Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomPodomatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. Teachers using this tool with younger students should do so under supervision and with a teacher-controlled account. You will want to supervise or establish consequences so students do not spend time on the public areas of the site and instead proceed to creating their podcasts. This is an opportunity to teach about digital citizenship and safety, such as steering clear of interaction and avoiding sharing any identifiable information about yourself in a podcast. You may want to share the links to class podcasts only with your students and parents. If you have students record podcasts as assignments, you may need multiple accounts because the free accounts have limited file space. An elementary teacher might have enough space for 25 students to keep a limited number of products on his/her own account, depending upon length.
Create regular or special podcasts to share on your class web page or wiki. Create a mini cast of images taken during a lab or a portfolio of images from a photography, art, or any other class. Add music and share as part of a digital portfolio. More ideas: record class assignments or directions, record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home, adding a touch of blended learning to your classroom! Have readers (perhaps older buddies) build fluency by recording selected passages for your non-readers. Launch a service project for your fifth or sixth graders to record stories for the kindergarten to use in their reading and listening center. Have students create "you are there" recordings as "eyewitnesses" to historical or current events, Make a weekly class podcast, with students taking turns writing and sharing the "Class News." Have students create radio advertisements for concepts studied in class (Buy Dynamic DNA!), Have students write and record their own stories or poetry in dramatic readings; language students or beginning readers could record their fluency by reading passages. Allow parents to hear their child's progress reading aloud, etc. Compare world language, speech articulation, or reading fluency at two points during the year. Have your Shakespeare students record a soliloquy. Write and record a poem for Father's or Mother's Day (or other special events) and send the URL as a gift to that special person.
If you have gifted students who lean toward the dramatic, this tool is simple enough for them to create dramatic mini casts without needing a video camera. They can collect images (think Compfight) and write a drama to accompany them, showing what they have learned in independent learning beyond the regular curriculum.
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
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the chart as a basis for writing prompts, fishbowl discussions, blog posts, and more. Create a wiki page about the background information of the chart. Consider using the topics here to conduct your own research and publish your own charts through a wiki or blog. Want to learn more about wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a resource for current events projects - assign students various weeks through out the semester in which they are to be the class news reporter, keeping their peers up to date and informed. Have students research whats going on via this news site, and present a small presentation at the beginning of class every day during their week. Students can either orally present, or for the technologically inclined, create a short video summarizing the same information. Have students create news briefs and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): europe (71)
In the ClassroomUse this site as a springboard for current events discussions, or as a source for a Euro-centric viewpoint on the news. Display the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge students to read specific articles and create multimedia presentation to share with the class. Have students annotate an image using Fine Tuna, (reviewed here.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomChoose whatever fits your curriculum or as a daily warm-up for current events. This provides a great alternative to reading news articles and is especially motivating for visual learners and students who struggle with reading comprehension. After your class views the video, use the daily discussion activities designed to promote critical thinking. You are also able to print the learning activities to assign as group work or for homework. There is even a news quiz. You may want to distribute copies of the transcripts for ESL students to refer to, for use as a research source, or to use for practicing reading comprehension for state exams and other assessments. Challenge cooperative learning groups to research one topic at this site and share their findings with the class by creating an interactive online poster (infographic) using Piktochart, reviewed here.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): population (63)
In the ClassroomUse this infographic in class by posting the link on a wiki, blog or website. (You can also embed it right in your wiki or blog.) Provide time for students to look at the material and to generate questions about it. Brainstorm not only questions but what has been learned from it. Allow groups time to research the economic and social issues that have caused such a change in population and how people live. Encourage students to use the links referenced and to evaluate them as sources. Students can also find their own sources to validate information shown. Create multimedia or conventional displays of information to share what has been learned by others. Have your students try something other than PowerPoint: create a Prezi presentation (reviewed here), simple to use with endless possibilities.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the lesson plan suggestions to meet the mandate for instruction on Constitution Day, but be sure and check out the other resources for lessons on civics, government, current events and the Constitution itself. The section called "Dialogues" provides resources to engage students and community members in discussion of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomShare the photos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the series of steps on this activity to teach students the skills of observation, deduction, and drawing intelligent conclusions. Have students do this activity in pairs in a computer lab. The steps are available to use on paper or printable in pdf format, so students can select their own mystery photos and create a similar activity away from the computer. ESL/ELL students can benefit from using the steps in this process. Images will help them understand material better, and they can also create their own presentations. Have students bring and exchange mystery photos; see if the conclusions they draw match the family stories the photo owners have. Science teachers can use this photo activity to teach about scientific method and, in particular, making observations. Start with the offerings on this site, then try it with more "scientific" images.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): timelines (57)
In the ClassroomIf you only plan to VIEW timelines, no extra skills are needed. Step by step directions are provided. You will also need to choose a username to create your timeline.
There are many uses for the ready-made timelines: use your interactive whiteboard or projector to learn about historical events, research literature, learn about different decades and events throughout the world, and more. Have students create timelines for research projects using Photo Timelines. Use this tool to make a timeline of your class,''''?,"'''? school year for younger classes who are just learning the graphical representation of time. Create author biographies, animal life cycles, or timelines of events and causes of wars. Challenge students to create a timeline of the plot of a novel, interspersed with the ways themes appear throughout the novel. If you teach chemistry, have students create illustrated sequences explaining oxidation or reduction (or both). Elementary students could even interview grandparents and create a class timeline about their grandparents,''''?,"'''? generation for Grandparents' Day. Why not create a timeline highlighting students' family events for a special gift for Mother's Day, Father's Day, or other holidays? You may need to assign students to do some investigative work first (years of births, marriages, vacations, etc.). In world language classes, have students create a timeline of their family in the language to master vocabulary about relatives, jobs, and more (and verb tenses!). Students can learn about photo selection, detail writing, chronological order, and photo digitization while creating the timelines of their choice. Making a timeline is also a good way to review history and cultural developments.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomA class journaling program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic from current events, current social issues, independent reading, literature, and more. Any class using a journal can use Penzu. For example, science lab write ups or the problem of the week in math. Penzu can even be used for homework. Just think, no more lugging heavy boxes full of notebooks around! In language arts have students journal daily and harvest from their musings and ideas to create a short story or a poem. They can even use Penzu to develop their brainstorms and rough draft. For social studies classes, students can write posts and ideas about famous people or daily life in a time period being studied, then create a "diary" for the famous person in Bookemon or a poster about daily life. For either of these ideas, once they are ready to present a final project have them use Bookemon, reviewed here, or Piktochart, reviewed here, to share with their peers and others and possibly add other media. See more ideas for student blogging/journaling at TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics for the Classroom. Share journals with parents as appropriate by URL. Be sure to respect student privacy before sharing.
Grades10 to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a great site for having students read science writing. The cross-curricular aspect of the articles is great. Nonfiction, especially in science, is harder for students to understand and read. This site can provide great practice for students in comprehension of informational texts. Have students read articles as homework and bring questions to class. Or assign an article on the class website and have students post responses. A good strategy for this type of assignment is to require students to create one original post and two responses to other students. This can begin the conversational ball rolling. Another idea for this site, is to use the obituaries section as a start for student research. Students are already exposed to historically important scientists, but this would bring more current physicists to the learning lime light.
If you plan to have students write comments on the articles, an email address is required. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
GradesK to 12
Because there is no search feature and no descriptions of what the webcams show, do not have young children access them without supervision. Previewing all videos before sharing with the class would be wise.
In the ClassroomThis site would be a great addition to any science, social studies, or world cultures class. Teachers click on a webcam in different parts of the world to see things like weather and basic geography. In early elementary, use web cams to introduce the world visually on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Select specific web cams and create shortcuts on your classroom computer desktop for students to "see what's happening" on a certain continent as you study the seven continents. Use animal webcams for students to observe animal behavior and keep a "lab journal" of what they see. Use this site to visit different areas that have been effected by natural disasters. Share the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students (with a partner) create their own videos related to your location and/or specific topic of study. Share the videos using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades11 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is best suited for gifted/highly able senior high students or for teachers seeking an open-ended question to toss into discussion in an AP level class. This is definitely NOT a site to offer for students to explore on their own. Focus on one response and use it repeatedly as an angle to get students thinking. For a longer term approach, keep one of these questions or answers posted in your classroom or on your class web page to constantly prompt students into deeper thinking beyond the simple memorization and application of concepts. One great example to post, use as a writing prompt, or challenge students to use as a central theme for a multimedia presentation: Howard Gardner's suggestion that we ask ourselves,""How Would You Disprove Your Viewpoint?!"
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomMake this site a link on your class web page during a unit on space or all year round. Gifted students and those with a passion for space will find endless discoveries. Include this site as a research source when assigning projects about space or the planets. If you have more able students in upper elementary or middle school, use this site as a differentiated alternative for them to research at a higher level. Inspire students to read in content areas by sharing space-related "current events" articles from this site. These selections would work well on interactive whiteboards for practice using highlighters to find main idea, context clues, and other comprehension skills. No whiteboard? No problem! Use your projector and eMargin, reviewed here, to highlight and annotate as a class. If you assign portions of the site to the entire class, you may need to assign "reading buddies" for weaker readers and they can use eMargin together. Challenge students to narrate space image galleries (search for the blog entry on the "New Flickr collection of historical NASA photos") or design and explain their own devices for space exploration on Thinglink, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomJoin XW1W with your class using a single Twitter account or any blog or wiki tool where you can share student answers to the weekly question. If you cannot access Twitter at school, that is not a problem. You do not even have to use Twitter (though this is a great way dip your toes into Twitter). See the FAQ page for specific hints on using XW1W with your students. Share the XW1W idea with teaching colleagues in other places, and perhaps even with families to try at home. Want to learn more about Twitter and teaching. See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.
GradesK to 12
There is an excellent tutorial for creating your own GoogleTrek that includes step-by-step directions with pictures. After creating a GoogleTrek, it can be posted to the site for others to use. Also included is a rubric that can be downloaded in pdf form. More information on Google Maps can be found at the TeachersFirst review. You can also view the maps in Google Earth. To learn more about Google Earth, see the TeachersFirst review (here).
tag(s): maps (292)
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore independently or in small groups. Older students can create their own GoogleTrek after viewing examples for any subject. To post the GoogleTrek, you must email the creator (directions are explicitly explained on the "Posting Your Own GoogleTrek" link. Have students create GoogleTrek's about Christmas Around the World, routes of explorers, famous landmarks, and important inventions. While presenting a GoogleTrek, have students identify points displayed on paper maps located at their seats.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse 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. Students can use this when researching alone or in groups, sharing files, videos, and pictures quickly from one computer to another. Have students write tasks for each member of the group on a sticky so that everyone has a responsibility. Show them how to copy/paste URLs for sources onto notes, too. Use Lino as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Use a Lino for students to submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on. Use it as a virtual graffiti wall for students to make connections between their world and curriculum content, such as "I wonder what the hall monitor would say finding Lady Macbeth washing her hands in the school restroom... and what Lady M would say back." (Of course, you will want to have a PG-13 policy for student comments!) Encourage students to maintain an idea collection lino for ideas and creative inspirations they may not have used yet but do not want to "lose." They can color code and organize ideas later or send the stickies to a new project board later. In writing or art classes, use lino as a virtual writer's journal or design a notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips. In science classes, encourage students to keep a lino board with (classroom appropriate) questions and "aside" thoughts about science concepts being studied and to use these ideas in later projects so their creative ideas are not 'lost" before project time. A lino board can also serve as a final online "display" for students to "show what they know" as the culmination of a research project. Add videos, images, and notes in a carefully arranged display not unlike an electronic bulletin board. This is also a great tool to help you stay "personally" organized. Use this site as a resource to share information with other teachers, parents, or students.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomFirst, it's important for students to know that the US Constitution requires a census, and second, that the information gathered is used in a variety of important ways that affect them directly. The first data posted looks at how shifts in population density will change the way various geographic areas of the country are represented in the US government. Consider reading the Director's blog for further analysis of how census data is being used on a local, state, and national level. Of course, the data are perfect for using in math and civics classes for teaching graph reading and creation, and for providing real-life information to use in statistical analysis. A civics or sociology class might download a copy of the census form and consider what the questions tell us about how families live in the 21st century. What questions might students add to a future census form that would reflect how things are changing for their generation?
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare these word clouds on interactive whiteboard or projector to analyze the presidential agendas in a civics or government class. Have students make their own clouds of text from other speeches using Wordle, reviewed here or similar word cloud tools to add to the comparison options. During political campaigns, share this comparison and invite students to create ones of their own between different candidates. In English/language arts classes, use the word clouds to spark discussion of propaganda techniques, word choice, and effective speech techniques. Share this discussion in debate club, as well, to point out the importance of carefully crafted messages. Have students create and compare clouds of their own speech drafts while studying persuasive writing.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): podcasts (60)
In the ClassroomUse this site for students to relate physics to their everyday lives by finding a current event, reading it, and discussing how it is relevant to them. Discussion can be in class, or posted to a class wiki. It would be a good idea to insert the link to the site on your class website or wiki so that students can access it easily in and out of class. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Reading teachers looking for informational passages to reinforce and practice comprehension skills will find the current events articles on this site well sited for use on an interactive whiteboard to practice main idea, summarizing, etc.