TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 19, 2014

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 go to the Featured Sites Archive

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Ed on the Web for Owls - Maggie Humphreys and Les Snowdon.

Grades
2 to 6
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Ed on the Web is an online reading club for children ages 7 to 12. Every month features recently published books with reviews, reading activities, and author interviews. Scroll down...more
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Ed on the Web is an online reading club for children ages 7 to 12. Every month features recently published books with reviews, reading activities, and author interviews. Scroll down to Edtime Stories to explore Edventures of Ed and the Magic Computer, Meet the Boggles, the HippopotaPuss, and many more intriguing characters. Inside Ed's Word Zone, explore poetry, spelling, a storywriter, vocabulary builders, and word searches. The Ed Files include interactive teaching and learning in English, Math and Science. Try the quizzes in different categories: Countries, Environment, History, Food, Music and Theater, and Ed's Quiz of the Month. In the art room, design bookmarks, "edcards", or color in pages of Ed relaxing. Note: spelling on this site is from the UK!

tag(s): guided reading (40), independent reading (97), literacy (84), reading lists (66)

In the Classroom

Imagine the excitement of featuring new books on your interactive whiteboard or projector every month with your students. Use the suggested reading activities during learning centers. Begin a lesson on book reviews and bring it to an all-new level. Investigate and share the archives of reviewed books when students ask what they should read next. Start following Ed in his Edventures and rewrite them with Ed visiting new places your students want him to visit. Also share the games and author interviews, or visit the art room. Start your own class blog with children suggesting their favorite book in a book review format. Link the blog on your class website so families can follow the class favorites. Haven't started blogging yet? Check out TeachersFirst's Blog Basics. Have students create their own reading activities as part of a formative or summative assessment. Challenge students to pair a nonfiction book with the book featured.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Bouncy Balls - Practicon

Grades
K to 12
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Manage your classroom noise level with this visual presentation from Bouncy Balls. Bouncy Balls monitors noise levels from your surroundings. The quieter the bouncing balls, the more...more
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Manage your classroom noise level with this visual presentation from Bouncy Balls. Bouncy Balls monitors noise levels from your surroundings. The quieter the bouncing balls, the more settled the balls remain. If there is more noise, the balls start flying and jumping around the screen. In addition to bouncy balls, choose from bubbles, eyeballs, and smiley face icons. There is also a full screen option. Our editors had some trouble trying to figure out HOW to enable the microphones. Here are some tips that we learned. If you are using Firefox or Chrome, you must allow pop-ups. You should get a message in the narrow band below the address bar asking you to "Allow Microphone" for this site. At the time of this review, this site was not working properly on the Safari browser. Even so, this is still one site you will want to explore and "have a ball."

tag(s): classroom management (82)

In the Classroom

Display Bouncy Balls on your interactive whiteboard or projector anytime you want to monitor classroom noise levels. Share this tool with your class and let them "tech it out" by making noise and seeing how the balls react. Of course, the first time you use it, students will want to see just how MUCH noise they can make. Discuss how much the balls should be moving throughout the day. Use this tool during the Daily 5, learning stations, DEAR time, or other quiet times throughout the day. Challenge students to keep the balls as still as possible for the activity.

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TUZZit - Christophe Fruytier

Grades
4 to 12
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TUZZit is an online graphic organizer with several options for organizing information. Choose from the canvases in the library or start with a blank board. Use TUZZit's tools to add...more
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TUZZit is an online graphic organizer with several options for organizing information. Choose from the canvases in the library or start with a blank board. Use TUZZit's tools to add text, images from Flickr, stickers, maps, and more. When finished, save your work. Share using the export option to receive the URL for your board. Add a password for privacy if you wish. Account registration isn't required to create a graphic organizer, but it is needed to save and share any projects.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): brainstorming (21), concept mapping (23), graphic organizers (45)

In the Classroom

Have student groups create presentations on TUZZit. The subtopics can serve as talking points. Have students begin projects by making an outline with TUZZit and sharing it with the teacher. As a whole class create a TUZZit organizer at the beginning of the unit showing what the class knows. Add information to the TUZZit throughout the unit. Create lesson plans on TUZZit by outlining the order of topics, links, and documents you will be using. Take notes about lessons/units using TUZZit. Hand out (or provide a link to) the organizer as a visual guide and summary of what they have learned, including documents and links. Share completed organizers with learning support teachers and parents to help struggling students. Ask students to create an organizer of a book or a chapter. Outline characters, setting, and events taking place in stories. Use TUZZit to create a graphic organizer or timeline of important historical events.

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PixTeller - Alexandru Roznovat and Ovidiu Farauanu

Grades
5 to 12
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Turn words into beautiful images to use on posters, greeting cards, and more with PixTeller. Choose "Create Poster" to begin creating your design. Choose a background with your choice...more
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Turn words into beautiful images to use on posters, greeting cards, and more with PixTeller. Choose "Create Poster" to begin creating your design. Choose a background with your choice of colors, images, and size. Move through the rest of the steps to add text, icons, and other design elements. Create a PixTeller account to save your design and remove the watermark. When finished, share the image through social networking options or with a direct URL.

tag(s): book reports (30), collages (16), images (214), posters (27)

In the Classroom

Use PixTeller to create a simple end of unit or novel study project. Use posters for covers for research projects or a quick and colorful classroom display. Have students make posters "advertising" books from independent reading on your bulletin board, on the wall outside your classroom, or in the library/media center. Advertise a curriculum concept with posters such as "The Exciting Life and Times of Pi," "Plate Tectonic Superheroes," or "The Misunderstood Sentence Fragment." To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.

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SurveyRock - surveyrock.com

Grades
3 to 12
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Design, personalize, and distribute surveys easily with SurveyRock. Create surveys with up to 15 response items/questions and 125 responses/answers per survey using the free version...more
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Design, personalize, and distribute surveys easily with SurveyRock. Create surveys with up to 15 response items/questions and 125 responses/answers per survey using the free version of the site. Choose from several different formats such as multiple choice, textbox, and rating scales. You can also decide to make questions mandatory or optional. Add an optional start and end date. Share your survey using the unique URL or social networking links. Receive results on your reporting page in real-time as surveys are complete.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): polls and surveys (40)

In the Classroom

Copy/paste the link to the poll or use embed code to place in a wiki, blog, or a website. Be sure that students use the poll appropriately and that personal information is not offered in poll responses. Use polls to record quick responses to questions. Have students create a poll about their interests and allow time to analyze responses and report findings. Use this site to vote on correct answers in math class, project ideas for science or social studies, social issues in current events, and practically any other subject area. Encourage students to incorporate polls during class presentations. Provide options for students to gain confidence in generating and analyzing statistics they have created. Make a quick parent poll to include on a class website to keep the lines of communication open.

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My Smile Kids - Delta Dental Insurance Company

Grades
K to 5
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Delve into dental information with My Smile Kids! Learn about dental health as you explore games, stories, coloring pages, and the teeth of many different species! A glossary gives...more
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Delve into dental information with My Smile Kids! Learn about dental health as you explore games, stories, coloring pages, and the teeth of many different species! A glossary gives detailed dental illustrations with definitions. Find brushing and flossing tips. Learn ways to keep track of the days you have brushed. The interactive stories let you add a personal name to the story. Explore the Bingo, Match Up, Teeth Match, and Teeth Cleaning games for younger children. For older children, check out the Guess the Word, Crossword Puzzle, Word Search, and the Dental Quiz. Click on "news" to find dental careers with information about becoming a dentist, dental assistant, hygienist, or dental lab technician.

tag(s): careers (110), dental health (20), preK (230)

In the Classroom

Have a mouthful of fun during Dental Health Month or any health unit on teeth! Have fun reading literature and poetry while exploring your tantalizing teeth! Add a taste more to your study of the senses, and watch children dig right in! Provide dental information for career day. Have students invent their own dental games. Students can create a quiz, guess a word, write a story, or even investigate career specialties.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Rootbook - Rootbook

Grades
2 to 12
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Rootbook is a choose-your-own-adventure book reading and writing program. Without signing up, you can read Game Books and add what is called a Bookmark (a branch) to the stories. Once...more
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Rootbook is a choose-your-own-adventure book reading and writing program. Without signing up, you can read Game Books and add what is called a Bookmark (a branch) to the stories. Once registered (requires an email, player name & password), you can create your own stories to save. You can also save the bookmarks you add to other stories. Registering allows you to submit reviews of the stories available on the site. Rootbook says they will soon have filters to monitor inappropriate language. Until then, read stories and branches prior to sharing with young people. Leave a comment if you find anything offensive, and they will remove it.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (136), digital storytelling (86), narrative (20), writing (313)

In the Classroom

To use Rootbook and save work, students will need an email account. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of Gmail sub-accounts, explained here. This will provide anonymous interaction within your class, and you (as the Gmail account holder) will be able to go into each Rootbook account to check progress. Begin by choosing a story and reading it as a class. Give the students scratch paper to create storyboards and have them continue the story. Then collect the papers and have them write their continuation again on someone else's paper. Next, ask students to end the story and switch again, and write their ending on this new paper. Doing this will help younger students understand the "branching" story line. If students are sitting in groups of four, they can just rotate the papers around for this activity. When students want to create their story on Rootbook, be sure to have them upload an image for the cover first and plan the story using a graphic organizer! As subject matter for stories in any curriculum area, tell a science story, such as the life of a butterfly or a history story such as what happened (and could have happened) at the Boston Tea Party.

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Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center - Pacer Center, Inc.

Grades
K to 10
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Visit Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center (PNBC) to discover resources for implementing a bullying prevention program in your community and school. There are many pages to explore...more
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Visit Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center (PNBC) to discover resources for implementing a bullying prevention program in your community and school. There are many pages to explore through clicking on the menu tabs at the top. There are over sixty videos of special interest for all age groups. The Students with Disabilities section has ten facts everyone needs to know, and you can download it in PDF format. Investigate the Educator Toolkits and Activities. Activities for Youth is for young students to help them prevent bullying. Classroom Toolkits are available for elementary, middle and high school classrooms. Community Toolkits have ideas for holding a rally, organizing a run, or creating an advocacy program. The Student Created Toolkits include videos, music, and artwork designed by students for students. There are New and Featured Toolkits for you to explore, too. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): bullying (51)

In the Classroom

Introduce a bullying discussion in your class by viewing a video appropriate for your age group. Continue with a class discussion. Have students do a quick write about how they feel about bullying. Begin a school and community-wide campaign against bullying by sharing this resource with your school leadership team, PTA/PTO, and other teachers. This tool would be a great project for the school's student council to undertake. There are a ton of resources; someone just needs to get this program going!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Free Video Lectures - Free Video Lectures (FVL)

Grades
9 to 12
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Free Video Lectures is a resource offering over 1000 free (upper high school and college level) online courses and 25,000 video lectures from more than 30 universities. Begin your search...more
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Free Video Lectures is a resource offering over 1000 free (upper high school and college level) online courses and 25,000 video lectures from more than 30 universities. Begin your search by choosing a subject or university to explore. Use the search bar to find specific content. Icons for each course offer a short description along with the number of included videos. Find topics ranging from accounting to web designing to business management and many others. Download or embed any videos using links and download instructions. Ignore the advertising; the site content is worth it. Note that these videos are NOT hosted on YouTube so may or may not be locked at your school. Downloading at home is easy -- if necessary. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): business (55), cultures (86), genetics (89), literature (216), medicine (48), oceans (126), psychology (49), video (182)

In the Classroom

If you are flipping your classroom, use videos from this site to introduce content to students. Embed videos onto your class website or blog for easy student access. Free Video Lectures is perfect for use with gifted students. Use videos to provide advanced instruction and lessons in content not offered in your school. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from a video using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here) or WordItOut (reviewed here). Challenge students to create a presentation using Prezi (reviewed here) to show what the have learned.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Data Never Sleeps 2.0 - Domo

Grades
6 to 12
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We all know that the Internet is a busy, non-stop source of activity and information. This interesting infographic spells out just how much data is generated each minute as of ...more
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We all know that the Internet is a busy, non-stop source of activity and information. This interesting infographic spells out just how much data is generated each minute as of April, 2014. Find information such as how many Google searches occur in a minute, how many emails are sent, and the number of Apple app downloads take place every minute. This fascinating infographic provides a wealth of information to help understand the size of the Internet and social networking sites.

tag(s): infographics (40), internet safety (96)

In the Classroom

Display this infographic on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as part of your Internet safety lessons. Use the code to embed the infographic onto your class website. Use the information as part of a math lesson to extend from one minute to an hour, a day, a week, and so on. Have students look at the 2012 version of the same infographic, found here, and make comparisons. They could do some research for Facebook or one of the other programs to find out how many members there were in 2012 compared to 2014. From there they could come up with the average pieces of data a member generates weekly for that program/site. Share with your colleagues and parents as part of ongoing discussions about student Internet use.

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EarthEcho International - Philippe Cousteau Jr.

Grades
6 to 12
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EarthEcho International offers a collection of videos, lesson plans, and other materials designed to support high-quality classroom experiences and the exploration and protection of...more
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EarthEcho International offers a collection of videos, lesson plans, and other materials designed to support high-quality classroom experiences and the exploration and protection of local natural resources. Many are correlated to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Find and choose resources by filtering program offerings, grade levels, and type of activity. Register with your email address for free access to materials. In addition to teaching materials, follow EarthEcho expeditions with day by day updates from the field including lesson plans, audio and video materials, and much more. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): environment (282), oceans (126), recycling (49), water (110)

In the Classroom

Be sure to take advantage of lesson plans and teaching materials found on the site. Create a link on classroom computers and share on your class website for students to explore on their own. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here to demonstrate information found on EarthEcho. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as WordItOut (reviewed here). Have students create maps of explorations using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops!
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Wall Street Survivor - Greg Isenberg and Rory Olson

Grades
8 to 12
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Learn about the Stock Market and the world of finances without spending a cent with Wall Street Survivor. Create a free account to access free courses and stock market simulations....more
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Learn about the Stock Market and the world of finances without spending a cent with Wall Street Survivor. Create a free account to access free courses and stock market simulations. Once registered, join stock market leagues. Set up your own practice portfolio for a no-risk option to dabble in stock trading and buying. Play against friends using your own settings and options for trading and selling. In addition to investing options, be sure to check out the large library of articles and tutorials teaching how the stock market works. Not all courses are free, but several basic introductory finance courses offer free lessons in an easy to understand format. If your district blocks YouTube, videos may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): business (55), financial literacy (61), money (175)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share articles on personal finance, investing, and more. Challenge students (or groups) to create their own Stock Market Leagues to learn about investing and trading. Use Wall Street Survivor as an after-school program for students to learn about finances and investing. Share this link on your class website for students to explore on their own. Your math-savvy gifted students and finance aficionados will love this one.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Just Flip A Coin - My Tech Tailor

Grades
K to 12
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Do you sometimes wish you had a coin in your pocket to make a quick decision? Just Flip A Coin does it for you! Open the site and watch the ...more
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Do you sometimes wish you had a coin in your pocket to make a quick decision? Just Flip A Coin does it for you! Open the site and watch the coin flip a few times before landing on heads or tails. Choose "Flip Again" for a do-over!

tag(s): classroom management (82), probability (108)

In the Classroom

Although this site is extremely simple, you will find many classroom uses. Be sure to bookmark it for later use. Use Just Flip A Coin on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to choose leaders of teams, decide between options for classroom games or activities, or decide between two book choices. Have students use an actual coin to flip and compare results with Just Flip A Coin for a math probability lesson.

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Skim.it - Lloyd Jennings and Jack Hampson

Grades
6 to 12
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Skim.it is a Chrome extension that turns text intensive articles and websites into an easy to read 100 word summary. Save summaries into a topic-based Canvas for sharing and collaboration....more
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Skim.it is a Chrome extension that turns text intensive articles and websites into an easy to read 100 word summary. Save summaries into a topic-based Canvas for sharing and collaboration. To download the extension, follow the directions and the link on the home page. Once installed, click the toolbar button to skim any website or right-click on any section of the site to skim that part.

tag(s): summarizing (12)

In the Classroom

Share Skim.it with students working on research projects as a way to quickly determine content and viability of using websites. Use to differentiate instruction with students. Use with learning support students as a resource to make content easier to understand (and shorter to read). Use Skim.it summaries when teaching how to summarize in English class. Compare the summary you create as a class or in small groups with the "automated" one. Are there subtleties or important distinctions that this tool misses? As a challenge for your more critical thinkers, have them try to figure out what signals the tool uses to create its summary.

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