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. 

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.

African American History and Heritage

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.

Math Pickle

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:

Isle of Tune

If you have a lot to do today, you may not want to click this link. Isle of Tune is an amazing game that allows you to turn a simple neighborhood landscape into a musical journey. Each element (buildings, trees, cars) has its own sounds that can be manipulated and blended. It’s a fascinating combination of architecture and visual layout with music. It’s a very cool way to connect patterns to music, and to visualize different musical concepts. It’s also just plain fun. Be sure to check out some of the isles made by other users, especially the one for “Boys of Summer!”

Barnes and Noble Storytime

Did you know that Barnes and Noble posts animated video versions of favorite picture books, read aloud as a storytime? The most recent book featured on Barnes and Noble is Ree Drummond’s Charlie the Ranch Dog, and features Ree herself reading her book aloud. A very fun and easy way to bring books to life and experience some favorite picture books (Strega Nona! The Polar Express! Green Eggs and Ham!) in a new way.

Little Bird Tales

Little Bird Tales is another quick and easy way to create digital stories. Beginning with images (photos or drawings), children can record a voiceover to tell a story. This site is very similar to VoiceThread, though it is designed specifically for use in education, so you can actually manage a classroom’s worth of accounts from one login. It’s also different from VoiceThread in that it actually has an integrated art pad application so that you can create illustrations right there, rather than upload them.