TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 12, 2020

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Teachers' Guide to Global Collaboration - iEARN-USA

Grades
K to 12
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This guide provides educators with information and resources to find projects and collaborations with educators around the world. Use the different categories to learn, connect, search,...more
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This guide provides educators with information and resources to find projects and collaborations with educators around the world. Use the different categories to learn, connect, search, and submit ideas for collaboration. Educators looking for suggestions will find the search and project areas especially helpful. Use these portions of the site to find free lesson plans, project ideas, and much more.

tag(s): collaboration (78)

In the Classroom

Discover the many free resources and recommendations to find a collaborative project for your classroom. Engage students in your project by brainstorming suggestions from students that include their interests, such as homes around the world, the environment, or art. Once you establish a project, extend learning by having students use Adobe Spark in K-12, reviewed here, to share what they learned. Use Spark to create videos, write blogs and create webpages, and create graphics to share with their partners. Use FlipGrid, reviewed here, to add student voice to the learning experience through short video responses.

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Microsoft Whiteboard - Microsoft

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K to 12
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Microsoft Whiteboard is a digital online whiteboard web tool that integrates with Microsoft 365 Education products. The whiteboard includes features for adding collaborators through...more
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Microsoft Whiteboard is a digital online whiteboard web tool that integrates with Microsoft 365 Education products. The whiteboard includes features for adding collaborators through Teams or by email invitation. Use the tools on the whiteboard to draw, type, add images, and much more. Your whiteboards save automatically to the cloud for easy access at any time or from any device. Sign in to your school's Microsoft 365 account or follow the directions to download the app for Windows or iOS. The download provides additional resources beyond what is available on school accounts.

tag(s): collaboration (78), iwb (30)

In the Classroom

Use Microsoft Whiteboard to collaborate with students to share and organize information instantly. Use the whiteboard through Microsoft's Teams to differentiate instruction with groups of students. Allow students to create collaborative drawings as responses to literature. They can map out the plot or themes, add labels, create character studies, and more. Share the finished products on an interactive whiteboard, projector, or your class website. Have a group of students create a drawing so that another group can use it as a writing prompt. Use the whiteboard as a brainstorming or sketching space as groups (or the class) share ideas for a major project or for solving a real-world problem. Use this site in a computer lab (or on laptops) to create a drawing of the setting in a story as it is read aloud. As an assessment idea, have students draw out a simple cartoon with stick figures to explain a more complex process such as how democracy works. If you are lucky enough to teach in a BYOD setting, have a blended classroom, or are distance teaching, use Microsoft Whiteboard to demonstrate and illustrate any concept while students use the chat and drawing tools to interact in real-time. If you are studying weather, have students diagram the layers of the atmosphere and what happens during a thunderstorm, for example. Introduce this tool to students who are working on group projects. Alternatively, have students use this to work as partners or as a small team to complete complex math problems or equations. Give students a question by typing it on their whiteboard.

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Microsoft PowerPoint Online - Microsoft Office

Grades
K to 12
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If you don't have a Microsoft Office subscription, no need to worry, access and create PowerPoints online with the free version found at the Office Online site. Start from scratch ...more
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If you don't have a Microsoft Office subscription, no need to worry, access and create PowerPoints online with the free version found at the Office Online site. Start from scratch with a blank presentation or choose from the many templates on the site. After selecting a template, add text, images, draw, and incorporate all of the features of PowerPoint. The default option includes the Simplified (single line) Ribbon, turn it off to view the enhanced Ribbon with additional customization options. PowerPoints created at the online site save automatically to your OneDrive account that is accessible from any device. Use the share link to copy the link and email your presentation.

tag(s): multimedia (51), slides (53)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free PowerPoint option to incorporate into many different classroom uses. Share this option with students who don't have access to a free Office account. Use PowerPoint to create interactive lessons that include video, images, and links to additional resources. Create and share PowerPoint presentations on your class website with notes and demonstrations from classroom activities. Ask students to create presentations to share learning with peers. Consider creating a class account for students to use when collaborating on projects. Extend learning further by embedding a PowerPoint within a Sway, reviewed here, presentation as part of any multimedia project.

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Synth - Brian Lamb

Grades
K to 12
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Synth describes itself as a "bite-sized podcasting platform." Use this site to create audio recordings up to 256 seconds in length, then combine those recordings into a podcast. Think...more
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Synth describes itself as a "bite-sized podcasting platform." Use this site to create audio recordings up to 256 seconds in length, then combine those recordings into a podcast. Think of it as similar to a series of Tweets, but in an audio format. To create a recording, select the Podcast link then select create a podcast. Podcasts start in private mode by default, change sharing options after publishing your work. Synth also provides the opportunity for recording video from your webcam and the ability to add a transcription of recordings into the podcast. Invite participants to contribute by sharing the URL, the session code, or use the embed code to embed into your website or blog.

tag(s): podcasts (62), video (272)

In the Classroom

Before using Synth with your classroom, be sure to practice setting up and sharing podcasts created with this tool. One way to practice is to set up a podcast with teachers in your building or district as a professional development opportunity. Create a "slow chat" discussing ideas for literature, thematic lessons, or professional book talks. Once you are comfortable using Synth with students, create exit tickets for students to reflect, enhance their learning, and discuss the day's lesson. Synth allows students to engage critical thinking by adding web links to recordings. Ask students to share their opinion on any subject and include a web address to support their conclusion. Have students extend their learning by embedding a Synth podcast into a multimedia presentation created with a tool like Sway, reviewed here, and create an interactive discussion on the topic. Instead of using your standard pre-assessment materials, replace these with Synth and engage students by sharing their knowledge (or what they would like to learn) as a quick way to gauge what students already know.

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Global Problem Solvers - Cisco

Grades
4 to 8
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Global Problem Solvers is a free program designed as a supplemental resource for grades 4-8 to teach global social responsibility. The program features two seasons of materials with...more
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Global Problem Solvers is a free program designed as a supplemental resource for grades 4-8 to teach global social responsibility. The program features two seasons of materials with seven episodes per season. Within each episode, Global Problem Solvers travels the world in videos solving problems while encouraging participants to become problem-solvers and critical thinkers. The series includes teacher's guides for both seasons, storyboards, and scripts.

tag(s): character education (56), critical thinking (119), cross cultural understanding (148), Problem Based Learning (7), problem solving (284), sociology (24)

In the Classroom

Include the videos and materials with your current lessons using problem-solving skills. View videos together as a class and have students work in groups to discuss questions found in the teacher's guide. This resource lends itself to problem based learning: Have students find an image of a current global problem and use Thinglink, reviewed here, to add text, videos, and audio to discuss the problem and address possible solutions. Explore global issues further in depth with Google My Maps, reviewed here. Add pins onto Google Maps to share specific problems around the world and have students post their ideas for helping those in need.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Adobe Spark for Education - Adobe

Grades
K to 12
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Adobe Spark offers this version of it's popular presentation tool, reviewed here, specifically for education. Use Spark to create web pages, video...more
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Adobe Spark offers this version of it's popular presentation tool, reviewed here, specifically for education. Use Spark to create web pages, video presentations, and graphics using the available templates and graphics tools. The Education version provides enhanced data privacy, the ability for students to log in with an existing school id, and school administration of accessibility features. In addition, Spark for Education includes many lessons for all grade levels. Spark is available through your school's Adobe Admin Counsel if your IT team already uses Adobe products. If not, follow directions on the site to set up and begin using this tool.

tag(s): blogs (77), creative writing (151), multimedia (51), posters (46), video (272)

In the Classroom

Use Spark for Education to create videos of student presentations for any subject. Create videos of images taken during science experiments and class field trips to share on your website. Enhance student learning by asking students to create infographics explaining facts and information about states, countries, planets, and more. Have students create interactive posters, book report covers, invitations, and flyers to promote school events. Spark offers many possibilities for graphics and redefining student learning by having students create multimedia presentations in all classrooms.

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TeachersFirst Reading Treks - Make Learning a Journey - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Your students can visit the world and build their background knowledge when they choose to read a book in conjunction with Reading Treks. Find fiction and informational books at every...more
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Your students can visit the world and build their background knowledge when they choose to read a book in conjunction with Reading Treks. Find fiction and informational books at every reading level. Each Reading Trek unit has a downloadable PDF with Common Core State Standards, ISTE Standards, Grade Level, Ideas and Activities for using the Reading Trek in class, and a list of Helpful Resources. There is also a Google Maps (KMZ) file. Under the About TeachersFirst Reading Treks on the home page find step-by-step instructions for when you're ready to use a Reading Trek. TeachersFirst is just getting started creating Treks for books. Do you have a suggestion? Select Suggest a Trek from the left menu to let us know about it. We'd love to hear from you!

tag(s): independent reading (116), maps (292), reading comprehension (132), reading lists (74)

In the Classroom

These units are perfect for use with a whole-class novel, literature circles, or individual reading! Ask students to keep a journal about what they are reading and learning. Replace traditional paper and pen journals using an easy virtual journaling tool such as Penzu, reviewed here. With Penzu you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. If you are conducting literature circles a good tool to use for small group assignments and communication is Asana, reviewed here, or Edmodo, reviewed here. For students or student groups to share their book with their peers, challenge them to enhance their learning and design an interactive multimedia poster using Genial.ly, reviewed here.

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Flipgrid - Charlie Miller & Brad Hosack

Grades
K to 12
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Flipgrid joined with Microsoft and now everything is FREE! Flipgrid is a video discussion tool with capabilities for sharing student responses through video. Click the Educator Login...more
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Flipgrid joined with Microsoft and now everything is FREE! Flipgrid is a video discussion tool with capabilities for sharing student responses through video. Click the Educator Login and then create an account from there. Begin by creating a grid and personalizing settings to fit your needs. Easy-to-follow directions guide you through the process of setting up a video response. When finished, use links to share the URL or embed your Flipgrid into a website. Students access your Flipgrid using the access code provided when sharing your topic, with the customized QR code, or through the unique URL created. Be sure to investigate ideas from other educators in the Disco Library. If you want your class to go global, check out the #GridPals resource and the GridPals guide.

tag(s): assessment (129), DAT device agnostic tool (172), Microsoft (80), video (272)

In the Classroom

Flipgrid is a versatile tool for use in any subject. Create prompts for students to respond to about anything and everything. Challenge students to reflect on their learning at the end of a unit, research project, or literature circle. Here are just a few example questions to ask: What are some things you did well on this assignment? What mistakes did you make on your last assignment that you did not make on today's assignment? What would you do differently? What would you like to learn more about?

For professional use, create a topic for peers to discuss. Ideas might include discussing concerns with implementing new technology or curriculum. Have fellow teachers share articles of interest from professional journals. Use Flipgrid to implement a book talk on a topic of interest.

Use Flipgrid as a follow-up for a flipped or blended learning assignment. Ask students to explain what they understand and/or still don't understand about a concept. You can review the responses before class the next day. Use it as an exit "slip" before students leave class or as a warm up at the beginning of class (what do they remember about the lesson taught yesterday). World language students can practice speaking in their new language and choose the best video to turn in to their teacher. Student or teacher can explain a series of steps in an assignment or concept, one at a time (great for differentiation). Math students can explain the steps they took to solve a problem and why. Art students can explain a creation, either theirs or a famous artists - talking about techniques. Music students can perform and explain their learning, or reflect on their performance.

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Wakelet - Jamil Khalil

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K to 12
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Create, curate, and share web content with Wakelet. Save online links, including articles, videos, tweets, and more then organize them into collections called wakes. Share collections...more
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Create, curate, and share web content with Wakelet. Save online links, including articles, videos, tweets, and more then organize them into collections called wakes. Share collections with a personalized link or use the embed code to embed anywhere online. Use the keyword search to explore and view wakes created by other Wakelet members. Save information from other wakes to your account for use in your own wakes. To make your wakes more distinctive, add a cover image, background, and choose the layout you prefer. Wakelet works smoothly with many apps such as Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, and FlipGrid, just to name a few.

tag(s): bookmarks (54), collaboration (78), DAT device agnostic tool (172), multimedia (51), news (260), social media (43), social networking (91)

In the Classroom

The possibilities for using Wakelet in the classroom are endless! Create collections with tips for writing in different genres, current events, information about specific countries or cities, math games, and much more. Have students set up their own wakes as part of a research project. Put together a wake scavenger hunt to introduce a new unit or as a review at the end of a unit. Share wakes on your class web page for student use at home to review and practice class content. Having the ability to have a cover image and background for your wakes makes them much more interesting and easily identifiable, especially for young or visual students!

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Global Virtual Classroom - AT&T and Give Something Back International Foundation

Grades
1 to 12
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Join the Global Virtual Classroom (GVC) and bring students from other regions and countries into your classroom - virtually! Global Virtual Classroom has been around for a long time...more
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Join the Global Virtual Classroom (GVC) and bring students from other regions and countries into your classroom - virtually! Global Virtual Classroom has been around for a long time and has learned what is needed to create global citizens. They've done everything for you from Lessons, Resources, and a Web Design Contest, to directions for becoming part of the community, providing a list of other educators who would like to participate, and a Clubhouse for your students. Be sure to register by mid September each year!

tag(s): competitions (13), cross cultural understanding (148), cultures (116), wikis (17)

In the Classroom

Take students to another place, encourage them to understand other cultures and create global citizens by signing up to join GVC. After introducing GVC on an interactive whiteboard or projector, create a quick poll (with no membership required) using SurveyRock, reviewed here, to vote for which country or region to communicate with and share information. Begin a blog for each student to share reflections using a blog tool like Edublog, reviewed here. Consider asking the partner teacher to have their students blog, too, and encourage students to respond to each others' blogs. Students' writing improves when they have an authentic audience. Haven't started blogging yet? Check out TeachersFirst's Blog Basics.

Another idea would be to use a projector and Padlet, reviewed here, and use their columns feature to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge about the culture with whom students will be working. Padlet creates virtual bulletin boards. Once the project is underway, go back to Padlet occasionally, and add what students learned and whether it coincides with their original ideas. Before culminating the project, ask the partner class if they will fill in the areas and ideas missed on your Padlet. Consider starting a lunch time or after school club for students to have more time to participate in the Clubhouse.

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Story Maker - ABCya

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K to 6
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Create simple and easy stories using ABCya's Story Maker. Without registering, draw a picture using the many drawing tools provided. Type the story, and add pages for a longer...more
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Create simple and easy stories using ABCya's Story Maker. Without registering, draw a picture using the many drawing tools provided. Type the story, and add pages for a longer story. Once finished, print in PDF format. This tool is so easy Pre-K students can use it. Since all pictures are hand drawn your older artists will love it, too.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), drawing (75), writing (356)

In the Classroom

Story Maker is so simple very young students can use it successfully after a demonstration on a whiteboard or with a projector. Use this tool to design simple projects using student drawings to tell the story. At the beginning of the year have students draw and annotate stories to tell about their summer and share with classmates. Students of any age love to draw, so why not enhance their learning by having them draw their impression of a message to the reader from a story and then explain it in writing on Story Maker?
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Sway - Microsoft

Grades
3 to 12
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Use Sway to create interactive presentations across all devices. Drag and drop content from your device, social networks, and the web directly onto your Sway canvas. Log in using your...more
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Use Sway to create interactive presentations across all devices. Drag and drop content from your device, social networks, and the web directly onto your Sway canvas. Log in using your Microsoft account to begin or create a new account using your email and a password. Add content to your storyline using links to add text, images, and media. Change the look of your Sway using the Design a tools to change the color palette, layout, and fonts. When finished, click the Share button for options to share to Facebook, Twitter, URL, or copy the embed code. Sway will work on any device with a modern Internet browser and an Internet connection. They also have an iOS app. The introduction video and tutorials are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), Microsoft (80), multimedia (51), slides (53), visualizations (15)

In the Classroom

Use Sway as an alternative to Prezi or PowerPoint presentations. Sway is perfect for use in your BYOD or 1:1 classroom. Use during your presentations to increase student engagement and interaction. Check understanding of your ESL/ELL students by having them respond or pose questions throughout the presentation. Enhance student learning and understanding by sharing with students for them to use during their own presentations, inviting other students to comment and answer questions. During Open House night with parents, demonstrate how Sway provides interaction. Use Sway during professional development presentations to invite discussions from colleagues.

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Classtools Twister: Create Fake Tweets - Classtools

Grades
6 to 12
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Create a fake tweet and Twitter wall quickly and easily by entering minimal information. Enter a (fake) user name, full name of the person you are impersonating, your tweet, and ...more
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Create a fake tweet and Twitter wall quickly and easily by entering minimal information. Enter a (fake) user name, full name of the person you are impersonating, your tweet, and a date to show on the tweet. Your tweet will appear on a wall with an image of that person ready to share through links provided at the bottom of the page. Twister also includes several ideas for consideration when creating an update such as possible hashtags and most important moments to include. Share via social networks or simply COPY the URL of your finished Twister page to share it. There is also an option to save as a PDF for easy printing.

tag(s): creative writing (151), digital storytelling (144), social networking (91)

In the Classroom

Share examples found at this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to demonstrate possible uses. This site is wonderful for creating interest in many subjects. It is perfect for the social studies classroom as a quick end of class review or homework assignment to summarize each day's lesson. Write about presidents, founding fathers, famous scientists or artists, a Civil War soldier, and much more. Use Twister to study literature, create an update for the central character, book's author, or the setting of the book or play. For a unique twist in science class, create a Twister update for a periodic element or another science topic. Use the update to describe "the life" of that atom or element. The possibilities within the classroom are endless (as is the creativity and engagement)! In World language classes, have students do this activity (about themselves) in the new language they are learning. Create a Twister update for the first day of school to introduce yourself to students or at Open House for parents. In the media center, have students create twister pages for authors or about favorite books. Challenge students to create and share an update about themselves during the first week of school.

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Arcademic Skill Builders - Arcademics

Grades
1 to 9
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Looking for engaging interactives for math, language arts, geography, and even more? Look no further than this colorful site. These activities are great ways to build skills and work...more
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Looking for engaging interactives for math, language arts, geography, and even more? Look no further than this colorful site. These activities are great ways to build skills and work on math and language arts concepts for all students. The activities are divided into multi-player and single-player games in such categories as "Addition and Subtraction," "Multiplication and Division," and "Fraction and Ratios." There are also language arts interactives! At the bottom of the page, click on How it Works to see how to enroll your students, assign games, and keep track of student progress. Be sure to view the comments under the Case Studies on the top menu to find innovative ways that teachers have used the games in classrooms. Arcademics uses HTML5, so you can use any device with a web browser. Find apps for Android and iOS, too. HTML5 allows students to play together from any device, anywhere; this means students can play some of the games with classes around the world. Talk about collaboration! Need help? See the step by step instructions for troubleshooting available at the FAQ link. Access information for Standards, Research, and a game manual across the top of the website. To choose a game, roll your mouse over it to see its title, then click. Read the quick introduction to understand the activity. Provide direction in whether students should enter a player name or use the randomly generated name from the site. Choose to create a new game or join an existing game. Create a private game if you wish, which requires password creation. No email address or personal information is required for these excellent practice activities. There is a subscription (at a cost) offer for this site. This review is for the free portion of this resource.
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tag(s): addition (220), collaboration (78), DAT device agnostic tool (172), division (155), fractions (233), multiplication (206), ratios (67), subtraction (182), verbs (36), vision (78), vowels (12)

In the Classroom

Use these games for individual practice for students who need extra help. The instant feedback provides great learning opportunities for students and builds confidence. Group students in multi-player games that is engaging and interactive. Focus on students' honing skills, building confidence and working together as a group of learners. Use these activities with an interactive whiteboard or projector to elicit large group participation or when computers are limited. Provide this link on your class website, for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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