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5 Great Labor Day Websites

Posted by on September 5, 2010

You’re bbq-ing. Friends are over. Life is good. Summer is ending, but that’s tomorrow. Not today. Today is about fun.

What do you do with the child who got sunburned so badly s/he can’t stay outside? Or those last fifteen minutes when the kids are hungry, tired, and completely disconnected with everything that they’ve been doing? Here’s a list of websites they’ll find irresistible. I’ve pulled out five I think are the best starters, but you can decide:

Google Moongoogle moon

You can access this from the downloaded software for Google Earth (under the satellite tool) or directly from the internet (click the link above). The online version includes built-in tours of the moon which are fascinating, but doesn’t have the flight simulator that my students can’t get enough of. They fly all around our galaxy, to other planets, other stars. They think it’s pretty amazing to land on the Sun!

I get students to the website and leave the rest to their curiosity and the explorative side of human nature. From first grade on, they figure out what to do. A great student-led activity to teach about space, exploration, science.

Talking Petsvirtual pets

I have never had so many kids interested in writing sentences, paragraphs, words than with this program. Why? Once they type their stuff in, the selected dog or cat says it–in a wide variety of crazy voices.

This went viral in my classroom!

PS — Watch the pet’s eyes follow the mouse. OMG.

Wacky Facesvirtual face

This one is pretty freaky. The faces are real people. They smile at you, react to your mouse movement, wink, stick their tongues out. You have to see it to believe it.

Virtual Surgery

I found this website in my ongoing effort to align my tech curriculum with the classroom–in this case, fifth grade. This site covers more than virtual surgery (it also includes great interactive info on weather and machines), so direct kids to the left sidebar for their specific topic. Once my students discovered it, they went back over and over. They are engaged, enthusiastic and curious. This is a real life example of students pulling rather than us pushing and a teacher’s dream.

It includes:

* virtual knee surgery
* virtual hip surgery
virtual surgery
* virtual brain surgery

Click the link above and bookmark it. You won’t be sorry.

Hangman

Do you remember how addicting hangman was when you were a child? Now, kids do it online. The site is easy to figure out and has no advertising.

When I give my students five or ten minutes to select any website from our internet start page links, Hangman is the most popular. Kids play it with a neighbor or by themselves. I wander around the classroom with tips like “go through the vowels first”, “What letters often follow t or s”. I often join in–because I can’t stop myself.

I think your kids will love it too.

–reprinted from my Examiner column © 9-6-10

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