TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Aug 2, 2015

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

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The American Civil War: Then and Now - The Guardian

Grades
6 to 12
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The American Civil War was one of the first major conflicts for which we have a photographic record. For the 150th anniversary of the war, photographer David Levene traveled to ...more
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The American Civil War was one of the first major conflicts for which we have a photographic record. For the 150th anniversary of the war, photographer David Levene traveled to the sites of 23 iconic Civil War photographs and captured the same view as it exists today. Using a simple slider button, shift watch as the scene transforms from the past to the present. Along with each photograph is a brief narrative, and an audio interview related to the scene with more detail about the changes over the last 150 years. Don't forget to click on the associated article for important background information from Levene about the project and his reflections on what he learned.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): battles (15), civil war (142), photography (144)

In the Classroom

It is tempting to scroll through the photographs quickly, but each deserves time for study and reflection. What is pictured in the original photograph? What is being communicated to the viewer? Challenge students to predict what the modern photo will show (you will need to hold the slider button to keep the photograph from changing automatically). What would Civil War-era soldiers think if they could see the modern photograph? What responsibility do we have to preserve sites like these in their original condition?

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Make Toys From Everyday Items - David Williamson

Grades
5 to 12
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Do not let the extremely simple look of this site keep you from exploring the links provided for making toys based on science concepts. Create items as simple as a ...more
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Do not let the extremely simple look of this site keep you from exploring the links provided for making toys based on science concepts. Create items as simple as a kite or rotor, or as complex as robots, a hovercraft, or motors using directions within each link. All links have clear, precise directions with diagrams. Some links have accompanying videos hosted on YouTube. Be sure to look at the last toy link on the list, "how it's done," for excellent tips for the process of design. 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): area (63), measurement (157), motion (56), STEM (88)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site for use with STEM projects. Create a link on your class website for students to create toys at home. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here. Share the link with your librarian or media center specialist to get a "maker" center started at your school. These projects would also be great for an after school club!

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Uncle Sam's Farm - Maps 101

Grades
K to 2
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Use Sam's dashboard on his tractor to learn cardinal directions as you find locations on Sam's farm. Listen to the questions, and then choose the correct response. On the dashboard,...more
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Use Sam's dashboard on his tractor to learn cardinal directions as you find locations on Sam's farm. Listen to the questions, and then choose the correct response. On the dashboard, switch the lever to turn the direction labels on or off.

tag(s): directions (19), map skills (83)

In the Classroom

Uncle Sam's Farm is perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard, projector, or as a classroom center. Display the farm on an interactive whiteboard and have students draw the farm and label directions. Take it a bit further and create your own games. Have students draw your classroom, and then ask questions similar to those found on this site. Be sure to share a link on your class website for students to play and practice at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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EekoWorld - PBS Kids Go

Grades
K to 5
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Use EekoWorld to help children learn about the important role they can play in taking care of the earth. With EekoWorld's interactive format, you create and care for your own ...more
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Use EekoWorld to help children learn about the important role they can play in taking care of the earth. With EekoWorld's interactive format, you create and care for your own Eeko Creature. You help him overcome environmental issues such as pollution and recycling. Explore the EekoHouse to find energy-saving and conservation tips. Be sure to check out the parents and teachers section for lesson plans and tips on using the site.

tag(s): conservation (123), environment (309), recycling (55)

In the Classroom

If your class is participating in the World Water Monitoring Challenge reviewed here, this is a fabulous tool to incorporate into your lessons. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard, and then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. 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 an online or printed comic using one of the tools and ideas included in this TeachersFirst collection. Create a quick poll using SurveyRock, reviewed here, to poll students about their knowledge of environmental issues.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Google Maps Book Mash-up - Lovereading

Grades
6 to 12
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Google Maps Book Mash-up chronicles some of the greatest and most popular stories of English Literature and their settings. Click on any book icon to see the book, author, and ...more
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Google Maps Book Mash-up chronicles some of the greatest and most popular stories of English Literature and their settings. Click on any book icon to see the book, author, and the setting. Type in the name of any location to zoom in on the map and find books using that location as the setting. Participate on the site by submitting book information to be included on the map.

tag(s): book lists (108), literature (223), maps (271)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for finding reading material with settings from all over the world. Encourage students to choose a place that interests them, and then find books set in that location. Use this tool as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard about setting or geography. Be sure to share a link to this tool on your class website or blog for students to use at home. After reading a book, have students create an annotated image about the setting, including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here.

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Plickers - Nolan Amy

Grades
1 to 12
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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),...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, and questions (with or without images). You can save student responses to your online Plicker account.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (78), DAT device agnostic tool (130), qr codes (24), questioning (33), quiz (72)

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 Plicker 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 mattte-finished plastic pockets, you may want to collect the cards at the end of class.

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Apricot - Just Apricot

Grades
2 to 12
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Apricot is not your average prompt generator. Use Apricot to have parents become collaborators in their child's education. With an Apricot account, create an online classroom or multiple...more
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Apricot is not your average prompt generator. Use Apricot to have parents become collaborators in their child's education. With an Apricot account, create an online classroom or multiple classrooms within the same account. Invite students to join using a code provided by Apricot for each class. Moreover, if you choose, invite parents to join and read their student's responses to the prompts you create. Send parents email alerts for only the response(s) you wish to share. Find an introduction Vimeo video on their blog (a link at the bottom of the landing page). This works on any browser based computer and on iPads. At the time of this review the site was planning to add an option to write a personal note to the parents when sending the prompt.

tag(s): parents (50), writing (337), writing prompts (88)

In the Classroom

What a great tool to get your students writing daily! Not only language arts teachers will benefit from using this tool. Any subject teacher can create prompts about the topics their students study. Use Apricot as an exit ticket to see where students have misconceptions about the lesson presented. For days when you need some help coming up with a prompt, look at Thought Questions, reviewed here, to get a few ideas. Send responses to parents easily by having them sign up for the code. Parents will not automatically get responses. You can select which responses to send them.

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Universal - Free Algebra Equation Solver - Stanislav Kublanovsky and Yuri Matiasevich

Grades
6 to 12
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Download the Universal - Free Algebra Equation Solver software from this site. This is the only section of the site that is FREE. However, this tool alone makes the site ...more
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Download the Universal - Free Algebra Equation Solver software from this site. This is the only section of the site that is FREE. However, this tool alone makes the site fabulous! The Algebra Equation Solver solves and explains algebraic equations with step by step instructions. Verbal and written commentaries accompany each solution. Think of it as your free, at-home Algebra tutor! Large, colorful fonts and clearly expressed equations on a whiteboard view offer easy viewing options. Use the four toolbars, the menu bar at the top, and the status bar at the bottom to navigate any problem.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): equations (145), exponents (41), logic (215), problem solving (221)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector and use throughout the year to demonstrate and practice solutions to any Algebra problem. Be sure to include a link to this download on your class web page for students to use at home. Share with parents who are looking for tutoring or support for their student.

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Ultimate Student Copyright Guide - Quality Nonsense, Ltd.

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a tool that explains everything you need to know about copyright, and then some! Learn what copyright is and is not, what it protects, what Public Domain is, ...more
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This is a tool that explains everything you need to know about copyright, and then some! Learn what copyright is and is not, what it protects, what Public Domain is, what the difference is between Copyright and Plagiarism, and a LOT more. Do you remember what the acronym DMCA stands for? Click on the twelfth item in the Table of Contents to find a link to The Ultimate DMCA Guide for Students. Hint: Copyright Infringement Consequences. There are several other pertinent links and resources listed under Table of Contents item twelve. In the middle of the page, under Derivative Works, is a very cool video featuring John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars. The video is about buying copyrighted material or sharing the profits gained from it. Another video referenced is Copyright Basics. Both videos are 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): copyright (49), digital citizenship (40), plagiarism (31)

In the Classroom

This site is a must-share with students for all middle school and secondary teachers. Bookmark and save this site to use for discussion questions and factual information on plagiarism. As you use digital media, be sure to discuss copyright with students. Create a set of rules or reminders as a class to post in the classroom or on a class website or blog. Share this site with parents at Back to School night for their use at home. Share a link to the site in a prominent place on your class website or blog for student reference at any time.

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Wimp - wimp.com

Grades
K to 12
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Wimp offers a wide variety of videos with family-friendly content. Browse through the site using a keyword search or choose categories such as popular, life, culture, learning, and...more
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Wimp offers a wide variety of videos with family-friendly content. Browse through the site using a keyword search or choose categories such as popular, life, culture, learning, and more. Choose a video to read a short description and view. Videos are imported from many different locations such as Vimeo, YouTube, and individual websites. 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. Although the content is family friendly, this site contains comments that aren't monitored. If sharing with students, go to the direct link provided with each video for viewing without some of the distractions (and possibly inappropriate comments).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (259), DAT device agnostic tool (130), musical instruments (37), video (212)

In the Classroom

Bookmark Wimp as a resource for finding videos for lessons and activities. Share the direct link to individual videos on your class website or blog. To remove the distracting advertisements on video sharing sites and more, use a tool such as SafeShareTV, reviewed here, and create a shortcut to the SafeShare page directly on the desktop.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Enemy Aliens - Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

Grades
6 to 12
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This virtual exhibit illustrates a little-known chapter of Canadian history - the story of Canada and Jewish Holocaust refugees. Choose tabs to follow the story of the refugees from...more
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This virtual exhibit illustrates a little-known chapter of Canadian history - the story of Canada and Jewish Holocaust refugees. Choose tabs to follow the story of the refugees from "We Had to Leave" through "New Lives." Each section includes detailed information about the refugees' stories including photos, videos, and additional readings. Also, each portion of the site includes lesson plans for classroom use. This site is available in English and French.

tag(s): canada (30), germany (26), hitler (11), holocaust (40), jews (19), world war 2 (148)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans included on this site as part of any World War II unit. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Have each group become "experts" about different sections then teach their portion to their classmates. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage, reviewed here. Have students create maps using Animaps, reviewed here. With Animaps students can add text, images, and locations of different points of refuge for those fleeing the Holocaust.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Absorb Content - Crocodile Clips, Ltd.

Grades
9 to 12
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Find great interactives and content about a variety of topics! Click on the different content areas at the top of the page: Electronics, Mathematics, Physics, Advanced Physics, and...more
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Find great interactives and content about a variety of topics! Click on the different content areas at the top of the page: Electronics, Mathematics, Physics, Advanced Physics, and Chemistry. On each content page, click on the "Free Sample Units" link to view a variety of resources for that content area. Scroll down the page for the Free Resources header and click the word "Here" to go to the free interactives. Click on each resource, view the description, and then choose to view online or download each interactive. Find free interactives also by clicking on Resources on the top menu of each content page. With the paid version, get additional curriculum material. Some of the interactives require Flash, though the site itself does not.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chemicals (34), earth (222), electricity (80), equations (145), forces (37), geology (79), geometric shapes (144), motion (56), newton (23)

In the Classroom

Use these interactives when discussing various topics in the content area you choose. Identify the relationship shown in the interactive. For example, under mathematics, choose the interactive for using a Protractor or Balanced Equations. In physics, find many interactives including Earth's Rotation and Factors Affecting Stopping Distance, among many more. In Chemistry, Forming Ionic Bonds and Electrolysis interactives are some of many that are free on this site. These interactives are great for use with an interactive whiteboard or projector for sharing with the class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Hott Notes - Joel Riley

Grades
1 to 12
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Get Hott Notes to create sticky notes, lists, or scribbles, to keep on your home screen. Never again have your sticky notes get buried on your desk or lose their ...more
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Get Hott Notes to create sticky notes, lists, or scribbles, to keep on your home screen. Never again have your sticky notes get buried on your desk or lose their stick and fall off the wall! If you have a Windows machine, download the program, and find the hot notes icon on the task bar. Easily create a note, list, or scribble at no cost. Add an alarm feature to a note or change colors of notes. Lists have a check off feature to help keep track of each item completed. Done with a note? Click it away. Never buy or lose your important sticky notes again. See the download section for directions about how to take your computer desktop stickies with you everywhere!

tag(s): note taking (28)

In the Classroom

A teacher's life is full of many things to remember. Keep sticky notes wherever you go on your computer desktop, in a folder, and on a USB mini-drive. Students love technology so encourage sticky note reminders. Use as a way to have students vote for choices. Allow students to add a sticky note to your computer after finishing an assignment. List all materials needed for lessons and labs on your sticky notes. Gather them from multiple places and still keep track. Use as a way to brainstorm with your class and later eliminate unneeded ideas. Keep weekly vocabulary or spelling words on Hott Notes for all of your student computers. Use as a method for tracking behavior.

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60 Minute Physics: The Course - Henry Reich

Grades
10 to 12
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60 Minute Physics is a free online course inspired by the very popular YouTube Minute Physics videos. Physics topics include light and energy, space and time, quantum physics, and more....more
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60 Minute Physics is a free online course inspired by the very popular YouTube Minute Physics videos. Physics topics include light and energy, space and time, quantum physics, and more. Enrollment in the courses opens up discussion areas, the ability to download videos for offline viewing, and online tracking of progress throughout the course. Easy registration requires your name, email, and a password to begin.

tag(s): energy (185), evolution (103), forces (37), gravity (48), light (45), magnetism (31), matter (49), solar energy (33), space (180), temperature (30), video (212)

In the Classroom

Enroll in 60 Minute Physics to access the many videos and lessons available. These videos are perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use as a short introduction to lessons or to supplement current materials. Share 60 Minute Physics with students as an excellent resource for enrichment or differentiation.

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