Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site for debate topics for students to see both sides of the argument either before they choose their topic, or as part of their research for the topic. The issues change regularly and could serve a powerful prompts for persuasive writing. Some readings on this site would also work as texts to use on interactive whiteboard for teaching non-fiction reading skills such as main idea, summarizing, or fact vs opinion. Teachers will want to closely monitor students using this site, since sidebars offer links to other topics, and some comments left by readers may not be classroom-friendly. Be sure to visit the link to Civility 101 at the bottom of the page and share it with your students! Have cooperative learning groups choose a side and create a multimedia presentation defending their choice. Use a site such as Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be uploaded), and then narrate the photo as if it were a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomYou need to know how to locate your photos on your computer or photo sharing site. Click the little white boxes to change text colors, etc. as you enter desired text. SAVE your completed cover when done. Be sure to give it a meaningful name if you are creating several covers on the same computer!
Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here. If you and your students simply use the tool without joining the site, there are no problems with email, profiles, etc. You do need to demonstrate the tool and specifically explain which links students should NOT use, including ads and links to social networking sites that are prohibited in your school. These may be blocked, anyway. Make sure you watch and teach copyright issues in snatching photos from the web.
Have students create magazine covers of themselves as a getting to know you activity and classroom bulletin board. Print and laminate magazine covers to make them appear even more authentic. Or share the images (WITHOUT student names) on your class wiki or web page. When doing reports for any subject, have students create magazine covers that mimic the real thing instead of boring plain covers. Make covers about famous Americans, scientists, or historic figures. Make covers about objects, as well. Assign students to research a vegetable and create a cover about its nutrients, recipes, and more as part of your nutrition unit! Guidance teachers or principals can feature exemplary students using this tool. Bulletin board creativity will skyrocket using Big Huge Labs Magazine Cover. Why not offer a rotating PowerPoint slide show of student-made magazine covers for parents to view as they wait in the hallway for conferences?
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Grades2 to 10
In the ClassroomUse parts of this site when doing units on prejudice, diversity, and discrimination. Refer students to do research in some of the books listed here on those subjects. Have students interview people from other cultures to check the information given here on aspects of their cultures. Do they agree with what is said here? Even younger students will enjoy learning about flags and peace symbols. Make the craft links available for students doing reports on different countries or preparing for an International Day. Have students copy flags or other country symbols. Ask them to create their own "country" from these models. Challenge cooperative learning groups to research a specific topic at this site and prepare a podcast to share with the class using PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): time (139)
In the ClassroomThis is a great find for the interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this site with career counseling staff, as well. Use this site when studying U.S. history and economics. Compare the role in society of various occupations (such as a farm laborer) from the 1850s to 2000. Have students hypothesize about why the changes occurred and predict what might show in census data in 2010 and beyond. Use this when teaching graph reading and graph creation, as well. As with any data on the Internet, you will want to challenge students on how they know whether this data set is reliable -- what is the source?
Grades3 to 10
In the ClassroomBrainstorm situations that cause fear and identify how the brain processes this information. Explore the similarities of fear responses with the feelings when riding thrill rides. Identify as a class how people respond to fear and ways fear can help you. Creative writing students can explore different ways that people show fear so their writing can describe what fear LOOKS like instead of simply saying, "he was afraid." Why not include this site when studying Poe's tales of terror or as a curriculum-related activity during Halloween season? Check out the "Dealing with Fear" section to help students struggling with anxieties and worry. Emotional or autistic support teachers and school counselors may also find this site helpful in allowing students to understand their body's reactions to fear. Health and psychology classes can use this site to explore the physiology of fear.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomRead these materials carefully to learn how to introduce lesson plans that focus on relationship abuse. As with all sensitive issues, be sure you are within school policies in holding discussions, perhaps by involving the school counselor or health teachers, as well. Share this site with your counseling staff and psychologists. Create a class wiki to discuss this and other "hot topics." Obviously, students should not share specific personal experiences, but create more of a "what to do" type of wiki. Not sure what a wiki is? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades9 to 12
The "Troubling Behaviors" area follows a problem-solution format: first describing the behavior, pointing out things to consider, questions for further self-understanding, ways to help, and signals that a mental health professional ought to be involved. There are video clips with many of the topics. The site is notable for its straightforward and non-judgmental tone.
In the ClassroomConsider sharing the video clips (relevant to your class) on an interactive whiteboard or projector. In health (or psychology) class have students investigate one topic and present their findings to the class in a multimedia format: wiki, blog, podcast, or video. How about having students create a podcast using Podomatic (reviewed here). They might even role-play some of the scenarios. If students create a video, share the videos using a site such as Teachertube (explained here).
While this site might be useful as a resource for a high school health, psychology, or child development class, its main benefit is for teachers, parents, and other adults who care for and work with children and teens. Consider adding this link to your class web page as a resource for parents or sharing specific ideas with parents at conferences.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): summer (11)
In the ClassroomProvide this link on your class website during the Spring.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the lesson plans that are relevant to your class as you study different cultures, history, racial tensions in the U.S. , or even character education. Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. With older students, have cooperative learning groups explore different lessons. Have the groups create a multi-media presentation sharing their discoveries. Have the groups create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon . You could also use this site as the core of a contemporary topics debate series.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): money (180)
In the ClassroomShare various portions of this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students try the simulation on their own. Did they reach their financial goals? The Fraud of the Month would be a good way to share a new topic (about money and the economy) each week. There are at least twenty that are ready to go from previous months. Be sure to visit the Teachers link. You do NOT have to join to use this fabulous tool.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse these PowerPoints to provide background information for projects or further inquiry in class. For example, use a PowerPoint on cells to give background information. Create questions for students to answer while viewing the PowerPoint or add your own "lecture" notes while showing to a class. Remember that PowerPoint does not HAVE to be shown on a screen. Students can watch them as tutorials at a center or computer cluster. Learning support teachers will appreciate having an alternate way to present basic concepts to visual learners. Assign students a particular cell part to research more information about the part. Explore professional topics on your own or together with colleagues during inservice time.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWhen you need this information you usually need it quickly, so all teachers and administrators will want to mark this resource in your favorites and tell your colleagues about it. Familiarize yourself with what is available here, then be sure to share the information with colleagues and parents when/if an incident throws your school into crisis.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTake the time to read and implement the classroom suggestions for all ages, including taking time to note any signs of students "at risk." Share this printable pdf with your colleagues and with parents via a link from your teacher web page or as an insert in a school or classroom newsletter. If you have an information table at PTO/PTA functions or in your conference waiting area, this is a good handout to include.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site provides some great tools for use by students in a personal finance or "Real World" class, as well as information to supplement a discussion of economics or current events. You could also use it as a real world application of many math concepts or team teach middle school math and social studies together. Consider assigning the interactive quizzes as independent work, and using the topical overviews to accompany a lecture or class discussion. One drawback: the "sounds" that accompany mousing over your choices are very distracting. Consider turning down the sound (or hitting mute) on your computer if you use this site on an interactive whiteboard. Challenge students to write "financial" blogs offering advice, based on the information learned at this site. Or assign them to demonstrate competence with concepts such as per cent and interest by creating a financial advice column for a student online newspaper.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers, you will find plenty of resources for teaching net safety to teens when you click on 'teaching materials' at the bottom left of the homepage (this takes you to the sister site - NetSmartz Workshop). Videos, fact sheets, lesson plans and activities await you there.
Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share the video clips or comics. Have students create their own internet safety videos and share them using a tool such as YouTube or TeacherTube (explained here). List this site on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom. You will also want to share it with parents.
Grades9 to 12
Using the site requires a log in (be sure to enable "cookies"). Log-in requires some personal information (first name, surname, email address, and description - if you are a student, parent, or teacher). Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using their own names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
There is no charge for using the site, and advertising is very minimal and fairly unobtrusive. Parts of this website require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomCompleting the 13 "munchings" might make a good independent assignment for college bound students, followed by some sort of reflection essay. The tips for writing a good college application essay might also prove helpful in a writing class. We'll pretend we didn't think about what generally results when a cow digests its "munchings" and hope for a higher quality end product.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): literacy (107)
In the ClassroomShare this site on your class website so parents can learn about this free resource. Include links to specific publications tha fit your class' needs. Or choose helpful information with your particular parents/students and share the pdf files as print-outs at conferences or via email to help parents.
Grades7 to 12
tag(s): careers (139)
In the ClassroomShare this website with students as they plan for life after high school. Put this link on your teacher web page for families to use as well. This is definitely a link that guidance counselors should save in their favorites, along with any other teacher helping students make post-high school decisions. More advanced ESL and ELL students will enjoy learning about culture in the U.S. by looking at job descriptions here.
Grades4 to 10
tag(s): advertising (34)
In the ClassroomShare this informative on an interactive whiteboard or projector at the start of al alcohol unit. Have students guess at their seats what the correct answer would be (either on paper or by show of hands). Use the questions on the quiz as a springboard for a class discussion or class meeting about under-age drinking. Brainstorm a list together of times that they recall hearing or seeing an alcohol advertisement. Be sure to discuss the question involving the "deaths caused by driving under the influence of alcohol." 40% of vehicle deaths involve alcohol.
Come up with a list of ways for the students to avoid "being the target." Have the class journal, create short skits, or have small group discussions about how to handle the advertisements.
Teachers can also use this site during a drug unit or Red Ribbon Week as background information for students or student groups to make printable anti-drug posters using PicLits, reviewed here.