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Zoo Whiz

What it is:  Zoo Whiz is a new education site that encourages kids to be “whizzes” in math, reading and word development.  There are levels and content for students from 5 to 15 years old.  There are over 11,200 interactive activities to help unleash the whiz in every child.  The games and activities go beyond simple drill and skill to build higher order thinking skills and problem solving strategies.  The activities build fluency in math, reading and word development.  Zoo Whiz has kids practice math, reading and word skills through a series of activities and games that gets progressively difficult.  As students play games, they earn Zoo Whiz “money” that will allow them to purchase animals to build up their zoo.  Young students will really enjoy this aspect of Zoo Whiz! In the math sections, students will learn: Numeration: integers, operations, money Addition & subtraction Multiplication & division Fractions & decimals: ratio, percentages Patterns & algebra: patterns, relationships Data: recording, displaying and interpreting data Measurement: length, area, volume/capacity, mass, time Space & geometry: 2D, 3D, position, angle, transformations, symmetry Currently Zoo Whiz is in public beta.  There are still some areas that are being developed and released.  There are two versions of Zoo Whiz: a free account and a premium account that provides students with additional content and abilities within the game.  In the public beta, both versions are free.  While the site may have curricular material for students up to age 15+, I’m not sure a 15 year old student would spend any amount of time on this site.  It is definitely more geared for the under 10 crowd. How to integrate Zoo Whiz into the classroom: Zoo Whiz is a fun new way for students to hone their math, reading and word skills.  Because every student has their own login, they can practice the subjects at their own level and at their own pace.  The site makes a great center activity, providing students extra practice for basic, key skills.  I like the way Zoo Whiz activities present concepts in a variety of ways to ensure that students have a real understanding of a concept (instead of memorization of a fact alone).  Zoo Whiz is a great place for students to build fluency. I like the way that Zoo Whiz has set up the school and classroom accounts to be linked with a home account.  This makes it easy for both parents and teachers to stay aware of what skills students are working on, where they are successful, and where they could use some additional help. Students will enjoy earning money to purchase animals for their zoo. If you don’t have the opportunity for students to play these games individually, consider using a projector-connected computer or an interactive whiteboard to play the games as a class.  Create one class account for students to play from.  Students can take turns helping the class earn money for their zoo and decide which animals should be added.   When I had only one computer in the classroom, I turned activities like Zoo Whiz into a class game.  Sometimes I would split the kids into teams to see which team could earn the most points and others we would work collaboratively to get to a benchmark that we predetermined.  Either way, all students should be involved in game play. Tips: I learned about Zoo Whiz from iLearn Technology reader, Tania.  Thank you Tania!  Zoo Whiz looks like a fun addition to the classroom.  Be sure to let parents know about Zoo Whiz, this could be a fun way to continue practice at home. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Zoo Whiz in  your classroom!

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Trapped! Punctuation: Punctuation Practice for October

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 15-10-2012

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What it is:  I’ve long been a fan of the BBC’s Bitesize games and activities.  They continue to grow and continue to impress me.  I recently ran across the BBC Bitesize Trapped! Punctuation game.  It couldn’t be a more perfect way to practice punctuation in October.  It has all the elements that students will enjoy: a challenge in the form of a story, spooky characters and setting (but not too spooky), a built in extra game challenge to get from one level to the next.  The game begins with a short animation explaining how students got trapped in a tower and how they will solve punctuation puzzles to get free.  Students have to choose the correct punctuation to complete each puzzle.  After they have chosen the punctuation, they have to use some physics/experimentation to get an apple into a hole to move on to the next level.  This is FUN punctuation practice!

How to integrate Trapped! Punctuation into the classroom: Trapped! Punctuation is a fun way for students to practice placement of punctuation in writing. This beats worksheet practice hands down.  I like that the site puts students in the middle of a story and challenge.  Students will have to consider why a punctuation mark is appropriate in each place.  After students choose the punctuation to complete the puzzle, students have an additional challenge of getting an apple into a hole.  There are some very basic physic principles introduced here.  Students have to use the mouse to choose the angle and speed to shoot the apple to get to their goal.  The puzzles get increasingly difficult and add the additional challenge of extra twists and turns to get the apple through.  The second challenge asks students to choose the correct form of punctuation by “herding” crates with the mouse.

I like that these games are not your typical drill and kill.  They aren’t simply choose the right answer and move on.  There is an additional problem solving component built into each game.  Can’t beat that!

Trapped Punctuation would be a great challenge for kids in a one to one computer setting.  Don’t have that luxury? The games are quick enough to be used as a center activity in the one or two computer classroom.  Set up Trapped! Punctuation as one of the centers in the classroom for students to visit as part of their rotation.

Tips: This practice is fun and challenging enough that students may want to continue practice at home.  Be sure to share this link with parents, they are always looking for good uses of home computer time!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Trapped! Punctuation in your classroom.

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Comments (3)

Game sounds perfect for my students!

What is the site address?

Hi Jackie, in all of my posts all you need to do is click on the name of the site (it is a live link) and it will take you to the correct url :)

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