TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Apr 15, 2012

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 return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Desmos: A Beautiful, Free Online Graphing Calculator - Eli Luberoff

Grades
9 to 12
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This tool is a standalone, web-based graphing calculator ideal for math or science. It graphs equations as you write them, is color-coded, and instantly revises and redraws the equations...more
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This tool is a standalone, web-based graphing calculator ideal for math or science. It graphs equations as you write them, is color-coded, and instantly revises and redraws the equations as you update them. Share any graph with a Bit.ly (shortened) link. Note that the calculator does NOT use Flash so it works on iPads and iTouches. Easily manage your graphs in a folder and browse examples. Desmos just released the news that they now have a free iPad app for their graphing calculator!

tag(s): calculators (35)

In the Classroom

Use this Better Calculator in place of expensive graphing calculators that many students may not have. Be sure to provide the link on your teacher page or wiki for easy access. This is a wonderful tool for iPad or 1:1 classrooms with their newly released free iPad app.

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CK-12 - CK-12 Foundation

Grades
5 to 12
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CK-12 offers a large variety of lessons and resources in STEM topics mostly geared for sixth grade and higher. Choose to access the site as a student or teacher to ...more
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CK-12 offers a large variety of lessons and resources in STEM topics mostly geared for sixth grade and higher. Choose to access the site as a student or teacher to begin. Search by specific content or to find standards-aligned flexbook textbooks. Download flexbooks in several formats such as PDF or mobi and epub format for use on Kindle and e-readers. Create an account and add flexbooks to your list. Add your own files and resources. Specific topic searches provide links to information from flexbooks as well as available study aids, activities, and assessments.

tag(s): atoms (52), cells (96), charts and graphs (188), decades (14), energy (167), engineering (84), equations (134), fractions (219), genetics (90), inequalities (25), landforms (40), measurement (147), oceans (129), organisms (18), periodic table (45), probability (112), pythagorean theorem (29), rocks (40), scientific method (50), seasons (34), solar energy (30), solar system (107), statistics (111), STEM (64), test prep (83), variables (22)

In the Classroom

Introduce CK-12 to your students (and parents) on your interactive whiteboard and demonstrate ways to use the site at home. Be sure to create a link to the site on your class website or blog for easy access at any time. Create an account and upload your own resources and activities to create your own flexbooks for use with students. CK-12 is available in many languages. Use this site with your ESL/ELL students as a supplement to classroom resources.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Scrumblr - scrumblr

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this free tool to create an online whiteboard with as many columns you create and sticky notecards you place on the board. No sign up or membership needed! ...more
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Use this free tool to create an online whiteboard with as many columns you create and sticky notecards you place on the board. No sign up or membership needed! Just start right in. You can type information on a each new card you make and drag it into place. Start by entering a title for your board. This becomes part of its url. Add sticky notecards with messages to your board using the plus sign at lower left. Draw attention to specific sticky notecards -- or color code them into groups-- by dragging one of the colored dots (lower right) to each notecard. Anyone who has the link will be able to add to the whiteboard. Add or remove column dividers on the whiteboard by using the + or - icon to the side. Label pro/con columns or other categories for as many columns as you wish. Don't forget to copy the url for your board before you close it! Paste it somewhere you won't lose it or mark it in your favorites.

tag(s): bulletin boards (15), organizational skills (95)

In the Classroom

Use this as a place to put web quest links and information. As a project idea, have students create a wall about their summer vacation. They can include links and other information to display. Have elementary students build a class homework board each day, having a different student add the assignment for each subject; then share the link to the board for them to access at home. "Writing down" assignments can be fun! Any activity you can do by sorting and ranking words, terms, or ideas can be done instantly (and changed later) on a Scrumblr board. Use this tool 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 or science unit terms. Create walls of pro/con for debates or high level thinking viewpoints. Post assignments, reminders, or study skills on a wall. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use the site to create a wall with the goings-on in class. See a similar tool (and more ideas to use either tool) in the TeachersFirst review of Stixy here. Decide which one you prefer!

This is the perfect quick start tool for your gifted students to record the ideas that occur to them during class. Have them create their own boards with a "what if" column for the crazy questions that pop in their heads, things like "What if Shakespeare wrote in a different meter?" or "Would Poe and Stephen King get along?" Give permission for far-fetched questions and graffiti! Have them create pro/con boards for tough topics such as gun rights during a unit on the Constitution, including links to evidence to support the statements they make on notecards. This tool could also help them brainstorm and sequence steps for a major independent project, sometimes a real challenge for the brightest students!

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Project Laundry List - Project Laundry List, Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
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Save the planet, one load of laundry at a time with Project Laundry List. This website is dedicated to encouraging people to use clotheslines and other sensible alternatives to wasteful...more
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Save the planet, one load of laundry at a time with Project Laundry List. This website is dedicated to encouraging people to use clotheslines and other sensible alternatives to wasteful energy consumption. Don't miss the Cost Calculator: a spreadsheet that you download to your computer, enter the amount and type of laundry you do, and automatically calculate energy and water costs of clothes care. It even shows your washer's carbon dioxide emissions! The calculator suggests easy ways to reduce costs, which, in turn reduces your impact on the environment. In the Programs Education section, find "The Clothesline Plan." It provides strategies about how to get involved with the clothesline, cold water washing movement. Featured here, among other good laundry history resources, is also "National Hanging Out Day" which is used to educate and create awareness about energy savings through the use of clotheslines.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): earth day (106), ecology (130), environment (289), holidays (129)

In the Classroom

During environmental science units or Earth Day, use this to have students calculate what their own households spend to care for clothing. Have students consider different tips for reducing environmental impact and saving money. As a homework assignment, have students implement two changes for two weeks. Have parents sign off on a log form to verify student participation. (Parents will love the extra help and possible money savings!) Set up your own celebration of "National Hanging Out Day" by having teams of students prepare presentations (the website even provides one) to share with others students and the community.

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Trello - Fog Creek Software

Grades
2 to 12
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Trello organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Updates are shown in real time, ...more
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Trello organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Updates are shown in real time, so refreshing the site isn't necessary. The two main items used on boards are cards and lists. Cards are tasks; create a card for each task and drag it to the list. Attachments such as videos, due dates, user notes, and more can be attached to cards. Then pull each card into a list and and place in any order necessary to complete the tasks. You can be identified with an @symbol and receive instant notifications.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (86), graphic organizers (46), organizational skills (95)

In the Classroom

Use this site in the classroom for organizing any long term project such as a research report or collaborative projects. Create a board for each group with a timeline and assign parts for each project. Gradually release the responsibility from one project to the next, asking students to create their own task lists so they learn time management. Teachers of learning support and gifted will love this tool as a way to teach organizational skills. Share it with parents to support their organizationally challenged students. Yearbook or school newspaper advisors may want to consider this site for organizing and assigning tasks. Share this site with your school's PTA as a resource for organizing and planning school events.

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Pora Ora: The Online 3D Educational Game for Children - Caped Koala Studios

Grades
K to 6
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Pora Ora is a stunning educational virtual world for elementary school aged students. The site includes educational activities and interactives for language arts, math, geography and...more
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Pora Ora is a stunning educational virtual world for elementary school aged students. The site includes educational activities and interactives for language arts, math, geography and many other subjects. Don't miss the Globetrotter geography activity - taking you around the world! As students participate in activities on the site, difficulty levels increase upon completion of skills. Online safety is at the heart of this site. The parental administration account sets the student's account from free chat with everyone to completely locked down where they have the world to themselves and everything in between. The site has a language filter and you can report any incidents of trouble. The first task requires you to complete an online safety task. You are able to play one time without activating an account. To return to the site an account needs to be created and part of that process is an email activation from a parent (or teacher) account. This site was created in the United Kingdom, so if you speak American English you may notice some slight spelling differences.

tag(s): continents (41), counting (117), equations (134), geometric shapes (130), keyboarding (30), landforms (40), landmarks (23), numbers (187), operations (102), preK (239), problem solving (191), puzzles (183), sequencing (32), spelling (165), vocabulary (307), vocabulary development (104)

In the Classroom

Create accounts for each student or one class account for students to work on skills together. Demonstrate the site using your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to show students how to create their avatar, find games, view quests, and more. Share this site with families using your class webpage, wiki, blog, or newsletter.

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Moneyville - Northern Bank's Financial Literacy programme

Grades
2 to 6
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Take a trip to MoneyVille, a fun interactive environment/virtual world to explore where money comes from, what money is worth and how to prioritize spending and saving. Choose a username,...more
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Take a trip to MoneyVille, a fun interactive environment/virtual world to explore where money comes from, what money is worth and how to prioritize spending and saving. Choose a username, password, and "design" your character. Throughout the activity, you are asked to make a number of decisions that can affect your finances for the year. Make money by picking apples and selling apple juice, working at the post office to sort packages according to value, working at the city gates painting, and more. Step into the time machine in Moneyville to journey to ancient Rome, ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, or to the time of the dinosaurs. The money in Moneyville is generic so this site is useful in any country using any form of currency. Note that the actual game opens in a new window. Be sure to click on the disclaimer and privacy statement at the bottom of the page to find information for teachers and parents about the site, including some printables grouped according to age range.

tag(s): financial literacy (63), money (178)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom account and have students work together and explore economic principles. Share how to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create individual accounts and create a learning station for students to explore this site to learn more about economics. Take advantage of discussions that occur and use them for teachable moments when exploring economic decisions. Share this site with parents through your class website or newsletter for students to use at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Stem Career - Rich Feller

Grades
7 to 12
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What is STEM? With so much emphasis on pursuing STEM, find great resources here about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Find articles, surveys, and other information...more
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What is STEM? With so much emphasis on pursuing STEM, find great resources here about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Find articles, surveys, and other information about STEM careers. Find information geared towards students, teachers, counselors, and parents about pursuing STEM careers. Search through STEM disciplines, degree profiles, or other information.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): careers (112), college (42), STEM (64)

In the Classroom

Share some of the infographics on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Allow time for students to search careers to report to the rest of the class using conventional or multimedia posters and other products. Use an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here). Include the skills required for the job, the education needed, and what that person does. Challenge students to create an advertisement for a STEM career they might enjoy.

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Random Word Generator - Dillfrog.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Spice up creative writing activities with this random word generator. Choose from a list of either verbs, nouns, adjectives, or adverbs to find creative, thought-provoking combinations...more
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Spice up creative writing activities with this random word generator. Choose from a list of either verbs, nouns, adjectives, or adverbs to find creative, thought-provoking combinations or alternatives as prompts for writing. Lists include 20 words in each column and can be changed by choosing the Generate More! button. Click on the word to view the definition.

tag(s): creative writing (137), creativity (93), vocabulary development (104)

In the Classroom

Display the generator on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and challenge students to use as many words as possible in their daily writing. Use words from the site for vocabulary of the day practice. Challenge students to define as many words as possible from the word generator. Set a timer and have students use as many words from the generator as they can in the time allowed. Build creative fluency and flexibility as students dream up new story scenarios to use the new vocabulary.

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American Indian Response to Environmental Changes - National Museum of the American Indian

Grades
4 to 12
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This site documents how four Native American communities are responding to changes in the environment where they live. Through videos and primary sources, you can explore these four...more
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This site documents how four Native American communities are responding to changes in the environment where they live. Through videos and primary sources, you can explore these four Native American cultures. Each tribe's section is broken down into the following areas: Getting Started, Meet the People, About Our Homeland, Our Environmental Challenge, Our Strategies, and Our Future.

tag(s): environment (289), native americans (65), natural resources (50)

In the Classroom

Project this site on an interactive whiteboard and watch the videos on each of the tribes. If you have laptops available, have students navigate on their own. Have the class take the included interactive quizzes to see what they've learned. Group students and have each group read about a different tribe. Then using the online story project planner, have students create a presentation about their tribe that can be uploaded to the site. Be sure to visit the teacher area for lesson plans, links and other resources.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Pictogram Graph - Jo Edkins

Grades
K to 5
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Create and learn about pictogram graphs with this interactive tool. Add titles, descriptions, choose a picture and a color, choose what value each picture is worth, choose the number...more
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Create and learn about pictogram graphs with this interactive tool. Add titles, descriptions, choose a picture and a color, choose what value each picture is worth, choose the number of rows/columns, and enter a value on the graph. Learn about the different ways to use the site by viewing the How To Use This Webpage link at the bottom of the graph. This site was created in the United Kingdom. So if you are an American English speaker, you may notice some slight spelling differences.

tag(s): charts and graphs (188), data (142)

In the Classroom

Use Pictogram Graph with an interactive whiteboard (or projector) for whole class graphing. This site would also make a great math center in the classroom. Groups of students can visit the center and graph collected values at a computer or interactive whiteboard.

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Internet Safety: Rules of the Road for Kids - Common Sense Media

Grades
3 to 12
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This site contains all the information that educators and parents need to keep kids safe online. There are resources, articles, videos, and links to help teach students about digital...more
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This site contains all the information that educators and parents need to keep kids safe online. There are resources, articles, videos, and links to help teach students about digital citizenship.

tag(s): cyberbullying (33), internet safety (97)

In the Classroom

Share this link on your class web page and/or in a parent newsletter to help parents learn about Internet safety. Use the videos to help students learn how to be safe online. Share the videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use the information to run a parent information night.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Incredible Adventures of the Amazing Food Detective - Kaiser Permanente

Grades
2 to 6
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Health Detective is an interactive site developed by Kaiser Permanente to teach kids how to make healthy choices. Choose a character name to begin. After a short video the activity...more
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Health Detective is an interactive site developed by Kaiser Permanente to teach kids how to make healthy choices. Choose a character name to begin. After a short video the activity begins and players choose healthy foods to go into the backpack. Other information on the site includes a teaching guide, healthy tips for families, and a family profile chart for healthy goal setting all available to download in PDF format. To go directly to the interactive, click on the link that says "Psst! Grown-ups can find more information on raising healthier kids here too!"

tag(s): fitness (43), nutrition (139), obesity (19)

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers for students to use this site as a center or in a computer lab setting. Display the activities on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to play as a class. Share a link on your classroom website or blog for students to play at home. Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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How Our Laws Are Made - Mike Wirth

Grades
6 to 12
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Remember "I'm Just a Bill"? This one screen infographic is today's equivalent. The site, which is zoomable, presents a graphic flowchart of how ideas become laws in the United States....more
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Remember "I'm Just a Bill"? This one screen infographic is today's equivalent. The site, which is zoomable, presents a graphic flowchart of how ideas become laws in the United States. A great, high impact, visual aid to understanding the process by which the US government enacts laws.

tag(s): branches of government (39), congress (24)

In the Classroom

Use the graphic as an introduction to a detailed discussion. Share the site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use it to reinforce the process once you've taught the lesson. Encourage students to bookmark it to review or test their understanding. Anyone who teaches civics, government or US history will be able to use this graphic on an interactive whiteboard. For that matter, it should be required viewing for citizens and politicians alike!

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