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Voki - Oddcast

Grades
K to 12
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Create a free, animated speaking character that represents yourself for a blog, wiki, or any website. Voki can also be emailed to others and downloaded to phones. Appropriate for student...more
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Create a free, animated speaking character that represents yourself for a blog, wiki, or any website. Voki can also be emailed to others and downloaded to phones. Appropriate for student use in grades 6-12 but for teachers at all levels.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): speaking (24)

In the Classroom

Access to a microphone is required to record a voice. There is an option to use text to voice (however, it does not have great sound.) Import audio from a file or use a cell phone instead to capture audio. Only one minute of audio can be recorded so be brief. Students need to carefully think of their narrative before recording. Users must be able to copy and paste html code for use in an external site.

Use the controls to create your character's style, click customization to further refine your character, change your background, and add your voice. Keep in mind that animated backgrounds may take longer to load on your site. When done, click publish to view and copy the embed code which can then be used on a blog, wiki, or web pages.

Monitor all aspects of student production and use for appropriateness and copyright. If concerned about using student email, consider creating a class account for students to use. Be sure that students understand not to change the Voki of other students if using a class account. Check your school district policy about using emails or identifying student information on the Internet.

Introduce and share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this free site to record a greeting for students that can be seen on the start page of your blog, wiki, or website. Record online assignment information that is spoken by the Voki (always more pleasing to look at than the teacher!). Use this to share homework assignments, a message from you (via a substitute), and more. Use a character that is interesting or matches the assignment you may be leaving. Use Voki to record two different opinions or viewpoints and create a poll of students to view reactions. Use the Voki in Math by posing possible solutions to problems and create a class discussion or poll to determine which one is the actual answer. As students are working on projects, create a Voki that provides hints and tips for students. Allow students to use Voki to provide peer assessment to others. Consider using Voki in place of other assignments such as "What I did this summer vacation..." or "Here is information about me..." Use in any language class to record narratives or translations. Students can create a variety of Voki recordings over time which can show their learning of a language over time. Create classroom newscasts using student(s) on a rotating basis. Use Voki for vocabulary exercises which can be created by students or the teacher. The possibilities for this tool are endless. The quick and engaging nature of this tool offers unlimited uses.

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A Book and A Hug - Barb Langridge

Grades
K to 12
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This well-designed website has books for 8 levels of readers from picture books to adult-level subjects in 17 general categories. Search using the advanced search function or browse...more
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This well-designed website has books for 8 levels of readers from picture books to adult-level subjects in 17 general categories. Search using the advanced search function or browse through the favorites. Look for fiction or non-fiction, parts of series, and best of all books for reluctant readers. All books feature a summary and also an illustration taken from the book. The descriptions of the books are very enticing and often include quotes from the text.

tag(s): literature (275)

In the Classroom

This is a great source for finding and showing students how to find independent reading. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Since students often ask for books like Harry Potter, for example, put this link on your class web page. Show students how to click on the keywords once they find a category they like. When students ask for another book in the same series, this is a great place to start looking. Allowing reluctant readers to search and find their own book is a way to build investment in their reading future. Encourage students to write their own reviews of favorite books not found here. Use the site for a lesson in citing sources and punctuating quotations.

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Goosebumps: The Science of Fear - California Science Center

Grades
3 to 10
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Explore the science of fear with this fun and interesting site. Click on "Explore Fear Online." View "Fear and the Brain" to understand how the brain responds to fear. Learn ...more
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Explore the science of fear with this fun and interesting site. Click on "Explore Fear Online." View "Fear and the Brain" to understand how the brain responds to fear. Learn animal responses in "Fear in the Wild." Other links include "Fear and the Media," "The Fun Side of Fear," and "Dealing with Fear." Each link includes several more specific topics. There is also a Parent's Guide with some of the topics.

tag(s): brain (72), emotions (35), psychology (64), stress (14)

In the Classroom

Brainstorm situations that cause fear and identify how the brain processes this information. Explore the similarities of fear responses with the feelings when riding thrill rides. Identify as a class how people respond to fear and ways fear can help you. Creative writing students can explore different ways that people show fear so their writing can describe what fear LOOKS like instead of simply saying, "he was afraid." Why not include this site when studying Poe's tales of terror or as a curriculum-related activity during Halloween season? Check out the "Dealing with Fear" section to help students struggling with anxieties and worry. Emotional or autistic support teachers and school counselors may also find this site helpful in allowing students to understand their body's reactions to fear. Health and psychology classes can use this site to explore the physiology of fear.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Public Domain Clip Art Blog - sookietex

Grades
K to 12
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Use this searchable blog to locate images within the public domain for you to use on web sites, in multimedia projects, and more. The site provides complete source information on ...more
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Use this searchable blog to locate images within the public domain for you to use on web sites, in multimedia projects, and more. The site provides complete source information on each image, as well as its rationale for treating the image as "public domain." Public Domain images are not subject to copyright restrictions, so you may use them in places that do not qualify for "Fair Use," such as on open web sites, blogs, etc. Though we are not legal experts and this review should in no way be deemed to be legal advice, our editors found that the evidence of public domain seems credible on this site. The site does include extensive advertising and links to non-education topics and blogs, the collection is very useful for teachers of any level or subject. Note: Because of extensive advertising and links, teachers should spell out specific consequences for following these non-educational links and may want to limit use of this site by students to times when you can monitor directly.

tag(s): clip art (10), images (266)

In the Classroom

Find images to illustrate curriculum topics, such as historical photos and cultural images. Include them in activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Art teachers can use images freely to illustrate design concepts. Create montages of images from eras in history, a culture, or scientific concepts to give visual learners a way to remember new content. "Harvest" images for students to use in their own projects, saving them on a local drive or computer (copying these images is OK!). Have students select an image as an inspiration for a writing assignment or blog post. Upload images to ThingLink, reviewed here, and have students critique or explain it orally in a world language, science, or social studies class. Have student groups use these copyright-safe images (with credit, of course) in their online Bookemon books, reviewed here, about a curriculum concept.

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H1N1 (Swine Flu) - What You and Your Family Need to Know - Children's National Medical Center

Grades
K to 12
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This informative site (also available in Spanish) is a great resource for families (or classrooms) all about the Swine Flu. Topics include: Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?...more
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This informative site (also available in Spanish) is a great resource for families (or classrooms) all about the Swine Flu. Topics include: Can people catch swine flu from eating pork? What about the current swine flu outbreak? Can people catch swine flu? What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans? There are several other topics. This is a simple questions/answer site with a lot of helpful information.

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Most of this site would be useful in Swine Flu research in the classroom. Make your class a healthier environment by sharing how the flu is spread. Share this link on your class website for parents to view.

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What It Is and What to Do: Primer - Jacob Goldstein

Grades
6 to 12
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Although this site is "plain vanilla," it offers a lot of information about the swine flu. The site is set-up in question/answer format. Examples of questions include, "What is swine...more
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Although this site is "plain vanilla," it offers a lot of information about the swine flu. The site is set-up in question/answer format. Examples of questions include, "What is swine flu," "Is the disease the same in Mexico and the U.S.," "What are the Symptoms," "Does my flu shot protect against the swine flu," and several others. Be aware this site has advertisements and students are able to comment on the article. You may want to preview the comments and advise students to stick with the content, not the comments.

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Take a few minutes and go through this site one question at a time. Possibly, address the class with the specific question and have them brainstorm possible answers with a partner. Share this site to encourage your class or school to maintain healthy habits, dispel incorrect information, and avoid spread of flu.

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Novel H1N1 flu (swine flu) - Children's Memorial Hospital

Grades
K to 12
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This frequently updating site, offers a simple (yet thorough) explanation of the H1N1 flu. This helpful information on the Swine Flu is useful for all levels of students. Help students...more
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This frequently updating site, offers a simple (yet thorough) explanation of the H1N1 flu. This helpful information on the Swine Flu is useful for all levels of students. Help students to better understand the virus and how to prevent its spread.

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Be sure to list this link on your class website for families to explore at home. If your students have any questions about the Swine Flu, send them to this explanatory website.

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Pandemic Panic - The New York Times

Grades
3 to 12
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This site offers an extremely detailed and well written lesson plan about the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus. The lesson plan provides a wealth of background information for teachers, class...more
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This site offers an extremely detailed and well written lesson plan about the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus. The lesson plan provides a wealth of background information for teachers, class activities for a variety of subject areas (podcasts, KWL charts, etc..), articles of interests, thinking questions, video clips, interactive graphics, blogs, and much more. This site is truly a web 2.0 lesson plan that is READY TO GO! Standards are provided. Although this lesson plan recommends 3-5 class periods, you could easily pick and choose what is best for your class.

*There is a link to a lesson plan specifically for younger students (grades 3-5). Specific activities and standards are provided for the younger grades at that link. This website requires Adobe Acrobat (pdf). You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Use this interdisciplinary lesson plan to encourage your class or school to maintain healthy habits, dispel incorrect information, and avoid spread of Swine flu. The activities, printables, and interactives are ready to go. Share the videos, podcasts, and other graphics on your interactive whiteboard or projector.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Skype - Skype Technologies S.A.

Grades
K to 12
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Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up...more
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Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up a free account, you can talk and/or make a video call to a similarly equipped computer elsewhere in the world for free. Skype uses a lot of "bandwidth" so is not suitable for very slow networks or dial up connections. It may also be slow at high-traffic times on a good network. Some patience and pretesting is required before you can be sure it will work for your needs. Connect to classrooms, experts, authors, virtual special speakers, or interview subjects using Skype.

tag(s): virtual field trips (48), webcams (6)

In the Classroom

Download and install the Skype software. If you are not allowed to install software on school computers, ask to have a single laptop available that is Skype-capable so you can borrow it or else explain to your principal that you are planning a series of Skype visits in your classroom so your techies will install it in your classroom. You will need a computer with built-in or separate microphone and speakers and optional webcam. If you plan to use a webcam, you must know how to start it. A single teacher-controlled Skype account will work in most school settings.

If you prefer written directions go to Help >> Step by Step Help to get started. Or ask a student to show you (without seeing your password). You will need to explore the tools in Skype to locate where to enter the SKYPE name of the person you wish to call, start the call, and answer calls. Do NOT set your copy of Skype to "remember me" on a school computer! If students are to participate in the Skype call, you may want to have a "hot seat" at the Skyping computer so they can sit at a mike so their questions will pick up better for the person at the other end.

Be sure to set Skype so it does not open every time you start up the computer. Manually start the program when needed and do not leave an obvious Skype icon on the desktop for "clever" students to find. Protect your password -- do not post it on the computer. A teacher-controlled account is best for Skype classroom use to prevent unauthorized calls by students. Your user name will show on the screen for students to see, so be aware of that when you create your account.

Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites or this blog for contact information). Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom

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Chartgo - Chartgo

Grades
2 to 12
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Create a graph simply and easily. Choose a graph type from a variety of choices such as Pie, Bar, Line, or Area. Also choose 2D or 3D as a dimension ...more
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Create a graph simply and easily. Choose a graph type from a variety of choices such as Pie, Bar, Line, or Area. Also choose 2D or 3D as a dimension and add labels, legends, or gridlines. Enter text for the titles as well as the X and Y axes. Create your graph and view the image. Copy the URL for the graph and paste into a blog, wiki, or website to share. Right click on the graph image to save to your computer (use control click in a Mac.)

tag(s): data (148)

In the Classroom

Create data in your classroom and quickly create a graph to represent it. Share through links or adding images to blogs, wikis, or websites. Graphs can also be shared on an interactive whiteboard or projector for better analysis of data by the class. Graph results of a test, answers from students, favorite foods, fictitious budgets, class schedules, and whatever else is applicable in your classroom. Have cooperative learning groups create their own graphs to share with the class. Use this tool to create quick pie chart or bar graph on your interactive whiteboard whenever you count class votes or encounter other data so students "see" data on a regular basis and visual students have another way to absorb the information. Keep the link handy on your web page to access it quickly in or out of class.
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The Differentiator - Ian Byrd

Grades
K to 12
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Differentiating activities for all learners has become easier with this tool. Use this free Bloom's Taxonomy tool, created by an educator, to develop great objectives for differentiated...more
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Differentiating activities for all learners has become easier with this tool. Use this free Bloom's Taxonomy tool, created by an educator, to develop great objectives for differentiated instruction. Move through developing your goal on this site by choosing a level of Bloom's Taxonomy and a thinking skill. Then move on to your content, resources, finished product expected, and what kind of grouping you want. These are all tabs at the top of the page. Watch the sentence at the top of the screen change as you create your objective.

tag(s): blooms taxonomy (9), critical thinking (108), differentiation (47), newbies (18)

In the Classroom

As an example, use a verb from Bloom' taxonomy such as "evaluate." Click on the part of the sentence at the top, in parenthesis, to enter your content such as "patterns of environmental issues." Choose the resource you want students to use, the product you want them to make, and the number of students in a group by clicking on the tabs. Example objective: Students will evaluate the patterns of environmental issues using websites to create a news report in groups of two. Save your objective by copying and pasting it into any document or online tool. The Differentiator will give you many project ideas that you may not have thought of yourself, and serves as a welcome reminder of different activities and expectations you can use in your classroom. Take a look at this site at the beginning of the school year or when creating a new unit (or project). Find new ways to differentiate for your gifted students using this creative and powerful tool. If your gifted students test out of your current math lessons, use this site to find new material to challenge their minds. This site is deceptively quick and simple, but it could be very useful when writing detailed, powerful lesson plans.

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Free Music Archive - WFMU

Grades
5 to 12
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This site provides a clearing house for legal, copyright-safe, free music available for download and podcast use. Students looking for pod-safe audio, music remixes, and background...more
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This site provides a clearing house for legal, copyright-safe, free music available for download and podcast use. Students looking for pod-safe audio, music remixes, and background music will be relieved to find this marvelous library of recordings. Students or teachers do not need to join to listen and/or download the MP3 files, but they can join if they'd like to submit their own legal files. We recommend that teachers be the only ones to upload music (with parent permission if you are sharing music performed or written by students). Students who have serious musical ambitions and repertoire may want to join at home.

NOTE: Music on this site is submitted by the general musical public and may include lyrics inappropriate for school. The "Hip Hop" genre includes some inappropriate offerings, so teachers will want to decide the best way to handle use of this site by students. Each genre has its own URL, so it is possible to make only certain areas available. The "classical," "jazz" and other instrumental areas are safer. Depending on the maturity and trustworthiness of students, teachers may want to directly supervise use of this site.

Listeners can find their favorite music by browsing through the many genre categories or trying some of the daily featured artists.Besides music files, there are artist and album profiles, and listeners can star favorites.

tag(s): air (163)

In the Classroom

Students can use files from this site when preparing multimedia class presentations that require music or background sounds. Use this site when preparing lessons on plagiarism, copyright, and the open source software concept. If your students are mature enough, share the link to this site via your class web page (with a disclaimer about possibly inappropriate lyrics). Music teachers with talented composer/performer students may want to share the site as a potential place for students to share their work (with parent permission).

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H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu): General Information - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Grades
K to 12
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This site, created by the CDC, offers general information about the H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu). Learn what to do if you get flu-like symptoms, how to take care of a ...more
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This site, created by the CDC, offers general information about the H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu). Learn what to do if you get flu-like symptoms, how to take care of a sick person in your home, facemask and respirator use, and more. This site also includes audio and video resources.

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Provide this link on your class website for students and parents to access to learn more about the Swine Flu. Have cooperative learning groups investigate one of the articles/topics presented at this site and create a multimedia project to share with the class. How about creating a class wiki to discuss the groups' findings? Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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H1N1 (Swine) Flu: What you need to know - The United Federation of Teachers

Grades
K to 12
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This site offers "what you need to know" about the swine flu, specifically for schools. Topics include General Information, School Closure, What to do in your School, and Additional...more
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This site offers "what you need to know" about the swine flu, specifically for schools. Topics include General Information, School Closure, What to do in your School, and Additional Information. Each topic has several "sub-topics." This resource provides a TON of information and is frequently updated.

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

If your students are learning about the swine flu, use this site to answer their many questions. Or better yet, have students work with a partner and research this site together. Have the groups create multimedia presentations. How about having students create a concept map organizing the various information using a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here).

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H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu): Resources for Child Care Programs, Schools, Colleges, and Universities - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Grades
K to 12
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Take a look at this site, complete with resources for schools. Some of the articles (at the time of this review) included "Preparing for Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Schools ...more
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Take a look at this site, complete with resources for schools. Some of the articles (at the time of this review) included "Preparing for Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Schools (K-12)," "Guidance for State and Local Health Officials and School Administrators for School Responses to Flu during 2009-2010 School Year," "Infections Alert for Institutions of Higher Education," and a few others. The articles are frequently updated, so be sure to check back often!

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Use this site to find guidance on how to handle flu season. This is a great site to list on your school website.

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Swine Flu in Children, Influenza H1N1, DrTummy.com - Metacafe

Grades
3 to 8
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This helpful information on the Swine Flu is useful for elementary and middle school students to better understand the virus and how to prevent its spread. Come along with Dr. ...more
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This helpful information on the Swine Flu is useful for elementary and middle school students to better understand the virus and how to prevent its spread. Come along with Dr. Tummy to learn more about the H1N1 virus using this short video (less than 4-minutes). Learn about what the Swine flu is, the symptoms, how it is diagnosed, how it is treated, how it is spread, and more information. This site does include advertisements. If you want them to disappear, simply click the "full screen" option on the bottom right side of the page.

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create podcasts (maybe mock news reporting) about the H1N1. Assign each group a different area to explore (what is Swine Flu, how to stop the spread, and others). Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Swine Flu - Made Simple - Stuffmadesimple.com

Grades
K to 8
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This site offers a short (5-minute) video explaining the Swine Flu. Learn about the symptoms, causes, how to avoid spreading the flu, and more. This site does include some advertising....more
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This site offers a short (5-minute) video explaining the Swine Flu. Learn about the symptoms, causes, how to avoid spreading the flu, and more. This site does include some advertising. To avoid advertising, click on the full screen box (bottom right).

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups create multimedia presentations (focusing on causes, the flu itself, how it spreads, how to better protect themselves, etc.). Have groups create commercials about their topic, and complete additional research. Video the commercials and share them on a site such as Teachers.TV reviewed here. Provide this link on your class website for students to share with their parents. See also this full listing of TeachersFirst Editors' Choice listings on the H1N1 flu.
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Pixenate - Sxoop Technologies

Grades
2 to 12
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Use Pixenate for quick online photo editing. This free resource requires no registration as there is no image storage, only editing for saving elsewhere. Upload pictures from your computer...more
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Use Pixenate for quick online photo editing. This free resource requires no registration as there is no image storage, only editing for saving elsewhere. Upload pictures from your computer or enter the web address from somewhere on the Internet. Pixenate cautions users to follow copyright when editing web pictures. Once uploaded, use simple tools to edit the picture such as: undo, select, zoom, crop, resize, flip, rotate, color balance and tools, smooth, brighten, straighten horizon, remove red eye, brighten teeth, or draw lines and shapes. Choose more entertaining effects such as lomo effects, lens filters, adding clip art, creating heart shaped photos, and other effects. Edited pictures can be uploaded to flickr or saved to disk.

Be aware: students should be cautioned that the site sells services to make the photo into a gift (obviously, for a fee!). Other ads may appear on the page, as well.

tag(s): editing (61)

In the Classroom

Many times, pictures taken in the classroom need to be edited in some way, and this online photo editor provides many of the options needed plus a few fun effects. Since no registration is required, students can upload a picture, create effects, and save again on their computer. Advise students to use pictures that they have permission to alter. Using their own photos is one way to ensure this. Be sure to check your school's acceptable use policy. Students should be aware of how to upload and then find their creation. Use this service any time pictures are used for classroom projects, lessons, or activities.

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Find a Book - lexile.com

Grades
1 to 12
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This site allows teachers and students to go through four simple steps to find a book that has a lexile rating. The steps include entering a lexile range (if unknown: ...more
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This site allows teachers and students to go through four simple steps to find a book that has a lexile rating. The steps include entering a lexile range (if unknown: enter grade level and ease of reading), interests (similar to a keyword search), search of all items that come up, and list-making.

One disadvantage of the site is that you can only enter a keyword when you get to the third step. After a book list based on interests appears, then you can search by keyword to make the search zero in on specifics. When teachers or students select books for a reading list, they can then click to see the complete list of books they have selected. Clicking on a book title leads to another screen, but it does not contain a book summary; instead, it has a list of other keywords for the book along with other book data.

tag(s): book lists (128), independent reading (128)

In the Classroom

This site is great for teachers searching for books at specific lexile levels. Learning support and ESL/ELL teachers can find books to accompany units in content area classes but on the correct lexile level. Students can also use the site by entering their grade levels and what kind of readers they are. Use this site to differentiate the learning experience for all levels of students. Rather than having students complete traditional book reports, why not have them complete a multimedia project? Provide some choices such as a podcast, using PodoMatic (reviewed here), interactive venn diagram comparing characters (reviewed here), or online book using Bookemon (reviewed here).

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Bookshare: Books without Barriers - Bookshare

Grades
2 to 12
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This site allows FREE access to a number of books, newspapers, and magazines, all using adaptive technology. After a free registration (available to participants with documented limited...more
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This site allows FREE access to a number of books, newspapers, and magazines, all using adaptive technology. After a free registration (available to participants with documented limited vision), members can download books, textbooks, and newspapers in a compressed, encrypted file. They then read the material using adaptive technology, typically software that reads the book aloud (text-to-speech) and/or displays the text of the book on a computer screen, or Braille access devices, such as refreshable Braille displays. The advantage to this site is that it offers newer books and other written materials than many other online digital libraries. Besides written items, a number of videos are available which assist or focus on typical Bookshare users, many featuring them as success stories. A special page of information for teachers with limited vision students includes information such as other resources, reading lists, and handouts.

tag(s): air (163), disabilities (20), vision (87)

In the Classroom

If you have students with limited vision or certain specific qualifying learning disabilities in your class, be sure to save this useful resource in your favorites. List this link on your class website or wiki or email it to parents of these children. If possible, share this site with those teachers working with students with limited vision and qualifying disabilities.
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