TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 14, 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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Fantastic Food Challenge - Michigan State University

Grades
5 to 12
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This free tool offers a variety of challenges to learn about balancing meals, keeping our food safe, and matching dishes with their ingredients. Use the audio directions that accompany...more
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This free tool offers a variety of challenges to learn about balancing meals, keeping our food safe, and matching dishes with their ingredients. Use the audio directions that accompany these entertaining interactives. Note: This site requires the Adobe Shockwave plugin. Some computers may have difficulty with the new plugin or may display a security warning before allowing it to run. Be sure to check computers being used and to contact tech support for any issues with the plugin.

tag(s): consumers (19), nutrition (139), safety (98)

In the Classroom

Use this tool in Family and Consumer Sciences or health classes. These challenges would be a great introduction to various units about recipes, food safety, and more. Share the interactives on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Be sure to bookmark this site on your classroom computer or place the link on your class website for students to access.

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Venue - venue.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Venue used a traveling rig and interview studio to roam the North American landscape between 2012 and 2013 as a 21st century expedition. The expedition's purpose was "to document often...more
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Venue used a traveling rig and interview studio to roam the North American landscape between 2012 and 2013 as a 21st century expedition. The expedition's purpose was "to document often overlooked yet fascinating sites through the eyes of the innovators, trendsetters, entrepreneurs, and designers at the forefront of ideas today." Click on the Explore tab to view expedition photographs, and stories from a variety of perspectives: historic, scientific, and artistic. Each venue is a map marker that displays an area, usually far from a city center, showcasing human interaction with the Earth. Archives of Venue's travels cover much of the 50 states. Click on the map to view the map points. Click on a map point to see information for that particular site. All age groups will find the stories (such as Tales from the Crash) fascinating, excellent examples of how science, storytelling, and art come together.

tag(s): digital storytelling (87), forests (26), genetics (90), geology (74), maps (249), STEM (64)

In the Classroom

In a geography or social studies class, begin discussions of certain locations by starting with a Venue story. In language arts or science classes begin discussions with the science behind the story. Zoom the map out to find artistic and historic markers in your area. Explore photographs to serve as inspiration for stories. Students can choose a location to research and report on to the class. Use this as an inspiration to create your own "Venue" in your area. Students can find interesting places in your area, research the history, collect images, videos, and interviews associated with the place or an event. This would be a perfect cross curricular project! Create an online display of the student work using a wiki or blog.

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Open School ePortfolio - OpenSchool

Grades
1 to 12
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Create digital portfolios in a matter of minutes using this educational platform. Assign simple or complex projects, and create rubrics for them that can include Common Core Standards,...more
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Create digital portfolios in a matter of minutes using this educational platform. Assign simple or complex projects, and create rubrics for them that can include Common Core Standards, NETS, or your own criteria. Notify students once the project is complete via this program. View the Public Projects Library to see how finished projects look, to use the project, or to share your project with other educators. When creating a project, you can choose to allow students and parents to make comments or not. There is a Getting Started Guide, or you can watch a tutorial from the Video Library. Open School ePortfolio offers free iOS and Android apps or works on any web browser. Use this tool each year with your new students. In order for the portfolio to follow a student to the next grade level, your district must pay a fee.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (87), rubrics (26), writing (321)

In the Classroom

Use Open School ePortfolio for student portfolios in any subject. Set up an account with your teacher name, email, password, and some basic information. You will then receive an email with an activation link and directions for setting up the school year and classes. Included in the email is a link to a complete guide for Open School ePortfolio. Once your account is set up, create a simple project or borrow one from the Public Projects Library. Share the project on your interactive whiteboard or projector to get your students started. Students can set learning goals in addition to the teacher's goals. The teacher portal allows you to assess and comment directly in the program. Science teachers could have students write up their lab reports in a portfolio, and history teachers could set up portfolios for student report writing. Students and parents are alerted when you have finished grading an assignment. Watch student growth all year and share it with parents.

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A Curious Mind - Mario Livio, Space Telescope Science Institute

Grades
9 to 12
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Capture the interest of science students with the many interesting posts in this science blog (full of STEM/STEAM). This is a good example of how science CAN be blog material! ...more
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Capture the interest of science students with the many interesting posts in this science blog (full of STEM/STEAM). This is a good example of how science CAN be blog material! Find posts that are cross-disciplinary and informational. Choose from the two topics along the side of the blog: Art and Science. Use the search bar to find blog articles related to your content topic. Many of the science topics are upper high school to adult, with many blog comments from those who teach at the University level.

tag(s): scientists (48), STEM (64)

In the Classroom

Use this site with gifted students in a regular science class or on their own. Students will find the information and perspectives interesting and thought provoking. Use these passages for reading of informational texts and connecting information with other material learned in classes (science and other). Be sure to bookmark this site on your class webpage for students to use, particularly in any STEM or STEAM initiative at your school.

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Gift Cards for Good - Google Sites

Grades
1 to 12
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Gift Cards for Good collects gift cards with a "little" left on them and uses them to buy things for charities. This 501C3 tax-exempt organization, was created by a 10 ...more
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Gift Cards for Good collects gift cards with a "little" left on them and uses them to buy things for charities. This 501C3 tax-exempt organization, was created by a 10 year old. Explore the links to find out where to send your leftover gift cards. Find the links to various charities around the world. Find other ideas about how to help around your community (without gift cards).

tag(s): service projects (18)

In the Classroom

Capture your students passion, hearts, and interest in proving that kids can make a big difference. Use this resources as an inspiration for community service projects that can be done -- even by 10 year-olds! Encourage students to look for charities in your area and find out how they can help. Place this link on your class website to further the cause and show parents the power of kids! Include it in your units on character education and leadership. Use it as an example for project based learning, challenging students to write promotional materials and letters explaining their project.

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Formatically - Tyler Bell and Duncan Harma

Grades
6 to 12
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Formatically automatically puts an assignment into the MLA format. The simple, straightforward looks are deceiving. This tool is a dream-come-true for any middle, high school, or college...more
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Formatically automatically puts an assignment into the MLA format. The simple, straightforward looks are deceiving. This tool is a dream-come-true for any middle, high school, or college student who has ever had to format a paper. Input information for the cover sheet, essay, and Works Cited. Formatically will take care of the rest. This tool works in conjunction with EasyBib, reviewed here, for the Works Cited. In addition, under the How To tab are an essay writing guide, MLA formatting guide, and Word tutorials with videos. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, 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. At the time of this review the creators say formatting for APA and Chicago Style will be available soon.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): citations (24), essays (19), plagiarism (28), quotations (23), writing (321)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard or projector and this tool to walk your students through each step of the MLA formatting process. Point out all the particulars that this tool is doing so students get a better understanding of MLA formatting. Send the students home to use the tool on their most recent essay as practice. Ask them to keep track of any questions or problems they have while using this tool. The next day, go over the questions.

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25 Maps and Charts That Explain America Today - Washington Post

Grades
8 to 12
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Learn about the states of our nation through maps and charts exploring who we are and how we live. Maps explore financial situations through income, number of millionaires, and home...more
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Learn about the states of our nation through maps and charts exploring who we are and how we live. Maps explore financial situations through income, number of millionaires, and home ownership. Other maps display political and religious divisions by state, tax rates, and housing statistics. Some maps delineate topics more suited for adult readers. Click links in each map description to view articles with more in-depth information. Preview specific maps before you share, as some content may not be appropriate for your classroom.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): demographics (16), financial literacy (63), maps (249), politics (85), religions (50)

In the Classroom

This site is excellent for enrichment or critical thinking about the U.S. and societal/governmental issues. Display a map on your projector or interactive whiteboard during political campaigns to ask why different politicians/parties have gained a foothold in certain states or locations. Include links to specific maps from it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Venngage reviewed here. Have students create maps including local information using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops!

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Arts Alive - Dance - ArtsAlive

Grades
4 to 12
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Build your understanding about the art of dance. Find engaging and interactive resources, videos, games and learning tools. Enjoy the information about the history of dance and biographies...more
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Build your understanding about the art of dance. Find engaging and interactive resources, videos, games and learning tools. Enjoy the information about the history of dance and biographies of hundreds of dancers and choreographers. Read the advice for how to become a professional dancer. The videos use Quick Time. There is a Your Turn section where you can compose in a Virtual Dance Studio and quiz yourself about dance, anatomy, and health-related topics. This site is from Canada. Some spellings may differ from American English.

tag(s): biographies (42), dance (25)

In the Classroom

This site would be of special interest to students who are thinking about a career as a dancer. Other uses for this site would be P.E. classes completing a dance unit, a health class when looking at different forms of exercise, drama classes wanting to incorporate dance into a play, and language arts students looking for biographies to read. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector or include it as one of several options for student projects.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Heganoo - Heganoo Team

Grades
4 to 12
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Create interactive, mobile-friendly story "maps" that include videos, links, forms, images, and even text. "Maps" can be images with clickable spots or a geographic map using Google...more
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Create interactive, mobile-friendly story "maps" that include videos, links, forms, images, and even text. "Maps" can be images with clickable spots or a geographic map using Google maps as an interface. You can create a story around an image. Some interesting maps in the Showcase are America's Biggest Rodeos, 2014 Nobel Prize Winners, Africa's Forever Wars, and North America 360. Sign up with a username, password, and email. Click on the three bars in the top left corner to see a menu. Look at Showcase story maps or create a new project. There are basic templates and a style editor to change colors of the map features. View maps on any device that can access the Internet. Share by embedding on your website or blog, via email, or through social networks.

tag(s): creative writing (137), descriptive writing (31), digital storytelling (87), maps (249), writing (321)

In the Classroom

Use maps for current events, geography, or much more. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector and show a sampler of Showcase maps to students. For example, share Great Women in History and The American Revolution. Consider asking a small team of students to create a Heganoo about a historic event or environmental issue you are studying. Have the student team demonstrate to the class how they created the project and how to use Heganoo at the same time. Heganoo would make a great project for any subject area. Students can create a Heganoo about a battle, a natural disaster, a famous scientist or mathematician, an author's life, or a short story you just read. Creating a Heganoo would be a good project for your gifted students to extend their learning about any subject.

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Trading Card Creator - ReadWriteThink

Grades
2 to 9
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Follow the step by step directions to create a photo trading card using this tool. Create real or fictional Trading Cards about people, places, events, objects, or abstract concepts....more
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Follow the step by step directions to create a photo trading card using this tool. Create real or fictional Trading Cards about people, places, events, objects, or abstract concepts. Follow the prompts to complete the information and choose whether to save as a draft or final. You can share via email or print.

tag(s): back to school (39), biographies (42), book reports (31), characterization (15)

In the Classroom

Use the main character in a story your class recently read and demonstrate this tool using your projector or interactive whiteboard. Social studies classes can portray a famous person or event in history. Science classes can develop trading cards for plants, planets, cells, or just about anything else you study. In a geography class, use cards to describe a place. Students can use trading cards to help them remember facts and vocabulary from any class. Teacher-librarians can encourage students to make trading cards about books or authors. Use cards at the beginning of the year for students to create a trading card about themselves. After sharing with classmates, post them on a bulletin board for back-to-school night.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mathsticks - John Duffty

Grades
K to 6
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Mathsticks has a large variety of math learning resources in the form of games, activities, and interactive materials. Explore the site by choosing grade level, themes, categories,...more
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Mathsticks has a large variety of math learning resources in the form of games, activities, and interactive materials. Explore the site by choosing grade level, themes, categories, or keyword search in the search bar. Each item includes a short description of the activity along with suggestions for modification and added teaching suggestions. Registration is required to download activities in PDF format and was a little cumbersome to complete; however, the many free resources available with standard registration make it worth the work. The site was created in the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings (and currency) may differ from those in American English. Note: Our editors found occasional typos in descriptions of activities. The activities themselves warrant ignoring these small mistakes.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (220), division (150), fractions (219), money (178), multiplication (201), numbers (187), percent (74), place value (54), preK (239), probability (112), problem solving (191), puzzles (183), roman numerals (8), subtraction (183), time (137)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save Mathsticks as a resource for math activities. Download and laminate games for use in math centers. Create take-home bags for students to practice and play games at home. Be sure to check out the "Popular Now" link for activities other users have recently downloaded.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Corbettmaths - Mr. Corbett

Grades
4 to 12
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This fabulous UK site offers many resources for math practice and instruction. Choose the Videos and Worksheets section to find a large list of topics sorted alphabetically including...more
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This fabulous UK site offers many resources for math practice and instruction. Choose the Videos and Worksheets section to find a large list of topics sorted alphabetically including instructional videos and practice questions. Many also include corresponding textbook exercises. Choose 5-a-day to find another large selection of printables for daily review, choose from three different levels for each date. (U.S. users will need to "translate" the 5-a-day letter equivalents to find approximate grade levels; count backwards from grade 12 being "A.") Conundrums for each day of the year provide short, daily brainteasers ready to print and use. Don't miss the Great Maths Bakeoff, a terrific idea for Pi Day! This site was created in the UK. American English speakers will notice slight spelling differences and use of English currency. There is also mention of Key Stages 3, 4, and 5. In America, these stages equate to Ages 11-14 (Stage 3), Ages 14-16 (Stage 4), and Ages 16-18 (Stage 5). 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): addition (220), angles (79), charts and graphs (188), coordinates (32), decimals (120), division (150), equations (134), estimation (42), fractions (219), geometric shapes (130), inequalities (25), mean (24), measurement (147), median (22), mode (14), multiplication (201), probability (112), problem solving (191), pythagorean theorem (29), quadratics (28), sequences (14), square roots (23), subtraction (183), time (137), transformations (17), volume (40)

In the Classroom

Use printables and worksheets from Corbettmath for homework, review, and reinforcement of any math concept. View videos together and have students complete practice questions. Create a link to YouTube videos on your class website or blog for students to view at home. Use this site to differentiate for students of all levels. Share this site as a way to review before tests.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Fort McMoney - David Dufresne

Grades
10 to 12
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Fort McMoney is a web video and strategy simulation based on the Fort McMurray oil sands development in Alberta, Canada. Watch the trailer for background information on the project...more
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Fort McMoney is a web video and strategy simulation based on the Fort McMurray oil sands development in Alberta, Canada. Watch the trailer for background information on the project before playing the game. Play three rounds with players from around the globe over a period of four weeks to reimagine Fort McMurray making strategic financial and environmental decisions. Be sure to scroll completely down the page to view and understand all instructions before beginning play. Also, each of the three episodes contains a trailer setting up the episode. Be sure to preview before sharing with less mature students, as the trailer for episode one contains drinking and party scenes that may not be appropriate for classroom viewing.

tag(s): canada (27), environment (289), oil (45)

In the Classroom

Explore and experiment with the simulation so you understand it or have a small team of students preview it to explain it to the class. Set up games for use on classroom computers to avoid students viewing the trailer for episode one. View the trailer for episode two together on your interactive whiteboard to introduce the activities to your class. Use the simulation of Fort McMoney as an ongoing classroom project while studying the environmental impact of government and business decisions. Create several groups in your class to participate and compare results of the different interactives. Have students create maps using Animaps (reviewed here) with locations facing important impact on the environment. Students can add text, images, and location stops!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Roxio Photoshow - Corel Corporation

Grades
3 to 12
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Not only can you create dazzling photo slideshows online, but the Roxio Photoshow products are full multimedia presentations. And the best part: no registration is required to get started!...more
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Not only can you create dazzling photo slideshows online, but the Roxio Photoshow products are full multimedia presentations. And the best part: no registration is required to get started! (Certain features do require a membership.) Combine your photos and video clips with broadcast-quality credits, captions, transitions, effects, and a great musical soundtrack. The features do not stop there! You get a personal web page and can create a custom web address for it. On your web page, create channels (like galleries). Add as many slideshows to channels as you would like. You can also add a friend's slideshow to your channels. Share your Roxio Photoshows on your membership web page.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): multimedia (36)

In the Classroom

The possibilities for using this tool in the classroom are limited only by your imagination. Students can show their understanding about cell development, how to use a microscope, the causes of the fall of Rome, types of landforms, the events in a novel, or just about anything else you can think of. Have them upload an image, add captions, transitions, and music. Create a Roxio Photoshow by finding Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), using Compfight, reviewed here. Have students search for suitable music for their presentation by using Royalty Free Music, reviewed here, or ccMixter Dig reviewed here. Of course, you will require them to show their sources in the credits!

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