Prodigy Math Game

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.

A screenshot from Prodigy.

A screenshot from Prodigy.

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.

ABCMouse

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. 

14 Toys That Will Make Your Kids Smarter

I know it’s not quite Thanksgiving yet, but the holiday train has left the station in terms of media content. I stumbled across this great article and just HAD to share it with you all before we get sucked into Black Friday and holiday shopping and all that other madness. It’s a list, compiled by Time magazine, of 14 toys that encourage problem solving, imagination, and creativity in kids.

One of the toys on the list, Goldie Blox, is behind the awesome viral video that somehow successfully mashes Rube Goldberg with the Beastie Boys:

I have to admit- I may want some of these toys for myself!

Update: Apparently, the Beastie Boys didn’t care for Goldie Blox’s (perfectly legal– satire and parody fall under Fair Use) satire of their song, and have asked for this video to be taken down. There’s a new version available, featuring instrumental music, but it just doesn’t have the same charm. Oh well.

Teaching Blogs and Freebies

Here’s another post from our Connected Educators Month series. I have two great teacher blogs to share with you: What the Teacher Wants and Teaching Resources. Both blogs post several times daily, with great lesson plans, free handouts, and creative classroom ideas.

Here’s the Connected Educator part: I follow these two blogs through their Facebook pages. That means that all of their content is delivered straight to my Facebook feed, something that I check daily. It’s a great way to keep up with the wonderful ideas these two teachers are posting about, and to stay connected to what’s going on in the greater world of education. In addition to great ideas and lesson plans, many teaching blogs (these two included) have “freebies,” worksheets, class signs, and activity packets that you can download and use in your own class.

Bonus tip: Both sites frequently feature content available on Teachers Pay Teachers. TPT is a big deal these days: it’s a website that is chock full of handouts and lessons available for a small fee. There is so much content there, but it can be overwhelming, so I love how the blogs I follow feature certain content that they’ve hand-picked as high quality.

Graphite

If you bookmark one site I recommend all year, let this be the one. Seriously.

Graphite

You all know by now how much I rely on CommonSense Media. I use their reviews to help me purchase books, I use their curriculum to teach digital citizenship, and now, I use Graphite. Created in collaboration with the Bill Gates Foundation, CommonSense Media created Graphite to be a resource for teachers who are trying to find the best websites and apps to use in the classroom. It’s visually attractive, and easy to search by subject, grade, price, or platform (app, PC Game, website). The site is like mine, only way, way better! There’s tons of content to explore, including a blog with great ed tech ideas. You can also create “boards,” or collections of apps you use or want to use, and add your own “field notes” based on your experiences.

ePals

I recently “attended” a webinar about reaching reluctant readers, and the presenter frequently referred to ePals as a resource. In that context, he explained it as a great place for age-appropriate articles that would entice fans of nonfiction to read. Sign up for the service and articles from Smithsonian are delivered straight to your inbox.

It wasn’t until I went onto the site to sign up that I saw the true scope of ePals, and its intended purpose. While it hosts a great variety of teacher-friendly resources (lesson plans, projects, articles), it is in fact a service that matches up classes around the world as pen pals. A teacher simply signs up and makes a profile, indicating the type of classroom he or she is interested in connecting from (Spanish-speakers, students in China, students in grade 3).

Watch this video for a quick overview.

The site makes communicating with classes around the world so easy, with video-chat and email services incorporated. You can search for a class to talk with, or join a project that other classes are doing. With all the great resources (from trusted sources like National  Geographic, Cobblestone/Cricket, and Smithsonian), your class can read an article on global warming, then discuss it with another class in Argentina! Having a common discussion point can help to dispel any awkwardness.

Even if you aren’t interested in connecting with international classes, the resources on this site are top notch. There are some great project ideas, and Learning Centers with games, quizzes, articles, and videos on topics in science, current events, and books.

The site has a lot, which means it can be a bit overwhelming. I encourage you to take a look, though, because ePals is a portal to all kinds of innovative learning.

Go Here: Christmas Games by Technology Rocks

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!