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Google Earth 101 for Educators - Quentin D'Souza, Teaching Hacks.com

Grades
K to 12
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This participatory wiki (part of the larger "Teaching Hacks" wiki) walks educators step...more
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This participatory wiki (part of the larger "Teaching Hacks" wiki) walks educators step by step through the how-to and why-to of Google Earth (GE). Start with the two minute video, then click through the steps at the right. You are also invited to ADD to the wiki so other teachers can learn from you! The wiki includes curriculum ideas grade by grade (listed in text form). Since the wiki originated in the Toronto area, some topics are Canadian-only, but the wiki is open to all global learners and teachers.

tag(s): globe (14), landforms (45), landmarks (26), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Plan your personal professional development on your own or with a teaching buddy to learn more about Google Earth (GE) and plan activities for your classrooms. Even if your access to GE is limited to a single class computer, work together with a small team of student "GEniuses" to prepare class placemarker files, then have the team teach other students, as well. If your school has personal professional development plans or allows teachers to suggest topics for professional workshops, include this link, along with other GE resources from TeachersFirst, as your inservice day agenda.
 

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Google Earth - Google

Grades
K to 12
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Bring the world into your classroom with Google Earth. This interactive view of the Earth (and more) is free for download. Find landforms, geographic locations features, pictures, and...more
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Bring the world into your classroom with Google Earth. This interactive view of the Earth (and more) is free for download. Find landforms, geographic locations features, pictures, and more from around the world using this satellite-powered software. As you spin the globe, you can tilt to view locations at an angle to show elevation, click to play a "tour" or "fly" from one location to another, or simply open tours and placemarker files created by others. Once you are comfortable, try making tours and placemarkers of your own. Note: this software uses more than the usual "bandwidth" to stay connected to the Internet while you are using it, so dial-up and slow connections will not work. Some schools block this tool because of the bandwidth needed, but teachers should not let this stop you from requesting this software to use in whole-class or group settings.

tag(s): climate (92), earth (228), landforms (45), landmarks (26), news (261), oceans (148)

In the Classroom

Use tutorials from this site to learn more, or try some Google Earth files from TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission to get a taste of what the program can do. Get started by exploring the different LAYERS available in the left side and searching a location you know. Locate and try the tools to drag, tilt, zoom, and even measure distance. Extensive user forums are available through the help menus.

Placemarker files created by you "live" on the computer where you make or save them and are not shared on the web. Note that your computer will ask whether you wish to save your "temporary places" (any places you have marked during a session) each time you close Google Earth. If many students use that computer, you may find you have a disorganized mess of saved places. Be sure to direct students to either name their saved places logically and file them into folders or NOT to save them to My Places! Students and teachers can create placemarker (.kmz or .kml) files and share them as email attachments, files on a USB "stick," or any other means you would use to share a file, just like a Word document.

Another practical tip: if students are using Google Earth on several machines at the same time, you may put a heavy load on your school network. Plan accordingly, perhaps having groups alternate their Google Earth time if it becomes sluggish.

Use Google Earth to teach geography or simply give location context to class readings or current events, especially on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Ex. you can tilt to show the peaks scaled by Lewis and Clark or volcanoes that rise in the Aleutians. Have students show the locations of historic events or literary settings and create placemarkers with links to learn more. Placemarker text is editable by going to the placemarker's "properties" or "info," so students can enter the text description, place title, and any inks they want to include, such as a link to a certain passage of text, an image of a character, or news image/article for a current events map. Students who know html code can get even more sophisticated in what they include in placemarkers. Have students/groups create and play a "tour" of critical locations for global warming, a comparison of volcanoes, or a family history of immigration. Navigate the important locations in a work of literature using Google Lit Trips or search the web for placemarker files connected to civil war battles, natural resources, and more. Turn layers on and off to look at population centers and transportation systems. Teach the concept of scale/proportion using a tactile experience on an interactive whiteboard and the scale and measurement tools. See more ideas at the teacher-created Google Earth 101 wiki reviewed here. Even if you do not venture into creating your own placemarker files, there are many already made and available for use by teachers and students. TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission includes a weekly file to follow the Mission.

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The Life and Voyages of Henry Hudson - Ian Chadwick

Grades
7 to 12
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This site details the life and many attempted voyages of the English explorer Henry Hudson. Although the site is very "wordy," it is very inclusive and excellent for research. It ...more
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This site details the life and many attempted voyages of the English explorer Henry Hudson. Although the site is very "wordy," it is very inclusive and excellent for research. It includes a lot of facts, maps, information about each voyage, information about nautical measurements, and details about his ships and crews. The information and maps available here are based on the author combing historical books and documents and information. An extensive bibliography and list of weblinks relating to Hudson adds interest to the maps and history on the site.

tag(s): explorers (61), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Have the students make a cumulative map of all Hudson's voyages together in order for them to get a chance to become intimately familiar with the map making process. Try a site such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). Woices allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location on a map where each story takes place. Have each cooperative learning group focus on a different exploration. Compare their creations with the online map which has all four voyages combined. Assign students in a group each a few pages of an imagined journal Henry might have written on each voyage. The most interesting part will be to imagine what happened to him after people no longer heard from him! Use this site as the starting point for individual research papers. Encourage students to find other resources that contribute to their knowledge of Henry Hudson. Have students write a talk Hudson might give if he suddenly woke up today (like Rip Van Winkle). Or make it more Web 2.0 and have students write blog entries. The text passages on this site are also ideal for reading comprehension practice. Project them on an interactive whiteboard for practice in main idea, summarizing, and more.

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Virtual Pilot - Lufthansa Airlines

Grades
6 to 12
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How good are your students at European geography? Lufthansa Airlines has created a game site that allows students to attempt to land their plane in the correct location! A location...more
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How good are your students at European geography? Lufthansa Airlines has created a game site that allows students to attempt to land their plane in the correct location! A location is provided, there are several red dots to choose among, and you simply click on the dot that you feel is in the correct location. Three levels of difficulty make the activity easier to differentiate. The first level shows a bunch of cities in Europe as starts. Students who guess closer to the target city get more points. The second level shows only countries. Students have to pinpoint the location of their desired city with a mouse click. The third, most difficult level, has students clicking on the continent of Europe, trying to locate countries and the desired city. Points add up quickly, even if players do not get the exact location, since more points appear for guesses closest to the desired city. What a terrific way to learn and remember cities (and countries) in Europe!

tag(s): cities (25), countries (76), europe (75)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups try to figure out where the cities are located. See which team can earn the most points. Use this site to review European geography and capitals. Have international students play against Americans. Provide this link on your class website for additional practice.
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Ancient Civilizations - The British Museum

Grades
4 to 12
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Browse the themes of the interactive history map by the British Museum to learn about ancient civilizations. Choose "Cities," "Religions," "Technology," "Trade," "Writing," or "Buildings."...more
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Browse the themes of the interactive history map by the British Museum to learn about ancient civilizations. Choose "Cities," "Religions," "Technology," "Trade," "Writing," or "Buildings." Click on the map to see places for more information. Click on the clock along the bottom to open a timeline. Open a list of ancient civilizations by clicking on the globe. Access the main menu of themes by clicking on the museum picture. Additional links are found by clicking on "Other related sites." Teachers can find other resources and information by clicking on "Staff Room."

tag(s): china (66), egypt (67), mesopotamia (6)

In the Classroom

Divide students into groups to peruse a given theme or an ancient civilization. Student groups can ask additional questions to begin a search for even more information and present their findings to the class. Discuss parallels among ancient civilizations through the discussion of these themes as well as comparisons and contrasts with present society. Create a visual display of life in these societies or share food and traditions that might have existed. Try some multimedia projects like a Venn Diagram comparing a certain theme of ancient civilization to present society using an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the themes. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Henry Hudson 400 - Henry Hudson 400 Foundation

Grades
5 to 12
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By viewing superimposed old maps from Henry Hudson's time on modern day Google, students and teachers have a unique opportunity to see the courses of his voyages while he was ...more
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By viewing superimposed old maps from Henry Hudson's time on modern day Google, students and teachers have a unique opportunity to see the courses of his voyages while he was searching for a short route to Asia. Besides maps, you will find photos, models of Hudson's ship, and read about other relevant historical data. An additional feature, Water Challenges, allows students to click on one of several sites and read about past and current water concerns.

tag(s): maps (287)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these maps to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage. Share this link on your class web page and/or in a parent newsletter for those who are interested in American history, sailing, boat making, and exploring. Have students hand draw their own maps to show what other explorers have done. Or use another online mapmaking tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map (with audio stories and pictures included)!

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When Weather Changed History - The Weather Channel

Grades
4 to 12
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Weather's impact on the course of history sometimes goes unnoticed. A heat wave brings about public policy change; a hurricane alerts the public to the need for better planning and...more
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Weather's impact on the course of history sometimes goes unnoticed. A heat wave brings about public policy change; a hurricane alerts the public to the need for better planning and an improved safety net; a father of our country dies due to extreme weather. This collection of full episodes and a few with shorter "preview" clips from the Weather Channel's regular series is ideal for use in the classroom to help students make connections between climate, geography, and history. The collection includes more obvious events such as Hurricane Katrina as well as numerous others: heat waves, George Washington, the Hindenburg, American colonial times, Nagasaki, D-Day, the Dust Bowl, smog, the Titanic, the Nome Serum Run and the green movement in the wake of tornado devastation. The video makes the events more real while the narration places then in context.

tag(s): climate (92), disasters (39), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Share one or more clips (selected from a full episode) on a projector or interactive whiteboard as part of your study of a time period in history or assign students to research different events, asking them to answer big questions such as, "What role does climate play in a community's growth and government?" or "What might have happened if the weather had been different on this day?" Have students write a blog post as an eyewitness to the events or create a class wiki on the impact of geography, climate, and other "earthly" factors on the decisions that humans make. Create one wiki page per event and assign small groups to write the pages as newspaper articles at the time and another page using historical perspective. Don't forget to add mock news pages about what might have happened if the weather had been different! Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. The same assignment could also be done on video as a series of podcast "news" stories. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

Use these videos as part of your science study of weather so students relate the hard data to human events. Have students use a multi-angle approach using both scientific data and human data about the event to create a weather wiki or multimedia project such as mock interviews at the time of the event and ten years later.
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20 Questions - 20Q.netInc.

Grades
5 to 12
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This intriguing site has the user choose an "answer," and then the computer asks 20 questions trying to determine what your answer is. The answers to the 20 questions aren't ...more
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This intriguing site has the user choose an "answer," and then the computer asks 20 questions trying to determine what your answer is. The answers to the 20 questions aren't just YES or NO; they also include SOMETIMES, PROBABLY, IRRELEVANT, and others.

When you arrive at the site, click your language (there are MANY languages to choose from). Enter your gender, age, and location (optional). Then choose the "game" you wish to try. Some are more commercial (Disney, The Simpsons, or Star Trek). Others have educational value (Harry Potter, Earth, or Classic, Famous people). This is a fun and challenging activity. There are disclaimers that the "game gets smarter" the more you play because the game compiles facts over time. It is involving and fun to play. The site does include some advertisements.

tag(s): trivia (17)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Teachers could have students research a person, place or thing and then use their research to play twenty questions against the computer. It could also be used as review if posted to the class wiki and then completed independently by students at home. Use this as a first day or first week activity, have students try the 20 question game about names and see if the computer can figure out their name. Use the Earth activity for geography practice in cooperative learning groups or as a class activity. In world language classes, choose the appropriate language to practice vocabulary about animals and other categories of information. As a culminating project in any class, have students create their own 20 question activity and quiz the class! You will be teaching HOTS (higher order thinking skills) as students use classification to create their questions.
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TweenTribune - Alan Jacobson

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K to 12
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several ...more
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several new features, including a Dashboard for assignments and classrooms, assigning a story to all with one click, self-scoring quizzes for articles, and Smithsonian's STEM-based 1-minute videos. There are now free apps for the iPad and iPhone. TweenTribune continues to include open-ended critical thinking questions and a daily quiz using multiple sources. This site is still jam packed with current news stories that are chosen by site coordinators for all reading levels. The articles are easy to read, relate to, and understand. The site is easy to navigate with a subject indexed toolbar, and it is searchable. There is even a "your town" section for local news stories. All stories are current because the creators scour the internet weekly for age-appropriate material. It greatly reduces the pressure of searching by giving an article research tool that is much more specific than simply using a search engine.

tag(s): news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

The sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here). In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.

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Newsy - newsy.com

Grades
5 to 12
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This site presents current news stories from multiple perspectives, featuring videos and commentary from the world's top newspapers. All the video news clips offer a complete transcript...more
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This site presents current news stories from multiple perspectives, featuring videos and commentary from the world's top newspapers. All the video news clips offer a complete transcript (click on "transcript" just below the video window). General topics covered include the U.S., the world, the environment, culture, technology, economy, and politics. Students can see short news clips, make comments blog style, and read news articles from newspapers around the world. Anyone can view the material, but you must register to be able to make comments. Check your school policies about accessing/sharing student email on school computers. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

tag(s): news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for your interactive whiteboard or projector, learning station, or on individual computers (with headsets). Use this site to keep your students up to date on current events. Have students compare the different versions of the same news stories to try and ferret out the facts and the way points of view affect reporting. Project the scripts on an interactive whiteboard to have students highlight language choices that provide a certain slant. ESL/ELL students will benefit from listening to the short news clips and being able to see the transcript of the report. Have your ESL/ELL students write their own comprehension questions and answers based on the podcast to check their own comprehension and to exchange with classmates. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare the differences in two newspapers' versions of the same news. Have ESL/ELL students present the news from a newspaper familiar to them if possible by having them prepare an introduction and questions. Learning support students can use the transcripts and videos in combination to understand and report weekly current events assignments for social studies class.
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Culture Crossing Guide - culturecrossing.net

Grades
3 to 12
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Are you looking for a high quality research site about countries throughout the world? This guide offers a wealth of information about hundreds of countries. The general categories...more
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Are you looking for a high quality research site about countries throughout the world? This guide offers a wealth of information about hundreds of countries. The general categories include basic, business, and student information. Each country also has specifics: Greetings, Dress, Taboos, Law & Order, Videos, Gender Issues, Government, Major Religions, and many more. Not only can you access detailed information they might be interested in, they can also add information to the site with a simple registration. You can ask questions about any country or custom and get links for finding further information.

Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. This is explained here, and tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class.

tag(s): countries (76)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of any country or culture. Another obvious use of this site is for any type of country research projects. This site allows students to explore their previous beliefs about cultures, in the "exploring your cultural baggage" section.This site is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class. This site does include the ability for the general public to submit their own cultural information. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. You may want to limit use to whole-class activities or prohibit accessing the "add to the guide" portion of the site. ESL and ELL students will be proud to make reports to the class about their own countries using this site as backup and illustration. Share this site with language teachers who are taking students on trips beyond the U.S. or as a general resource for cultural information.
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Study Stack - John Weidner

Grades
4 to 12
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This site is filled with study tools to help students learn information in a variety of subject areas. Stacks of topics related to geography, history, math, languages, medical, tests...more
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This site is filled with study tools to help students learn information in a variety of subject areas. Stacks of topics related to geography, history, math, languages, medical, tests (SAT, ACT, etc.), science and more are linked with collections of learning tools that include virtual study cards, matching games, word search puzzles, and hangman games. There really is something here for nearly all subject areas and grade levels! Students can select the tool that works best for them and work at their own pace until they are satisfied with their progress. If you can't find a stack to fit your needs, you can edit existing lists or create customized study stacks. The site also allows you to print out study cards, or export flash cards to study them via cell phones, PDA, or iPod. Email the stacks to peers or connect with Study Stack through Facebook. Some of the activities require Java. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): flash cards (45), greek (41), hebrew (14), latin (22), test prep (95), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Encourage parents to use this site as a study-at-home tool for their students. Link your blog or website to this site by entering your url at the bottom of the homepage. Make sure your guidance counselor at your school is aware of this site as a tool for studying those college entrance tests. Be sure to save this site in your favorites.

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Over the Top - Canadian War Museum

Grades
3 to 12
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Use Over the Top to explore life as a World War I soldier in the trenches. This interactive adventure is in the form of a story. An introduction page sets ...more
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Use Over the Top to explore life as a World War I soldier in the trenches. This interactive adventure is in the form of a story. An introduction page sets the stage for the site as well as providing helpful hints and an overview. Click "Begin Your Adventure" to start. For connections with slower speeds, click on "Low Graphics Version" for a faster alternative. Enter a first name, last name, friend's name, and city to begin. Check your school policies on whether student names may be displayed online and what information is permitted (perhaps initials are suggested), then enforce that policy with your students. The pop up shows an animated cartoon, written narrative below, and audio that reads the narrative. The scene can be replayed for any information missed. Audio can be adjusted in the upper right hand corner and the narratives can also be displayed in French. Turn to the next frame using the arrow to the right. Go back to the previous screen with the left arrow. Click on words that are underlined as they are live links that bring up definition boxes for understanding of key vocabulary terms. At points in the story, students can choose one or more options for more detailed stories. Students and buddy names as well as the name of the town appear throughout the story.

tag(s): europe (75), world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, if individual computers aren't available. If students are working in groups or individually, don't forget the headsets!

Students can pass through the scenes by recording vocabulary words. Have students identify the minor and major difficulties that soldiers during world War I faced. Research how the needs of soldiers were met those days and the agencies or people that helped the troops. Have students create a podcast, or other multimedia project to share their findings. For a podcasting site, try PodOmatic (reviewed here). Compare and contrast military stories today with those of the past to find parallels and differences in military service throughout history. Have groups create an online Venn Diagram comparing the similarities and differences, try a FREE site like this one, (reviewed here). Create class discussions of propaganda, expectations of the military, and different ways that soldiers are portrayed by the media, the public, and in other print materials.
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Teaching with Historic Places - National Park Service

Grades
4 to 12
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Do you have trouble finding suitable sites to teach state history for YOUR state? This site includes more than 130 "ready to go" lesson plans organized by state. You can ...more
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Do you have trouble finding suitable sites to teach state history for YOUR state? This site includes more than 130 "ready to go" lesson plans organized by state. You can also view the collection by states, social studies standards, U.S. History standards, specific skills, time period, or topic. This resource was pulled together by the National Park service. The specific topics vary from America's Space Program to Skagway: Gateway to the Klondike to Brown v. Board of Education to The Trail of Tears to Pearl Harbor to Lewis and Clark to the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and countless others. Check out what it highlights for your state.

tag(s): cities (25), inventors and inventions (99), landmarks (26), maps (287), states (162)

In the Classroom

Search for your state and see what this site has to offer. Looking for a specific topic (i.e. Civil War or Pearl Harbor), search using topics. Take advantage of these ready to go lesson plans. Infuse your lessons with technology by creating a class wiki about the lesson/topic being discussed. Maybe make a wiki guidebook to your state. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Save this site in your favorites, and check back as you plan throughout the year.

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Visual Economics - creditloan.com

Grades
6 to 12
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This site presents economic facts in graphic form. Want to see a map of unemployment rates around the world? How about an illustrated pie chart of how the average US ...more
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This site presents economic facts in graphic form. Want to see a map of unemployment rates around the world? How about an illustrated pie chart of how the average US consumer spends money? Wasteful government "earmarks"? You will find these here and more. Possible bias alert! The creator of the site is an online credit and loan company, which may have a particular agenda in mind. Be SURE to click on the tab for "Infographics." The topics are timely, engaging, and applicable in an economics, FCS, business, or personal life class: how Americans spend vacation, What BP could have bought with all the money they lost (on the oil spill), American food consumption, and more. This collection is always growing.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148)

In the Classroom

Most of the graphics here are perfect for a one shot view on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Teachers should be aware that it's possible to comment on each of the graphics. Scrolling down reveals whatever someone may have sent in as a comment; preview carefully. One particular graphic, the consumer spending pie chart, would be useful in a consumer math class or "Real Life 101" class. Any of the charts could be used for real life data in a math class, or to teach students how to interpret charts and graphs, a topic appearing on most standardized state tests.

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Bubbabrain - Bubbabrain

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for interactive review activities for your subject area? Use Bubbabrain's vast array of activities created for many levels and subjects. Registration is not required to play....more
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Looking for interactive review activities for your subject area? Use Bubbabrain's vast array of activities created for many levels and subjects. Registration is not required to play. When Game ID is checked (this is the automatic default for the site,) you choose a level ranging from Elementary to College (be sure to click the circle in the appropriate grade level) and then choose a subject area from the drop down box at your level. Subject areas vary by grade level and may include: telling time, government, family and consumer science, world languages, sociology, technology, and countless others.

Click the "Go" button to start your activity. Click on the correct answer to the question and then a new question appears. Prompts to try again appear if the answer is wrong and a percent right appears on your screen as you progress. Click on the teacher's link in the upper right hand corner for more information on becoming registered. Once registered, teachers can create their own games for the site. Your teacher ID can be entered by students to access created games.

tag(s): psychology (64), sociology (22), time (144)

In the Classroom

Use these activities for review of concepts or terminology with your class on specific topics/subjects. Wish there were a review game for a missing topic? Request a teacher ID, and have groups of students create the questions. Enter the information for the game and students can review by playing their game or one created by another group. Share the student-created games on your interactive whiteboard or projector.These games would be great to both help students review and help them figure out what kind of study methods work best for them.

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Solar Symphony Game: Sounds of the Solar System - Discovery Channel

Grades
3 to 12
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This visually exciting site offers both background information on the planets and a unique way for students to remember the order of the planets. To play the game, students hit ...more
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This visually exciting site offers both background information on the planets and a unique way for students to remember the order of the planets. To play the game, students hit the letter key that corresponds to the beginning letter of the planet name whenever the planet, rotating around the sun, hits the "hot zone." The music, flashing lights, planetary movement, and other effects make this activity extremely engaging. Students will love the excitement of this game so much they will not even know they are learning something! This site is up to date (Pluto is not included). Gustav Holst's famous composition, The Planets serves as the musical accompaniment! The site has some minor advertisements.

tag(s): planets (123), solar system (119)

In the Classroom

Share HOW to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students try out the site on individual computers. Make sure you provide headsets! Be sure to list this site on your class website, blog, or wiki for students to use as a review for their study of planet names, solar system planet order, and speed of rotation. Music teachers can use this site as an example of musical description as students explore the planets. Be sure to turn up the speakers!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ePals - ePals, Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
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ePals, a global community, offers students the chance to connect with other students around the world (200+ countries). The free student email feature is one of the most useful features...more
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ePals, a global community, offers students the chance to connect with other students around the world (200+ countries). The free student email feature is one of the most useful features of ePals, since complete teacher moderation is available. You may be able to convince a more conservative school administration to permit student email using this tool. This site is the largest worldwide community for global collaboration. Don't worry about the language barrier, there is built-in language translation! This content-rich site also offers lessons, interactives, printables, and more. The "Focus Areas" include Biodiversity, Black History, Election/Inauguration, Geography Central, and Human Rights. In addition, you can click on the "Projects" link to find several ready to use projects (Habitats, Maps, Natural Disasters, Water, and others). Click on "ePals Tour" to view an informative video clip about the site, downloadable brochures, and more.

tag(s): black history (59), disasters (39), environment (317), habitats (84), maps (287), natural disasters (20), water (130)

In the Classroom

Navigating this site is rather simple. Simply click on one of the tabs across the top of the website: Home, Focus Areas, Projects, Connect, Forums, How-To, and ePal Tours. Parts of this site require log-in. Registration does require an email address. The site does offer SchoolMail, the leader for FREE "kid-safe" email.

A lot of safety features are already put into place at this site. The SchoolMail (email service offered at this site) offers monitored mail, instant translations, spell-check, anti-spam filters, and virus protection. To learn more about the safety features at this site, check out the ePals Tour link.

This site offers an amazing assortment of class activities and possibilities. Collaborate with schools in Africa (or 200 other countries) for a geography project. Have your students find ePals to correspond with and practice writing skills in English or in a language you are studying. Use the ready to go lessons and interactives at the "Focus Areas" and "Projects" links. Get additional ideas for projects, by visiting the "Projects" link or propose one of your own based on ideas from TeachersFirst suggestions you read in other reviews, lesson plans, and articles. After viewing one of the informative videos, challenge your students to study one of the topics available at this site and create their own videos. Use a tool such as TeachersTube, to share the video clips, reviewed here.

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Landforms - Southern Kings Consolidated School

Grades
3 to 7
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Looking for a site that teaches landforms? This site offers simple explanations and photos of several types of landforms: valleys, plateaus, mountains, plains, hills, loess, and glaciers....more
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Looking for a site that teaches landforms? This site offers simple explanations and photos of several types of landforms: valleys, plateaus, mountains, plains, hills, loess, and glaciers. There is also a link to the rock cycle. The photos at this site really enhance the simple explanations.

tag(s): landforms (45)

In the Classroom

Use this site during a unit on landforms, or for research about the landforms. Have students create multimedia presentations about landforms. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of local landforms (with audio stories and pictures included)! Share the Mapskip presentations on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Google Earth Lessons - David (a Central Florida Computer Teacher)

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers a collection of lesson plans to correlate with Google Earth. There are lessons in math, social studies, language arts, and science. View "How To" videos, "Student Controlled"...more
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This site offers a collection of lesson plans to correlate with Google Earth. There are lessons in math, social studies, language arts, and science. View "How To" videos, "Student Controlled" lesson plans, "Teacher Controlled" lesson plans, "mini lessons," or search the lessons by content area. Click on Home to read the latest news at the site. The lessons are ready to go. Some include standards. This site does require Flash and Adobe Acrobat. Google Earth How-To links use Quicktime video. You can all these plug-ins from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): capitals (24), latitude (13), longitude (13), maps (287), migration (59), time (144), time zones (8)

In the Classroom

Search the site for your content area. Take advantage of the free lesson plans. If you aren't familiar with Google Earth check out the site (reviewed here). There is a lot to explore with this multi-faceted tool, Google Earth. If you do not have it installed for FREE on your school computer, use this lesson blog to demonstrate to your administration why you should.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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