TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Sep 21, 2014

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to go to the Featured Sites Archive

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Printable Comic Strip Templates - Donna Young

Grades
K to 12
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Find several different comic strip templates at this simple, yet useful site. Choose from templates with various numbers of panels and squares or arch tops. Click on any ...more
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Find several different comic strip templates at this simple, yet useful site. Choose from templates with various numbers of panels and squares or arch tops. Click on any template to view and print the PDF version.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (73)

In the Classroom

Have small groups of students each create one panel as a summary of what the class just learned. Use comics in math and turn a word problem into a comic strip/cartoon. In social studies create a comic strip/cartoon about a historic event, person, place, or speech. In language arts take a novel or non-fiction book and create a comic strip/cartoon depicting the characters and plot. Have students write summaries of current events or responses to reading assignments. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the different parts of a plant, the planets, or a butterfly's life cycle. Use these templates for students to plan out storyboards for more involved projects, such as videos. In emotional support or autistic support classes, create comics to show how people interact. In world languages or with ELL students, create comics to reinforce correct language. Looking for even more comic resources? Check out TeachersFirst's complete collection of Comics and Cartoons.
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My Next Move - US Department of Labor

Grades
9 to 12
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"What do you want to do for a living?" is the springboard for this career and guidance site from the US Department of Labor. Choose from three options depending on ...more
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"What do you want to do for a living?" is the springboard for this career and guidance site from the US Department of Labor. Choose from three options depending on how sharply focused your career goals are. Consider job titles, explore general career groups, or take an interest inventory to help guide you. Each job title links to a fuller description: the skills, abilities, and knowledge needed for the job, the education required, the job prospects in that career and the personality traits that are linked to success in the career. Job titles are also categorized by whether the long term prospects for growth in that category are strong, whether the career is part of the "green economy" and whether there are internships or job training programs associated with that career.

tag(s): careers (109), financial literacy (60)

In the Classroom

Ask students to complete the interest inventory independently to get insight and ideas about possible careers. Then use the examples from students' results to explore representative industries or job titles. Help students appreciate that career planning is an ongoing process that includes education, aptitudes, and personality in order to find a "good fit." My Next Move is a great resource for helping students get more concrete information and insight into the sometimes vexing question of "what I want to do when I grow up." Use it in guidance classes or as part of a budgeting and life planning section in Family and Consumer Science or business classes.

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RawShorts - Antonio Otalvaro and George Estrella

Grades
4 to 12
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Create short animated video presentations using RawShort's cloud-based video maker. Create an account to begin. Choose the free templates option on the left side of the page to view...more
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Create short animated video presentations using RawShort's cloud-based video maker. Create an account to begin. Choose the free templates option on the left side of the page to view pre-made options or begin with a blank template to create your own design. Name the design and launch the video builder. Use options to add backgrounds, images, text, and other features. Videos include just five slides, keeping to the concept of creating SHORT presentations. When complete, save and share your video using social media links or upload to YouTube. Free accounts offer storage of 25 mb and max resolution of 480 SD.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (51), slides (53), video (176)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and a student emcee to show students the templates and how to use this tool. Ask students to make a plan (storyboard) for their video project. Talk about how to distill your message to only five slides! Have students write and illustrate slides as book reviews for independent reading they have done. Use this tool for students to make book promos for the library/media center. Challenge your gifted students to create a simple video presentation that goes beyond your regular curriculum. Have students make slide shows telling a short story, explaining the life of a famous person, chemical equations, solving for X, and more. During a unit on plants, have students create a video guide for plant care or a show about the world's strangest plants. ESL/ELL or world language students could create videos to practice using their new vocabulary. Create animated presentations for introduction of new units, projects, and lessons.

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CodeMonkey - Jonathan Schor

Grades
1 to 6
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Code Monkey is an engaging interactive to learn basic coding skills for even younger students. Follow the simple tutorial to learn each step and help the monkey find his bananas. ...more
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Code Monkey is an engaging interactive to learn basic coding skills for even younger students. Follow the simple tutorial to learn each step and help the monkey find his bananas. Receive stars for completing each challenge along the way. Thirty challenges offer opportunities for you to progress from basic through more intermediate coding skills.

tag(s): computers (41)

In the Classroom

Introduce Code Monkey on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore and learn on their own at classroom computer centers or individual laptops. Provide a link to Code Monkey for students to access at home. Create a bulletin board for students to post achievement levels. Have student "coding experts" create screencasts about completing challenges using a tool such as Screenr reviewed here.

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Live Meme - livememe.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Create your own meme images (easily shared, annotated images). Choose from a collection of the Internet's most popular recurring characters. Double click any image on the home page...more
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Create your own meme images (easily shared, annotated images). Choose from a collection of the Internet's most popular recurring characters. Double click any image on the home page or upload your own photo to begin. Add text for top and bottom captions. Click the "generate" link and view your finished meme. Save your completed image to your computer. Additional options allow for changing fonts, distorting text, and adding animation to memes.

tag(s): images (210), posters (25)

In the Classroom

Use this popular online tool to bring interest and amusement to classroom lessons! Create an interesting meme to introduce a new topic or unit on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Provide one portion of text for a meme and have students complete their own version. Ask small groups of students to create memes for classroom use with classroom rules, due date reminders, curriculum terms, grammar tips, and more. Have students create memes at the end of any unit or book to quickly summarize content or use as a visual mnemonic.

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Printliminator - Chris Coyier and Devon Govett

Grades
K to 12
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Highlight and print (or view) only what you want from a web page using Printliminator. Drag the bookmarklet to your browser's toolbar. (Printliminator works with Safari, Chrome, and...more
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Highlight and print (or view) only what you want from a web page using Printliminator. Drag the bookmarklet to your browser's toolbar. (Printliminator works with Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.) Then click the bookmarklet from any page to open up tool options. Mouse over your web page and click on red boxes to remove them from the page. When ready, preview and send to your printer. Be sure to watch the Quick Video Demo for a full overview of all features of the Printliminator.

tag(s): classroom management (77)

In the Classroom

Install the Printliminator on your browser tool bar. Use when viewing web pages on your interactive whiteboard to eliminate unnecessary information. Delete unnecessary information from webpages. Send to print and save as PDF for use with student handouts or links from your class web page. (Of course, you will want to include your SOURCE on the handouts as a model of good digital citizenship.) Use this tool to share handouts or pdfs with students who are easily distracted to help them stay focused on what matters. This is also a great way to select portions of a web site to save as a pdf and share on an interactive whiteboard for summarizing, highlighting, and more.

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40 Maps That Explain World War I - Vox

Grades
7 to 12
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It is hard to believe that World War I began over 100 years ago. Explore "The War to End All Wars" through a series of maps, both contemporary and historical. ...more
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It is hard to believe that World War I began over 100 years ago. Explore "The War to End All Wars" through a series of maps, both contemporary and historical. The collection provides extensive insight into the causes, progress, and impact of World War I. Each map is accompanied by a brief explanation of what it illustrated. Each map can then be opened as an image alone in another tab/window and is then zoomable. Some of the historic maps are static; others have interactive features. The maps are organized into categories: Background, War Breaks Out, Major European Battles, the War Outside Europe, Technology, Allied Victory, and Consequences of the War. There are hyperlinks to further information embedded in the explanatory material with each map.

tag(s): europe (65), map skills (71), maps (236), world war 1 (37)

In the Classroom

These maps are perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard. If you are teaching World War I, these maps need to be among your "go to" bookmarks for illustrating important highlights about the War. Consider also providing a link to the maps as part of materials students can access to learn more, as extra challenge, or for independent or group projects. The maps illustrating important technology first used in World War I will fascinate students who enjoy learning how things work. Have students create a multimedia project about the aspects of WWI that fascinate them most.

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NameCoach - Praveen Shanbhag

Grades
K to 12
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Never mispronounce a name again, thanks to the help of NameCoach! Users record their names using their own computer or any other device. Add phonetic spelling or pronunciation tips....more
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Never mispronounce a name again, thanks to the help of NameCoach! Users record their names using their own computer or any other device. Add phonetic spelling or pronunciation tips. You can listen to the names as often as you wish. Create your account to make lists for Back to School, award ceremonies, graduations, and much more. After creating your name page, share a link to participants through email or as a link on your class webpage or blog. Create a master list with sublists for use in different departments, classes, or for individual events.

tag(s): classroom management (77), pronunciation (39)

In the Classroom

Create a master list of student names in your school or class using NameCoach. Provide a subset for different activities such as award ceremonies, after-school programs, or for student tutors. Share with your school's ESL/ELL teacher as an authentic way to learn and practice unfamiliar names. Provide this list (and URL) to any substitute coming to your classroom. Use it in world language classes to help students learn pronunciation of new names.

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Fake Concert Ticket Generator - faketicketgenerator.com

Grades
K to 12
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Create your own novelty tickets. Choose from two different ticket styles and enter information such as row and seat numbers, event title and place, and date of the event. After ...more
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Create your own novelty tickets. Choose from two different ticket styles and enter information such as row and seat numbers, event title and place, and date of the event. After entering information, click "Make My Ticket!" to view and save your ticket in JPEG format.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): behavior (40), classroom management (77)

In the Classroom

Ask your students to use the Fake Ticket Generator to create excitement for class presentations. Have them create tickets and hand them out to other students to use to be admitted to class for their presentation. Create tickets to hand out to students at the beginning of any unit to create interest and excitement. Make tickets to give to parents as invitation to Meet the Teacher night, Science and Book Fairs, PTO meetings, and more. Create tickets that students can earn, such as a ticket to skip a homework assignment or to have extra time at centers. Give out tickets to special events in the library/media center, such as Dress as Your Favorite Author Day. Have students create tickets to a classroom museum or science fair. Use tickets as a behavior incentive.
 

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Wheel Decide - wheeldecide.com

Grades
K to 12
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Wheel Decide helps make decisions interesting and fair. Choose from ready-made wheels with choices such as games or food. Create your own wheels. Scroll down below the wheel and choose...more
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Wheel Decide helps make decisions interesting and fair. Choose from ready-made wheels with choices such as games or food. Create your own wheels. Scroll down below the wheel and choose "Make/Modify Wheel" to customize your wheel for any purpose. Add up to 100 choices and a title. Advanced options allow you to remove a choice after landing on it, choose from color options, adjust the length of spin, and more. Cancel the "click" sound if it is distracting. At the time of this review saving a wheel required signing in with your Facebook account or bookmarking/copying the URL.

tag(s): classroom management (77), probability (106)

In the Classroom

Use Wheel Decide to select a student to do an activity or to answer a question. Allow students to use the name generator to choose which classmate comes next. Create your class name wheel and SAVE it to use throughout the year. Use Wheel Decide as part of a probability unit to chart how often names or items appear with random spins (be sure not to remove them from the list as they appear). Create custom wheels throughout the year to help with decisions such as students' choice activities, options for games at indoor recess, or subjects for reports.

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SchoolCircle - Elena Krasnoperova

Grades
K to 12
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Open up the lines of parent/teacher communication with SchoolCircle. Use your email address to create your account and set up class Circles. Manage Circles to share messages, pictures,...more
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Open up the lines of parent/teacher communication with SchoolCircle. Use your email address to create your account and set up class Circles. Manage Circles to share messages, pictures, and files. Add tasks, organize events, and assign roles. Members of Circles receive three types of emails: a daily digest received each evening, a morning email with information due that day, and a weekly digest each Sunday. There is an option to send urgent messages immediately.

tag(s): classroom management (77), homework (46), microblogging (37)

In the Classroom

Set up accounts for all of your classes. Send homework, project, and supply reminders. Send changes to plans due to a snow day or other emergency. Remind students of upcoming events, practices, or things they need to bring to school. Don't forget to include any extracurricular activities. Use this tool to communicate with parents. Allow them to sign up for these updates at back to school night using a laptop or provide them the necessary information on your class web page. Remind parents of big tests, report cards, field trips, deadlines, back to school night, school spirit days, conferences, and more. Learning support teachers can promote organizational skills by having students and their parents sign up to receive reminders about tests and homework. Add messages with tips for parents to help their elementary child study. Need supply donations? Send out a request using SchoolCircle. Set up a faculty reminder group within your school for emergency closures or department meetings and activities.

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Bear & Bull Stock Market Game - Clayton Holz and Michael Reynolds

Grades
9 to 12
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Learn about the stock market through this competitive and engaging activity. Similar to Fantasy Football Leagues, this challenge features weekly competitions between players in private...more
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Learn about the stock market through this competitive and engaging activity. Similar to Fantasy Football Leagues, this challenge features weekly competitions between players in private leagues. Create your league and add players. Players begin with $10,000 in virtual cash to invest using real-time data and quotes.

tag(s): business (52), financial literacy (60), stock market (11)

In the Classroom

Set up your private teams and leagues. This site is excellent for applied experience with math skills, business, and economics, providing hands-on experience with the stock market. Challenge another math class to see which class makes the best investments weekly. Have students create graphs of the weekly results using Chartgo, reviewed here. Include Bear & Bull on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Throughout the course of the game, have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage reviewed here.

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Geometry Toolbox - Bruno Reddy

Grades
4 to 12
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Explore measurement and geometric construction with this fantastic set of virtual geometry tools! Choose from a compass, protractor, or ruler to create and measure shapes and angles....more
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Explore measurement and geometric construction with this fantastic set of virtual geometry tools! Choose from a compass, protractor, or ruler to create and measure shapes and angles. Use the pen and pencil tools to add comments and draw your own lines.

tag(s): angles (78), geometric shapes (122), measurement (143)

In the Classroom

Geometry Toolbox is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) for teaching measurement and angle construction. Allow students to use tools to learn how to use a compass and protractor. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos demonstrating use of the geometry tools and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Or have them create a screencast of ways to use the Geometry Toolbox using Screenr, reviewed here.
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100 Leaders in World History - National History Day

Grades
7 to 12
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National History Day has developed this gallery of 100 "significant" leaders in world history. You can browse the leaders individually or search by type (political, military, scientific),...more
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National History Day has developed this gallery of 100 "significant" leaders in world history. You can browse the leaders individually or search by type (political, military, scientific), sphere of geographic influence, or time period. Each leader's entry includes some brief biographical information, characteristics as a leader, and links to further information. Rather than providing extensive information about each person on the site, the gallery provides a context for considering and comparing individual leaders. A separate section provides extensive classroom resources for discussing leadership and using the site to illustrate the traits of leaders. There are downloadable posters for each leader as well as a poster that includes all 100 that can be printed for classroom use. There are, of course, lots of connections to the National History Day competition, but there is plenty of good content here regardless of whether students intend to enter.

tag(s): art history (52), black history (49), famous people (15), native americans (64)

In the Classroom

It goes without saying that this is a great resource for students thinking about a National History Day project. However, any course or lesson involving leadership will find lots of good supporting content here. Consider categories of leaders across time, for example. Do political leaders exhibit similar traits regardless of the time period in which they lived? Are there differences between male and female leaders? Are there different kinds of leaders? Are leaders always good? Share this site during Women's History Month, Black History Month, and other observances that highlight "significant" leaders.
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