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Stretch Break for Kids

What it is:  As computers and one to one environments become more prevalent in schools, it is important to remember proper ergonomics.  Stretch Break is a free software that is downloadable for both Mac and PC platforms.  The software is designed to help prevent computer related strain injuries by reminding students to take breaks while using the computer.  Every 30 minutes the software asks students if they would like to stretch.  Full animated figures lead students through simple stretches.  Then the software returns students to the task they were working on.  Teachers can designate how long to wait between stretch sessions and how many stretches to lead students through in a session.  Stretch Break for Kids was designed by a team of health care professionals.  The stretches focus on the neck, arms, hands, back, legs, and wrists.  The software also includes some important eye exercises.  There are 20 stretches total, many that focus on prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. How to integrate Stretch Break for Kids into the classroom:  Stretch Break for Kids is a must for every computer lab.  Any time that students are using a lab computer they should be reminded of proper ergonomics and learn how to properly stretch for health.  Load Stretch Break for Kids on classroom computers and even on the computer that is connected with the Interactive Whiteboard.  Throughout the day (you determine how often and how long) set Stretch Break to pop up and encourage students to stretch as a class.  Even if they aren’t working at the computer all day, these stretches will help them get some blood flowing and release tension that can build up while they are doing their school work.  This is a great one to download to your own computer, you need to be reminded to stretch too!    Tips:   Stretch Break for Kids contains Ergo hints for healthier computing in addition to the stretches.  Spend some time teaching your kids healthy computing habits, as technology becomes more and more available in the classroom, these healthy habits become more important.  The free Stretch Break for Kids software is network compatible. Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Stretch Break for Kids in your classroom.

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International Childrens Digital Library

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Foreign Language, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 30-12-2008

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What it is:  The International Childrens Digital Library (also known as ICDL) is an online digital library for children of all ages.  The mission of ICDL is to “ excite and inspire the world’s children to become members of the global community – children who understand the value of tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas — by making the best in children’s literature available online.”  When students visit the ICDL website they are brought to a simple search area where they can choose different options for finding a book.  They can narrow down results by age (3-13), fiction or non-fiction, book length, award winners, language, picture or chapter books, subject matter, and even what colors that cover has in it.  When students choose a book they can read the book in its entirety online.  I learned about this site in the iTunes store, they have a free iPod Touch and iPhone application for downloading books from the ICDL in addition to their online content.  So neat!

 

How to integrate ICDL into the classroom:   The ICDL website reminds me a lot of LookyBook.  The search options are extremely user friendly and allow even the youngest readers to find a book they are sure to love.  Students can register for the library (free) and then leave an online review of the book.  I like the idea of digital libraries for students because it opens up a number of books to them that they may not otherwise have access to.  If a story is started during school, students can finish the story when they get home from any Internet connected computer.  The ICDL is nice for reading groups.  All students can be reading the same book from school and from home without setting aside a large budget for group sets.  The search is a wonderful way for students to discover what types of literature they enjoy.  Many of the books featured are from different cultures and languages, these would be perfect to bring into a foreign language classroom.  ICDL books provide a fun way for students to gain global awareness.  Books in other languages could also be used as a starting point for student created stories.  Students can do picture walks through the online books and then compose their own story to accompany the pictures.  ICDL is a great way to read with the whole class.  Connect your computer with a projector and students can read the story along with you, everyone will be able to see the pictures as you discuss the story!  

 

Tips:  One thing that I really appreciate about ICDL is the ability to view the books full screen and zoom in and out of the pages.  The site is easy to navigate and this feature makes it even more user friendly.  

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using ICDL  in your classroom.

Comments (1)

Thank you for your tireless blogging. I have been more inspired by your website than any other this year, and I visit a great deal of websites. I feel indebted to you and look forward to your new posts. You have contributed a great deal to the lives of my students and other teachers in our district as a result of what you regularly share. Please keep posting and thank you!
David

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