Welcome to Website Wednesday, bringing you some of the best of websites I’ve looked at recently that you can really use.
Thanks goes to Cathy Frayler for this week’s first site, Thinkfinity. It’s been around for some time, but they have a new look and expanded content, definitely qualifying them for “wow” status. Resources available include lesson plans, interactive games, primary sources, worksheets, reference material, media, and assessments. Content partners include Illuminations, Literacy Network, ReadWriteThink, Smithsonian’s History Explorer, and more. This one is definitely worth a look!
Are you looking for new ways to spark writing in your students? Plinky provides some very interesting writing topics. Sign up is free, and a new prompt is provided each day. (If the prompt is too short, you can always expand on it.) Most are appropriate for our elementary students, but occasionally some are not. So, although the idea is for the writer to add their answer to the site, you might want to project the prompt onto the SmartBoard, and have students respond with paper/pencil.
Another great resource to spark writing is Story Starters from Scholastic. It’s organized by grade level, and provides prompts that focus on character, plot, and setting. While the intent of the site is for students to type their story online, you could also run the Story Starter from the SmartBoard, and have students do a traditional paper/pencil writing activity. The fun is in spinning the wheels to see what the prompt will be! Hint: Don’t forget to click the link for the Teacher’s Guide.
Perhaps you need some new math tools and activities for your students. If so, check out Johnnie’s Math Page. This site links to a variety of activities, organized by concept, including number sense, geometry, fractions, multiplication, measurement, data analysis, and probability. Some of these may look familiar since our integration resources link to some of the same activities. If there are some not included in our integration resources, and you think should be, just let me know.
Free is almost always a good thing for teachers, and the APTE Curious Minds Click website is free, and definitely a good thing. You can find and create puzzles (crossword, word search, etc…) for your students, and access some very cute clipart for your documents and presentations.
Another nice, free site is Woopid. They provide free technology training videos on a variety of topics. To find all of the videos, click the link at the top of the site that says, “View Library.” The items you might find the most helpful are in the Mac category: iLife, iWork, Mac OS X Leopard, and Safari 4.
I read a number of education blogs as a way to learn more about what’s going on with technology and education, both in our country and around the world, and to find new resources to share with you. One of the blogs that I just started reading, Always Learning, has an entry on Tips for Managing Tech Tools in the Classroom. A VoiceThread is embedded into it, with educators adding text or their voice to share ideas and build a conversation. Teachers at the International School Bangkok, located in Thailand, started the Tips for Managing Tech Tools in the Classroom VoiceThread. All readers/viewers have been invited to add their thoughts to it. It’s definitely worth checking out, both for the tips included and to see a VoiceThread in use. Hint: When it loads and you’re asked to add a picture to the identify, click the yellow close button to view the VoiceThread. Extra: If you want to see VoiceThread in use in Plainville, talk with Deb Pikiell, Rob Silliman and Tawana Graham-Douglas, they’re doing great things with it!
As the cold weather sets in, and recess moves indoors, our students move less and less. A recent article on teachers.net mentioned the importance and educational benefits of movement, and included 20 Movement Activities and Games for Elementary Classrooms.
If you like these sites post a comment and share your thoughts with other teachers. How do you think they helped you and/or your students?
If you find a resource that should be highlighted here, be sure to let me know!