Do you have a student who likes to argue? Maybe one who aspires to be a lawyer one day? Introduce him or her to this website, which is “designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy.” With a woman like Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spearheading this effort to educate our children about citizenship, this site is not only a great addition to the curriculum, but an inspiration to students to become more involved in their communities. You can try the games, like Argument Wars, or register for free and receive all of the benefits.
This idea is one of several provided in an article on Scholastic.com entitled Making Connections/Self-Monitoring: A Differentiated Learning Centers Unit Plan. You may want to check out the entire unit. Or, if you have less time, be sure to visit this section, which gives you suggestions for using the above reproducible to encourage your students to make connections to the text they are reading. The students could use this independently or in a game format in pairs. This lesson is excerpted from Differentiated Literacy Centers by Margo Southall.
Most teachers know by now that they need to take their students far beyond the Knowledge Level questions when examining a story or book. This website offers intriguing philosophical discussions for many popular pieces of literature. For example, I used to read the fabulous book, Knuffle Bunny to my daughter when she was younger. It never occurred to me that there were deeper questions to ask than, “Why was the little girl so upset with her father?” There are many resources like this on this website for those of us who want take our classroom questioning to a higher level.
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 site has interesting prompts with great graphics that will inspire your students to be creative. Great for a center or whole-class activity, each post is thought-provoking and sure to spark interest. I almost got side-tracked, myself, as I was getting information for this post. I have not viewed all of the over 200 prompts, but please remember, especially if you are an elementary teacher, to preview the topics and pics before you choose to link to them or use them in class.
This site from the Science Alberta Foundation describes itself as follows: “Wonderville is a fun, interactive destination for kids to discover the exciting world of science. This award-winning site encourages exploration and curiosity, while helping kids discover how much fun science can be.” The site include videos, games, comics, and other activities about topics such as “Milk Mystery” and “Tree Cookies”. This would be a great link for a teacher to suggest to parents, or to use as a supplemental resource in the classroom.
Before you click on this link, make sure you have a lot of time on your hands. I have it on good authority from several people, including my eight-year old, that this site is addictive. To be honest, I had a hard time tearing myself away from the screen once I got started. What I love about this site is that it requires a combination of creativity, problem-solving, and musical talent. Basically, it allows you to compose music by building roads, adding cars to the roads, and placing various types of waypoints to create the notes. But you won’t understand the full potential of Isle of Tune until you visit it yourself. And, while you’re there, be sure to visit the isles that have already been created. You will be amazed at the ingenuity used to recreate popular songs and to invent new compositions. Even more exciting news – they are planning to launch their iPad app this week.