Educational Websites for Parents January Parent Night-South End

Educational Websites for Parents
January Parent Night-South End
The following websites are sure to capture student’s attention. These sites are for teachers, but parents can
use the websites as well to provide educational activities for their child. Most websites require the need to
set up an account but most are free. Enjoy the sites and see what your children can create within a few
1. Kidblog:
Online publishing tool designed for elementary and middle school teachers who want to encourage oral and
written communication in and out of the classroom. Very user friendly and completely safe for students of all
ages. Teachers have complete control over all posts.
Applications:Early elementary classroom can use this to develop early sentence structure. They can
practice the components of writing a friendly letter. Topics can be chosen by the student in order to engage
them. As students get older, teachers can have guided discussions ranging from writing prompts to
discussions on current events.
2. Glogster:
Interactive multimedia poster where teachers and students can share information outside of the typical
research project. Posters can include video, pictures, text, and music.
Applications:Students can use this tool to express themselves in an all about me project in the beginning of
the year. Students can also use this tool as an alternative to the typical research paper or book report.
Examples include, life cycles, wants and needs, natural resources, and biographies. Glogster allows for
limitless creativity. Teachers have complete control over content and who can access the interactive posters
by sending a secure link to parents.
Educational website that incorporates language arts and math skills along with beginning computer skills.
Lessons and games are visually appealing and tailored to all levels and abilities in grades K-5. Excellent site
for skills practice at school or at home. Apps are available for the iPod, iPad, and certain smartphones.
Applications:Examples of lesson include, alphabet matching, sight word bingo, word clouds, spelling
challenges, keyboard practice, telling time, fractions, mouse manipulation.
4. Cool Tools:
A wiki that offers a vast variety of web 2.0 tools for students and teachers, including mapping, quiz and poll,
graphing, video, music, and writing. Easy to use and provides descriptions of each tool. Site is easy to
navigate and includes a teacher resource section organized by subject and topic.
Applications:Students and teachers can use this resource to develop web quests, flashcards, and graphs.
Depending on your need or goal, cool tools organizes dozens of sites so it is easy for students and teachers
to choose the best application for the task at hand.
5. Wonderopolis:
Created by the National Center for Family Literacy, Wonderopolis focuses on subjects of which children are
curious. This immediately engages the child and encourages them to learn more. A video is included in each
topic of information.
Applications: Teachers can create a “Wonder of the Day” bulletin board. Students can submit a question on
a topic they are curious about. There is also an online support network for teachers and parents to ask
questions and share ideas. Students can add comments to the daily wonder.
6. International Children’s Library: Multicultural digital library created by the
International Children’s Library. Students can read books online in 19 different languages from dozens of
different countries. Children and teachers can search for books by age level, topic, color of cover, length,
award winners, and recently added. Books are visually appealing to early elementary students and children
can begin reading any story immediately. All text and pictures can be enlarged.
Applications: Students can practice independent reading skills and easily choose books at their level and
interest. Children can read different stories and share their opinions on Kidblog. Students can read the same
story without worrying about not having a classroom set.
7. My Story Maker:
Students can create their own digital stories. They can choose their characters, setting, and topic. Children
have many opportunities for creativity, as they can change the setting and add details to their stories.
Students can preview before they print and share their stories.
Applications: Children can be given a broad writing prompt, and they can use My Story Maker to make the
topic their own. They have the opportunity to share their creations with family and peers. Can be used to
create a whole class story with all students contributing.
8. Kerpoof:
Best for second grade and older, Kerpoof allows students to create stories, spell a picture, make a card, and
create movies, drawings and pictures. This site offers a teacher tool section which can help create lessons
incorporating Kerpoof. Students can save their work as they go, so projects can continue throughout the
Applications: Students can create movies or pictures based on the current topics being studied in the
classroom. Teachers can use spell a picture for interactive spelling and sight word practice. Games can
reinforce concepts being studied.
9. Wordle: and
Both of these sites offer interactive word clouds. Wordle is more user friendly for early elementary students.
Tagxedo offers many more creative outlets (shapes, colors, sizes). Each site is visually stimulating and
allows for individual creativity.
Applications: Word clouds are a great way to make “all about me” projects interesting and different. Can be
used after reading a book to create a character analysis. A great way to review vocabulary words in science
and social studies. The main idea of a story or chapter can be enlarged, with supporting details surrounding
the main topic are smaller. When studying a historical figure, a biography can be created, with the
descriptive words are in the shape of that person.
10. E-Learning
Organized both by grade level and subject areas. Includes interactive learning videos with practice within the
video, perfect for the interactive white board. Each “course” lists the appropriate age level for the students.
Geared for students in K-6.
Applications: Perfect for review of a new skill (example: compound words). Great for whole class lessons
and review. Allows for children to be actively involved in learning the content.
Resource: Lake Hill School District Courtland, Ohio
FunBrain for Parents
Educational games are the highlight of this site. The games cover all interest areas and target
specific age levels. There are “parent-kid challenges,” “homework relief,” and “books on the run”
links. Also linked to this site, there is a family education newsletter that helps with school, life,
entertainment, and special needs issues.
This website shares reviews of “cool new books” and authors. The books are categorized by age
and by genre. There is a link for podcasts and another for book clubs. The newsletter highlights
the newest and best on the site.
PBS For Parents
This site contains guides on a variety of topics such as child development, curriculum
connections, and technology for kids. It also shares information on hot issues in education. On
the lighter side, there are games, stories, and guides to the TV programs offered by PBS. The
guide is also available in Spanish. Bienvenidos a PBS Padres!
Scholastic for Parents
This site contains age appropriate guides for helping your child learn to love reading. Divided into
early childhood and school age children, the site also contains resources for helping your child
with math, technology and other subjects. Additionally, there is an array of information about
family matters.
Time for Kids Teacher’s Homepage
This site shares diverse resources for parents including virtual tours around the world, kidappropriate current events stories, homework help, and games.
Top Ten Websites for Elementary School Children
The internet provides students and teachers with a vast source of educational tools.
When confronted with many choices, the educator must carefully determine which
are most appropriate for use in the classroom setting. Many of these websites allow
users to set up free accounts. In order for a website to be on my top ten list it must
be appealing to children and include at least two free activities. My top ten is not in
any particular order. Each one has its own unique value. Here are my favorites for
children in elementary school.
Number One: Spelling City This site allows users to find word lists and practice
spelling and language skills. One of my favorite games from Spelling City is "Hang
Man Mouse". Children love it when the mouse wins the cheese before the cat
awakens! Teachers can set up an account and import their own word lists
customizing it to their own students' needs. This site is appropriate for all elementary
grades that work on word lists. Here's a link to my page on Spelling City.
Number Two: Starfall Starfall is a wonderful website for young children to practice
letter identification and letter sounds. Cute stories for developing listening
comprehension skills are a component of this website.
Number Three: Arcademic Skill Builders Along with the magnificent artistry,
animation, and sound effects, this is a fantastic site to develop fluency with addition,
subtraction, multiplication, and division skills. Students can race against the
computer or compete with their own classmates in the Jet Ski Addition game. There
is also a feature which allows teachers and students to customize the level of
difficulty of the addition and subtraction facts. Other math skills, such as time,
money, and fractions are incorporated into games as well. In addition to the large
number of math games, Arcademicskillbuilders has language arts and geography
games. The "Capital Penguin" game provides children with practice in memorizing
the state capitals.
Number Four: Literactive Literactive is a perfect site for developingphonological
awareness. You'll need to register in order to utilize the activities. (I don't think you'll
get any spam from them.) Literactive is not based in the United States so the
pronunciation of a few sounds is slightly different compared to the dialects heard in
the USA. (I believe Literactive is based in the UK or Canada.) The guided reading
page on this website includes several of the classic nursery rhymes. It's terrific for
developing concept of word. Kindergarten and first grade are the best grades for
using Literactive.
Number Five:National Geographic Kids. National Geographic Kids is certainly a
great way of motivating students to learn about animals. Beautiful photos and videos
are the hallmark of this website. Kids love to spend time navigating the animal
videos and photo gallery on their own.
Number Six: Poissonrouge. For those of us that didn't take French, I am guessing
that "Poissonrouge" is French for "Red Fish". This website is quite imaginative! I like
the keyboard which the students can create a musical pattern and play it back. This
makes a great connection in the minds of children as they grow in their
understanding about repeating patterns. The snakes and ladders game with the red
and blue ladybugs is a child-friendly way to expose numeracy concepts and review
numeral identification. When you mouse click on the spaceship you're off on a
mathematical adventure, depending on which "planet" the user lands on.
Number Seven: Brain POP jr Brain POP jr is geared toward grades kindergarten
through third. This website offers short movies narrated by a young girl along with
her sidekick, Moby the Robot. There are a wide range of topics related to science,
social studies, math, language arts, and more. The movies are a great supplement
for teachers to use with units of study in the core subjects. Each cartoon usually
lasts no more than 3 minutes. Teachers can use the pause and replay feature to
stop and discuss a point with students. There is also a close caption feature, a
related topics button, and much more. After viewing the cartoon, students can take
a quiz. The quizzes can be used to review the concepts presented in the movie
watched or to assess students' understanding. Brain POP jr. has a "Movie of the
Week" which is free for anyone to watch. At least one free cartoon can be found in
each of the subject areas but science and social studies usually has 3 freebies
apiece. An annual home based subscription of BrainPOPjr will cost $ 85.00. The
classroom membership is $ 145.00. The school-wide, limited access subscription is
$875.00 a year. With this membership, you can use BrainPOPjr from 7:00 am to
5:30 pm. These rates were posted on BrainPOP's website in August 2012. Keep in
mind that rates change over time. BrainPOP has different subscription fees
depending on the type of program purchased. The upper elementary version of
BrainPOP is priced higher than BrainPOPjr .
Number Eight: "Just For Kids" from the University of Illinois Extension in Urban
Illinois is another great website. The gold on this website is the science and social
studies units. The University of Illinois Extension says the grade range is for K-8
classrooms. One of the activities for the lower grades might include Food Fun Apples to Zucchini page where children can color food beginning with letters of the
alphabet in sequential order. I believe most of the activities are appropriate for
upper elementary or could be used at the middle school level. Just For Kids is like
going on a treasure hunt. There are hidden drop down activities that I found quite by
accident! First of all, many of the pages have an "Activities" or "Fun Place". Visit A
Walk in the Woods, and go to "Fun Place", then click on "Timber Talk". At "Timber
Talk", children can write their own story about the woods and submit it to be posted
on the website. Students can also read stories that other children posted. The nine
featured pages are not the only ones available. Scroll down to view the other links
such as: Tree House Weather Kids, Riding the Winds with Kalani: A Weather
Adventure, Secret Life of Trees, All-Star River Explorers, Great Corn Adventure, Out
on a Limb, Dr. Arbor Talks Trees, and Animals Past and Present. This website has
excellent content and detail especially in the units related to plants. Teachers will
need to preview the content in advance to find out if it coincides with their school
division's curriculum. The format is similar to listening to a book and turning to the
next page. Students with limited reading skills can listen to most of the science and
social studies content. This provides for a bridge for students to master concepts
while in the process of learning to read. The male narrator's voice is clear and easy
to understand. He speaks very enthusiastically! Several of the pages have
language options. Some of which include Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and more. This
website is free to use. Individuals or schools that have limited internet access and
purchase a CD version of the website. The two CD's offered are inexpensive and
are available at the University of Illinois Extension website.
Number Nine: ABCmouse is just for the little ones. It's target group is ages 2
through kindergarten. While there were a lot of video overviews about the product
line, there was no demo available for one of the activities that the children would
utilize. I prefer to test activities before I plan on using with students. This would
mean trying the activities out before signing up for the subscription. However, the
good news is that if you teach in a public school in the U.S. or Canada, it's free. This
might change in the future so sign up now! If you teach in a private school, the
classroom subscription fee is $99.00 for the year or $ 9.95 per month. The monthly
subscription would give educators a chance to try it out and see how the children
interact with it. This could be done before committing to the annual membership.
For private schools on a 10 month calendar, this might be a worthwhile strategy.
There is also a home based membership program with special pricing. I found these
rates on their website in August 2012.
Number Ten: The is a website for children developed by the U.S.
government. Our tax dollars are well spent here! The Cents of Color permits
children to color the various 50 State Quarters. Albeit in a whimsical motif! Children
can click on the map of the United States, mouse over the map to select a state and
click the desired U.S. state. The quarter for the selected state appears and is ready
for the child's virtual painting rendition of it. Placing a collection of the 50 State
Quarters on a display table in the classroom prior to the computer activity will peek
interest in the youngsters. To make this an exciting computer lab activity, the
teacher could give each child one of the 50 State Quarters and have the children
locate their quarter using the U.S. map from the activity. There is also quite a bit of
historical trivia on this website. Adams, Jefferson, or Both is a trivia game in which
children read a description, determine the appropriate U. S. president, and drag and
drop his image in the space provided. With the sound of the Atlantic Ocean in the
background, the Jamestown Challenge allows students to answer questions
pertaining to the some of the historical facts about the Virginia
Company and Jamestown. This final website from my top ten is subject to change.
It will rotate between government, state, and other nonprofit organizations that
develop internet activities for children.
There are many great websites for children on the internet. Paid subscriptions are
often worthwhile investments.,Samson's Classroom, Education
City are three such websites. As I said at the beginning of this post, in order to meet
my top ten criteria, there must be at least two free activities. If you know of other
fantastic educational websites for children, please nominate them by commenting on
this page. It does not need to be a U.S. website but does need to be in English. I
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