Category Archives: Parenting

Countdown Calendars Continued

The past few days have included posts of various different QR Countdowns that I’ve created.  One of my favorite bloggers has collected probably the largest amount of technology-related Advent links that I have ever seen at iLearnTechnology.  They include his own Web 2.0 calendar as well as an Appvent Calendar.  The one linked to the image above will take you to the National Museum of Liverpool calendar, which will reveal a piece of art from the museum each day.  I recommend that you check out his links if you plan to do any kind of counting down in December!  I will be eager to see what his Web 2.0 calendar reveals…

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Educational App Reviews

As we begin to incorporate more mobile devices into our classrooms to engage our students, the question becomes, “What apps will be appropriate for the needs of my students?”  Sorting through the apps available on sites such as iTunes in the Education category can be very time-consuming.  In the past few weeks, I have come across some websites that try to make the job of finding meaningful apps for children easier for teachers and families.
Proshas 4 different platforms to choose from: App Store, Android, YouTube and Computer, allows users to add app reviews, can filter categories, levels, price, and language, can sort by new, recommended, review, or alphabetic
Consmust register (for free) to suggest apps, does not have a large selection yet
Pros:  can choose App Store, Android, or both, can filter by free, paid, highest rated, most popular, or APProved, can browse by category or age group, seems to have a large catalogue, gives a lot of information – both objective and subjective – about each app
Cons: not specifically designed for educators, although it does have an Education category, does not appear to have any teachers as reviewers (the site is designed for families rather than educators)
Pros: can choose category, can choose specific grade level, trying to work with developers to increase the quantity and quality of educational apps
Cons:  seems to be mostly App Store offerings (I didn’t see any Android apps), does not allow to filter for platform or sort by ratings, price, or popularity (though these should be coming soon), still limited on number of reviews (just starting out)
Pros: lots of meaty suggestions for using apps in the classroom with examples and links, written by an Instructional Technology Specialist in N.E.I.S.D. (shout out!) in San Antonio who was a former classroom teacher, very creative ideas for integration, most ideas have been teacher-tested
Cons: due to the high quality of each post, there is a lower volume of reviews than you will find on the other sites, limited to App store

Mensa for Kids

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!

The Kid Should See This

This collection of videos on various topics is described by the author as “off the grid-for-little-kids videos and other smart stuff collected by Rion Nakaya and her three year old co-curator.”  There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational productions to choose from in her archive, as well as on her main page.  These videos would be great to use for research, as starting topics for writing, or just as “hooks” to get your students’ attention.  The best thing is, although I guess we can never be certain of this, that most are probably appropriate for the classroom if they have been approved by a 3 year old.

The Joy and the Challenge: Parenting Gifted Children

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Though this book is technically for parents, I think that teachers could use a lot of the information as well. At the very least, it could be a resource offered to parents at a conference about their gifted child. This is a free e-book, which can be downloaded in various formats or even viewed on the internet. It has a lot of links to other resources, and it is an easy read with common sense advice.