January 28, 2011
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This is part I in a series dedicated to free, online writing tools for kids. You can view part II here.
Storyjumper allows you to create online books using a plethora of characters, scenes, and props. Teachers can, for free, create classes to register students so they each have their own account. As of this writing, there does not seem to be a limit as to how many student accounts you can create.
ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. With Printing Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing.
Grammaropolis is a fun, interactive site that helps students learn about the parts of speech.
EdTechIdeas: These 3 sites can be great tools to help struggling writers, as well as kids who love to write. I’ve seen my students so excited about story writing with StoryJumper. The Printing Press makes it quick and easy for elementary kids to create nice looking publications, and learning about grammar and the parts of speech has never been more fun than with Grammaropolis.
January 26, 2011
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Gong Xi Fa Cai! 恭喜發財
Chinese New Year (CNY) occurs this year on the 3rd of February. In preparation for the wonderful festivities, here are some sites to help your students gain a better understanding of the significance of this holiday.
- The Holiday Spot – Lots of great information here with links to CNY history, traditions, zodiacs, festivals,music, quizzes, and much more.
- Apples4Teachers – Find out which animal you are, have fun with crafts, play some CNY computer games, learn some Chinese proverbs from Confucius, and cook up some great Chinese food.
- EdHelper – Lots of activities, worksheets, printables, and lesson plans.
- Chinese New Year books – a good list here for ages 3 up to adults.
- Lunar New Year in Taiwan – learn about how the Taiwanese celebrate the holiday.
- CNY Crafts and Activities – from Enchanted Learning, learn how to make tangram puzzles, a lion dance toy, and a plethora of printable materials.
- The Chinese Calendar – Learn about what the Chinese calendar looks like, how it’s calculated, when it started and what is so strange about the year 2033.
- Jackie Chan’s CNY Activities – Learn how to say “Happy new year!” and “May prosperity be with you!” in Cantonese and Mandarin. Print out some coloring pages, or enter a drawing contest.
- CNY Activities for Kids and Teachers – Some basic facts about Chinese New Year, along with some links to lesson plans and other activities.
- From the University of Victoria, this site offers some basic facts about CNY along with traditional food, decorations, taboos, and superstitions.
- The British Council offers up this story site that has cute little cartoon character animations explaining CNY.
Know of other great sites for Chinese New Year? Leave ’em in the comment section below.
Xie xie! 谢谢
January 21, 2011
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Episode 37 >> Previous Paragons
Super Teacher Tools has a bunch of great teaching tools that allow teachers and students to create games, quizzes, charts and a variety of other useful things for your classroom. The most popular is a Jeopardy Review Game that you can create custom Jeopardy games for your students. EdTechIdeas: I use this site to have my students create review games for other students to play. They must first research a given topic, come up with questions and answers, and then use those facts to create a game.
EdHeads helps students learn through educational games and activities designed to meet state and national standards (US). EdTechIdeas: Students can learn about simple and compound machines, how to predict the weather, perform virtual knee surgery, and even create a stem cell line.
Kineticcity boasts that they have “the most amazing collection of science experiments, games, activities, challenges, and more.” Along with a pretty solid set of science related games, there are also have hands on games and activities, mind games, and activities for creative writing and art. Kids will really dig the interface. EdTechIdeas: Kineticcity is a production of The American Association for the Advancement of Science, with support from The National Science Foundation, and therefore, all of the content is US standards-based. There is an educator section with ideas on how to start Kinetic City Club, and also an area to print out forms and leader guides. This would make a nice addition to your current science program or be a great program to start as an after school extension.
January 19, 2011
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Me at Machu Picchu with my dad and wife after hiking the Inca Trail - 2003
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) website is a great tool for students to learn about the 911 cultural and natural protected sites from 187 countries (as of June, 2010). The goal of UNESCO is to “encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.” This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
EdTechIdeas: Students need to be aware that if we don’t make the effort to preserve earthly wonders, there is a good chance that they will not be around for future generation. Exploring UNESCO’s site will help students gain a better understanding of the protected areas, and why it is important to keep them protected. They will also gain a better understanding of geography and culture. Google also has a section of their Lat-Long Blog dedicated to street views of world heritage sites, that gives students a close-up tour of many great sites.