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Starfall

What it is: Starfall is a free learn-to-read phonics website primarily designed for kindergarten through second grade. It is a great resource for struggling readers. Starfall offers beginning readers interactive books, games, videos (complete with fun reading strategy songs). Starfall also offers free downloads of their printed materials which include short readers, writing and phonics journals, and more. The printed materials make classroom learning more fun and inspire a love of reading and writing. How to integrate Starfall into your reading and writing curriculum: For the one or two computer classroom use www.starfall.com as a center activity during reading and writing time. Reinforce what is learned at school by sending some of the free printed resources home. If you have access to a computer lab or mobile lab, use www.starfall.com to introduce a new phonics concept. If you have access to a projector, use the Starfall videos for whole class phonics instruction, invite students to sing along. Tips: Students as young as kindergarten will be able to navigate this site easily on their own. Create a bookmark for www.starfall.com for fast easy access. Students will love Starfall, send the link home so that students can continue learning at home.    

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Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media

Posted by admin | Posted in For Teachers, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 28-06-2013

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What it is:  Summer time always seems to be a much-anticipated time for a little rest and relaxation.  Over the years I’ve heard from hundreds of parents how much they enjoy the summer months with their kids…until they reach July.  This is when the “I don’t know what to do” sets in and boredom can take over.  Common Sense Media is here to help with those in-between moments when it is too hot to play outside and you prefer that they do something more meaningful than plop in front of the TV for a few hours.  Send them to virtual camp!  The virtual camp is a library of apps, games and websites that will help your kids retain all of the skills they built up over the school year and even build some new ones in anticipation of the new school year.  Recommendations are broken up by age (2-17) and have been further divided by categories including: Outdoor Exploration, Scavenger Hunt, Arts and Crafts, Campfire Friends, Indoor Activities, and Talent Show.  Each recommendation is rated with books.  You are looking for 3 books for an engaging, exceptional learning activity!

How to integrate Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media into the classroom: Camp Virtual is a great way to keep kids learning throughout the summer.  Parents will be extra appreciative of the recommendations for worth-while and safe places for their kids to play while they are at home.  Each activity includes a learner rating and gives a great description of the activity as well as the learning that is tied to it.

Camp Virtual has a guide that can be downloaded and sent home with students at the end of the school year.  Too late for that?  Send a “hope you are having a wonderful summer” email with the guide and a link to the site.

When the weather is nice, I am a HUGE fan of kids getting out and enjoying experiential learning.  However; I know that like all of us, they hit the point of no return when they are hot, tired, crabby and just need a change of activity in a cooler location.  These recommendations of games and activities is a great reprieve for those moments!

Tips:  I love that at the bottom of each page there are some recommendations for parents to continue the learning beyond the game or activity.  Things like “Encourage kids to come up with as many different solutions as they can with each game. Ask them which solutions are most efficient.”

Are you using Camp Virtual?  Share your experience in the comments below!

Comments (6)

I believe that it’s important to keep up your childs learning during the summer.

However, this doesn’t mean shoving books down their throats and telling them to study, I believe that this means engaging them in something that really excites them, that they love doing.

I’m a teacher on http://www.chalksy.com and teach Spanish, and I encourage my high school students to take up online classes in topics that really interest them.

That’s how we created a brilliant generation of young minds!

Sounds like a great resource, thanks for sharing!

[...] “Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media” @ktenkely ilearntechnology.com/?p=5036 [...]

[...] website that I can encourage my students to learn over the summer! The blog post is named, “Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media.” Basically, the author pointed out that she was tired of hearing parents complain that their [...]

Completely agree. Last summer I wanted my kids to learn something new and found http://www.learnbycam.com – My son decided to take online guitar lessons with them and my daughter chose French classes. I must admit this works really well. I am able to supervise the lessons as they take place via Skype and dont have to worry. Importantly they are learning from great teachers. Would recommend to any parents wanting to help their children learn more.

That is fantastic Matt! What fun!

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