Grades8 to 12
You can put this in your RSS reader. Some of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
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In the ClassroomIntroduce your AP language and world culture students to the materials on this site. Gifted students or those seeking independent language study could also use these courses.Older ESL and ELL students interested in business careers may also find it useful.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomAP history, language, and economics students may find MIT's online course materials useful. MIT has committed to putting its entire curriculum on the web, and these early offerings include syllabi, reading materials, and a variety of subject-specific class notes. Before using these pages, students and parents should all be aware of what Open Courseware is and is not. Teachers at smaller schools may welcome the availability of language alternatives. Teachers of gifted who are looking for acceleration options will also find these courses valuable, though you will need to develop a means of doing assessment if your students are to earn credit for them.
Grades6 to 12
Membership is free and has many perks. You are able to comment and/or grade the video clips or even submit your own video. Registration does require some personal information: a username, password, email address, and date of birth. ALL USERS MUST BE OVER 13-years of age! Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using fictitious names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to 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.
Warning: not all videos are suitable for the classroom. Be sure to preview what you wish to share. If you choose to allow your older students to navigate this site on their own (for research or a class project), be sure to set boundaries on which videos to watch, consequences for going elsewhere, and WATCH CAREFULLY! Some videos explain "how to" do things that are unsafe or inappropriate for school-ages audiences. Wonder How To does include unobtrusive advertisements. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomUse these fabulous "how to" videos for informative writing projects in speech, science, or even with your gifted students. The site does provide excellent research. You may want to link directly to the specific videos you want students to see in order to avoid other, less-desirable options. Share the "how to" videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an anticipatory set for a new lesson. For a final project, have students create and submit their own "how to" video using YouTube or using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades6 to 12
Be aware: each mind stretcher activity includes a blog. Some of the blog comments may not be appropriate, so be sure to READ any blogs that you plan to share. You may want to make these activities a group challenge, rather than individual exploration. Many are interactive and require Flash or Java. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomStart your class (any subject area) with a mind stretcher or include this as part of a psychology or biology lesson on how the brain works. Share the puzzle or challenge on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge your students to create their own logic activities and create a class "Logic" wiki.
Grades11 to 12
In the ClassroomThe ideas presented on this site offer imaginative teachers great scope. Using the short videos and/or the albums as jumping off points, students can create their own videos of their own productions. Share the videos on YouTube or another tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
One of the central topics can be the ease or difficulty in staging some of the scenes. Since there are several of the videos where actors describe the experiences playing certain characters as well as short documentaries showing authentic Elizabethan music, dance, etc., students can incorporate their own ideas in making their own scenes more genuine.
Grades2 to 10
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites. Use a logic puzzle as a class opener to "warm up" brains. Display the puzzle on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Print out the logic puzzles for students to complete for additional enrichment. Use this site with your gifted students. Provide a link to this site on your class website for students to use at home. Challenge your students to create some puzzlers of their own and share them on a class wiki.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomRead the Blog at this site to learn many cool ways to interact with your personal computer an devices using RTM. Learning support teachers and teachers of disorganized gifted students may want to "model" using such an online tool to help middle and high school students learn better personal organization. Make a demo account for a "mythical" student and organize him/her together so students can see how it works. You will have to check school policies and access to some of the messaging tools, however, since some may be prohibited in your school. Learning support and gifted teachers will welcome this online tool as an engaging way for students to become better-organized. Give students a tech tool, and they just might try it!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse these Olympics resources to plan an entire unit during the Olympics or make them available as links from your teacher web page for enrichment if the Olympics fall during school breaks. Not enough time for an Olympics unit? Perhaps students can use these links to generate ideas and projects to share on an Olympics extra credit wiki. Teachers of gifted will find many ways to spark new projects usig these links.
Grades4 to 12
Opportunities to register pop up during play but are not required at this site.
If you choose to have your students register, please be aware of your district's requirements and acceptable use policy for using student user names, passwords, and emails.
This site requires Flash and adobe acrobat. Get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomDifferentiate your math instruction easily! Use as assigned, independent study for students as needed. Use as a class resource on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work collaboratively in groups to achieve the answers. Assign areas as homework practice; if computers aren't available at home, print off the worksheets for homework practice.
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomTeacher ed institutions and graduate classes you are taking on contemporary issues in education may want to explore these scenarios for discussion. Even high school classes exploring careers or trends in current events may discuss the reshaping of education over the next 20+ years as today's high schoolers become tomorrow's teachers. Teachers of Gifted working with forecasting and futures will find this an interesting model.
Any teacher planing to remain in the profession will want to think about how these scenarios might affect YOUR classroom in some way in the near future.
Grades3 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse this site as an anticipatory set for a unit in history or on inventions. Share a collection of images or invention drawings on a projector or whiteboard and ask what the invention will do. Or use the site as the starting point for individual or group projects. After demonstrating on an interactive whiteboard or projector, have students use laptops or lab computers to "collect" resources related to their assigned inventor, decade, or era in American history. Check your school policy regarding accessing student email. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of GMail subaccounts (managed by you), explained here. This tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. This would provide anonymous interaction within your class. Students can use their log-ins to collect resources.
Since the documents are in the public domain (are not copyrighted), students may also download and use the files as part of other projects, such as video compilations, Powerpoint presentations, or multimedia of any sort. To access the resources in non-Flash format, click the small link to "research this record in ARC" in the detailed view of the item. You can then view and Save As for use elsewhere. Be sure you teach students about copying the URL and relevant information from this ARC page to cite the source and give credit in any presentation they make. This site is excellent for enrichment or projects for the gifted, as well. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class for students who are working in History Day projects or other assignments for your class.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse these applets on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an anticipatory set for a lesson in math class. Have students work independently on the logic and puzzle activities. These activities are ideal for gifted students (for advancement and/or enrichment) or extra practice for struggling students. Provide this link on your class website, so students can explore at home or as review.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomShow difficult-to-understand concepts on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these Interactives by having students predict outcomes and then carry out the experiment, such as in rolling die to determine probabilities. Students can then apply the information to a new set of problems. Use many of the interactives as a class game. Though perfect for the whiteboard, they can also be used on individual computers or as a computer learning station.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis is one of those sites that you have see to appreciate. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard. In more advanced classes, project a number on the screen as students walk in. Have students try to figure out what might make this number "special." Have students share their responses. This is a great "number of the day/mind-stretcher of the day" activity.
Or have students work on individual computers. Choose several of the numbers that relate to a topic that you are teaching (such as the square root), and have individual students learn about the number and then teach the class what they learned. Extend the idea by having students create "what's special" PowerPoint slides or wiki pages about favorite numbers. What better way to develop true number sense and excitement about math as a mental game.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site might be offered to students doing independent research or included as "real" mysteries during a reading or literature unit on mysteries. The information could augment a lesson plan from a standard text with its lovely photos. It could be an option for exploration by accelerated students who have completed a unit on ancient history. Teachers should be aware that there is an on-line forum as a part of this site which requires registration. Its content is completely peripheral to the site, and students should simply be instructed to avoid it.
Grades1 to 12
Material created can only be viewed within the program. Drawings are not saved as a JPG or pic file. However, a "snapshot" of the screen can be created by using these keys in Mac: apple, shift, and 4 and click/drag to surround the portion to save. In PC use: control/print screen. These snapshots can be uploaded or used as a picture in other applications.
In the ClassroomQuick start: Click stage and in the center pane, click on backgrounds. Click on paint to make a new background. Different colors, pens, and materials can be used to create the background or an image can be brought in from your computer. Objects in Scratch are called a Sprite and can be added in by choosing the folders below the screen. By clicking the script tab, blocks can be moved in to create motion, add sounds (even record your own message), and change the look of the Sprite. Blocks are linked on to each other to create a series of events. A control block dragged to the top of the blocks control which key starts the event. Advanced options include adding variables and other controls.
Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Projects can be shared online; however an account is required.
Work is saved to the computer itself and only shared online via an account. To avoid problems concerning content made by outsiders or issues with sharing, save the work locally and either create your own gallery on a supervised class website/wiki or set up a single account where you share the "best" projects online via your own log-in. Remind students of the school's Acceptable Use Policy and consequences of violations, if you do allow them to join/share. Images used should adhere to all copyright rules. Use pictures taken in class or those with Creative Commons licensing (and provide attribution!).
Practical tips: Students quickly catch on to this program when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they will do/draw/say in their creation in order to keep tabs on what students and their creations.
Possible uses: For the lower grades, Scratch provides unlimited possibilities. Use as a new way to show vocabulary usage. Use the paint program to add information to a picture from your class field trip or science experiment. Use Scratch to help in storytelling a concept in a new and unique way, such as how rocks are formed. In the upper grades, use Scratch to show complex material in a new way. For example, students can draw DNA and show replication, etc. through their drawings and storytelling. Draw the different movements of landforms in plate tectonics. Draw or illustrate solutions to Math problems.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWhat a perfect tool to help your visual learners connect the dots in math class. All activities are perfect for an interactive whiteboard or projector. This is also an excellent resource to use for re-teaching skills, additional practice, enrichment activities, or even advanced activities for your gifted students. Learning support teachers will appreciate the alternative way to present math topics in a "hands-on" format. Be sure to include this website as a link on your classroom web page.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomThese activities are all ideal for a projection screen. Why not display one of the activities on a large screen as a brain stretcher activity at the beginning of class. If you are working on building mental math skills, some of the tips for teaching multiples will be handy. Why not ask the students to make posters with the tricks.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomThese activities are perfect for an interactive whiteboard (or projector). You could also provide a link to this website in your class newsletter or on your class web page. Many of the activities would provide excellent at-home practice and/or enrichment. Challenge your students to answer a question of the week for extra credit.
Grades6 to 12
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