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!