Let’s drop in to the middle of a MOOC!
There are lots of online math games out there. Some of them are kinda fun, some of them are pretty boring. Prodigy is not like those games.
Created to be like the sweeping fantasy games that are popular among gamers, Prodigy is a math game that allows users to customize an avatar, pick up new abilities and spells, and make their way through new realms. It is also Common Core aligned, and automatically adjusts to each student’s skill level. Teachers can set up accounts for their students that allow them to track progress.
The folks at Prodigy believe that their product should be available for all, so most of the game is completely free. You can upgrade to a membership, but it is not necessary to advance in the game, and the reports and tracking features that are so great for teachers are also free.
Google is trying to get young girls interested in coding, and they’ve got a pretty cool new initiative called Made With Code to do it. According to the website,
“Made with Code is an initiative to champion creativity, girls, and code, all at once. The movement is designed to do three things: To inspire girls by celebrating women and girls who are using code to do great things; to engage girls to try coding through introductory projects and resources; and to sustain their interest by creating alliances and community around girls and coding.”
There are some (very) easy coding projects, including a 3D printed bracelet that you can design and have sent to you for free. It’s a fun way to introduce code to folks who don’t think they have any interest in it.
In addition to the projects, there are testimonials by “mentors,” inspiring women who have used computer programming to make the world a better or more interesting place.
National Coding Week is coming up, and if you’d like to dip your toes into the world of programming without any need for experience, check out the projects and resources available through Made With Code.
ABCMouse is the new favorite in the Ed Tech world. It is an entire learning environment with lessons and activities designed to prepare little ones (2-5) for school. Users can either pick and choose the activities they want to try, or follow a pre-set path that works its way through a standards-aligned curriculum.
If you have an account, you can log in as a teacher and create student accounts, complete with avatars, ability levels, and pre-set lessons. Students can then log into their own accounts, and have everything set up for them to learn and explore the site. There are dozens of printables, too.
For those of you with younger students just learning the alphabet, colors, numbers, and other basics, this is a fantastic place for interactive practice. It is free for teachers and librarians, and requires a subscription for parents.
This one comes from Mike and Lynda.
“Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better”
– Bill Gates
Next week is “Computer Science Education Week”. Code.org is putting on an “Hour of Code” to inspire K-12 students to learn about computer programming.
According to their site, “It’s a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator.”
There are a number of online games/tutorials for various ages, some as young as 4 years. If you can spare an hour to expose kids to the foundations of all the technology that they love so much, check out some of the following links and let me know if you want to discuss them.
Find out more on the Hour of Code project and how you can use it in your classroom here.
I thought it might be fun for me to share with you what I’m using today in my classes, and how. That way, you can not only learn about a cool website, but you can see how it can be used to enhance your lessons.
In a recent #EdTechChat on Twitter, teachers were asked what their favorite Web 2.0 sites were. Listed in the top 30 or so was Padlet, a site that functions a bit like an online whiteboard/bulletin board. A teacher can create a wall, and students can sign in and add postings to it. It could not be easier to use, and allows for a fun way to collaborate and comment. Even better, the comments show up as boxes on the wall, and can be moved and organized. Posts can also be Tweeted, Pinned, Tumbled, and posted on several other forms of social media.
How can a teacher use it? Well, a teacher could post a discussion question and ask students to leave comments for homework. Or, a teacher could create their own “magnetic poetry” and students could rearrange words into poems. It could be a very simple project guide site, with each box containing a photo, file, or link to a helpful website.
I decided to use it today on a whim. My second graders have been learning all about alphabetical order, and as we approach Thanksgiving, we’re reading the book I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie by Allison Jackson. In order to tie the two together, I thought it would be fun to have the kids work together to put in alphabetical order all the food the old lady swallowed!
For older kids (3rd or 4th grade), this would be a center where they work independently or in pairs, but for 2nd grade, it seemed like a good idea to work together as a class. That means that I needed a way to move words around on a screen, and Padlet fit the bill perfectly. Its flexibility means that, once all the words from the book have been put in order, we can add our own favorite foods to the list, and alphabetize those as well. The possibilities really are endless.
Want to play with my Padlet wall and put the food in alphabetical order? Give it a try here.
Update: Shortly after I posted this, the NPS did, in fact, shut down all its web content, as well. Sad! So bookmark this one for another time. Thanks to Anne D. for discovering this.
So you can’t visit National Parks in person due to the government shutdown. Thankfully, there is still lots of great content available online via the National Parks Service to take you on a virtual field trip!
The NPS website for teachers offers distance learning, videos, and materials lists. Their lesson plans are searchable by grade level and subject, so you can easily find standards-aligned lessons on everything from wild horses to Ben Franklin.
There’s lots of content here, and I love the idea of learning about history, biology, and ethics through the lens of our nation’s landmarks.