Sunday, February 22, 2009

Into the Book

Into the Book is a reading comprehension resource for K-4 students and teachers. The site focuses on eight research-based strategies: Using Prior Knowledge, Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing, Evaluating, and Synthesizing.

Once students click on the book to get into their section of the site, they are given a login key based on their first name and an assigned number. As students work their way through the different activities their work is saved and they can go back and retreive their work at a later time, or work from home.

To enter an activity students click on the different icons on the entry page and drag them to a book. A short video then explains the strategy and students take part in an activity that supports the use of the strategy. For example, the synthesizing activity first informs students what it means to synthesize information and then has the students use the skill to create a movie poster for Biopics Studio. During the activity, students are walked through each step to create their poster and at the end, have the opportunity to print the poster they created.

This site is colorful, informative and fun. Each activity can easily fit into a class period, or if time runs out, students can save their work and finish it later. There is also a teacher area with lesson plans for each section. This is definitely a site that will help students learn important strategies for learning to read and write.

Friday, February 6, 2009

World Maths Day '09

Are you ready for the World Maths Day '09 challenge? If not, start getting prepared for this global event that involves students from all over the world playing against each other in real-time math battles.

It's thanks to the iLearn Technology blog that I found out about this website that provides a fun way for students to practice their math facts as they challenge others around the world. Schools can register their students to take part in this event where children are grouped by their age. Check with your school to see if they are taking part in this event. If your child has been registered, a user name and password was already created. Only a student's first name and the initial of their last name will be displayed and each child has the opportunity to create an avatar that will represent them while they're online.

Children in Kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible to participate.
Each challenge lasts for 60 seconds and has math problems that are appropriate for the age level. Once the student enters the challenge the site looks for other children around the world who are the same age. The game begins when either other online challengers are found, or if no one is available the students will play against the computer.

The actual World Maths Day challenge will being at 12:00am, Wednesday, March 4th on the International Dateline and will end 48 hours later when it is no longer March 4th anywhere in the world. The easiest way to find out when the challenge will begin is to check the World Maths Day '09 website.

Don't wait, register now and start practicing for this worldwide event!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Google Earth 5.0

Each version of Google Earth gets better and better! If you aren't familiar with this free application, Google Earth allows you to quickly fly to anywhere on earth as well as to locations in outer space. The latest version also lets users explore the oceans.

Whether you are exploring the Earth, rocketing off to outer spaces or diving into the oceans you will find rich media from world renowned scientific organizations. There is something for everyone to and easy to use. Google Earth is a great tool for learning about geography, astronomy, animals, fish, etc. Use the grid tool to explore longitude and latitude, or the ruler tool to measure the distance to school or to Disney World. In addition, view famous places in recreated 3D buildings and fly by the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal.

Although this isn't a web-based program, Google Earth does update it's information by contacting the Google Earth servers. If you aren't ready to download the program try out Google Maps. You may be surprised to find that it even might have a street view of your school or your house!

Monday, January 26, 2009


Tutpup is a free web site whose focus is to help children gain confidence and mastery of basic educational skills. Children from all around the world can log in to Tutpup and play games against each other.

I first found out about Tutpup while watching a video on I follow the blog of one of the teachers shown in the video, Tom Barrett and he uses Tutpup with his students. The students enjoy competing with other children around the world as they are also practicing their math and spelling skills.

Teachers can create a class code that students use when they register for Tutpup. When registering, students are only asked to provide only minimal information, their first name and year of birth. After students are registered and have played the games teachers can check out their students' progress by going to the Reports section. Since this is a UK web site, teachers should check out the levels that would be appropriate for their students.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Developed by Sesame Workshop and funded by Merrill Lynch, is a free, non-commercial site that is designed to inspire and empower children to be responsible global citizens. This exciting web site provides a wonderful opportunity for schools and organizations to teach children about the world and its people. Panwapa is produced by Sesame Workshop, the people behind Sesame Street, in partnership with the Merrill Lynch Foundation.
Aimed at three to seven year olds, but also appropriate for older children, Panwapa provides children the opportunity to create their own Panwapa kid and explore the globe visiting other Panwapa kids. Children can communicate with other kids by leaving their Panwapa cards with a comment selected from a list of messages.
In addition to using Panwapa at homes, teachers can access the formal and informal online lessons plans co-written by Gayle Berthiaume and myself, and edited by Seseame Workshop for use in the classroom.
Also, be sure to check out the videos available on the site and on iTunes.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Scholastic's Computer Lab Favorites

Scholastic's Computer Lab Favorites provides an engaging way for teachers to introduce new concepts or reinforce skills. Select either K-2 or 3-5 grade level groups and then either look at all the subject areas or select a specific content area to see what's available. There are many fun, learning activities for many different subject areas.

In addition to the activities for the students, Scholastic provides lesson plans and a list of resources to help teachers. It's well worth taking time to check out this site. Then when you have more time, check out all the other resources that Scholastic provides for teachers.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Storyline Online

Created by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Storyline Online presents 19 children's books read by professional actors such as Melissa Gilbert, Sean Astin and Elijah Wood. As the books are being read, pictures from the book are interspersed with video of the actor reading the story. Each book also includes related activities that can be used by parents or teachers.

I've used Storyline Online with my 4th graders to model how they should read with expression as they create their podcasts. The books are fun and, as would be expected, the actors are wonderful.