Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomFirst, it's important for students to know that the US Constitution requires a census, and second, that the information gathered is used in a variety of important ways that affect them directly. The first data posted looks at how shifts in population density will change the way various geographic areas of the country are represented in the US government. Consider reading the Director's blog for further analysis of how census data is being used on a local, state, and national level. Of course, the data are perfect for using in math and civics classes for teaching graph reading and creation, and for providing real-life information to use in statistical analysis. A civics or sociology class might download a copy of the census form and consider what the questions tell us about how families live in the 21st century. What questions might students add to a future census form that would reflect how things are changing for their generation?
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare these word clouds on interactive whiteboard or projector to analyze the presidential agendas in a civics or government class. Have students make their own clouds of text from other speeches using Wordle, reviewed here or similar word cloud tools to add to the comparison options. During political campaigns, share this comparison and invite students to create ones of their own between different candidates. In English/language arts classes, use the word clouds to spark discussion of propaganda techniques, word choice, and effective speech techniques. Share this discussion in debate club, as well, to point out the importance of carefully crafted messages. Have students create and compare clouds of their own speech drafts while studying persuasive writing.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomCombine selections from these sessions with TeachersFirst's China and Cross-Cultural Resources and our editor's blog posts from a recent China visit to help students explore the issues and subtleties of U.S.-Chinese relations and globalization. Focus on cross-cultural understanding in a Chinese language or world cultures class or on policy issues in U.S. government. Economics classes can view portions related to macro-economics topics. Challenge student groups to create presentations using Thinglink, reviewed here, focused on one aspect of China or Chinese American relations.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to determine the question and possible responses to generate the poll online. Remember to Publish your quiz to be able to share it.
This tool does not show the individual votes of students. Though this tool can be used by students, it may be best used by a teacher. Students using this tool, need an email to register.
Use polls created using Polldaddy on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start a new unit, asking questions about the material. Discuss in groups why those in class would choose a particular answer to uncover misconceptions. Use for Daily quiz questions to gain knowledge of student understanding and a means of formative assessment. Have student groups alternate to create a new poll for the next day. Place a poll on your teacher web page as a homework inspiration or to ask questions to increase parent involvement. Older students may want to include polls on their student blogs to increase read involvement or create polls to use at the start of project presentations. Use polls to generate data for math class (graphing), during elections or for critical thinking activities dealing with interpretation of statistics. Use "real" data to engage students on issues that matter to them.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomFor those who are not strong readers, the audio-video combination provided here may make the concepts in the Gettysburg Address more accessible. For other students, there may be deeper, more complex questions sparked by the video. Did the creator of the video capture the concepts authored by Abraham Lincoln adequately? This video could be the "jumping off place" for a variety of questions the class might consider or project ideas for individual students. How might you do it differently? What about other well-known speeches or documents? How would you illustrate them for a similar video? Challenge students to create their own video accompanying a famous speech and share the video using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): search engines (64)
In the ClassroomAdd a link to Google's UncleSam search engine to your classroom bookmarks as a tool for students to search for information exclusively from US federal government-maintained sites. Using this kind of search may be useful when searching for official information about a government agency, about pieces of legislation, US politicians, or about federal policy or practice. While no information is completely without bias, students will know that searches through UncleSam will return information that is not posted by groups trying to influence public policy or present a specific point of view.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomCreate a new map by entering the details such as a title. Choose from the template styles given. Preview the template, zoom in and out, and scroll around the mindmap using the simple tools. Click the "Edit Content" tab to change each node in your mindmap. Edit the name of the node, the description, and upload or link to a picture. Nodes can also link to a You tube video. When done, click preview to not only see the finished mindmap, but to publish on the Spicynodes site or copy the embed code for placing on a wiki, blog, or other site.
There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Create a site map that guides users throughout the features of your class website.
Collaborative Projects: Have small groups research together a topic such as unsolved mysteries of the world, planets, legends from their countries, plants, famous mathematicians, or any topic that can be broken down into parts. Each student would have their own node and color and would then upload pictures, videos, links, and other information they have found about their part of the topic. If the whole class is researching a topic, students with the "like" assignments could get together to share information and create their part of the small group node (also know as jigsaw in cooperative learning). Once all the nodes are completed, the original small group would share information with each other. There are a variety of ways students could use this mindmap. You could just leave it at the small group share out. Or, you could have the groups decide what information is important enough to present to the class and put their ideas on a Writeboard document reviewed here. A third step could be that once they've honed down the information, they could create a presentation for the class in a variety of formats: Haiku Deck reviewed here, or Animoto reviewed here are only two of the many presentation formats we have reviewed on TeachersFirst.
Student project ideas: Have students... organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum."
Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. Be sure that they RENAME it before they start work to an individual name so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn them in.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to locate files on their computers to upload. Beyond that, a few clicks that follow onscreen instructions will complete the job!
Use this site as transportation to and from school when students are working on powerpoint presentations for class. This tool could be used in any subject or topic area. If Powerpoint isn't available at your school, use this site to create presentations instead of traditional book reports. Use this tool in social studies to have students create presentations about the branches of government, continents, or economics. The possibilities are endless.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is a great resource for students researching politicians and their viewpoints. If you're sponsoring a class debate, keep the site handy for each side to check the assertions of their opponents. When students have questions about the content of political advertising, for example, refer them here to find out more. As an assignment, consider having the class pick a political ad, and using the information on this site, write about how the creator of the ad selected the facts that would best portray the viewpoint of the candidate. They could share their critique on a class wiki or on a classroom bulletin board. Have groups create a "mythbuster" political poster on ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomConsider placing this site on your class web page for students to use in researching political viewpoints, both in relation to upcoming elections and in ongoing political debate. It's a site for true politics junkies, but will be useful for those who are looking for concise information collected in a readable, easy-to-access format. Use the site during your study of the legislative branch and have groups follow congressional groups of individuals, creating a timeline of their activities using a tool such as History in Motion,
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomThese lessons would be useful on an interactive whiteboard or projector along with a unit on the Supreme Court or the US judicial system. Students might also use them to to extend or enrich the topic on their own time, or when they have completed other classwork. They are well researched and informative, however, most students won't view them as "games" as they are labeled. Have cooperative learning groups investigate one specific topic and share their discoveries with the class. Challenge students to create a video using Powtoon, reviewed here, and it share using a site such as SchoolTube, reviewed here.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): elections (78)
In the ClassroomUse this site as the basis of a homework or group assignment: students can write about the candidate they would support in an upcoming election referencing the information found on the site about each candidate's views on specific issues. Take it further and have them create a print ad for their candidate or an online "poster" using Web Poster Maker, reviewed here. Alternatively, the site could be used on an interactive whiteboard as a springboard for a class-wide discussion. Be aware that the site uses a "grassroots" theme, and has a barely audible--and at times annoying--sound track of chirping birds. Turn down the sound if it bothers you.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): quiz (88)
In the ClassroomSkills required: Be sure to remember the password for your tests, as well as the unique URL. It would be wise to copy/paste them into a document you keep somewhere for reference. Users are unable to access the tests without the URL. Be sure to not share this ahead of time. Items in Testmoz are not made public.
Use where automatically graded tests are required, such as for formative assessments to check student understanding. Use as a "ticket out the door" to see what students know at the end of class. Be sure that this is the medium you want to use for testing. Be flexible with students who find it difficult to take online testing. Entering all the material ahead of time can be time consuming, so this may not be the best format for long tests. Use this quiz application to create study quizzes for review for students to complete as homework (or during class time). Have students rotate to create daily check quizzes for their peers (earning a grade for test-creation). Learning support students and others who need a little extra review might like to make quizzes to challenge each other or themselves. Have students who are preparing to give oral presentations in any subject prepare a short Testmoz for their peers to take at the end.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents are "listening" to something all the time; usually is plugged into their ears through earbuds. But as skilled as they are at multitasking, can they listen to a first person account of an important historical event? Can they listen to a scholarly lecture? Might they prefer to listen to a book rather than read it? This site might help you and your students explore these issues. It's not so much about the individual topics on this site; it's about teaching students new ways to access information effectively. For those students who are not strong readers this site may be a way of recognizing their learning style as equally important.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): politics (99)
In the ClassroomThis would make a wonderful class team competition. Consider dividing the class into groups, or even pitting different sections of the same course against each other. Encourage the students not to breeze through the choices too quickly. The site might be useful for mature younger students if they have the attention span required to make careful and reasoned choices. Another option is to complete this activity as a class on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades8 to 12
You should be aware, however, that the site includes a wiki. It allows you to create an account to organize the information you're following, and encourages you to "vote" on bills. Check your school's policies for having students participate in this kind of activity, or create a class account and use that function as a group activity.
In the ClassroomBookmark this site in your favorites for students as a place to do their own research on all things Congressional. Groups of students in a current events, government, or modern history class could research a bill, a legislator, or the process of passing legislation itself. This site will take them way past "I'm Just A Bill..." from Schoolhouse Rock. Have cooperative learning groups research a topic and create a multimedia presentation such as a podcast using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is excellent for enrichment, research, or a current events class. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students try out this site on individual computers, or as a learning center. This site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have the students open the site and use the whiteboard tools to set up a class selected news offering for each day.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is excellent for research projects or to provide visual context to your curriculum in social studies, world cultures, world history, literature, art, or western heritage classes. Offer this set of timelines as a research source for history, social studies, and literature classes. Show students these timelines on an interactive whiteboard. Or have students research various topics on their own using this fabulous tool. Pique their interest by letting them browse to find out what else happened at the same time as events in the standard history curriculum -- then ask WHY. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create online posters displaying their findings using an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here).
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this site when your students are going to do a research project on civil rights or MLK. Use one of the videos from the site to introduce a civil rights unit. Have cooperative learning groups explore one of the videos/topics together and create multimedia presentations to share with the class. Challenge groups to narrate a picture using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here. Compare videos from this site to examine the question of how King's vision is being implemented today. If you know how, embed the widget for the entire collection on your class web page for students to access in and out of school during your civil rights unit or in January near Martin Luther King Day.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): space (218)