Friday, February 12, 2016

Top 10 Research Resources for Students

Teachers and parents often worry when student are doing research online
 that they will stumble across inappropriate information and images
and not be able to find the information that they are searching for. 

The best way to combat those fears is to provide some searching sites 
for students that are safe and aimed specifically at students.  

There are a TON of research sites out there
(and my list of 10 is at the bottom of this post) 
 but here are my top 3 all time favorites:
Kiddle, Wolfram Alpha, and Boolify! 

Kiddle, powered by Google,  is a site that I absolutely LOVE
and is fabulous for all kids- but especially younger students. 

Safety: Kiddle searches safe sites written specifically for kids, 
sites with content written in an easy way for kids to understand (handpicked by Kiddle editors), 
and famous sites written for adults but with great content (filtered by Google) . 
A message pops up if you try to search for something inappropriate.

Benefits: Kiddle is super visual, has a big thumbnail image for each result, 
and is super readable since the print is larger than normal search results. 
It includes options for Web, Images, News, and Videos- just like Google.

Privacy: Kiddle doesn't collect any personal identifiable information 
and their logs are deleted every 24 hours.  

Wolfram Alpha is an AMAZING resource for information
 but is not really a search engine. 

It's a computational knowledge engine: It generates output by doing computations 
from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links.

Wolfram|Alpha is kind of like putting together a 
graphing calculator, a library, and a search engine all together in one place. 

Safety: Super safe! Wolfram|Alpha spends considerable effort on automated testing,
expert review, and checking external data that they use. 
Benefits: Wolfram|Alpha can do some AMAZING things
and help you find information super quickly!

Here are a few examples of the awesome things you can do in Wolfram|Alpha: 

Ask it when the next solar eclipse in your town will be...
Ask it to compare two things...

Ask it the most frequent two-word phrases in the Bible....

You can even ask it to come up with words for your tiles in Scrabble...

To learn more about Wolfram Alpha take the tour HERE.

If you've ever used Boolean searches you know that 
their use make searching for something online SO much easier!  
Boolify is a search engine that allows students to manipulate searches in 
a visual manner and it filters results using Google's Safe Search. 

Boolify is a great tool to teach children (and adults too!) how to properly use a search engine and refine the search. Command line searches use the concept of boolean operators to achieve this goal. In simple terms, this means learning to use AND, OR, NOT in a search to refine the results. By combining them together, one can narrow down a search to give exactly what is needed.

How does Boolify work? 
To start a search, you must drag a search option into the board at the top of the screen. 
Once you drag an option, it will prompt you to enter something. 

For example, if you drag the search option of word or phase like above, 
you will be prompted to enter a keyword or phrase. 
You have the choice of the following search options: 
Word or phrase, Exact word or phrase, Not, Or, Site, intitle, inurl, and filetype.

When you drag over a search option and enter in the prompted material, 
the search results will appear below the drawing board.

So here's an example of the search when I searched for salsa, 
but asked for it to exclude dancing in the results. 
And here's another where I asked it find Shakespeare powerpoint files from only edu sites. 
This is a fabulous way to learn those Boolean search tools easily and visually! 

You have the option of starting the search over,
removing one or more of the search options, 
saving the search, or viewing other saved searches. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

President's Day Fun 2016

 Presidents' Day is right around the corner!
Below are some fun sites, games, apps, videos, printables, Smart Notebook files, 
and more to use with your students!

Interactive Games: 

Scholastic's If You Were President activity

Scholastic's 7 Hat Challenge

Happy Birthday Mr. President is a talking book about George Washington

A Problem, a Penny, and a President is a talking book about Abraham Lincoln

(which is also printable)

President's Day Printables: 
Lots of great FREE printables can be found 
on Teacher's Pay Teachers HERE including: 

Virtual Tours: 

Free Apps:
This app allows you to color a picture of your favorite president

and personalize it with a frame and message!

The official White House app brings you the latest from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,

including news from the White House blog and press briefing room,

photo and video archives, and live streams of events around the country 
with President Barack Obama and administration officials.

Paid Apps
A great app that has profiles of all 44 US Presidents and

includes presidential portrait, first lady, birthday, & fun facts. 

American Presidents is a beautifully designed, well-written overview of the

history of the United States seen through passages on every American President’s life.

I've created a website full 
of all my favorite President's Day sites and apps
so that it's easy to for teachers and parents and kids to access them!

Click HERE to visit Presidents' Day Fun and 

find a bunch of great educational websites, apps, games and more!

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