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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teacher Tools

Web sites, software, electronic devices, videos, books, and other media for educators.
By Edutopia
Edutopia Team

The Third Teacher

Free

A collaborative project delves into creating a better learning environment through design and practice with a book that details 79 steps to achieve this goal. Visit the Web site to see the steps and examples, and look at related free resources, case studies, and news.


Do Something

Free

Packed with causes for teens to get involved in to start making changes in the world, this site also features clubs and programs for awareness, such as a free bracelet giveaway to promote awareness of teen dating abuse. Though the site is meant for high school students, there's an Old People section with some great classroom curriculum, plus some grants you could get your students or your school involved with.


SHOW

Mapping Worlds; free

Look at the world and the United States in a whole new way with these virtual learning maps. Pick your map, then choose Politics, Planet, Business, Living, or People to learn more. From Planet, you can see, for example, which states grow more corn than others as the size of the states expand and contract proportionately.


Heifer International

Free

Look through the site's Enlighten, Inform, Inspire, and Engage sections for downloadable resources, classroom activities, and more, such as Action Ideas, Field Trips, and Professional Development around world issues.


Tell. A. Vision

Haberman; free

A creative space that allows children to broadcast their dreams, Tell. A. Vision offers free curriculum and a Social Room for teachers to chat about their classrooms.


National Constitution Center

Free

Through its Teaching with Current Events section, this Web site connects educators and students to American history through the topics we see in the news every day. Activities and other materials are available, too.


Whyzz

Free

Try typing in “Why is the sky blue?” to the search field on this site, and not only will you get an answer, you'll also be given an experiment to conduct (in this case, how to make your own blue light) so you understand the answer better. Filled with activities such as explorations and experiments to accompany the answers to many questions, this site is a fun tool for curious kids; it also donates $2 to the READ Foundation for every user-submitted article it publishes.


Web Wise Kids

Free for schools

Are your students Web wise? Teach them about cyberbullying, sexting, predators, bullying, piracy, illegal downloading, and more through this site.


Think Green Teacher Resources

Waste Management; free

Search for green education tools by grade, topic, and type of resource.


IdeaPaint

Prices vary

Transform any classroom surface into a dry-erase board by applying this environmentally friendly (formaldehyde-free), durable, and low-cost product. Create a fun look in your classroom, and turn the walls into writing and drawing canvases.


Shmoop

Shmoop; free

This teen-centered homework-helper Web site is a hip and useful resource with real-world relevance and connections between pop culture and what students need to know in history, poetry, and literature.


Flip Video

Pure Digital Technologies; prices vary ($10 education discount)

Ideal for kids, Flip Video has the features they love: a slim, customizable case with just a few simple, clearly labeled buttons that allow students to produce high-quality videos with the press of a button.


BrainPOP

FWD Media; free

Interested in teaching about music, science, social studies? What about health or technology? BrainPOP provides tools for K-3 students via BrainPOP Jr., or for grades 3 and up with BrainPOP and BrainPOP Español. Through videos, the Web site enables students to learn about topics like financial literacy and other featured topics. Visit the BrainPOP Educators for curriculum, tips, and best practices.


2030: A Day in the Life of Tomorrow's Kids

Dutton Children's Books; $17

An imaginative visual journey in print for tech-savvy kids, and a peek at the world of tomorrow's seemingly limitless possibilities.


I Was Wondering . . .

National Academy of Sciences; free

Lia, the Web site's avatar, encourages girls to enjoy science and explore Women's Adventures in Science. Students can ask questions, look through a timeline of important periods in science by women, learn about 10 Cool Scientists, play science-related computer games, and sift through resources for girls interested in activities or careers in science.


The Electric Company

PBS Kids; free

PBS and the Sesame Workshop combine forces to bring students a language-learning Web site. In this fast-paced environment, kids can create their own profile, watch videos, play games, and get involved with the site's activities.


Skatekids Online

Quantum Learning Technologies; free

In this virtual learning hub for grades 3-6, students play video games designed to help them excel in language, thinking, and other communication skills.


Dweeber

SmartWired; free

This social-networking site for teens doesn't interfere with homework time; it embraces it. Dweeber works with a teen advisory board to help ensure that kids use the site to its full potential while communicating with classmates about homework online.


CreateAskate.org

CreateAskate; program costs vary

Kids use math, science, and shop-class skills as they build and customize their own skateboards.


AbleNet Curriculum

AbleNet; $60-$80

With its emphasis on the lives of those with disabilities, Ablenet offers everything from a motor-skills-based curriculum for preschoolers to a literacy starter program. The newest addition to the curriculum is Splash ESY, which includes extended-school-year programs across the curriculum for special education students at the elementary school, middle school, and high school levels.


Woogi World

Woogi World and Children's Way; free for kids, $7 per month for "Honors Program"

Combining a virtual game with school standards, the world of the Woogi teaches children in grades K-6 responsible uses of the Internet while also promoting cooperative behavior offline and encouraging students to enhance their reading capabilities. Educational online games reinforce other classroom skills, while offline activities promote community involvement and family time.


Europeana

European Commission; free

Coming soon to a laptop near you: more than 1,000 historical manuscripts, as well as materials from museums, libraries, archives, and film and sound media from 27 European nations. Cataloguing artifacts ranging from the Magna Carta to music scores by Mozart, Europeana seems to be the European Commission's answer to Google's ambitious venture (along with the U.S. Library of Congress) to create a worldwide digital library. The site offers multilingual searching and plans to have ten million items by 2010. A prototype version with two million items went live last November, got swamped by users, promptly crashed, and is now up and running again with quadruple the server capacity. Stay tuned for the full-blown site.



Poe Revealed 1809-2009

Library of Virginia, and the Poe Museum; free

Celebrate the master of the macabre's 200th birthday with help from this site. Students can watch an animated version of The Tell Tale Heart, solve the mystery of how Poe died, read an overview of his life, take a fact-or-fiction quiz, and compete in a writing competition (deadline May 8). The site also offers teachers information about Poe's life and writing technique, suggested readings, and a classroom-activity packet.



Classroom Earth

National Environmental Education Foundation and the Weather Channel; free

Delivering activities and resources for six high school subject areas and 14 topics, this online resource helps teachers incorporate environmental content into lesson plans for language arts, math, science, social studies, and more. Educators can also learn about professional-development opportunities and find relevant grant information.


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