July 31, 2011


In one sentence… a free online interactive game that teaches students about cells.
Grade: 6-12
Description:  CellCraft is a free online game about cells.  Students learn how a cell functions, about certain molecules (glucose and ATP), and cellular organelles.  This is all done in a fun and engaging way.  This game can be downloaded to the computer desktop making it easier to access.  It can also be played online by clicking on the given link (I actually found it easier to use this link because it does not contain Ads).  The creators of this game mentions on the website that they would like to create a teacher package with would contain a student lab that students could fill out as they play the game.  I hope that they do this because this would make a very good lesson.  Also, you could create your own worksheet to go along with the game.

July 30, 2011

Washington, D.C.

One sentence description:  A song about Washington, D.C.
Grade: 3-5
Detailed description:  The website “Free Songs for Kids” offers many free songs.  One song I found to be a good educational tool is the song titled “Washington, D.C” by the Teacher and the Rockbots.  The full length song is available here for free.  You can also buy the CD that comes with many more educational songs.  The “Washington, D.C.” song includes many facts about Washington, D.C.  Some of these facts are not commonly taught, like how many bathrooms are in the White House, but appeal to the interest to the students.  I used this song in a lesson about Washington, D.C. in a 3rd grade class.  I found that after the students listened to the song once they had already memorized the chorus which includes some of the most important facts that the students needed to learn.  The song also teachers about major buildings/monuments found in Washington, D.C. which include the White House, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Capitol building, Library of Congress, and Lincoln Memorial.

July 28, 2011

Math Magician

One sentence description:  Practice math facts within a given amount of time.
Grade: 1-6
Detailed description: This website allows students to practice math facts in a timed session.  The website is very easy to navigate.  First student pick a category; addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or mixed operations.  Then students choose a level; level 1 or 2.  Level 1 is easier and for the most part (some involve the number 10) involves one digit numbers.  Level 2 involves two digit numbers.  I would suggest you take a few minutes to do the level yourself before you have your students do it.  In level 1, the goal is to solve 50 math problems in 2.5 minutes and in level 2 the goal is go solve 100 math problems in 5 minutes.  Once the student starts, there is a timer on the side to show how much time is left.  At the top of the screen it shows what question number the student is on.  Once the student answers all questions, it gives the students the percent of questions correct.  It also tells them how fast it took to solve all the questions.  This is a good feature to have to show the students that go to fast and are not very accurate that they need to slow down. 
When I used this with a class, I had the students do this activity twice.  The goal was to get a higher percentage correct on their second turn.  When using this activity it is important to focus on the individual students’ scores and not compare their scores to the other students.  Make sure to point this out to the students. 
There are a few disadvantages that I have found.  First, if the student does not complete all the questions in the given amount of time, it does not give the percentage correct.  You are able to see what question the student left off though and could use that as a goal to increase.  Another disadvantage is that you are not able to see what questions the students answered incorrectly.  The student also does not know when they answer a question wrong so they do not get instant feedback.

July 27, 2011

Speakaboos (online books)

One sentence description:  Speakaboos is a website with online stories.
Grade: K-3
Detailed description:  Speakaboos is a website with many features.  I will focus on the “stories” feature in this post.  There are many online stories that can be categorized by many topics (too many to list but a few are fairy tales, nursery rhymes, Arthur).  There is a search feature which allows you to search by theme, author, or celebrity.  Celebrities read the online stories.  Some authors also read their stories, for example Marc Brown reads some of the Arthur books.  Some of the stories are also in Spanish.  The stories play on their own but there is a pausing option.  Not all the stories are free, so to access all the stories you must become a member.  There are also lesson plans, worksheets, and online games to go along with each story.

July 26, 2011

Online Stories (on KOL Jr.)

One sentence description:  A website with online stories.
Grade: K-2
Detailed description:  The website KOL Jr. has many sections, but I will only focus on the “stories” section.  Maybe in a later post I will review the other sections but for now you will have to check it out yourself.  The “stories” section includes online versions of published books.  The stories are not animated but there are illustrations.  The text is read and the words are highlighted as they are being read.  The story flips between the pages on its own but there is a pause feature available to pause the story at any time.  The stories are organized by these categories: animals, Arthur (by Marc Brown), fairy tales, family, rhyming.  I do not know if the stories are word for word of the original story or not, but I would assume they would be.  This would be a useful website for a struggling reader.

July 25, 2011

Books by Ezra Jack Keats

One Sentence Description:  The author Ezra Jack Keats official website with animated stories.
Website: http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/
Grade: K-2
Description:  This website is all about the author Ezra Jack Keats.  My favorite resource is the animated stories.  There are three of Ezra Jack Keats’ stories which have been animated.  The “Educator’s Corner” link sends you to a page with links to lesson plans/ideas.  Some are related to Keats’ books, including those which are not animated on the website.  The “Kid’s Corner” link is where the animated stories are located.  There are also games as well as activities (coming soon) for students to play.  There are many other links related that you can check out (I only mentioned the ones that are more geared towards teaching lessons) including the author’s biography and awards.

July 5, 2011

Financial Soccer

One sentence description:  A online soccer game which tests students financial knowledge.
Grades: 6-12
Pregame:  This contains links to files with content related to the questions that will be asked during the game.  The content is organized by age and subject. This could be used to study before the game or for teachers to use for lesson plans.
Single Player Game:  This is an online soccer game.  At the start of the game, the students choose what country they want to play for, and what country they want to play against.  They also choose the length of the game from 5 minutes to 30 minutes (this is a good feature to have when you want to use this during your lesson).  They also choose the difficulty of the game (based on age). Students must choose a player to move.  They are given three players to move and must choose one.  To move or pass the ball, a question is displayed and must be answered correctly.  These questions are all financial related.  Above each players head it either says “easy, medium, or hard.”  This allows the students to choose the difficulty of question they want.  The farther the pass, the harder the question.  To move or pass to a player, the students must answer the question correctly.  To steal the ball, the students must answer the question correctly.  When the player with the ball gets close to the net, they have the option to shoot.  The student must answer the question correctly to get a goal. 
Head to head game: Very similar to single player game.  The major difference is that when a question is presented, instead of having a certain time to answer the question, it depends on how the other person answered the question.  If one team answers the question wrong, then the other team gets the ball.
Additional Features:  There are links to lesson plans and other teacher resources.  The game can also be downloaded to the desktop.

June 27, 2011

Biz Kid$- Videos about money and business

One sentence description: A website containing episodes of the show “Biz Kid$” which is about money and business.

Grade: 3-6

Description:  This website if the website for the TV show “Biz Kid$.”  The website contains every episode of the show.  Each episode is split into many segments, allowing only certain segments to be shown instead of the whole episode.  The episodes cover many topics of money and business including what is money, what you do with money, starting a business, credit, marking, etc.  I could not find a way to make the videos larger, which one was weakness of this website.

Additional Features:  There are links to other website which are about money or business.  I will not go into detail here as many of the links will be talked about in separate posts so I can give a better review for each.  There is also a blog.  The blog talks about a variety of topics related to the show including awards won and other facts (for example, how a piggy bank got its name).  “The Vault” is a monthly newsletter with more information, links, stories, activities, etc.

June 26, 2011

Planet Orange- Teaching children about money and money skills (earning, spending, saving, and investing)

One sentence description: Interactive game that teaches children about money and money skills (earning, spending, saving, and investing)

Students become astronauts in this interactive game that teaches them about money.  The Space Station is the students’ home base.  They travel to Planet Orange and at different cities on Planet Orange they learn about different aspects of money. 

Grade: Independently- grades 4-6  (This website contains lesson plans for the earlier grades too.)

Standards: NYS Social Studies Learning Standard 4 (http://www.nysed.gov)

More detailed description:
Space Station
On the space station, students are allowed to create their astronaut.  They can also change the design of the space station.   Almost everything students want to do on the Space Station requires them to use the space money (Obux).  Students have to use it wisely (budget) so they will have enough money to buy gas to travel.  Students can also review their statement where it shows how much they have spent and earned.  They earn money by completing lessons at planets, taking quizzes, and working a job.  Jobs can only be done once every 12 hours.  Some jobs are educational related.  Students can also play games at the arcade.  These games are not educational but for the enjoyment of the students. 

"Planet Orange"
At each planet, students listen to lessons about money and business.  Some lessons have interactive activities.  After students listen to each lesson, they have to take a quiz to receive a badge.  If students answer a question incorrectly, they will not earn the badge.  They will be given two choices; go back to the planet and listen again to the lessons or retake the quiz.  Students have to get every question right (all 5) to earn the badge.  During the lessons, students are able to click on unfamiliar words related to money to get the definition.  Two weaknesses:  Students can click through the lesson before the narrator is done talking thus allowing students to just skip over this part (but students do have to answer all the questions on the quizzes correctly to move on which are based on the lessons).  At the end, when students have earned all four badges, it does not say “congratulations” or anything to let the student know that they have completed the game (after students earn each badge, they do get a certificate which they are able to print out).

Each lesson includes a lot of text, but it is all narrated by the characters.

Additional features:
Teacher can create a free account.  This gives you access to many resources, including lesson plans, activities, and activity books for grades Pre-K to 7th grade.  There are math and ELA activities.  I would encourage you to check out the website to get a better understanding.

There is a parent informational section.  This informs parents about the purpose of the website.  http://www.orangekids.com/parent/