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Climate Challenge - BBC

Grades
6 to 12
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In this interactive students pretend that they are the president of a European nation. The object of the "game" is to take on climate change and stay popular with voters ...more
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In this interactive students pretend that they are the president of a European nation. The object of the "game" is to take on climate change and stay popular with voters so they can stay in office. Students have to make decisions on what issues they will support and the local newspaper will let them know how the people are feeling. Students can even buy ads in the local paper to support their cause.

tag(s): climate (93), climate change (66)

In the Classroom

This is a great site to help students better understand what is happening with climate change. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. This site is a good way to bring in the topic of climate change and how it is effecting the entire globe. This is also a great way to discuss the topic of political popularity. When students have finished the simulation, have them choose a topic to do more research on. Have them each write a news article and create a class newspaper on climate change. Teachers be sure to check out the Science Behind Climate Change. It provides information and additional links about climate change.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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TodaysMeet - James Socol

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5 to 12
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This simple-to-use tool allows anyone with the link to today's discussion to participate in a live chat. A simpler and safer alternative to Twitter or text messaging, this tool allows...more
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This simple-to-use tool allows anyone with the link to today's discussion to participate in a live chat. A simpler and safer alternative to Twitter or text messaging, this tool allows anyone with the URL for a specific chat stream to join in, using short (140 characters) messages. Participants can be in the same room or across the globe. The only "skill" needed is being able to type! Save a transcript via the link at the bottom of the chat and switch to "projector-friendly" view with one click so a group can follow the chat on screen. TodaysMeet does not require a membership to access these features, but creating a free account with an email address unlocks more features to meet your needs. The free account allows you to archive your rooms for up to one year, and custom organization of your rooms is available for easy access. You can only archive rooms for up to one month without creating an account. Filter participants, moderate their content, and use speaker colors to take control of your rooms. A TodaysMeet account also offers three different QR code sizes to share access to your room as well as the ability to allow participants to download the transcript. TodaysMeet may be blocked through some web filters as a social media site.

tag(s): microblogging (45), twitter (51)

In the Classroom

No special skills needed except the ability to create a name for your chat and to share the URL with others. Create "room" by giving it a name; decide how long you want it to last; and add a Twitter hashtag (optional). The room name becomes part of the URL. For example, The room called tfedge has URL http://todaysmeet.com/tfedge. Give participants the room URL. They join in simply by entering a name (or initials, to keep it safe) and clicking Join.

Use backchannel chat on laptops during a video or student presentations. Pose questions for all to answer/discuss in the backchannel, or ask students to pose their own "I wonder if..." questions as they watch and listen. Keep every student engaged and THINKING as an active listener. The first time you use backchannel, you will want to establish some etiquette and accountability rules, such as respectful language and constructive criticism. Assign students to watch a news program or political show and have a backchannel chat during the broadcast. Revisit the chat on a projector in class the next day or post the chat transcript to a class blog or wiki and have students respond further in blog posts or on the wiki discussion tab. The advantage of backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy.

In world language classes or even autistic support class, have students backchannel descriptions of what they see as classmates act out a scene from a video, using new language vocabulary and/or describing the feelings of the actors. In studying literature, collaborate with another class to have students role-play a chat between two characters or - in history class - between soldiers on two sides of the Civil War or different sides of the Scopes Money trial. Make brevity an impetus for well-focused thoughts and use instantaneous response as an incentive for engagement.

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Oil Spill Lesson Plans and Resources - NOAA

Grades
3 to 12
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Learn about the impact of oil spills. Use these lessons and information to compare the impact of spills past and present. The site provides details about cleaning up oil spills, ...more
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Learn about the impact of oil spills. Use these lessons and information to compare the impact of spills past and present. The site provides details about cleaning up oil spills, as well as the science of oil dispersal, how to clean animals, and more.

tag(s): disasters (39), oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities on this site! Be sure to save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on. Students can select different aspects of oil spill cleanup and mitigation and play the role of experts in a mock blog post playing their role. Have students continue their role play by commenting on each other's posts.

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Prince William Sound: An Ecosystem in Transition - NOAA

Grades
6 to 12
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Learn about the lasting impact of oil spills and how the environment does and does not recover, specifically from the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989. Use this information to compare the...more
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Learn about the lasting impact of oil spills and how the environment does and does not recover, specifically from the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site provides details about the impact the spill had on the sound and wildlife, as well as how recovery has progressed over the years.

tag(s): environment (319), oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a springboard for discussions about the environmental impact of oil spills and, in a broader sense, of human activity in general. Share some of the text portions on a projectir or divide up the site among different student groups. Have student groups explore various aspects of oil spills and report to the class, perhaps sharing visuals from this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This tool allows for to narrating and adding text to a picture. Challenge students to find a photo of the oil spill, 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.

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Prince William's Oily Mess: A Tale of Recovery - NOAA

Grades
6 to 12
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"How does an ecosystem recover from a major one-time insult such as an oil spill?" This site provides details about the impact the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989 on the environment, ...more
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"How does an ecosystem recover from a major one-time insult such as an oil spill?" This site provides details about the impact the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989 on the environment, as well as how the recovery that has occurred in the area. Learn about the impact of oil spills, in general. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present.

tag(s): environment (319), oil (45), oil spill (21), sound (103)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a springboard for current events or environmental science discussions about the environmental impact of oil spills and, in a broader sense, of human activity in general. Have student groups explore various aspects of oil spills and report to the class, perhaps sharing visuals from this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. As a class or in groups, collect oil spill information on a class wiki, Padlet (can be an online bulletin board), reviewed here, or a good, old-fashioned bulletin board.

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Oil Spill Crisis Map

Grades
3 to 12
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Learn about the impact of oil spills, specifically the BP spill of 2010. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site ...more
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Learn about the impact of oil spills, specifically the BP spill of 2010. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site provides details about the land, animals and human health that have been negatively affected by the spill - all in map form.

tag(s): oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a springboard for discussions about the environmental impact of oil spills and, in a broader sense, of human activity in general. Have student groups explore various aspects of the map, and report back to the class how the environment, wildlife, and humans in the area were affected. Have students use a tool such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place.

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Tracking the Oil Spill in the Gulf - NY Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Follow the footprint of the Gulf Oil Spill 2010 in this interactive map. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site ...more
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Follow the footprint of the Gulf Oil Spill 2010 in this interactive map. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site provides details about mapping the spill, as well as the geographic range the spill has affected.

tag(s): oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a springboard for discussions about the environmental impact of oil spills and, in a broader sense, of human activity in general. Use the map on the interactive whiteboard or projector to show students the physical location of the spill, as well as where the spill has had an immediate impact. For another view of the map, try this resource which allows you to superimpose the area effected onto your home town.

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Ifitwasmyhome - Ifitwasmyhome.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This site hosts an interactive map, along with bountiful information about the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010. The interactive map updates daily during the aftermath of the ...more
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This site hosts an interactive map, along with bountiful information about the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010. The interactive map updates daily during the aftermath of the spill, allowing users to chart the gradual growth of the spill in the Gulf Coast. It also allows users to "move the spill" to their hometown, providing a better perspective of how big the spill actually is. The information on the site is mostly specific to this spill, but there are connections to how wildlife has been affected by this and others like it in the past. Note the links on the bottom that host information about other spills, and the dramatic pictures of the wildlife suffering from the sludge. The images are graphic, so use with caution in an elementary classroom where students are apt to react strongly to images of animals suffering.

tag(s): oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

This site and information it hosts are great at capturing two essential skills in Social Studies. To begin with, it's an excellent map reading source, especially to demonstrate regarding map distortions and how they can change the shape of something like a projected oil spill. It also highlights concerns about deep-sea drilling, a heavily contested topic, particularly after the oil spill of 2010. Both government and earth science classrooms could investigate aspects of drilling as real world topics related to the curriculum.

Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing cooperative learning groups to explore, giving the teacher a chance to explain how the map works and what kind of information is on the site. Have cooperative learning groups explore the site and summarize important details, such as how people and wildlife are affected by environmental disasters. This would be a great review activity before a debate on deep-sea drilling. Classes can also chart the growth of the spill for a period of days to trace how much it changes, providing evidence for the debate. Government classes could use this and other references as part of a simulation on how the U.S. government reacts to environmental disasters and discussions of related policy issues. Younger students will need assistance reading some of the text-based material.

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Hulu - Hulu LLC.

Grades
K to 12
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This website is an up-to-date catalog of television shows, clips, cartoons and anything else that could be viewed on major television. No membership is needed to use this website. If...more
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This website is an up-to-date catalog of television shows, clips, cartoons and anything else that could be viewed on major television. No membership is needed to use this website. If you see something on television that you would like to use in your classroom, all you need to do is find it on here and you can show it in class via your television or interactive whiteboard. There are commercial television shows and some movies available on the site. Search by channel, recently added, TV or Movie, Trailers, or many other search options. Note: many schools may block this site to prevent student access to entertainment. Use it from home to find specific curriculum-related programs and request that those URLs be unblocked for class viewing.

In the Classroom

Use this to watch episodes of Glee in sociology class, and have student compare and contrast the television show with their real life high school experiences. Use science movies to reinforce concepts in class, or embed the codes given into your class website or wiki and assign television as homework! Have cooperative learning groups investigate a certain news story or current event and create multimedia presentations. Challenge students to create a video and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).

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MIT World - Distributed Intelligence - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Grades
10 to 12
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology has provided a search-able, online video lecture database. Looking for up to date, current topics that would benefit older students? This is the...more
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology has provided a search-able, online video lecture database. Looking for up to date, current topics that would benefit older students? This is the site for you. Videos are categorized by content and the site is easy to navigate. The content is definitely usable with seniors in high school, and with preparation and proper questioning, could be used with slightly younger high school students. Gifted students can also find content at an advanced level through this site. See "real world" experts such as Bill Gates or noted thinkers such as Thomas Friedman on video -- sometimes more accessible to understand than reading text.

tag(s): money (190)

In the Classroom

Choose one of these videos and have students view it as a homework assignment. Or share some videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students participate in an online discussion or classroom discussion about the topic. Why not discuss the topics on your class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Timeglider - Mnemograph LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Want an incredibly intuitive timeline software that can be used on the web and with more than on person? Use Timeglider as one of the best applications for the planning, ...more
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Want an incredibly intuitive timeline software that can be used on the web and with more than on person? Use Timeglider as one of the best applications for the planning, creating and sharing of history and other projects. You should be aware that Timeglider is FREE FOR STUDENTS, but not for teachers. You can simply look at timelines related to various topics in history or even current events. Or students can create their own timeline. Users grab the timeline and drag it in order to see different time periods and centuries. Create event spans that can overlap each other and create a greater understanding of how events can influence other events. Zoom out for a broader scope and view of time. Further enhancements will broaden the extent of the zooming capability. As it is web based, use this for collaboration among students. Enter the information for the first timeline including target year. After agreeing to terms, the timeline will open around the target years. Click the green arrow on your timeline box to edit parameters of the timeline and find the share/embed information. Use the mouse to drag along the timeline to a new area. Double click the space in the timeline to enter a title, description, time parameters, importance of the event, etc. or by clicking the "New event/image" tab. Import flickr photos, Wikipedia events, and more by clicking on the "Import" tab. Click on the wrench icon in the upper right for even more tools. Be sure if sharing to click "edit" to edit the timeline and make sure the "Make timeline public" box is checked. This will allow the timeline to be shared with others. Please note that this tool is FREE for students, but is not free for teacher use.

tag(s): timelines (64)

In the Classroom

Browse through the already created timelines and find a timeline sequence of articles on a specific topic. Social studies and science students can trace current events over time or follow the changes that occur on a topic such as the latest research on cures for cancer or global warming.

Challenge students to create timelines for any type of class in determining events that were important to its study. For example, discoveries associated with the understanding of the cell, events that shaped their understanding of environmental problems, events that shaped the Industrial Revolution, World Wars, Religion, etc. Use as a project option on a whiteboard in front of the class for a great way to pace and deliver a presentation. Challenge students to create a class timeline highlighting your class's yearly events, units, assignments, and more.

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Stone - Leonardo da Vinci's Resume - Marc Cenedella

Grades
10 to 12
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Are you looking for a novel way to inspire your students to write a resume, cover letter, or an application for college, a job, or internship? You will definitely seize ...more
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Are you looking for a novel way to inspire your students to write a resume, cover letter, or an application for college, a job, or internship? You will definitely seize their attention with this article, which includes and is based on Leonardo da Vinci's letter written in 1482 to the Duke of Milan, stating his capabilities and requesting to be considered for employment. Even 500 years later, this remarkable artist can teach us something about how to showcase our skills and qualifications to have potential employers and other competitive markets begging your students to choose them.

tag(s): college (47)

In the Classroom

Imagine projecting the museum image of Leonardo da Vinci's "resume" with its translation on your white board, to model for your class how one of the world's renowned geniuses might have earned his big break and got his foot in the door. Use it to identify how he "painted" his character traits and then, apply it as an inspiration for a unit on careers or business, or adapt the "resume" activity for classes studying famous and accomplished figures from history, including artists, musicians, writers, and political leaders. English classes would welcome this as a creative alternative to a book report or for a unique way to describe literary characters. Use a resume as a product for research on any famous person in a history or science class. As a new spin on current events or government, ask students to create a resume for any newsmaker. What would he/she promote as his/her greatest accomplishments?

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Voice of America - Broadcasting Board of Governors

Grades
4 to 12
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Concerned about quality news? Voice of America's policy is to be a reliable and authoritative source of news. It claims accurate, objective, and comprehensive news reporting. It represents...more
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Concerned about quality news? Voice of America's policy is to be a reliable and authoritative source of news. It claims accurate, objective, and comprehensive news reporting. It represents all of America without more focus on some segments than others, providing balance in the news. Find the most recent and pressing news stories along the top. Search news stories divided by categories such as US, Africa, Asia, Americas, Europe, Middle East, Economy, Education, Arts and Entertainment, Health, Environment, and more. View interactive resources such as a You Tube channel, podcasts, webcasts, and newsletters.

tag(s): news (262)

In the Classroom

View news stories and compare them to similar stories in different news media. Discuss the differences and similarities of these stories and use a Venn diagram to portray. Try using the tool "Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram" (reviewed here).

Discuss the focus of each article and reasons for the focus. Answer what the reporter is trying to convince and possible bias in various stories. Create an essay, letter, or blog post outlining viewpoints and linking these various sources for greater understanding of issues and how they are represented in the media. Have students share their letters or essays on a podcast using a tool such as (reviewed here).
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Phylotaxis - Seed Magazine

Grades
6 to 12
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As explained by the author/artist of this website, "phylotaxis" is the study of the ordered positions of leaves on a plant stem; scientists have discovered that these positions are...more
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As explained by the author/artist of this website, "phylotaxis" is the study of the ordered positions of leaves on a plant stem; scientists have discovered that these positions are not random, but governed by the Fibonacci Sequence. This website uses this word to describe the exploration of the space where science meets culture. Flash gives this site one of the most elegant visual impacts currently out there on the web. A collection of round icons is all gathered together in a flower-like structure. Each icon represents a news story about either science or culture. Use the slider bar to make the icons scatter in a more random (like culture) pattern or a more ordered (like science) arrangement. Click on "discover" to read any of the news stories; click on "agitate" to make your mouse disrupt the patterns and move the icons around. Load another arrangement for another date.

tag(s): news (262), writing (364), writing prompts (94)

In the Classroom

Aside from the pure "wow" factor of this site's appearance, projected on an interactive whiteboard or projector, it would serve as a good current events warm up for a social studies or science class. Additionally, its very configuration would spark an interesting science or culture discussion. Perhaps more beautiful than practical, it still deserves a place in your bag of tricks. Pull it out when you need something to spark discussion or wake up your class. Have students investigate a story of their choice and create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. As a higher level thinking challenge, have students discuss the "why" connections behind these articles or use ideas from this site to spark an unusual essay or blogging assignment. Teachers of gifted will want to share this link on their class web page, for sure!
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Oyez: Supreme Court Tour - The Oyez Project

Grades
5 to 12
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This site provides a complete virtual tour of the US Supreme Court. 360-degree panoramic views of the US Supreme Court make you feel like you are right there. Navigation controls ...more
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This site provides a complete virtual tour of the US Supreme Court. 360-degree panoramic views of the US Supreme Court make you feel like you are right there. Navigation controls are available so you can zoom in and out and move around each room. View the exterior and interior areas of the courts. Each view has a written description of what you are viewing. Interior views include a peek into four Supreme Court Justice's chambers. There is also a visual history of the Supreme Court available for viewing. Many of the areas also include video clips with additional information.

tag(s): architecture (84), supreme court (22), washington (36)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have the students open the site and use the whiteboard tools to visit each area of the supreme court. Share the video clips. This site is also a good tool to use to prepare for a field trip to the Supreme Court. In addition it can be used as a review tool after a field trip. Students can work cooperatively and research one of the areas on the site. They can then use the interactive whiteboard and site as a visual aid for their presentation. Art teachers can use the pictures on the site to teach about historical architectural features. Have art students narrate a picture using ThingLink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Newspaper Blackout - Austin Kleon

Grades
4 to 12
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Newspaper Blackout is a clever way to unlock the secret poetry hidden within any printed page. This Tumblr site shares examples (unmoderated, so preview before sharing in a classroom!)....more
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Newspaper Blackout is a clever way to unlock the secret poetry hidden within any printed page. This Tumblr site shares examples (unmoderated, so preview before sharing in a classroom!). Poetry no longer needs to be a gray area; this activity makes it black and white! There are no gimmicks, no magic pens, and no camouflage paper, but this is certainly a tricky way to write a poem! All you need are newspapers and black markers. Hunt for and select a few words from each of the lines as you read a newspaper or magazine article. Remember to start with the title. Instead of the typical bottom-up approach to writing a poem by starting with a blank page and filling it with words, try this fresh, top down approach by starting with a page already crowded with words. Then use permanent markers to blacken out all the trivial words in each line until the poem appears. (Put something under your page so the ink does not bleed through on furniture!) Click Share your poem to learn how to upload your work to the site.

tag(s): creative writing (169)

In the Classroom

This poetry activity opens the doors to so many learning objectives. In a social studies or history classroom, you could direct your students to search for newspaper or magazine articles on topics that you have been studying, or current events. Suddenly you have social studies poetry! In an English language arts lesson, you might instruct students to blacken out all the words that are not nouns or verbs, or select other parts of speech. You could change the task to eliminate any word that is not part of the simple subject or predicate, and simultaneously teach or reinforce main idea. For classrooms with individual computers, students could access articles online. Copy the text into a document. Then, Instead of blackening out words with markers, they could get the same effect by highlighting over them with black, or changing the font color of the text to white, and printing them or saving a screenshot image. Another option is for students to email their Newspaper Blackout poems to the teacher. Each poem could then be put into a Power Point slide show for the class to see on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site to offer your students a new twist on Poetry Month (April). Take your new poetry collection to the world by uploading the PowerPoint to ThingLink, reviewed here, and having each student record a reading in his/her own voice. Make poetry a participatory experience, no matter what the subject. If your school permits, have students take photos of their paper poems -- or screenshots of ones done on the computer --and share them on this site.

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Virtual Museum of Iraq - National Research Council, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Grades
5 to 12
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Send your students to Iraq, virtually of course. The Virtual Museum of Iraq is an amazing multimedia website that highlights Iraq's historic role in the origin of civilization. The...more
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Send your students to Iraq, virtually of course. The Virtual Museum of Iraq is an amazing multimedia website that highlights Iraq's historic role in the origin of civilization. The site helps address the origins of human society, early civilization, religion, classical traditions, and the giant empires of Mesopotamia and Islam. The site houses a fantastic collection of antiquities from Mesopotamia. This collection dates from prehistoric times up to the Islamic period. The digitized images represent cultural artifacts found in not only the Baghdad museum, but also the 7,000 works lost to looting in 2003 and additional museums worldwide. The Italian government is the benefactor and author of this site. Google is the contributor of more than 14,000 digital pictures of the museum's artifacts. Due to these generous donations of time and money, viewers may roam through eight virtual halls covering the following periods: Prehistoric, Sumerian, Akkadian and Neo-Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Achaemenid and Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian, and Islamic. A very impressive feature is the ability to rotate objects 360-degrees. The combination of short videos, maps, descriptions, and timelines create a clear explanation many of the important concepts behind these historic periods. The site is available in three languages: English, Italian and Arabic

tag(s): archeology (32)

In the Classroom

The Virtual Museum of Iraq is a valuable resource for World History teachers. Incorporate this site with your previous lesson plans or as an anticipatory set with a projector or interactive whiteboard. Ask students to use the site to compare and contrast the architectural elements of Egypt and Iraq. How is the tower of Babel similar to the great pyramids of Egypt? This site is also useful for comparing Iraq's past to current events and its present conditions. Have students record their findings using a tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).

Examine key moral concepts about the amnesty of museums during battle and the moral dilemma of how to preserve these collections during war. Art History teachers can take a break from the study of the artifacts of Rome and Greece and include the ancient treasures from Iraq. Use a class wiki to share images and spark dialogue about specific artifacts or videos. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Online Personal Finance and Economics Game - Council for Economic Education

Grades
5 to 12
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This online interactive personal finance game has students work their way through 15 personal finance missions. Within each 30-minute mission, students are asked to help someone solve...more
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This online interactive personal finance game has students work their way through 15 personal finance missions. Within each 30-minute mission, students are asked to help someone solve a personal finance situation. Students create, choose teams and use online tools like the mission brief and geo-locator to help solve the mission.

tag(s): financial literacy (80), money (190)

In the Classroom

Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Have students work together to form their mission groups and create a friendly competition within your class. Another option is to work on this as a whole class and compete against another classroom. Use the training videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector to prepare students for the missions. Have students blog or journal their experiences as they complete each mission. Lesson plans and materials are available at an additional cost. Teachers can sign up for their class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Year by Year - Infoplease

Grades
3 to 12
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Build students' sense of historical context year by year. Help them to realize that Gershwin did not write during the Vietnam War and that World War II preceded the Beatles. ...more
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Build students' sense of historical context year by year. Help them to realize that Gershwin did not write during the Vietnam War and that World War II preceded the Beatles. This site gives an overview of any year students click on from 1900 to the present, including cultural events, national and world news, politics, sports, prize winners, movie releases, deaths, and --for more recent years -- links to news focusing on other topics such as science and people. It provides an interesting summary of any particular year; most students find it interesting to check the year of their birth and those of their family members. Many highlighted keywords link to the Infoplease encyclopedia and other reference sources.

tag(s): news (262), politics (100), sports (97)

In the Classroom

Ask your students to visit the site and create a multimedia presentation from the information about any specific year they see there. Or have them compare life in two different decades. Have students create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Or challenge students to create an online poster using Padlet (reviewed here).

When studying literature, point out this site as a source authors might use for cultural background information in their writing. Pick out the details while reading a novel, for example, that might be found at this site. Or before studying a historical period, use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students collect information tidbits and predict what might be put into the site for the current year.

Ask your ESL/ELL students to share similar information about the years they were born and the events that occurred in their home cultures. Use the site when preparing a unit on summarizing or informational paragraphs, showing the students how to select and condense relevant information from the site into a few sentences.

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The Story of Stuff - The Story of Stuff Project

Grades
6 to 12
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The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute web cartoon that illustrates how all the "stuff" we use affects our lives and our planet. While the cartoon clearly has a liberal-leaning ...more
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The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute web cartoon that illustrates how all the "stuff" we use affects our lives and our planet. While the cartoon clearly has a liberal-leaning political agenda, that should not deter you from using it. In fact, asking students to point out its biases would be an important lesson in sorting out perspective in a persuasive argument. The site adds cartoons dealing with other "wasteful" topics fairly often, such as the "cap and trade" energy issue, bottled water, and electronics. The "downloads" tab offers PDF versions of the script, posters and other promotional material, and short teaser video clips of the film.

tag(s): environment (319), sociology (22)

In the Classroom

Useful in classes on economics, ecology, consumer living, sociology or current events, the film would provide a wonderful discuss lead-in on topics ranging from consumer decision making to the environment. Because the site operates under the "Creative Commons" copyright agreement, you can download your own copy of the film for educational use or order a DVD copy.
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