The Akinator

I found out about this site on KB Connected right before the holidays. Karen’s site recommends to “use it to introduce: Historical figures, characters from a book, famous scientists, figures in pop culture etc.” I tried it out myself, and was impressed, so I showed it to my nine-year old daughter – who became obsessed with it!  The Akinator tries to “figure out” which character you are thinking of by asking you questions.  It slowly narrows down to the correct answer based on the answers you give to its questions.  The character can be one from fiction or non-fiction.  Of course, there is less of a chance that obscure ones will be guessed correctly.  But, you may be surprised by what The Akinator knows!  My daughter was thrilled when it guessed the character from The Fablehaven series she had in mind.  In addition, if The Akinator guesses incorrectly, you have the option of inputting information about the character to help it to “learn” more.

Be aware that the site does request a name and age.  I would recommend that you have your child or student use a nickname, but give a close approximation to his or her real age.  The questions change a little for adults and might be considered inappropriate.

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My Favorite Vocabulary Building Websites

I thought this might be a good time of year to summarize and emphasize some of the most valuable resources I have reviewed so far.  Today’s list is the last of my “Favorites” posts for 2011.  Here are my Favorite Vocabulary Building Websites:

#3:  Vocab Ahead – This site includes videos and a feature for teachers to create personalized lists and embed them on their websites or blogs.  This site is primarily for upper level students, as it hits pretty hard on SAT vocabulary.

#2:  Word Sort – You have to figure out the secret rule for classifying the words.  I love that this simple game involves logical reasoning, as well as building vocabulary.

#1:  VocabularySpelling City –  This site allows teachers to build their own lists, offers lists that have already been created, and encourages practice on the students’ parts by playing a variety of games with the words.

Here are the links to my posts on each of these sites:  Vocab Ahead, Word Sort, VocabularySpelling City

My Favorite Online Educational Game Sites

As my second (and last) week of favorites nears its closing, I wanted to give you my three Favorite Educational Game Sites:

#3: Brainpop for Kids Gameup – The only reason this is #3 for me right now, instead of #1, is that it’s relatively new, and still building its catalogue of games.  I predict that it will definitely move farther up on my list next year.

#2: ABCya – If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you will know that I’ve actually never reviewed this one.  I have been reading about it on several different blogs, and on Scoopit.com, so I finally checked it out.  I think that it’s a great site for kids in grades K-5.

#1: Mensa for Kids – I love the variety of games on this site, and the different types of thinking it targets.  It isn’t a well-known site, so students generally like the novelty.

For my original posts on #3 and #1, you can click on the following:  Gameup and Mensa for Kids.

My Favorite Inspirational Videos for Students

UPDATE (6/23/15): You can find an updated version of this post with additional video suggestions here.

I thought this might be a good time of year to summarize and emphasize some of the most valuable resources I have reviewed so far.  Today, I am offering a list of my Favorite Inspirational Videos for Students:

#3:  The Power of Words – I also mentioned this in yesterday’s post of Inspirational Videos for Teachers.  It is good for everyone, in my opinion, to be more thoughtful about what we say.  If our communication is not having the effect we desire, we should reconsider the way we are choosing to deliver our message.

#2:  The Kindness Boomerang – I have never done a post on this one.  I read about it recently on Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day, and knew right away that I would like to add it to my blog.  Although it is somewhat simplistic, it does show how our actions can effect many more people than we will ever know.

#1:  Times of India Tree Ad – This is a powerful video that shows how important one person can be in effecting change.  It says a lot – without any words.

Here are links to my original posts on #3 and #1: The Power of Words and Times of India Tree Ad.

Also, you might want to visit my Pinterest board of Inspirational Videos for Students here.

My Favorite Inspirational Videos for Teachers

UPDATE 6/24/15: I just added three more videos to this list.  You can find the entire list with the updates here.

I thought this might be a good time of year to summarize and emphasize some of the most valuable resources I have reviewed so far.  Today, I am offering a list of my Favorite Inspirational Videos for Teachers:

#3: The Power of Words – This might also be a good video to show your students.  Its poignant message will hopefully help any viewer to think more carefully about how much word choice can impact what is said and written.

#2: Schools Kill Creativity – One of the many videos on TED that are motivational, this talk, given by Sir Ken Robinson, highlights the need for more imagination in our schools.

#1: What Teachers Make – If you are a teacher in need of a pep talk, this video of a speech by Taylor Mali will get you going.  This isn’t one to show your students; it might be one to e-mail to the next adult who criticizes your job.

Here are the links to my original posts on each of these:  The Power of Words, Schools Kill Creativity, and What Teachers Make.

Also, you might want to visit my Pinterest board of Inspirational Videos for Teachers here.

My Favorite Sites for Educational App Reviews

Did a child in your family get an iDevice for Christmas?  Or, are you a teacher who is desperately trying to find appropriate educational apps for the classroom?  It’s difficult to weed through all of the apps listed as “Educational” in the official iTunes App Store, but there are a few other resources you can use.  Here are my top three Favorite Sites for Educational App Reviews:

#3:  Mindleap – this site, though relatively new, allows you to choose a category or specific grade level to search.

#2:  Famigo – specifically designed for the user to find family-oriented apps, and allows you to search in a variety of ways (free or paid, age level, highest rated, most popular, etc…)

#1:  Appitic – this site, produced by Apple Distinguished Educators, allows you to browse for apps by: Preschool, Themes, Multiple Intelligences, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and Tools.  I love that it offers apps based on MI and Bloom’s, encouraging higher order thinking skills.

For my original posts on each of these sites, and some other suggestions not listed here, you can click here and here.

 

My Favorite Strategy/Problem-Solving Apps

I thought this might be a good time of year to summarize and emphasize some of the most valuable resources I have reviewed so far.  Today, I would like to offer my Favorite Strategy/Problem-Solving Apps:

#3:  Solitaire Chess Free – I reviewed this as a tangible game provided by www.mindware.com, but it is available as a free app as well.  This is a great way for children to learn how the chess pieces move, and to train themselves to think ahead.

#2:  Isle of Tune – You can play this for free on the web, or you can download the app for $2.99.  As it is a music app, you might question why I include this app in the Strategy/Problem-Solving category.  But, I think there is a lot of problem-solving involved in trying to figure out how to use the tools to compose your song.

#1 – Bubble Ball – This is the most requested app during Center Time or indoor recess in my classroom.  It is fun to stand near a small group of students who are playing this app as they discuss the strategies for getting the ball to the flag using the different tools provided at each level.  I still can’t believe this app is free, as it has provided endless engagement for my students at every grade level.  Another thing that I like about the app is that every level has several solutions.

Here are my original posts on each of these:  Solitaire Chess, Isle of Tune, and Bubble Ball.

Great Minds Don't Think Alike!

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