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National Geographic Kids Animal Jam Virtual World

What it is: National Geographic Kids is a constant source of excellent activities but their new Animal Jam virtual world is above and beyond my favorite.  My students love virtual worlds, they enjoy being immersed in a story, sent on a mission, and interacting with each other to complete adventures and learn.  Animal Jam lets them do all of these things while providing a virtual world where they can discover real-world plant and animal information and follow a rich storyline that has National Geographic’s multi-media content built in.  Cool huh?!  Animal Jam does something else, it excites students to learn more about the real world around them, so when they aren’t playing in the virtual world, they will be excited to learn more about the world they live in.  The virtual world is an easy one for students to pick up on and learn, it is perfect for young students and caters to their specific levels of play and developmental stages.  Animal Jams will be one of those environments that is as appealing to fourth grade students as it is to first grade students.  The online environment is safe and monitored so you can feel comfortable introducing it in your classroom.  Each portion of the sign up process is narrated so it is easy for even young students to sign up.  The site requires a parent’s email address to sign up, the email is required but does not have to be verified before play can begin.  In a classroom setting, a teacher or classroom email address could be used for sign-up. The email address allows an adult to monitor and adjust settings in a child’s game. How to integrate National Geographic Kids Animal Jam into the classroom: After students sign up, they are entered into the magical world of Jamma where they are introduced to the world.  Each portion of the game is narrated making it accessible to early readers, struggling readers, and English language learners.  As students explore the world of Jamma, they will find embedded learning about different kinds of plants and animals along with incredible National Geographic images.  Animal Jam is a nice environment to let your young students practice what they are learning about online safety and netiquette.  As students explore Jamma, they will learn about links, navigation with mouse and arrow keys, and learn fun facts in the process. Every primary curriculum that I have seen carves out time for students to learn about plants and animals.  Animal Jam is a fun place for them to discover this learning within the virtual world.  Send your students on expeditions and adventures to find these learning opportunities.  As they play in Animal Jam, students can keep an observation journal where they record the plants and animals they are discovering like a scientist would.  Ask your students how many of the plants and animals they can find in real life around their homes.    If you are learning about ecosystems and environments, ask students to count and name the different ecosystems they can spot in Animal Jam.  This site is ideal for the computer lab setting, make sure to at least begin the game in the computer lab where each student has a computer.  After the kids are signed up and familiar with the world, it could become a center activity for your classroom computers throughout the year. Tips: Right now Animal Jam is in Beta.  The world is free to join and play in but premium accounts are also available to students. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Animal Jam in your classroom.

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Children’s Books Forever

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Download, Foreign Language, Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 31-08-2011

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What it is:   Children’s Books Forever is a simple site that packs a powerful punch for instilling a love of reading at an early age.  These are free children’s books that have become classics and children’s favorite books from around the world.  The books can be used on an interactive whiteboard, power point, overhead projector, on iPads (or other iDevices), or classroom computers.  Did I mention they are free?  These fun picture books are downloadable in pdf format and are wonderful for expanding your classroom library.  New books are being added regularly to Children’s Books Forever so be sure to check back often!

How to integrate Children’s Books Forever into the classroom:  I love sites that spread a love for reading while simultaneously beefing up the classroom library (and student’s home libraries).  The site is simple to use, just choose a book, download as a PDF and read.  Couldn’t be any simpler!  The books can be read in multiple languages making it a wonderful place for students who are learning a second language or speaking English as a second language.  Be sure to click on the links in the left side bar, they will lead you to additional books.  Find books for toddlers, Waldo humor books, inspirational books and more information on author Hans Wihelm in addition to the books featured on the home page.

The stories featured on Children’s Books Forever are beautifully written and illustrated.  Do your students have a pen pal or buddy in another country who speaks a different language?  Why not find a book that is featured in both languages to read and discuss together?  This is a great connecting point for students!

Bookmark Children’s Books Forever on classroom computers so that students can easily access the books during reading time.  The books can also be printed and added to the class library.  Be sure to remind your students they can access these stories from any Internet connected computer, they can keep reading at home too.

Many of the stories on Children’s Books Forever can be used for character education discussions in the primary classroom.  Project these stories on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer for a class read along.

Tips: Be sure to sign up to be notified when new books are added to Children’s Books Forever via email!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Children’s Books Forever in  your classroom!

 

Comments (11)

[...] Children’s Books Forever     What it is:   Children’s Books Forever is a simple site that packs a powerful punch for instilling a love of reading at an early age.  These are free children’s books that have become classics and children’s favorite books from around the… Source: ilearntechnology.com [...]

This is a great resource, Kelly; thanks for sharing.

You forgot to mention that books are available in a dozen different languages: English, Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish.

And, the pdf books can easily be included in Moodle assignments and discussions.

Hi. The reveiw states you can use these books on an iPad, but the site uses Acrobat, which I’m told an iPad cannot support. Can someone share a work around that I can use to share this resource with my students who use iPads? Thanks in advance.
Chris

The Adobe mention is just a recommendation for a PDF reader. If you go to Children’s Books Forever from the iPad it works no problem :)

Thanks Dan! It is good to note that not ALL of the books are available in all languages but there are great overlaps between languages that would enable conversations and collaboration between pen pals of different languages.

Might be good to note that all the titles appear to be by the same author, the prolific Hans Wilhelm.

Thanks for the tips on Children’s Books Forever, and in addition to Tumblebooks, Speakaboos and can you also let us know of other free e-books available online? Thanks.

Story Cove is another good one!

True.

There was a suggestion for another ebook site that has since disappeared. Can it be put back? Thx.

Not sure of the one you are referring to Donna!

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