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Ben's Guide to U.S. Government - Government Printing Office

Grades
1 to 12
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Here's an introduction to American government that even the youngest students can appreciate. Divided into four grade levels, the site explains the structure and purpose of American...more
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Here's an introduction to American government that even the youngest students can appreciate. Divided into four grade levels, the site explains the structure and purpose of American government in age-appropriate terms for everyone from Kindergarteners to high school students. For example, there are four interactive games for your primary students (grades k-2)that make learning about our government fun. Have students learn states' locations by placing them on the map. Color the USA flag, help Ben Franklin out of a maze, or find your way around the liberty bell. There are also age-specific activities divided into grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): constitution (79), franklin (12), states (163)

In the Classroom

With younger grades, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to learn the states' locations with the entire group. This simple site would be great to use in your computer center for individual learning or for some indoor recess enrichment fun. Secondary teachers looking for more than the basics will want to supplement this site with other resources. There is a link for parents and teachers, be sure to take a look!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Place Spotting - Martin Fussen

Grades
2 to 12
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An EASY way to try making your own online content for the first time! At this site, students get practice using Google Maps' satellite technology and user-created hints to locate ...more
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An EASY way to try making your own online content for the first time! At this site, students get practice using Google Maps' satellite technology and user-created hints to locate a place from a Place spotting "quiz," as pictured with a Google map. A world map below the "quiz" location image allows them to explore the globe and zoom in to pinpoint the location shown in the "quiz" map. Students use hints to narrow their search area. Be aware, MOST of the hints are in English, but there are a few in other world languages.

Once students or class find the map location, they can choose to try other maps or send a map "quiz" to others. The real power of Place Spotting is that students, teachers, and whole-class groups can also create their Own Place Spotting "quizzes" with accompanying hints using the "Create" page. Here is a sample made by the TeachersFirst review team. This site also includes a blog and search option (i.e. to find maps in specific languages).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): landforms (45), latitude (13), longitude (13), maps (288)

In the Classroom

Click Create to create your own place spotting "quiz" for others to solve. The simple steps have numbered directions. Be sure to enter the security "code" and click "Store" for your quiz to be saved. Note that you may decide whether to make it "private" (invisible to others except by invitation). Share the quiz you create by copy/pasting the URL that shows after you click "store." You can always find it again using the search tool, but knowing the URL allows you to give it to others as a link. You might want to "collect" your class Place Spotting links in a Word document (for safe keeping) or on a class wiki.

The only safety concerns are if kids write questions or use places that might lure people to their school or identify themselves (their own house, for example). Check the box to make the quiz private if it is so revealing that you want to keep it only for those you know (GET THE URL and be sure the teacher keeps the list. Private ones cannot be found using the search!). Kids can use them to quiz each other if the teacher/kids shared the group of "private" ones as links on a teacher web page, class wiki, or in a word document (clickable).

Use this site when studying the concept of satellite imagery and map skills. Contrast this site's technology with that of a hand held GPS device. Discuss the map skills needed to use it, including the comparison of the ZOOM tool with a map scale. This is a great activity for ESL and ELL or weaker readers since there is little language involved! Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector for a daily "map challenge" or as an anticipatory set/activator at the start of any place-related lesson. Choose places as a class and create your own maps, or have students work in cooperative learning groups to create their own maps about places in their community, landmarks of local history, or cultural sites of countries they study in world languages (be sure to mark private, if they are maps that reveal too much information). Classes could build a community treasure hunt of local history or a landform "find-it" on their wiki, simply by including the URLs -- even add digital pictures of the actual location with each "quiz." You will want to us the areas with higher-resolution images for landform study! Older students can put links or embed the quiz on their blogs or wikis, too. Literature lessons could include Placespotting quizzes for major sites in the stories (assuming they are real) or important places in the author's life. You may want to list this site on your class website; families could map out vacation spots, countries of ancestry, and more.
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Flags of the World - fotw.net

Grades
4 to 12
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With 35,000 pages to explore and more than 60,000 flag images, this site probably contains the most extensive information about flags of the world than anywhere on the web. Pages ...more
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With 35,000 pages to explore and more than 60,000 flag images, this site probably contains the most extensive information about flags of the world than anywhere on the web. Pages are ordered by country for easy access to flags, or pages can be accessed by clickable maps. Search the site using its search engine for flag information. Click on the Links and Related Links to find additional information about countries and their map histories. Note: These links take you off this main site and some of those sites may contain ads that may be insecure. Vexillology (study of maps) enthusiasts have known about and contributed to this site for years. Classroom teachers can now reap from the informational rewards. This site does include some advertisements and custom flags for a fee.

tag(s): flags (21), maps (288)

In the Classroom

Social studies teachers, definitely save this site in your favorites for your state and country reports. Use the information provided for research projects.

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Gateway to the Summer Games - EdGate

Grades
2 to 8
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Bring the spirit of the games into your classroom! These nicely designed lesson plans, organized by grade level, address topics including characteristics of the ancient games, national...more
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Bring the spirit of the games into your classroom! These nicely designed lesson plans, organized by grade level, address topics including characteristics of the ancient games, national anthems and customs, and women in the Olympic arena. Fun Olympic facts, information on health and exercise, and creative activities for learning about life in ancient Greece are also provided. Although these activities were originally created for the 2004 Olympics, nearly all of the information is applicable to any year of Olympic events (specifically, the summer Olympics). Some of the lesson plans and other activities require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): greece (26), olympics (47)

In the Classroom

Use this information to enhance your Olympic unit. The lesson plans and activities require very little preparation. Challenge your students to research the various countries that have hosted the Olympics in the past and create multimedia presentations to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Safe Drinking Water - National Academy of Sciences

Grades
4 to 12
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Students may not understand that healthy, safe drinking water is not found everywhere. Use the sections in this site to read information, view videos, and explore water-related issues...more
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Students may not understand that healthy, safe drinking water is not found everywhere. Use the sections in this site to read information, view videos, and explore water-related issues and exhibits. Students can view water sources, how water is treated and processed, and infrastructures that deliver the water. Use the atlas to access visuals of safe drinking water, sanitation, precipitation, population, and other water related data. Use the links along the bottom to access printable versions of the resources, links to other resources, and a glossary of terms used. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): environment (317), natural resources (59), resources (112), water (130)

In the Classroom

Have students look at areas of this site and bring information to a small group or round table discussion of issues. Students can then research areas of the world affected by these issues as well as affected areas in the United States. Use issues as a debate using resources shown on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector. Have students write a blog post about issues that require comments from other class members.
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Google Sky - Google

Grades
K to 12
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Google Sky is a great way to view the planets, constellations, birth of galaxies, and other items in the universe. It uses some of the best images from the Hubble ...more
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Google Sky is a great way to view the planets, constellations, birth of galaxies, and other items in the universe. It uses some of the best images from the Hubble Telescope and other observatories around the World. Select thumbnail images along the bottom of the screen to quickly access planets, constellations, stars, galaxies, and nebulae. Use layers that are created using different wavelengths such as x-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared light. Type in the name of your favorite planet, star, or constellation in the search field to find it quickly and then zoom in for greater detail and information. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): planets (123), stars (61)

In the Classroom

No matter what subject you teach, bring the wonder of the night sky to your students. Google Sky provides a look at millions of stars and galaxies in the universe which can be a springboard to many activities in your class using art, geography, math, and writing. Use Google Sky as a complement to a planetarium field trip by showing the solar system in your classroom. Use Google Sky to track the life of a star from birth to death, begin discussions and multimedia presentations of mythological orientations of names, and histories or trajectories of planets. Elementary teachers will enjoy being able to share the night skay to accompany or inspire writing poems and stories aout the stars. Find great resources from Google here.
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Geography for Kids - kidsknowitnetwork

Grades
4 to 10
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This online geography book for children uses a mostly text-based format with in-depth information about the Earth, Describing Our Planet, Our Atmosphere, Atmospheric Temperatures, Atmospheric...more
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This online geography book for children uses a mostly text-based format with in-depth information about the Earth, Describing Our Planet, Our Atmosphere, Atmospheric Temperatures, Atmospheric Pressures, Atmospheric Moisture, The Hydrosphere, and The Biosphere (chapter titles). Pictures, songs, graphs, and charts spice up the relentless text! There is also a link for Geography Games for Kids with interactive educational activities about various continents, latitude and longitude, capitals, and more.

This site includes some minor advertisements. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): atmosphere (26), earth (228)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite on your classroom computers. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use some of the topics as introduction activities to a new unit in geography class. If you are teaching latitude and longitude skills, be sure to check out the interactive Geography Games link. Provide this link on your class website, so students can practice their geography skills at home.
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Kid's Past - kidsknowitnetwork

Grades
4 to 9
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This online history textbook provides a good reference source for a vast amount of world history told from different perspectives. History that's often missed by K-12 curricula includes...more
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This online history textbook provides a good reference source for a vast amount of world history told from different perspectives. History that's often missed by K-12 curricula includes chapters on Islam, Asia before and after the Middle Ages, Civilization in China, and Africa, for example. In depth coverage of commonly studied topics adds detail and provides research possibilities. Although the main part of the material is text-based, online history games motivate students to review learned materials. Another interesting feature is a list of hundreds of historical and contemporary people and their famous quotes. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): famous people (19), greek (41), greeks (30), renaissance (34), romans (35)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites and use it as a jumping off point for research or lessons on the various topics offered at this site. If you have a history buff in your class, share this site with him/her as a place to spark an individual project, even in world language classes where history and culture are part of the curriculum.
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Connect The States - PBS Kids GO!

Grades
K to 3
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Learn the state flags, state animals, popular food from the state, the shape of the state, and more at this interactive matching activity all about the United States. Come along ...more
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Learn the state flags, state animals, popular food from the state, the shape of the state, and more at this interactive matching activity all about the United States. Come along with Buster (from the PBS Show, Arthur) to play this matching game. Students are presented with a game board with sixteen pictures (Buster has his own board also). Students flip cards from the deck in the middle of the screen to see if they have the matching picture on their game boards. Each picture is a state, state flag, state animal, popular food, or other cultural information about the state. The best part of this site is that it provides full audio, so even non-readers can easily navigate and learn the states. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): animals (276), flags (21), maps (288), states (163)

In the Classroom

Use this website as a learning center on a cluster of computers or on individual computers in the lab or classroom. With younger students you may want to introduce this activity using an interactive whiteboard or projector. This site would work well in any class learning about the states that comprise the United States (regular education, ESL, ELL, or others). Create a class game about your home state (or country, if not from the USA). Have students research and create "game cards" about the state flag, shape of the state, state animal, and other "stately" information.
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Explore Mars - National Geographic

Grades
3 to 8
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Students explore the planet of Mars using a land rover, searching for evidence of life. They learn to read a map key and to determine location coordinates. They learn basic ...more
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Students explore the planet of Mars using a land rover, searching for evidence of life. They learn to read a map key and to determine location coordinates. They learn basic facts about how a global positioning system works by reading from square to square and from communicating facts about its position and movements. This web activity challenges students to get from the starting point to spots of ice on the map. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): coordinates (32), mars (41), space (205)

In the Classroom

This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Use this website to teach students map skills and how to read coordinates. Use this site to integrate math, science, and geography lessons. Have students create grids on top of other simple maps on your interactive whiteboard or paper after they finish this activity.
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Puzzled States - Scholastic

Grades
2 to 5
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This colorful website challenges students to a "drag and drop" map activity. All fifty states are various colors on the map. Students must drag the correct "piece of the puzzle" ...more
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This colorful website challenges students to a "drag and drop" map activity. All fifty states are various colors on the map. Students must drag the correct "piece of the puzzle" onto the correct position on the map. As each state is placed in the correct position, a fact or nickname of that particular state is provided. This website requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): maps (288), states (163)

In the Classroom

If your class is learning about the various states in the USA, check out this user-friendly activity. Have students work independently to put the puzzle pieces onto the map. Or make this a class challenge -- divide your class into two teams and have the teams take turns choosing puzzle pieces to place on the map. Include this on your teacher web site as one of several map-practice options wile students are learning the states.
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LearnCalifornia - California State Archives

Grades
4 to 12
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Step back into California's golden past with LearnCalifornia.org! This lively site combines the collections of the California State Archives with Internet resources to bring students...more
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Step back into California's golden past with LearnCalifornia.org! This lively site combines the collections of the California State Archives with Internet resources to bring students and teachers along the exciting journey through California history. Even teachers in other places will find curriculum resources and activities relevant to major events that had an impact well beyond California. Click the Student section to select among many research topics such as the Great Depression, the Gold Rush, California regions, Japanese interment, and planning a railroad. Each topic has links to scholarly research, primary and secondary sources, photographs, maps, and student response work sheets. Click the Teacher section to explore the online and offline lesson plans that accompany the topics and are aligned with the California Department of Education's History-Social Science content standards. The site includes a test bank with multiple-choice tests that are appropriate for grades 4 through 12. The extensive resources of LearnCalifornia are searchable by keywords and contain links to other sources of historical information that can be used in the classroom. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): california (27), primary sources (86), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Use the online lessons to introduce historical topics in whole class activities with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Offline lessons can be used where there is not student access to computers and can be printed and reproduced for classroom use. Students can choose a topic to research, write, and present to the class using the wonderful documentation and photographic collections of the California State Archives.
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The Nile File - Liverpool Musems.org

Grades
3 to 6
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Explore the Nile with Nakht-Amun, an ordinary ancient Egyptian! Dig below the glamour and glitz of Pharaohs and pyramids to discover the daily life of ordinary Egyptians. This simple...more
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Explore the Nile with Nakht-Amun, an ordinary ancient Egyptian! Dig below the glamour and glitz of Pharaohs and pyramids to discover the daily life of ordinary Egyptians. This simple and delightful site offers an easy-to-read tour through everyday ancient life at home and in school followed by a quiz. Each section contains a nugget of information accompanied by drawings, photographs or animations of architecture, artifacts and maps. Underlined words and a clickable glossary take the explorer to brief descriptions and images of arts and crafts, common occupations, temples, and gods. The site includes two simple off-line activities for creating dioramas and drawing Egyptian figures with a grid. The Nile File is presented by the Liverpool Museums in England and does contain unique English spellings of some common words.

tag(s): art history (69), egypt (67)

In the Classroom

This site can be a great introduction to a unit on Egypt for young learners. Put a link to this site on a classroom computer that can be used as an activity center for the Egyptian unit of study. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to take the entire class on an interactive tour of life on the Nile.

As a language arts activity, have students adopt the persona of an ordinary Egyptian and write a week-long journal or blog entries about their daily life. Tie in the visual arts by posing and tracing students' outlines on butcher paper on the floor. Students can strike an Egyptian-style pose that reflects their chosen person or occupation, and then draw in the clothing, headwear, and jewelry. Cut out these life-size images and combine them to create an Egyptian wall of stories. Let students fill in the background with hieroglyphic symbols.

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Adventure Island - National Geographic

Grades
2 to 5
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Welcome to Adventure Island. At this interactive site students learn to read map symbols by learning how they are created from more complex drawings or photos. They also learn to ...more
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Welcome to Adventure Island. At this interactive site students learn to read map symbols by learning how they are created from more complex drawings or photos. They also learn to read map keys. By listening to the questions the tour guide asks them, students can quickly answer and receive verbal feedback for answering well. This activity would work well with ESL, ELL, and special education students since it combines easy directions, pictures, and instant feedback. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): map skills (80), symbols (19)

In the Classroom

This activity would work well as a cooperative learning activity or on individual computers.. If individual computers aren't available, this site would also be ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector.

Have students create their own map symbols and map key as they try their own hand at mapping. ESL and ELL students, as well as the general student body, will benefit from creating their own set of oral directions to read and have other students respond to.
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See GIS in Action - National Geographic

Grades
2 to 7
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Students learn how GIS (Geographic Information Systems) can help them solve problems and navigate. After selecting an animal, they hear its distinctive cry, learn facts about it, and...more
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Students learn how GIS (Geographic Information Systems) can help them solve problems and navigate. After selecting an animal, they hear its distinctive cry, learn facts about it, and become familiar with the variety of animals on different continents. Learn about the humpback whale, bald eagle, Africa, Asia, America, and more. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): animals (276), habitats (84)

In the Classroom

This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops as you study about habitats. Assign a group of children to each featured animal, and use this site as the starting point for a research project. Have students create similar posters, PowerPoint slides, or wiki page on other animals. If individual computers aren't available, this site would work well on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
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Find the Sunken Treasure - National Geographic

Grades
2 to 6
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This game provides practice with the concept of map grids in an engaging way. Students use a special explorer's tool to search for metal objects hidden on the ground floor ...more
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This game provides practice with the concept of map grids in an engaging way. Students use a special explorer's tool to search for metal objects hidden on the ground floor of the ocean. They learn the technique of searching by a grid. The After searching for a limited amount of time and with tools of limited energy and search capacity, they examine their finds and see their final scores. Whatever they uncover creates great interest in playing this game again and again. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): radio (27), sun (71)

In the Classroom

Send your students on a virtual treasure hunt! This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Students can repeat the game with different results. Use this site to integrate map skills, coordinates in math class, oceanography, and more!
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Test Designer - Tribrio, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Test Designer allows teachers to quickly and easily create multiple-choice, true or false, fill-in-the-blank, and open-ended questions for tests and worksheets. Browse through thousands...more
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Test Designer allows teachers to quickly and easily create multiple-choice, true or false, fill-in-the-blank, and open-ended questions for tests and worksheets. Browse through thousands of previously-created tests in subject areas such as Algebra, Earth Science, Geography, U.S. History, and Vocabulary. Test Designer also provides simple graphics that can easily be added. Teachers can e-mail tests and worksheets to students, teachers, and parents. Make sure to allow plenty of time to read directions and maneuver the site prior to creating tests. There are some minor unobtrusive advertisements at this site. The required membership is free!

tag(s): quiz (85), quizzes (97), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Use this website to create personalized quizzes and tests for your students. You could also ask students to design their own tests for each other to review using your teacher log-in or appoint a student "quizmaker" each week for the content your class has covered, making this an assignment that each student does once per semester.

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Digital Dialects - Craig Gibson

Grades
2 to 12
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Want to learn just a little or a lot of a new language? This is a great place to start learning vocabulary and basic phrases. The reviews and games are ...more
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Want to learn just a little or a lot of a new language? This is a great place to start learning vocabulary and basic phrases. The reviews and games are in cute interfaces, but there aren't many sound files. Since the description says the developer is adding more to the site each day, hopefully there will be more pronunciation added. The scope of the site is amazing: 44 languages. The languages include Albanian, Bosnian, English, Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and MANY others. The sound files, few as they are, feature native speakers pronouncing the basics. The games allow the student learner to guess and practice as much as possible by presenting the same words several times. The advanced feature provides more advanced vocabulary and the geography features the geography of the language group. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): arab (18), arabic (20), chinese (48), french (88), german (64), greek (41), hebrew (14), italian (33)

In the Classroom

Try a few words in another language with your class as you study world geography and history! This site is especially useful in ESL, ELL, and world language classrooms. Have your students plan a pretend vacation and study a few words of the target language before they go. Ask students to go beyond the games by guessing the answers before they appear on the screen.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Rivers and Coasts - BBC

Grades
2 to 5
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This interactive website does a thorough job of explaining the water cycle. The specific links (or activities) include What is a River?, What is a Coast?, The Water Cycle, ...more
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This interactive website does a thorough job of explaining the water cycle. The specific links (or activities) include What is a River?, What is a Coast?, The Water Cycle, How do Rivers Change?, How do Coasts Change?, People and Rivers, People and Coasts, & What Happens When Rivers Meet the Coast? This website makes the difficult concepts easier to understand by comparing rivers to sliding boards and making other comparisons that kids can visualize. There is a Teachers and Parents link that includes lesson plans, standards, explanations of the online activities, printable pages, and more. The website does require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): rivers (21), water (130), water cycle (33)

In the Classroom

Use this website as an anticipatory set for a unit or lesson about rivers or coasts. The activities are ideal for viewing on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Or use this website as a learning center. Have students keep a journal (or create a simple worksheet) to answer the questions presented (the links listed on the website). Have the students write a few sentences to explain what a river is, how rivers change, or any of the other topics. For more ideas, see the Teachers and Parents link.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Ocean Life - Scholastic

Grades
K to 9
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This website offers an introduction to the Scholastic Explorer's Ocean Life project. Students travel to Costa Rica, New Zealand, and other places to explore the ocean and animals. Students...more
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This website offers an introduction to the Scholastic Explorer's Ocean Life project. Students travel to Costa Rica, New Zealand, and other places to explore the ocean and animals. Students get to learn about real-life ocean explorers. There are also interactive challenges, sure to excite your students. A detailed Teacher's Guide is included. Most of the activities are geared towards students in grades 4-9. However, there are lesson plans (with standards) for students in kindergarten through grade 9. Links to plans for older students are no longer active. Some of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): environment (317)

In the Classroom

This site is a wonderful addition to a unit about the ocean and ecosystems. Check out the lesson plans and see what is available for your grade level. If you teach grades 4-9, be sure to check on the interactive activities available at this website - perfect for your interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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