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Word Dynamo: Vocabulary made fun

What it is:  Word Dynamo is a superb site from Dictionary.com.  Word Dynamo makes learning new words a whole lot of fun. Here is how it works: 1.  Answer 10 questions and Word Dynamo will calculate how many words a student knows. This is your word score. The word score adjusts as you learn new words, Word Dynamo helps give students study “shortcuts” to learn new words faster. 2.  Word Challenge- in word challenge students are offered a custom 20-level game designed especially for their skill level.  As students master meanings, they unlock the next threshold of difficulty. 3.  The Word Dynamo Library- here students can browse and search for things they need to learn.  Students can choose to practice by schooling level, SAT prep, subject or popular word lists. 4.  Play Games- students can practice vocabulary by matching terms and definitions, listening to the word and definition, spell a word out in a crossword puzzle, etc. New challenges are unlocked as students succeed! 5.  Create a Word List- this one is my favorite, I love that students can create their own lists based on what they need to work on. How to integrate Word Dynamo into the classroom:  Word Dynamo is an easy fit into any classroom k-12.  This is a great addition to your language arts, math, economics, science, history, (ANY) classroom.  Word Dynamo gives students the keys to their own learning by working with them at their own level.  It would be wonderful to use Word Dynamo throughout the year to keep kids playing with words.  Students will love watching their own “estimated words you know” score creep up and up over the course of the school year.  Vocabulary is one of those things that students don’t always realize that they are learning throughout the school day.  Then *bam* they wake up one day and suddenly know a whole LOT of words. The games and practice items on Word Dynamo make for a great vocabulary center on classroom computers during language arts.  But, as I mentioned before, my very favorite part is the ability for students to create their own lists.  At Anastasis, we have  students constantly adding to their own spelling/vocabulary list as they come across new words they want to learn.  I like that Word Dynamo give them a place to keep, practice and play with these words.  Students have ownership over their own learning and aren’t stuck practicing and testing on the words they already know. Do you assign spelling and vocabulary words each week?  Let students enter those words in their custom list to practice! Because Word Dynamo is constantly utilizing the feedback it gets from students, it is constantly challenging them and urging them on to a new personal best.  Students can watch their score go up, engage in challenges, and choose fun games that keep them learning. In other words, this is a site you are going to want to have handy for your students! Don’t have the opportunity for students to use Word Dynamo on their own account/computer?  Put up a challenge on the interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  As students enter the classroom, they can each answer a question on the way to their seats.  Keep track of the number of words that the whole class knows. Tips: The Quick Tour will lead you through all the Word Dynamo goodies and have you ready to use it with your students in no time!  Word Dynamo looks and works well on the iPad and iPod Touch browser…great for vocabulary practice anywhere. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Word Dynamo in  your classroom!

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ESA Kids

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 02-04-2010

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What it is: The European Space Agency (ESA) has a great website for kids.  ESA Kids has fabulous, kid friendly information about the Universe (the story of the Universe, the sun, the planets and moons, the galaxies, comets and meteors), Life in Space (astronauts, space stations, life in space, exploration, are we alone?), Lift Off (launchers, orbits, mission control, spacecraft, new ways to space), Useful Space (TV and phone, know where you are, space spin-offs, weather, health), and Earth (climate change, natural disasters, protecting nature, water world).  This site is absolutely packed full of information and awesome images.  Students can “work in a lab” where they can build papercraft globes and spacecraft, try reading space maps, and learn fun space facts.  Students will also enjoy the space themed games and puzzles, online coloring book, quizzes, and downloads.  Each month, a new story about space is added to the News section, keeping students up to date about what is happening in space exploration.  

How to integrate ESA Kids into the classroom: When I am hunting for space related websites, I usually begin with NASA.  ESA Kids is being added to my must visit places for all things space.  The site is organized well, very kid friendly, and has fun activities that students can take part in.  Use ESA Kids for space research, when learning about the weather, climate change, and natural disasters.  After students have some background knowledge about space and space exploration, have them visit the Lab and choose a papercraft spacecraft to print and build.  Students can write a story about their spacecraft, including facts that they learned on the ESA Kids website.  They may even write a fictional story about their visit to space that includes factual elements that they learned in the Life in Space section.    Be sure to visit the Useful Space tab, I think students will be surprised at how many common items are linked to space and space exploration.

Tips: Be sure to visit this site often, the news is updated every month with current space events.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using ESA Kids in your classroom.

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