TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Aug 31, 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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Garbology - Naturebridge

Grades
3 to 12
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Garbology is an interactive that teaches about garbage and answers the question, "Where should my waste go?" While exploring, uncover startling facts about trash, waste, recycling,...more
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Garbology is an interactive that teaches about garbage and answers the question, "Where should my waste go?" While exploring, uncover startling facts about trash, waste, recycling, reuse, landfills, and composting. Find lessons and activities to extend your Garbology knowledge, from how to pack a waste-less lunch to getting the dirt on composting. The Trash Talk blog gives stories of conservation in practice.

tag(s): earth day (105), environment (279), recycling (48)

In the Classroom

Sweeten the smell of garbage at Garbology with this engaging site. Introduce the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore independently or in small groups. Tickle students' interest and get them digging away at Garbology! Use at centers or offer as a resource for projects on conservation. Put students into groups and offer a different lesson for every group. Students can then create and share their findings in a multimedia presentation! Introduce at science night and challenge families with a new goal: reducing waste! As a school, compete between classrooms to discover all of the changes that each can make. Collect data, analyze, and present findings.
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Codecademy - Codeacademy

Grades
4 to 12
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Try Codecademy to learn how to code. Build projects such as interactive websites, games, and apps. Join a community of coders and share the knowledge. Collaborate with others from all...more
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Try Codecademy to learn how to code. Build projects such as interactive websites, games, and apps. Join a community of coders and share the knowledge. Collaborate with others from all over for new projects. Find 18 adaptable lesson plans that link to Codecademy's online courses. You can also build a profile to track progress. Included is a free kit to start an after school coding club. Check out the one hour introductory class on coding for teachers. Codecademy's small lessons help one focus on tasks that might at first be completely foreign or overwhelmingly technical. Discover the curriculum developed for primary and secondary schools. Download an app for iPhones to continue coding. Lessons for coding include JavaScript, HTML/CSS, PHP, Python, Ruby, and APIs.

tag(s): computers (40), engineering (81), STEM (55)

In the Classroom

Codecademy offers you basic instruction before you begin teaching your students (or learning together with them!). Create accounts for your students, and track their progress. Besides the intrinsic factors that come with learning to code, students will be motivated by the streaks, badges, and points they can earn. After school clubs with Codecademy will be a breeze with everything all set up. Set up a coding activity center for interested students when they finish class work or for rainy days and snow days.
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LitPick - LitPick

Grades
4 to 12
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LitPick is a great place to find preteen and teen literature reviewed by students from all over the world. It was selected in 2013 as Best Website for Teaching ...more
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LitPick is a great place to find preteen and teen literature reviewed by students from all over the world. It was selected in 2013 as Best Website for Teaching and Learning by the American Association of Librarians. Discover the latest reads reviewed by students. Students apply to become a reviewer, along with an adult sponsor, and get a free eBook or print book. Choose a book by age or genre. Read within 4-6 weeks and write a 5-10 sentence review summarizing the book, without giving away the ending. Submit and receive feedback before the final review is approved and published. Receive points and badges for well written reviews. Find books listed by author, genre, or age group. Adult members of LitPick can participate in the monthly book giveaway contest and newsletter that features student book reviews and special offers. Sign up to receive the latest announcement and promotional giveaways. Start book clubs, or use in classes.

tag(s): expository writing (30), independent reading (95), literature (213), literature circles (4)

In the Classroom

Use this site for a real reviewer's experience or simply to find great books. Evaluate other reviews and make a list of noteworthy reviewing techniques. Students choose the latest new reads before they are released to the public. Sign up individual students, groups or students, or your class to read a book together and write a review. Challenge your gifted ones to work on this authentic review task. This site is perfect to use for literature circles. Create your own "LitPick" on your school library site. Have students involve parents as their sponsor for greater parental involvement and excitement. Get the newest books free.
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Curious - Curious

Grades
4 to 12
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Learn fascinating information in video format on a plethora of different topics. As you click through, click FREE at the top of each category to se only the free offerings. ...more
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Learn fascinating information in video format on a plethora of different topics. As you click through, click FREE at the top of each category to se only the free offerings. Choose from categories such as Game On, Curious 52, Art and Photo, Smarty Pants, Fit and Active, and Health and Beauty. There is so much more: Learn to Code, Great Outdoors, Popular, Fancy Pants, Around the House, Staff Picks, Pocket Perfect, Language, Crafting, Green Thumb, Software, Tasty Treats, Song and Dance, Business Savvy, and Party Time. Each video has a clickable "timeline" under it where you can read about the video, find lessons, make comments, find related topics, and see assignments. Teach others your skill or talent. Send Curious cards to teachers or others to show what you know. Be aware, not all of the video clips are free.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): art history (49), dance (24), family (53), financial literacy (58), money (174), nutrition (135), sports (79), video (175)

In the Classroom

Check out the offerings for videos that support or extend your curriculum. Have your students find a lesson to learn or even a lesson to teach. Be sure to show them where to click "free" to narrow the listings. After previewing Curious on an interactive whiteboard or projector, choose a video to evaluate and gather the important parts of the information. Small groups could each choose a different video. Have students create their own lessons in content areas using these as a model. As you teach about informational text, this is the perfect example of digital writing to convey information. Suggest this site at a parent night to help keep everyone lifetime learners. Be sure to post a link on your website for parents and students to access at home.
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Big History Project - Big History Project LLC

Grades
8 to 12
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Big History Project is a free, online social studies course designed for secondary students tracing from the Big Bang through the history of humanity. This course takes a VERY broad...more
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Big History Project is a free, online social studies course designed for secondary students tracing from the Big Bang through the history of humanity. This course takes a VERY broad view of the "big picture" to provide greater perspective in how we see history. View course information in 2 sections with 10 units covering a time span of 13.7 billion years. Each unit contains between 20-30 modules including projects, discussion topics, and assessments. All are aligned to Common Core Standards. Other course offerings include Project Based Learning activities, videos, animations, infographics, and much more. A simpler, shorter version of the course for the general public is available under "Not an educator?. Click on "Check out our public course."

tag(s): agriculture (44), geologic time (8), industrialization (12), solar system (104)

In the Classroom

Use Big History Project as a complete year-long course in your high school. Adapt portions of the project for use within current classroom content. Share videos or use lessons or animations as part of any unit. If you employ Project Based Learning activities, use the three PBL learning activities embedded within the project. Be sure to read through the FAQ provided on the site for guidance on using the Big History Project in your classroom.

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Urban Observatory - Esri, Radical Media, and Richard Saul Wurman

Grades
8 to 12
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Visually compare current data about cities all around the world. Choose three cities at a time to access information such as work, movement (including transportation), systems, and...more
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Visually compare current data about cities all around the world. Choose three cities at a time to access information such as work, movement (including transportation), systems, and people. View the findings of all three cities side by side. After viewing introductory maps and a summary of trends about any specific city, click on specific information you need. The interactive and manipulable maps change as each different theme about the city comes up. You can easily and quickly compare different parts of the population, weather details, transportation facts, historical boundaries, parks, and many other themes. Creators of the site have the goal of adding data about more cities around the world and welcome outside additions to the fact bank.

tag(s): cities (21), data (142), population (50), railroads (8)

In the Classroom

Share this tool and compare locations on your interactive whiteboard or projector as you study geography, economics, or government. Ask students what items are important to look at in a city where they plan to live. Then ask them the same thing about a city where they plan to vacation. Have students make online "tours" to compare their choice of three cities using Stoodle reviewed here. Share cities as part of a world language class to discuss the economic and statistical differences in different cultures. Use data from this site in math classes for students to compare, contrast, and manipulate real world data.

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Connected Classrooms Field Trips - Google

Grades
4 to 12
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Take your class on virtual field trips through using Google hangouts, and, of course, Google. Participate in live events by signing up for upcoming field trips. Most trips include activities...more
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Take your class on virtual field trips through using Google hangouts, and, of course, Google. Participate in live events by signing up for upcoming field trips. Most trips include activities for students as well as opportunities for question and answer sessions. If you missed an event, no problem. Simply click the link to previous field trips to view at your convenience. Previous field trips have included visits to the San Diego Zoo, The White House Christmas decorations, and Ken Burns discussing the Gettysburg Address. If your district blocks YouTube, then parts of this site 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. Hangouts require a Google account and may be blocked in some schools. Always test ahead of time before planning a class "trip."

tag(s): field trips (10), virtual field trips (37)

In the Classroom

Share the field trip offerings with your class, and together decide on field trips to take that fit with your curriculum. Before the presentation have students brainstorm or collect ideas on a collaborative bulletin board like Scrumblr, reviewed here (quick start- no membership required). After the virtual presentation have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a person involved with the virtual presentation.
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Spelling Wizard - Scholastic

Grades
K to 5
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Try your hand at spelling practice using Spelling Wizard. Enter words into the blanks and then choose to make a word search or word scramble. You can do the spelling ...more
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Try your hand at spelling practice using Spelling Wizard. Enter words into the blanks and then choose to make a word search or word scramble. You can do the spelling activities online or click to print.

tag(s): spelling (160)

In the Classroom

In your classroom, introduce Spelling Wizard on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share your weekly spelling words as a class or in small groups. Make this a regular part of your word study centers featuring each week's words. If you do the "Daily 5," use this as one of your centers. Share this link on your class wiki or website for students to practice at home. This tool is also handy for practicing correct spellings of states and capitals, science terms, and more. It would even work for learning to spell the names of classmates at the beginning of the school year.
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A Moment in Time - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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What just happened here? The New York Times offers hundreds of user-submitted photographs from all over the world, each capturing "a moment in time" on a Sunday in May, 2010. ...more
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What just happened here? The New York Times offers hundreds of user-submitted photographs from all over the world, each capturing "a moment in time" on a Sunday in May, 2010. Search by theme, and then give the virtual globe a spin to select a location from which to view your moment in time. Repeat. You won't want to stop. See the world in images from all over the world, all on the same day.

tag(s): creative writing (131), cross cultural understanding (85), debate (34), expository writing (30)

In the Classroom

Each of the "moment in time" photographs provides a wonderful thinking/writing/discussion prompt. What Just Happened Here? If it happened somewhere far away from me, how is it different from what happens in my backyard? What do I have in common with what is pictured? What don't I understand? Use this site to generate ideas for writing, for art, for debate. Use this as an avenue to open discussion about different cultures. Imagine a "moment in time" from another date, such as June 6, 1944, Sept 11, 2001, or an ordinary day in 2014. Challenge students to imagine and create their own moments in time to share.
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Nurph - Nurphy, Ltd.

Grades
9 to 12
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Moderate Twitter chats with this easy to use tool. Creating a "channel" pushes a link out to your Twitter followers. They can join your channel and join in the conversation. ...more
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Moderate Twitter chats with this easy to use tool. Creating a "channel" pushes a link out to your Twitter followers. They can join your channel and join in the conversation. Invitations can include an RSVP too! See who has joined the chat AND statistics on their level of engagement, as well as most-used topics in the chat. Enjoy the sound effects and emoticons that make the chat livelier. Use the Past Chat Replay feature to view a video of the chat and create review notes or find specific points in the chat. Are you new to Twitter and hashtags or unsure how to use them in the classroom? Looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page. Be sure to check with your district's policies before using Twitter with students.

tag(s): microblogging (35), twitter (45)

In the Classroom

Use a class Twitter account to set up chats with classes in other schools using this tool. Create a focused chat session based upon a particular question, such as the constitutionality of a law or the environmental impact of fracking. Create a relevant hashtag to go with your question to keep the chat on topic. If your students are allowed to use individual Twitter accounts, Create a hashtag for use by students when quoting and reacting to comments from presenters. Construct a question about events occurring elsewhere in the world to hear student perspectives. Attending a conference or like talking to like-minded educators? Create a Channel and invite others in for a chat. As most chats move quickly, the Past Chat Replay is essential for remembering links and ideas. Find chats for all kinds of teacher interests to build not only your Professional Learning Network (PLN) but your knowledge base in the document Twitter Chat Schedule.

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Paying for College - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Grades
10 to 12
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The cost of college continues to rise, and student debt has a significant impact on the US economy. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers several important resources for those...more
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The cost of college continues to rise, and student debt has a significant impact on the US economy. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers several important resources for those thinking about how to pay for college. An overview of student loans and how they work provides important consumer information. Also, some brief money management and banking can help those just starting out. The best part of Paying for College, however, is the financial aid offer comparison tool, which allows you to evaluate up to three financial aid offers from colleges using real "apples to apples" data. Finally, there is excellent advice about repaying student debt.

tag(s): banks (9), college (42), financial aid (11), financial literacy (58), money (174)

In the Classroom

The cost of college represents a real life example of the importance of financial literacy to high school students. If you teach money management, career planning, or consumer awareness, the units on student banking and student loans provide practical advice on financial management and planning for young people. Of course, this is also a resource you will want to share in the library/media center and college guidance offices.

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PicGhost - Nermien Barakat and Amr ElGarhy

Grades
K to 12
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PicGhost is a batch image editor that does all work online without any software downloads. Drag and drop (or select) up to 40 images from your computer or import images ...more
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PicGhost is a batch image editor that does all work online without any software downloads. Drag and drop (or select) up to 40 images from your computer or import images from Facebook, Flickr, or Picasa for each batch edit. Once files upload, start editing to resize, add watermarks, add effects, and more. When finished, apply edits and download the finished image to your computer. This is a very handy way to resize a group of images at once! Add watermarks to your own photos so others will not use them without permission.

tag(s): editing (37), images (210), photography (132)

In the Classroom

Use PicGhost anytime photos need to be edited on class blogs, wikis, or sites. In primary grades, use this tool to edit pictures from a field trip, science experiments, and more. Share the editing process together with your younger students using your interactive whiteboard or projector, and edit the project together! Encourage older students to use this tool themselves on images for projects or presentations. Use PicGhost to edit pictures to look "old" when doing historical reports or to set a mood.

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SnapCuts - Bee Ottinger

Grades
6 to 12
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Create video messages with SnapCuts' interactive tools and public domain video clips. Browse the categorized database of video clips and drag clips to the "Snapper" bar to create a...more
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Create video messages with SnapCuts' interactive tools and public domain video clips. Browse the categorized database of video clips and drag clips to the "Snapper" bar to create a 30 second video. Add text to any clip. Then share by email, URL, or social media links. Create a free account to save your SnapCuts for future use or editing. Some of the video clips are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always create view the gallery or create your own Snapcuts 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): animation (50), video (175)

In the Classroom

SnapCuts is ideal to use as an anticipatory set to introduce a unit or lesson. Use a projector or interactive whiteboard to show students how to get around on Snapcuts. Have students create SnapCuts to show traits of characters, events in literature, or the essence of different time periods in history. Share with students to include in multimedia projects. Include premade SnapCuts in professional development presentations for inspiration and motivation.

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Musicovery - Vincent Castaignet and Frederic Vavrille

Grades
K to 12
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Create and personalize a music playlist using Musicovery. Hover your mouse over different areas of the mood pad to define your radio settings of energetic, dark, positive, or calm....more
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Create and personalize a music playlist using Musicovery. Hover your mouse over different areas of the mood pad to define your radio settings of energetic, dark, positive, or calm. Narrow choices by different genres such as pop, soundtracks, world music, and more. A song list starts playing once you selected the mood. Create an account to save favorites for use later.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (131), learning styles (11), sounds (66)

In the Classroom

Be sure to share this link with students and parents looking for less distracting sounds while brainstorming or working. Note that songs with words will probably distract, so you may want to stick to classical or other instrumental options. Reading a book to the class or conducting a science lab? Turn up your speakers and use calming sounds as mood music to set the stage for your story. Play a few minutes of relaxing sounds before a major test. Let a student "DJ" choose a class relaxation or creativity soundscape. If you have "silent reading" time in your class or school, calm music will help students to focus. As you talk with students about discovering their learning styles, offer this site as a suggestion for them to try while prewriting or studying for tests. Emotional support and autistic support teachers may want to experiment to see if these sounds can help their students.
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