TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 1, 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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Million Short - Exponential Labs Inc

Grades
3 to 12
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Add a new dimension to your web search engines. Find information you might never have found without intensive searching. This experimental web search engine takes away the first million,...more
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Add a new dimension to your web search engines. Find information you might never have found without intensive searching. This experimental web search engine takes away the first million, first 100K, first 10K, or first 100 top hits. Sometimes the creators of great sites do not have the tech savvy to "optimize" their results on Google. Not everyone has a paid expert on "search engine optimization" to being them to the top. Find some hidden treasures among remaining results which did not land in the top spots. Listed on the side are the sites that were removed (the top hits). Use this tool directly from the million short site or click at the top to add it to your browser as a search engine.

tag(s): search engines (57)

In the Classroom

Teach your students the value of being inclusive in research and not using just the first results. Lessons about validity of web site information, well rounded viewpoints, and depth of information can automatically come from this site. Use on your interactive whiteboard or projector and screen to model searches, key words, and advanced searches. Use this tool yourself to add extra enrichment or reinforcement of lesson topics using lesser-known sites.

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DIY - DIY Co

Grades
1 to 12
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Discover a free online portfolio or collection place specifically created for children to showcase things they make: projects, work, videos, and pictures. Upload videos or pictures...more
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Discover a free online portfolio or collection place specifically created for children to showcase things they make: projects, work, videos, and pictures. Upload videos or pictures of the projects from your computer or iOS app to the website. With an animal avatar identity and different name, children are not identifiable to outsiders. When a project is shown online, viewers can add stickers to show support. An Android app is "planned." Parents or teachers have a dashboard for reviewing all activity on the account. Students under 13 must provide a parent email for their parents to verify tha they give permission for the membership.

tag(s): portfolios (22)

In the Classroom

Leap into the age of technology by making your student portfolios digital. Use DIY for student portfolios of class projects, explorations at home, and family fun. To get started, make a whole-class account to share class accomplishments. Then move to having each student create his/her own. The digital portfolio includes an extra bonus: parent involvement. Using parent emails, the work shared brings a close home-school connection going beyond just parents to extended family and friends. Have basic standards and requirements for posting to encourage quality control. Excite and motivate students using this easy portfolio. Use for an after school club, such as book club, photography club, Lego club, Odyssey of the Mind, chorus, or news team to keep a digital record of events, ideas, or projects. During science fair or any long-term project, record step by step progress. Use as a presentation tool, data notebook, or reflection tool. Teachers of gifted (or teachers who have gifted students in their class) can encourage these students to start collecting a portfolio of their best work, especially projects that go beyond the regular schools curriculum or school year. If a student has a special interest in poetry, rocketry, or forestry, encourage him/her to start documenting accomplishments with explanations, pictures, and links.

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Unscrew America - Lesley Chilcott

Grades
3 to 12
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Unscrew America provides information about the benefits of switching to energy efficient light bulbs. It provides resources, videos and links to help you transition to more energy efficient...more
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Unscrew America provides information about the benefits of switching to energy efficient light bulbs. It provides resources, videos and links to help you transition to more energy efficient living.

tag(s): electricity (73), energy (165), environment (281), light (40)

In the Classroom

Use Unscrew America to introduce your students to a unit on energy and the environment. View the site using a your LCD projector and/or interactive whiteboard. The site uses mouseovers so you will have to see if your whiteboard supports that. Group students and have them research the differences between CFL and LCD bulbs. Have them create a presentation on why to use these bulbs using Google Presentation Creator, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Rolls off the Tongue - Anderson and Andy

Grades
2 to 12
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Enjoy a cartoon and an opportunity to guess what idiom it represents. Click on one of five buttons for more information including a hint, the answer, the definition, a ...more
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Enjoy a cartoon and an opportunity to guess what idiom it represents. Click on one of five buttons for more information including a hint, the answer, the definition, a note on usage, the origin of the idiom, and a sentence using the idiom. The site is in blog format, so for more examples and activities with idioms, viewers just scroll down to see more. There is also a game featuring multiple choice guesses to reinforce usage of the idiom. New idioms are added regularly. SInce this is a blog, there are comments and other social features, such as clicking to "Like" a post. Public interactions appear in comments, so monitor before projecting or sharing.

tag(s): figurative language (16), idioms (41)

In the Classroom

Have your students make their own cartoons of idioms they encounter following the example of the idioms drawn here. They can draw and scan them in or use one of the reviewed comics tools here. Have students post their work to a wiki or to Class Blog, reviewed here. Students studying other languages can create similar pages using idiomatic expressions of their target language. This is a great link to include on class web page. The explanations of the origin of the idiom might be a bit difficult for ESL/ELL students to grasp.

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Spectra Visual Newsreader - MSNBC

Grades
5 to 12
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This very attractive site allows readers to select and compile the news they want to read. Readers can choose from U.S. or world news as well as from many news ...more
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This very attractive site allows readers to select and compile the news they want to read. Readers can choose from U.S. or world news as well as from many news categories such as politics, business, entertainment, health, technology, travel, and science. Each general category has up to 12 other choices of a more specific nature. After making those choices, a slideshow style player appears where readers can view a very brief summary of a news article to see if they would like to read the entire text. News videos and blogs are also available with just a click of your mouse. A "newscollector" allows readers to select and save featured stories for later reading.

tag(s): news (168), newspapers (47), reading comprehension (83), writing prompts (82)

In the Classroom

Use this tool for you and your students to find articles related to science, social studies, and cultural topics you are studying. Have students select, read, and compare two articles on the same subject. Have small groups of students take turns presenting weekly news. Use articles as practice for finding main idea and other comprehension skills. Create a selection of stories as writing prompts for persuasive writing pieces. Collect news sources related to an upcoming election to follow in a civics/government class. Have students create an online presentation on their selected news topics from categories you've assigned for your classroom news. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Oolone Visual Search Engine - Oolone

Grades
1 to 12
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Oolone visual search engine searches the web and shows the results as thumbnail images of each webpage. Oolone is ideal for those who are visual learners. (If you often recognize ...more
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Oolone visual search engine searches the web and shows the results as thumbnail images of each webpage. Oolone is ideal for those who are visual learners. (If you often recognize sites by their look rather than their words, this tool will hep you find the site you recall but cannot name.) Although this search engine appears "plain vanilla," its best features aren't obvious until you start using it. Hover over the thumbnails to get an enlarged view of each site without having to leave your search results. This allows you to spend less time on sites that don't fit your needs. Oolone doesn't track you so no ads appear.

tag(s): search engines (57)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for your visual learners or weaker readers. Use this site on an interactive whiteboard to show students how to search for information. Use the page counter to show students how different search terms provide different results. Place on your class webpage for students to access at school and home. Be sure to check out their education page where you can find lesson ideas. Learning support and ESL/ELL students will appreciate being able to search without as much reading. Even very young students can LOOK for a site using this search tool, assuming they can type just a little bit.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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BundleNut - Andrew Davidson

Grades
K to 12
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Easily create and share bundles of links with this simple tool! Type in a title of a bundle, and you are on your way. Create an account to save bundles ...more
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Easily create and share bundles of links with this simple tool! Type in a title of a bundle, and you are on your way. Create an account to save bundles in one location or bookmark the page to return and modify. Add links by providing a title, URL, and a short comment. Create as many links as you like and drag and drop to reorder as desired. Share with others through the link on your bundle or by providing the bundle's URL.

tag(s): bookmarks (59), webquests (30)

In the Classroom

Bundlenut is a great way to gather resources into one easy location. Create an account, then make bundles for websites used throughout the school year. Create Resource bundles for webquests. Share the link to bundles through your classroom website or newsletter containing resources for units and content used in the classroom during the year. Share this site with students to create their own bundles for presentations and classroom projects or ask them to create a bundle as part of your assessment of projects or research. Create bundles you can share with other teachers in your building or district. Students or student groups can create bundles of the resources they use for a project.

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Tinkercad - Tinkercad, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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Create 3D models with Tinkercad's easy drag and drop interface. Move objects into and out of other objects and zoom in and out with ease. Tinkercad is a free site ...more
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Create 3D models with Tinkercad's easy drag and drop interface. Move objects into and out of other objects and zoom in and out with ease. Tinkercad is a free site using a browser-based CAD program (no download required). Click on the Learn tab along the top of the main page to follow activities to learn new skills. Share your creations on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Want to save a picture? Use the screen shot function (command//shift/4 in a Mac or print screen in a PC). To print in 3D, you must use other applications or have access to a 3D printer. All designs made in Tinkercad are public. Others can copy and use your designs. (This Creative Commons license is another useful part of Tinkercad.)

tag(s): creativity (94), drawing (69), measurement (143), modeling (9)

In the Classroom

Bring out the budding engineer, scientist, or designer in your students. Create simple models or use one created by others in Tinkercad. Give ample time for students to play with the variety of shapes and letters. As they become proficient, create a 3D model science fair for products that solve problems. As part of a multidisciplinary unit in science, technology, economics, math, social studies, and English classes, use this site to create a culminating design project.

Have the final design project be a new museum or historical/tourist attraction to commemorate a local hero/heroine. In English classes, have students create a written grant for the design proposal. In economics, have the students discover how to construct the project for the best possible cost. In math and science classes, have the students "build" the project with accurate measurements. Then as a follow up, have students use Google Earth reviewed here to predict the environmental impact of the new construction. Or, in technology education or industrial arts class, use this as a way to submit project drafts for construction.

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Presentation Tube - Dr. Alaa Sadik

Grades
K to 12
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Add narration to your PowerPoint presentations to create a great resource for any use. Download Presentation Tube and use the video presentation recorder to produce high quality, easily...more
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Add narration to your PowerPoint presentations to create a great resource for any use. Download Presentation Tube and use the video presentation recorder to produce high quality, easily shared, interactive videos. Combine all parts of the lesson: video, PowerPoint, images, Web sites, and even handwritten notes into the presentation. Upload and publish the finished video presentations to Presentation Tube. You can also post the URL or use the embed code on your own website, Facebook, or Twitter.

tag(s): video (178)

In the Classroom

Be sure that your teaching style fits the use of Presentation Tube before using in the classroom. Easily create presentations for students to access. Be sure to play with the software before using to create your first real product. Provide links to presentations on your wiki, blog, site, or other courseware site.

Time is always short in the classroom, and sometimes it's hard to make time for oral presentations. Have the students use Presentation Tube to report out their research, and you and their peers can watch it and grade it any time. Or, have students post their Presentation Tube to your web page or TeacherTube reviewed here, and they can view and peer evaluate the projects. You may want to create your own rubric with student input for this. See a selection of rubric makers here on TeachersFirst. Another idea would be to have students create a Presentation Tube for the results of their research, and then pause and comment during an oral presentation to the class. Students with speech difficulties or challenges with English fluency will appreciate the opportunity to prerecord their presentations without an audience. High school students can also narrate a portfolio slide show for Art school applications or a show of accomplishments for college applications. Students can package book reviews or author reports to be shared in the media center. In primary grades, have students narrate their portion of a whole-class slide show, then share it with parents and grandparents by url. They can practice oral reading as they share their story slides.

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Chinese Vocabulary - Interactica

Grades
2 to 12
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See and hear the Chinese translations of featured words. Click the images to make the site work. The opening page in the site is a castle and each of its ...more
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See and hear the Chinese translations of featured words. Click the images to make the site work. The opening page in the site is a castle and each of its towers features different categories of word groups: animals, musical instruments, numbers, tools, clothes, etc. The voice over is authentic Chinese in sound and intonation. The only limitation might be that the English translations are not given, so one cannot be totally sure of what the word is in some cases, but most are clear due to the excellent graphics. In the upper left corner you will find the Chinese characters, pinyin, and English letters spelling the words.

tag(s): chinese (46)

In the Classroom

When studying current events or Chinese culture/history, students can try out this site on classroom computers to hear the sound of Chinese words. You'll want to have headsets or earbuds available. Do a comparative lesson on how to count to ten in various languages using this site for the Chinese numbers. This is a great find, also, for gifted students who might want to study a non-Western language.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Spreaker - Spreaker Online Radio

Grades
1 to 12
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Create a live Internet radio show -- free -- with Spreaker! This super easy online tool creates podcasts instantly for you to share with your own URL, on Facebook, Google ...more
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Create a live Internet radio show -- free -- with Spreaker! This super easy online tool creates podcasts instantly for you to share with your own URL, on Facebook, Google +, Soundcloud, Twitter, or add to the Spreaker website. Follow others, or invite others to follow your podcasts. With a click of a button you are creating a live podcast. To create a podcast you do not need Flash. However, there are several tutorials, and these tutorials require flash. There is a free version and a more deluxe premium version. This review is for the free version.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): podcasts (41), radio (21)

In the Classroom

Enjoy a live radio show from your classroom! Publish written pieces of writing, science reports, social studies reports, and any other reports you would like to share. Create a New Book or Book Review podcast for the media center. Link to your podcast URL on your class website. Publish directions to projects, explanations for difficult concepts, or even a radio show of you reading your favorite books for your students. Have upper elementary students take turns reading aloud for a podcast aimed at little reading buddies in kindergarten. Allow students to podcast to "pen pals" in faraway places. Record your school choir, orchestra group, poetry club, or drama club doing their best work or dramatic readings of Shakespeare soliloquies. Take your school newspaper to a new level with recorded radio articles. Be sure to include interviews with students, teachers, principals, parents, authors, artists, and almost anyone. In younger grades, use to save an audio portfolio of reading fluency, expression, or to aid with running records or even include writing. Be sure do this regularly throughout the year to analyze growth. Have fun at Halloween with your Halloween station filled with favorite spooky stories! Welcome your students to a new school year by sending them your message. Create messages for classmates who move away. Bring your foreign language classes an extra resource of your pronunciations whenever they need more practice. ESL/ELL, special education classes can often benefit from the extra explanations, practice, and elaborated instructions given at their own pace. The possibilities are endless! The site itself is a "web 2.0," social networking style site, so some schools may have it blocked. Ask about unblocking just YOUR teacher account so you can have students access it while at school and under your supervision.

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My Math Universe - Pearson

Grades
6 to 9
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My Math Universe features a variety of video channels with different math activities. Actress Danica McKellar welcomes you on the video Math Doesn't Suck: The Channel. Videos on this...more
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My Math Universe features a variety of video channels with different math activities. Actress Danica McKellar welcomes you on the video Math Doesn't Suck: The Channel. Videos on this channel include reducing fractions, prime factorization and how to focus. The Rappin' Mathematician sings rap songs about core concepts, and MangaHigh is a resource for finding math games. AlleyOop contains activities by grade level with topics such as percents, scientific notion, rational numbers, and much more. Be sure to check out Virtual Nerd that includes many step by step math tutorials. All activities on the site align to Common Core Standards. The site is new as of May, 2012, so it is worth watching for new material.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): fractions (212), percent (70), ratios (49)

In the Classroom

Use videos from the site to introduce new concepts on your interactive whiteboard or projector in a fun way. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos about other math topics then share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Create a link to games on your classroom website and assign for homework.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Newtools Powered by Aardvark - John Davitt

Grades
4 to 12
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Try this idea generator, called "learning events," to spark projects to show in-depth understanding. To give you an idea for what to expect, here are two examples: "do what the ...more
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Try this idea generator, called "learning events," to spark projects to show in-depth understanding. To give you an idea for what to expect, here are two examples: "do what the Magna Carta meant in a series of 5 photographs," or "do metamorphosis as a blues song." There are 2,500 of these ideas, and you will have to scroll through them until you find the one you like. All the learning events use the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy, synthesis (now called "creating"). This page is just the beginning! You will also find idea generators for geography and homework! Build creative flexibility and orginality with these prompts.

tag(s): creative writing (134), creativity (94), flexibility (7), writing prompts (82)

In the Classroom

Set up Newtools on a classroom computer. Make this one of several writing prompt options for blogs or other open-ended assignments. Allow students who finish work early or who need a journal idea to scroll through and try to find an idea that you have studied in class. Write several of these on your interactive whiteboard and then have students choose which one they would like to work on. Once all the projects are complete, rotate the students around the room to share with classmates who worked on a different project. Use this site to challenge gifted students to produce a higher level project. Some of the projects suggest using video or another presentation format. Be sure to check TeachersFirst Edge Presentation tools here to find one that is just right.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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