Today’s post comes from the same people who provide “Boolify”, which I highlighted yesterday. In Comparison Search, the researcher gets the added benefit of searching for web sites that may have different points of view on the same topic. It allows you to type in a keyword or phrase, such as “genetic engineering”, and to then choose the positive and negative search terms you would like to use, such as “advantages” and “disadvantages”. The search results are then given in two columns, respective to your search terms. As I mentioned yesterday, these searches are not “safe searches”, so teachers in primary grades probably should not let their students loose on this tool. However, it can be quite valuable in trying to teach a lesson on the objectivity, or lack of it, on many websites.
According to its website, “The Learning Network provides teaching and learning materials and ideas based on New York Times content.” Although the site is designed for students who are 13 or over, I have found many lessons that can be adapted to my elementary level Gifted and Talented students. The site includes lesson plans with links to related stories in the New York Times, as well as news quizzes and crossword puzzles. I find the “Student Opinion” section to be a treasure chest of engaging questions that can help students connect themselves to the real world. The “Poetry Pairings” section is also intriguing. The site is a great resource for teachers, and gives teenagers a voice and a place to see how the news relates to them
Do you have a student who likes to argue? Maybe one who aspires to be a lawyer one day? Introduce him or her to this website, which is “designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy.” With a woman like Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spearheading this effort to educate our children about citizenship, this site is not only a great addition to the curriculum, but an inspiration to students to become more involved in their communities. You can try the games, like Argument Wars, or register for free and receive all of the benefits.
This site has interesting prompts with great graphics that will inspire your students to be creative. Great for a center or whole-class activity, each post is thought-provoking and sure to spark interest. I almost got side-tracked, myself, as I was getting information for this post. I have not viewed all of the over 200 prompts, but please remember, especially if you are an elementary teacher, to preview the topics and pics before you choose to link to them or use them in class.
To conclude our week of video posts I’ve chosen a video that apparently everyone had seen but me a couple of weeks ago. And, maybe your students have seen it too. But have they discussed it? Have they talked about apathy and homelessness as well as the impact of powerful language? There are many lessons in this short story.
If you have not visited www.ted.com, or downloaded the app, please do so as soon as you can. The site is full of inspirational, though-provoking videos on a plethora of topics. Of course, it is always advisable to preview a video before you make it available to your students, but TED also includes interactive transcripts that you can skim for any objectionable content. Larry Ferlazzo had a great post recently on his blog that included various resources to accompany the TED talks, including a wiki in which teachers share their ideas for using it in the classroom.
Khan Academy is a revolutionary approach to teaching which advocates “Flipping the Classroom”. You can view the TED video below to learn about the humble beginnings of the Academy on YouTube, and the ambitious plans Mr. Khan now has for his free service. Basically, the site has hundreds of video lessons indexed in which Mr. Khan explains a variety of topics – mostly math and science related. If you have a G-mail or Facebook account, you can become a Coach. Your students, who would also have to register with one of these e-mail addresses, can complete exercises on the site at their own pace. As the Coach, you can monitor their progress using several different tools included in the registration portion of the site. Even if you don’t want to register, this is a fabulous resource for allowing students to learn at their own pace, or even for reteaching and reviewing topics.