Bubble Ball is one of my favorite iDevice apps. It is a free download, and has 48 levels. You can purchase more after you finish the 48 for 99 cents. The purpose of this game is to use the various materials that appear on the screen in each level to direct a ball to roll toward a flag. I don’t usually like to recommend game apps for the classroom, because students seem to get enough of those at home. But this Physics challenge encourages problem solving and creative thinking. Many of the levels have more than one solution. This could be a fun center in which the students could take screen shots of their solutions and explain them using the free Screen Chomp app or other methods. It would be interesting to compare the different solutions groups develop, and have them explain their thought processes. Of course, I highly recommend that you play around with the app yourself – just to get familiar with the levels, of course 😉
This is an awesome site brought to you by author Judy Waite. It is designed to immerse students in the writing experience through interactive experiences that introduce them to: plot, genre, character, and settings. In her own words, “I wanted to utilise all the benefits that image, sound and animation can bring, connect this with creative exercises that have been proven to enhance children’s creative writing skills, and package it with a work of fiction that would support all these aspects.” I guarantee it will appeal to your students’ imaginations and enhance their writing.
I actually found the link to Beth Newingham’s blog post on another blog, KB Connected. When I clicked on the link, I was immediately impressed by the creative ideas and the higher order thinking skills each activity included. In addition, Beth Newingham provides photos of each activity and printables that are simple but attractive. It has links to her website showing several of the fiction genre lessons in action. This is the kind of classroom in which kids thrive!
Whether you use the Wordle riddles that “Jen” has created, or set off to make some of your own, this is a great concept that integrates technology with practically any topic you are learning. You could use your Wordles to introduce a topic or to review something that has already been taught. You could have students create their own Wordles that others need to guess. One of the cool, and quite simple, features on this site is the way that she embedded the Wordles in her blog so that when you roll over them the answer appears. This can be done when you add the alternate text to a picture you are inserting in your blog or website. Of course, Wordle is not the only site that creates word clouds. Tagxedo is another fun way to make these, and allows you to format them to different shapes.
S.C.O.R.E. Cyberguides is a site that was produced by Schools of California Online Resources for Education. It is based on California’s Language Arts curriculum, and offers a multitude of literature units at levels from K-12. The units include teacher and student resources. They could be used as supplemental materials, or as jumping off points for Literature Circles or independent study assignments. There is a disclaimer on the site that lack of funding has resulted in some of the units being out of date (broken links, etc…). However, it appears that even those units are still available on the site under “Retired” sections. This is helpful as a teacher could scavenge them for curriculum ideas or website suggestions.
UPDATE 7/6/14: It looks like this link no longer works. If any of you find a link to these guides that does work, please let me know, as they are a valuable resource!
This great resource from the Kentucky Virtual Library is a fun-looking map that graphically outlines the steps a student should take when doing research for a project. Each part of the map is a link to a new page explaining that particular stage in the process. The graphics are appealing to kids and the information is very readable. This is a good site for students who are doing independent research projects.
Vocab Ahead would be an appropriate site for gifted students from 3rd grade and up. English/Language Arts teachers of secondary students would also be interested in using this site. It is designed to prepare students for the SAT and ACT tests. However, anyone who is interested in advancing his or her vocabulary skills would enjoy the free features on this site. After registering, a teacher can design individualized lists of words. Students can view short videos using the words in context, practice learning them with flash cards, and take quizzes. The customized lists can be embedded into a teacher’s website or blog. In addition, students can create their own videos for words that can be uploaded to the site. For this reason, I would advise the teacher to preview any of the videos he or she chooses to add to a list.