TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 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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30 Hands - Cloud - Eric Braun & Carmen Ferrara

Grades
4 to 12
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30 Hands offers both social learning and a Learning Management System. They call it a learning studio. Use this tool to present all your lessons and store all the materials ...more
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30 Hands offers both social learning and a Learning Management System. They call it a learning studio. Use this tool to present all your lessons and store all the materials you will use for the lesson. In order to see all 30 Hands offers, click on "Take the Tour." Sign up for this tool with your email and create a course. Be sure to look on the right menu to find the course code to give to students when they sign up. In the creation of your course, you can include presentations, videos, assignments, a blog, student portfolios, surveys, discussion forums, groups within a class roster, and more. There are plenty of step by step directions for every aspect of setting up your course. Students can access 30 Hands on any device.

tag(s): assessment (71), classroom management (94), multimedia (37)

In the Classroom

Once you create the course you will have access to a home page that can include multimedia. Your courses can also include a calendar, digital bookshelves to organize content, a presentation showcase, a timeline and forum for discussions, a blog for students, student portfolios, small group collaboration, and interactive assignments. This tool can easily be your classroom online!

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Flackcheck - Annenberg Classroom

Grades
8 to 12
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Discover and learn how to recognize flaws in political arguments and advertisements with Flackcheck. Browse the Video Wire to find fact checks on viral emails, the latest videos, and...more
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Discover and learn how to recognize flaws in political arguments and advertisements with Flackcheck. Browse the Video Wire to find fact checks on viral emails, the latest videos, and recent speeches and debates. Choose the Patterns of Deception to take an in-depth look at the art of deception in many current political debates. Other portions of the site explore the Lincoln/McClellan election of 1864, election of 2012, Affordable Care Act, and more. Some of the videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the 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): advertising (30), elections (64), politics (87)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Ask your students to visit the site and create a multimedia presentation with the information they learn. Take advantage of the free lesson plan to include with your election unit. This site is excellent for enrichment. Post a link to FlackCheck on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students use StepUp.io, reviewed here, to grab other examples of patterns of deception from online video sources such as YouTube or Dailymotion quickly and easily. Have students create a word cloud of commonly used deceptive words using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here or WordItOut, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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MATHCOUNTS Foundation - mathcounts.org

Grades
6 to 9
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The MATHCOUNTS Foundation is a non-profit organization striving to engage middle school students of all ability and interest levels in enjoyable and challenging math programs. This...more
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The MATHCOUNTS Foundation is a non-profit organization striving to engage middle school students of all ability and interest levels in enjoyable and challenging math programs. This site offers a large variety of resources for both students and educators. View programs to find information about The National Math Club, Math Video Challenge, and the MATHCOUNTS competition series. Discover the Solve-a-Thon fundraising program to create fundraising pages for your program and school. Be sure to explore the Resources portion of the site. Find a Problem of the Week including extensive archives, an electronic school handbook featuring 300 problems correlated to NCTM grade 6-8 standards, and MATHCOUNTS minis - a series of short video explanations of MATHCOUNTS problems. This site includes YouTube videos. If your district blocks YouTube, then 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): competitions (12), problem solving (199), video (189)

In the Classroom

Be sure to bookmark this site for use throughout the school year. Share with the head of the math department and other math teachers as a valuable resource. Consider creating a fundraising page using the Solve-a-Thon program to raise funds for manipulatives and classroom resources. Include the problem of the week on your class webpage or blog as homework or extra credit. Include links to video explanations of problems on your class webpage to reinforce current learning concepts.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Sound Infusion - Cultural Infusion - a social enterprise

Grades
3 to 12
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Sound Infusion is part of a larger site about world cultures, Cultural Infusion. Use the menu on the right to learn about cultural information. Listen to sound loops of instruments...more
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Sound Infusion is part of a larger site about world cultures, Cultural Infusion. Use the menu on the right to learn about cultural information. Listen to sound loops of instruments from different cultures, compose music from those sound loops, and get a manual for using the program. By clicking on Cultural Information, you can select a country and find out about the geography and topography, history, performing arts, and other interesting facts. For performing arts, you will learn about dance and musical instruments and watch videos about both. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the 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): cross cultural understanding (89), cultures (87), musical instruments (30)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of any country or culture. This site is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your class website for students to access both in and out of class. ESL and ELL students will be proud to make presentations about their country of origin using this site as backup and illustration. Be sure to ask them to compose music from the music loops and share with the class. Have individuals or partners create music for the country they are researching and make it into a podcast using Spreaker, reviewed here, to share with their friends and family. Share this site with world language classes as a general resource for cultural information.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears - The Ohio State University, College of Ed. and Human Ecology

Grades
K to 12
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What comes to mind when you think of the Arctic? For most it is penguins and polar bears. Learn more about the Arctic with this interesting site. Click on various ...more
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What comes to mind when you think of the Arctic? For most it is penguins and polar bears. Learn more about the Arctic with this interesting site. Click on various topics such as Polar Plants, Icebergs and Glaciers, Keeping Warm, and more. Click on each topic for short information about the Arctic. Each topic includes Professional Learning, In the Field: Scientists at Work, Science and Literacy (see lesson plans), and Across the Curriculum. Be sure to look at the links below each topic. Share this photo gallery with your students. Be sure to also view the links at the top including the Photo Gallery and Stories for Students.

tag(s): animals (238), arctic (38), climate (92), energy (170), habitats (74), plants (118), tundra (11), water (114)

In the Classroom

Use this site for information about the arctic. Use this site for students to research and report to the class. Use the information for a Did You Know poster activity or as an introduction to lessons in class. Take advantage of the many free lesson plans! Have student groups explore specific topics and create an interactive book to share with the class. Try Page Flip-Flap (reviewed here) to turn Word documents, PDFs, and images into an online book, There is even a page-turning effect!

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A Soft Murmur - Gabriel Martin

Grades
4 to 12
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Are you feeling stressed? Unable to concentrate or complete a task? This tool will generate background sounds to create a positive thinking environment! Choose from a variety of sounds...more
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Are you feeling stressed? Unable to concentrate or complete a task? This tool will generate background sounds to create a positive thinking environment! Choose from a variety of sounds that sooth and relax while promoting creative productivity. These sounds are much better than plain, white noise. Classic sounds for relaxation include thunder, rain, waves, summer night, forest, white noise, and more. Use the slider bar at the top of the page to adjust sound levels as needed.

tag(s): creative writing (139), learning styles (13)

In the Classroom

Be sure to share this link with students (and their parents) looking for less distracting sounds while brainstorming or working. Does your class have silent reading time, or are you reading a book to the class or conducting a science lab? Turn up your speakers and use a background sound as mood music to set the stage for your story. Use the sounds during creative writing exercises. Why not listen to waves or water while studying them?! Play a few minutes of relaxing sounds before a major test. Consider using as background sounds for student presentations. If you talk with students about discovering their own learning styles, offer this site as a suggestion for them to try while prewriting or studying for tests. Emotional support (and autistic support) teachers may want to experiment to see if these sounds can help their students. Some students may find them over stimulating while others may find the sounds very helpful.

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Scrim - Basem

Grades
4 to 12
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Protect your email address and reduce spam with Scrim. Scrim converts your email address into a short, safe link for sharing on Twitter, forums, or any public site. Enter your ...more
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Protect your email address and reduce spam with Scrim. Scrim converts your email address into a short, safe link for sharing on Twitter, forums, or any public site. Enter your email and add a unique ending to the Scrim URL to receive your unique code. Copy and paste the code for use on social networking sites, documents, or forums.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): internet safety (100)

In the Classroom

Use Scrim whenever sharing your email address on Twitter or other social networking sites to avoid receiving spam. Share with older students as part of your cyber safety lessons.
 

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Give Me Sport - givemesport.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Give Me Sport is an online magazine offering the most current sports news, opinions, videos, and more. Choose specific sports categories or view articles by what is trending and the...more
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Give Me Sport is an online magazine offering the most current sports news, opinions, videos, and more. Choose specific sports categories or view articles by what is trending and the latest news. Find more global sports information by choosing to view the UK version instead of the US version of the magazine (use the drop down box at the top of the page). This site contains options for comments on all articles that are not moderated. Be sure to preview comments before sharing with students.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): independent reading (104), journalism (31), sports (81)

In the Classroom

Offer Give Me Sport as an alternative to reluctant readers for independent reading. Challenge students to find articles and then research additional information for writing projects or biography reports. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook featuring a sports personality.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Daylight - Daylight

Grades
9 to 12
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Explore Daylight as an "immersive experience" to "revitalize the relationship between art, photography and the world-at-large." This visually rich site shares "stories" of artists along...more
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Explore Daylight as an "immersive experience" to "revitalize the relationship between art, photography and the world-at-large." This visually rich site shares "stories" of artists along with images of their works. Note that just as the world of art can include material that may not be classroom friendly, so can this site! A few include nude images (and one had an inappropriate hand gesture). Preview and select specific "stories" for sharing with young people. The vast majority of the artists, however, offer awe-inspiring works of photography, digital art, and artists' statements explaining their works, all quite appropriate for any audience interested in photography. Note that you can return to the home page and access navigation by clicking the little D or small green box with lines in the top left corner. There is a free iOS app version of this site, as well.

tag(s): artists (63), photography (135)

In the Classroom

Share this site as part of an art course or a photography class. Use it as an example of ways students can share their own online art or photography portfolios with accompanying statements. Then suggest tools such as Wix, reviewed here or Weebly, reviewed here for them to build that portfolio. Teachers of gifted can use Daylight to compare and contrast the way artists talk about their work with a site such as Biomimicry reviewed here that explores the relationship between nature and design. Are science and art related? In what ways are scientists and artists alike?

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Vox - Vox Media

Grades
7 to 12
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Find thoughtful articles written to explain today's news, especially the stories that are most difficult to understand. The article topics vary widely and include offerings from sports,...more
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Find thoughtful articles written to explain today's news, especially the stories that are most difficult to understand. The article topics vary widely and include offerings from sports, politics, pop culture, public policy, world affairs, food, business, health, and many other topics. Just as the news may include tough or adult topics, so may Vox. You might want to preview or direct less mature young people to a specific article instead of allowing them to browse the entire site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): news (171)

In the Classroom

Share specific articles from this site -- or a collection of them-- for students to gain experience with informational texts that demystify the headlines they are seeing on the TV screen crawl. Use examples from this site as models for student groups to do research to explain a science or economics topic that has been in the news and share it with peers as a digital poster showing the top ten things they should know about X. Use a tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, to create a "poster" of sticky notes. Not only will your students gain experience reading for understanding, but also choosing the most important things to know from an article. Use this approach for students to research and share articles in health class (such as on new vaccines or discoveries) or on national issues during an election cycle. Be sure to include this link on your class web page for upper grade students to find current events articles (along with a disclaimer that some topics may be controversial).

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Netwars - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Grades
9 to 12
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Immerse yourself in the all-too-real world of cyber warfare through this interactive documentary. While possibly a bit alarmist, this project tells the story of cyber warfare using...more
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Immerse yourself in the all-too-real world of cyber warfare through this interactive documentary. While possibly a bit alarmist, this project tells the story of cyber warfare using several types of media: online video "webdoc," a graphic novel app (device agnostic and free), a fictional eBook/audiobook/paper book, and interview clips from real world experts on cyber security. Unfortunately, the "webdoc" video intro includes an expletive inappropriate for a classroom, so you will want to preview and probably skip the intro if sharing this in a school setting. Check out the Facts section for tips on protecting your own online data and browsing information. View the web documentary videos using the latest browser version of Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (97), internet safety (100)

In the Classroom

Use portions of this site with more mature students to spark discussion about the real (or unreal?) threats of cybersecurity. Every week, news stories about data breaches and hacking proliferate. Include this site as one of many current events topics in a government or civics class where you talk about the issues facing both the executive and legislative branches -- as well as the constitutionality of some proposed solutions. In a research unit in English class, include this as a site to be evaluated. Is this a reliable source? Does it show bias? Is the threat portrayed substantiated with facts or is it designed to scare the audience? Have student groups write and create a web tour using a tool such as Screencast-o-matic (reviewed here) to make an argument about the site and support their points with examples from the site's visual "text." Challenge gifted students to research other evidence supporting or debunking the facts from this site. Since the site is also available in German, world language teacher may want to share it with more advanced German students for language listening and practice.

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Popcorn Maker - Mozilla

Grades
6 to 12
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Use this free tool for video editing and remixing! Import your audio or video media from sites like SoundCloud, Vimeo, or YouTube. Add layers of text, images, maps, or Wikipedia ...more
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Use this free tool for video editing and remixing! Import your audio or video media from sites like SoundCloud, Vimeo, or YouTube. Add layers of text, images, maps, or Wikipedia entries to enhance the original clip. Note: Videos cannot be uploaded from your computer. In the tool, the video appears in the middle screen. Added layers are managed along the side. Be sure to check out the Tutorial button for an interactive introduction to this tool. To use, click "Start from scratch." This editing tool uses a timeline to manage the video editing. Import your video from the available sources. Only one video can be used at a time. Multiple videos are unable to be merged together. Click on the Events tab to view the tools for remixing. Use the Text Event to add transitions and other options. Use the Image Event to add images to your video either from your computer or a url. Add a Pop up Event to add a quote or an alert to the video. This tool also includes a Twitter Event to display live tweets in the video (this part of the tool is set to a specific keyword or username). The editing tool can also be used to skip sections of video or continually loop a section. Use the Wikipedia Event to add content that supports your remixed video. This type of content is actually pulled in each time the video is played and therefore could be different every time as the content changes. Create an account to save and share. Publish your videos (which can then be remixed again). Videos can be embedded in a site, blog, or email or shared using the Twitter or Google+ button.

tag(s): copyright (46), creative commons (19), images (218), video (189)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to teach how to annotate audio and video clips. This encourages research and adding information learned to the audio or video. Use videos made in class to enrich the material with concepts learned and other additional information. For example, students can create and film a skit about class content, then upload it to YouTube for the remixing. Students demonstrate their understanding of the content by adding pictures, maps, or Wikipedia entries. This tool is a great way for students to visually demonstrate their learning. Popcorn Maker also elevates the discussion of fair use, Creative Commons, and copyright in the classroom setting. The techniques learned in this tool are easily transferrable to other video editing tools. Use this tool to critique artwork or performances. Interpret favorite characters portrayed in video, drawing on information about social factors affecting their lives. Use ordinary videos of science concepts such as the carbon or water cycle, tying it into current environmental problems or concerns. Use videos to connect history, bringing in various cultural perspectives. Once created, other students can remix it again, adding more perspective and elevating the learning.

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Learn the Alphabet - Marc Gunderson

Grades
K to 2
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This very simple but engaging site allows young children to select a letter of the alphabet, then view a video to learn about the letter. Choose any letter to view ...more
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This very simple but engaging site allows young children to select a letter of the alphabet, then view a video to learn about the letter. Choose any letter to view the video with characters providing letter sounds and providing words beginning with the letter. The videos are hosted on YouTube. They do not require Flash. If your district blocks YouTube, then 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (90), phonics (74), preK (246)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce each letter of the alphabet. Share the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these videos for your "letter of the day" activities. Be sure to include a link to videos on your class web page for viewing at home. Share a link with parents as a resource for learning letters at home. This site is perfect for use with ESL/ELL learners as an introduction to the alphabet and letter sounds.

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Marvin and Milo - physics.org

Grades
2 to 7
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Marvin and Milo demonstrate a simple physics experiment through cartoons, offering a new experiment each month. Try activities such as the Fork Balancer or Cloud in a Glass following...more
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Marvin and Milo demonstrate a simple physics experiment through cartoons, offering a new experiment each month. Try activities such as the Fork Balancer or Cloud in a Glass following the easy step by step directions. In addition to the cartoon, each activity includes a list of ingredients, instructions, and results and explanations. Use the dropdown menu to view countless past experiments.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (73), experiments (64), science fairs (21)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as an excellent resource for science experiments. Use activities from the site for science fair projects. If you are lucky enough to have a parent helper in your classroom, allow them to come in and complete experiments with your students each month using ideas found on the site. Challenge students to complete experiments at home and share results with the class. Have students create videos sharing the experiment and results. Use a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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