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PicLits - PicLits.com

Grades
K to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
  
The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Or add inspirational or humorous...more
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The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Or add inspirational or humorous captions to pictures.

NOTE: Our editors regret that PicLits occasionally allows advertising on their home page to include images that are not classroom-friendly. Teachers should preview to determine whether or not your students can ignore the ads.

"Learn It" provides learning opportunities and examples for creating captions, compound sentences, or paragraphs. Advanced lesson plans for teachers are viewed in the "Learn It" tab as well. "View the Gallery" to see already-created PicLits as well as comments and ratings. After selecting a picture (or using the one they provide) and dragging a word onto the screen, choose different forms of the word by using the drop-down menu next to the word. Move your words anywhere on the screen for creative writing. You can also click "freestyle" instead to type in your own words instead of choosing from their list. Word lists change, depending on the image selected. Note: Advertisements run alongside the PicLits screen. Caution students to ignore these. Here is an example:
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (171), digital storytelling (153), images (274), sentences (50)

In the Classroom

Users of PicLits must be able to navigate tabs on sites, manage logins, and use URL's and embed codes to share results on websites and blogs. Play to learn the tools before or after joining. Help also provides a short-and-sweet text explanation of the tools.

Registering for a PicLits account requires the use of an email address. PicLits can be used without an account but users are unable to save or blog about their creation without an account. A class account can be created instead of individual student accounts. However, it does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. All work on the site can be seen without a login. All projects are public.

You may want to create a word doc, Favorites folder, or other "collection" of the URLS to all your students' projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Some teachers use a class wiki or blog with links to all projects from there. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students or simply use a whole-class account.

Share a PicLit on your interactive whiteboard at the start of a grammar or writing lesson to discuss word choice, figures of speech, or vocabulary. Use the visual picture prompt for journal or blog writing, allowing each student to compose a unique poem or haiku. Even science classes can write about concepts illustrated in the many nature photos. Emotional support teachers will love the chance to discuss feelings and how to describe facial expressions in the pictures. Make a collection of PicLits for a curriculum topic or as a literary magazine online. ESL students can create PicLits to learn new vocabulary. Have students create PicLits for special occasions and special people (mom, dad, grandparents, school nurse, or others). Use the embed code to place your creations on many other sites, including your class wiki or blogs. Share your PicLit by using a URL or code for an embedded widget.

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NASA Digital Learning Network - NASA

Grades
K to 12
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Learn firsthand from experts and specialists at NASA! Join free and interactive video-conferencing events or view podcasts for use in classrooms. Use the "Event Catalog" to find events...more
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Learn firsthand from experts and specialists at NASA! Join free and interactive video-conferencing events or view podcasts for use in classrooms. Use the "Event Catalog" to find events for specific grade levels, science subjects, or topics. View the event's focus and description as well as downloading Adobe pdf files of introductory activities and complete educator guides for different grade levels. A variety of webcasts are available. For example, in 2009, NASA's offerings include "Exploring Other Worlds," "The Earth System," and "Global Warming, Causes and Consequences." Educators must create a login and register for events. Access to video conferencing hardware is necessary for the live video-conferencing events. Download applications needed for viewing the webcasts from the "Tools and Plug Ins" page. The tools are also available at the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): air (151), earth (232), environment (318), nasa (39), space (218)

In the Classroom

Educators can view professional development webcasts from NASA's education experts. Download the pdf documents for use in class, and introduce concepts for students and formulate questions in class. Use several students to record fine points of the lectures, collect the most requested questions prior to the video-conference, and begin discussions following the event either in class or using web 2.0 tools such as a blog or a wiki. In lower grades, use the webcasts to introduce science concepts visually on a projector or interactive whiteboard.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Visions of Christmas - American Antiquarian Society

Grades
2 to 12
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Original illustrations of classic Christmas memorabilia highlight this no-frills site. If you need a quick explanation, with photos, about the origin of Christmas, Christmas trees,...more
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Original illustrations of classic Christmas memorabilia highlight this no-frills site. If you need a quick explanation, with photos, about the origin of Christmas, Christmas trees, and evolution of Santa, this site will suit your purpose well. The four main topics include: Origins of Christmas, Evolution of Santa, The Christmas Tree, and Twas the Night Before Christmas. Students researching old customs will appreciate the simple approach.

tag(s): christmas (65), trees (29)

In the Classroom

Art teachers, enlarge the antique photos and engravings by double clicking on the small picture. The enlarged image can be printed to be included in a vast choice of art projects. Around the holidays, project one of the pictures on your interactive whiteboard or projector for students to use as a writing prompt, as they write a story about what they feel the picture portrays.

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Earth Day Groceries Project - The Earth Day Groceries Project

Grades
K to 8
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Have your students decorate paper grocery bags for Earth Day! The "Earth Day Groceries Project" is cost-free and one of the largest and oldest projects on the Internet. The project,...more
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Have your students decorate paper grocery bags for Earth Day! The "Earth Day Groceries Project" is cost-free and one of the largest and oldest projects on the Internet. The project, managed by Mark Ahlness (a third grade teacher in Seattle, Washington), challenges students to decorate paper grocery bags for Earth Day featuring environmentally friendly messages. There are four steps to the project, all well-explained on the site. Be sure to visit the Project Starter Kit link. This link includes a PowerPoint presentation about the project, screensavers, project details, and more.

tag(s): creativity (119), earth (232), earth day (112)

In the Classroom

Use this interdisciplinary activity to integrate art, creativity, community service, science, and Earth Day events. Share the PowerPoint presentation with your class on a projector or interactive whiteboard to get students motivated about the project.

Display pictures of some of the bags on your class website. Provide this link in your class newsletter or on your class website; challenge parents to make this a family activity.

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Earth Day - Kaboose

Grades
K to 5
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If you are looking for Earth Day activities in your elementary level classroom, don't miss this interactive site! Features of this site include Earth Day crafts, recipes, learning about...more
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If you are looking for Earth Day activities in your elementary level classroom, don't miss this interactive site! Features of this site include Earth Day crafts, recipes, learning about the history of the holiday, several interactives (all related to the environment), printable pages, quizzes, and more. There are links for both classroom and home activities.

Be aware: this site does include advertisements. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (232), earth day (112), ecology (134), environment (318)

In the Classroom

As you prepare for Earth Day, check out the many resources at this site. Share the interactives on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Set up a learning center for students to explore the interactives on their own. Have small groups investigate a specific topic on this site and report back to the class (a multi-media presentation would be great). Be sure to list this link on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Clevr - Clevr Ltd.

Grades
6 to 12
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Create a panoramic photo without a special camera! Use a normal camera to take the photos. The CleVR Stitcher is the easiest photo stitcher available. Just drag and drop your ...more
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Create a panoramic photo without a special camera! Use a normal camera to take the photos. The CleVR Stitcher is the easiest photo stitcher available. Just drag and drop your pictures, click the button, and the application "stitches" them together for you. By joining your pictures, create a stunning panoramic picture. Clevr enables you to embed the image into your website or blog, share the images on various social networking sites, and more.

tag(s): images (274), photography (161)

In the Classroom

Users need to be able to log in to the website, upload and manage pictures from their computer, and use simple tools.

As an alternative, you can create a "class account" that all students can access. Share your panorama on the web in the interactive viewer. Embed it into your blog or website using the embed code.

Possible uses: Create panoramic pictures for blog headers on a classroom blog. Students can plan and take pictures representing their town, area, school, or classroom. Use the pictures to create a panorama for the top of the page. Social Studies teachers may assign students to create panoramas of local history. Art teachers can also assign a design challenge for students to create fictitious panoramas from diverse images. Literature teachers can offer an option of creating a "setting panorama" or "thematic panorama" as a project for visual/spatial students. Of course you will want them to explain their design choices in terms of the literary work.

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Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index - MSNBC

Grades
6 to 12
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We know that today's students are far more accustomed to learning through images than students of the past. This site is a collection of the work of dozens of political ...more
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We know that today's students are far more accustomed to learning through images than students of the past. This site is a collection of the work of dozens of political cartoonists and is constantly updated to provide fresh content tied to the news of the day. The site is surprisingly deep, however, and has cartoon galleries that go back at least five years.

Teachers should be aware of several cautions however: Preview the cartoons collections for age-appropriateness; understand that the site does contain advertisements; and recognize that the images are copyright protected. Teachers are advised to post links to specific cartoons rather than trying to "cut and paste" the cartoons into websites or other documents.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (69), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use the political cartoons on this site to introduce a class discussion on current events, civics, or government. Try using a cartoon as a writing prompt either for individual students or for collaborative work. Post a link to a particular cartoon or cartoon series on your classroom blog for discussion. Have students try to create a cartoon (either drawing or using computer generated images) depicting current events in the news.

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Paper Critters - JR Fabito

Grades
3 to 8
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Paper Critters helps you create various styles of small creatures using body templates, art tools, and accessories. Paper Critters is a creative site that can be pulled into many classroom...more
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Paper Critters helps you create various styles of small creatures using body templates, art tools, and accessories. Paper Critters is a creative site that can be pulled into many classroom activities. Students can create people, animals or robots, to name a few.

The gallery, coined The Colony, should be previewed by a teacher for appropriate content. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): animation (65), design (83), sculpture (22)

In the Classroom

Designs can become intricate and detailed, so consider setting guidelines if completing during class time. Students can create "creatures" with adaptations, describe them in written form and justify the adaptations in accordance with a science unit. Create or present critters on an interactive whiteboard or projector while discussing features. Critters can be designed as writing prompts, to create story characters, or to represent famous people for book reports. Try creating a class pet for everyone to take care of! Have students save their critters by placing their initials somewhere in the critter name and then download them to a class file or e-mail them to a teacher account. Work together with the art teacher to support curriculum concepts in this creative endeavor!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Young Artist Workshop - Kevin Collier

Grades
K to 6
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With this site, you don't need to be an art teacher to teach some very easy art and illustration techniques to your students. Kevin Collier, an acclaimed artist, demonstrates simple...more
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With this site, you don't need to be an art teacher to teach some very easy art and illustration techniques to your students. Kevin Collier, an acclaimed artist, demonstrates simple drawing 'classes' for your students via video on his blog. He also answers questions about art from his young audience. Check out his archive for more art lessons. When you watch him draw, you will need to fight the urge to pick up a pencil and paper.

There is a "Sign In" option, but all features appear useable without registering at the site. This site requires Flash. Get it from theTeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): drawing (81)

In the Classroom

If you find your art teacher is out for the day and there is no substitute, let Kevin teach art to your class via an interactive whiteboard, projector, or individual computers. This site could be used in language arts class to illustrate a story, social studies class to add depth and drawings to a project, or other subject areas. Differentiate for your visual/spatial students by providing the link to these tutorials when they choose to create visual book reports or research products.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Lincoln Bicentennial: 1809-2009 - Library of Congress

Grades
K to 12
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If you are preparing for Lincoln's 200th birthday or a unit about the 16th President of the United States, check out this site. Designed for students in all grades, there ...more
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If you are preparing for Lincoln's 200th birthday or a unit about the 16th President of the United States, check out this site. Designed for students in all grades, there is an interactive timeline, online quiz, podcasts, detailed lesson plans for all grades K-12 (with standards), printable pages, research information, suggested literature for all ages, information about the Civil War, Gettysburg, and more! Much of the site requires Flash; some of the printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), lincoln (86), presidents (132)

In the Classroom

Be sure to save this site in your favorites! Share the interactive timeline, online quiz, and podcasts using your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site for research about our 16th President. Have students create a blog from Lincoln's point of view (or from a slave's point of view AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation). Use the lesson plans designed for the grades that you teach. (Don't miss the history, language arts and writing, and art lessons).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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One Life: The Mask of Lincoln - Smithsonian

Grades
6 to 12
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Art, history, and government teachers will all delight in this informative website about Lincoln. There are pictures, detailed information, and even podcasts answering some famous questions...more
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Art, history, and government teachers will all delight in this informative website about Lincoln. There are pictures, detailed information, and even podcasts answering some famous questions (such as Why Did Lincoln Grow a Beard). You will also see the works of Mathew Brady. Take your students on the "Audio Tour" of the exhibit - be sure to turn up the volume! Specific topics cover "The Rise of Lincoln," "The Civil War," and "Lincoln's Contemporaries." This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), oil (42), presidents (132)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to take your students on the audio tour of the exhibit which features several podcasts. Art teachers, share the pictures with your students (especially the podcast about the cracked portrait). This site also provides some excellent research information. Have students work in cooperative learning groups to explore this site and then create a project: blog entry, wiki, video, PowerPoint, or something more "traditional."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Civil War@Smithsonian - Smithsonian

Grades
7 to 12
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This outstanding site examines America's most profound national experience through artifacts that are housed in the Smithsonian Institution. Twelve topics - including Slavery and Abolition,...more
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This outstanding site examines America's most profound national experience through artifacts that are housed in the Smithsonian Institution. Twelve topics - including Slavery and Abolition, Appomattox, Life and Culture, Weapons, and Mathew Brady - link to virtual collections of objects that can be individually explored. A Civil War timeline is included. Some of the interactives require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): abolition (7), civil war (145), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

This site is an excellent addition to a unit on slavery and the Civil War OR an art class! Have students write captions for the pictures. Challenge students to create a blog entry from Lincoln, a slave, Mathew Brady, or someone else shown in pictures. What were they thinking? Why did they do what they did? How would life have been different if the Internet was around during the Civil War?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Bookmaking with Kids - Cathy Miranker and Susie Peyton

Grades
K to 12
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You will want to bookmark and follow this blog. Always adding ideas, this site offers many ways to make a book for any age student. Not only ideas, read the ...more
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You will want to bookmark and follow this blog. Always adding ideas, this site offers many ways to make a book for any age student. Not only ideas, read the extensive blog material to learn about author presentations and how schools incorporated those visits into making books. The creators say this site is part scrapbook and notebook, so click on the categories frequently to see the new content.

Teachers who desire professional development and fresh ideas will want to include this site in their repertoire.

In the Classroom

Use this site to help ANY grade level create original books. Have students work with a partner to create a book together. With older students, challenge them to create a book as a culminating project for a research assignment. Have younger students create books at the beginning of the year to introduce themselves to the class. The possibilities are endless at this creative site! Use some of the ideas to make online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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GeoGebra - GeoGebraWiki International

Grades
K to 12
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Choose from a wide variety of lesson plans and ideas for elementary, middle school, high school, or college, all created using GeoGebra. View concepts on individual pages that house...more
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Choose from a wide variety of lesson plans and ideas for elementary, middle school, high school, or college, all created using GeoGebra. View concepts on individual pages that house interactive applets (mini-programs) and downloadable, zipped versions. Depending on your computer's security settings, you may need to "tell" your computer to "trust" the source of the activity before it will "Run." Explore Math resources for Art, Music, and Physics. Some of the available activities have demos with audio explanations, as well. Be aware this wiki allows users to add content. You must log-in to add content, but you still may want to preview for accuracy before you share this site with your students. The users appear to all be math teachers, but some activities may be created by students.

tag(s): angles (86), coordinates (31), decimals (131), equations (153), fractions (234), integers (41), percent (83), volume (44)

In the Classroom

Use the applets to demonstrate concepts in Math. Use these as a review or as an introductory lesson for students to identify the rule. Many are well-suited for interactive whiteboards.

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Art Through the Ages - Erin Kubarewicz, Katie Reiss, Danielle Smith, Brie Walsh

Grades
9 to 12
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This site gives a simple webquest that helps students apply research to see a more complex idea. While it is geared to making students "experts" in a certain type of ...more
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This site gives a simple webquest that helps students apply research to see a more complex idea. While it is geared to making students "experts" in a certain type of art in a given century, it can easily be expanded to incorporate the ideas of literature, music, and philosophy that tie into those art periods. Throughout this site, students learn about baroque, classicism, cubism, dada, expressionism, romanticism, and surrealism. The evaluation is a PowerPoint that students present to the rest of the class.

tag(s): romanticism (2), surrealism (4)

In the Classroom

This webquest can easily be expanded by using your own web sources to help students analyze the arts as periods in their entirety rather than just the fine artists of the time. It could also be modified to have groups of students include architecture, theatre, dance as they affected the history of the time (or the history was affected by the art) and present this as "experts" on that time period. You may want to use a more current collaborative tool instead of PowerPoint. Consider having students collaborate on a Google Docs presentation (tool reviewed here), an online Bookemon book (tool reviewed here), or a Simplybox collection (tool reviewed here) about art during their assigned time period.

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Valentine's Day - DLTK

Grades
K to 5
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This website provides a wealth of resources for any elementary school teacher. There are reproducible math worksheets (numerous subjects and levels), lots of challenging puzzles, writing...more
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This website provides a wealth of resources for any elementary school teacher. There are reproducible math worksheets (numerous subjects and levels), lots of challenging puzzles, writing pages, reading activities and puzzle worksheets. Plus they provide craft ideas, poems, recipes and cards. If you are planning your Valentine's Day lessons - this site is a must have!

tag(s): holidays (151), preK (291), valentines day (14)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites, to visit every February for some Valentine's Day ideas.

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From Greece to Main Street - Kennedy Center

Grades
5 to 8
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Introduce characteristics of Greek architecture with this lesson plan that draws comparisons between The Lincoln Memorial and the Parthenon, then challenges students to identify elements...more
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Introduce characteristics of Greek architecture with this lesson plan that draws comparisons between The Lincoln Memorial and the Parthenon, then challenges students to identify elements of Greek architecture within their own communities. Nice opportunity for a low-cost, high impact field trip! Downloadable worksheets, standards, detailed activity instructions, and an assessment rubric are provided. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): architecture (84), greece (26), greek (40), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Use this ready-to-go lesson plan with your students. Share the visual interactives on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students work with a partner to research other famous monuments and present multi-media presentations to the class.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Happy Valentine's Day - PBS

Grades
K to 4
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If you need a little bit of inspiration for a class Valentine's Day activity, check out this collection of simple ideas. Includes interactive games, recipes for Valentine cookies, coloring...more
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If you need a little bit of inspiration for a class Valentine's Day activity, check out this collection of simple ideas. Includes interactive games, recipes for Valentine cookies, coloring book pages, and Valentine cards to print out and share. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): cooking (35), holidays (151), valentines day (14)

In the Classroom

Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create e-cards or other printables for friends and family. Why not include the cookie recipe on your class website or in your class newsletter?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Using Art to Define the Renaissance - TeachersFirst

Grades
6 to 10
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This unit, ideal for classes in Art, World Cultures, or World History, can also be used in conjunction with the study of Renaissance literature. Students should already have a basic...more
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This unit, ideal for classes in Art, World Cultures, or World History, can also be used in conjunction with the study of Renaissance literature. Students should already have a basic understanding of the Classical Period and the Middle Ages. Beginning from the premise that "art imitates life," the unit connects art with the philosophical underpinnings of the Renaissance. This unit will take students through a process in which they will not only experience masterpieces from the Renaissance, but will also learn to analyze art, draw conclusions, and, at the advanced level, apply lessons from the art to their own lives. In doing so, students will gain an understanding of the characteristics that define the Renaissance.

tag(s): renaissance (35)

In the Classroom

This unit was developed to be used by a wide range of ages and abilities. It can be altered for different ability levels. TeachersFirst editors have included options for more student-centered, project-based activities using technology throughout the unit. You can adjust the time requirements depending on which activities you decide to do.

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NMAI: Identity by Design - Smithsonian

Grades
6 to 12
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native...more
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native women's clothing as insight into Native American culture of the time period, and features stunning photographs of Native dresses and commentary by present-day Native women. The site both describes the ways Native women made their clothing in the 19th century and the ways that clothing can give us important clues about the role of women in Native society. Of interest also are the ways clothing began to reflect the influence of the dominant white culture on traditional Native practices. The site also includes information about today's Native Powwow dance competitions which bridge the distance between traditional culture and the modern world, and bring 19th century Native women's clothing and costume into the 21st century. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): clothing (9), native americans (78), women (92)

In the Classroom

Traditionally, American history has been taught as the story of the dominant European culture's triumph over more primitive Native cultures. Native American culture is too often pictured as one-dimensional rather than as a rich collection of diverse tribes and cultures. If Native women are featured at all, they may be represented only by Pocahontas and Sacajawea. This site allows a fuller exploration of the variety of Native women's cultures and would serve as an outstanding supplement to a study of the European settlement of the West. The photographs of the women's dresses are lovely and would display nicely on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The commentary would be useful for any student doing more in-depth research into Native culture. The site's focus on women's roles and culture would also fit nicely with a unit on women's history. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. To extend the clothing-as -culture approach in your classroom, ask students to create a wiki showing the role of clothing in ethnic subcultures of the U.S. today or at other places and times. Middle school grades might want to work together with the art or FCS teachers on this.
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