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Guide to TrackStar 2004
TrackStar home page: http://trackstar.4teachers.org

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Workshop leaders may print out and distribute this guide for educational purposes. Please retain the copyright at the bottom of the page.

To Find A Specific Track

  1. If you know the number of the Track, type in the Track's number in the field (blank space) next to View Track # located under the Find a Track column on the TrackStar home page. This is the easiest way to direct students to a Track or set of Tracks.
  2. If you know the author, choose Search Tracks by Author link on the TrackStar home page, then fill in the author's last name or e-mail address. Click on Find Tracks and wait for the results page. Be sure to use upper and lower case for this search (e.g., John Smith not john smith)
  3. If you know the topic (e.g., ancient egypt), choose Search Tracks by Keyword link on the TrackStar home page, then type the word or phrase (e.g., "ancient egypt") into the form. Narrow your search by choosing subject, grade, format, or award. Click Find Tracks and wait for the results page. Using lowercase makes it more likely you will find all the Tracks that include this word or phrase for the grade levels chosen (e.g., "ancient egypt" not "Ancient Egypt"). Be sure to use the search instructions at the right-side of the Keyword search page to get the best results.

To Find Thematic Tracks

  1. If you want Tracks that relate to a particular academic theme that may have many keywords associated with it (e.g., Western Expansion), choose Browse Themes and Standards. Click on the subject and grade level desired (e.g., Social Studies, grades 5-8) and wait for the results page. You will be given a listing of themes in the left-hand frame. Click on the desired one (e.g., Western Expansion) and a listing of pertinent Tracks will be placed in the large frame to the right. You can also see State academic standards associated with this theme by clicking the State tab (e.g., Kansas) in the upper right-hand frame. This will help you select Tracks that fit your State's academic standards.
  2. If you want to see Tracks that relate to specific holidays that have been selected and/or written by HPR*TEC staff, choose See This Month's Track-A-Day. By each day of the month is a link to a Track that is related to a holiday. Most of the Tracks are related to holidays described in the Knowledge Adventure's Month By Month software in order to assist teachers using this series.

To Find Exemplary Tracks

  1. If you want Tracks that have been selected by HPR*TEC staff as exemplary Tracks, choose See All Top Tracks link on the TrackStar home page.
  2. If you want to find Tracks, WebQuests, and Web sites that have been selected by HPR*TEC as useful for teaching specific subject matter (e.g., Colonial literature), go to http://4teachers.org/ and select the R*TEC Teacher link under the Tools for Teachers section in the right-hand column. This will open a page with a pulldown menu. Click the select a subject, then continue narrowing your search by selecting a theme, and finally a topic. You will obtain a list of several Tracks, WebQuests, and Favorite Links for that specific topic.

To Use A Track

  1. When you select a Track using a hyperlink, the Track number, or by typing in the URL, you will find yourself at the Description page of the Track. This page describes what the Track is about, and has buttons entitled View in Frames and View in Text for viewing the Track.
  2. For student use, we recommend the Frames version. Click on the View in Frames and you will be taken to the material in the Track. Many teachers start their students with the Frames view already open. The lower right-hand portion of the window (frame) will always show the first site when you open the Track. To change the site, click on one of the links listed in the left-hand frame (Navigation frame). Notes related to the site being displayed are found in the upper right-hand frame (Annotation frame). They will change as you click on the links. This area will also provide the correct URL for the site being displayed. If you wish to reference (cite) a site found within a Track, always use the URL provided in this Annotation frame.
  3. To review a Track quickly, print a Track, or use a screen-reader, use the Text version. Choose Print from your browser menu bar and you can print this page. Clicking on the links will load the sites. Use the Back button on your browser to get back to the Text page.

To Make An Instructional Track

  1. First be sure that you have located several Web sites you wish to feature in your Track. You can feature no more than 15 sites within a Track. These sites should be related to a topic you are teaching. You will need to know the title of each site and its URL (Web address). You will also want to plan the sequence of these sites. Last, you should think about what you want the student to do at each site. If they are to answer specific questions, you may want to plan those questions before beginning the Track.
  2. If you want to make a quiz or Web page to include in your Track, you should do this prior to making the Track. Be sure you know the full URL (beginning with http://…) of these pages prior to beginning the Track. Take the Make A Quiz or the Build A Web Page link from the TrackStar home page to make a quiz or Web page.
  3. Click Login to Make or Edit a Track on the TrackStar home page.
  4. On the Login page, either register (if you have never made a Track before and do not have an account) or login. You will need to remember your e-mail and password to edit your Track or to create others, so be sure you write it down and keep it somewhere safe. This information will not be sold and does not obligate you to anything. TrackStar is a free service.
  5. When you login by filling in the blanks and clicking either the Register or Login button, depending on which you did, you will be taken to your My Account page.
  6. The My Account page lists all the Tracks you have made. Above this list, click on the Make New Track link.
  7. Use the Help link on the top of all TrackStar pages if you have trouble filling out the form. Otherwise, just click in a box (field) and type in the Track title, description, type, subject area, and grade level. You may also choose to enter a Due Date or Password, if you wish.
  8. Be sure you are careful when you choose the grades and subjects for your Track. This will help other teachers find the Tracks they need.
  9. At the end of this form, click the Next button.
  10. Now simply click in the title field and type the title of the first site you wish to include in your Track. Then click in the URL field and type (or copy and paste) the URL for that site. Then click on the Annotation field and type any instructions or descriptions you wish to provide the students related to this first site. Continue doing this until all your sites are included in the Track. Then scroll to the bottom of the form and click Save. Wait for the Confirmation page to appear. It will give you the Track number and the full URL. You can view the Track immediately by clicking on the link on the Confirmation page. Be sure you know the number of your Track. You and your students can use this number to find the Track quickly.
  11. Read the Tutorial on the TrackStar home page if you wish to see step-by-step detailed instructions.

To Edit or Delete Your Own Track

  1. If you wish to edit your Track, choose Login to Make or Edit a Track link from the TrackStar home page.
  2. Login by typing in your e-mail address and password and click the Login button.
  3. Look for the Track's title on your personal My Account page. Next to the title is an Edit link represented by a pencil and a Delete link represented by a red "x". Click on either the pencil to Edit the Track or the red "x" to Delete the entire Track including all its sites and annotations.
  4. If you choose Delete, you will be asked to confirm that you want to delete the entire Track.
  5. If you choose Edit, the form with all the data from your Track will be generated.
  6. Make any corrections to the Track. Correct typos, change URLs, titles or annotations, or delete sites. It works like a word processor. Simply click or select the part you wish to change and type the correction. To delete a site from your Track, simply click the red "x" next to that link. Click on Preview, represented by a magnifying glass, beside a link if you want to check the link. When you have made all your corrections, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save button.
  7. Read the Tutorial on the TrackStar home page if you wish to see step-by-step detailed instructions.


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