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Calling all teachers!

Most of us are getting back into the swing of the new school year. Classroom set up is easy for some of us and a headache for others. I am always amazed at the little things that teachers think to do during classroom setup that helps the school year run smoothly. With this in mind, I vote that we...

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Gingerbread House

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 14-12-2007

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What it is: Gingerbread House is a part of the Highlights for Kids website. This interactive site encourages students to create their own gingerbread house complete with icing, candy, food, as well as some less traditional items. The kids can’t get enough of this site that allows them to change the size, rotate, and flip the candy and other items to fit their wishes.

How to integrate Gingerbread House into the classroom: Gingerbread House is a lot of fun for kids to play with, they will ask to play and interact with this site year round. When creating a real gingerbread house is not practical in the classroom, this provides the perfect alternative. It is a great site to use in conjunction with Jan Brett’s Gingerbread Baby book. The site provides excellent practice for mouse manipulation and creativity. Set up as a holiday center or use the fun site for indoor recess fun.

Tips: The eyeballs in the “stuff” section follow your mouse wherever it goes. The blocks in the “stuff” section have arrows on them so that students can change the letter on the block.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Gingerbread House in your classroom.


Email Santa

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 13-12-2007

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What it is: Email Santa lets your students email Santa directly. The best part…Santa emails the students right back! This site is completely safe, it is all web based and does not require email at all. Students fill in a letter form to send Santa and he sends back an appropriate response. They are each a little different and unique.

How to integrate Email Santa into the classroom: This site is best used with students who are believers in Santa. The older kids are not so impressed! This is a nice activity for that last week of school before Christmas break. It requires students to read and follow directions. For struggling readers, pair with a strong “helper” who can assist. The students really love this! Students can even write letters to Rudolph from their pets.

Tips: Set up Email Santa as a center during the last day before break when the kids are wound up and ready for break. Students can also check the naughty or nice list for their name, get Santa’s autograph, vote for the reindeer who should lead the sleigh, watch the Rudolph cam, read elf jokes, and play some other fun Christmas games.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Email Santa in your classroom.

Do-a-rain-deer

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Music, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Typing, Websites | Posted on 12-12-2007

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What it is: Do-a-rain-deer is a reindeer orchestra. Students “squash” the noses of the reindeer or type the numbers on their shirts to play different musical notes. Students can free play and make up their own songs or choose a Christmas song to play with the site guiding them.

How to integrate Do-a-rain-deer into the classroom: Do-a-rain-deer is a fun site that students will enjoy interacting with. This is a great Christmas/winter activity because of the play along songs. The site is more than just fun and games though, use Do-a-rain-deer to practice touch typing numbers. It is a great number touch type motivator because students want to play the songs at the speed they are meant to be heard. This site could also be used in a music class as a fun, easy activity during the busy Christmas pageant season!

Tips: As your students learn to touch type the numbers, invite them to put on a “concert” for fellow classmates.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Do-a-rain-deer in your classroom.

Make-a-Flake

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 11-12-2007

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What it is: Make-a-Flake lets kids ‘cut out’ virtual snowflakes. This is a fun site for the winter season!

How to integrate Make-a-Flake into the classroom: Make-a-Flake is one of those sites that is fun for all ages. Students cut out a snowflake (no two are ever alike) and then they can send their snowflake creations to a parent via email. Students snowflakes are also featured on the first page of the site as falling snow. This is a fun way to create snowflakes without all of the little paper mess. The site is great for younger kids who are still learning to manipulate the mouse, but it is fun for older kids too. Set up a snowflake station in the one or two computer classroom where students can stop and make snowflakes as they finish work early.

Tips: Gather your parent email addresses at the beginning of the year for communication purposes as well as fun creations like Make-a-Flake.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Make-a-Flake in your classroom.

Kids Biology

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Science, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 10-12-2007

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What it is: Kids Biology is a website designed to be kid friendly and informative. Here, students can learn about an assortment of animals (broken down by classes, what they eat, and where they live). Each animal has an about the animal section and a picture of the animal. Kids Biology also features kid friendly information on the origin of life, what are living things, needs of living things, cells, tissues, organs, systems, classification, five kingdoms, viruses, genetics, and Earth’s biomes. Each topic contains easy to read and understand information about the topic. Kids Biology has games that help students study what they have learned about each topic through word searches, hangman, and biology memory.

How to integrate Kids Biology into the classroom: Kids Biology would offer a nice break from traditional textbooks and worksheets. Give students time to explore the site on their own to introduce or review a new science unit. Read the online textbook as a class followed by a game using a projector. Split your kids into teams to play the game as a class. Kids Biology is also a nice resource for students researching an animal because of the kid friendly reading and wealth of information.

Tips: Save Kids Biology the bookmark bar for easy access in the classroom.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Kids Biology in your classroom.

Kids Past

Posted by admin | Posted in History, Interactive book, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 06-12-2007

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What it is: Kids Past is a history website for kids covering topics such as: prehistoric humans, the rise of civilization, Middle Eastern civilization, the ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans, African civilizations, civilizations of India, civilizations of China, Byzantine empire, the Slavs, Islam, medieval Europe, Asia in the middle ages, ancient Americans, the Renaissance, the Reformation, exploration and expansion, Asia following the middle ages, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution. Kids Past has an online textbook on the above topics. The reading is kid friendly. Kids Past also features several history games based on the online textbook reading. Students can also find historical quotes and songs about history that they can listen to online.

How to integrate Kids Past into the classroom: Kids Past would offer a nice break from traditional textbooks and worksheets. Give students time to explore the site on their own to introduce or review a history unit. Read the online textbook as a class followed by a game using a projector. Split your kids into teams to play the game as a class. Kids Past is also a nice resource for students researching a time period or historical event because of the kid friendly reading.

Tips: Save Kids Past in the bookmark bar for easy access in the classroom.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Kids Past in your classroom.

Spelling City

Posted by admin | Posted in General, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 05-12-2007

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What it is: Spelling City is a place where your students can practice their spelling words through teaching, games, and practice tests. In the teaching section, students hear the word and a sentence including the word before the word is spelled for them. In the game section, students can choose to play an online word search, hang mouse (like hang man), and word scramble with their spelling words. In the practice test, students click to hear the word and a sentence containing the word. They type in the word and check for correctness. Teachers can save spelling lists on the site (or a years worth of spelling lists) for students to practice. Students login with the class information to access that weeks spelling list. Students also have the option of creating their own lists. Best of all Spelling City is totally free!

How to integrate Spelling City into the classroom: Use Spelling City as a spelling center where students can practice their spelling words. Create a link to your classes spelling lists on Spelling City on your classroom or school website. This will provide easy access to spelling practice at home and at school. Spelling City makes spelling practice fun for students…they will ask for more practice! Be sure to let your parents know about Spelling City. It will make spelling practice at home fun too. The word search and word scramble games can be printed out for off computer practice in the classroom or at home. You will be amazed with this site!

Tips: Spelling City has links to additional spelling games on the teachers page. These have not been fully integrated yet (meaning that your spelling words won’t automatically flow to the games, this is being worked on). Games include crossword puzzles, build a sentence wall, wacky story builder, find the misspelled word, verb puzzle, homophone quiz, sound alike words, syllables and the synonym game.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Spelling City in your classroom.

Zoom into Maps

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, History, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 04-12-2007

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What it is: Zoom into Maps is an extensive collection of online maps. Maps range from 1500 AD to today. Maps include United States hometown geography, exploration and discovery, migration and settlement, travel and transportation, environmental history, military maps, pictoral maps, maps of today, and unusual maps. Each map is accompanied by a series of questions and tips on interpretation of orientation, legend, and scale.

How to integrate Zoom into Maps into the classroom: Use Zoom into Maps for history lessons, geography, and even literature lessons. These maps are very high quality and are a great way to teach students how to read a map. Create an activity where students can explore maps on their own in a center type activity or in a computer lab setting. These maps would also be perfect for displaying on a projector for whole class instruction. Print out the Graphic Organizer included on the site. Students can use this graphic organizer as they explore the maps on the site.

Tips: The maps on Zoom into Maps are zoomable and available for offline viewing as well.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Zoom into Maps in your classroom.

SuperThinkers

Posted by admin | Posted in General, Interactive book, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 03-12-2007

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What it is: SuperThinkers is a website that encourages students to become thinkers as opposed to memorizers. The goal of SuperThinkers is to teach children how to think by creating connections, look for meaning behind facts, and analyzing in order to understand. Even reluctant readers enjoy using this site to read for meaning. The Peetnik Mysteries are stories that the students read and interact with. In the mystery game, students use common tools such as maps, phones, and phone directories to follow up on hunches to solve the mystery.

How to integrate SuperThinkers into the classroom: SuperThinkers includes quality mysteries from author Peter Reynolds. Use SuperThinkers as part of a larger mystery unit or as a reading activity that encourages logic, problem solving, critical thinking, cooperative learning, analysis, pattern interpretation, mystery solving, writing, observation, sharing, discovery, imagination, self determination, reflection, and opportunities for self expression. The mysteries take about 30 min. to solve and would be best utilized in a computer lab 1 to 1 setting or as a whole class with a projector. The mysteries are popular with students, even the most reluctant readers enjoy working with the mysteries. The Peetnik Mysteries can also be used to teach students how to create a time line, compare and contrast skills, and as story starters.

Tips: Be sure to visit the Educators section of SuperThinkers for curriculum tie-ins, lesson plans, and posters.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using SuperThinkers in your classroom.

The North Star

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, General, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 29-11-2007

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What it is: North Star is a book written by author Peter Reynolds. The North Star book is online for students and classrooms everywhere to read and enjoy. The book is a fable which helps children chart meaningful journeys in life and teaches a philosophy of creativity and lifelong learning. The North Star website includes the book, a place for sharing and communication with other North Star readers, a North Star constellation Map Maker where students can chart their own journey, crossword puzzles, inspirational quotes and cards, and several activities that encourage creativity and reaching goals.

How to integrate North Star into the classroom: The North Star is an amazing addition to any character education program. Read the story as a class using a projector (or purchase the book). Use computer lab time or classroom computers for the North Star constellation map maker where students can chart their life journey and goals. Encourage students to share their hopes and dreams with one another. Your students will not only learn more about themselves, they will learn more about their classmates.

Tips: Be sure to visit the Educators section of North Star for some outstanding free teacher resources. Find mini-posters and clip art. Note- the North Star Constellation Map Maker requires a Shockwave player.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using North Star in your classroom.

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