TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jun 27, 2021

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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The 1619 Project - The New York Times Magazine

Grades
5 to 12
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The 1619 Project is a long-term project of The New York Times Magazine led by author Nikole Hannah-Jones that focuses on American History through the lens of slavery and Black ...more
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The 1619 Project is a long-term project of The New York Times Magazine led by author Nikole Hannah-Jones that focuses on American History through the lens of slavery and Black America's contributions. Scroll through the interactive to find photographic and text essays shared by many of the project's contributors. Essays include a focus on black music's contributions, musings on the effect of segregation, impacts of health care policies, and much more. A PDF version of the 1619 Project is available here.

tag(s): 1600s (15), 1700s (34), 1800s (56), 1900s (50), 20th century (48), american revolution (73), black history (81), civil war (128), colonial america (92), slavery (54)

In the Classroom

Include information from this project with any American History lessons to provide additional perspectives and viewpoints beyond those found in typical curriculums. Take advantage of the many lesson ideas available at The Pulitzer Center's 1619 Project Curriculum, reviewed here, along with the in the classroom ideas found in the review. Help students begin to think about the ideas found in the project by posing questions using Answer Garden, reviewed here. Answer Garden is a simple feedback tool that allows participants to share a question, then curate and share responses in a way similar to a brainstorming session. Include The 1619 Project with other resources by curating and sharing them using Wakelet, reviewed here. Ask individual students or groups of students to choose an interesting portion of this project to research further. Enhance their learning by having them share their findings and research using a multimedia presentation tool such as Sway, reviewed here, or with an interactive timeline created with History in Motion, reviewed here.

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Weill Music Institute Education - Carnegie Hall

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K to 12
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Weill Music Institute (WMI) provides free and low-cost educational programs that support music learning worldwide. Free offerings include recordings of live stream concerts from Carnegie...more
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Weill Music Institute (WMI) provides free and low-cost educational programs that support music learning worldwide. Free offerings include recordings of live stream concerts from Carnegie Hall, family resources including activities and videos for all ages, and resources for music educators. Browse through the educator resources divided into three sections - grades K-5, grades 6-12, and professional development. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.

tag(s): black history (81), cross cultural understanding (145), cultures (97), music theory (35), musical instruments (37)

In the Classroom

Use the Weill Music Institute's free resources to provide music education to students as part of your music education curriculum or within your role as a classroom teacher. For example, as part of social studies lessons about countries worldwide, be sure to see the activity for learning about countries through song. Many resources feature videos; engage and enhance instruction by adding questions and comments to videos using Vibby, reviewed here. If your district blocks YouTube, flip your classroom and have students watch the Vibby/Youtube videos at home. Include activities as part of a larger learning unit that includes online information, quizzes, and additional videos using a learning delivery platform such as Blendspace, reviewed here. Blendspace provides simple to use tools that make it easy to share a variety of resources with students and differentiate instruction.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Famous African Americans - Famous African Americans.org

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6 to 12
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From the little known to the very famous, these people all have something in common: they have all made significant contributions to American history. Though far from complete, the...more
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From the little known to the very famous, these people all have something in common: they have all made significant contributions to American history. Though far from complete, the list has hundreds of names (listed alphabetically by their first names) and a wealth of categories from sports, singers, actors, writers, activists, scientists, politicians, and everything in between. Every person has a picture and a biography. If that isn't enough, investigate this site's engaging blog topics like 6 Must-See Malcolm X Posters, Top 10 Most Famous Black Actors of All Time, Top 10 Richest African Americans, and plenty more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): african american (92), biographies (86), black history (81)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent site to use as part of a biography unit to match biographies to individual student interests. Allow students to choose a category. Have them read several biographies from that category, then research an African American that hasn't been included on this site. Have students use these biographies as a model to write about the person they researched. Instead of writing down information, ask students to use Google Docs or Microsoft Word to begin research. Using these online documents affords many benefits, including the ability to add comments, highlight information, and add links to online information. Once research is underway, suggest that students use a bookmarking tool like SearchTeam, reviewed here, to organize information. SearchTeam includes the ability to add notes to bookmarks, making it easy for students to label and add information for later use. As a final project and to extend student learning, ask students to create their own book using OurBoox, reviewed here, that includes images, videos, and text. Math teachers could have students figure out which category has the most people in it, or what percentage of the site is dedicated to the category they are interested in.

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Drumeo - Musora Media, Inc.

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1 to 12
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Learn how to master the drums free with Drumeo. The drum lessons include setting up your drums, reading sheet music, understanding basic music theory, mastering your first song,...more
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Learn how to master the drums free with Drumeo. The drum lessons include setting up your drums, reading sheet music, understanding basic music theory, mastering your first song, and more. Each lesson includes downloadable sheet music (PDF) and a video to get you well on your way! Three different instructors will inspire you with each of their musical talents and lesson content. Additional resources make your drum experience complete.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): multiple intelligences (8), music theory (35), musical instruments (37), musical notation (32)

In the Classroom

Capture students' interest using Drumeo. Pull in your reluctant learners while emphasizing concentration, math concepts in sheet music, and building confidence. Offer as an after school option that will grab your students' interest. Highlight multiple intelligences and make all of your students shine. When your students create a multimedia project and need to add sound without violating copyrights, create your own! Use this site as an example of real world math in practice!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Justin Guitar - Justn Guitar

Grades
4 to 12
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Pick up the guitar and go to your free online video lessons. Begin your free study by discovering how to choose the best guitar for you. Learn the correct body ...more
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Pick up the guitar and go to your free online video lessons. Begin your free study by discovering how to choose the best guitar for you. Learn the correct body posture and fingering while discovering the optimal practice schedule. Progress into beginners' lessons on chords, music theory, and rhythm. Challenge yourself in the intermediate course with scales, chords, and many different musical patterns. Move forward to blues, jazz, folk, rock and metal, and songwriting modules. Along the way, products are available for purchase. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): multiple intelligences (8), music theory (35), musical instruments (37), musical notation (32)

In the Classroom

Spark students' interest in guitar playing by encouraging free online guitar lessons. Offer as a challenge to gifted students, and have them teach other students. Highlight students multiple intelligences and let them shine! Make up a tune to go along with a multimedia presentation. Then, show students how to embed media transforming their work by uploading it to a digital storytelling using Beautiful.AI, reviewed here, or a digital story using a video tool like Biteable, reviewed here, and then you have no worries with copyright. Tune up after school clubs with a little music. Make your music class come alive with guitars and free lessons. Share a link to this site on your class website for parents to use at home.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Virtual Musical Instruments - Virtual Musical Instruments

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K to 12
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Bring the world of music and instruments into your classroom. With Virtual Musical Instruments, you can explore the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, or bongos. Select the instrument,...more
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Bring the world of music and instruments into your classroom. With Virtual Musical Instruments, you can explore the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, or bongos. Select the instrument, and follow the directions for using the keyboard to play the different notes. Create different melodies using different notes or rhythms. Use the guitar tuner to be sure you are in tune. There is no record option on this tool. If you want to record your beat, there are many alternative options (such as using a cell phone, or an old-fashioned recorder).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): makerspace (43), music theory (35), musical instruments (37)

In the Classroom

Virtual Musical Instruments opens up the world of music into many other subjects. In music class, discover the different instruments, sounds, and rhythms the virtual instruments can produce. Allow your students to make their own compositions. Challenge them to determine a way to give the directions for their composition to another person so that they can repeat the original piece. In language arts class, discuss mood in literature. Determine the instruments used, the rhythms, and sounds needed to make that effect. During Readers' Theater, add a musical score for more excitement and engagement with further analysis of the text. Have students create a musical composition that tells a story. Now, play that musical story for the class, and turn it into a writing prompt. Use musical sounds and beats to illustrate the concepts of literature and the use of plot. Determine a melody for each character. Write to explain why each character has that musical composition. Math class brings the study of fractions with types of notes: whole note, half note, quarter note, and eighth notes. Let students create a musical sentence that represents them and write to explain why. Use whatever recording option is most practical in your classroom.

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Royalty Free Music - Kevin MacLeod

Grades
3 to 12
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Royalty Free Music provides music in several genres for free download to your computer. Choose from genres such as African, Modern, or Soundtracks, as well as different "feels" such...more
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Royalty Free Music provides music in several genres for free download to your computer. Choose from genres such as African, Modern, or Soundtracks, as well as different "feels" such as humorous or intense to start your search. Each piece includes a short description including instruments, play time, and tempo. Listen to each selection before deciding to download. (Some also include a link to a "video" plays the tune with visual annotations). Choose the download button to save to your computer. Some selections also include a YouTube link for video viewing. Click the "More" button for complete credits and licensing information. Be sure to give proper credit when you use one of these downloads!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): copyright (44), sound (70), sounds (45)

In the Classroom

You might want to share this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) before student use to demonstrate how to use the search and how to work around the many advertisements on the site. Play musical selections for students to "name the instrument" or talk about musical elements and styles in music class. Have partners explore the site to find examples of different rhythms or styles they prefer. Use Royalty Free Music for soft background music during quiet work times in your classroom. Share with students for use in multimedia presentations. Try sharing this resource with students when they are creating podcasts, slideshows, and other media projects. This would also be great for performance groups such as drama clubs or musicals that need background music. Use background music for poetry readings during poetry month. Have them try making a "sound rebus" story on your class wiki, with words and sound links to tell what happens. Download sound effects and add them, worry-free, to projects or productions. Make sure students realize that "royalty free" does not dismiss the need to give proper credit for their source!

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Wolfram Tones - Wolfram Research Labs

Grades
6 to 12
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Wolfram Tones is a different and dynamic approach to thinking about music. Instantly create music and download it to your computer. Choose tone style, select a variation, and adjust...more
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Wolfram Tones is a different and dynamic approach to thinking about music. Instantly create music and download it to your computer. Choose tone style, select a variation, and adjust the tone by using the generator, instrumentation, pitch mapping, or time controls. Save your "tone" to your collection or email it to friends. Your collection is associated to the computer where you make it using web browser cookies so no registration is necessary. Tones are packaged as midi files. Mathematical rules create these complex forms of music on Wolfram Tones. The program takes the mathematical pattern and turns it onto its side to produce a musical score. Here, the height of the pattern is the pitch of the note. More than just a musical resource, this website allows you to see and hear math.

tag(s): music theory (35), musical instruments (37), patterns (63), sound (70), sounds (45)

In the Classroom

In math class, have students choose and analyze a musical pattern as part of a unit on algorithms. Have them change the parameters using the program controls to produce a sound that they like. Then have them relate the changes they hear to the changes in the math. In music class, have students create their own portfolio of music using Wolfram Tones. Encourage students to replicate their tones with their own musical instruments. Your talented math/music students and gifted students will love this site! Be sure to share the link on your class web page for easy access.

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Africa Focus: Sights and Sounds of a Continent - University of Wisconsin Digital Collections

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3 to 12
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Africa Focus offers a wealth of digital images and sound recordings from contemporary Africa. This collection from the University of Wisconsin contains more than 3000 slides, 500 photographs,...more
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Africa Focus offers a wealth of digital images and sound recordings from contemporary Africa. This collection from the University of Wisconsin contains more than 3000 slides, 500 photographs, and 50 hours of sounds from 45 different countries. Click Search the Collection to see image categories which include artisans, buildings and structures, cities and towns, education, landscape, religion, and women. Sound recordings include drums, greetings, rites and ceremonies, songs, and signing. The site is easily searched by keyword or by subject heading.

tag(s): africa (136), air (106), architecture (62), black history (81)

In the Classroom

Teachers will find this site rich in resources for units on science, social studies, geography, architecture, music, art, and culture. Make Africa a "real" place by sharing on a projector as you share stories or learn about homes ("Structures") and habitats or landforms ("Landscape") with younger students. Use the sound recordings for lessons on oral history, myths, languages, and music. Assign student groups a topic area, which they can research and present to the class as a PowerPoint or another multi-media format using an interactive whiteboard or projector.

Images, text, or other content downloaded from the collection may be freely used for non-profit educational and research purposes under Fair Use. That means that you may NOT put them on the web in a public site, blog, or wiki, since you would not be limiting access to class members. If you want students to create blog or wiki pages, create passworded access for class members only to areas displaying these images and resources. Check the website for instructions on how students can cite this source in their bibliographies.

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A People's Journey, A Nation's Story - African American History and Culture - Smithsonian

Grades
6 to 12
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The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted to documentation of African-American life in the United States. Explore the virtual museum...more
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The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted to documentation of African-American life in the United States. Explore the virtual museum through collections, exhibitions, stories, and more. Search collections by topic, era, or name to view artifacts including photographs, maps, and much more.

tag(s): africa (136), african american (92), black history (81)

In the Classroom

This site is a great tool for individual research, add this site to your teacher web page so students can access it from home. Replace paper and pencil and use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here from Classtools, to compare information from different time periods or locations in the United States. Enhance learning by having cooperative learning groups create podcasts providing information about African-American life throughout the years, or as a newscast from one particular time or event. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.

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Gullah Net - South Carolina ETV

Grades
4 to 8
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Gullah is the unique culture of African Americans living on and along the coastal waters of South Carolina and Georgia. This site offers a look at the traditions, customs, and ...more
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Gullah is the unique culture of African Americans living on and along the coastal waters of South Carolina and Georgia. This site offers a look at the traditions, customs, and folk tales of the Gullah people in a treatment that students will find both respectful and entertaining. Try it as an example of a regional American culture, or as part of a study of African American history. Find Gullah lesson plans, music and tales in video format.

tag(s): africa (136), african american (92), black history (81), georgia (3)

In the Classroom

Use the stories and materials on this site as a writing prompt. Open the site and introduce it on the interactive whiteboard or projector before allowing students to explore it individually. Allow students to listen to the stories in groups or individually on classroom computers. Once students have explored the Gullah Tales, have them create their own stories on the website. The stories students can create on the site have pre-determined story titles and themes, making them more appropriate for lower-level readers. However, if there are a lot of advanced students in your class, use a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. This allows them to be a little more creative and put more work into designing their books. An interesting site for English class!

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The Blues - PBS

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6 to 12
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The PBS series on "The Blues" combines history and musicology in a reverential treatment of this uniquely American musical form. The site includes biographies, some good analysis of...more
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The PBS series on "The Blues" combines history and musicology in a reverential treatment of this uniquely American musical form. The site includes biographies, some good analysis of the musical theory and compositional form behind the blues, and samples of blues songs that are in the public domain. While you probably cannot make an entire unit out of this one, it would be a neat addition to a unit on African American culture, American music, or the history of the twentieth century.Though the video clips and music require Flash, there is a lot of information to learn from this site, and it has links to other sites about the blues.

tag(s): africa (136), african american (92), blues (16), harlem (6), jazz (10)

In the Classroom

A true American art form, "the Blues," makes a great interdisciplinary study, and this site's lesson plans provide a well-researched foundation for that study. Our only regret is that sites on this subject so rarely include sound files for the music they're describing. You and your students could explore the Blues music offered at Perfect Blues: 1920s, 30s and 40s Vintage Blues; Duke Ellington; Leadbelly, reviewed here. There are still the biographies and resources list available on this PBS site. Enhance student learning by having students select a blues musician to complete a brief biography on, using the list provided on this site as a starting point. There is plenty of information, and students with little inspiration are sure to find someone of interest here. Enhance learning by having students share what they learn using Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here, an easy to use free tool for creating infographics using pre-designed templates or by starting from scratch.

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Jazz in America - Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Grades
6 to 12
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The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz offers Lesson Plans for grades 5-11 and a wealth of information. Click on the Jazz Resources and you'll discover a rich collection of biographies,...more
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The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz offers Lesson Plans for grades 5-11 and a wealth of information. Click on the Jazz Resources and you'll discover a rich collection of biographies, background information, musicology, and other jazz-related information. The content includes some really in-depth analysis of different jazz musical styles. Both music and social studies teachers will find plenty of material here.

tag(s): africa (136), african american (92), blues (16), harlem (6), jazz (10)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans offered on this site! The lesson plans are meant to be taught in American history classes, so search and see how this site can benefit your classroom. Make sure and save this one as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Smithsonian Jazz - Smithonian Institution

Grades
2 to 12
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Designed to both inspire and teach, the Smithsonian's Jazz site offers several online instructional modules that do a nice job of introducing the history and structural elements of...more
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Designed to both inspire and teach, the Smithsonian's Jazz site offers several online instructional modules that do a nice job of introducing the history and structural elements of jazz. Students can learn about particular composers and performers, and how their work built on the experiences of other jazz musicians.

tag(s): africa (136), african american (92), jazz (10)

In the Classroom

Use the audio on this site to supplement a lecture or class discussion about the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz era. Click Education from the left menu then use the next menu on the left to allow students to explore an area of interest. Enhance learning by having students use Flipgrid, reviewed here, to share what they learned and comment on their peers' contributions.

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