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CurriConnects Booklist: By the People - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Find books about how our U.S. government works and how to take part in that process. These books include topics such as with what it means to be a citizen, ...more
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Find books about how our U.S. government works and how to take part in that process. These books include topics such as with what it means to be a citizen, how our government works, and the tough decisions that people make -- both citizens and those who work in government. Discover civics-related topics such as voting, creating laws, enforcing laws, and the underlying principles of democracy. The collection includes both true and fictional tales about communities and government and books for all grade levels. CurriConnects thematic book lists include ISBN numbers for ordering or searching, interest grade levels, ESL levels and Lexiles''''® to match student independent reading levels to challenge, not frustrate. For more on text complexity and Lexiles''''®, see this information from the Lexile Framework. Don't miss other CurriConnects themes being added regularly. If your library does not have the books, try interlibrary loan!

tag(s): book lists (126), branches of government (48), congress (33), constitution (79), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to select independent reading from this list as part of a citizenship unit, as a focus for Constitution Day, or in a civics/government class.

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TeachersFirst Featured Sites: Embeddable widgets - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Share TeachersFirst's weekly Features SItes automatically on your teacher blog or school web page. If you can copy/paste and use embed codes, you can choose from two formats to show...more
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Share TeachersFirst's weekly Features SItes automatically on your teacher blog or school web page. If you can copy/paste and use embed codes, you can choose from two formats to show the current Featured Sites on your teacher blog, ed tech coaching page, or resource page for preservice teachers. The widget automatically updates your page with new content every week. Note that use of these widgets is limited to educators and is not allowed on fee-based or commercial sites. Once you place the widget on your page, it automatically updates with the new sites each week -- with no work by you! Share the reviewed resources you trust with your colleagues, parents, and students. Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers!

tag(s): professional development (123), resources (112)

In the Classroom

If you know how to use embed codes, use this widget to offer trusted, weekly new content on your web page. If you do not know how to embed, ask one of your tech-savvy students or colleagues. It isn't hard at all! Be sure to tell you edtech coach or instructional technology specialist and library/media specialist about this great, free service.
 

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40 Maps That Explain the World - The Washington Post

Grades
5 to 12
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The Washington Post offers this interesting variety of maps illustrating many different viewpoints and realities around the world. Topics include best and worst place to be born, child...more
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The Washington Post offers this interesting variety of maps illustrating many different viewpoints and realities around the world. Topics include best and worst place to be born, child poverty in the developed world, and the world seen from space over a 12 month time-lapse. Click to enlarge any of the maps. Several include links for further information.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): agriculture (54), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), ecology (135), inferencing (5), maps (288), religions (61)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for use with many social studies, reading, and higher level thinking topics. Use them to teach about interpreting graphical information in texts. Display on your interactive whiteboard and explore with your students. Use these maps to ask deep questions about meaning in maps. What inferences/conclusions can you draw based on this map? These maps are a perfect starting point for research projects on many subjects. Have students brainstorm questions they wonder about or collect ideas for possible projects on a collaborative bulletin board like Scrumblr, reviewed here (quick start- no membership required!).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Twiddla - twiddla.com

Grades
3 to 12
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Twiddla is an online meeting space and collaboration tool that is like having a whiteboard skin placed over any website or image so you can draw and more. Discover options ...more
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Twiddla is an online meeting space and collaboration tool that is like having a whiteboard skin placed over any website or image so you can draw and more. Discover options available in the practice area named the Sandbox. Choose options for collaboration such as a url, uploaded image or document, or collaborate together on a blank screen. Use the Invite button to share the collaboration url via email or copy/paste. Take a snapshot of your session at any time and export as an image. Pro Accounts offer additional features, such as screen captures and password protection. Receive these services free as an educator, find the directions in the FAQ.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): design (84), editing (60), iwb (31), note taking (32)

In the Classroom

Use Twiddla to explore and save information from any website. Display any website on your interactive whiteboard using Twiddla. Add text, highlight information, and mark up the site as you wish. Take a screenshot and add to your classroom webpage for students to view at home for review. Have a flipped classroom? Create a lesson from any image, document, or website using Twiddla then share the image for student use. Art teachers can have students annotate a web-based image to emphasize design elements. Teach notetaking by having students mark up important ideas on a web page (perhaps evidence found in informational texts?) Hold an online conference with students about their web-based projects using Twiddla. Use Twiddla with your bring your own device (byod) classroom or in the computer lab to highlight and share information from documents, images, and websites.

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ipadio - Andy Ayers, Mark Smith, and Giles Bryan

Grades
4 to 12
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Broadcast live to the Internet from any phone to create a phlog (live voice-blog) using ipadio. Register on the site with the phone number desired. Then call one of the ...more
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Broadcast live to the Internet from any phone to create a phlog (live voice-blog) using ipadio. Register on the site with the phone number desired. Then call one of the local numbers provided by ipadio. After the welcome message, enter your pin number and start recording for up to 60 minutes. Disconnect using the # button on your phone, and your phlog is complete! Once complete, login to your ipadio account to view the broadcast and find the embed code for sharing on your website. Ipadio has both iOS and Android apps, both free at the time of this review.

tag(s): blogs (88), podcasts (52)

In the Classroom

One interesting option available with ipadio is the ability for other users to call in with your account. Have students call in with answers to homework using your channel. View how to do this at the help section located in ipadio. If you already do podcasts, use ipadio in a similar manner to share course content or describe step by step procedures for math problems, etc. Create a weekly phlog to embed in your class websites with a summary of the week's activities. Do this during class and allow students to add to the summary. Have BYOD? Create a class phlog and assign rotating student groups to make audio summaries/review podcasts of class content. Invite them to be creative by developing characters and their own creative podcast format. Library/media specialists can invite students to create ipadio book reviews. World language teachers can assign students to create ipadio podcasts of dialogs or cultural topics to build spoken language skills.

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Making the Common Core Come Alive! - Just Ask Publications

Grades
K to 12
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Making the Common Core Come Alive provides many resources for implementing and teaching Common Core Standards. Scroll through this page to find templates for designing units, a self...more
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Making the Common Core Come Alive provides many resources for implementing and teaching Common Core Standards. Scroll through this page to find templates for designing units, a self inventory of understanding of the standards, curriculum templates, and much more. Download one of several units such as 1st Grade persuasive writing, middle school force and motion, or high school comparing and contrasting plant and animal cells. Each resource includes a short description along with a link to a PDF or Word document for your use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): africa (180), cells (102), commoncore (92), decimals (133), forces (44), fractions (239), organisms (21), percent (82), persuasive writing (55), professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free resources including the templates for developing Common Core lessons. Share this site during professional development sessions. Use the templates for lesson and unit planning.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Metta - Dragontape Ltd

Grades
5 to 12
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Metta is a multimedia presentation tool that allows you to combine videos, pictures, and text to create short movies. Create an account using your email address or Facebook to begin....more
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Metta is a multimedia presentation tool that allows you to combine videos, pictures, and text to create short movies. Create an account using your email address or Facebook to begin. Start with a title, choose to build a story from scratch or an RSS feed, and click create. Follow prompts to drag images from your computer or insert video URLs. Add new chapters (slides) and reorder as desired. Trim video clips using the tools provided with the editor. Add text or record audio using your computer's microphone in any chapter. Save and publish when finished. Share using the URL provided or embed code.

tag(s): images (265), multimedia (57), video (253)

In the Classroom

Use to create educational videos and projects to introduce and interest students in a topic. Use to generate questions prior to the discussion of topics. Create a multi-image slideshow where students brainstorm how the images are all connected. Have students create projects for class using Metta. Be sure to include this tool on your blog, wiki, or public page for easy student access. You may want to consider allowing your older students to create their own accounts, depending on school policies. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. Upload pictures and videos once a month to share through your classroom website or blog, or allow a group of students to create each month's review. Create a project site for students to upload images and videos found when studying any subject. Upload images with squares, triangles, rectangles, etc. when learning about shapes. Upload pictures of plants for a science unit, etc. Have students upload family pictures when learning about families. World language students can create digital photo stories to narrate using new vocabulary. Present teacher professional development or an end of year display for the school media center. Have other staff members upload images and videos from the year of school activities.

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Sketchlot - sketchlot.com

Grades
K to 12
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Create a sketch on a virtual whiteboard, share it, and have recipients mark it up and share it back. This tool describes itself as a "web whiteboard for schools." Click ...more
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Create a sketch on a virtual whiteboard, share it, and have recipients mark it up and share it back. This tool describes itself as a "web whiteboard for schools." Click Demo to try the tools. Create your own account, and add a list of students. Students log in using your class code and a password. Share finished sketches using the share feature for others to view, sketch, and reply. Embed sketches to your website using code provided or share via Twitter. Sketchlot is a device-agnostic tool, designed to work on all current tablets, phones and computers. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions may vary slightly. Note that the tools in Sketchlot are drawing only: lines, rectangles, and freeform drawing, but no text typing! Anything you can depict as a diagram with free-form writing can be a Sketchlot. (It may be easier to draw on a tablet than on a computer.) Make it easer to write with your finger by zooming in or out.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), DAT device agnostic tool (196), drawing (78), mind map (25)

In the Classroom

If you are one of the lucky ones with a classroom set of mobile devices, this site is an excellent resource for you! Use Sketchlot to write and share math problems for students to view, complete, then send back to you. Create diagrams for student viewing. Have students label items, then return. Create a simple diagram of a structure and have students label forces acting on that structure. Hand the main page over to a student on your interactive whiteboard during a presentation, then share with the rest of the class to add reviews and additional information. Send differentiated tasks to your gifted students by starting a partially completed diagram (a valley where they need to build a bridge) and having them investigate, complete the diagram, and add details. They can, in turn, pass back challenges for classmates (or you) to solve.

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Smarterer - Dave Balter, Michael Kowalchik, and Jennifer Fremont-Smith

Grades
8 to 12
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Smarterer helps identify what you know about many subjects and helps identify your weaknesses in others. Explore tests by categories such as games, language and writing, or math and...more
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Smarterer helps identify what you know about many subjects and helps identify your weaknesses in others. Explore tests by categories such as games, language and writing, or math and finance to begin. Choose a test and take a practice question which will not count on your score. Take complete tests after signing in using your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account. You can also use your email. View scores at the end of each test and your ranking on a scale from beginner to master based on comparisons to other test takers. Create your own tests easily using step by step directions provided on Smarterer. Give your test a title, then add questions and multiple choice responses. Choose to let others add questions to your test or not. Tests will appear on Smarterer after approval from the site moderators. The site continues to add new tests, many user-created.

tag(s): assessment (99), business (58), computers (94), quizzes (97), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

Use Smarterer to help students identify areas to improve in different skills. Use some of the tests for students to "test out" of curriculum such as email etiquette in computer class or to motivate students to learn about real world skills they will need in the job market. Share this site with students to use at home for quick assessments in many subjects. Create your own tests to use for review and share with students to take and identify areas for further study. Demonstrate how students can track progress through retaking tests (students will need their own account).

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Google Keep - Google, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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Use Google Keep to save notes directly to your Google Drive account. This tool requires that you have a Google account. Unlike some similar services, such as Evernote,...more
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Use Google Keep to save notes directly to your Google Drive account. This tool requires that you have a Google account. Unlike some similar services, such as Evernote, reviewed here, notes kept in Google Keep are saved to your Google Drive account. Use for notes, voice notes, lists, and photos. Access these on any web enabled mobile device. Keep works best with Chrome browsers and Android phones, but our editors had no issues using other browsers as well. Google Keep can also be also used with any school's Google Apps account. Keep is colorful, which is part of the design. Be sure to use the colors as an organizational tool. Keep has a low learning curve and is very simple to use. The quick note feature is invaluable: just type your notes in the text box without logging in or switching screens. To leave a voice note, tap the microphone icon and speak. Archive items easily when you are done. Though Keep is a more generic, basic tool, its value is in its simplicity and ease of use.

tag(s): note taking (32), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Take pictures of things to do, buy, or finish. Create checklists of steps in a project. Place all of your notes in one place so you do not forget. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. They could "keep" assignment information, reminders, and more. Consider creating a class account that can be used by all students. Spell out the use of the site and what is allowed and not allowed -- and the penalties. Even though all students have the same login, create different notebooks for different tasks that students can use to upload information to be shared by all. Create separate accounts for student groups who can then share their notebook with other groups. Use to snapshot and share links, documents, files, and pictures for any group project or class work. Whole class accounts can be used by a class scribe during class and accessed from home for review, by absentees, etc.

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Saylor - Free Online Courses Built by Professors - Michael J Saylor

Grades
8 to 12
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Choose from almost 300 courses to take for free at Saylor. Topics range from general education to computer science and professional development. There is a K-12 area that includes Common...more
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Choose from almost 300 courses to take for free at Saylor. Topics range from general education to computer science and professional development. There is a K-12 area that includes Common Core information (for teachers or parents), test prep, and English lessons. Explore a specific area of study to find courses or choose the course list to view all offerings. Some courses include a full textbook and/or a full set of video lectures and are listed on the content matrix. Each course lists learning outcomes, course requirements, and a course overview. Create your own eportfolio to enroll in courses, track progress, download transcripts, and engage with the online community. Pass the final exam of each course to receive a certificate of completion.

tag(s): professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Allow gifted students to enroll in courses that interest them or that provide enrichment beyond classroom content. Share with others in your building as a resource for professional development. Explore the topics yourself for some new, engaging topics to round out your own expertise. Allow students to enroll in a course that would fit into their career goals as an exploratory opportunity in that field.

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MashPlant Studio - Jason Brett

Grades
4 to 12
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MashPlant studio is a digital classroom and project workspace that combines social media in a safe setting. Sign up and create an account using your school information. The teacher...more
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MashPlant studio is a digital classroom and project workspace that combines social media in a safe setting. Sign up and create an account using your school information. The teacher account log in will work right away, even though it says you must be approved. You will receive confirmation emails quickly. Your first step is to create a new studio that will appear on your corkboard. This studio will be the home for your class announcements and serve as a virtual bulletin board. Studio members can share by uploading text, videos, or images. Please note: the owner of the studio approves all additions to the corkboard before they go live. Use the blog center as a quick and easy way to post announcements or assignments. Class links provide links to web content you post for student use. Teacher tools allow support for customizing student access to sites such as turning ratings on or off and allowing uploads. All interactions are moderated by the teacher. MashPlant also has an extensive resource library containing tutorials on various subjects such as tips and tricks for remembering facts and an online library of videos and images for use in projects. Be sure to watch the video tutorials to see the many features offered through MashPlant. If you plan to use this site with students under 13, be sure to read the teacher information about parent permission and using this site with students under 13.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (88), digital storytelling (142), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Use MashPlant as a resource for creating a classroom-to-go where students can find resources, share, and interact from anywhere. Add web links for students to access at home, post assignments and homework, and allow students to upload multimedia projects for all to view. If students would like suggestions on a work in progress, this is a great tool to use. If you don't already have a class website, use MashPlant to create your own personal place on the web for your students.

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Engage NY: Common Core Tool Kit - NYSED

Grades
K to 12
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Need a way to get a quick understanding of Common Core or explain the basics to parents? Be prepared with this all in one site. Find explanatory videos, documents, and ...more
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Need a way to get a quick understanding of Common Core or explain the basics to parents? Be prepared with this all in one site. Find explanatory videos, documents, and more.

tag(s): commoncore (92)

In the Classroom

Be ready to begin implementation of Common Core with Engage NY: Common Core Tool Kit. Use the basics to explain Common Core to parents, colleagues, or even teachers. Topics such as facts, myths, and key points begin the Common Core journey. View video clips to learn more about Common Core. Find examples of assessments by grade level, units, and a plethora of resources to supplement your journey into Common Core.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ScreenLeap Free Screen Sharing - ScreenLeap, Inc

Grades
4 to 12
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Share your screen instantly and easily to any device with a browser using ScreenLeap. Choose Start Now to begin and follow simple start-up directions. Once connected, send the...more
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Share your screen instantly and easily to any device with a browser using ScreenLeap. Choose Start Now to begin and follow simple start-up directions. Once connected, send the link via email or text or provide the access code to anyone else to begin sharing. Choices include sharing the entire screen or just what is within the box. Directions include options for just audio sharing. Free account access offers up to 2 hours of screen sharing time per day.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): editing (60), homework (44), parent conferences (22)

In the Classroom

Screen share with students in a computer lab to demonstrate how to locate information on websites, or when learning tech tools. This is a great alternative if an interactive whiteboard or projector is not available. Use this tool to collaborate with other teachers when creating lesson plans or student documents. Have students with laptops share their screen with you during presentations to make information easier to view. Share this site with students to use at home when collaborating on projects. Help a homebound student by sharing your class computer screen and opening an audio connection over the phone. Offer "extra help" sessions via screen share at predetermined "office hours" or during a snow day or on certain evenings. Have students teach tech skills to their peers using this free sharing app. Share a student's work using a screenshare during a parent phone conference. Show a parent how to navigate a practice site you want the family to use at home.

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The Be a Reporter Game - Poynter.news University

Grades
6 to 12
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The Be a Reporter Game is a self-directed course that looks at the basics of how journalists probe, clarify, verify, and race against a deadline. Set in a fictional setting, ...more
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The Be a Reporter Game is a self-directed course that looks at the basics of how journalists probe, clarify, verify, and race against a deadline. Set in a fictional setting, characters respond based on the experiences of journalists in the field. Complete the course at your own pace. Start and stop as needed, or rewind and review previous information as desired. Register with your email to enter the course.
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tag(s): careers (132), journalism (46)

In the Classroom

Try this activity together as a class on your interactive whiteboard or projector (creating a teacher account only). Allow students to create their own account and complete on their own. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. This would make an excellent option for an ongoing, semester long project for students. Teachers of gifted may want to suggest this unit for their students to work on independently when they complete work in the regular language arts classroom. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here demonstrating information learned in the game.

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Educaplay - Multimedia Learning Resources - Adrformacion

Grades
3 to 12
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Create many educational multimedia activities in one place using Educaplay. Create interactive maps, riddles, slide shows, fill in the blanks, crossword puzzles, word search puzzles,...more
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Create many educational multimedia activities in one place using Educaplay. Create interactive maps, riddles, slide shows, fill in the blanks, crossword puzzles, word search puzzles, jumbled word, jumbled sentence, dictation, or create a collection of several of these based on a theme. Registration is required. Your results will be consistent and professional looking. Also, browse and use activities and collections others have created. Download and print the activities or complete them online by embedding them on your website or sharing the URL. Results can be registered in your learning management system (online grade book). Though originally a Flash program, Educaplay converted to HTML5 and should work on any computer.

tag(s): crosswords (18), multimedia (57), puzzles (208), quizzes (97), slides (63), word study (80), worksheets (59)

In the Classroom

When configuring a quiz you will have the ability to have the questions presented randomly, decide the number of questions, and the threshold to pass the quiz, among other choices. When adding the questions, you will be able to add an image, audio, or video. Why should you make all the activities for your class? Assign students to create crossword puzzles and such for a story or unit the class is studying. Consider having a small group create a "collection" of activities around an area of study. Be sure to put a link to the program for parents to create study activities for their student to use at home.

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Ultimate Research Assistant - Andy Hoskinson, LLC

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Use this free tool to compile search results from various domains. Search your term using the entire Internet, Wikipedia, Government sites, Non-Profits sites, the National Institutes...more
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Use this free tool to compile search results from various domains. Search your term using the entire Internet, Wikipedia, Government sites, Non-Profits sites, the National Institutes of Health and more! The results of the search can be viewed in a summary, a bar chart of popular themes, and a word cloud. Click on Taxonomy to view the results for each theme or Mind Map and see the hierarchy of the results.
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tag(s): media literacy (58), search engines (65), search strategies (30)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to locate a variety of search results about a topic of study or interest. Be sure to place a link to this site on your class computer or web page. Discuss bias and different ways of reporting on an issue by using the same search term with the class using different domains. For example, one group can search any popular issue such as climate change, gun control, or food policy issues using Government sites while another group uses the same search term with Educational sites. Teach the value of identifying good search terms, continuing to refine terms to get quality results. Once students are familiar with this tool you can do the same as above using the Jigsaw cooperative learning approach, and when students come back together to discuss their findings they can create a simple infographic sharing their findings from the articles (including different points of view and bias) using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. As a completely separate use, mark this one in your favorites to test search when you believe a student project may be plagiarized.

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Infographics Only - Infographics Only

Grades
3 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
Find a colorful, creative Infographic for just about any topic on this sharing site. Use one of the forty-plus categories or type your keyword in a search box. There are ...more
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Find a colorful, creative Infographic for just about any topic on this sharing site. Use one of the forty-plus categories or type your keyword in a search box. There are so many cool Infographics at this site that you won't have to create one of your own. But if you do, you can upload it and have it displayed on Infographics Only. What is an Infographic? Learn more about Infographics here. Be sure to take time to preview the Infographics on this site as some may not be suitable for young people. It would be best to link directly to the Infographic you want to share.
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tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148), graphic design (35), infographics (42)

In the Classroom

Common Core emphasizes "reading" of visual sources of information, and this is the perfect source. Why not use an Infographic as an introduction to a unit or lesson in your classroom? Create open ended questions about the Infographic to use as a formative assessment tool. Ask students to create questions about the topic of the Infographic. Reading teachers could choose an Infographic on a daily/weekly basis for teaching/practicing how to interpret informational graphics within a text. If they are mature enough to ignore some topics, consider having students go to the Just for Fun category and choose an Infographic. Then ask students to report out the "main idea" of the graphic and give three supporting details as evidence. For any subject, as a form of summative evaluation, consider assigning students to create an Infographic about a topic covered in class as a way to show understanding. If your students are new to creating infographics, have them view Creating Infographics: A Screencast Tutorial reviewed here. For more examples of how to use infographics in your classroom, view the recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session found here. This session is 75 minutes in length.

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WD-1 DJ-Trainer - Wortel Drie Productions

Grades
3 to 12
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The WD-1 DJ-Trainer is an online musical tool to create a dance track. Select from 25 professional sound banks to make your own hip hop, techno, trance, reggae, rock, disco, ...more
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The WD-1 DJ-Trainer is an online musical tool to create a dance track. Select from 25 professional sound banks to make your own hip hop, techno, trance, reggae, rock, disco, jazz, or samba track. Learn about timing and "building" a song on this easy to use site. Start the samples and the loops using your keyboard or mouse to control the sounds. Help buttons are available for all the buttons. Make your own groove by controlling the loops and the time triggered sounds. This is a great site to make music magical and to fill up the dance floor. An iOS app is available -- for purchase.
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tag(s): music theory (42), musical instruments (48), musical notation (35), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Use this site in music classes to teach musicians about timing and the layers of a track. Create songs or poems for any subject area and use the WD-1 DJ-Trainer to create a track to support the lyrics. Create a track that reflects the tone or mood of a poem and recite the poem with the track to integrate music with language arts. Record your track with GarageBand or Audacity because you're unable to save your tracks on WD-1 DJ-Trainer. Create tracks or have your students create tracks for morning announcements or transitions in the classroom. This would be a great site for improvisation in music class or the regular education classroom. Create tracks to support readers' theatre activities in the classroom. Have students create podcasts using a site such as Spreaker (reviewed here) or PodOmatic (reviewed here). Use the tracks created on this site in the background for the podcasts. Use music as a classroom management tool by recording "theme music" as cues for different transitions and activities. Teachers of gifted can challenge their students to tell a story in music using this tool.
 

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Story Maps - Esri

Grades
5 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Story Maps takes learning in a new direction. Interactive maps tell a story through videos, images, audio, and links. Learn more about the topics in text that accompanies each map....more
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Story Maps takes learning in a new direction. Interactive maps tell a story through videos, images, audio, and links. Learn more about the topics in text that accompanies each map. A timeline of "dots" allows you to move through the story step by step. A satellite view is available on some maps, and legends give you important information to read the map accurately. A wide variety of topics are available to inform and educate. Use the search bar to find a map to meet your needs. Travel to the most visited National Parks or explore an interactive map of the three days and decisive moments of the battle of Gettysburg. It is important to pay as much attention to the text pop-ups as the cartography and other aspects of the map. New stories are added every two weeks. so come back often! This review was for the free area of the site that allows you to view the map stories. There are extensive directions on how to create your own maps, but these suggest purchase of maps, etc. from ArcGIS, an affiliate of Esri. Some of the map storytelling ideas could be used with other free mapping tools, however.

tag(s): gettysburg (26), map skills (80), maps (288), measurement (159)

In the Classroom

Map out interactive virtual field trips on Story Maps. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Have a team competition as students navigate the site on an interactive whiteboard to complete a scavenger hunt. Students can find geometric shapes in real life objects on the images with the maps. Calculate distances or time if the map is a timeline of events. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL/ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting them on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them. Have students create online posters to summarize what they learned from the map, individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here. Ask students to write informational essays on the topics or use the maps to write creative stories. Challenge your most tech-savvy or gifted students to explore the step by step map storytelling directions and try their hand using google Maps or other map tools. The advice in these directions is excellent.

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