Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomStart off by asking students to write a journal entry to answer and explain, "Do you ever think that you might have it easier compared to some other kids?" Show the video on your classroom whiteboard or projector. Have students use one of TeachersFirst online compare/contrast graphic organizers such as the Venn Diagram tool, reviewed here, to juxtapose their way of life with the way of life of people their age who have very little compared to them. Teenagers need reality checks when it comes to their wants versus their needs. As a follow-up, have students work in groups to brainstorm ways that they could actually make a difference for children who endure lives of poverty. Check with your school nurse or social worker to see if there is a family in the community that could use some extra kindness and have your students come up with a plan that your class could put into action right now. Have them look at Do Something, reviewed here, to get an idea of what type of activities are already out there and are successful. Use Dotstorming, reviewed here, to comment and vote on different ideas. Alternatively, you and your students could check out Day of Service, reviewed here, to find volunteer opportunities in your area. Let them experience the enduring lesson and joy that comes from helping others.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHelp your students understand why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and raise their awareness of discrimination and the struggle for civil rights by involving them in active viewing of A Class Divided projected on your classroom interactive whiteboard or projector. You can view the film in its entirety, or in separate chapters followed by the Discussion Questions. You may want to give students a specific task to do during the film. For example, you might ask them to listen for a particular issue or the answers to a set of questions, or take notes in preparation for one of the post-viewing activities. Replay the video or pause for discussion whenever you choose for focused, in depth exploration. Depending on your students' background knowledge and grade level, you may want to review or introduce some of the basic tenets of the United States Constitution that provide the legal grounding for equality and protection of individual rights. Explain that there are examples in American history when individuals' rights were denied and that many civil rights activists were arrested for either challenging, demonstrating, or breaking rules that they thought were unfair. Pose some of the questions for written assignments and discussion. This is a perfect lesson for Black History Month! Divide the class into groups to brainstorm situations that exist today within our own communities, and how they would feel and deal with it if they were the subjects. Students can easily create mind maps using free tools from Teachersfirst, such as TUZZit, reviewed here, or ProcessOn, reviewed here. Have students choose words from songs to explore themes of freedom and equality, using Stories Behind the Songs reviewed here. High school students could extend this to a reading and study of the final chapter of "One America in the 21st Century," the 1998 report of President Bill Clinton's Initiative on Race, which lists 10 things that every American should do to promote racial reconciliation. Ask students to add anything they think is missing and make a commitment to continue the crusade to end discrimination.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you study Veterans Day, the effects of war, or people with disabilities. Ask students to discuss a time when they have seen service animals and how they have been used to help someone. Discuss the information on the site and locate the countries where the veterans served on a map to help students understand what it means to go to war. Ask students to choose one slide and write a story based on what they see in the image. If your school is looking for a schoolwide service project, consider raising funds for service dogs.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you're looking for meaty writing prompts, this site is full of interesting and open-ended questions. The questions might also serve as a good data base for a class learning debate. It may also be helpful for students to see that philosophers use formal rules of thinking in answering their questions; they don't just say what they "feel" is right. Understanding that moral and ethical decision making is based on a set of predetermined principles is a concept that many students struggle with. This site would be useful for teaching ethical decision making with students whose thinking has progressed to the point where they are able to think more abstractly and philosophically: a gifted class perhaps? Have a class wiki dedicated to philosophy and profound questions. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students brainstorm things they can do to go green in addition to the ones on the worksheets. Place the link to the site on your class webpage or in your class newsletter and have students choose a different topic throughout the school year to complete at home.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to determine the question and possible responses to generate the poll online. Practice creating your first poll even before creating a login. Enter the suggested question and possible responses to see how the codes are generated and displayed. Respondents text the code word to a specific number displayed on the screen. Be sure to check out the easy to use controls along the side of the screen.
Ask a question. Voters choose from the responses and use the SMS code with their mobile phone to send their vote. Cast a vote also using Twitter or on the Internet. Click the gear icon next to the poll to change the size and color of various aspects of the poll. Use the panel along the side to view either a static or live chart, summary table, or response history. Be sure to click on the tab "Ways People Can Respond" to check not only SMS but other methods as well: Web Voting, Twitter, and Smartphone. Twitter uses @poll followed by a keyword to tabulate responses. Use the "Download as Slide" tab to choose the type of slide you would like to create. "Share and Publish" using Posterous, Twitter, or Blog/web page.
This tool does not show the individual votes of students. Though this tool can be used by students, it may be best used by a teacher.
Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study by asking questions about the material. Discuss in groups why those in class would choose a particular answer to uncover misconceptions. Use for Daily quiz questions to gain knowledge of student understanding and a means of formative assessment.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): journalism (55)
In the ClassroomWinkball requires the use of a webcam or video camera. Simply adjust the camera for a good shot and click record. The preview feature allows users to clear away initial takes and start again. Download video camera footage onto the computer and then directly upload it to Winkball. The site supports the uploading of MPEG, AVI, WMV, and QuickTime video files. Enter a title and description for each video clip. Students can also embed videos from Youtube onto video blogs or walls. The maximum size of each file cannot exceed 100MB. The site is intuitive and involves little more than point and click abilities. Create a single class account using your "extra" email address, so you can monitor and submit student work.
Winkball has the potential to extend learning beyond the confines of your school. It can provide learning opportunities for students physically unable to attend class or who need to receive coursework from another school. Students can film various features of a field trip and share them on a video wall. Video chat will allow students to record interviews with people outside of the local community. Coordinate collaborative learning projects by having students share resources on video blog. The video blog could also serve as an on-line journal for phases of a long-term unit of study, experiment, or class project. Record the stages of a student's thinking process when engaging in creative problem solving activities. Share the value of this learning process with parents and family by posting a video wall on the class website. Create a broadcasting club and post regular news reports about school events on the school website. Upload a film clip about a historic event onto a class video blog and include a probing question that asks students take a stand on an issue, express their opinion, or debate one another on-line. Provide homework help by recording step-by step procedures to solve a particular type of math problem at home. Model ways parents can help their student with their reading. Post live coverage of class plays, concerts, and school performances so that parents at work can still be in the audience. Make language learning more authentic by using video messaging to communicate with students across the globe.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse these award winning ideas to commemorate September 11 in a lesson to demonstrate unity or build worldwide understanding. Use the concepts as a springboard to a collaborative project. Ideas vary from sending chains of origami cranes as a wish for peace, composing and singing a song for unity with an online tool such as Zeemaps, reviewed here, writing letters to local politicians, creating poems and transforming them into digital videos or multimedia presentations using ThingLink, reviewed here, or taking responsibility for the environment while creating a sense of community by planting gardens. Choose from many ways to inspire students to recognize the importance of September 11 and to involve them in working together to become a more tolerant society. You might be so amazed with the results that you will want to submit your students' projects to be considered for next year's Tribute Center September 11th Teacher Awards. The annual award ceremony takes place on February 26, to commemorate the 1993 first attack on the World Trade Center.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBegin the school year by discussing what peace means to your students and how to promote it in your own school community. Have your class write prose or essays on the subject on the interior section of the pinwheel and then decorate the exterior with patterns or symbols of peace. Use this same concept as a part your world history study and have students write persuasive letters about peace on the pinwheel to world leaders or historic figures from the past. Most importantly, enjoy this team building with your students.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is useful for drama, creative writing, psychology, or even character education and school counseling. Behavior support teachers may also want to use it to help students "read" body language. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Explore how people communicate emotion in verbal and non-verbal ways. It is also possible to write subtitles in different languages. Foreign language instructors may want to ask students to write subtitles in the language students are studying. Teachers may find this a humorous way to make class announcements, explain concepts, or even announce homework assignments. Have students work collaboratively to create commercials and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Preview the site before hand and be sure to get permission from your school administrator to share commercials online. When presenting the site do so with cultural sensitivity. Take into consideration that the language used in the movie clips may be the first language of some students or their families.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): bullying (51)
In the ClassroomUse the resources in this collection if ever in need of help concerning bullying online or in the classroom. Be sure to pass this one along to parents, counselors or peers if bullying is ever a concern or issue.
GradesK to 12
The teacher's link offers classroom activities (many interactive) that tie in with the lesson plans. There is also a link to receive FREE kits and handbooks! The "Parents" link offers activities and ideas for ages 2-17! There are online activities, recommended books, "talking points" for parents, and more. The "For Teens" link includes a wealth of resources: video clips, lessons, 10 steps to take action, downloadable posters, essays, and true stories. The Kid's link offers "read," "Explore," and "Play" options for elementary (and younger middle school) students. A "sign up" box appears when you first enter the site, click on the X to remove the box.
In the ClassroomOf course, the obvious uses for this site include preparing for Black History Month or Women's History Month, consult this site for more than that! Don't just visit the Teacher's link, but check out the kids and teens links for videos and interactive that you can share on your projector or interactive whiteboard. If you are unsure of how to approach a touchy subject with your students--either a subject from the news like the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rules, or something that is happening in your school or community, this site can provide resources for you and your students. Subscribe to Tolerance.org's emailed newsletter, or order one of the curriculum kits; the newest one is Viva la Causa about Cesar Chavez and the struggle for justice for farmworkers in the 1960s. This is a great addition to your school's anti-bully program! Take advantage of the free lesson plans, class activities, interactive, and book recommendations. This is definitely one to list on your class website!
This houses a WEALTH of resources! Thank you, Teaching TOLERANCE.Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHave students work in cooperative learning groups, divide up the vocabulary words, and have each group responsible to find the definitions for their assigned vocabulary words. Have the groups share their words and definitions in an online book, using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector and embed them in a class wiki. And of course, don't miss the interactive word puzzles! This is a great addition to a unit on Shakespeare or even character education.
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.
Grades2 to 4
In the ClassroomExtend this web quest beyond the classroom by having students create posters with good citizenship characteristics and post them throughout the school. Taking it one step further, have the class create a brief commercial about being a good citizen and post it to the class web page for parents, administration and other classes to watch. Have students share their commercials on a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site with your class as an idea for Earth Day or being "green." Encourage your school service club or student council to consider launching a Freecycle project. Be sure to list the link on your class website, so parents can freecycle too.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomNo matter what subject you teach, you can find something to fit in your plans for Presidents Day or the Lincoln Bicentennial. Use these ideas and adapt at will. You can even email an idea to your teacher colleague to save a friend time!
GradesK to 12
The elementary topics range from Colonial America to U.S. Presidents (with a focus on George Washington) to the History of Thanksgiving to The Pledge of Allegiance and MANY others. The middle school topics include the Declaration of Independence, Our National Documents, The Gettysburg Address, Religious Expression in School, and several others. The high school topics vary from the Mayflower, to Federalists 47, the First Amendment, and more. Each grade level also includes lessons on character education.
In addition to the wonderful lesson plans, the site also highlights the four themes of the foundation: Unity, Progress, Freedom, and Responsibility. There are also links to some fantastic social studies sites and a wealth of research information about America. Some of the lesson plans and printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomObviously, the lesson plans are useful for all grade levels. Take advantage of these free resources. Many include printable activities for your students to try out. Although the site isn't highly interactive, it does have some great ideas to incorporate into your class to bring history alive.
Make the lesson plans more "technologically advanced" by having students create a wiki or blog entry. Have your high school students complete the lesson on the First Amendment and then have them have a virtual debate about the First Amendment via a class wiki. Have your elementary students complete the lesson on U.S. Presidents and then have each student write a blog entry pretending to be one of the presidents (a great mini-research project). Have your middle school students complete the lesson on the Gettysburg Address and then try to create their own "Address" to talk about the current state of our nation. Have them share their "Address" on a video using YouTube or or TeacherTube (explained here).