Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomSince news sources often generate specialized but temporary web resources just in time for Inauguration Day (January 20), you will want to use these resources in combination with a Google News search for the most timely information, such as news articles and images. Assign older students to compare historical background and current practice in a chosen aspect of the inauguration and create a multimedia presentation, wiki page, or mock "news" video about the day's events. Share selected images and explanation with younger students using your projector or interactive whiteboard.
GradesK to 12
If you wish to choose from a more extensive list election-related resources or to narrow your list for a specific topic and grade level, try entering your topic and elections as search terms in the TeachersFirst keyword search (under Search menu), setting the grade level you seek, as well.
tag(s): elections (73)
In the ClassroomUse this handy "spcial topics" collection to find just the right student activity or reference information when you are studying elections. You can also share it on your teacher web page as an "approved" list of election resources for home and school study.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomPodomatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. Teachers using this tool with younger students should do so under supervision and with a teacher-controlled account. You will want to supervise or establish consequences so students do not spend time on the public areas of the site and instead proceed to creating their podcasts. This is an opportunity to teach about digital citizenship and safety, such as steering clear of interaction and avoiding sharing any identifiable information about yourself in a podcast. You may want to share the links to class podcasts only with your students and parents. If you have students record podcasts as assignments, you may need multiple accounts because the free accounts have limited file space. An elementary teacher might have enough space for 25 students to keep a limited number of products on his/her own account, depending upon length.
Create regular or special podcasts to share on your class web page or wiki. Create a mini cast of images taken during a lab or a portfolio of images from a photography, art, or any other class. Add music and share as part of a digital portfolio. More ideas: record class assignments or directions, record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home, adding a touch of blended learning to your classroom! Have readers (perhaps older buddies) build fluency by recording selected passages for your non-readers. Launch a service project for your fifth or sixth graders to record stories for the kindergarten to use in their reading and listening center. Have students create "you are there" recordings as "eyewitnesses" to historical or current events, Make a weekly class podcast, with students taking turns writing and sharing the "Class News." Have students create radio advertisements for concepts studied in class (Buy Dynamic DNA!), Have students write and record their own stories or poetry in dramatic readings; language students or beginning readers could record their fluency by reading passages. Allow parents to hear their child's progress reading aloud, etc. Compare world language, speech articulation, or reading fluency at two points during the year. Have your Shakespeare students record a soliloquy. Write and record a poem for Father's or Mother's Day (or other special events) and send the URL as a gift to that special person.
If you have gifted students who lean toward the dramatic, this tool is simple enough for them to create dramatic mini casts without needing a video camera. They can collect images (think Compfight) and write a drama to accompany them, showing what they have learned in independent learning beyond the regular curriculum.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomA class journaling program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic from current events, current social issues, independent reading, literature, and more. Any class using a journal can use Penzu. For example, science lab write ups or the problem of the week in math. Penzu can even be used for homework. Just think, no more lugging heavy boxes full of notebooks around! In language arts have students journal daily and harvest from their musings and ideas to create a short story or a poem. They can even use Penzu to develop their brainstorms and rough draft. For social studies classes, students can write posts and ideas about famous people or daily life in a time period being studied, then create a "diary" for the famous person in Bookemon or a poster about daily life. For either of these ideas, once they are ready to present a final project have them use Bookemon, reviewed here, or Piktochart, reviewed here, to share with their peers and others and possibly add other media. See more ideas for student blogging/journaling at TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics for the Classroom. Share journals with parents as appropriate by URL. Be sure to respect student privacy before sharing.
GradesK to 12
Because there is no search feature and no descriptions of what the webcams show, do not have young children access them without supervision. Previewing all videos before sharing with the class would be wise.
In the ClassroomThis site would be a great addition to any science, social studies, or world cultures class. Teachers click on a webcam in different parts of the world to see things like weather and basic geography. In early elementary, use web cams to introduce the world visually on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Select specific web cams and create shortcuts on your classroom computer desktop for students to "see what's happening" on a certain continent as you study the seven continents. Use animal webcams for students to observe animal behavior and keep a "lab journal" of what they see. Use this site to visit different areas that have been effected by natural disasters. Share the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students (with a partner) create their own videos related to your location and/or specific topic of study. Share the videos using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades1 to 6
Be Aware: some links lead to subscription and shopping sites so students may need to be introduced to the site to be made aware of links to avoid.
In the ClassroomShare the latest polls with students and compare results to those found within your class. Create a link on classroom computers and allow students to read headlines and latest news then prepare a summary to present to the class. Have students use a multimedia tool such as Adobe Spark For Education, reviewed here. Follow students' favorite teams through the site to use as story starters and journal topics. Practice math by following statistics of Major League Baseball teams.
Grades3 to 12
Be aware: some of the ideas suggested in the "Tools" section do require the purchase of various software programs. The free audio stories in the "Storykeepers' Gallery" make this a fabulous site!
In the ClassroomUse your projector to show your students the categories for the different types of digital stories. Each type of story has a description. Once you,'''''''?,"''''''?ve shown your students the stories, have them choose a category and create their own digital story. Many of the tools and programs students will need to learn can be found at (this site) which explains how these programs work. You may want to use Fliggo (reviewed here) to post student's digital stories to the web.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomJoin XW1W with your class using a single Twitter account or any blog or wiki tool where you can share student answers to the weekly question. If you cannot access Twitter at school, that is not a problem. You do not even have to use Twitter (though this is a great way dip your toes into Twitter). See the FAQ page for specific hints on using XW1W with your students. Share the XW1W idea with teaching colleagues in other places, and perhaps even with families to try at home. Want to learn more about Twitter and teaching. See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.
GradesK to 12
There is an excellent tutorial for creating your own GoogleTrek that includes step-by-step directions with pictures. After creating a GoogleTrek, it can be posted to the site for others to use. Also included is a rubric that can be downloaded in pdf form. More information on Google Maps can be found at the TeachersFirst review. You can also view the maps in Google Earth. To learn more about Google Earth, see the TeachersFirst review (here).
tag(s): maps (294)
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore independently or in small groups. Older students can create their own GoogleTrek after viewing examples for any subject. To post the GoogleTrek, you must email the creator (directions are explicitly explained on the "Posting Your Own GoogleTrek" link. Have students create GoogleTrek's about Christmas Around the World, routes of explorers, famous landmarks, and important inventions. While presenting a GoogleTrek, have students identify points displayed on paper maps located at their seats.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse 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. Students can use this when researching alone or in groups, sharing files, videos, and pictures quickly from one computer to another. Have students write tasks for each member of the group on a sticky so that everyone has a responsibility. Show them how to copy/paste URLs for sources onto notes, too. Use Lino as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Use a Lino for students to submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on. Use it as a virtual graffiti wall for students to make connections between their world and curriculum content, such as "I wonder what the hall monitor would say finding Lady Macbeth washing her hands in the school restroom... and what Lady M would say back." (Of course, you will want to have a PG-13 policy for student comments!) Encourage students to maintain an idea collection lino for ideas and creative inspirations they may not have used yet but do not want to "lose." They can color code and organize ideas later or send the stickies to a new project board later. In writing or art classes, use lino as a virtual writer's journal or design a notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips. In science classes, encourage students to keep a lino board with (classroom appropriate) questions and "aside" thoughts about science concepts being studied and to use these ideas in later projects so their creative ideas are not 'lost" before project time. A lino board can also serve as a final online "display" for students to "show what they know" as the culmination of a research project. Add videos, images, and notes in a carefully arranged display not unlike an electronic bulletin board. This is also a great tool to help you stay "personally" organized. Use this site as a resource to share information with other teachers, parents, or students.
Grades4 to 8
tag(s): money (186)
In the ClassroomCreate a link at classroom computers or the computer lab to use as a center during an economics unit. Chart students' results and have a contest to see who can obtain the highest profits at the end of 30 days.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site with ESL/ELL learners as designed. Share the lessons on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If individual computers are available, have students view the lessons independently (with headsets) and create multimedia projects to demonstrate what they have learned. Have students create an interactive online poster using Genial.ly, reviewed here. Better yet, if students get used to the video and exercise formats, have them produce similar videos teaching a few lessons about their home cultures! Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube, reviewed here.
Special ed teachers and those seeking combination video/text lessons to use to teach listening/reading comprehension may find these lessons valuable, as well.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): inventors and inventions (89)
In the ClassroomChallenge students to create a list of useless inventions or to invent one of their own. Display the slide show on your interactive whiteboard or projector and discuss if students agree with a product's placement on the list. Generate a list of characteristics that would keep an invention OFF this list! Have students create commercials advertising their new product (or the one they researched). Challenge students to create a video commercial and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Write letters to the product's inventor to find out their feelings about being included on the list.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students brainstorm things they can do to go green in addition to the ones on the worksheets. Place the link to the site on your class webpage or in your class newsletter and have students choose a different topic throughout the school year to complete at home.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse as an enhancement to research projects of family, historic events, and world cultures by finding and uploading pictures to the map. Use Historypin as a resource to compare and contrast different time periods in the same geographic area. Demonstrate on the interactive whiteboard or projector how different places have changed over time. Have individual students or cooperative learning groups create podcasts using PodOmatic (reviewed here) to go along with the maps. ESL students will appreciate the ability to upload pictures and/or learn about their country of original.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this resource for some excellent background information. Search for more information on the Internet to determine facts and how these facts are used. Create Public Service Announcements outlining the key points. Create a campaign for making small changes in our lives that can add up to a big difference. Have students create multimedia presentations such as an interactive online poster using Visme, reviewed here. Research alternative energy sources and create proposals for change within your district.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the site with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work in cooperative groups and take part in the mock congress. They will develop critical thinking and collaboration skills as they research, draft, and pass original legislation. Use the downloadable campaign simulation software (free), and have your students role play and run a senatorial campaign.
br> If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.