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Maggie’s Earth Adventures

What it is: Maggie’s Earth Adventures is an incredible site for teachers and students.  First the amazing tools for you… Every teacher has wished for a lesson that takes little time for teacher preparation or explanation, can be used as a center activity, is a filler for students who finish their work early, serves as extra credit, is a ready made homework assignment, or can be an emergency plan for a substitute teacher.  Maggie’s Earth Adventures Teachers Lounge is the place to go!  Sign up for free weekly activity packets in subjects such as math, reading, science, and social studies.  Weekly activity packets are sent based on age levels (emergent reader, primary, and intermediate) and a different subject area is sent each week.  These are high quality teaching materials!In addition to the free weekly activities, Maggie’s Earth Adventures also features an excellent lesson plan resource, you can get an entire theme unit or a few lessons.  Some lessons even have free PowerPoint presentations to accompany the lesson.  The site is available in English or in Spanish making it perfect for the ESL classroom. Maggie is not just for teachers, you will find outstanding interactive games for your students too!  Kids can watch cartoons that tie in directly with the lesson plans.  The cartoons are packed with teaching and are interactive.  In the postcard section students can choose a picture and then choose an activity to accompany the picture.  Students can create a story clock, news article, description web, or postcard.  In the games section students can choose from games to improve math, spelling, reading, geography skills, language skills, proofreading skills, and science. Students can also download free books (these download as a printable pdf). How to integrate Maggie’s Earth Adventures into the classroom: These high quality lessons and activities are ideal for having on hand for students who finish work early and are looking for extension activities.  They are also ideal for extra credit, homework practice, or emergency substitute plans.  Use the games as practice for important skills students are working on in language arts (spelling and punctuation) and math.  This is a great place for students to hone a newly learned skill.  The postcard maker (which actually makes much more than postcards) is a great place to send students for story starters and creative writing assignments.  This is one of those sites you will want bookmarked on your classroom computers! Tips: Sign up to receive weekly activities and lessons from Maggie.  I know you sign up for a million things throughout the year, this is one that you will really use! Leave a comment and share how you are using Maggie’s Earth Adventures in your classroom.

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Wordsmyth- outstanding illustrated e-dictionary

Posted by admin | Posted in Foreign Language, Inquiry, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 16-11-2013

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iLearn Technology: Wordsmyth- illustrated e-dictionary

What it is: Wordsmyth is a fantastic online dictionary for kids.  WILD is Wordsmyth’s Illustrated Learner’s Dictionary.  It is a truly well done young reader’s dictionary for k-3 readers or ELL students.  WILD is a simple-to-use visual dictionary that includes definitions for 1500 words, developmentally appropriate sentences for each word and for each meaning of the word, integrated visual environments that help kids really explore language, audio for each word, and fun activities that promote literacy.  Wordsmyth has a dictionary for intermediate elementary and middle school students called Word Explorer Children’s Dictionary.  The Word Explorer includes a related-words feature where students can see concept maps, easy-to-read and understand definition, word histories, Language Notes, and thousands of images and animations to help students build literacy. Finally, Wordsmyth has a comprehensive dictionary suite with easy to read entries and definitions, illustrations, synonyms/similar words/antonyms under each definition, audio pronunciation and thousands more images.  Wordsmyth has different options for use.  There is a free subscription available to everyone that will allow students to freely access all 3 dictionary suites, advanced search options, puzzles, words of the day, look up history, customized pronunciation and dictionary formats, and a glossary maker.  MOST of the site is totally free to use with the free registration!  For $9.95/year, you can also purchase an individual subscription that gives some additional features such as the ability to customize the dictionary and gain access to premium features.

An educational subscription allows access to ALL tools including teacher tools.  Best of all, it is FREE for schools for the 2013-2014 school year.  Worth taking advantage of this option!

How to integrate Wordsmyth into your classroom: I’m seriously impressed with the Wordsmyth dictionaries.  They are truly an impressive option for a digital dictionary in the classroom.  The downfall of this site: the illustrated dictionary (WILD) is flash-based.  This means that it is not easily accessible on iDevices in the classroom.  It also means that it takes a bit to load each page if your Internet connection isn’t great.  

What I appreciate about this dictionary, is the accessibility for emerging readers, non-readers, or ELL/ESL students.  The dictionary is really easy to use, the definitions are easy to understand, and the accompanying audio and images are fantastic!

If you have a dedicated writing space in your classroom, make sure to include Wordsmyth in it.  Bookmark it on classroom computers, send it home to parents, include it on your classroom blog/website, etc.  This is a wonderful place for kids to be empowered during their writing and literacy time.

If you are lucky enough to have a 1:1 device setting, this site is worth making a web clip for to make it easily accessible to everyone.

Right now our students are inquiring into how we express ourselves.  Our intermediate students are looking at different mediums and methods that people use for self-expression.  Part of that exploration has led them into a study of words.  Wordsmyth is a great way for them to explore in a place that is developmentally appropriate and helps them see the way that language is connected and can be used for expression.

Wordsmyth has words separated by topic.  As you begin a new unit, give students the opportunity to explore the vocabulary on the front end.  You can do this as a class using a projector or interactive whiteboard or individually on classroom/personal devices.  As you go through a class book or unit together, create a custom glossary that students can refer to.

Tips: Be sure to sign up for the free educational group subscription for the 2013-2014 school year.  With the subscription you get unlimited making/using/saving/sharing activities, customize the dictionary, access premium dictionary features, and access to the teacher tools.

What do you think of Wordsmyth?  How do you plan to use it in your classroom?

Comments (1)

I have a class of students with language impairments. The collections tab is a great tool for them because it allows them to make connections between the word categories. I plan to have them use that to include words in their personal dictionary so they can find them easier. Their spelling is often very phonetic so using a regular dictionary doesn’t help because their sounds are so off. I also plan on sharing with our ESL teacher. Thanks so much for sharing!

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