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Toy Theater

  What it is: Toy Theater is a fun place for students to practice math, reading, art, and music through puzzle type games.  Toy Theater encourages students in k-4 to get their problem solving brain cells working as they explore and discover the games in Toy Theater.  In the art section, students can animate their own cartoon character, put on a puppet show, or make a Matisse.  In the music section, students can make music with the Composer, interact with notes with The Music Maker, or go on a pounding mission with the Drum Beats, you will have miniature maestros in no time.  In Math students can practice math facts with flippy flashcards, or feeding Freddy, and take a math practice test to put those math skills to the test.  In the reading section students can enjoy a good joke, play with words with a sliding crossword puzzle (highly entertaining for teachers too), write their own road sign, or practice their typing skills.  In the puzzle section students brains gt put to the limit with tic tac toe and memory games.  In the playset section, students can create their very own virtual diorama about cars, sea creatures, plant, insects, ships, characters, aircraft, blocks, dinosaurs, and buildings. How to integrate Toy Theater into the classroom: Toy Theater is a great website to use as a learning center in your classroom.  The short, easy to play games are perfect for short center activities.  I love the puzzle type environment that encourages problem solving and bends the brain a little.  The playset universe would be a great section to use with an interactive whiteboard, students could take turns creating a ‘universe’ to showcase learning on a topic such as ocean, plants, insects, dinosaurs, geometry, etc.  Students can work together to show what they know together.  After students create a playset, have them pull out a writing journal and journal about the playset the class created.  Being a computer teacher I am constantly looking for fun ways to let students practice typing skills.  In the read section you will find a game called letter fall, letter blocks fall from the sky, students have to type the letter before 5 blocks can stack up. There are multiple speeds to make the game a challenge for your different typing levels.  In the computer lab setting, see who can last the longest before 5 letter blocks stack up (there is a timer at the bottom of the screen).     Tips:  This is a great site to send your students to when they finish work early and are asking “what can I do now?”     Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Toy Theater  in your classroom.

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Virtual Author Series

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 13-03-2008

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What it is: Simon and Schuster Publishing is offering a new unique experience to schools, a virtual author series. The electronic author visit brings bestselling and award-winning authors and makes them easily accessible to students and teachers. S&S creates a website specifically for each author visit that provides teachers with background information that will help prepare students for the author visit and provides interactive material that relates to the subject discussed in the author’s book. The program also includes a series of classroom activities and curriculum binders. The live web broadcast is the culmination of the virtual author experience. The 45 minute segment will include a presentation from the author, a reading from the book, and a question and answer session in which the author answers questions from the students.

How to integrate Virtual Author Series into the classroom: Bring popular author Andrew Clements (Frindle) into your classroom by signing up at the My Visit website http://www.bsu.edu/myvisit/ You need to sign up your class ASAP if you would like to participate in the first in the Virtual Author Series which takes place on March 18th. This is an outstanding opportunity for classrooms, libraries, and schools. Bring reading to life for your students with a virtual author visit. If you, like me, are on spring break during the first author in the Virtual Author Series be sure to check back for future Virtual Author events.

Tips: Check back for future Virtual Authors. The next Virtual Author will be D.J. MacHale (PENDRAGON) on April 29, 2008. This is an awesome way to bridge literacy and technology!

Please leave a comment and tell us how the Virtual Author Series went in your class. Specifically, I want to hear all about it since I won’t be able to participate!

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