This site offers resources for teachers and parents, as well as games, activities, and contests for kids who like challenges. I like the “Living Poetically” challenge, as well as the “Excellence in Reading Award”. In the games section, there is a neat “Family Crossword” that is updated twice a week. It includes clues for kids and for adults, so families can participate together. The “Word Roundup” is a fun way to learn new trivia and vocabulary, and there are several math games as well. According to Mensa’s website, Mensa for Kids just won the 2011 APEX Grand Award in the category of Electronic & Video Publications (Nonprofit/Small Office subcategory). With its treasure trove of lesson plans and entertaining activities, I can certainly see why!
WordFoto is an iApp ($1.99) with a lot of potential for creative minds. The app allows the user to either take a picture or load a photo from the device’s Photo Gallery. Once loaded, the designer can then crop the picture if necessary. The main appeal, however, is adding words to the picture. There are sets of words already provided, or a creative mind can provide his or her own. You can also choose the style by selecting from different themes or creating your own. In addition, there are some fine-tuning tools to tweak things a bit more. Below you will find an example of an original photo by one of my 4th graders, and her interpretation using WordFoto.
Thanks to Laura Moore, who first brought this app to my attention in her blog! Be sure to check out her post for ideas on how to use WordFoto in the classroom.
Math Apprentice is designed for students in grades 4-7. According the producers of this site, “the goals of this project are to connect math with real world careers, introduce students to more advanced mathematical ideas, and provide additional opportunities to apply math concepts they have already learned.” If you have a student who asks you, “How will I use this in the real world?”, you will probably want to give him or her this link. The activities will definitely appeal to tweens, and there is a great guide for teachers to facilitate using this in the classroom.
This is the week of video posts, so here is your third one – an absolutely stunning video that visually relates how nature and math are absolutely connected. This video was brought to my attention by a fellow teacher, Shari M., who knew that my gifted students would enjoy it as much as I would.
You could: pause this movie after the number pattern to see if your students can identify the pattern, have them research Fibonacci, challenge them to list all of the natural objects represented, ask them to find other items in nature that have connections to this pattern.
The creator of this video has an amazing website that explains the math, shows stills of his work in progress, and more.
This website is fun to visit for the graphics alone! It is sponsored by Raytheon, and designed specifically to engage middle school students in math and science. It offers games, scholarship information, and much more. Students can register to earn credits with their games, or they can play as guests. Even clicking on different links on this site produces interesting visuals that are sure to catch the attention of kids and grownups alike.
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.
Khan Academy is a revolutionary approach to teaching which advocates “Flipping the Classroom”. You can view the TED video below to learn about the humble beginnings of the Academy on YouTube, and the ambitious plans Mr. Khan now has for his free service. Basically, the site has hundreds of video lessons indexed in which Mr. Khan explains a variety of topics – mostly math and science related. If you have a G-mail or Facebook account, you can become a Coach. Your students, who would also have to register with one of these e-mail addresses, can complete exercises on the site at their own pace. As the Coach, you can monitor their progress using several different tools included in the registration portion of the site. Even if you don’t want to register, this is a fabulous resource for allowing students to learn at their own pace, or even for reteaching and reviewing topics.