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.
Many schools are out for the next two weeks, which gives teachers the opportunity to catch up on their personal lives. Sometimes, though, teachers like to use this time for planning.
This is a neat Java-based site that allows you to design your own snowflake with text. Teachers could have their students create short messages in their snowflakes: a sentence from a book character’s point of view, what they would give the world as a gift, their favorite things about winter, etc…, and decorate the classroom bulletin boards with the print-outs. I found this link on KB Connected, where you can also find a link to over 100 holiday related websites.
I found this example on KB Connected. You can see more examples and find the link to Mr. Zetterberg’s site on her blog post. This idea could easily be modified for higher grades or more advanced students by using more challenging words or asking them to create their own books.