What it is: I Know That Language Arts builds student’s language arts skills for kindergarten through sixth grade. Activities include word searches, word matching, word builders, scrambled stories, sentence puzzles, punctuation paintball, word tage, and more.
How to integrate I Know That Language Arts into your literacy curriculum: Instead of the standard DOL, set your students up for some Punctuation Paintball. Allow your students to use I Know That Language Arts for practice, as an extended learning activity, or as a center during literacy.
Tips: I Know That has some advertisements on its site, these can be removed by purchasing a subscription. I use the sites advertisements to teach my students about how to spot ads on a website and why some sites have ads. Check out the teachers guide for each game and activity for some great ideas.
What it is: The Little Animals Activity Centre has several activities for kindergarten through second grade including read along stories, math practice, and music games. The read along stories are wonderful for following auditory directions.
How to integrate The Little Animals Activity Centre into your curriculum: Use The Little Animals Activity Centre to reinforce classroom learning. It offers read along interactive stories that invite students to follow auditory directions. The math section is great addition, and subtraction practice. Students can have fun with words and practice end sounds, first sounds, and rhymes. These are great little games and activities for practice. This site is also wonderful for teaching students how to use and manipulate the computer mouse.
Tips: Click on the teachers page for activity overviews, lesson plans, and printable worksheets.
What it is: Technology is quickly changing the teaching and learning environment. The Internet in particular opens up our classrooms and students to the rest of the world. Netsmartz Kids teaches students about internet safety through fun songs, characters and interactive games. The site does not link to any outside sites. It is safe and easy to use.
How to integrate Netsmartz Kids into your curriculum: Before using the Internet in your classroom, introduce your students to the rules of the web through these fun songs and games. Netsmartz Educators offers wonderful activity cards and ideas for using Netsmartz in your classroom.
Tips: Allow your students to explore Netsmartz often, these skills cannot be reinforced enough! Tell parents about the Netsmartz Parents page where they can learn more about keeping their family safe online.
What it is: e-learning for Kids offers schools free and unlimited use of their courseware and access up-to-date content on children and learning. e-Learning for Kids provides a fun place to help your students build and strengthen skills in math, science, reading, computers and keyboarding. The programs are designed for kindergarten through sixth graders.
How to integrate e-learning for Kids into your curriculum: You can easily incorporate the e-learning for Kids courses into your current curriculums. Match up the e-learning for Kids courses with your current curriculum. Students can work on specific skills and access the self-paced programs independently. Students will be engaged and work at a level where they can perform successfully.
Tips: e-learning for Kids offers a free CD version of the courses. This is the perfect solution for computers that are not connected to the Internet or have an unreliable connection.
What it is: Dance Mat Typing is a British site that teaches kids typing with fun characters and voices. The site features correct ergonomics and correct hand and finger placement. Students work through 12 stages to become top typist.
Integrating Dance Mat Typing into your curriculum: Use Dance Mat Typing to boost your students typing skills. This will make all of their computer time more productive! Encourage students to practice their typing skills with this site at home as well as at school. Set aside time once a month for a typing olympics where students can showcase their typing skills.
Tips: Create a bookmark for Dance Mat Typing so students can quickly and easily access the site. Allow them to practice their typing as an “I’m done, now what” activity.
What it is: A FREE online alternative to Microsoft Office with 1GB of online storage for each user, online document collaboration, document viewer, and Think Free docs.
How to integrate Think Free into your curriculum: Think Free is not only a great way to get a complete word processor into your classroom, it also allows you to assign homework to students, and know that they students have the proper tools to get the job done. Students can easily collaborate on projects using Think Free. The best part? Students can access their files and the applications they need from any connected computer. Students can also create spreadsheets and presentations (like PowerPoint) for free.
Tips: Think Free is a great tool for you too! Instead of transferring files back and forth on a flash drive or CD, use Think Free for your word processing needs (lesson plans, class materials, homework) and access on your connected home computer. Easy!
What it is: Tux Paint (http://www.tuxpaint.org) offers open source software aka FREE. Tux Paint is a painting and creativity program similar to Kid Pix. tuxpaint.org offers the free download for both Macintosh and Windows computers. Tux Paint is easy to use, includes fun sound effects, and a cartoon mascot who guides students as they use the program. Students use a variety of drawing tools to create masterpieces.
How to integrate Tux Paint into your curriculum: Use Tux Paint as part of your publishing center. Students can illustrate their writing pieces using Tux Paint. Tux Paint can be used to enhance your literacy program. For example, I use Tux Paint when I am introducing kids to the Caldecott award. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems is a Caldecott Award winning book. The Pigeon is created with very simple shapes and can be easily recreated with the tools in Tux Paint. As part of this unit, I let kids create their own Pigeons. They look so close to Mo Willems Pigeon that the students feel like successful, award winning artists. This program is flexible enough to use in math (think patterns, money units, etc.), science, and history.
Tips: Make sure you have printing abilities. The students will be proud of their work and want to print it out! Be sure to download the stamp set. This is a free download but offers hundreds of stamps (including money) that enhance this already great program. Visit the school page to find out how other schools have used Tux Paint to enhance their curriculum.
Allow students to save their masterpieces and upload them to Artsonia (see archive).
What it is: Gamegoo features fun educational games that help students develop reading and language skills. When students play Gamegoo games, they are practicing the skills they are learning in class. Gamegoo is great for Kindergarten through third grade (although my fourth and fifth grade students still ask to play the games).
How to integrate Gamegoo into your literacy curriculum: Use Gamegoo games to reinforce literacy learning. In the one or two computer classroom, use Gamegoo as a center during literacy time. If you have access to a computer lab or mobile lab, build it right into your literacy curriculum.
Tips: Gamegoo has a great teacher section that gives descriptions, skills reinforced and grade levels of each game. Click on “Home” to get to the teacher section.
What it is: Wonderville is a place where your students can explore science in a fun, interactive environment. Wonderville has science games, interactive activities, printable activities, science works videos, ever wonders (fun facts), and downloads. Topics covered include photosynthesis, energy, fossils, forces, weather, basic physics, robots, moon phases, water treatment, levers and much more! This website is best for 3rd-8th grade. Most of the activities are a little difficult for 2nd grade.
How to integrate Wonderville into your science curriculum: Wonderville is a wonderful way to introduce an activity or as a culminating activity. In the one or two computer classroom, set it up as an experiment station. In a computer lab or mobile lab setting, all students can complete experiments together. Use the free printable activities to enhance your current science curriculum. Students will love this hands on approach to science!
Tips: Bookmark www.wonderville.ca for quick access. There are two options on the site, Wonderville, and Wonderville 3-D. Unless you have an incredibly fast T1 line, stick to Wonderville. Wonderville 3-D is generally VERY slow running, especially when multiple students are trying to access it at once in a lab setting. Invite students to play the 3-D version at home.
What it is: Knowledge Bears (www.kbears.com) is a site dedicated to learning and fun for kids. It offers students information about animals, dinosaurs, geography, space, science fair projects, weather, farms, and underwater animals. This interactive site is a good place for learning to start!
How to integrate Knowledge Bears into your curriculum: Use Knowledge Bears to introduce a new concept…invite your students to fill out a graphic organizer such as a KWL chart while they explore. Knowledge Bears is also wonderful for teaching the basics of research. Primary elementary students can use knowledge bears for a research project. I play Knowledge Bear Jeopardy with my students when I am teaching them how to navigate the internet (use links). Separate your class into teams (each team needs a computer or group of computers, I use a projector for the Jeopardy game board) then play Jeopardy, the first team to find the answer on Knowledge Bears gets the point. The kids love this activity and it is a wonderful way to teach research skills.
Tips: Let kids explore this site on their own…they will love it! Download the Jeopardy activity from here: kbears jeopardy.ppt or kbears jeopardy.key.zip