A good majority of northern hemisphere and international schools are winding down the 2011-2012 school year and doors will be closing as the students and teachers take off on their summer adventures. Here is a list of great sites for kids and teachers to keep you happily productive and learning this summer. These are in no way in any order of personal preference or coolness.
If your students like The Magic Tree House Series (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), they’ll love The Magic Tree House Website. Students climb up the tree and enter the tree house to find some great puzzles, fun games and quizzes on any of the 45+ MTH books.
Can’t afford that summer vacation schlepping around Europe? No worries, just pull up Toporopaon your nearest browser and learn all about the geographical, political, historical and economical aspects of the wonderful continent.
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. I’m all for creativity, but it would be nice to have the option of adding a photo or graphic.
Tagxedois a Wordle-esque site that allows students to create beautiful word clouds. The great thing about Tagxedothat in my opinion is where Wordle falls short is the ability for users to save their creations (without logging in) as either a jpeg or png.
Learn Your Tables is a nice interactive site that allows students to practice their multiplication times tables.Learn Your Tables is ideal for introducing topics on an interactive whiteboard (not that you’ll have one over summer, but it’s good for thinking about next school year), and for extension material on individual computers or in a lab.
Virtual Sistine Chapel is an amazing 360 degree interactive view of the Sistine Chapel brought to you by your friends at the Vatican. You can fly around the amazing artwork and zoom into the frescoes at a pretty decent level. This site would be great for art history and religious studies.
Science Bob is a fun, interactive site that has several different areas for kids to choose from. There are videos, experiments, science fair ideas, and a research help link with a plethora of fantastic links to other sites. Don’t forget to click on the “Whatever you do, Don’t click here” button (or not).
Math Live is a fantastic site to use for upper elementary students that has a plethora of cartoon math tutorials on subjects like fractions, multiplication, area and perimeter, tessellations, probability, and a variety of other topics. The glossary section is an amazing collection of math concepts animated for more solid understanding.
From the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, the Animal Diversity Web is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology. Students can browse the information on individual creatures from the Kingdom Animalia and find 1000s of pictures on specific animals. What’s great about the Animal Diversity Web is that students can sign up to become contributors to the website. To do this, teachers must submit a request form.
PDF to Word is a fantastically simple site that allows you to do just what the url suggests: Convert PDF documents to fully editable Word documents. You simply go to the site, upload your pdf, select either .doc or .rtf, enter your email and click convert. PDF to Word then emails you the word file upon completion. There is no sign up necessary and the turn-around time is approximately 10 minutes.
Rhymes.netis a simple search site that returns rhyming words to whatever you enter in the search field. The rhyming words are divided into syllables for ease of use and there is a list of photos of whichever word you search for. Even better, Rhymes.net automatically generates citations for bibliographies.
NeoK12 is a fantastic collection of videos arranged by subject that have been individually reviewed by K-12 teachers. The videos are all (at least the ones I’ve seen) via YouTube and all the adds have been stripped and related videos removed which, as an educator, is a great thing! There are also quizzes, games and puzzles as well as a cool presentation creator that helps teachers or students create presentations within the site. Also cool is theHow it WorksSection.
SweetSearchis a safe searching site for students. Most search engines search billions of Web sites and return tens of millions of results; some are from reliable Web sites, some are not. SweetSearchsearches only 35,000 Web sites that have been evaluated and approved by a staff of Internet research experts at Dulcinea Media, and its librarian and teacher consultants.
CELLS Alive! represents 30 years of capturing film and computer-enhanced images of living cells and organisms for education and medical research. The site has been available continuously and updated annually since May of 1994 by Jim Sullivan and now hosts over 4 million visitors a year.
The educational goals of Catch the Science Bug are to increase science literacy and raise environmental consciousness by adhering to national standards and guidelines for content and use different teaching methods to engage all types of learners, and encourage life-long learning by featuring scientists who model this behavior.
Safeshareis a great site for showing YouTube videos without distractions. You simply enter the url of a YouTube video and Safeshare removes all the distracting related links and comments from the initial viewing page.
ABCya! is a great site for lots of great games and activities. There is a nice word cloud generator very similar to Wordlethat creates nice looking word clouds. The one-up ABCya!has over Wordleis that you may directly save your word cloud as a jpg without any registration.
Ribbon Hero is an add-on for Microsoft Office that allows you to play a game within the office application (ie Word) that teaches some of the unique features of the program. Users playing Ribbon Hero earn points for doing different tasks within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
Invention at Play is a fantastic interactive website from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. When asked what inspired them to become inventors, many adults tell stories about playing as children. The Invention Playhouse takes this fact and offers up great activities to increase problem solving ability, visual thinking, collaboration, and exploration.
As a computer teacher, I can see this site as having huge potential. Virtual Piano is a beautifully sounding piano that you play by typing on your keyboard. You can play Für Elise by following the key-pattern available. As this is in beta version, I’m guessing that over time, there will be more song choices and hopefully more learning connectivity with the computer keyboard.
Story Jumper is a wonderful site that allows children to create their very own books. You can create cover pages, add text, upload drawings or photos to illustrate your story, and you can use the StoryJumper clipart gallery, too. One of the best things about Storyjumper is that it is easy for teachers to create and assign student accounts.
Web search can be a remarkable research tool for students – and Google has listened to educators saying that they could use some help to teach better search skills in their classroom. The Search Education lessons were developed by Google Certified Teachers to help you do just that. The lessons are short, modular and not specific to any discipline so you can mix and match to what best fits the needs of your classroom. Additionally, all lessons come with a companion set of slides (and some with additional resources) to help you guide your in-class discussions.
Kubbuis an e-learning tool designed to facilitate teachers’ work and enhance the learning process. Teachers can create games, quizzes, or crosswords; make them available online for students, and then view and analyze the results.
Merriam-Webster Word Games is a nice collection of games that gets students thinking and improving their lexicon. There are crosswords, cryptograms, word searches, jumbles, and a plethora of other brainy games.
Questionautis a Math, English, and Science game from the BBC. The premise of the game is your standard question/answer delivery, but what I really like about this game is twofold. One, the artwork, created by Amanita Design, is amazing. You could get lost in just looking at all the beautiful details. The second thing that really brings this educational game to a higher level in my book, is that students will have to work and explore to be given the questions. Within each level, the player will need to complete a series of clicks to release the questions, adding a very subtle think-out-of-the-box element to the game.
I’m a big fan of quality educational games, and this site takes it to the next level. Games for Change is a non-profit organization which seeks to harness the extraordinary power of video games to address the most pressing issues of our day, including poverty, education, human rights, global conflict and climate change. As of this writing, there are quite a few dead links to the games (Balance of the Planet, ElectroCity, Globaloria), but I have high hopes that updates come soon as I really like the idea of this site.
You know with a name like Who Pooped this will be popular with the younger students. Who Pooped is a science site created by the Minnesota Zoo to help students to begin thinking like scientists. One way scientists learn about animals is by studying their poop — also called “scat” or “dung.” Who Pooped allows students to investigate various types of scat and try to match the scat with its creator. A very interactive site which would pair well with IWBs.
Number Gossip is a simple search box where you enter any number and receive back “everything you wanted to know about the number but were afraid to ask.” For example, I entered the number 38 and got these facts: 38 is the magic constant in the only possible magic hexagon (which utilizes all the natural integers up to and including 19); XXXVIII (=38) is lexicographically the last string which represents a valid Roman numeral; 38 is the largest even number which cannot be written as the sum of two odd composite numbers
Need a pentagonal pyramid that’s six inches tall? Or a number line that goes from ‑18 to 32 by 5′s? Or a set of pattern blocks where all shapes have one-inch sides? You can create all those things and more with the Dynamic Paper tool. Place the images you want, then export it as a PDF activity sheet for your students or as a JPEG image for use in other applications or on the web.
Even though Shelfari has been taken over by Amazon, it’s still my favorite book review site and would make for a great summer project for parents and students. Shelfari is dubbed as the “premiere site for people who love books,” and the concept is to create a virtual bookshelf of all the books you’ve read or are reading. You can then add a rating (1-5 stars) as well as a written review of the book and when you are done, Shelfari gives suggestions on what you might want to read next.
Vocab Ahead is a collection of short videos that give definitions, usages, pictures associated with interesting vocabulary words. You may subscribe to receive a vocab video of the day and there is also a section of videos by students that are fantastic.
Kids love hands-on projects and Science With Me is chalk-full of fun science projects. You’ll also find science movies, songs, coloring sheets, worksheets, and stories to help kids learn scientific principles and science in a fun way.
Fun site for practice basic math facts. Mathrunis a simple idea (math problems float up the screen and you have to tell whether they are correct or incorrect) and I love simplicity. There is no registration required and no advertisements – I love this too. Mathrunrates your brain speed (I got mine up to 140 mph before having to get back to work) and keeps a running total of how many problems you solved correctly. Great site to use independent practice.
Academic Skill Builders is a research-based and standards-aligned free educational math games and language arts games website that will engage, motivate, and help students improve their academic skills. There are many interactive games to choose from and they’re all pretty fun, have decent graphics/sound effects, and offer great practice to specific skills.
Stellar resource for science teachers that has, as the title suggests, links to 100 cool science experiments. If your district has YouTube blocked, you can download any of the videos using 3outube. There are some really cool videos here and it’s well worth a gander.
Math TV is an amazing collection of how-to videos in a variety of math subjects. Checking it out, I watched a video on how to multiply fractions and I (a teacher) learned a new method. Imagine what your students can learn. This site is free, but it does require you to register to be able to view the videos.
Books Should be Free(formally Audio Owl) makes the world’s public domain audio books available for browsing in a visual and easily searchable way. You can search for a specific title, or use the genre list to visually scan through hundreds of titles. Books may be previewed directly on the site, or you may download them directly into iTunes, or as zipped mp3 files. The downloads are broken into chapters, which is useful for teachers using this as a listening station.
Arts Alive is a performing arts educational website developed by the National Arts Centre of Canada. There are sections for students, teachers, and parentsto learn more about the performing arts and ways to discover a greater appreciation of music, theater, and dance.
One of my 4th grade students was using this site while researching for a biography assignment. Search-Cube is a visual search engine that presents web search results in a unique, three-dimensional cube interface. It shows previews of up to ninety-six websites, videos and images.
CoSketchis a collaborative drawing site which requires no joining, logging in or registration. Perfect for elementary classes. It’s a no frills tool, so there are not a lot of extras, but for simple drawing and text, it works great. Users just go to the site, click on create a sketch, and begin drawing. To add more people, you just send them the url. There’s also a nice chat feature. I could see using this to collaboratively solve math problems, play hangman using vocab words, exploring maps (there is a built-in Google Maps support), and a variety of other applications. Finished drawings can be embedded into blogs or websites.
From the University of Colorado at Bolder comes some fantastic java-based interactive simulations. From Glaciers, to Natural Selection, to Circuit Construction; these simulations really show students how things work.
Kerpoofis an online story and comic-creator which allows students to create comic scenes and stories, as well as animated movies, cards, drawings, doodles and pictures. Educators are able to sign up for a class account which allows an entire class to login simultaneously using the assigned nickname and password created by the teacher. There are no adds or inappropriate content and the art work is fun and lively. Finished products may be saved, printed, or emailed. Great site for story creating!
A good majority of northern hemisphere and international schools are winding down the 2010-2011 school year and doors will be closing as the students and teachers take off on their summer adventures. Here are three more sites to keep your kids learning in a fun way during the summer months. This is part 2 of a multi-part series of posts dedicating to summer learning. Part 1 can be viewed here.
Arts Alive is a performing arts educational website developed by the National Arts Centre of Canada (don’t worry, there are no Justin Bieber or Celine Dion references). There are sections for students, teachers, and parentsto learn more about the performing arts and ways to discover a greater appreciation of music, theater, and dance.
Can’t afford that summer vacation schlepping around Europe? No worries, just pull up Toporopaon your nearest browser and learn all about the geographical, political, historical and economical aspects of the wonderful continent.
Story Creator is a great free tool for kids to write creative stories with a medieval theme. Intuitive interface allows users to add pictures from the gallery (with the option to upload your own), record audio, add sound effects, create chapters, and print and/or download the story.
A while back, I wrote about a website called Virtual Piano, a site that allows you to play a virtual piano using key-combinations on your computer keyboard. The beta version was fairly limited and I hoped that when they rolled out of Beta, some changes would occur that would focus more on some computer keyboarding skills.
The new version Virtual Piano is here and there are some nice changes that have taken place. There are a lot more song choices that guide you on songs such as Für Elise, Imagine, The Godfather, and more. The keyboard now has a key assist feature that places the corresponding letter/number on the piano keyboard. This allows the user to create songs much easier.
While obviously not a typing program, Virtual Piano is a nice site for students to use occasionally to practice their keyboarding skills. Music teachers may want to use Virtual Piano to teach rhythm, patterns, melody, etc. Virtual Piano also has an on-going competition. Below is the winner from March, 2010:
The students returned from Winter Break yesterday. When I was a classroom teacher, I would always have them write about their New Year’s Resolutions; some personal and academic goals that they wanted to set to improve the overall quality of humanity. I would also have them write the ultimate overused writing prompt: “What I did Over the Break.”
Today, we tried out Wallwisher and Wordle to post my students’ resolutions and write about their vacations.
Click to see our third graders' resolutions
Wallwisher.com is an online notice board maker that allows you to make announcements, keep notices and do anything that you’d normally do with a sticky note. I set up a wall and posted the directions at the top, set the url and then showed my 20 third graders how to get to the wall. Then it’s just a simple process of double-clicking where you want the note to be placed, adding your name to the note, and writing out your goal.
Click to see Toorno's Vacation
I used Wordle to have students describe what they did over the break. Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with friends.
Kids can always use some extra help with mathematics. From fractions to basic math facts; problem solving to number sense; geometry to algebra, there is always room for improvements. Here are 46 sure-fire sites that will engage, enlighten, educate and Einsteinify your students. Most of the sites listed below are geared towards students in grades 1-6.
Math.com Math.com: The World of Math Online is chock full of everything to do with math from the most basic to advanced topics. It includes homework help, calculators, games, practice, and much more.
Teach R Kids Math
I dislike educational sites that misspell words on purpose (in this case, r instead of our) to look cute. However, this site provides online interactive math practice that covers a range of topics from simple to advanced for elementary school children.
Hundreds of pages of basic math skills to more advanced challenges.
Explore the Polygon Playground to explore symmetry, make tessellations and pictures. Good for IWBs.
Math in Everyday Life
When you have a student ask, “When am I ever gonna use this?” You can direct them to this site.
The goal of this math website is to help elementary school (Grade 1st through 6th) children boost their math problem solving and critical-thinking skills. MathStories.com has over 15,000 online and printable NCTM compliant math word problems for children to enjoy. Word problems are available in both English and Spanish.
Prongo.com is an educational website for Kids. We offer fun, interactive, and educational games for kids. For teachers, Prongo.com also offers Quizstation. Quizstation allows teachers to create online quizzes for their students.
Even if nutrition is not officially part of your curriculum, with today’s staggering obesity epidemic it is so important to teach and model a healthy lifestyle. Data from NHANES surveys shows:
(1976–1980 and 2003–2006) the prevalence of obesity has increased: for children aged 2–5 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 12.4%; for those aged 6–11 years, prevalence increased from 6.5% to 17.0%; and for those aged 12–19 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 17.6%.
When I was a classroom teacher, I always made time to teach a unit on health because it is such an important aspect of our lives. If we don’t have our health, not much else matters.
Here are 12 great resources for teaching and learning about health, nutrition and exercise. If you know of other great ones, add them in the comment sections.
BAM! Body and Mind is an online destination for kids created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Designed for kids 9-13 years old, BAM! Body and Mind gives them the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices. The site focuses on topics that kids say are important to them — such as stress and physical fitness — using kid-friendly lingo, games, quizzes, and other interactive features.
Fun site from the United States Department of Agriculture gets kids thinking about what a balanced, healthy meal consists of. In the game, kids can reach Planet Power by fueling their rocket with food and physical activity. “Fuel” tanks for each food group help students keep track of how their choices fit into a well-balanced lifestyle.
The Best Bones Forever!™ Campaign encourages girls to get active and eat more foods with calcium and vitamin D. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a site design that couples pink with skulls, but I get what they’re aiming for with it. Lots of girl-geared things to do on this site like games, activities, recipes and quizzes with good information on healthy eating and living.
Health and nutrition information you can trust about kids and teens that’s free of “doctor speak.” According to the site, “KidsHealth is the most-visited site on the Web for information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years.” Lots of good information here
The goal of Playnormous is to use a fun media, particularly online casual games, in order to inform, educate, and inspire children to make healthier life choices regarding nutrition and physical activity. Health games and information for kids, and instructional guides for teachers.
Kidnetic.com is designed for kids aged 9-12 and their families, the Leader’s Guide is a lesson-based curriculum guide for health professionals and educators to use when working with patients and students, and the Parents’ Guide provides quick and easy-to-use information just for parents.
With hand-held games, tv, laptops, facebook, mobile phones, homework, and ever-increasing after school activities, kids are getting less and less sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has created Sleep for Kids to show how important a good night’s sleep is.
GirlsHealth is geared towards specific health-related issues that affect mainly girls. Body image, bullying, nutrition, fitness, healthy lifestyles, and more sections are written in a style that will get girls on the right track towards health.
Ok, so you’ve probably seen some of these, but I needed a snazzy title. I recently compiled two lists of sites from Richard Byrne’s Blog – the site is an amazing resource, and I’m pretty certain that Richard doesn’t sleep. These aren’t in order of greatness – they all have their own specific applications for education. A few of these appear on my Sites for Kids (and Teachers) page.
XP Mathis a good place to find math games, math videos, math worksheets, and math e-books. The games section of XP Math offers games for basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and probability. Create an account on XP Math and you can keep track of your scores.
Word Twist is an online version of the popular board game, Boggle. Word Twist comes in two versions a four by four grid and a five by five grid. The purpose of Word Twist is to identify as many words as possible using the letters in the grid.
Super Text Twist is a simple word game similar to Word Twist which asks plays to identify words from a set of jumbled letters. The Super Text Twist game be played online or downloaded for use offline.
Arcademic Skill Builders offers a collection of twenty-one quality games for sharpening math and language arts skills. All of the games can be played online and six of the games are even enabled for play using a Nintendo Wii remote.
The Problem Site is loaded with great games for students. Some of the games are traditional “hang-man” style games, some of the games are traditional games with a twist, and some of the games are completely new. Each game is designed to help students develop problem solving skills. The games are categorized as word games, math games, or strategy games.
Ghost Blasters is designed to help students learn to multiply and divide quickly in their heads. To play Ghost Blasters select a multiple of which each “bad” ghost will have a value that is a multiple of that which you chose. Students then use their mouse to blast every “bad” ghost. For example, if I select “5” at the beginning then all bad ghosts will display a multiple of 5. I then have to blast all of the bad ghosts to gain points, but if I blast a “good” ghost (a ghost that does not have a multiple of 5) I lose points.
Learn With Math Games is a site that I like because it offers online games as well as PDF templates for games that teachers and students can play in their classrooms. Learn With Math Games is organized by grade level and by mathematics topic.
Gamequarium developed by Diana Dell (a great person to follow on Twitter by the way) offers an excellent catalog of mathematics games and video demonstrations of mathematics functions.
Primary Games offers a collection of mathematics games as well as games for other content areas. You can grab some of the games on Primary Games and embed them into your own blog or website.
Grammar Ninja is a fun game for students to play as they develop a working knowledge of the parts of speech. Grammar Ninja has three levels for students to work through. As long as you answer questions correctly, they continue through the game, but answer incorrectly and the words explode.
Mad Libs offers a widget that you can install on your blog to allow visitors to play Mad Libs. I’ve always thought that having a “fun element” on your classroom blog is a good way to keep students actively visiting the blog without prompting from you. If you’re an English teacher, the Mad Libs widget might be something to consider adding to your blog.
The World Food Programme’s website offers students a large selection of educational online games and activities. The games are categorized by age group. Some of the games, like Food Force, are about world hunger while other games are more general in nature.
Taking it Global, an organization for youth interested in global issues, has a small games section that includes a game based on the flags of the world. Flags of the World asks students to match flags to their respective countries. After matching each flag to its country students can click the “learn more” link to find more information about that country.
Shape It Up is one of many good educational games and activities on Kinetic City. Shape It Up is an activity that would be good for use in an elementary school Earth Science lesson. The activity presents students with “before” and “after” images of a piece of Earth. Students then have to select the force nature and the span of time it took to create the “after” picture. If students choose incorrectly, Shape It Up will tell the student and they can choose again.
The Houghton Mifflin Company produces Grammar Blast. Grammar Blast offers 35 interactive grammar activities for students in grades two through five.
The Grammar Practice Park produced by Harcourt School Publishers provides 12 games for students in grades three, four, and five.
The British Council’s Learn English website offers 69 interactive activities for learning the rules of grammar. The activities are not listed by grade level so you will have to preview them to determine which activities are best suited for your students.
Playing History is a collection of 128 games related to topics in US and World History as well as civics and geography. The games come from a variety of sources across the web. Feedback on every game and suggestions for future additions are welcomed by the hosts of the site. Visitors to Playing History can search for games by using the tag cloud, by using the search box, or just browse through the entire list.
Think About History is a fun trivia game on History.com. The object of the game is to cross the playing board by correctly answering a sequence of history trivia questions. The game has multiple levels that get progressively more difficult throughout the game. The questions on Think About History are a mix of video-based and text-based questions. The game can be played as an individual game or a two player game.
Fling the Teacher is a website containing 68 history quiz games. All of the quizzes have at least fifteen questions and a few of the games have more than 100 questions. The average is 30-45 questions per quiz. Prior to starting each quiz game students can create their own custom game character.
National Geographic Kids has a wide variety of games, puzzles, and activities for students of elementary school age. National Geographic Kids has nine games specifically for developing geography skills.
Learning Together offers four activities for learning about the geography of the United States. Learning Together also offers a game about world geography and a game about European geography.
Traveler IQ Challenge has 14 interactive geography games. The activities can be embedded in a blog or website.
Geosense is a fun way to use and improve your knowledge of world geography. Players can play against the computer or challenge another player. Geosense can be played anonymously or you can register and have your scores recorded for you. There are four Geosense maps (US, World, Europe, or advanced) that players can select from.
Smarty Games features games for developing basic mathematics and reading skills. There are six mathematics games covering basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The reading section has two alphabet games and nine animated stories. In addition to the mathematics and reading activities, Smarty Games offers activities for learning to read a clock, puzzles, mazes, and coloring activities.
Planet In Action is a fun website that features three games based on Google Earth. All three games utilize Google Earth imagery and navigation. The three games are Ships, Places, and Moon Lander. In “Places” you navigate, from a helicopter view, five popular places including the Grand Canyon. In “Ships” you become the captain of a fleet of ships to navigate famous ports of call. And in “Moon Lander” you take control of the Apollo 11 moon lander and guide the “Eagle” to touch-down.
The National Center for Education Statistics hosts a collection of games and tools for students. Dare to Compare is a quiz section of Kids’ Zone where students can test their knowledge of civics, economics, history, geography, mathematics, and science. After taking each quiz the students are shown the correct answers. Dare to Compare also allows students to see the national and international average rate of correct answers.
Brain Bashers offers visitors a nice selection of word games, logic games, and puzzles. Brain Bashers is updated regularly with many games that change daily and new games added every week. Brain Bashers was developed and is maintained by Kevin Stone. Kevin Stone is a mathematics teacher in England.
The Discovery Channel website lets you test your trivia knowledge while playing the same quizzes the contestants on Cash Cab play. Play the Cash Cab quiz game and earn fictitious money for every question you answer correctly. Answer three questions incorrectly and the game is over.
Spin and Spell has been featured on a number of blogs over the last year. Spin and Spell asks students to select a picture and then spell the name of the item. Alternatively, students can have word select for them and then identify the correct corresponding image.
GamesGames.com offers sixteen free spelling games. Most of the games seem to be designed with grades 3, 4, and 5 in mind.
Spelling City not only offers games, it also offers the capability for students to type a word and hear it pronounced.
Catch the Spelling offers more than two dozen categories of spelling games. Each game has the same format; as words fall from the top of the screen, players have to “catch” the appropriate letters in the correct sequence to spell the word displayed at the top of the game. Players “catch” letters by moving a cursor at the bottom of the page. In some ways it reminded me of a cross between Tetris and Frogger.
Read, Write, Think offers a crossword puzzle builder as well as pre-made crossword puzzles designed for all grade levels K-12.
Just Crosswords has a new puzzle maker with which you can build crossword puzzles, save them, print them, or embed into your website or blog. Just Crosswords also has more than 300 categorized, educational crossword puzzles.
Variety Games hosts a free crossword puzzle maker. You can select the dimensions of your puzzle or allow your puzzle to be auto-formatted. To use the puzzle in your classroom you will have to print the puzzle.
Armored Penguin has a very flexible crossword puzzle builder. You can select from a simple puzzle maker or large puzzle maker depending on the number of clues that you want to include. Armored Penguin’s program also gives you the option of including or excluding an answer key.
Ed Helper has a basic crossword builder that accepts up to thirty words. Ed Helper has other basic puzzle builders for free. To use the more advanced options, like larger puzzles, you will have to subscribe to the service.
Quiz-Tree provides a wide variety of free educational games and activities for students and teachers. Most of the Quiz-Tree games and activities are web-based. Some of the games and activities are available as downloads for Windows operating systems.
Multiplication.com has four pages of games for kids to use to practice the multiplication tables. (There are also addition, subtraction, and division games). I played a couple of the “car wash” games today and they were quite enjoyable. After playing the games I can see how kids would get addicted to the games in a good way.
Fit Brains is a collection of free games designed to strengthen five areas of cognitive brain function. While the website seems to be targeted toward an older audience there are some games on Fit Brains appropriate for students at all grade levels above the third grade. Reading through the background information about Fit Brains you do get the impression that the games are grounded in sound neuropsychology. The Fit Brains blog has a number of interesting articles about brain science that teachers and parents will find interesting.
Math Cats is a website full of short math activities and math games. The activities and games are based on word problems. What is nice about the games is that they are fairly straight-forward and easy for students to self-start. Math Cats is appropriate for students in elementary and lower middle school grades.
Handipoints: Remember those “star charts” you had a kid, the ones where you earned stars for good behavior or doing your chores? Handipoints has taken the star chart concept and built a website on it. Here’s how it works, parents (or teachers) create a list of items for their kids to do. The kids then check off each task as they do it. For each task or behavior goal completed the child earns points. When the child reaches their goal they can cash in their points toward playing the Handiland game. Parents/ teachers can also print the completed charts and provide offline rewards.
Novel Games provides a large list of fun, simple, educational games. The list of games includes numerous math and word games. All of the games are free and are available in multiple formats. All of the games on Novel Games are easily embedded into your class blog or website.
ABCya is a great place to find all kinds of free educational computer games for elementary school students. The games do not require any special plug-ins or downloads in order to play. ABCya also does not ask for users to register. ABCya is divided into grade levels (K-5) then subdivided based on subject area. The categorization system ABCya uses makes it quick and easy to find an activity appropriate for each student.
Starfall has many free teaching resources including pdf files of handouts to use with students. For students Starfall has numerous online games designed to teach reading and writing skills. Starfall.com includes a page for parents discussing activities that they can do with their children to help them learn to read and write.
Sheppard Software has a fantastic collection of free web-based educational games. Sheppard Software’s free games cover Science, Math, Social Studies, and Language Arts. Most of the games are appropriate for elementary and middle school students, but some games are appropriate for high school students. The geography games are particularly good.
Decimal Squares provides simple games for students to use to develop their math skills. The games do not require an account to play and they work on any web browser that has current Flash plug-ins installed. The games are best suited to middle school students, but could be used with upper elementary grades or with high school freshmen.
Rice University has partnered with CBS, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and the National Science Foundation to produce web adventures based on the CSI television series. The web adventures are designed to teach students the process of forensic investigation and problem solving. There are three cases or levels to the CSI web adventures. Unlike a lot of educational games, the CSI Web Adventures are created with the highest quality graphics and navigational features.
Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has a great collection of interactive learning activities. The activities are categorized according to grade level and vary in format. Some of the interactive activities are like video games (Squish the Fish for 1st graders) while others are more like virtual scavenger hunts (Conservation Investigation). The games and virtual scavenger hunts could easily take students an hour or longer to complete and the students would learn something new throughout the activity. In addition to the interactive activities, Shedd Aquarium provides a host of great Marine Science lesson plans for grades K-12.
Pest World for Kids is a fun educational website for students in elementary school grades. Pest World for Kids has a great index of pests which includes information on what they look like, where they are found, and how to prevent pest infestations. The Pest World for Kids website has four fun educational games that students will enjoy playing as they learn about insects and rodents. In the teacher section of Pest World for Kids, teachers will find lesson plans to accompany the educational games.
Kids Past offers an easy-to-read World History “textbook” for kids. To accompany the textbook Kids Past offers five history games to which students can apply the knowledge they gather from the textbook.
I’ve added a plethora of sites for a variety of different subject areas today.
You can find sites that promote healthy living, research sites to learn more about insects, a bunch of math sites and much, much more.
Most of these sites are geared towards kids in grades 3-5, but older and younger students will find them fun as well.
Just click on “Sites for Kids” at the top of the page.