TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 24, 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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BotLogic - Dolphin Micro team

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
BotLogic is an online activity that teaches programming and code. Enter by choosing educator, parent, or player. Educators and parents enter an email address and receive a code for...more
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BotLogic is an online activity that teaches programming and code. Enter by choosing educator, parent, or player. Educators and parents enter an email address and receive a code for players. Choose the player link to begin playing without a code. Select your age to begin at the proper level. Each level offers a tutorial with directions for play. BotLogic shows the window of code as you create your line of icon instructions. As an extra challenge, try to use as few instructions as possible to earn rewards.

tag(s): animation (53), computers (53), logic (213), problem solving (218), STEM (82)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to play BotLogic on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Let students explore and play on their own using classroom computer or other web-enabled devices. Use BotLogic to teach logic, problem-solving, systems thinking, and, in some cases, collaboration. BotLogic is perfect for differentiation, allow students to move through levels at their pace. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too. Teachers of even very young gifted students can turn them loose with these challenges when they have already mastered math or science curriculum.
 

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Groove Nation - Doorways to Dreams Fund

Grades
6 to 10
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Groove Nation is a financial literacy interactive that teaches strategies for managing and saving money to reach short and long-term goals. Players manage the money that a dance team...more
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Groove Nation is a financial literacy interactive that teaches strategies for managing and saving money to reach short and long-term goals. Players manage the money that a dance team earns while on a national tour. You also must pay off debt and save for upcoming expenses. Although fairly simple in concept and play, this game offers opportunities for practicing money management and learning financial vocabulary in a game-play situation.

tag(s): financial literacy (68), money (180)

In the Classroom

Share Groove Nation on an interactive whiteboard, a projector, or classroom computers for student use. Encourage students to discuss and share the impact of different financial situations on the outcome of the activity. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on finances.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Sway - Microsoft

Grades
3 to 12
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Use Sway to create interactive presentations across all devices. Drag and drop content from your device, social networks, and the web directly onto your Sway canvas. Log in using your...more
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Use Sway to create interactive presentations across all devices. Drag and drop content from your device, social networks, and the web directly onto your Sway canvas. Log in using your Microsoft account to begin or create a new account using your email and a password. Add content to your storyline using links to add text, images, and media. Change the look of your Sway using the Mood and Remix tools to change the color palette, layout, and fonts. When finished, click the Share button for options to share to Facebook, Twitter, URL, or copy the embed code. The introduction video is hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then it may not be viewable. You could always view the video 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): DAT device agnostic tool (119), slides (54), visualizations (15)

In the Classroom

Use Sway as an alternative to Prezi or PowerPoint presentations. Sway is perfect for use in your BYOD or 1:1 classroom. Use during your presentations to increase student interest and interaction. Check understanding of your ESL/ELL students by having them respond or pose questions throughout the presentation. Share with students for them to use during their own presentations, inviting other students to comment and answer questions. During Open House night with parents, demonstrate how Sway provides interaction. Use Sway during professional development presentations to invite discussions from colleagues.

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Hstry - Thomas Ketchell, Jonathan Ketchell, Yoran Brondsema, Steven Chi

Grades
2 to 12
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Create an interactive timeline, view the Timeline of the Month, or browse through Hstry's library of ready-made timelines. The Hstry timelines in the library are the creation of Hstry's...more
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Create an interactive timeline, view the Timeline of the Month, or browse through Hstry's library of ready-made timelines. The Hstry timelines in the library are the creation of Hstry's team of historians and teachers and are Common Core Standards aligned. When creating a timeline, it can include video, audio, a quiz, and comments and questions from viewers. Sign up with your email and get a link to start with a walk-through tutorial to help set up classes, students, and timelines. Students will need the class code. There is a part of the site that has timelines and lessons bundled for a fee. This review is for the free part of this tool. Hstry will work on any device.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): american revolution (74), civil war (138), DAT device agnostic tool (119), immigration (54), photosynthesis (26), social networking (105), timelines (58), womens suffrage (17), world war 1 (46)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share timelines about historical events and more. Have students create timelines for research projects. Create author biographies, animal life cycles, or timelines of events and causes of wars. Challenge students to create a timeline of the plot of a novel. If you teach chemistry, have students create illustrated sequences explaining oxidation or reduction (or both). Have elementary students interview grandparents and create a class timeline about their grandparents for Grandparents' Day. In world language classes, have students create a timeline of their family in the language to master using vocabulary about relatives, jobs, and more (and verb tenses!). Students learn about photo selection, detail writing, chronological order, and more while creating the timelines of their choice. Making a timeline is also a good way to review the history of a current event or cultural developments.

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The Digital Declaration of Independence - David McClure

Grades
7 to 12
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Take a deeper look into the Declaration of Independence and the signers with this unique interactive. The interactive has three main parts: a high-resolution scan of The Declaration...more
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Take a deeper look into the Declaration of Independence and the signers with this unique interactive. The interactive has three main parts: a high-resolution scan of The Declaration of Independence with a full transcription of text, an annotated version of John Trumbull's painting of the signing, and an interactive map plotting the signer's hometowns and giving a mini biography. Use buttons on the site to move between the three portions. Be sure to view the instructions for a complete overview of all of the interactive offers.

tag(s): american revolution (74), declaration of independence (14), franklin (11), jefferson (17)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to find other paintings depicting famous events in United States (or another country). Have cooperative learning groups create a multimedia presentation about the paintings. Create fictitious blog entries from one character in a painting to another character within another painting at another famous event. What would John F. Kennedy write to Benjamin Franklin? Assign students different roles, i.e. founding fathers, and have them use the biographies on this site to allow them to research what their role was and what their beliefs were for a debate as to whether or not to sign the Declaration of Independence.

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Twittalert - Atomic Productions

Grades
8 to 12
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Enjoy checking your Twitter feed without wasting time by flipping browser tabs. Twittalert is like an SMS or IM window that will pop up on your PC screen and stay ...more
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Enjoy checking your Twitter feed without wasting time by flipping browser tabs. Twittalert is like an SMS or IM window that will pop up on your PC screen and stay there about 11 seconds. Quickly scan the Tweet and get on with your work. The app can be easily deleted by exiting the program and deleting the unzipped download folder. When you want to use it again, just download it once more. At the time of this review, the app is only available for Windows.

tag(s): chat (39), microblogging (36), twitter (45)

In the Classroom

On Twitter follow hashtags for current events. View the information in real-time by projecting Twittalert on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Construct a question about events occurring elsewhere in the world to read student perspectives. Use a class Twitter account to set up chats with classes in other schools using this tool. Create a focused chat session based upon a particular question, such as the constitutionality of a law or the environmental impact of fracking project answers as they come in using Twittalert. Use Titttalert to interact and follow other classrooms and projects anywhere in the world in real-time. Looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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Learn English with Jokes and Riddles - Jacob Richman

Grades
K to 12
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Everyone loves a good joke or riddle, and you do not need any bells and whistles to get one across. At this site find ten categories and over 300 jokes ...more
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Everyone loves a good joke or riddle, and you do not need any bells and whistles to get one across. At this site find ten categories and over 300 jokes and riddles all free to use. Enjoy the jokes sequentially, choose a category, or take your chances with a random pick. All jokes and riddles are suitable for all age groups.

tag(s): humor (14), riddles (15)

In the Classroom

Jokes and riddles make excellent language exercises, and kids love them. Once the students have guessed the answer, use the sentences for grammar practice by identifying parts of speech, subject and predicate, and even diagramming. Younger students and ESL/ELL students can learn new vocabulary words, too. The twist and/or play on words will surely attract your gifted students. Once you have gone through several of these, encourage students to create their own and share with the class. If you would like to take this one step further, see the TeachersFirst review forI Spy Riddle Rhymes with Jean Marzollo reviewed here.

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Grammar Check - grammarcheck.net

Grades
5 to 12
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Instantly grammar check any piece of writing using GrammarCheck's editor. Simply copy/paste your text into this website, and receive instant feedback. Click on the color coded information...more
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Instantly grammar check any piece of writing using GrammarCheck's editor. Simply copy/paste your text into this website, and receive instant feedback. Click on the color coded information and find style suggestions, spelling errors, and grammar suggestions. There is a premium option with more features.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): editing (48), proofreading (17), writing (330)

In the Classroom

Use this highly visual revision program with your students who are ready to refine and improve their writing. Use GrammarCheck for revision after editing of grammar and mechanics is complete. Partner an advanced writer with one not so advanced and have them use GrammarCheck to improve their styles. Put the link to this site on your class web page for students and parents to use from home. Remind seniors to use it for their college essays. Use this tool to polish your professional writing, parent newsletters, blog posts, and papers for grad classes!

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Visual Writing Prompts - visualprompts.weebly.com

Grades
3 to 12
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Visual Writing Prompts provides a considerable choice of creative writing prompts using Flickr images. Each prompt has an unusual image along with basic information such as the Creative...more
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Visual Writing Prompts provides a considerable choice of creative writing prompts using Flickr images. Each prompt has an unusual image along with basic information such as the Creative Commons Credit and appropriate age groups. In addition, the Prompt Explanation gives added discussion questions. Scroll through the prompts using arrows or by genre, grade, or subject. Although each image has an icon to download the prompt, it either didn't work or was in a zip file at the time of this review. There is really no need to download the prompts.

tag(s): creative writing (149), descriptive writing (35), expository writing (38), letter writing (19), persuasive writing (44), poetry (219), writing (330)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save Visual Writing Prompts for use with creative writing assignments, journaling, or debate. Sort by genre to find prompts to match different writing styles. Have students create blogs to share their writing using Throwww, here. 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!

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Slidebean - Slidebean, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Do student presentations seem to focus on the flash instead of the content? Slidebean focuses on entering the content first before the designs are chosen. To use this tool, enter ...more
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Do student presentations seem to focus on the flash instead of the content? Slidebean focuses on entering the content first before the designs are chosen. To use this tool, enter your title, then enter the content. The option to choose the template, background and other creative aspects are not available until the content has been entered. Choose between different layout styles, typography, and other visual elements and color schemes. Easily change to other schemes with a simple click of the mouse. Why use this tool? With other presentation tools, more time is taken in the creative aspects of the presentation, with less time being devoted to the content. The result is greater efficiency in creating the presentation. Presentations remain on the web and can be presented with any web browser. Note: The free version of this tool has a limited number of templates and other items and all presentations are public.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): graphic organizers (46), visualizations (15)

In the Classroom

You could map your entire lesson, chapter, or unit in one presentation using Slidebean. It would provide a great way to connect prior knowledge with the next step if you share this on your interactive whiteboard or projector throughout the unit. Post a link to your web page or give kids the URL so they can review as often as they need it. Have students create presentations using this tool for different projects, and then have them post the link to their product on a class blog or wiki. Add a peer review component and require students to comment on at least two other presentations. The possibilities are endless! Share a link to this tool on your class website as one possible tool to use when creating projects or reporting content learned. Consider using this tool for students to present what they learned throughout the unit.

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Thematic Mapping Engine - Bjorn Sandvik

Grades
6 to 12
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What is a .kmz file and how do you make one? A .kmz file, when opened, launches Google Earth and the files needed to view specific portions of the globe, ...more
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What is a .kmz file and how do you make one? A .kmz file, when opened, launches Google Earth and the files needed to view specific portions of the globe, map overlays, and other information. There are several ways to create a .kmz file to share with others for specific content to be learned. Thematic Mapping Engine provides you with a very simple way to create Google Earth .kmz files. This tool uses data from the United Nations to create maps of all types of development and environmental data. Follow the instructions in the yellow box along the right side of this tool. Select a statistical indicator category from the dropdown (for example, Life expectancy or population). Then, select a year or range of years, and the manner in which they would like the data displayed in Google Earth. Preview and download the .kmz file. Share this file on your blog, wiki, or web page. Click on and then download the file. Once the file is opened, Google Earth then opens and the data is seen within Google Earth. Note: Google Earth must be installed on student computers. Check with your technology department about the availability of Google Earth in your schools. See more information about Google Earth, reviewed here.

tag(s): climate change (57), diseases (59), earth (220), landmarks (26), news (174), population (55)

In the Classroom

Use this tool with Google Earth to discuss population changes, incidence of various diseases, or look at environmental data such as carbon dioxide emissions. Use this tool when discussing various countries and populations throughout the world, looking at the various factors that affect countries. Use this information to question the history and current state of various populations. Create more than one .kmz file to place on your class website. Provide time for student groups to look at one of the files and draw conclusions or report on their findings. Use class time to look at the information from all groups to obtain a snapshot of various regions, looking at populations, diseases, and more. For younger grades, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to show these files in Google Earth and compare what students know about the United States or other areas in unfamiliar countries. This tool would be perfect for gifted students to use to extend learning in a Science or History/World Cultures class to better understand the world around them.
 

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e-learning for kids - Health - Dr. Nick van Dam

Grades
3 to 12
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The scope of this health site is incredible. There are 38 health lessons ranging from body systems, dental health, nutrition, and exercise. You will also find information about diseases...more
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The scope of this health site is incredible. There are 38 health lessons ranging from body systems, dental health, nutrition, and exercise. You will also find information about diseases like diabetes and cancer, and much more. The lessons are interactive with colorful diagrams and explanations. The drag and drop interaction makes the exercises easy for even the youngest of students. There is no registration, just click on the category and begin learning! This site was created in the United Kingdom. American English speakers may notice some slight spelling differences.

tag(s): body systems (55), brain (58), dental health (23), diseases (59), drugs and alcohol (11), eyes (6), heart (40), human body (104), nutrition (149), respiration (16), senses (27), vision (85)

In the Classroom

Initially, share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector during your unit on body systems. Next set up rotating stations where students could learn about several concepts in a week. Create small groups of students to investigate the different categories of the body system and generate a learning station for other students to use. Have them use CheckThis, reviewed here, an online, interactive poster creator. Have them create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage reviewed here. They could then create a quiz for station visitors to complete using QuizBean reviewed here. The text portions might be challenging for ESL/ELL and younger students. Use Sound Gecko, reviewed here, a text to speech program, that will allow these students to follow the text as the article or passage is read to them.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Let's Talk About Insects - University of Illinois Board of Trustees

Grades
3 to 5
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Get into the world of insects with a museum like presentation featuring insects! Start by choosing your language: English or Spanish. Uncover an animated, comprehensive, and informational...more
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Get into the world of insects with a museum like presentation featuring insects! Start by choosing your language: English or Spanish. Uncover an animated, comprehensive, and informational guide on insects. The text is read aloud paired with accompanying photos, sounds, and creepy crawlers!

tag(s): insects (65)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an informational text and audio visual presentation on insects. Share on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share as an example for an informational report to meet Common Core standards. Analyze the presentation and create a graphic organizer to explore the main ideas and details for increased comprehension. Use the graphic organizer as an example for taking notes. Continue to use the format as an example to make multimedia presentations on other content area subjects. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Challenge gifted students to take their research to the next level!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Trippin - Trippin

Grades
5 to 12
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Join Tripp and his brother Ping on a mission around the globe. Register for this site and view exciting travel videos designed to teach English! The videos clarify difficult words....more
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Join Tripp and his brother Ping on a mission around the globe. Register for this site and view exciting travel videos designed to teach English! The videos clarify difficult words. You can also see the city where you are traveling. After the short videos, answer questions about characters and words in the video. Listening activities include rehearing the text of the video and choosing the correct response. One activity demonstrates how underlined words are linked to a picture dictionary; the explanations for the words come orally. Although the changes to the next page are a bit slow, the game format motivates you to want to go on and find out what the next task is. The few free lessons on the site make it fun and useful.

tag(s): listening (86), virtual field trips (41)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Give your ESL/ELL students this activity when they are trying to learn directions. Going through the interactive requires them to use enough reading skills to justify the fairly small number of free trips available.

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