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Ecosia - ecosia.org

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for a different way to search the internet and do good for the world at the same time? Search using Ecosia and save areas of the rainforest with ...more
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Looking for a different way to search the internet and do good for the world at the same time? Search using Ecosia and save areas of the rainforest with every search. Learn how they do it with their informative video and frequently asked questions.

tag(s): ecology (138), search engines (63)

In the Classroom

Use Ecosia along with other search engines for the same information and compare the results and order of the most popular searches. Share the informative video with your class on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Discuss differences in search results, display of information, and other factors. Use as examples in media and internet safety classes.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Common Craft - Lee Lefeever

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
   
No special skills needed. Just watch and learn. Embarrassed to say you don't know what all the "new web 2.0" terms are all about? This is for you (and probably ...more
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No special skills needed. Just watch and learn. Embarrassed to say you don't know what all the "new web 2.0" terms are all about? This is for you (and probably for your students' parents, as well). Common Craft uses a very simple, visual method of explaining all the latest technologies so that everyone can understand, using short video clips narrated by a positive and respectful voice. The next time you hear someone talking about RSS feeds or some other new doo-dad, stop here first so you will know what they are talking about. Did you think you were the only one who did not know? Don't be overwhelmed. This site has incredible popularity because there are LOADS of people quietly questioning -- just like you. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): blogs (86), media literacy (64), movies (71), tutorials (50), video (278), wikis (21)

In the Classroom

Start by looking at any video that catches your eye, but don't be afraid to search for other topics that have you wondering. You will definitely want to make this channel a Favorite to find information to keep you informed. Share it on your teacher web page to help out your parents, too! Create an account to add as favorites and subscribe to the channel to inform you when new videos are added.

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Compfight - Compfight

Grades
K to 12
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Discover a slick way to find Creative Commons pictures (pictures you are ALLOWED to use without copyright problems, simply by giving credit). Compfight searches Flickr pictures and...more
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Discover a slick way to find Creative Commons pictures (pictures you are ALLOWED to use without copyright problems, simply by giving credit). Compfight searches Flickr pictures and locates those with licenses that permit use in other activities and projects. Enter text or tags, and Compfight does the rest, providing thumbnail images for you to choose from. After you search, be sure you have checked the box in the LEFT sidebar of the search results, specifying that you want Creative Commons images, NOT commercial ones. Click to search again, if necessary. Choose from the results that appear below the dotted line. (Those above the line are images you must pay for!) Click on the image you like and double-check the license information under item 1 to be sure it is available for non-commercial use with attribution and can be used for "derivative works." Click the image itself to copy and paste its URL to use in image credits. Remember that Creative Commons DOES require that you give proper credit!

tag(s): creative commons (22), images (273), search engines (63)

In the Classroom

Users need to be able to use good search terms to find the best pictures possible as well as knowing how to save images on their computer. Use in the classroom any time that an image is needed for projects, even if it is not going to be put on a website for others to see. Be sure students are aware that any time another person's image is used, they must give full credit for it, even if that owner cannot see it. Demonstrate Compfight on a projector or interactive whiteboard so students know how to use it. Student groups can use Compfight to collectively find the best image to use for a project. Have students create a multimedia presentation using ThinkLink, reviewed here. For example, students studying renewable energy can use Compfight to find images of various renewable energy sources, then explain them using ThingLink. Teachers can collect Creative Commons images for use on their interactive whiteboard for sorting activities (monocots and dicots, producers and consumers, etc). Never assume that your students, even the gifted ones, understand about giving proper credit and only using copyright-safe images (CC or public domain). Compfight makes it easier. Be sure to hold students accountable by including a "digital citizenship" category in your project rubric, requiring proper credit for all images. You will want to spot check a few of the URLs to be sure they are actually correct credits. Share Compfight as an important tool on your class web page, wiki, or blog so students can access it anywhere, anytime.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Refdesk - Refdesk

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this free site for finding the best information on the Internet. Enter the search term directly into the fields you wish. Refdesk provides many search engines to choose from. ...more
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Use this free site for finding the best information on the Internet. Enter the search term directly into the fields you wish. Refdesk provides many search engines to choose from. Use the dictionary and thesaurus, search literature, scan news, or read about articles, pictures, or headlines of the day. Refdesk provides one place to find an abundant amount of information at your fingertips. Students should be cautioned to not click on ads which are scattered throughout the site.

tag(s): news (262), thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Use this link in the resources section of your wiki, blog, or website for students to quickly find or use information from the Internet. Build information literacy as your students do research. As a beginning activity, have students use the same search term but use different search engines and identify the differences in the top results. Use Refdesk to find interesting information for writing prompts or discussions/blog posts for the day. Use this site for research projects, homework help, and more.

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Spezify (beta) - Spezify

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K to 12
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Get an overview of any web search visually using Spezify. Spezify is a search engine that provides both visual and verbal results for the search terms you enter. It pulls ...more
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Get an overview of any web search visually using Spezify. Spezify is a search engine that provides both visual and verbal results for the search terms you enter. It pulls in images from Flickr and anywhere on the web as well as print excerpts, and (coming soon) video. Click on the image or text box you wish to read just as you click on text in search results lists. Visually display the "big picture" on any topic. Searching "edison inventions" brings up pictures and articles for visual learners, ELL/ESL students, or non-readers to get the gist of the topic at a quick glance. Spezify also suggests possible additional search terms and related topics across the top of the page as white text within the narrow black stripe. If you click the plus sign (+) next to one of these terms, it will add that term to your search, narrowing the results. If you click on the word itself, Spezify will search that term instead (not adding it to your previous search). There does not appear to be any specific ranking (as Google has) or sorting of the results by reputation, popularity, etc. No "about" information is provided to explain how Spezify determines which results show first. The tool is still in beta and provides a way for you to provide feedback, as well. NOTE: as with any online image search, you should be careful what you enter as search terms, since Spezify will pull up images without any "filter."

In the Classroom

Use Spezify on an interactive whiteboard or projector as you introduce a new topic in science or social studies or when the class asks "What is ____?" . With very young students or non-readers, use Spezify to help them find information they can understand and to inspire them to try to read some of the short text excerpts alongside the images. Activate students' prior knowledge as they recognize the images and remark, "I didn't know Edison was the one who invented that!" Visually show the "big picture" on any topic. As you teach research skills, try a comparison of Spezify results with Google results for both functionality of the search engine and reputability of the results. NOTE: Preview any search terms you plan to display in class if the terms could possibly bring up inappropriate images. You may need to adjust your terms. Of course your students know what they are supposed to do if something inappropriate comes up when using a search themselves, right? If you have not discussed this, now is the time!

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Video: Web Search Strategies in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers a VERY short video (under 3-minutes) that offers tips on how to get the best responses to your web searches. This is a perfect addition to your ...more
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This site offers a VERY short video (under 3-minutes) that offers tips on how to get the best responses to your web searches. This is a perfect addition to your research unit, helping students to find information FASTER. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): search engines (63)

In the Classroom

Share the video clip on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students apply the tips from this video during independent or cooperative learning research projects.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Visual Dictionary Online - Merriam-Webster and QA International

Grades
3 to 12
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Be sure to save this site in your favorites for your visual learners! As its name implies, this dictionary 'defines' the word a student types by providing a detailed, labeled ...more
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Be sure to save this site in your favorites for your visual learners! As its name implies, this dictionary 'defines' the word a student types by providing a detailed, labeled graphic. In 15 category themes, there are over 6000 images and 20,000 definitions available. Use the index for easy access to the words you need locate. Once the image is seen, click on the audio button to hear the correct pronunciation. Scroll down the page to find words and phrases that relate to the word being investigated. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): images (273)

In the Classroom

Science teachers will love this site. Most of the 15 categories revolve around science terminology that benefit from images. ESL and learning support students who have difficulty with verbal definitions will also find this resource helpful. Speech and Language teachers can use the Clothing and Articles categories to build student vocabulary. Use your whiteboard alongside your science text to clarify terms. Encourage students to study for tests by perusing this site.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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refseek - refseek.com

Grades
4 to 12
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RefSeek is a different search tool (beta--new in Nov, 2008) for beginning researchers as well as those already knowledgeable about the process. Although this search engine appears "plain...more
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RefSeek is a different search tool (beta--new in Nov, 2008) for beginning researchers as well as those already knowledgeable about the process. Although this search engine appears "plain vanilla," it is a great option for research purposes. As they explain it, they "search the entire Web for freely available academic information, providing relevant results while filtering out most commercial content." This is different from Google's standard search. RefSeek looks through web pages, books, encyclopedias, journals, and newspapers for your chosen topic. With special search features, students can also limit searches to specific web pages, search two topics (either-or option) at once, and even include search words usually dismissed by academic searches (like "the" and "if"). After starting a search, click on Directory to limit searches to certain types of publications and resources, including quotations, almanacs and teacher resources.

tag(s): news (262), newspapers (96), search engines (63)

In the Classroom

Use this site to compare the validity of various types of reference material sources. Compare results of searches to teach critical reading skills and 21st century information literacy. Compare info from sources on this site to those in print materials. Encourage your students to use this tool for individual as well as group projects. Encourage ESL and ELL students to find sources with lower reading levels that still give the necessary information.

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Think Tank - ALTEC at the University of Kansas

Grades
4 to 8
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The next time a research project comes along, send students to this site to help them get organized. Think Tank is designed to assist in the development of topics and ...more
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The next time a research project comes along, send students to this site to help them get organized. Think Tank is designed to assist in the development of topics and subtopics for reports and projects. After defining their subject or perusing a list of suggestions, students are asked to narrow the scope of their project by choosing from a collection of subtopics. Results may be printed.

tag(s): air (146), science fairs (26)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your students before a new research project is assigned. Have students explore the site on individual computers while you model how to navigate the site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site to help students narrow down their research topic.

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Define It Fast - WordNet 3.0 Princeton University

Grades
K to 12
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The goal of this website is to become the easiest, fastest online dictionary available. Is it? Try it, you'll be impressed. An exciting tool is the audio component, allowing ...more
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The goal of this website is to become the easiest, fastest online dictionary available. Is it? Try it, you'll be impressed. An exciting tool is the audio component, allowing you to listen to the English pronunciation for selected words ( the triangular "play" button will show next to the word on the entry) . DefineItFast.com has a bookmarklet that you can drag and drop to your browser's link bar (if your computer is not "locked down" at school). When you look up definitions, highlight the word and click the linkbar button or you can directly type the word by clicking the button and click 'OK'. View the tutorial video to learn more about the bookmarklet feature. This site requires Flash, you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

Note: The dictionary, like many real-world dictionaries, includes words that may not be classroom-appropriate. Decide how you will handle students who make inappropriate choices in using this tool.

tag(s): dictionaries (57)

In the Classroom

Definitely investigate the free Search Engine download that's available to make this tool even more useful. This may become your favorite dictionary-- bar none. You may want to save this site in your favorites on your class computer(s), but see the cautionary note above about the FULL database of words available.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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YourDictionary - LoveToKnow Corporation

Grades
K to 12
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A definitive authority on words, this free site gives you definitions, thesaurus entries, spellings, pronunciations, and etymology results. Add to that list an audio pronunciation system...more
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A definitive authority on words, this free site gives you definitions, thesaurus entries, spellings, pronunciations, and etymology results. Add to that list an audio pronunciation system that allows you to hear the word as well. YourDictionary also provides resources to help you find foreign language translation sites. It even directs you to medical, computer, or electricians' dictionaries, and many more. Haven't you always wanted to say a tongue-twister in the Asante language? Words have never so much fun. This site does include some advertisements.

tag(s): thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Send students to this site to look up those difficult words. ESL and ELL students can use this site to practice the pronunciation of new words. Be sure to mark this site as a favorite or share on your teacher web page for easy access.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Look Way Up Dictionary/Thesaurus - RES Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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This online dictionary claims to correct misspelled entries, so ESL and ELL students might want to try it. The spelling correction is a bit quirky, however, often suggesting an alternate...more
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This online dictionary claims to correct misspelled entries, so ESL and ELL students might want to try it. The spelling correction is a bit quirky, however, often suggesting an alternate word that is NOT the intended word. Students can download it to any web browser including those on cell phones. The dictionary itself is extensive; each item shows a series of definitions. Students can then click to see the word used in a sentence, synonyms, and related terms. There is also information on homonyms. Finally, definitions sometimes include a link to more information on the subject, including links to outside sources. The site can translate to and from German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Dutch. Note that there are Google ads on the page, so you will want to be sure that students know to avoid these. The necessary plug-ins for installation on other web browsers are included on the web page.

tag(s): homonyms (11), thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Mark his site as a favorite on your classroom computer for ESL and ELL students who have problems looking up words in the dictionary. Make a game with this site: have students deliberately misspell words and see what they come up with. Give prizes to those who can find the worst guesses in the dictionary. Have them calculate how many times the dictionary actually finds the words they were looking for. This will help students understand how important context clues and contextual "does this make sense" strategies are. Students can also opt to sign up for "word of the second."

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Lingro - lingro.com

Grades
2 to 12
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This study tool and open content dictionary allows you to enter a web address (URL) and make all of the words on that page clickable for definitions and translation. A ...more
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This study tool and open content dictionary allows you to enter a web address (URL) and make all of the words on that page clickable for definitions and translation. A clicked word immediately displays its definition from the Lingro dictionary pages. The website looks visually the same within the Lingro window, but all words become clickable. You can also use Lingro to translate to and from English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Polish with more languages to be added. When students use the translation/definition tool, the site keeps a short-term record of their words and web pages, allowing them to study their own wordlists and to play games with these words. The wordlist and history feature only works short-term and at the SAME computer, unless you register, for free, to be able to take your personal history to any computer. With the translation capability, you can read websites in other languages. If you spell a word incorrectly, Lingro has a "best match" feature which finds likely definitions for your word of choice. There is also a tool to create electronic flash card type games from your saved wordlists.

Important technical note: Lingro cannot "see" words included in Flash interactives such as the "What's New" rotating content on the TeachersFirst home page. If you RIGHT click on an area of text and see "About Adobe Flash Player...," this means that the text is displayed in Flash and not "legible" to Lingro. Often pages offer a non-Flash version as an alternative.

tag(s): french (91), german (67), germany (28), italian (36), spanish (109), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (128)

In the Classroom

When your ESL/ELL, learning support, or weaker readers do Internet research on sites above their independent reading level, have them open Lingro first and then enter the URL (web address) they wish to read. Use Lingro for vocabulary development in any subject. Mark this site as a favorite on your classroom computer or on your teacher web page so that ESL/ELL, world language students, or weaker readers can use the definition and translation feature and benefit from instantly-created word lists. If your school permits individual student accounts on web tools, this is a good one. If not, create a single teacher account to compile class word lists.

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Researching A Story - CBBC

Grades
4 to 9
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This website offers excellent tips about researching a news story. The contents include an interactive quiz, educational game, and a tutorial. Learn about the important job of a journalist...more
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This website offers excellent tips about researching a news story. The contents include an interactive quiz, educational game, and a tutorial. Learn about the important job of a journalist - getting the facts straight, and writing a trust-worthy story. The interactive challenges provide "fill in the blank" questions and specific (BBC) links to use for the research. NOTE: If you seek to join the site (for free), you must be 15 years old or younger. You do not need to join to do the interactive quiz, play the game, etc. This is a safety measure to protect children from online predators. Many of the activities require FLASH. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): careers (139), journalism (55)

In the Classroom

What an intriguing website to include in a journalism or English class. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share these activities with your students. Use this website as an anticipatory set for a "real world" research assignment. Write a weekly research question on your class blog and have students respond using the techniques learned through this activity.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Word Reference - wordreference.com

Grades
2 to 12
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This series of free translating dictionaries allows students to search to/from English in these languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and German. Once a definition comes up...more
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This series of free translating dictionaries allows students to search to/from English in these languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and German. Once a definition comes up in English, there are links to other dictionary pages where the word appears in a sentence. You can click on the audio button to hear the word spoken in both languages. This feature is only available in more commonly used words

There are also immediate clicks to other languages, so a student could check the same word in Spanish and French very easily. In addition to the translation dictionaries, there are also "English Dictionaries" (non-interactive) available in Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic (coming soon). Many of the foreign language dictionaries will increase in volume as the site developers add more vocabulary.

Be aware: this site does include minor advertisements. There is a link to Language Forums. It is probably best to advise students to stay away from the forums.

tag(s): chinese (50), dictionaries (57), italian (36), japan (60), japanese (45), korea (15), portuguese (21), russia (37), russian (29)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites on your classroom computers for use by ESL/ELL and foreign language students or for use when studying derivations and word families in English (compare the same word across several languages to see how close they can be!). Students can take an active role in vocabulary preview work by using this site in prior to reading. Be sure to list this site on your class webpage so students can access this information both in and out of the classroom.

If you are introducing new vocabulary words to your foreign language class. Have them use this site to find the appropriate translations. Then have the students work in cooperative learning groups to create online vocabulary guide books using a tool such at Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to keep the links for future students to use the guides, as well.

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Hunt the Fact Monster - Education World

Grades
2 to 8
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Weekly printable Hunt the Fact Monster activity sheets encourage students to build research skills and internet literacy as they use the Fact Monster search engine to find the answers...more
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Weekly printable Hunt the Fact Monster activity sheets encourage students to build research skills and internet literacy as they use the Fact Monster search engine to find the answers to the questions in the activity. There are separate sections for grades 2-3 and grades 4-8. This site requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): search strategies (29)

In the Classroom

This site can be used for individual students, in a technology class, or as a parent-and-student together assignment. Be sure to see the Ideas for Using Hunt the Fact Monster in Your Classroom page for tips on using the hunts in your classroom. Before you launch your research project with younger students, use this exercise to solidify research basics or as a pretest to be sure everyone is ready. Challenge your more able students to create their own Fact Monster hunts on individual research topics and share them with classmates. Reading teachers can also use these activities to help students practice skimming and scanning.

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Ask for Kids - IAC Search & Media

Grades
K to 6
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This easy, kid-friendly search site focuses on learning, combined with a little "edu-tainment." Students ask pertinent questions by using their natural language, and the search begins....more
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This easy, kid-friendly search site focuses on learning, combined with a little "edu-tainment." Students ask pertinent questions by using their natural language, and the search begins. The searches filter the web and provide age-appropriate content. (Note: This site was formerly known as Ask Jeeves.) Notice the two links under the search window for 'News Resources' and 'Fun and Games.' These links open into safe, off-site areas for more information-gathering and fun.

On the home page of Ask for Kids, notice the stacked books on the right. Click the subject 'book' in which your search is needed. The easy drop-down menus will aid in zeroing the search.

tag(s): search engines (63)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to teach students how to do research using this online search site. Many students need modeling on how to fine-tune their searches. For those with reading levels or maturity levels not yet ready for full-fledged "Googling," this site is a winner. It would also be an excellent comparison to Google for upper elementary students as they learn more about evaluating web sites.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Information Finder - BBC

Grades
1 to 3
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This unusual website is interactive and provides students with the unique challenge of determining which types of reference books should be used to find specified information. Some...more
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This unusual website is interactive and provides students with the unique challenge of determining which types of reference books should be used to find specified information. Some of the reference books include an atlas, a book about flags, a book about wildlife, and a few specialized weather books. The website provides a Teachers/Parents link that provides general standards for this interactive game. The entire activity requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): animals (296), atlas (6), matching (23), weather (198)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard and let students take turns to help your students understand the various forms of informational texts. Or set up this site as a center in the library/media center to remind students where to look for information.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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QUICK: the Quality Information Checklist - HDA and CHIQ

Grades
3 to 6
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By teaching young students how to evaluate web pages early, this site helps create critical consumers of information. By clicking on items arranged in a circle on the screen, students...more
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By teaching young students how to evaluate web pages early, this site helps create critical consumers of information. By clicking on items arranged in a circle on the screen, students go on to further explanations, examples, and quizzes about the main points of web evaluation.

tag(s): evaluating sources (15)

In the Classroom

This site would be great on a projector as a teacher-centered lesson, returning to each point as you build the understanding throughout the year. Use one point at a time as you show students various websites throughout the school year. Simply open this site prior to sharing a site with the class. You can use the points here to "evaluate" the source together. Be sure to include it as a reference link on your teacher web page, as well. Parents will appreciate it and students can "show" their parents how to judge sources.

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Englishbanana.com Picture Dictionary - Matt Purland

Grades
1 to 6
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This fairly extensive picture dictionary uses photographs, not drawings, to assist language learners to see the real thing! Besides defining the word the student selects to look up,...more
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This fairly extensive picture dictionary uses photographs, not drawings, to assist language learners to see the real thing! Besides defining the word the student selects to look up, other items in the photo are also labeled so that learning vocabulary can occur in chunks, thus making it more meaningful and comprehensive. Site users may add to an archive of quizzes on the dictionary's word list.

tag(s): speech (92), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

A great dictionary site to bookmark on your classroom computers for limited English speakers! This one would also be good for speech and language practice for special ed both at home and at school.

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