Gingerbread House

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

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

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

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.