Weekend Websites: 50 websites about animals

Here are 50 animal websites for grades K-5, everything from Dinosaurs to the wildly popular Wolfquest (click here for updates):animals

  1. 3D Toad—3D science study
  2. Adaptations—game
  3. Animal Adaptations
  4. Animal games
  5. Animal Games II
  6. Animal games II
  7. Animal Games III
  8. Animal Habitats
  9. Animal homes
  10. Animal homes
  11. Animal Homes II
  12. Animal Homes III
  13. Animal puzzle games–cool
  14. Animals
  15. Animals—San Diego Zoo Videos
  16. Barnaby and Bellinda Bear
  17. Bembo’s Zoo
  18. Build a habitat
  19. Build a habitat II
  20. Butterfies and habitats
  21. Classify animals
  22. Cockroach—virtual
  23. Dino collection
  24. Dino Fossils then and now
  25. Dino Games
  26. Dino Games II
  27. Dinosaurs
  28. Dinosaurs II
  29. Dinosaurs IV
  30. Dinosaurs V
  31. Dinosaurs VI
  32. Endangered species collection
  33. Food chain
  34. Food Chains
  35. Frog habitat
  36. Google Earth—African Animals
  37. Google Earth—endangered animals
  38. Habitat Game
  39. Habitats—create one
  40. Habitats—match them
  41. Life Cycles
  42. Life—the Game–colorful
  43. Ocean Currents—video from NASA
  44. Ocean Safari
  45. Ocean Tracks
  46. Video Safari
  47. Virtual Cockroach
  48. Virtual Farm
  49. Virtual Zoo
  50. Wolfquest—simulation–DL


Happy July 4th!

It’s America’s birthday and I’m celebrating. What I write today will be… anything I want–gibberish, a short story, guest articles on crazy topics. I have no idea. My son’s in Kuwait protecting America’s distant shores. My daughter’s in San Diego preparing her LPD for some future battle. I’m here, thanking both of them and every other service member who accepted the calling to protect our nation’s freedoms.

God be with all of you.



Handwriting vs. Keyboarding–from a Student’s Perspective

keyboardingEvery year, I have 4th-grade students compare handwriting speed to keyboarding speed. We run it like an experiment.

  • we discuss the evidence–pros and cons
  • we develop a hypothesis
  • we test the hypothesis (with a series of four tests)
  • we revise if necessary

I wanted to test some of the reasons students come up with on both sides of this issue. I framed the discussion with Common Core standards for keyboarding as well as my school’s guidelines:

  • students must type 25 wpm by 4th grade, 30 by 5th, 35 by 6th, 40 by 7th, 45 by 8th
  • students must type 2 pages in a single seating. That roughly 500 words. at the 4th grade required speed, that’s 20 minutes of typing at a single sitting

Since fourth graders for both years I’ve done this have (from a show of hands) believed handwriting was faster, I put that as pro. I should note: The pros and cons were verbal the first two times I did this. The third time, I wrote them on the SmartScreen as students commented:

Pro–handwriting is faster

    • students are better at it. They’ve had more practice
    • don’t have to search for the keys
    • I can handwrite forever. Keyboarding–I get frustrated
    • Have to use two keys for some symbols which slows it down
    • Hand gets tired
    • Gives you writers bump if you do it too long—hurts for 4th graders

Con–keyboarding is faster than handwriting


How to Instill Digital Citizenship in Students

digital neighborhood copyWhat is a parent’s greatest fear that first day they drop their precious child at kindergarten? You might think it’s whether they’ll get along with new friends or handle academic pressures. Or even that their eyes will be opened to the vastness of the Universe and no longer see their parents as the Answer to Everything.

Those are frightening, and might be ranked in the top ten–or even five–but today, the biggest concern is how to protect an innocent from the pernicious onslaught of the technology that grows like mold over every part of the education landscape. Will that trusting child be cyberbullied? Will they see stuff they shouldn’t on school websites? Will a predator find them from a naive contact online? And what about classmates–will they share bad websites found by older siblings?

It may surprise you that this scenario also keeps teachers awake at night, especially new teachers. What if they fail to protect their charges from this violent, dark online world? I remember second grade life cycle reports. I taught students how to search online images for pictures of each stage in a bug’s development, save them to student network folders, and then proudly insert them in the report. Students would find authentic and exciting pictures of ‘ladybugs’ and ‘pupae’ and ‘preying mantis larvae’ and ‘chicks’–

Chicks! That turned out to be a lousy search term. I’d warn students to search ‘baby chickens’ instead, but always, for one child each year, it wouldn’t work and–according to their parents–were permanently damaged by the pictures that popped up. They’d have nightmares. Their personalities would forever tilt to the dark side because of that picture–at least.

Truth, all stakeholders do their best, but stuff happens. If not in the classroom, at a friend’s house whose parents aren’t as vigilant as they could be, or on an iPad during library time. Educational best practices used to insist on protecting children from those eventualities, minimize exposure by unplugging kids as much as possible. That’s not the case any more. Even if we unplug them at the school house door, they plug right back in the moment they are away from the classroom. Our job as educators is to stare into the abyss of the unknown and educate: Teach these digital natives how to not just survive but thrive in the digital world.


teacher blogs

5 Great Tech Ed Blogs You May Not Have Heard Of

great blogsHere are five more of the blogs I read to get inspired, motivated, re-energized:

  • Cybraryman–a massive resource of materials curated by a teacher. You don’t want to miss this one.
  • Diary of a Public School Teacher–this blog will warm your heart. Lisa is upbeat, hard-working, and authentically integrates technology into her students’ days. I love reading her story.
  • EdTechSandy–Sandy is one of those educators that seems to have her finger on the trends that drive technology in education. I often visit her blog to orient my thinking, see what I’ve missed at Geographically-Undesirable conferences and center my pedagogy. Here’s her bio:

    I am a professional educator with 18 1/2 years of experience in education. My areas of interest include teaching with technology, educator professional development, online blended & distance learning, social media in education, and digital citizenship. I want to build bridges between thinkers in the cloud and teachers in the classroom.

  • FreeTech4Teachers–Richard covers everything from great websites to conferences he’s attended to–of course–lots of free tech. He won the Edublog award for best blog (in various categories) for about four years running. What a wealth of resources he makes available. Here’s his bio:

The purpose of this site is to share information about free resources that teachers can use in their classrooms.


You’re a Geek Now

BTW2If you teach technology, it’s likely you’re a geek. Even if you didn’t start out that way–say, you used to be a first grade teacher and suddenly your Admin in their infinite wisdom, moved you to the tech lab–you became a geek. You morphed into the go-to person for tech problems, computer quirks, crashes, and freezes.

Overnight, your colleagues assumed you received an upload of data that allowed you to Know the answers to their every techie question. It didn’t matter that yesterday, you were one of them. Now, you are on a pedestal, their necks craned upward as they ask you, How do I get the Smartscreen to work? or We need the microphones working for a lesson I’m starting in three minutes. Can you please-please-please fix them?

Celebrate your cheeky geekiness. Flaunt it for students and colleagues. Play Minecraft. That’s you now–you are sharp, quick-thinking. You tingle when you see an iPad. You wear a flash drive like jewelry. The first thing you do when you get to school is check your email


Tech Tip #55: Find a Lost Shortcut

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I can’t find the shortcut for a program I want to open. It’s not on the desktop, on the start menu or in ‘all programs’. How do I open the program?

A: Try ‘Start button’, then type in the name of the program where it says ‘start search’. The shortcut shows up.


Do you like Online Training?

I have just started working with an online teacher training group called Curriculum Study Group. We offer online training to teachers via Google Hangouts, YouTube, instant feedback, and lots of collaborative learning. I am very excited to be part of this venture…

…but I must confess, before I joined, I wondered if teachers would be comfortable hanging out with like-minded professionals for an hour a week? Well, my good friend Amy over at CSG sent me this survey run by Project Tomorrow, a nonprofit group based in Irvine, Calif (my backyard). It seems they had the same question so did a poll. Here are the results:


What’s the take-away: Yes, across the board, principals and teachers are comfortable with online training.