TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Mar 22, 2015

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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The Creators Project - Voice Media

Grades
5 to 12
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Science becomes creative at The Creators Project. As they describe themselves, "The Creators Project is a global network dedicated to the celebration of creativity, arts and technology."...more
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Science becomes creative at The Creators Project. As they describe themselves, "The Creators Project is a global network dedicated to the celebration of creativity, arts and technology." Find fascinating works of art and functional inventions that use unusual materials, clever design, and unique applications of science and engineering. New posts appear regularly, featuring collections, exhibitions, or featured inventions. Watch videos or read text posts with images of such things as a $30,000 dog house, "fossilized" books as sculpture, or a motion-activated keyboard. Browse the latest features with links to related posts. Click tags at the end of a post to find related ideas, or search for a specific word to explore past posts. A few of the ads are annoying, but hitting refresh makes them change.
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tag(s): creativity (97), engineering (90), inventors and inventions (98), STEM (76)

In the Classroom

Turn STEM into STEAM in your science, math, or art class. This project is perfect for convincing students that science is neither boring nor unimaginative! Lure your artistic students into science and your pragmatic scientists into creativity. This project fits well with any Maker Movement activities you may do in your school. Share a feature or two each week in your science class and ask students what science concepts the creator had to use to achieve that design. Ask what problems he/she might have faced in creating it. Ask why it appeals to people (function? visual design?) Challenge student groups to choose a design or invention on this site and analyze the physics behind it. How/why does it work? What simple machines do they see within it? Why did they use those materials? Have them share their findings (or hypotheses) in a multimedia presentation or wiki page, sort of an "invention unwrapped." Teachers of gifted or science club sponsors can find loads of project inspiration at this site. Share it during a career unit for students to investigate creative ways to use science and design in a future career. Have them research the people behind an invention or art piece they particularly enjoy.

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Big Dayta - Tsai Hsing School

Grades
3 to 12
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What do you do in a day? Join a worldwide classroom sharing project for students to learn about life in other schools and cultures. This teacher-driven project, begun as a ...more
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What do you do in a day? Join a worldwide classroom sharing project for students to learn about life in other schools and cultures. This teacher-driven project, begun as a collaboration between schools in Tai Pei and California, collects "unique student-generated global dayta" about students' daily life using a simple, online Google Form. Day + data = DAYTA. The dayta is available for your classroom to use in loads of different math, social studies, and writing activities. Click to add your class using the Contact button. The project encourages you to form collaborations with another school. Click the link to the Idea Guide to find curriculum connections and lesson ideas. The project is adding new classes, so why not join in? Be sure to check out the community area where you can share your successes and questions with other teachers.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (91), data (145)

In the Classroom

Introduce Big Dayta in your world cultures, math, or writing class. If you team teach, work together with your computer, math, social studies, or English teacher to have students share dayta and then analyze and use it for your own class projects. Find specific curriculum activities for math, writing, and social studies classes on the site or ask your students what dayta they would like to compare and contrast in a "hands-on" experience with data. If they like learning about life in other places, your class may also want to join in #XW1W (Across the World Once a Week). Be sure to pass these projects along to other teachers! As a geography extension, have students create an electronic placemarker file using Google Maps or MapSkip or an actual map poster of the places they learn about.

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Pear Deck - Pear Deck

Grades
K to 12
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Plan and build interactive presentations directly from your Google Drive! Share your presentation on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Your class can participate in your presentation...more
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Plan and build interactive presentations directly from your Google Drive! Share your presentation on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Your class can participate in your presentation using their own device! Simply install Pear Deck and go to your Google Drive. Next, click Create and choose the Pear Deck icon (in your Google Drive). An untitled Pear Deck file can be found in your drive. Click on "Untitled Pear Deck" and rename this file. To create slides, choose "Normal slide" for standard text slides that are not interactive. Add images and text blocks, and a title. Choose a "Draggable slide" to enter a student question for student input. Add a line or dot for students to answer the question. Use the "Multiple Choice" slide to enter a question and answer choices. To present, click "Start Presenting." You can use the option to "Open Session Dashboard" and see all of the students who joined the presentation. You can also choose "Open Projector View."

Invite students to join. Students will not see your slides UNTIL you start the presentation. Use the presentation tools. Students' view of the presentation follows the changes you make. Be sure to become familiar with these tools before using the tools with students. As students join, their names appear in the dashboard view. Tools include Lock and Unlock Responses from students, Hide and Show Responses, Ask Again, and more. Answer the questions more than once if desired. Pear Deck maintains the results of both attempts. While presenting, use the "Add a Question" tool to enter a last minute question. This includes a thumbs up or thumbs down choice to check on understanding. Make sure you "End Session" to save the results from the questions. The free account provides basic interactive questions with unlimited interactive sessions, 5 free presentation imports, and a maximum of 30 session participants. Help can be found by clicking on Menu and then Support. Find more information on Google Drive here.
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tag(s): slides (55)

In the Classroom

It may be a good idea to open both the Session Dashboard and the Projector View before using with the students. Keep each in separate tabs (or use a different device such as a tablet for one of these). Be sure to turn off student responses and lock responses UNTIL every student has responded (so students will not be swayed by other responses or change answers). With the draggable slide, insert an image that requires quick input such as where a basketball thrown at a hoop will land, where on a timeline image a specific event occurred, or where erosion would be deposited on a river bend picture. This resource is invaluable for presenting questions for quick formative assessment of the content that students are to learn in any subject area!

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ASAP Science YouTube Channel - Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown

Grades
6 to 12
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Enjoy science explained musically through clever songs. Discover weekly additions of cleverly written and illustrated songs on topics such as the Periodic Table, How Your Brain Works,...more
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Enjoy science explained musically through clever songs. Discover weekly additions of cleverly written and illustrated songs on topics such as the Periodic Table, How Your Brain Works, 8 Sick Remedies That Actually Work, and more. Each video explains the science behind a surprising fact or the scientific answer to a question like "Can you really be scared to death?" The New Periodic Table song is a must-see. Find it by browsing through the Popular section. Note that this channel is intended for the general, adult public, so some topics (such as sex) are for mature audiences! 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.

tag(s): periodic table (48), video (195)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your teacher favorites to find videos to use at the start of a science or health unit. Make science more appealing as a way to answer the questions we ponder every day. Do NOT turn students loose on this channel. Because of the popular "adult" videos on this channel -- not appropriate for the classroom, but perfectly appropriate for adults -- we recommend locating the specific video you want to share and placing the url or embed code for that one video on your class web page or wiki. You can also share on a projector or interactive whiteboard. To avoid any possibility of showing titles that may cause distraction, use a tool such as ViewPure, reviewed here to clear away all the YouTube clutter. Use an ASAP Science video as inspiration for students to create their own videos explaining a science concept or debunking a science myth. Make this an option for research projects to appeal to your musically talented or "poetic" science students.

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Free Money Basics Tutorial - Goodwill Community Foundation

Grades
6 to 11
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Learn money management skills with this thirteen-step tutorial covering topics such as money management, banking, and retirement planning. Choose any lesson to begin. It isn't necessary...more
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Learn money management skills with this thirteen-step tutorial covering topics such as money management, banking, and retirement planning. Choose any lesson to begin. It isn't necessary to go in order, but it may be easier to follow as basic concepts build upon each other throughout lessons. Lessons include quizzes, worksheets, and interactive calculators in addition to informative articles.

tag(s): banks (10), financial literacy (65)

In the Classroom

Use these lessons when teaching financial literacy or consumer education courses. Include lessons as part of applied math activities such as balancing a budget, managing savings, or understanding debt. Have students explore on their own and create blogs using Throwww to describe ways to become a good consumer. This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided and this site is as easy as using a basic Word program!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Myths: Everything You Need - Scholastic Inc

Grades
K to 12
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Discover what influences myths from ancient cultures have on contemporary cultures. Add pizazz to your unit on mythology. Learn about famous writers. Explore the detailed lessons and...more
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Discover what influences myths from ancient cultures have on contemporary cultures. Add pizazz to your unit on mythology. Learn about famous writers. Explore the detailed lessons and plans. Visit Myths From Around the World, a writing activity that teaches about myths from fifteen regions of the world. Read the myths of ancient Greece. Find directions to write your own myth with Jane Yolen's help. Lessons instruct the learning of the characteristics of a myth through reading, comparisons, and making inferences. Peruse the unit on Heroes and Legends, which includes lesson plans for examining heroes and their common characteristics. Furthermore, there is an Inuit unit that dives into the myths, legends, and stories from the Inuit culture. Learn about the Hero Twins from the Mayan culture. There is much here to explore for all ages!
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tag(s): digital storytelling (94), enrichment (11), myths and legends (19)

In the Classroom

After you choose your level, discover one or many of the lessons to integrate into your English Language Arts or Social Studies curriculum. Choose your objectives, and find the lessons that are appropriate. Some lessons can be shared on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Others are more appropriate alone as individual work. Materials are included so much of the prep work is already done for you. To conclude the myths unit, have students create a play featuring a unique culture and a hero they create. Students will need a detailed script containing; theme, plot, settings, and characters including a hero. Go as far as you want developing props, costumes, and accompanying sounds and music. Have students present using a live presentation, video, or digital storytelling. Choose from the TeachersFirst Digital Storytelling tools, reviewed here. This site is a great reference for an after-school enrichment program on writing, reading, book clubs, or even self esteem.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Big Brown Bear Software - Lightness Ltd.

Grades
K to 3
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Big Brown Bear interactives are for whole class teaching in support of the National Literacy Strategy. Activities include several keyboarding and literacy resources. Literacy resources...more
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Big Brown Bear interactives are for whole class teaching in support of the National Literacy Strategy. Activities include several keyboarding and literacy resources. Literacy resources begin with virtual magnetic letters and numbers; continue to phoneme frames, counting, and blends. There are also activities to support learning nouns, verbs, adjectives, and bingo. This site was created in the UK. American English speakers may notice some slight spelling differences.
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tag(s): keyboarding (34), literacy (87), maps (255), numbers (192), prefixes (16), preK (251), suffixes (13), verbs (41)

In the Classroom

Introduce the literacy concepts to your entire class using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Continue with a review at center time on student computers. Add to your class website for further practice at home. Set up the keyboarding activity on a class computer for students to practice keyboarding skills in order to use technology easily.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Raindrop Melody Maker - Lullatone

Grades
K to 8
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Raindrop Melody Maker is an interactive music-making activity. Pressing on different colored raindrops creates different pitches sounding like a flute and a piano. Create rhythms and...more
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Raindrop Melody Maker is an interactive music-making activity. Pressing on different colored raindrops creates different pitches sounding like a flute and a piano. Create rhythms and they will repeat. Add several rhythms together to make a masterpiece. Use the metronome to stay with the beat.

tag(s): characterization (15), literature (217), musical instruments (31), sound (89)

In the Classroom

Raindrop Melody Maker brings creativity to every child with instant success. Use the sound recording to create music for a piece of writing or literature. In writing class, use to illustrate the plot of a story showing beginning, building to the climax, excitement, and finish. Use this site with literature to create a melody for each character to aid in analyzing their personalities. Use a deep, repeated pattern for the villain or an easy light pattern for the innocent. Have students create a masterpiece for their written piece. In a unit on sound, have students create a 3D Raindrop Melody Maker with some other real items such as glasses, drums, bells, or rubber bands. Create music in math demonstrating the interaction between sounds, geometry, and fractions. Let the music create shapes using the different tones. On the board, create different shapes and discover the melody they create. Use with fractions to determine the amount of color utilized to create the whole unit. See if equivalent "fractions" sound the same. The possibilities are endless depending upon your students' imagination! Add music to a piece of art to employ another sense to the creation, sound!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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World Geography Games - World Geography Games

Grades
2 to 12
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Learn about the world with these simple geography interactives. Choose from many different activities about continents, oceans, landforms, capitals, lakes, volcanoes, metropolitan areas,...more
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Learn about the world with these simple geography interactives. Choose from many different activities about continents, oceans, landforms, capitals, lakes, volcanoes, metropolitan areas, and much more. Choose any activity and click to start. To use the activities are simple. Simply click on the answer to each question. If your answer is incorrect, try again. If it is correct, move on to the next question. Your correct score and number of attempts displays throughout the game. If you choose to give up, all correct responses will display.
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tag(s): atmosphere (24), capitals (22), continents (43), countries (68), deserts (8), earth (214), flags (21), landforms (42), mountains (11), oceans (133), rivers (18), states (159), volcanoes (55)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning station or center. Share the activities on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Divide up your class and make it a class challenge! Include a link to these activities on your class website or newsletter for students to try at home and review for geography tests. Younger students can learn to identify the continents on the interactive maps. Older students can use the higher level challenges. Challenge students to use a mapping tool such as Mapskip, reviewed here, to create a map of local landforms or information about oceans and continents (with audio stories and pictures included)! Use this resource together to review and reinforce concepts about continents, oceans, and landforms.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Canva - Canva.com

Grades
K to 12
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Canva presents a simple way to design almost anything with drag and drop technology. Create custom posters, business cards, presentations, flyers, and more using a custom layout or...more
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Canva presents a simple way to design almost anything with drag and drop technology. Create custom posters, business cards, presentations, flyers, and more using a custom layout or a blank page. Begin by choosing the type of design you want to create. Choose pre-made templates or design your own. Upload images from your computer or your Facebook account. Change your background, add text, and personalize as desired. When complete, choose link and publish to save and download your creation as an image or PDF file or copy the link to share via URL. There is an iPad app (free) available for this tool. Note: you must register (with email and password) before you can access this site.
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tag(s): graphic design (29), images (224), posters (30), slides (55)

In the Classroom

Create a slideshow, invitations, or photo collages for any classroom presentation. Share what you created on your website or blog for students to review or for students who were absent. In the younger grades, teachers would be the ones creating the project. However, older students could easily create themselves! Have students create their own Canva presentations. Have students use this online tool as they would any presentation tool or image enhancing site. Use this site for research projects about famous people from the past and present. Have cooperative learning groups create presentations about science or math topics. Have students create presentations to "introduce" themselves to the class during the first week of school. Link or embed the introduction presentations on your class wiki and have others guess who they are about. Use this tool with your 1:1 art class for students to practice design principles and techniques. Share student projects with parents and others via URL. Be sure to demonstrate HOW to use this tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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myWebRoom - Rooms, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Decorate a 3D room and make it your computer home page. Categorize and store all of your favorite sites in objects around the room. Choose a room with a view: ...more
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Decorate a 3D room and make it your computer home page. Categorize and store all of your favorite sites in objects around the room. Choose a room with a view: cities, a beach, snowy mountains, jungles, and many more. Select a contemporary room, a retro room, a Disney room, or just about any theme imaginable. Establish and save the room's look, and then click objects to store favorite sites. There are also website suggestions. Browse everything in one category by clicking on the object in the room. Invite friends to your "my WebRoom" by giving them a key. Make your computer home page convenient and reflect your interests by storing all your online favorites within the objects in your "room."
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tag(s): bookmarks (58)

In the Classroom

Create a "myWebRoom" for class sites used with students. Share the "my WebRoom" on your website for parents and students to use at home. Create myWebRooms, with a theme, for units your students study. To save time, have sites open in separate tabs to copy/paste urls of the resources you are planning to store in the objects around the room. Older students can create myWebRooms for characters in the book they are reading or as a literature circle project for a book they read together. Also, older students can use this tool to create a myWebRoom with a theme when researching topics or working in groups for projects or research. Use this tool to share sites with non-readers or ESL/ELL students.

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Create Your Visited States Map - Jeremy Nixon

Grades
3 to 12
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Where have you been? Create a color-coded map of the United States or Canada that highlights states that you have visited. Go through the list of states and choose a ...more
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Where have you been? Create a color-coded map of the United States or Canada that highlights states that you have visited. Go through the list of states and choose a color for each state. There are four colors to choose from indicating your amount of time spent in that state. Just click on the state and then find your color. Or use the list of states found under the map. Choose an image width and pick the "Create" button to make your personalized image map. Save the map to your computer in png format. Please note: this is part of an individual's travel blog, and posts are not moderated for school use. Be sure to check out content links before sharing or student use. Or better yet, advise students NOT to click on any external links.

tag(s): maps (255), north america (19), states (159)

In the Classroom

Creating this would make an interesting map to create as a class project when learning about the 50 states. Go through the states list on your interactive whiteboard and create your class map to print or share as a digital image on your class website. Do a map as a class to see which states MOST students have visited. If you feel students may be embarrassed at their lack of travel, this may be better done on individual computers or on a personal response form given to you to input privately. For a whole class activity, divide your class into groups to create separate maps. Compare and contrast states visited. Send home a link to the website for students to create a map with their families. For older students, use the map for content and reassign colors as needed. For example, create a map showing the birthplace of U.S. Presidents: assign red to states without a president, yellow with one president, and green with two or more. This same format could be used in nearly any subject while studying differences in states (democrat or republican, most popular agriculture product, how many - if any - NFL teams, teen pregnancy rate, and much more).

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Witty Comics - WittyComics.com

Grades
K to 12
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Use this tool to design a comic with dialogue between two characters. Use the pre-drawn backgrounds and characters. Add a title for each scene/page and add dialogue between the two...more
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Use this tool to design a comic with dialogue between two characters. Use the pre-drawn backgrounds and characters. Add a title for each scene/page and add dialogue between the two characters. These are quick and easy three page comics. You can create without an account. However, if you want to SAVE, you must register for a free account (email required).

tag(s): comics and cartoons (75)

In the Classroom

Create dialogues that introduce new content topics in your classroom. Students can use this "witty" tool to introduce topics from research or to practice a speech to be given in class. Use comics to create a dialogue discussing misconceptions in the content and a discussion of the actual facts to dispel the misunderstandings. For more ideas about using comics in the classroom see Comics Workshop for Teachers. To view more comic creator tools and ideas view this collection.

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Hungry for English - Learn English Series

Grades
1 to 12
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Hungry to Learn English currently features over 35 YouTube videos. Topics range from basic greetings, colors, and numbers to families, countries, the verb "to be," and more. These videos...more
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Hungry to Learn English currently features over 35 YouTube videos. Topics range from basic greetings, colors, and numbers to families, countries, the verb "to be," and more. These videos allow you to see, hear, and practice all the lessons in live format. You can also participate in making more videos by sending in your own pictures. Is YouTube blocked at your school? 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): grammar (213), pronunciation (43), verbs (41), video (195)

In the Classroom

Use one of these videos each time you introduce a new ESL/ELL lesson. Share the video on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Share this link on your class website or wiki for new English language learners to use together with their families. Challenge your ESL/ELL students to create their own videos to teach others English. What better way to learn, than teach? Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.

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