Web Site of the Month

Check out the featured websites selected by Teacher Librarian columnist, Joanne Troutner,  troutner@mindspring.com.

Volume 40

April 2013

Helping Students Avoid Plagiarism (http://learni.st/users/maggiemessitt/boards/17689-helping-students-avoid-plagiarism?utm_source=LearnistMaster&utm_campaign=239ab82b4b-Learnist_Digest_35_03_26_2013&utm_medium=email)

This Learnist board is a great tool for helping students understand plagiarism. It begins with a quiz to see what students already know. Options for learning about the plagiarism policy in your school along tips for what information to cite are included. A wide range of tutorials, some of which are quite whimsical, are also presented.  A series of articles which describe teaching strategies for high school and college students round out the over twenty resources found on this one Learnist board.

March 2013

Storytelling with Maps (http://storymaps.esri.com/home/)

Explore ready made story maps as well as gather tools for having colleagues and students craft their own examples. A story map is designed to inform, education, and engage others to learn about a specific topic. The map incorporates multimedia and interactive functions. Learners can view examples at the site on topics such as the crisis in Syria, the information found via the four Rovers on Mars, a tour of the National Mall in Washington, DC, and many more. Templates for a range of story types can be downloaded and used as starting points for student creations.

January 2013

Photos of the Year (http://graphics.wsj.com/Photos-of-the-Year/2012/)

Access the excellent photographs from the Wall Street Journal at this site. Index options include date, category, top rated, and region.  Categories include religion, accidents, politics, nature, violence, sports, and more.  Each photo includes a concise caption and a link to the story where the picture was originally used.  This is another superb site to add to a toolbox for helping teach digital literacy.

December 2012

Seriously Amazing (http://seriouslyamazing.si.edu/)

This is a superb site for helping students develop questioning skills. Users will explore the vast amount of knowledge housed at the various Smithsonian museums as well as art, science, history, and culture by selecting questions.  For example, learn how hip-hop is like a microchip as you explore the study of innovation and invention. Or, discover what a bear really does in the woods by viewing a wide range of camera trap images at the Smithsonian Wild site.  As we approach a new realm of assessments which emphasize critical thinking, this site is a wonderful teaching tool.

November 2012

Teacher Resources from the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/teachers/)

Take time to explore this newly organized Library of Congress site. The ability to search for resources by Common Core, State Content, and Organization standards make the site worthy of a new look. The search option for Common Core provides access via grade and either English/Language Arts or Social Studies standards. A quick search for kindergarten in English/Language Arts reveals a primary source activity designed to practice the skills of asking and answering questions about key details in pictures and text.  Another search for tenth grade in Social Studies finds twenty-seven primary source resources that provide activities on the standard analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.  Be sure to share this one with your colleagues as a time saver!

October 2012

Reading Bear (http://www.readingbear.org/)

Explore this free and fun way to help learners with phonics and vocabulary.  Simply register with a working email address and begin looking at the range of video and slide presentations.  Each registration can have up to twenty free sub accounts, which are created without emails.  The work begins with learning the letters and their sounds.  A number of video versions of the alphabet song are available, as well as print materials.  Then the learner moves into the short vowel sounds.  Each sound has a slow and a quick version of the complete presentation.  Individual options for flash cards of the sounds and reviewing the sentences are found in the complete presentation.  Learner progress is tracked for the fifty presentations and available for viewing online.  This a superb resource to share with parents!

Volume 39

August 2012

Glean Learning Tools http://www.glean.org/

This site and collection of tools developed by the Public Learning Media Lab helps learners discover and hone a range of information literacy skills. The tools are designed for use by middle and high school students. Examine or re-examine the information literacy tools as you continue to hone your reference and information skills lessons.  Many of these tools will prove quite useful as the Common Core Standards and future assessment options our students will face starting in 2014. The site also includes a data literacy tool aimed at history learners and a range of math tools.

July 2012

Steve Spangler Science http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/video

Explore the wide range of science videos from this well know expert.  You will find a superb teaching tools and information from the person who is best know for the Mentos Geyer Experiment.  Topics range from building a light bulb to developing a volcano in a cup to creating a pizza box solar oven.  In addition, you can access Steve’s three You Tube channels—The Spangler Effect, Sick Science, and Spangler Science. Help your science colleagues to subscribe to these You Tube channels for myriad teaching opportunities.

April 2012

Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project http://archives.nelsonmandela.org/

Thanks to help from Google, learners have access to a wide range of materials dealing with Nelson Mandela. At the site are over 100 photos, 75 books, 15 calendars/diaries, as well as videos, letters, cards, posters, and more. Researchers will find a treasure-trove of primary source materials for studying this famous statesman. An unpublished autobiography written during his time at Robben Island is but one of features housed at the site.

March 2012

Graph Words http://graphwords.com/

Help learners expand their vocabulary by using this visual thesaurus. At first glance this feels much like the classic “Visual Thesaurus,” which has been around for several years. Type the word you want to explore in the box and click draw. You can click on various branches to find more synonyms. Parts of speech are color coordinated. A very nice feature of Graph Words is that you can save the image for use as clip art in other programs. Be sure to share with teachers of all curriculum areas!

February 2012

Letters of Note http://www.lettersofnote.com/

This blog-based archive of fascinating correspondence is quite well done. Over 600 items ranging from letters, memos, faxes, and telegrams are cataloged. Each entry includes a digitized image as well as a transcript. In some cases translations are included. Options range from pre-1600 to present day. Items can be found via type of correspondence, subject, time period, notable person, or a simple list of when the item was added. Peruse the fax from Stephen Hawking on time travel or advice from Harper Lee to a fan or a memo on the casting for Star Trek: The Next Generation. A true treasure-trove of information!!!

January 2012

Show World, USA, Japan http://show.mappingworlds.com/

Watch as the map resizes based on the subject you choose.  This visual display is an excellent teaching tool!  Start with the World option. Then layer in under People, Planet, Business, Politics, or Living. Each of these menus has additional choices. For example if you choose Planet, Energy, Solar, you will discover that Germany has the largest solar energy capacity. The onscreen map has data information embedded which appears when you hover over a country. You can download the map as a png file or download the data in Excel format. The spreadsheet includes a reference for the source of the information. Both of the download options require a working email address to receive the file.

December 2011

Pare Lorentz Center at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library http://parelorentzcenter.org/index.php

Explore the impact of FDR on the United States and the world via multimedia and other primary source materials via this site. As part of the FDR Presidential Library and dedicated to the work of Lorentz as a pioneer in the field of documentary films, this site provides myriad teaching resources. Explore the timeline and day by day feature to gather information on Roosevelt’s daily schedule. Here learners will find digital images, digitized memos, and the daily appointments during March 1933 through April 1945. The video curriculum guides provide a wide range of activities as well as references to the extensive library of video clips housed at You Tube. If access to You Tube is problematic, the clips can be requested on a DVD.

November 2011

Academic Earth http://www.academicearth.org/

Learn a very wide range of subjects from experts across the world. The site contains myriad online courses from scholars at Stanford, Yale, MIT, and more. Subjects range from art, environmental studies, test preparation, writing and various other areas. Learning options range from individual videos of lectures to options for an online degree. The individual lectures are free of charge and provide excellent information. This site is a wonderful tool for individual study, AP courses, discussion groups, and differentiation for high ability students.

October 2011

Smart History http://www.smarthistory.org/

This site is another great example of open content which can be used for teaching resources.  Billed as an art history textbook, the site uses multimedia and a variety of text sources to discuss the art being explored. Information on the where and when the item was created is included with a map. Links to actual museum, as well as Smarthistory, images in Flickr are also available. This is a great example for student projects and as a resource for opening the world of humanities for your students.

Volume 38

September 2011

Story of the Week http://storyoftheweek.loa.org/

Every Monday there is a new short story or feature to use as a learning experience!  The site provides not only the featured writing but also information about the author and links to other sites of interest. The writing can be read online or loaded into Google docs or accessed via a PDF file. This makes a great resource for mobile learning and for sharing with colleagues across the curriculum.

August 2011

40 Things You Need to Know About the Next 40 Years http://microsite.smithsonianmag.com/content/40th-Anniversary/

What a wonderful site to use as a learning spark!!! The 40 Things are divided into categories—Arts & Culture, Environment, Technology, Medicine & Science, Population.  Each of the “Things” includes a short list of facts and links to further information.  This is a sure fire hit with educators of all curriculum areas.  In addition to sharing, think about highlighting some of the topics in your library media center and on your web page.

July 2011

Edublogger Con Web 2.0 Smackdown http://goo.gl/lvnLm

For several years this non-conference has been held the day ahead of the ISTE or formerly NECC conference.  One of the highlights is the Web 2.0 smackdown where presenters have a very brief amount of time to present their favorite tool.  This is one of the best ways to stay abreast of new tools and gather ideas for using them.  You can either watch the recorded Elluminate session at https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2011-06-25.1044.M.9DA075CC8F1DFEB8DEA4D78DDCB1CD.vcr&sid=2008350 or simply check out the list of 31 tools.  You are sure to discover at least one new tool to share with colleagues for that opening day meeting!

June 2011

Infographics as a Creative Assessment http://linkyy.com/infographics  or   https://sites.google.com/a/kathyschrock.net/infographics/home

Here you will find a superb introduction to using inforgraphics as an assessment option.  Based on the presentation at ISTE 2011, this site provides an overview, myriad links to information on infographics, and a wide range of creation tools.  Here you will discover a site with an infographic a day for use in the classroom as well as ties to both the common core and various information literacy standards. Kathy has also included a page of customized Google search engines for finding inforgraphics on a wide range of topics. Think about who you can partner with to implement using this very creative assessment idea!

May 2011

Digital Bloom’s Taxonomy http://livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit?id=54645

Explore the Bloomin’ Peacock and see what tools mesh with the various levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. This well crafted Livebinder provides myriad resources for each level.  Tabs for remember, understand, apply, analyze, and evaluate organize the vast array of options.  These range from drill and skill online activities at the BBC site to Tag Galaxy as a tool for understanding via visual images to VoiceThreads and other creation tools at the evaluate level.  This is a superb resource to showcase at a teacher’s meeting.

April 2011

QR Codes in the Classroom http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2011/04/qr-codes-in-classroom.html

This guest blog post describes the use of QR codes in a math classroom.  More importantly, the step by step development process is described.  Equal time is given to the instructional side of development as well as the technical pieces. Tips on setting up a Word document and producing a usable student document are invaluable.  Be sure to check out the author’s blog, The Organized Classroom http://www.theorganizedclassroomblog.com/theorganizedclassroomblog.com/Blog/Blog.html, as well for even more ideas and great tips!

March 2011

The Civil War: 150 Years http://www.nps.gov/civilwar150/

As we look back over the last 150 years at the US Civil War, the National Park Service provides a superb resource. This site includes an interactive timeline with links to primary source material and other historical perspectives. There is a wonderful set of educational resources including lesson plans, archeology information, and podcasts.  An excellent use of the social media tool, Twitter, is also at the site.  Tweets are done on a regular basis by a fictional Civil War reporter.  Share this one with both language arts and social studies colleagues.

February 2011

Google Art Project http://www.googleartproject.com/

Add yet another great Google option to your list of resources!!!  Google Art Project provides virtual access to over 15 museums world wide via the “Street View” technology of Google Maps.  You can walk through the museum and explore in detail any painting with a plus.  Each work is produced in 7 billion pixels so resolution is superb as you zoom in on the details.  In addition, the user can create an artwork collection via her Google account.  Use this marvelous tool in art classes for art history, in social studies for art integration, in language arts as writing prompts, and in many other curriculum areas.

January 2011

Youngzine http://www.youngzine.com

Check out this masterful current events sites for students ages 8 – 15. News about the world, science and technology, the arts, sports, and our earth can easily be found via tabs at the top of the screen.  Students can learn about the role of forests as they discover that 2011 is the International Year of Forests. Or a science class can explore why the “Edison bulb” is being replaced. Teachers can sign up and set up their own classroom, which allows time on the site to be tracked. Students can register and then post comments, upload writing to be published, and take a number of fun quizzes. This is a great site to share with colleagues and parents.

December 2010

Text Ed http://www.lg.com/us/mobile-phones/text-education/homeroom.jsp

LG has teamed up with Glee star, Jane Lynch, to provide a masterful series of video clips on texting. The “classroom” begins with a discussion of sexting and then moves to mobile harassment, understanding texting language, and the dangers of texting while driving. A masterful periodic table of texting language is available in PDF format.  In addition, a teachers/parents manual, which is written in the straight forward, sarcastic style of Lynch’s Glee character, provides a great starting place for discussion. The site is designed for parents but also makes a great tool for educators.

November 2010

Twenty Things You Didn’t Know About … http://discovermagazine.com/columns/20-things-you-didnt-know

Discover Magazine has produced a wonderful site which can be used for bellringer activities, quick displays, reference lessons, and model assessments as well as projects!  Twenty things you didn’t know covers subjects from dogs to nanotechnology to sex and gender.  This monthly feature is indexed at the site. Learn about genetics in dogs and cloning experiments. Or discover that gunpowder was invented when scientists were trying to create an “elixir of immortality.” Help colleagues experiment with having students create their own “Twenty Things You Didn’t Know” lists or have a contest in your library media center for student creations.  Feature student winners on your website and publish the winners for the community to see.  Highlight the information literacy skills necessary to construct the list.  Take a look at the sex and gender list before deciding how to share in your situation.

October 2010

Show the World http://show.mappingworlds.com//world/

Look at the world and the USA from a different point of view!  This site uses maps to illustrate data.  The size of the countries and states change according to the filter selected.  This type of infographic provides a magnificent tool to view data of all sorts.  Options for population, education, deaths by type, other demographics, health, religion and more are available.  Once the map is displayed, a short text also appears to help explain the data. The ranking of the country or state can be found in a scrolling display. The maps can be embedded, downloaded as an image, or the data downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet.  The site works well with an interactive whiteboard, as a learning center, as research tool, for a lesson on infographics, and as a tool for tracking the references used for the data at the site.

Volume 37

September 2010

Arounder http://www.arounder.com/

Explore various European, North and South America, Australia, as well as Mars and the Moon via this site. Designed to complement the online magazine, the site includes over 50 virtual tours. Students can explore Athens, view the Parthenon with enough detail to see the erosion on the pillars, and examine the architecture. The 360 degree panoramic views included are superb!  Or visit the moon with shots taken on the Apollo 11, 12, and 17 missions.  Also, check out the online magazine issues for more wonderful pictures. These virtual tours make excellent introductions, learning centers, writing prompts, and provide options for practicing critical thinking.

August 2010

E-Learning and 1:1 Collaboration http://echucaelearning.wikispaces.com/

Developed in Australia, this wiki provides a wealth of learning options for fellow educators.  Start by checking out the Flip Camera page.  Here is a well done PPT to share with staff, a concise handout on downloading videos, links for further information, suggestions for digital story curriculum projects, and more. Next, look at the copyright page, which includes information on Creative Commons licenses as well. Share the avatar creation options with colleagues and students. Google docs introductions and tips for using Google Sketchup can also be found. This site is a great resource to have at your fingertips as the school year either begins or continues. It will provide many ideas for developing your own PD and activities for your fellow educators.

July 2010

A Biography of America http://www.learner.org/biographyofamerica/index.html

Here is a good one stop shop to liven up the study of American history. Options range from the Ice Age migrations up to the 1990s. The site is geared to support the 26 video sessions shown on WGBH. Learners can view an interactive timeline and highlight various historical themes. A standard timeline is available for each episode with links to the transcript of the video. A complete transcript as well as a Video on Demand option is also accessible. Each episode is accompanied by a map to help illustrate the growth of the United States and help with geography skills and a webliography. The final feature found at the site is a Flash-based interactive ranging from examining political cartoons to interactive maps to “you decide” activities. “A Biography of America” is a great find for your social studies colleagues as well as independent learners.

June 2010

Image Match http://www.triptico.co.uk/?p=143

Here is yet another superb resource from our fellow educators in the United Kingdom. Image Match is an educational game designed to help enhance creativity and classroom discussion. The teacher or facilitator of the round types in six categories related to a subject, theme, or unit being studied. Then the students work in teams to select five images which show the category being displayed. For example think about finding images relating to Scotland, Macbeth, Hamlet, Denmark, Shakespeare, and ambition. The real aim is for the students to discuss why they selected one of the over 50 images in the image bank. Other playing directions for a competitive game between two teams are also included. This is an excellent learning activity for students in grades 4–12. It can be used in most subject areas.

May 2010

50 Incredible, Historical Speeches http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/04/50-incredible-historical-speeches

While billed as a university level site, this treasure-trove of online speeches will work in middle and high school. The options range from university commencement speeches by Steve Jobs, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, and others to a number of presidential speeches to ones labeled society and culture. Students will be able to view the Nelson Mandela’s speech made when he was released from prison, Tony Blair’s resignation speech, as well as Elie Wiesel’s “Perils of Indifference” speech. Options are housed on You Tube, which may mean working with the technology department to make the options available. These superb teaching tools will integrate into a wide range of curriculum areas.

April 2010

The Story of Movies http://www.storyofmovies.org

Help students learn about the culture, history, and the art of film by using the interdisciplinary curriculum found at this site. Developed by the Film Foundation in partnership with IBM and Turner Classic Movies, the materials found here provide superb learning experiences for middle school students. Curriculum materials for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and “The Day the Earth Stood Still” are available via the site in PDF format. These will work for social studies and language arts teachers or for teacher-librarians wishing to do an enrichment or after school session.

March 2010

HIS: Historical Scene Investigation http://web.wm.edu/hsi

Make history come alive and help students with information literacy skills by exploring this site. Here are thirteen investigations involving the use of primary source materials. Topics range from “Starvation at Jamestown” to “Children in the Civil War” to “When Elvis Met Nixon.” Each option contains access to at least four primary source options, asks a series of questions, and has learners develop their own analysis of the information. Teacher views include a number of hints for using the activities. The format is straight forward and lends itself to easy development of additional activities. The site is a great way to make use of the wide range of primary source materials available from the Library of Congress.

January 2010

Grammar Man Comics http://www.grammarmancomic.com
This site features graphic, whimsical, well-crafted materials to help teach grammar!!! Designed for use with ELL and ESL students, the materials are quite useful in regular classrooms as well. There are currently six options that can be viewed online, watched as a movie on YouTube, or printed from PDF files. In addition, PDF templates are available for learners to create their own “Grammarman” comics.

December 2009

Educational Clip Art http://www.phillipmartin.info/clipart/homepage.htm
This superb collection of clip art is a true holiday present. Options range from language arts to animal alphabet choices to holidays and other curriculum areas. Philip Martin is a gifted artist who provides these marvelous selections for free use in educational creations. Be sure to check out the certificate alternatives as well!

November 2009

Photo Effects and Tools http://www.tuxpi.com
To create special effects for photos, users upload their picture, which is not saved on the site, choose an effect, and then has the option of downloading either a full or half size image. Images for upload can be in jpg, png, or gif format and need to be 2 MB or smaller. One option creates a news headline picture that can be easily customized. Since there is no registration required this site is a GREAT Web 2.0 tool for users of all ages. At the writing of this review, there were 38 options available.

October 2009

100 Terrific Cheat Sheets http://www.teachingdegree.org/2009/07/01/100-terrific-cheat-sheets-for-k-12-teachers
Designed with K–12 educators in mind, this list covers a wide range of subjects and topics. These quick reference or “cheat” sheets give guidance in grammar, crafting research papers, Greek mythology, guaranteed rights from the Bill of Rights, and math topics. Another great option listed is a one-page sheet helping teachers set up a class in Moodle. This is well worth perusing yourself and sharing with colleagues.

Volume 36

September 2009

Weboword http://www.weboword.com
Learn vocabulary visually is the subtitle of this web site and it is a true treasure for accomplishing that! The site provides a word a day with definitions, pronunciation, sample sentences, and a whimsical line drawing to illustrate the definition. A crossword puzzle is also available once per week. The puzzle can be printed or completed online. The vocabulary tab provides 50 random words and the puzzle tab provides access by week number. The interactive puzzle option starts with week 10. All options are archived and there is a widget for inclusion in a blog, wiki, or web page. The widgets provide access to the words and puzzles. A vocabulary search engine powered by Google is also included on the home page. Creations are licensed under Creative Commons so they are teacher and student project friendly. You can also subscribe via RSS feed or e-mail for a daily word. Good for use with IWB.

August 2009

Newsy http://www.newsy.com
Visit this new addition to Internet-based news! You will find well- crafted video options on a wide range of current events. Each video presents the story from a number of news sources such as CNN, MSNBC, Business Week, BBC, Al Jazeera English, and more. A transcript option makes this an even better teaching tool. Simple instructions for embedding the videos and sharing them via a wide range of choices are also easily accessible. Be sure to have your social studies teachers check this out for a current events option. Language arts teachers can use this for a point of view or debate lessons.

July 2009

World Images http://www.worldimages.sjsu/edu
Explore the almost 75,000 images housed at this easily searchable gallery, which is part of the California State University IMAGE project. Images can also be easily browsed via subject access from the homepage. The superb images are intended for use in student projects and teaching materials. One example is a series of 119 pictures related to San Francisco. Another choice includes 338 photos of Chinese sculpture. Each image includes a small thumbnail option and a link to the larger jpg file. Make sure your colleagues and students find this treasure trove as the school year begins.

June 2009

Educational Origami http://www.edorigami.wikispaces.com
This combination blog and wiki explores the world of 21st century skills and the integration of technology. Developed by an Australian educator, this wiki contains a number of well-crafted “starter sheets” on various Web 2.0 tools including Twitter, VoiceThreads, Google Forms, and more. Perusing the thoughts about how Bloom’s taxonomy interacts with the digital world will provide you with some great ideas for helping your colleagues in the fall. Be sure to explore the scoring rubrics on using digital tools; they are a great asset as you look at your own habits and teaching tips.

May 2009

That’s Not Cool http://www.thatsnotcool.com
As we all look for ways to help teach Internet safety, this site is a great find! Check out the videos that present a topic from two points of view. For example, the boyfriend’s view on the number of texts he gets from his girlfriend and the girlfriend’s thoughts when she texts. The site also showcases good student-produced videos on various topics. “Callout Cards,” which can be printed, posted on Facebook or MySpace, or emailed are great tools for dealing with online problems. Share this one widely!

April 2009

How Products Are Made http://www.madehow.com
Explore this seven “volume” web site to get details of how a wide range of products are made. Start with Air Bag then continue on to X-ray glasses and more. In addition to concise production and quality control information, each entry includes a range of materials for exploring the topic in depth. The site allows comments and includes the option to add details to the entry. User contributions are clearly defined as such and appear at the end of the page.

March 2009

Flash Card Flash http://www.flashcardflash.com
See what quick drill and skill options are already on the Web for your class! Use this customized Google search to investigate the wide range of options available for use as a learning center, in the computer lab, on an iPod, or on a mobile device. Expand the learning options for your students and staff by sharing this gem.

February 2009

World Math Day http://www.worldmathday.com
Explore this wonderful online mental math computation site. Students get to compete with other classrooms around the world while practicing mental math. The homepage displays the number of users online as well as the current successful users. Registration can be done for the classroom or for individual students. There are four levels of materials ranging from ages 5–12 and older. The site also works on iPhones and the iPod Touch.

January 2009

Science Fair Central http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/
Here is THE one stop shop for helping youngsters deal with science fair projects. Students of all age levels are guided through selecting a question to research, developing a timeline, doing the research and investigation, and preparing the presentation. Sections for parent resources and science fair coordinators are also available. The materials are straight forward, well developed, and easy to access.

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