TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 5, 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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City Technology - The City College of New York

Grades
K to 6
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City Technology offers resources for students and educators to learn about engineering. You learn through the creation of projects and integration across curricular areas such as math...more
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City Technology offers resources for students and educators to learn about engineering. You learn through the creation of projects and integration across curricular areas such as math and science. The page for kids shares projects for kids to create on their own. Each project features a video showing how to make the item and a list of materials needed. Choose the section for educators to find complete units on Energy Systems, Force and Motion, and Stuff that Works correlated to math and science standards. Each unit includes a video and downloadable lesson plans.

tag(s): circuits (16), energy (182), engineering (96), forces (34), friction (11), gravity (47), motion (53), STEM (86)

In the Classroom

Use this site as part of any unit about force, motion, or energy. Have student groups create the different projects found on the site, and share their creations with classmates. Have students upload a photo they took of their project, and add voice bubbles to explain what they learned using a tool such as Superlame, reviewed here. Have students create projects found on City Technology, then host your own Science Fair!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Newswordy - Josh Smith

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K to 12
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We hear new buzzwords all of the time, but what do they really mean? Newswordy provides those answers. Each day Newswordy features a buzzword, definition, and its uses in articles ...more
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We hear new buzzwords all of the time, but what do they really mean? Newswordy provides those answers. Each day Newswordy features a buzzword, definition, and its uses in articles and tweets from trending topics. Find the previous day's buzzword by clicking the link on the bottom of the page or click the three bars on the top-right hand side of the page for a list of previous words. Click the title to go to the source and read the entire article.

tag(s): media literacy (45), news (175), vocabulary (317)

In the Classroom

Newswordy is perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Display the word of the day as students arrive in class as a great warm up for current events lessons. Share a link to the site on your class webpage. Tweak your students' interest in what is happening in the world by reading the excerpts of the articles and tweets at Newswordy. Have students bring in examples they find on the Internet or when watching T.V. Next, students can create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here, or WordItOut, reviewed here.

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Roadtrippers - Roadtrippers

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1 to 12
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Jump onto your computer and start your road trip! Choose a destination, and start planning the Hotels, Attractions, Natural Wonders, and Weird Stuff for your trip. Plan your trip by...more
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Jump onto your computer and start your road trip! Choose a destination, and start planning the Hotels, Attractions, Natural Wonders, and Weird Stuff for your trip. Plan your trip by entering the starting address and the final destination. Instantly discover the journey's duration, the amount of money needed for gas, and the mileage. Choose the dates you will travel and save your trip. Print your plans, email them to yourself or others, or access your trip plans on the app. Plan several trips and save them in your account. Not sure where you want to go? Discover interesting areas by viewing the stories posted on Roadtrippers. Be sure to preview what you will show students as not all journals are kid friendly.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (128), field trips (11), virtual field trips (45)

In the Classroom

Bring the world of road tripping to your class! Plan journeys as math challenges to determine the amount of money required. Give students a budget and see what happens. Challenge students to create a dream trip and a budget trip. Find the difference between the two. You could use an online tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here. Bring the settings of your favorite stories to life! Introduce a travel blog by pursuing the saved trip journals. Again, preview what you will show students as not all journals are kid friendly. Post the trips with pictures and a travel diary on your class blog or Edmodo class group.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Squirt - Squirt io

Grades
2 to 12
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Start speed-reading with Squirt! Just install Squirt on your bookmarks bar. Clicking Try It Now will show you how this tool works. Back on the home page, click Install Squirt...more
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Start speed-reading with Squirt! Just install Squirt on your bookmarks bar. Clicking Try It Now will show you how this tool works. Back on the home page, click Install Squirt to read the FAQs and install the bookmarklet. When visiting a page on the web, select the text you would like to speed-read. Click on the bookmarklet, and watch the magic of Squirt begin. Squirt shows one word at a time while you adjust the speed of the words you read.

tag(s): independent reading (113)

In the Classroom

Want to take away the distractions of advertising or annoying graphics on a page? Use Squirt to only look at one word at a time. Squirt can also help struggling readers to practice their speed and accuracy rate. Squirt aids readers who may have problems with tracking. Use as an example of speed reading versus comprehension. Discuss the difference between reading with and without illustrations, tables, pictures, and the difference they make to comprehension. Use as a way to challenge students for reward certificates or extra computer time using an interactive they love. Use Squirt yourself, to get caught up on articles you need to read.

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PlayAlong - Collaborative Fund and Sesame Workshop

Grades
K to 3
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Answer questions about children's literacy, early childhood education, and related topics, and you will be funding Sesame Street with every correct answer. This simple interactive was...more
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Answer questions about children's literacy, early childhood education, and related topics, and you will be funding Sesame Street with every correct answer. This simple interactive was created to help celebrate Sesame Street's anniversary, but its messages are timeless. Each correct answer pays one cent to support Sesame Street, but you won't mind being a passive "fundraiser" as you learn, too!

tag(s): literacy (92), preK (257)

In the Classroom

Try this yourself to learn more about early literacy. Share a question or two with parents and colleagues at the start of Back to School night, summer in-service, or a staff meeting.

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Africa - The Nature Conservancy

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7 to 12
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Journey deep into Africa's environmental challenges and solutions in this blog-style offering from the Nature Conservancy. Learn about initiatives to save the elephants, promote sustainable...more
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Journey deep into Africa's environmental challenges and solutions in this blog-style offering from the Nature Conservancy. Learn about initiatives to save the elephants, promote sustainable grazing, establish fisheries, protect and conserve water, and much more. Don't miss the interactive section about the elephants accessible by clicking "#SaveElephants." Much of the Nature Conservancy's efforts focuses on raising funds for their endeavors. However, the many articles and rich images on this site explain and illustrate the issues well.

tag(s): africa (178), animals (256), earth day (110), environment (307), water (125)

In the Classroom

With reading levels from middle to high school, the many posts and articles on this site would be excellent background information for students exploring environmental issues around the world, in this case in Africa. Some of the sections are more image-heavy and could even be accessible with an upper elementary class on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Challenge students (or small groups) to delve into an issue of their choice and explain what has caused the problem and how people are trying to solve it. Their explanation could be a traditional oral presentation, an infographic created with Easel.ly, reviewed here, or a creative video using a tool from the TeachersFirst Edge. Offer this site as an optional extension for your more able students who are passionate about animals and/or the environment. Share it around Earth Day as an option for students to create posters or even raise funds for an environmental cause.

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America Goes to War: an Infographic - New England College

Grades
8 to 12
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What does it mean to go to war? This simple infographic shows the Constitutional process by which the United States declares war, traces the history of each of the U.S. ...more
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What does it mean to go to war? This simple infographic shows the Constitutional process by which the United States declares war, traces the history of each of the U.S. declarations of war, and differentiates among formal declarations, military actions, and Presidential or Congressional authorizations of force.

tag(s): civil war (141), congress (26), constitution (73), presidents (119), war of 1812 (14), world war 1 (48), world war 2 (147)

In the Classroom

Was the U.S. at war? What powers does the U.S. President have to declare war, and how have Presidents used those powers historically? A powerful, but simple infographic delineates the legal and Constitutional differences among U.S. wars historically. Share the infographic on an interactive whiteboard, or embed on your classroom website for reference.

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Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project - University of North Carolina Greensboro

Grades
8 to 12
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The unique viewpoints of U.S. women veterans are well represented in this rich archive of photographs, oral histories, diaries, scrapbooks, and artifacts from the nineteenth century...more
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The unique viewpoints of U.S. women veterans are well represented in this rich archive of photographs, oral histories, diaries, scrapbooks, and artifacts from the nineteenth century to the present. The archive is particularly strong for women who served during World War II. It also includes World War I, Korea, Vietnam, The Cold War, Desert Storm, the Gulf Wars and the War on Terror. Search by date, branch of service, conflict, or by type of material, including over 350 oral histories.

tag(s): memorial day (13), oral history (10), primary sources (79), veterans (19), world war 1 (48), world war 2 (147)

In the Classroom

Use this archive for rich, authentic primary source material on the lives of women in the military. Consider having students, individually or in groups, choose a veteran and present her story to classmates. Use a tool like Zoho Show (similar to Powerpoint, but easier and free), reviewed here. Supplement classroom materials associated with a wartime era with the photographs, posters, and diaries provided here. Use these stories as part of a special focus for Veterans Day, Memorial Day, or Women's History Month. The archive would also be a particularly rich resource for students considering National History Day Projects.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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edgee - playground for the curious - Markus Maier

Grades
5 to 12
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edgee is an online social network and content platform dedicated to allowing users to create a "big picture" of any topic. Tell your story by creating an edgee with any...more
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edgee is an online social network and content platform dedicated to allowing users to create a "big picture" of any topic. Tell your story by creating an edgee with any online media such as articles, sounds, videos, and images. Add text to annotate and discuss information. Organize by rearranging and resizing to tell your story. Share using social networking links provided. Search and browse collections from other members for additional sharing and ideas. Be sure to preview any content of other collections before sharing with students as the content is not moderated.

tag(s): multimedia (41), organizational skills (102), portfolios (23), social networking (109)

In the Classroom

Create an edgee on any topic, add additional content as you teach the unit. Share on your class website or blog. Flip your classroom and have students view your edgee before beginning any lesson. Have students create an edgee as an alternative to other multimedia presentation platforms for book reports, portfolios, biographies, author studies, review sessions, and more.

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Edueto - Radka Breitzetelova and Tomas Burda

Grades
K to 12
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Create and share online exercises and quizzes for free. Choose from Edueto's different options such as multiple choice, picture tagging, writing, and more to create activities. Browse...more
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Create and share online exercises and quizzes for free. Choose from Edueto's different options such as multiple choice, picture tagging, writing, and more to create activities. Browse through already created activities sorted by grade, type of activity, keyword, or subject. To use any of the exercises, click on the "Use for my students" link. Choose from Quick Use or Full Use options. Quick Use provides an instant link for use without any signup. Full Use, with account creation, offers additional options such as managing students, viewing results, and the ability to create your own exercises. The intro video resides 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): quiz (71), quizzes (81), test prep (89), writing (335)

In the Classroom

Edueto is a must-have for creating and using online exercises in any classroom. Create an account to find and save ready-made exercises, and then create your own activities to suit your individual needs. Upload videos and files to include with exercises if desired. Differentiate student learning by setting up activities for all different levels of student abilities. Have students create their own exercises to share with classmates for practice sessions, during a review, or at the end of a presentation.

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Choosito! - Eleni Miltsakaki

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K to 12
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Choosito! is a search engine providing safe access to the worldwide web through filtering of reading levels and subject areas for education. Create an account to add class information...more
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Choosito! is a search engine providing safe access to the worldwide web through filtering of reading levels and subject areas for education. Create an account to add class information and add your collections. Search Choosito! using filters for reading level and subject. Limit searches to Choosito's Library, your collections, or Choosito! Web. Easily share searches using social networking links or save to your library. Be sure to check out the Choosito! Start Guides for a quick overview to getting started with this search engine.

tag(s): bookmarks (58), search engines (64), search strategies (26)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom account and provide a link on classroom computers for student searches at any time. Differentiate in your class by assigning reading by reading level. ESL/ELL and resource teachers will find this especially helpful when looking for reading material at your students' level for topics assigned in core classes. Be sure to introduce Choosito! on an interactive whiteboard or projector for students to understand how to use this search engine. Share Choosito! with parents for use at home.

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stickr - Informer Technologies, Inc.

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K to 12
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Install stickr as a bookmarklet or add-on to your browser to save quotes, comments, images, or videos. Select the text and insert a stickr. Save images and video to stickrs, ...more
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Install stickr as a bookmarklet or add-on to your browser to save quotes, comments, images, or videos. Select the text and insert a stickr. Save images and video to stickrs, too! Choose to change the stickr color and text. Save your stickrs as public or private. Find stickrs on a drop down menu or in your profile. Follow others in your stickr feed. Watch the video tutorial on the main page. At the bottom of the page click on the How To section for specific instructions and an instructional video. The video 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 videos from YouTube.

tag(s): note taking (27), summarizing (14), word study (66)

In the Classroom

Share an article on the Internet with students using an interactive whiteboard or projector. While the class is reading, use different color stickrs to highlight and quote main ideas, explain unknown words, and indicate details during a close reading. Add videos or images to enhance comprehension. Stop throughout the article to record students' comments or questions. Adding tags will ensure finding what you need the next time you visit the page. Tags will also help students find main ideas to aid in studying. This tool will benefit any subject area teacher when explaining concepts or events while reading informational text. Show students how to summarize the information on the stickr using their words. Save sites for different research projects by adding tags. Use stickr to find information for the bibliography instantly. Have students take notes right on the page using their own words. Be sure to add a lesson on plagiarism.

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Slidestory - Audio Slideshows & Podcasting (Beta) - Slidestory

Grades
1 to 12
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Create a slideshow with voice narrations and images at Slidestory. Download the free slideshow publisher and begin. Publish your work on the site or join an online group to share ...more
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Create a slideshow with voice narrations and images at Slidestory. Download the free slideshow publisher and begin. Publish your work on the site or join an online group to share your work. Find answers to questions in the forum. Find examples of projects on the site categorized by subject. Join the RSS feed to stay up with the latest creations. Under support, find detailed information about each part of this process. When finished, save the file on your computer or publish to the Slidestory site. There is no need to download Slidestory if you only want to view the examples and selections.

tag(s): digital storytelling (104), podcasts (46), slides (55)

In the Classroom

Use SlideStory in all areas of your classroom life. Have each student create an electronic portfolio for use during the year. Have students use Slidestory when writing reading responses. Discover a new format for publishing writing of any genre: narrative, expository, or persuasive. Begin digital storytelling in an easy, simple way with all that you need. Become a character from a story and retell the story in that character's words. Have students record lessons of them teaching content to other students. Record your lessons for flipping your classroom. Record directions of a big project that your class has and publish on your website for student reference. Choose a character or period of history and create a memory book. Have students describe their futures in a leadership presentation. Have students make study guides for content review.

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We Tell Stories - Penguin Books Limited

Grades
6 to 12
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Discover We Tell Stories, and find six different types of fiction with six different authors, each using a different type of technology. Each story has its unique way of integrating...more
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Discover We Tell Stories, and find six different types of fiction with six different authors, each using a different type of technology. Each story has its unique way of integrating technology into its fictional story. The story, The 21 Steps, uses Google Maps, challenging you to follow the story along the map. Once Upon a Time allows you to choose the characters. The story, Slice, unfolds through a series of blogs by the main characters. Hard Times is an interactive Prezi-type story. The interactive story, The Former General, allows you to navigate with the arrow keys uncovering the plot of the story. Don't miss this incredibly journey into digital storytelling.

tag(s): digital storytelling (104), narrative (23)

In the Classroom

Immerse your students into the world of digital storytelling! Lead your study of digital literacy with fictional literature with a new direction. Carefully examine, analyze, and enjoy each story! Feature each story on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Look for common characteristics found in all of the stories. Examine and analyze each story. Compare the story format to the traditional book format. Have students take a fairy tale (no copyright infringement), and assign groups to create their own way of adding technology. Use one of the many multimedia tools reviewed by TeachersFirst Edge, here, for this project. Present student creations to younger students. Finally, challenge your students to write and publish their own fictional story through technology. ESL/ELL and resource students will especially appreciate and benefit from the visual aspects of these stories. Be sure to add your students' finished digital storytelling projects to your class web page and share at family nights at school.
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