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ArtsEdge - Kennedy Center

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K to 12
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This site, created by the Kennedy Center offers a wealth of interactive lesson plans for grades K-12 dealing with a variety of topics, all with an "arts" spin. Search by ...more
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This site, created by the Kennedy Center offers a wealth of interactive lesson plans for grades K-12 dealing with a variety of topics, all with an "arts" spin. Search by subject, keyword, or grade level (K-4, 5-8, or 9-12). Some examples of topics include Native Americans, Civil War, Shakespeare, myths, melodrama, adjectives, baseball, and countless others! There are many interactive lessons: some with video, audio, or slideshows. The lessons provide an estimate of time required and complete, step-by-step instructions. There are printables included with some of the lessons.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): african american (114), baseball (36), civil war (145), comics and cartoons (72), dance (28), folktales (65), greece (26), habitats (85), immigration (58), literature (275), mexico (34), musical instruments (47), myths and legends (25), native americans (78), painting (66), surrealism (4)

In the Classroom

Search this site for a topic that you are teaching in your class. Share the lesson on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Better yet, make the video or slideshow a learning station for students to do themselves in small groups.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Democracy Kids - Center on Congress

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2 to 8
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This site provides introductory information for both young and middle school-aged students about some facets of democracy and our legislators. The main topics addressed include the...more
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This site provides introductory information for both young and middle school-aged students about some facets of democracy and our legislators. The main topics addressed include the idea of democracy, who the legislators are, how to be a responsible citizen and how compromise affects the passing of our laws. Students can select any of the topics and read about them and, in some cases, see an animated video on the topic. Of special interest to students are the sections that show the daily activities and schedule of the legislators and the animated map of a community that shows the impact of the government in many areas. There are numerous interactives to incorporate into a unit on the United States government.

tag(s): branches of government (50), congress (34), democracy (13)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introduction to social studies lessons on the Houses of Congress and the judicial and executive branches. Encourage your students to write letters to senators or representatives after learning about their accessibility here. Students can fill out a survey of interest to legislators with their parents here. Assign students specific government officials to research and prepare a multimedia presentation to share with the class. Have students create a Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Have students create a simple online posters using PicLits (reviewed here). Rather than a traditional report, challenge students (independently or collaboratively) to create an online book using a site such as Mixbook (reviewed here).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Our Documents - National Archives

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6 to 12
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This site, a collaborative effort among the National Archives, National History Day and USA Freedom Corps, highlights the most important documents in US history. Each of these "milestone"...more
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This site, a collaborative effort among the National Archives, National History Day and USA Freedom Corps, highlights the most important documents in US history. Each of these "milestone" documents is detailed and photographed on a separate page; the photo can be enlarged for presentation on an interactive whiteboard. What is most helpful for teachers, however, is the link to tools for educators: a downloadable sourcebook, suggestions for using the documents to meet specific national social studies, economics, English, arts, civics, history, geography and technology standards, and lesson plans. This site was clearly designed with teachers in mind!

tag(s): history day (24), primary sources (90)

In the Classroom

The use of primary sources in teaching has been greatly increased by our digital access to documents like these. Peruse the list of "milestone" documents, and commit to using the photographs on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) when the document comes up in a lesson or discussion. For teachers who are supporting student projects for National History Day, this site also has a link to specific tips, although it appears the site has not been kept up to date with current information on individual competitions. Challenge cooperative learning groups to investigate one of the documents and create a multimedia project of their choice. Looking for some inspiration? How about having groups create a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here). Or have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Have students narrate a photo of the document (using a FREE and LEGAL photo) using a site such as Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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2000 Census Data On-line - US Government

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K to 12
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This provides the 2000 U.S. census information. There are links to news, data tools, a message from the President (Obama, at the time of this review), employment information, fact sheets,...more
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This provides the 2000 U.S. census information. There are links to news, data tools, a message from the President (Obama, at the time of this review), employment information, fact sheets, and more. General categories include "People & Households," "Business & Industry," "Geography," "Newsroom," and "Special Topics." Each category has several topics. This historical census data is ideal for comparison with other, more recent years or for students to make predictions for an upcoming census based on past trends.

tag(s): census (19), data (149), states (163)

In the Classroom

This data would be great material for a US government or history class. Teachers can find all sorts of demograhic information for use during lessons on the political make-up of the country as well as representative numbers, migration trends, etc. There is a LOT here so be sure to give yourself time to search through it all for what you need. Have students use this site to research specific topics and create multimedia projects with a partner. Have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Challenge groups to create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).

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Americans and the Environment - National Humanities Center

Grades
4 to 12
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Created by the National Humanities Center, this collection of scholarly essays on Americans' relationship with the environment may be over the heads of most students. BUT teachers and...more
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Created by the National Humanities Center, this collection of scholarly essays on Americans' relationship with the environment may be over the heads of most students. BUT teachers and parents will find the subject matter fits nicely with most American History curricula, and the "guiding discussion" sections provide some new strategies and insights for teaching material that may have become too routine for students. If history (at any level) is your field, this one is worth a visit.

tag(s): conservation (128), ecology (135), environment (321)

In the Classroom

While this site is a little text-heavy, it is truly an excellent site for exploring the way the North American environment has been impacted by recent history. Select the time period that is appropriate to your unit, and introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students explore the rest of the site on classroom computers. To ensure that they're doing more than skimming the text, Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).

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Indiana Info for Kids - State of Indiana

Grades
4 to 8
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This site offers facts and information about the Hoosier State for kids. Learn about Indiana's current governor, Mitch Daniels, such as his favorite flavor of ice cream. The Fun Facts...more
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This site offers facts and information about the Hoosier State for kids. Learn about Indiana's current governor, Mitch Daniels, such as his favorite flavor of ice cream. The Fun Facts portion includes trivia such as the official stone, river, and poem of Indiana. The state symbol's portion is the most comprehensive portion of the site offering answers to questions such as "What is the meaning behind the Indiana State Flag" and "What is the Indiana State Bird?"

tag(s): states (163)

In the Classroom

Have students create a simple online posters instead of traditional state reports using PicLits (reviewed here. Share this site with students to use when finding information for state research projects.

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About Illinois - State of Illinois

Grades
4 to 8
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If you are looking for facts and figures about the state of Illinois, then this is the site for you! Each set of links from this page takes the user ...more
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If you are looking for facts and figures about the state of Illinois, then this is the site for you! Each set of links from this page takes the user to specific categories of information such as agriculture, history, and economy. Most useful for teachers and students will be the History & Culture and State Symbols links. The History & Culture page includes a historical timeline of the state beginning in 1673 with the arrival of Louis Jolliet and Father Marquette in the state all the way through to the 2005 World Series win of the Chicago White Sox. Learn about state symbols such as the official state snack food and state amphibian while exploring the State Symbols portion of the site.

tag(s): chicago (5), illinois (9)

In the Classroom

Challenge your students to create a web exhibit collection about Illinois using a tool such as Bag The Web (reviewed here) to share all of the important links, information, and even brief descriptions. Share the site on your interactive whiteboard with your students to help them find portions useful for research, then allow them to explore on their own. Create a scavenger hunt for students to search the site to find facts about the state.

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Maryland Kids Page - Maryland Secretary of State

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3 to 8
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Learn about the state of Maryland and its' laws, history, symbols, and more at this site presented by the Secretary of State of Maryland. The site is divided into sections ...more
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Learn about the state of Maryland and its' laws, history, symbols, and more at this site presented by the Secretary of State of Maryland. The site is divided into sections with sub-categories included on the home page. The history portion includes a great deal of information including a timeline of Maryland, women's history, Native American history, and African-American history, plus famous Marylanders. The government portion of site includes a very nice graphic demonstrating the bill-creation process. Learn all the state symbols such as the state song, bird, and even the state dog in the state symbols portion of the site. Be sure to visit the geography links and choose fun stuff to find lots of fun facts and state trivia.

tag(s): biographies (88), maryland (8), states (163)

In the Classroom

Challenge your students to go past PowerPoint and make an online presentation using Animoto (reviewed here) or another reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge. Share the page with the bill-creation process on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) with students and have them compare with other states' processes. Create a scavenger hunt including information from the site and have students explore the pages to find answers. Share the site with students as a resource for state research or famous American projects.

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Maine Secretary of State Kids' Page - Maine Secretary of State

Grades
3 to 8
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Learn all about Maine (for kids) without having to leave the room! The "All About Maine" portion of the site includes information about the state including famous people, a history...more
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Learn all about Maine (for kids) without having to leave the room! The "All About Maine" portion of the site includes information about the state including famous people, a history timeline, maps, state symbols, and more. Be sure to check out the "Tree of Facts" that includes information outlined in the image of a tree. Another useful link takes you to a list of children's books about Maine. The "Fun and Games" section includes several activities for kids including a symbols matching game, recipes, a coloring book, and more.

tag(s): maine (4), states (163)

In the Classroom

Challenge your students to go past PowerPoint and make an online presentation using Animoto (reviewed here) or another reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge. Review the list of books about Maine to use as resources for Guided Reading or class read-alouds. Share the site with students when preparing state research projects. Demonstrate the Tree of Facts and challenge students to create their own Tree of Facts for the state they are researching.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mr. Donn's Social Studies - Mr. Donn

Grades
K to 8
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This is a site that contains numerous links to lessons and websites on various social studies and world history subjects. There are numerous subjects: Age of Exploration, Roaring 20s,...more
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This is a site that contains numerous links to lessons and websites on various social studies and world history subjects. There are numerous subjects: Age of Exploration, Roaring 20s, 50 states, World Geography, African Kingdoms, and countless others. There are lesson plans, links, videos, and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): 1920s (16), africa (179), archeology (32), china (68), civil rights (123), civil war (145), colonial america (108), egypt (70), great depression (25), greece (26), holidays (152), immigration (58), india (36), industrial revolution (25), japan (62), mayans (12), mesopotamia (6), native americans (78), psychology (65), religions (67), renaissance (35), resources (112), rome (28), slavery (72), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

This is the perfect site for Social Studies and History teachers. Use this site for background information when planning lessons. Place this link on your classroom computers to provide students with safe places to research. Several topics have video clips that are perfect for showing on a projector or interactive whiteboard. If using this site for research, challenge students to create a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Independence Day Around the World - Chartsbin

Grades
2 to 12
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This site offers an interactive world map showing Independence Day dates from around the world. You simply hover the cursor over any country that was formerly a colony to see ...more
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This site offers an interactive world map showing Independence Day dates from around the world. You simply hover the cursor over any country that was formerly a colony to see the date of its independence from that country. All countries that used to be part of Great Britain are the same color; color coding for other former empires indicates the empire's former holdings. Data comes from reliable government and other statistical sources. At the bottom of the page, related charts that may be of interest show: Father's Day around the World, Mother's Day around the World, Halloween Celebrations around the world and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): colonial america (108), holidays (152), july 4th (8)

In the Classroom

Keep this site in mind as a reference source when students study world cultures or foreign languages. Challenge students to use this site to create research projects about individual (free) nations around the world. Have individual students or cooperative learning groups create a multimedia presentation using a tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of the country they researched (with audio stories and pictures included)!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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What Does One Trillion Dollars Look Like? - PageTutor

Grades
4 to 8
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This site offers a visual perspective of what one trillion dollars looks like. It begins with a $100 bill, moves on to $10,000 and on up to the trillion dollars. ...more
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This site offers a visual perspective of what one trillion dollars looks like. It begins with a $100 bill, moves on to $10,000 and on up to the trillion dollars. One interesting portion of the site is a link at the bottom of the page that includes the step by step calculations and dimensions used for calculations. There is also a link (at the bottom) to "see" the U.S. National Debt.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): financial literacy (80), money (190), number sense (94)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for demonstrating place value and exponents of 10 on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Ask students to draw each amount as they would visualize it before revealing the actual size from the site. Challenge students to change the representation used ($100 bill) to something different (popsicle sticks, bricks, etc.) to find how proportion changes.

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Just for Kids - State of California - State of California

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3 to 8
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Explore this site to learn about the many different offerings provided by the state of California. Although there are many portions of the site with valuable information, the portion...more
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Explore this site to learn about the many different offerings provided by the state of California. Although there are many portions of the site with valuable information, the portion that directly gives specific information about the state is located under the link entitled History & Government. Here you can learn about state symbols such as the state bird, state dance, and even the state color! Follow the link to the Caltrans page to find kids activities books, a build a bridge game, and a trivia quiz.

tag(s): california (27), earth day (112), symbols (19)

In the Classroom

Share portions of the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector when researching state information or share with students for state research projects. Rather than traditional research project options, challenge students to create multimedia presentations using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Use information under the Geography section to help students learn about earthquakes.

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Arizona Kid's Page - State of Arizona

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3 to 8
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Learn more about the state of Arizona with this site offering facts and information just for kids. Choose the Natural Wonders link to learn about the many natural wonders and ...more
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Learn more about the state of Arizona with this site offering facts and information just for kids. Choose the Natural Wonders link to learn about the many natural wonders and national parks within the state such as the Grand Canyon, the town of Tombstone, and the Apache Trail. Get a brief geographical background on the formation of the state by choosing the Arizona History link tracing the known time range of man living in the state back 20,000 years. Learn about state facts, emblems, motto, and much more in the facts section (did you know Arizona has official state neckwear?). Be sure to check out the state photos section for realistic images of many portions of the state and of it's natural wonders.

tag(s): national parks (18), native americans (78), natural resources (60), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students when working on state research projects. Display photos included on the site with students on your interactive whiteboard or projector when discussing Arizona, the Grand Canyon, or other areas of the state. Copy and use the coloring pages with the state seal, flag, and other images when learning about the state of Arizona. Rather than having students create a traditional research project, have students create a multimedia presentation using Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture.

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Alaska Kids' Corner - State of Alaska

Grades
3 to 8
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Explore and learn all about Alaska with this site dedicated to kids. Learn interesting facts such as there are 70 volcanoes in Alaska in the Facts section. Student Information includes...more
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Explore and learn all about Alaska with this site dedicated to kids. Learn interesting facts such as there are 70 volcanoes in Alaska in the Facts section. Student Information includes basic state information such as the state motto, nickname, state seal, flag, and state emblems. An especially informative portion of the site contains a great deal of information on the state history. Here students can explore Famous Alaskans, Homesteading, Russian Heritage, and more. From bear watching to wildlife many outdoor activities are offered as examples of ways to enjoy all the state has to offer. Another section, Geography, includes information about glaciers, climate, and daylight hours throughout the state. Be sure to check out the portion of the site that addresses common misconceptions about the state.

tag(s): alaska (25), animals (290), flags (22), volcanoes (65)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students when they are researching information for state reports. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of local landforms (with audio stories and pictures included)! Add this on to your list of resources when reading books about Alaska such as Balto. Ask students to share their thoughts about Alaska, then share the common misconceptions portion of the site to see if your students have any of these misconceptions.

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News English Lessons - Sean Banville

Grades
4 to 12
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This site, created by Australian Sean Banville of "Breaking News English" (reviewed here), has high interest, "easier" news for students to read and...more
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This site, created by Australian Sean Banville of "Breaking News English" (reviewed here), has high interest, "easier" news for students to read and many teaching materials to go with them. Though the look of the site is cluttered with advertising and plain text, the content is worthwhile. Developed for ESL/ELL students and teachers, the site would also work well in a subject area, learning support, or reading classroom. There are MANY articles "ready to go," including mp3 audio files to listen to the articles. At the time of this review there were 200+ new additions! Each article includes several types of activities such as "online gap fill" (a Cloze reading activity), vocabulary flashcards, and hangman, and matching. A full script is available in pdf form. There is also an online, interactive quiz for students. The articles, and a lot more activities, can be downloaded and printed, too.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): diseases (70), listening (92), news (265)

In the Classroom

The articles are short and interesting, a perfect match for non-fiction reading comprehension. With so many different activities to choose from, it will be easy for the classroom teacher to differentiate. There is an mp3 audio version of each article so students can listen as they read. Assign small groups of students to present the news each week, using the interactive whiteboard to show others the country and city from which the article originated. Make the newscasting experience even more real by having students read scripts of these news stories or their own original stories using a Easyprompter, reviewed here. Students can then go to another news source such as "Mapeas" (reviewed here) and click on the country of origin to see what else is happening in the news there. For a project, have the small groups create a "talking map" using a site such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (where their article/story took place). What a fabulous way to share the article with the rest of the class!

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Florida Kids Page - Florida Division of Historical Resources

Grades
4 to 12
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This site was created to provide resources for students learning about Florida. Categories include state symbols, Florida history, Seminole history, the Capitol, Florida governors,...more
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This site was created to provide resources for students learning about Florida. Categories include state symbols, Florida history, Seminole history, the Capitol, Florida governors, and quick facts. After choosing a category, there are subtopics listed in some of the categories to help narrow down searches for information. There are some images; however, most information is in text and some students may need help reading the information.

tag(s): native americans (78), states (163), symbols (19)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students researching state symbols, native americans, or Florida. For students studying Florida, challenge cooperative learning groups to create online books about one part of this website. Use a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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Newsmap - Marcos Weskamp

Grades
6 to 12
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There are times when a simple idea, augmented by the power of the 'Net,' can transform the way you look at something; this site represents one of those times. Using ...more
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There are times when a simple idea, augmented by the power of the 'Net,' can transform the way you look at something; this site represents one of those times. Using the Google News aggregator to compile a visual representation of the news, news headlines are coded by color into categories (world, nation, business, technology, entertainment, sports and health) and then sized according to the number of articles representing that headline. The result is a one-screen visual image of the moment's most important headlines (updated throughout the day). A simple click allows you to focus on just one category, switch to other nations' headlines, or search the news back in time. Clicking on the headline takes you directly to the story (not to the Google News page). Teachers should be cautioned: the site does not screen the stories, and some links may lead to sources that may not be appropriate for all ages.

tag(s): business (58), diseases (70), news (265), politics (100)

In the Classroom

A quick class warm up covering the news of the day is easy using this site. Use the different nation views to illustrate the relative importance of different issues to different people. Save the site in your favorites so students can keep up-to-date on the news independently. If you require current events presentations or summaries, this site provides a terrific place for students to get started. Share this on your interactive whiteboard or projector as students enter your classroom.
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WordSift - Stanford University

Grades
4 to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify ...more
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WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text. After entering text several items will appear, first a word cloud will display the 50 most frequently used words in the text. The most frequently used word will display as a word web in a visual thesaurus. Google image and video search results are also shown. One interesting feature is the ability to click on any of the words in the word cloud to display it in the thesaurus and Google image and video searches. A great way to understand the WordSift tool is to try one of the sample texts offered, such as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Be sure to check out the "About" link to discover many ideas for use in the classroom. Tips and videos are also available as guides. If you type in a shorter sentence, the site still creates a word cloud using their own related words (not in your original text). Be aware of the advertisements that appear with the word clouds. Advise students not to click on the ads.
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tag(s): dictionaries (57), reading comprehension (118), reading strategies (47), thesaurus (24), vocabulary (325), vocabulary development (125), word clouds (11), word study (79)

In the Classroom

This is a classic tool to promote "before reading" strategies and vocabulary development. Use WordSift to preview text to be used in class and define vocabulary before reading to increase reading comprehension. Have students use WordSift with different portions of text to identify key words and vocabulary for class presentations. Use WordSift to discuss different meanings of words using images presented through the site. This site isn't only for English teachers, share with Science and Social Studies teachers to use in their classrooms with reading texts in their content areas. ESL/ELL and learning support teachers will want to share this as a support for any reading assigned in regular classes. Be sure to show students how to copy/paste to WordSift texts from informational web pages and news stories on the web, as well. Share this link as a Favorite on your public page so students can use it anytime.

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TeachersFirst Brain Twister - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 9
42 Favorites 0  Comments
These ten question quizzes, written by Thinking Teachers, change each Friday and are ready to go with one edition for middle school students and one for elementary students. The quiz...more
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These ten question quizzes, written by Thinking Teachers, change each Friday and are ready to go with one edition for middle school students and one for elementary students. The quiz presents ten questions, one at a time. You have only ONE try to pick the correct answer, so think carefully. You get points for each correct answer, totaling up to a possible 100. When you finish, you see your score and how long you spent. Questions are intended to stretch your thinking. Printable versions are available along with answers to the previous week's Twister. A new version of the Twister is mobile-friendly and adjusts to any screen size. Take the Twister with you wherever you go!

In the Classroom

Since elementary and middle school curriculum content varies from location to location, it is unlikely that every question will fall within the scope of your school's curriculum. High point questions may fall outside standard classroom fare. Five point questions tend to be at the knowledge/comprehension/application level of Bloom's taxonomy and closer to "normal" content. Ten pointers are more likely cross-curricular application/analysis, and twenty pointers require analytical thinking and a wider experience level, such as knowledge of current events or information beyond normal curricula. Twenty pointers may require more than one student's input.

Do the questions as a whole-class activity on a multimedia projector or interactive whiteboard with students contributing the portions of knowledge they do know toward solving the question. Using teamwork and thinking aloud can often help the group reach a conclusion that no single member could do on his/her own. They can each test different math answers to see which one is correct. This process will not only foster thinking aloud and group communication, but also model test-taking skills for multiple choice.

Alternatively, do the Twister in small groups, with one student an answer entry but others as researchers on neighboring computers to find out what the group does not know. It may be helpful to assign roles: moderator (assigns what to find out and helps the group reach consensus), keyboarder (enters responses, may conduct research in a new window), or researchers (find information as assigned). Use the Twisters to model ad teach information literacy skills in a high-motivation activity. Or offer the Twisters as an enrichment challenge or extra credit option for students to do at home. Ask parents to be on the honor system to sign a note indicating the score their child achieved. Since parents may be overly interested in helping, you may want to simply give extra credit for anyone completing the quiz, no matter the score. Be sure to mark this ready to go exclusive in your favorites and share it on your teacher class web page.

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