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Classroom Activities in Topology - Hands-On Math

Grades
1 to 6
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This site provides lessons with hands-on math using a Mobius strip (or band). Though the site is "plain vanilla," this topic always fascinates students. Directions are included for...more
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This site provides lessons with hands-on math using a Mobius strip (or band). Though the site is "plain vanilla," this topic always fascinates students. Directions are included for creating the strips along with a link to printable blackline masters to use. A simple, mathematically important, and wonderfully entertaining two-dimensional object, also known as the Mobius strip, that has only one surface and one edge and is therefore of great interest in topology. It is used in classrooms to develop understanding of surfaces and create mystery. Lessons build upon each other and give stopping points for each grade level. Pictures would have been helpful to demonstrate the activities; however, the site is still useful with providing lessons using the bands. More information on Mobius bands can be found here.

In the Classroom

During the lessons, take digital pictures of the procedures for creating and working with the Mobius bands. Older students can search for examples of Mobius bands used in the real world and create a classroom display.

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Activity TV - activitytv.com

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K to 8
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This site contains how-to videos and printables for kids. Topics include science, paper airplanes, cooking, origami, cartooning, puppets, music, dance, math, and holidays. A summary...more
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This site contains how-to videos and printables for kids. Topics include science, paper airplanes, cooking, origami, cartooning, puppets, music, dance, math, and holidays. A summary next to the activity title gives the appropriate level, the number of views, and a starred evaluation of the demonstration. Holiday craft ideas and demos finish up the educational portion of the offerings.

tag(s): air (163), christmas (66), comics and cartoons (74), cooking (34), dance (26), easter (20), halloween (39), origami (17), preK (283), thanksgiving (36)

In the Classroom

Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector to accompany curriculum topics in science, art, physical education, language arts, health, or family/consumer science. Or show the videos to a class as examples for writing how-to (demonstration) speeches and/or videos done in language arts classes. Challenge students to create their own videos using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Look here also for ideas of holiday craft projects. Share the link on your class web page for students to try activities at home during breaks.
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Treasury Direct Kids - U.S. Department of the Treasury

Grades
4 to 8
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At this wonderful site, learn about the history of Treasury securities, U.S. debt, and the importance of saving and investing. You can view an old video featuring an ancient superman...more
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At this wonderful site, learn about the history of Treasury securities, U.S. debt, and the importance of saving and investing. You can view an old video featuring an ancient superman talk about buying U.S. savings bonds, try several money interactives, and do money math. Learn about the important history of U.S. borrowing. Viewing old war bond posters is another way to learn history and learn about old styles of graphic design. Graphs of U.S. debt complete another approach to teaching about basic banking and debt. Many wonderful short videos show TV advertisements for savings bonds.

tag(s): advertising (33), posters (36)

In the Classroom

After presenting the basic info on this site, have students make online posters parallel to the old ones they see displayed here. Use an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here). Have them make their own graphs of funds and debts based on their own finances using Tabblo reviewed here. Use this site when teaching percentages; have students do problems figuring the interest on today's debt. Introduce them to the concept of buying a bond today and have them calculate its accrued interest and how many years it will take to gain face value. Have students in a team create modern day videos to advertise and sell savings bonds. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
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Fraction Finder - Shodor

Grades
3 to 6
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This activity provides you with two fractions, a pair of shapes, and a number line. Each shape is connected to a point on the number line corresponding to one of ...more
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This activity provides you with two fractions, a pair of shapes, and a number line. Each shape is connected to a point on the number line corresponding to one of the fractions. You can create the computer generated fractions by adding sections to the empty shaped and coloring in the appropriate portion of the shape to match the fraction. When both shapes are correctly divided and colored, a third box appears. You are asked to divide and color the new shape to create a new fraction that lies between the values of the original two. After all three boxes are correctly colored, the student must enter the value of the fraction which they created. Be sure to check out the link for instructors which provides a printable with exploration questions, links to standards, suggested classroom uses, and links to similar resources.

tag(s): area (67), fractions (239), test prep (95)

In the Classroom

Print the exploration questions for students to use with the activities on the site. Use on the interactive whiteboard or projector to compare fractional amounts and place fractions on a number line. Place a link on your classroom website or blog for practice at home. Don't forget to visit the link for instructors.
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Equivalent Fractions Finder - Shodor

Grades
3 to 12
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This site provides visual experimentation with the relationship between the value of fractions and areas within a square or a circle. After choosing to view squares or circles, a fractional...more
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This site provides visual experimentation with the relationship between the value of fractions and areas within a square or a circle. After choosing to view squares or circles, a fractional amount is created both in the chosen shape and on a number line. The goal is to create equivalent fractions in the shapes provided. Be sure to check out the instructor tab which gives suggestions for classroom use, exploration questions, correlating standards and textbooks, and suggestions for similar resources. Note that some of the instructions and prompts come up in small pop-ups. Be sure to watch for these in case they hide behind your main window.

tag(s): area (67), fractions (239)

In the Classroom

Provide students with a copy of the explorations worksheet provided in the instructors tab. Use this site to demonstrate different representations of fractions within different shapes and how the fractions are placed on number lines. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Or use your interactive whiteboard to create a learning center for students to manipulate the site themselves. Provide a link on your classroom website or blog for students to practice at home.
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Penzu: Write in Private - Alexander Mimran and Michael Lawlor

Grades
4 to 12
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There...more
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There is a very short demo video on the home page. On Penzu you can keep everything completely private or share selective posts by email or URL. Perhaps share selections on a class wiki page? Don't have a wiki? See the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for practical management and safety tips for a class wiki. Note: Premium service is available, but this review is for the free version.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (159), homework (45), journals (21), writing (363)

In the Classroom

A class journaling program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic from current events, current social issues, independent reading, literature, and more. Any class using a journal can use Penzu. For example, science lab write ups or the problem of the week in math. Penzu can even be used for homework. Just think, no more lugging heavy boxes full of notebooks around! In language arts have students journal daily and harvest from their musings and ideas to create a short story or a poem. They can even use Penzu to develop their brainstorms and rough draft. Once they are ready to present a final project have them use Bookemon reviewed here reviewed here or Glogster reviewed here to share with their peers and others and possibly add other media. For social studies classes, students can write posts and ideas about famous people or daily life in a time period being studied, then create a "diary" for the famous person in Bookemon or a poster about daily life in Glogster reviewed here. See more ideas for student blogging/journaling at TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics for the Classroom. Share journals with parents as appropriate by URL. Be sure to respect student privacy before sharing.

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TV411 - Math - Adult Literacy Media Alliance

Grades
4 to 12
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TV411 offers lessons and games covering math topics from calculating area to reading a pay stub. Each lesson is offered in a slide format beginning with an introduction to the ...more
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TV411 offers lessons and games covering math topics from calculating area to reading a pay stub. Each lesson is offered in a slide format beginning with an introduction to the activity, followed by questions to answer. Upon answering questions, feedback is provided. If the answer was incorrect, an explanation of the correct solution is provided. The site also provides several math games practicing fractions, ratio, data, and percent. Spanish and ESL/ELL teachers will want to note that there is a small sample of lessons available in Spanish on the site. Many of the topics are also applicable in Family and Consumer Science or business classes, as well.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), financial literacy (80)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as practice or review of current math topics. Provide a link to games on classroom computers for student practice. Spanish teachers may want students to complete a lesson in Spanish to provide real-world language practice. Share this site with parents through your classroom website or blog to provide review materials at home.
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Sokikom - Sokikom

Grades
1 to 6
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Sokikom supplies social math learning games for elementary students. The main content of the site is fee-based; however, it also offers one free learning game for teachers and students....more
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Sokikom supplies social math learning games for elementary students. The main content of the site is fee-based; however, it also offers one free learning game for teachers and students. The one free activity can be used with a maximum of 50 students. To access the game, teachers need to register with the site and create a classroom and student lists by providing names and grade levels. Registration requires a teacher email address. Once a student list has been created, students can login to play the game called Frachine which offers practice with fractions. Before the game starts, the student will be asked several questions to place him or her at the appropriate level in the game. Different levels in the game are available with students earning points to shop for items to customize an avatar.
br> The registrations process was a little difficult to follow, and teachers cannot access the game without creating student accounts, then logging in as a student; however, the site may be worthwhile for those looking for games to practice fractions. You will want to set up individual student accounts since levels are geared toward individual ability.

tag(s): fractions (239)

In the Classroom

After setting up student accounts, demonstrate how to login to the site and access the free game on your interactive whiteboard. Share a link on classroom computers to use as a center. Share this site with parents as a resource for at-home practice with fractions. When registering, rather than using your professional or personal email address, create a FREE Gmail email address.
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Make A Calendar - Starfall

Grades
K to 2
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Starfall assists students with creating a calendar for the current month. Throughout the process, students review vocabulary for the month, days of the week, and how to properly write...more
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Starfall assists students with creating a calendar for the current month. Throughout the process, students review vocabulary for the month, days of the week, and how to properly write the date. They have the opportunity to view various holidays and to add their own special days to the monthly calendar view. Teachers and students can print out the current version of the month in two formats: a full month view and a full month view with assessment questions at the bottom.

tag(s): calendars (45)

In the Classroom

Include the Make A Calendar site during center time for students to review important vocabulary terms within their proper context. Extend this skill into Morning Meetings at the beginning of each month by placing the site on an interactive white board or projector and have students transfer the month, days of the week, and "special" days onto the classroom calendar. Assign it as a job for a few students to work on together. Use the printable versions as assessment tools. Print a calendar for each student to use throughout the month to track monthly activities: music, art, library, gym, class birthdays, assemblies, etc.
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Invention at Play - Smithsonian Museum of National History

Grades
K to 6
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The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation offers this site as a way to explore and learn how to play. The site includes opportunities for play that ...more
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The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation offers this site as a way to explore and learn how to play. The site includes opportunities for play that develops visual thinking, problem solving, exploration, and collaboration. You can also create your own doodles to help develop creative thinking and invention. There is a link to inventor's stories, including stories from little known and well known inventors such as Stephanie Kwolek (Kevlar) and Alexander Bell (telephone). Each story includes background on the inventor and information on how their idea developed. Teachers may find the section entitled "Does Play Matter" useful as a resource to back up using play in the classroom. Several videos are included demonstrating play activities and skills developed through play and the use of common toys.

tag(s): biographies (87), inventors and inventions (96), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Create a link to the site on classroom computers for students to explore the games. Share the site with parents on your classroom website or blog as a resource for using play as a learning tool. Share the site at conferences or parent meetings as a resource for developing learning skills through play. Include the inventor biographies as a resource for students when researching inventors.
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Estimator Four - Shodor

Grades
3 to 6
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This activity allows two users to play a game of estimation where each player tries to connect four game pieces in a row before his or her opponent does. The ...more
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This activity allows two users to play a game of estimation where each player tries to connect four game pieces in a row before his or her opponent does. The players earn game pieces by accurately estimating the answers to various problems. Be sure to check out the instructor tab which provides an exploration worksheet, links to standards and textbooks, and other similar classroom resources. Note: some of the activity responses appear in pop-up windows. Watch your tabs or web browser carefully in case they are "hiding."

tag(s): estimation (46), percent (82)

In the Classroom

Use on the interactive whiteboard or projector when introducing estimation. The pull downs on the activity give a choice for estimations to be "close," "really close," and "almost perfect." Use these for opportunities to discuss when the different choices would be appropriate for estimating. During a unit on estimation, provide this link on your class website for students to access for practice in and out of the classroom.
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Converter - Shodor

Grades
3 to 12
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This site provides a very simple, yet highly useful fraction to decimal converter and decimal to fraction converter. Simply enter a fraction or decimal into the appropriate area, press...more
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This site provides a very simple, yet highly useful fraction to decimal converter and decimal to fraction converter. Simply enter a fraction or decimal into the appropriate area, press enter and the conversion is displayed. Be sure to check out the tab for Instructors which provides exploration questions, standards links, and suggested classroom uses.

tag(s): conversions (23), decimals (133), fractions (239), number sense (96)

In the Classroom

Provide students with the exploration questions to practice fraction/decimal conversions. After practicing converting decimals or fractions, allow students to check their answers on the website. Display a conversion on your interactive whiteboard or projector and have students explain or show the 2 comparisons in their Math journal. Set up your interactive whiteboard as a center for small groups to challenge each other with conversion questions. Each student could take a turn as puzzlemaster of a group of 4-5, posing a challenge by entering a decimal or fraction. Others in the group predict the correct answer. Keep score on the side of the IWB, and voila: instant, student-directed practice! Consider providing this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
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Smartboard in the Classroom - Eduscapes

Grades
K to 12
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This website provides information and practice on using interactive whiteboards in the classroom. All activities are geared toward SmartBoards but can be used with any brand of interactive...more
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This website provides information and practice on using interactive whiteboards in the classroom. All activities are geared toward SmartBoards but can be used with any brand of interactive whiteboard. Practice activities are provided for exploration of what is available to use on whiteboards at all classroom levels from elementary to high school and is also categorized by subject. The homepage offers a list of all topic areas included. After exploration, participants follow the workshop ideas which provide ideas for using interactive whiteboards in the classroom. Information is provided on using the SmartBoard - this is more specific to this brand but may be helpful for users of other brands. Many of the activities could be completed on laptops, rather than interactive whiteboards.

tag(s): iwb (31)

In the Classroom

Explore the sites provided to use as classroom resources in the computer lab, on classroom computer centers, and on your interactive whiteboard. The lessons/interactives could be used to enhance a unit on simple machines, dinosaurs, vaccines, panda bears, tornados, and much more. If an interactive whiteboard is not available, complete the activities in the computer lab or on laptops.
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ClassBrain Games - ClassBrain

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This is a site specializing in family friendly interactives for kids and families. All are categorized for easier finding - categories include beginner games, brain games, holiday games,...more
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This is a site specializing in family friendly interactives for kids and families. All are categorized for easier finding - categories include beginner games, brain games, holiday games, and more. At the time of this review, there were 28 pages of interactives! There are also many academic categories such as math, science, social studies, and problem solving activities. No signup or user information is required. This site does have some minor advertisements. Also this site can take some time to fully load.

tag(s): holidays (147), sudoku (18)

In the Classroom

Choose activities from the site to be played on classroom computers or interactive whiteboards. Assign a game (such as DinoKids Math) for homework practice with math facts. Be sure to save this site in your favorites. Also, don't forget to share this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
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View Pure - Veetri

Grades
K to 12
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View Pure enables you to search YouTube and show videos from it without the annoying "extras" on your screen. Wishing you could "just show" YouTube videos to your classes? Looking ...more
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View Pure enables you to search YouTube and show videos from it without the annoying "extras" on your screen. Wishing you could "just show" YouTube videos to your classes? Looking for a way to take away the clutter and often inappropriate related videos that always pop up on seemingly innocent searches? Trying to find a way to share videos and still follow the acceptable use policy? There are three ways to go about this process. You can use the search tool to find and then show a video. You can copy and paste a link from YouTube into the page, or you can install the tool into your bookmarks and click on it to "purify" the videos. A special *note*: this site claims to be useful with video sites other than YouTube, however after trying a number of different video sites, the only successful one was YouTube. The main page for the View Pure site does include some minor advertisements.

tag(s): safety (89)

In the Classroom

How often do you find great clips and video shorts from YouTube and you can't show them or are afraid to show them even if you can get them through the school filter? Try using this to show clips or long videos from to your class via the interactive whiteboard or projector. There are some great, clean "Bill Nye" video portions that can be found and shared using this site for science class.

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Word Clouds for Kids - ABCya.com

Grades
K to 7
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This word cloud generator is made specifically for children. This site takes any text and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. The ...more
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This word cloud generator is made specifically for children. This site takes any text and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. The most frequent words appear larger. Paste in any passage or grouping of text to create a word cloud of the text. Students can choose their own colors, type of display, font, and the final cloud can be printed or saved.

tag(s): speech (92), vocabulary (324), word choice (27), word clouds (11)

In the Classroom

This is a great visual tool to use. Take a poll and have your students type their answers into the word cloud builder. Then display on an interactive whiteboard or projector and see which answer was the most popular. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or to "see" themes of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language.
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Using Writing in Mathematics

Grades
3 to 12
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The site includes specific suggestions for managing journals, developing prompts for writing, and providing students with feedback on their writing. In addition, the site includes two...more
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The site includes specific suggestions for managing journals, developing prompts for writing, and providing students with feedback on their writing. In addition, the site includes two sample lessons for introducing students to important ideas related to writing about their mathematical thinking. Ideas and activities are very clearly laid out and can be put to use in classrooms immediately. One section not to miss is entitled - Writing Opportunities in Math Class - four specific times to write, and how to write, are defined and explained. Tips are also included for managing math journals, and encouraging students as they write.

tag(s): journals (21), writing (363)

In the Classroom

Share different ideas from the site during teacher meetings at your school. Use prompts in your classroom to gain understanding of your students' perceptions of math and access prior knowledge. Create a page on your classroom website or blog to share students' journal writing.

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Weebly - Weebly

Grades
2 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create ...more
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Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create their own website. Besides the basic "drag and drop" features for the title, text, text with a picture, etc., the free version allows you to use cool items: photo gallery, slide show, YouTube videos, Google Maps, an assignment form, and lots more. They promise that the free service will remain 100% feature packed.

tag(s): blogs (89), gamification (70), microblogging (44), social networking (111)

In the Classroom

If you plan to have students create their own web pages, under your account, no email is needed for them, and they will have a special log in page. You will have to enter each student's name, username and a password. What's nice about Weebly is they will print out a list for you to give to students with their log in information. Though you can make your site private, you want to be sure not to use student's real names. Use a code or acronym. Suggestion: You can use the first two letters of the students last name, the first three letters of their first name, and if you have multiple classes, have them put the class period or code after the last letter. This works well if you're going to be grading web pages, since most grade books are in alphabetical order by last name.

Possible uses are only limited by your imagination! Create your own Weebly website for parents and students where they can stay updated about what is happening in your classroom, where students can submit their assignments, contact information, and anything else you might want to put on your website. You can add up to 40 students on one free website, so students can use their pages for projects and assignments. There is a free blogging tool that you may want your students to use for writing assignments, reflection, or reading journals, just to name a few ideas. You can have everything you need on one Weebly website! Find more specific blog ideas in TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics ideas.

Try using Weebly for: "visual essays;" digital biodiversity logs (with digital pictures students take); online literary magazines; personal reflections in images and text; research project presentations; comparisons of online content, such as political candidates' sites or content sites used in research (compared for bias); science sites documenting experiments or illustrating concepts, such as the water cycle; "Visual" lab reports; Digital scrapbooks using images from the public domain and video and audio clips from a time in history -- such as the Roaring Twenties; Local history interactive stories; Visual interpretations of major concepts, such as a "visual" U.S. Constitution. Imagine building your own online library of raw materials for your students to create their own "web pages" as a new way of assessing understanding: you provide the digital pictures, and they sequence, caption, and write about them (younger students) or you provide the steps in a project as a template, and they insert the actual content of their own.

After a first project where you provide "building blocks," the sky is the limit on what they can do. Even the very young can make suggestions as you "create" a whole-class product together using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider making a new project for each unit you teach so students can "recap" long after the unit ends.

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Middlespot - Middlespot

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this innovative website for social bookmarking in a unique, visual way. Add search material from anywhere on the web by dragging and dropping elements around the screen. Search...more
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Use this innovative website for social bookmarking in a unique, visual way. Add search material from anywhere on the web by dragging and dropping elements around the screen. Search directly from within Middlespot and view results through hovering and mouse clicks without leaving the site. Annotate information collected and share with others. Find the tools easily in a bar along the top. Click Add to enter elements, including stickies. Drag and drop the materials into a more pleasing arrangement. Create a workspace -- they call it a "mashup"-- without registering but use a login to save them. Mashups are private but can be changed to share with others.

tag(s): bookmarks (59)

In the Classroom

Only a little play is needed to learn how to use this tool. Create a class account for students to use in order to collaborate with others.

Create teacher-made mashups to collect materials for a web-based assignment. Use this site for student groups to collect materials in mashups for their group projects. Assign students a topic and allow them to interact online. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or, use the site to post discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles. Add stickies to highlight areas or for others to comment. Have students comment on the link in a "class discussion" as an outside of class assignment. Post assignments, post readings, science teachers - post online interactive labs, and more. Create whole-class mashups on a unit topic in lower grades, such as "things we learned about frogs" or "things that use energy."

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Courosa's library - Alec Couros

Grades
K to 12
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Need to create an email account(s) to sign student(s) on to various web 2.0 tools? Use this screencast to learn how to create subaccounts for your gmail account. Follow the ...more
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Need to create an email account(s) to sign student(s) on to various web 2.0 tools? Use this screencast to learn how to create subaccounts for your gmail account. Follow the additional information in the screencast for creating filters when subaccount emails come into your inbox.

tag(s): video (262)

In the Classroom

Depending upon the age of your students and whether they are allowed to make their own accounts for Web 2.0 tools, consider making subaccounts to register students for accounts. Use the subaccounts for websites requiring email verification. Remember to create a master list of logins, passwords, and even subaccount email names.

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