essay using ThingLink, reviewed here. Spanish teachers will want to explore the options to listen to or write essays in Spanish, as well.
GradesK to 12
Be sure to check with your technology department about the ability to download these applications to school computers. Many districts have restrictions on the ability to download. Click on each game icon to read a description of the games included and some uses. Games are Mac and Windows compatible. Read their FAQ link with each set of games for the most asked questions about the shareware. Once downloaded, to "stop" a program, click Esc. If you are not allowed to install software on your own, share these powerful games with your math or art supervisors so they can advocate for you with the tech folks.
In the ClassroomUse many of the images as an introductory inquiry activity to get students thinking about shapes and space. In art class, use the tiling activity and others on a projector before having student create their own on paper. Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide images to groups to explore and identify the underlying math concepts present in the artwork. Provide an opportunity for some groups to create their own work with a geometric shape that they are investigating. Follow up with student projects of the geometric shape or photographs of geometric shapes in nature and man-made structures.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse a Padlet to collaborate in collecting ideas, brainstorming, and more. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Padlet does not show which work is attributable to which student, so you may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. If allowing all students to post to the wall or make comments, you may want to discuss internet safety and etiquette and establish specific class rules and consequences. Making the setting private again will prohibit content from later being replaced by classmate "vandalism."
Use a Padlet to collect webquest links and information to share with students. By leaving the wall open to comments, solicit input, discussions, or viewpoints from students. They can even contribute other sources they find. Color code resources to indicate different reading levels or "high challenge" sources for your more able students. Assign a student project where students choose their theme and design a wall around it. For example, have students create a wall about an environmental issue. They can include pictures, audio or video, links, and other information to display. Use as a new format for book reports. Do your students have favorites such as music or sports? Create a wall around these favorites or hobbies. Use a wall for grammar or vocabulary words. Create walls for debates or viewpoints. Post assignments, reminders, or study skills on a wall. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use the Padlet site to create a wall with the goings-on in class. Embed your walls in a blog, wiki or website. See a similar tool (and more ideas to use either tool) in the TeachersFirst review of Lino here. Decide which one you prefer! Unfortunately, the Padlet embedded viewer is very small but can be scrolled in both directions.
Use Padlet as a class space during snow days and school breaks. Share the link to a teacher-created, public wall where students can share notes about what they did during the snow day or respond to a thought-provoking question.
Encourage creativity and organization by having your gifted students (or anyone doing independent projects) create Padlets to collect ideas, images, quotes, and more in an "idea bin." Require them to share a brainstorming Padlet to show you the ideas they considered before they launch into a project. Have them brainstorm (and later sort/color code) the possibilities for a creative problem solving or "Maker Faire" project. In writing or art classes, use Padlet as a virtual writer's journal or design notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
This site includes advertising.
tag(s): photography (155)
In the ClassroomThis site could be used in many capacities: sharing students' work online (with parental consent, of course), sharing this video clip at in-service trainings for teachers to use both professionally and personally, providing the link on your website for families to view and use at home, and many other possibilities.
Grades2 to 10
In the ClassroomShare the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work with a partner to try out the puzzles on their own. Have students (or groups) create their own word puzzles to share as a class challenge as a student-run interactive whiteboard activity or share them on a class wiki.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): drawing (78)