Sometimes, I just can’t top what another librarian or ed tech blogger has done. This is one of those times. The fantastic blog Technology Rocks. Seriously. puts together the most comprehensive lists of holiday-themed games and activities for kids. Her post on Christmas games is here. She’s also found enough gingerbread-themed games to create a whole other post here. Enjoy!
BiblioNasium is a reading community for students and their teachers. If you’ve ever used Goodreads or Shelfari, you know how great it is to keep track of books you’ve read, books you want to read, and keep up with what others are reading. BiblioNasium offers the same experience, only in a safe community just for you and your students. It’s pretty simple to use: you create an account for yourself, and then you can create a class, complete with accounts for each student.
Teachers can create lists of recommended and required books, and they can recommend books to a specific student. Students can, in turn, keep track of what they’re reading using a reading log, and recommend books to their friends. There is even a place where parents can log in and view what their kids are reading. The best part is that, while this is a social community, students can only communicate with their teacher, and (with parental permission) with other students in their class.
I love the idea of allowing students to review and recommend books to each other; my own Goodreads and Shelfari accounts have helped me find some great books that I might not have otherwise read. The site is in beta, however, which means it’s still in a testing phase. Sometimes, the pages hang and take a while to load. Some of the functionality is not intuitive, and it may take time to figure out how to do certain things. However, it’s a work in progress, and will only get better. Signing up is free, and they don’t spam you with emails, so make yourself (and your class!) an account and see what you think!
First of all, this is Applewild Technology’s 100th post! Woohoo!
OK, now that that’s out of the way…
One of my favorite go-to places for high quality educational resources and activities is Scholastic. Their feature on the first Thanksgiving includes a virtual field trip on the Mayflower, a look into the daily lives of both Pilgrims and Indians, and a Web Quest. There is so much here, and much of it was produced in association with Plimouth Plantation. This is a really great way to get your students thinking about what the world was like back then.
This fun game from BBC Bitesize is a great way to practice punctuation. More than a simple flash game, Trapped! actually has a plot, and characters; each punctuation mark you place correctly helps to save you from the Tower. If you have a little extra time at the end of English, and want to have your students enjoy some Halloween-themed punctuation fun, give it a try. It’s appropriate for all ages, though the punctuation knowledge required is at least 2nd grade level.
As you may know, February is Black History Month. Hopefully, you’re finding ways to incorporate the accomplishments of African-Americans into your lessons, but if you need some help, check out the African American History and Heritage site. This site is currently School Library Journal’s site of the week– talk about just-in-time resources!
It may not be pretty, but it’s chock full of great resources: biographies, links to books and videos, and a Teacher Toolkit. The Toolkit contains links, lesson plans, and more, and is organized by discipline.
It’s pretty hard to navigate, and is so full of resources that it may be confusing, but if you’re willing to go exploring, you can find cool resources like the African American Inventors database.
As a school, we put a lot of focus on problem-based learning, especially in the math and sciences. Well, Math Pickle takes this concept and runs with it! Created for kindergarten and up, Math Pickle presents elegant, interesting math problems that require developmentally-appropriate math skills to solve. Each problem is presented in video form, with actual students working on them. Along with showing the problem videos, teachers can download excellent worksheets for practice.
Students will view each problem as more of a puzzle to solve, and will become actively engaged with the material. I gave this one a try, and found myself wanting more:
Here’s a cool site for studying design, history, architecture, and any number other disciplines. PaperToys provides free, downloadable paper models of monuments, buildings, and vehicles. You can create the Sydney Opera House, the Globe Theatre, or a Mississippi Queen Riverboat with just a pair of scissors and some glue. These models would be great for enhancing lessons, and offering students the chance to build something hands’ on.