TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 7, 2016

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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Calculus: The Musical! - Matheatre

Grades
10 to 12
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Discover a comic musical review of the history of calculus and its concepts at this entertaining site. Although the site is a launch pad for a play of the same ...more
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Discover a comic musical review of the history of calculus and its concepts at this entertaining site. Although the site is a launch pad for a play of the same name, it includes songs and videos perfect for reinforcing difficult concepts. Choose Music to listen to tunes such as Log: A Rhythm, Conic Sections, and Elliptically. Select the video link to view portions of the play with titles including Its Time to Change Your Base and Unit Circle Trigonometry. 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): base ten (12), charts and graphs (196), exponents (42), mean (28), pi (19), video (236)

In the Classroom

Display videos and listen to musical tunes together on an interactive whiteboard (or with a projector) to engage and interest students. Use videos as a model and challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos on math concepts and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here. Have students make a mash-up using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge Tools, reviewed here, to demonstrate Calculus concepts.

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Made by Joel - Paper City - Joel Henriques

Grades
K to 7
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Create an intricate paper city that will stand up on its own with the free printables on this site. Choose from several different options including Paris, vehicles, Sydney, dinosaurs,...more
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Create an intricate paper city that will stand up on its own with the free printables on this site. Choose from several different options including Paris, vehicles, Sydney, dinosaurs, a circus, Aladdin's city, and more. Click on the link to any of the paper creations and follow directions to download, color, and create.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): australia (35), cities (24), communities (35), dinosaurs (54), france (41), preK (269), transportation (40)

In the Classroom

Have students use these printables to create a city to correspond with a book they read or for use as a story starter. Use the designs on the site as inspiration for creating your own printable city for any activity. Use as part of a transportation or community unit to share and discuss different components found. ESL/ELL teachers could explore the rest of the site and find coloring pages and other useful items to reinforce vocabulary.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Code Avengers - Mike Walmsley

Grades
4 to 12
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Code Avengers offers free introductory courses for learning computer coding. Teachers receive access to all lessons; students have access to introductory lessons in HTML/CSS, JavaScript,...more
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Code Avengers offers free introductory courses for learning computer coding. Teachers receive access to all lessons; students have access to introductory lessons in HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and Python 3. Introductory courses run about one hour in length and include video instructions along with opportunities for practice of tasks. Participate in lessons without registration. Registration does allow you to save work and return to the stopping point at any time. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them 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): coding (20), computers (72), engineering (108), STEM (104)

In the Classroom

Although only the introductory lessons are free, they provide excellent tutorials for beginners. Create a link on classroom computers for students to learn at their own pace and develop an interest in pursuing further coding instruction. If you are looking for more ways to use coding in the classroom, check out TeachersFirst's Coding in the Classroom page. Make coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it as part of the scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world.

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Drafting Board - iCivics

Grades
5 to 12
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Drafting Board is a set of six modules that guide you through the steps of creating an argumentative essay. Upon completion of all modules, you will have a complete essay ...more
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Drafting Board is a set of six modules that guide you through the steps of creating an argumentative essay. Upon completion of all modules, you will have a complete essay starting with an introduction, counterpoints, and a conclusion. Download information in three parts: an overview to Drafting Board, a self-guided training PowerPoint, and the teaching guide and tips. You must register with iCivics using email to fully access all of the Drafting Board features. Be sure to read all notes on the site for suggested times for completing activities. The overview to Drafting Board is a three minute video. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view it at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): debate (39), essays (22), expository writing (43), persuasive writing (47), point of view (9), writing (354)

In the Classroom

This site is an excellent way to teach an argumentative essay. Complete one essay together using the steps provided, then assign students an essay to complete on their own. You may want to give students a choice of topics to write about from 301 Prompts for Argumentative/Persuasive Writing, reviewed here. Upon completion of their essay, challenge students to create a presentation about their topic using Slidestory, reviewed here. Slidestory allows for narration. Be sure to share a link to the site on your class webpage for students to use throughout the year.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Harry Potter Reading Club - Scholastic

Grades
3 to 8
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Harry Potter fans - this site is for you! Start your own reading club to share your love of all things Harry Potter with the ready-made resources provided. Download new ...more
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Harry Potter fans - this site is for you! Start your own reading club to share your love of all things Harry Potter with the ready-made resources provided. Download new activities each month or discussion guides for each book in the series. Sign up as a reading club host to receive a free welcome kit with name tags, stickers, bookmarks, and more. Be sure to check out the many club resources found near the bottom of the home page. These resources include a pronunciation guide, glossary of terms, author information, and more.

tag(s): harry potter (12), independent reading (122)

In the Classroom

Use this website to encourage independent reading or spark writing activities about Harry Potter. Use the materials on the site to start your own after school Harry Potter book club. If you use literature circles in your class, the students will appreciate the bookmarks and other handouts. You may also want to share Harry Potter's Page, reviewed here. If you don't have time to sponsor a book club, share these materials with another teacher or parent volunteer to get them started.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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KQED Education - KQED

Grades
6 to 12
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KQED Education offers a broad selection of resources for educators and students. Scroll through to find news articles and videos that are frequently published, relating to events around...more
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KQED Education offers a broad selection of resources for educators and students. Scroll through to find news articles and videos that are frequently published, relating to events around the world. Use the drop down box at the top of the site to view specific topics such as science or news and civics. The drop down for teachers includes links to resources for professional development and integrating articles into the classroom. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them 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): independent reading (122), news (258), newspapers (89)

In the Classroom

Include a link to KQED Education on classroom computers. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL/ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words before reading, either on a handout or by projecting them on an interactive whiteboard (or projector). Highlight the vocabulary words in the text as you come to them. Teacher Librarians might want to keep this page open on computers for students who drop by the media center or include news notes from this site as part of your morning announcements. Do you have a student news show on your school TV channel? Find great material here for students to retell in their own words.

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Borderland - NPR (National Public Radio)

Grades
8 to 12
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Take a 2,428 mile road trip along the US/Mexican border to see and read the stories, culture, and goods that come together at the meeting points of these two countries. ...more
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Take a 2,428 mile road trip along the US/Mexican border to see and read the stories, culture, and goods that come together at the meeting points of these two countries. These 12 stories tell the tale of individuals along the border as told to reporters accompanied by US Border Patrol Agents. Each story includes stunning photography along with personal stories of those living on the border or attempting to cross into the US. The main page also includes a ticker that shows how many vehicles cross the border legally, how many pedestrians cross the border legally, how many people are detained for crossing illegally, and drug information. All of the numbers shown occur during your visit to the site Be sure to preview information before displaying for students as there is some content that may be inappropriate for younger classes.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (109), immigrants (19), immigration (58), mexico (35)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Assign a story to different student groups to explore and share with the class. Challenge students to create an infographic sharing their findings using Piktochart reviewed here.

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Ask the Judge - Tom Jacobs

Grades
9 to 12
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Ask the Judge provides information and answers for teens relating to the law. Scroll through the homepage to view the latest blog entries relating to court and law issues. Choose ...more
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Ask the Judge provides information and answers for teens relating to the law. Scroll through the homepage to view the latest blog entries relating to court and law issues. Choose the Teen Help Network link to find resources by state, including attorneys, classes for teens, drug treatment programs, and more. Receive answers to questions about the law in the teen chat room by posting your question or reading through questions and responses provided by Judge Tom. Be sure to check out the "Your Rights" portion of the site with extensive information about teen rights at school, on the Internet, and much more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), civil rights (108), courts (15), digital citizenship (48)

In the Classroom

Ask the Judge explores many topics of high interest to teens; introduce it on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here, to demonstrate different rights of teens. Share with school counselors as an excellent resource of information for students and as a resource for finding specific help in your state for youth who are in trouble. Use as part of a civil rights unit as you research real cases involving teens, have students find other similar situations and compare legal outcomes.

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Genius - Genius Media Group Inc

Grades
8 to 12
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Genius allows you to "Annotate the World." Begin with the music portion of the site to view lyrics and crowdsourced knowledge for thousands of songs. In addition to music, Genius ...more
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Genius allows you to "Annotate the World." Begin with the music portion of the site to view lyrics and crowdsourced knowledge for thousands of songs. In addition to music, Genius also offers annotations for literature, news, sports, TV shows, and movies. Search any section to find specific content or browse through the latest offerings. Install the Chrome extension to use Genius's Web Annotator and add your own notes to any web page or put genius.it in front of any URL to annotate and read other user's notes on any web page. If your district blocks YouTube, some portions 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. Important: Content is not moderated, be sure to PREVIEW and check for inappropriate content before using with students.

tag(s): bookmarks (56), citations (29), note taking (30)

In the Classroom

After creating an account, type Teacher's Guide in the search box to find the link for a very complete guide. The guide has information for using Genius in the classroom and creating accounts. Use the information found with literature selections to build Common Core skills analyzing informational texts. Use the site to post and share discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles. Find a relevant article to your subject. Highlight the part that you want students to read. For younger students, keep it short to reduce the intimidating reality of too much information for kids. Attach a note with a discussion question for the students. Have them comment on the link in a "class discussion" as an outside assignment.

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ThinkCerca - ThinkCerca

Grades
4 to 12
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Sign up for ThinkCerca's eight free starter lessons and get your students on the road to better critical thinking, close reading, and academic writing. Find a starter kit with 8 ...more
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Sign up for ThinkCerca's eight free starter lessons and get your students on the road to better critical thinking, close reading, and academic writing. Find a starter kit with 8 lessons teaching students the art of argumentation. Each lesson is 30 minutes long. These lessons contain standards-aligned literacy concepts and vocabulary. Start with Cerca's baseline assessment for writing, and then proceed with the lessons in order since the lessons build on each other. Sign up with your email, first and last name, and school zip code. Create your class or classes, and have students enroll via a class code. Find prompts for ELA, Science, and Social Studies. Math is coming soon (as of this review). The support section has several categories which include specific help directions, and also includes Instructional Strategies, Personalized Learning Models, and Tips and Resources.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): expository writing (43), persuasive writing (47), reading comprehension (112), writing (354)

In the Classroom

Students will need to click Sign Up and "I'm a Student." Students will enter their first name and last name so be sure you have parent permission. They will also need an email address. There is a work-a-round for the names and email address. For the first and last name you could have them enter a code, for example, the first two letters of their last name and first three letters of their first name. If students cannot have their own email accounts, ThinkCerca has a suggestion or consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here; this tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Once your students have worked through the eight lessons here, you may want to look at 301 Prompts for Argumentative/Persuasive Writing, reviewed here, to help you differentiate future writing lessons.

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