TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 22, 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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Open Badges - Mozilla

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Earn, issue, collect, and display digital badges with Open Badges. Set up a Mozilla Backpack to earn your first badge. Once registered, follow to create and issue your badges with ...more
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Earn, issue, collect, and display digital badges with Open Badges. Set up a Mozilla Backpack to earn your first badge. Once registered, follow to create and issue your badges with documentation features. Share with those seeking to earn the badge; they upload evidence of accomplishment. Once achieved, awarded badges are displayed on an individual's profile and can easily be shared online.

tag(s): behavior (45), classroom management (123), game based learning (95), gamification (60), organizational skills (115)

In the Classroom

Badges are the "stickers' of today and much more. Use Open Badges to keep track of student progress with big assignments, rewarding badges for each completed step. Present awards using badges such as Student of the Month, Math Hero, Perfect Attendance, and more. Share this site the first week of school as you set up your classroom expectations. Autistic support and behavior support teachers will find this tool useful and easy to use for reinforcement and tracking. Gamify your class using badges as reward levels. Challenge students to progress through different achievement levels by providing badges along the way. Share student login information with parents so they can track progress and accomplishments at home. Be sure to keep the login information yourself, just in case students misplace it. Keep track of mastery of various topics or skills, much like a sticker chart! Students can embed their class badges in other sites, such as personal blogs, using the embed code.

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Talkify - ABCya

Grades
K to 8
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Talkify lets you create a talking picture from your own images or one of their colorful creatures. Follow prompts to choose your image, select and size a mouth, and add ...more
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Talkify lets you create a talking picture from your own images or one of their colorful creatures. Follow prompts to choose your image, select and size a mouth, and add a recording. After the image processes, download to your computer. No registration required.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (75), speaking (24)

In the Classroom

Introduce and share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this free site to record a greeting for students when they land on the start page of your blog, wiki, or website. Record online assignment information, share homework assignments, a message from you, and more. Use Talkify to record two different opinions or viewpoints and create a poll of students to view reactions. Use Talkify in Math by posing possible solutions to problems and create a class discussion or poll to determine which one is the actual answer. As students are working on projects, create a Talkify image that provides hints and tips for students. Allow students to use Talkify to provide peer assessment to others. Consider using Talkify in conjunction with other assignments such as "What I did this summer vacation..." or "Here is information about me..." Use in any language class to record narratives or translations. Students can create a variety of Talkify recordings over time, which can show their learning of a language over time. The possibilities for this tool are endless. The quick and engaging nature of this tool offers unlimited uses.
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Saints & Strangers - National Geographic

Grades
8 to 12
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Saints & Strangers is an interactive activity that puts you in the role of the Pilgrims landing in Plymouth in 1620. As you make decisions about how to govern and ...more
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Saints & Strangers is an interactive activity that puts you in the role of the Pilgrims landing in Plymouth in 1620. As you make decisions about how to govern and live, you also visit your colony to complete quests requiring players to make difficult decisions along the way.

tag(s): explorers (62), game based learning (95), holidays (148), pilgrims (17), thanksgiving (37)

In the Classroom

Engage your students by sailing into 1620 Plymouth. Share the experience using your interactive whiteboard or projector and the Saints & Strangers introductory video. Next, share the Tutorial pointing out the goal in this activity and different aspects such as clicking on key character images to ask their advice when facing a difficult decision. Then allow students to explore on their own. The text portion might be challenging. Pair weaker readers with stronger readers. Have students create an annotated image to discuss one of their choices, including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Create a class wiki with links to other resources on the pilgrims. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Be sure to include Saints & Strangers as part of your Thanksgiving lesson plans.

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Interactive Dust Bowl - PBS/Ken Burns

Grades
7 to 12
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This interactive based on the Ken Burns film, The Dust Bowl, takes you on a journey showing what life was like during the Dust Bowl of the southern Great Plains. ...more
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This interactive based on the Ken Burns film, The Dust Bowl, takes you on a journey showing what life was like during the Dust Bowl of the southern Great Plains. Make decisions affecting your farm along the way as you "play it safe" or strive for greater profit. Take advantage of the other portions of this site, including videos, a photo gallery, and biographies of Dust Bowl survivors. The video about the Dust Bowl with Ken Burns as a guest resides on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

tag(s): 1930s (15), agriculture (52), roosevelt (17)

In the Classroom

Use this tool as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce your unit about America in the 1930's. Share on a projector or interactive whiteboard, then have students explore the interactive on their own. Be sure to share a link to the site on your class webpage for students to explore at home. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of life during the time of the Dust Bowl. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.

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Study Jams - Scholastic

Grades
3 to 8
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Study Jam offers engaging instruction and review activities in both math and science. Some sample science topics include plants, human body, the solar system, weather, matter, and more....more
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Study Jam offers engaging instruction and review activities in both math and science. Some sample science topics include plants, human body, the solar system, weather, matter, and more. Math topics include numbers (place value, number lines, estimation), algebra, addition/subtraction, problem solving, and others. Don't miss the "Jams" sure to excite your students to learn new skills in a musical and entertaining manner. Key vocabulary is presented along with a short video explanation of each topic. In addition to the video, there is an option to test your own ability. Each topic can also be printed to use in the classroom and there is a link to related "jams."

tag(s): addition (252), animals (274), climate (90), decimals (137), differentiation (47), division (174), ecosystems (87), energy (194), estimation (47), forces (43), fractions (242), game based learning (95), human body (113), landforms (45), light (45), matter (54), measurement (170), minerals (16), multiplication (228), number lines (22), percent (84), place value (58), plants (141), probability (130), problem solving (258), rocks (49), solar system (116), sound (99), subtraction (209), weather (183)

In the Classroom

Excite your students with the Jams! Share the Jam videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students sing along and learn more about science and math. Especially younger students will enjoy this feature. Create a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to use for review and practice at home. Use the many topics available to differentiate for all students in your classroom. Create learning centers using this site or use it in on individual laptops. Print out the quizzes for students to take as an assessment.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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StoryBots - JibJab Bros Studio

Grades
K to 2
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StoryBots is a collection of classroom learning tools for pre-K and kindergarten children, their parents, and teachers. There are plenty of free videos and activity sheets to use without...more
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StoryBots is a collection of classroom learning tools for pre-K and kindergarten children, their parents, and teachers. There are plenty of free videos and activity sheets to use without registration. Register to create an online classroom and assign learning materials to individuals, small groups, or your whole class. Assign videos or games aligned to Common Core Standards. Upload your own lessons or assign StoryBots' lessons teaching math and reading skills. Share your class code with parents for at-home use.

tag(s): commoncore (91), preK (276)

In the Classroom

Create your class account, share your class code with parents, and ask them to register their child for your class. Assign lessons and activities to individual students or groups to differentiate instruction. Include a link on classroom computers for center use. Take advantage of the opportunity to upload your own lessons to supplement the learning materials available at StoryBots.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Plickers - Nolan Amy

Grades
1 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
All-inclusive student response is what Plickers is all about. Students do not need to have Internet access. Responders use individualized QR Code cards (print a set FREE from Plickers),...more
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All-inclusive student response is what Plickers is all about. Students do not need to have Internet access. Responders use individualized QR Code cards (print a set FREE from Plickers), to answer questions. You use your mobile device to read the QR Code cards that students hold up. Create an account and get started immediately. No need to wait for an email response. There is a demo to use, or see the Help page for detailed instructions for adding classes, students, questions (with or without images), and folders to organize your questions by unit, topic, lesson and more. You can save student responses to your online Plicker account.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (95), DAT device agnostic tool (181), game based learning (95), gamification (60), qr codes (23), questioning (33), quiz (81)

In the Classroom

Create greater student engagement and increased student interest in your classroom with Plickers. Students give their input anonymously. Print out Plickers' cards and hand out to students. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to explain how the Plickers cards work. Create questions, with or without images, and add multiple choice answers. Project your questions and possible answers. Have students hold up their card in the position that reflects their answer. Use your mobile device and Plickers mobile app to scan the cards. You will see a bar graph with student responses on your mobile device. These can be saved to your Plickers account. Use Plickers to answer exit questions or to see what students remember from the previous day. Use for formative assessment to identify misconceptions that students may have at the start of a unit. There are cards with larger fonts for young students or the visually impaired. ESL/ELL teachers could use this for vocabulary or sentence structure practice. Unless your school or district has access to a matte-finish for laminating or matte-plastic pockets, you may want to collect the cards at the end of class.

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Quizizz - Quizizz

Grades
K to 12
11 Favorites 2  Comments
  
Looking for a quiz tool that is better than all the rest? Quizizz is a free tool. You are able to access hundreds of ready made learning quizzes or create ...more
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Looking for a quiz tool that is better than all the rest? Quizizz is a free tool. You are able to access hundreds of ready made learning quizzes or create your own. Join as a teacher, pick a quiz, and use the code for a virtual room to give to your students. Students use the code to enter and submit a nickname, code name, or numerical name (students do not have to register). Better yet, if you have Google Classroom students can join by signing in with their Google Account; just one click. Teachers can choose to make their quiz public or private. Embed images with your questions; however, video embeds are not a feature at this time. Check or uncheck the settings including music. You can even duplicate an existing quiz to save into My Quizizz. A created Quizizz can have randomized or non-randomized questions. Don't miss the memes that are displayed when students answer a question; these are sure to be a hit with students. You can also customize your Quizizz by creating your own Memes. Use images of the school mascot, students pets, or favorite game characters to create a set of ten or more memes. Click the My Memes from the top menu, then the plus symbol. You are now ready to start. Be sure to Click "Start Game" after students have entered the code. Send the game link to students (or other teachers to use with their classes) by email, website, or social media. Set time limits of 30 seconds to 5 minutes for students to answer each question. This allows more time for more complex questions. Students earn points for speed and accuracy. Unlike other sites, both teacher and students are able to see the questions, answers, and the leader board throughout the quiz. Most other tools require the teacher to project the answers and leader board on a whiteboard. The leader board can be turned OFF in this tool as well. And, what is the best part of this tool? Two separate classes can play together using this tool. Quizziz works on any web enabled device including smartphones and tablets.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (181), game based learning (95), gamification (60), polls and surveys (45), quiz (81), quizzes (93)

In the Classroom

As with other similar tools, Quizizz is a formative assessment tool that is best used to obtain information about how the class as a whole is doing in understanding content material. Use Quizizz when asking questions that require a reading of a passage or longer time to answer questions. Be sure to set the time limit to the upper reaches of 5 minutes. Students can use code names or numerical screen names for anonymity if desired. Create pretests to offer to gifted students to "test out" of already learned material. Students can easily see the choices and choose answers using a browser on a laptop or any device. Make it a class challenge! Use this tool at the start of a new chapter or unit. Students can see who is at the top of the leaderboard during the play and can even ask questions while going through the quiz. Use this tool often to obtain a snapshot of each student's understanding of content. Print individual student reports for use during parent conferences and IEP meetings. As with other tools where there is a leader board, it is helpful to have a collaborative environment where competition is not the goal, instead working together and improving is important.

Comments

Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5
Great way to conduct formative assessments that students love! Its got a great quiz creation interface and many useful customization options too. Deepak, , Grades: 0 - 12

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PBS Interactive Whiteboard Games - PBS Kids

Grades
K to 5
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
PBS Kids offers a large selection of interactive whiteboard activities exploring different curriculum topics. All activities are related to their popular TV characters. Scroll through...more
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PBS Kids offers a large selection of interactive whiteboard activities exploring different curriculum topics. All activities are related to their popular TV characters. Scroll through to find resources sorted by math, language arts, social science, and the arts. Each activity includes a short description and suggested grade level. Find activities for sight words, vocabulary, estimation, measurement, civics, gravity, and much more. Click on any link to go directly to the activity or download.

tag(s): design (85), environment (313), estimation (47), game based learning (95), gravity (45), literacy (101), measurement (170), operations (127), painting (67), patterns (84), reading comprehension (113), sight words (36), suffixes (14), vocabulary (322), vocabulary development (127)

In the Classroom

Use activities from this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to supplement current lessons. Create a link to specific activities on classroom computers for use as a learning center. Allow students to explore these sites on individual computers. Share links to games and activities on your class web page for students to try at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Bioman Biology - Brett Baughman

Grades
5 to 10
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Bioman Biology offers engaging interactives and virtual labs for learning biology content based on national standards. Find virtual labs and activities sorted by topics such as cells,...more
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Bioman Biology offers engaging interactives and virtual labs for learning biology content based on national standards. Find virtual labs and activities sorted by topics such as cells, body systems, and ecology. Use the search bar to look for specific content. In addition to the interactives and virtual labs, Bioman Biology offers online multiple choice quizzes over most topics. Optional teacher registration on the site provides the opportunity to assign quizzes and view student scores for games, quizzes, and virtual labs. Registration also has the advantage of students being able to directly submit their scores to you via email. Several activities are also available as downloads at iTunes.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): body systems (55), cells (101), classification (25), DAT device agnostic tool (181), dna (69), ecology (133), evolution (100), game based learning (95), genetics (91), human body (113), meiosis (15), photosynthesis (32), respiration (17), scientific method (62)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site to your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector to review and reinforce concepts. If you are lucky enough to have access to iPads for your students, you could have the activities downloaded as apps to use for stations or early finishers. Be sure to include this site on your class webpage for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Have students create animated movies online using Dvolver - Movie Maker, reviewed here, to demonstrate biology concepts. Use an online flashcard maker, like Flashcard Stash, reviewed here, to review concepts before quizzes and tests.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Online Music Games - Russian Music Games

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This site offers a virtual guitar, piano, drum, and more. Create compositions, record, and play them back. Ear training techniques supplement actual music lessons or memory. Catchy...more
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This site offers a virtual guitar, piano, drum, and more. Create compositions, record, and play them back. Ear training techniques supplement actual music lessons or memory. Catchy games teach music while focusing on fun. Use this tool in English or Russian.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): game based learning (95), music theory (41), musical instruments (46), musical notation (32)

In the Classroom

In music class, present basic information virtually using technology to catch your students' interest. No music classes? Present basic musical information to your students. Any students who require differentiation can learn music basics at centers to build their musical repertoire. During Readers' Theater, create masterpieces to promote the mood in the plot. Create centers with this tool to increase creativity with a gift rarely used in most classrooms, music.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Tynker - Krishna Vedati

Grades
3 to 8
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Learn computer coding using simple and easy activities, lesson plans, and an interface sure to please all ages! Click Schools to access the free school activities, or click on Hour...more
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Learn computer coding using simple and easy activities, lesson plans, and an interface sure to please all ages! Click Schools to access the free school activities, or click on Hour of Code to find ones you can use at home or school. Build an animated character (everyone loves the zombie) and then animate it. Learn to code by dropping blocks of commands into sequence on the left side of the screen and seeing the results along the right. The lessons provide step by step instructions, missions, and other materials to learn to code. Teachers can create a class and add students to the class. Once lessons are assigned, the progress of students can be tracked. Click on student view of each lesson to see the tools and student tasks. Follow the instructions along the right panel. Note the tools that are along the top including undo and redo! This tool also features a question bar along the top. Note: This free portion of the resource offers three units of lessons, a visual programming environment, an art studio to draw and paint you own scenes, and a media gallery. The free units of lessons have unlimited student space.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (59), coding (25), computers (78), game based learning (95), gamification (60), STEM (116)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to "tinker" and see what they can make. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Be sure to recommend that students "ask three before me" (the teacher). Have students use a storyboard to write down what they plan to do/draw/say with their creation in order to keep tabs on students and their creations. When finished with these lessons, move to other free tools such as Scratch, reviewed here. Teachers of even very young gifted students can turn them loose with these challenges when they have already mastered math or science curriculum. Have them create a creature they can explain to the class or share with gifted peers in other classrooms.

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Sunnylands Civics Games - The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands

Grades
4 to 12
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Sunnylands Civics Games offers a small but excellent selection of games about the Constitution and related topics. Topics include Branches of Power, The First Amendment, the Bill of...more
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Sunnylands Civics Games offers a small but excellent selection of games about the Constitution and related topics. Topics include Branches of Power, The First Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and more. You can try to be the leader of the Legislative Branch. Choose three main issues and the most productive way to succeed in your cause. Most activities begin with a short video followed by questions. Most activities also include a glossary of terms used.

tag(s): bill of rights (27), branches of government (47), constitution (72), game based learning (95), supreme court (21)

In the Classroom

Use the Sunnylands Civics Games to introduce Constitution-related topics to your class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. View videos together and pause as needed to discuss information. Challenge students to try the interactive activities on individual computers or at home. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about Americans described in the games. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here, to trace the path of a bill or the writing of the Constitution.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Skoolbo - Shane Hill

Grades
K to 5
15 Favorites 1  Comments
Skoolbo is a multi-platform math and literacy program designed to help 4 to 10 year-olds learn to read and gain confidence with numbers. The multiplayer games incorporate beautifully...more
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Skoolbo is a multi-platform math and literacy program designed to help 4 to 10 year-olds learn to read and gain confidence with numbers. The multiplayer games incorporate beautifully designed 3D worlds, individualized avatars and a highly effective rewards system. As children answer more questions, they can earn badges, superhero costumes and certificates, questions adjust to challenge students based on responses. Teachers and parents receive comprehensive, individually customized reports detailing not only strengths and weaknesses, but also suggested activities for student improvement. Enter class information including student names and parent emails to view results, summaries, and more. Add multiple classes as needed. Registration requires email information to access and use all areas of Skoolbo and download software to play games. There are some premium features available, but they are not required to enjoy most of the benefits of this site. Only the videos require Flash. Another feature is a free Zalairos Adventures ebook every two weeks, downloadable through iTunes.

tag(s): addition (252), DAT device agnostic tool (181), division (174), ebooks (39), fluency (23), game based learning (95), grammar (218), literacy (101), multiplication (228), numbers (204), patterns (84), phonics (74), preK (276), puzzles (207), spelling (169), subtraction (209), time (144), vocabulary development (127)

In the Classroom

Enroll your class in Skoolbo then create a link to the site on classroom computers. Monitor students' progress and provide parents with up to date information. Share this site with parents through your classroom website or newsletter as a resource for practicing math and literacy skills at home. Assign practice on the site for weekly homework. One great benefit of the site is the report containing suggested activities for student improvement, share this information with parents as an aid to improving student performance. If you have access to iPads in your classroom, download the app from the site for students to access on the mobile device. Find the teacher's guide by clicking on Core Skills and scrolling to the bottom of that page. This is in PDF format, and you can begin using the Skoolbo site and see an overview of skills covered.

Comments

Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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