Need a few websites and apps to fill in sponge time? Here are Thanksgiving websites that will keep students busy and still teach them:
- Berenstein Bears Give Thanks (app)
- Canadian Thanksgiving
- Online/Offline Thanksgiving activities
- Plimoth Plantation–a field trip of a Pilgrim’s life. Included on this real-life site is a video of the Pilgrim’s crossing to the New World.
- Thanksgiving edu-websites–CybraryMan
- Thanksgiving Games
- Thanksgiving games and puzzles
- Thanksgiving games–Quia
- Thanksgiving Lesson Plans
- Thanksgiving Wordsearch
- Turkey Templates — activities in Google Slides
If you’re an iPad school, try one of these:
If you’re looking for projects, you’ll find two on Ask a Tech Teacher:
For more, click here:
- Thanksgiving ASCII Art
- Countdown Clock for the Holiday
- Team Challenge
- Thanksgiving Poll
Here’s a gallery of some of the Thanksgiving/Holiday projects:
Education is no longer contained within classroom walls or the physical site of a school building. Learning isn’t confined to the eight hours between the school bell’s chimes or the struggling budget of an underfunded program.
Today, education can be found anywhere, by teaming up with students in Kenya or Skyping with an author in Sweden or chatting with an astrophysicist on the International Space Station. Students can use Google Earth to take a virtual tour of a zoo or a blog to collaborate on class research. Learning has no temporal or geographic borders, and is available wherever students and teachers find an internet connection.
This vast landscape of resources is often free, but this cerebral trek through the online world requires students know how to do it safely, securely, and responsibly. This used to mean limiting access to the internet, blocking websites, and layering rules upon rules hoping (vainly) students would be discouraged from using an infinite and fascinating resource.
It didn’t work.
Best practices now suggest that instead of cocooning students, we teach them to be good digital citizens, confident and competent in 17 areas:
Here are popular online royalty-free music resources for presentations, classwork, and projects (click here for updates):
- Audio Archive–millions of varied musical selections
- Bensound–royalty free
- dig.ccMixter--free for commercial too
- Free Music Archive
- Free Stock Music
- MusOpen–royalty-free music
- Pixabay Music
- Videvo–royalty-free music
Looking for general music sites? Check these out:
“Family physical education” refers to physical activities families do together that promote health and fitness. Why? How about:
- Bonding: an opportunity for shared experiences and mutual support.
- Healthy Lifestyle: healthy habits from a young age
- Quality Time: as a family
- Role Modeling: when children see parents value fitness, they are more likely to do the same
- Fun and Enjoyment: create happy memories.
- Health Benefits: like maintaining a healthy weight and improving mental well-being
- Social Interaction: fostering friendships and social skills
Family PE Week is October 2-6 this year, 2023. Here are some online resources you might find useful:
- Autumn Facts for Kids
- Don’t “Leaf” Out Fall’s Most Valuable Lesson
- EEK! A Tree’s True Color
- Fall Bucket List For Families Printable
- Fall Crafts, Decorations, and Printouts
- Fall Books & Short Stories For Kids about Autumn
- Primary Games’ Fall Fun
- Science Made Simple: Why Do Leaves Change Color in Fall?
- Why Leaves Change Color
It’s easy to confuse ‘using technology’ with digital tools. Your school passed iPads out to all classes. Some of your colleagues think having students read in this tablet format means they’re integrating technology into their curriculum. Kudos for a good start, but they need to use the tablets to differentiate for student learning styles, enrich learning materials, and turn students into life-long learners.
That’s harder than it sounds. Technology hasn’t been around long enough to beget standards that work for everyone (not withstanding ISTE’s herculean efforts), the set-in-stone of settled science. Truth, that will never happen. Technology tools populate like bacteria in a culture. Every time you turn around, there’s another favorite tool some teacher swears has turned her students into geniuses and her class into a model of efficiency. After fifteen years of teaching technology, chatting with colleagues, and experimenting, I can assure you there is no magic wand. What there is is a teacher not afraid to try new ways, test them out in a classroom environment, toss what doesn’t work and share the rest. Her/his success doesn’t come without lots of failure and mistakes, widgets that sounded good but were too complicated or non-intuitive for a 21st century classroom.
Which of these nine mistakes do you make? Then, see how to fix them:
Pew Research recently reported that about half of Americans regularly get their news from social media. Really? Isn’t SM where you share personal information, stay in touch with friends and families, post pictures of weddings and birthdays, and gossip? So why do students turn to it for news?
This stat may explain it: 60% of people don’t trust traditional news sources. That’s newspapers, evening news, and anything considered ‘mainstream media’. They prefer blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.
So when it comes to research, are you still directing kids toward your grandmother’s resources — encyclopedias, reference books, and museums? No doubt, these are excellent sources, but if students aren’t motivated by them, they won’t get a lot out of them. I have a list of six research sites designed by their developers with an eye toward enticing students in and keeping their interest. It’s notable that most are free, but include advertising. The exception is BrainPOP — there are no ads, but it requires a hefty annual fee:
Quick, safe spots to send your students for research (click here for updates):
- BrainPop–with the BrainPop characters, a launchpad to curiosity
- CoolKidFacts–kid-friendly videos, pictures, info, and quizzes–all 100% suitable for children
- Dimensions–academic research geared for college-level
- Fact Monster–help with homework and facts
- Google Earth Timelapse–what changes to the planet over time
- Google Trends–what’s trending in searches
- History Channel–great speeches
- How Stuff Works–the gold standard in explaining stuff to kids
- Info Please–events cataloged year-by-year
- National Geographic for Kids
- Ngram Viewer–analyzes all words in all books on Google Books
- TagGalaxy–search using a cloud
- Wild Wordsmyth–picture dictionary for kids
- World Book–requires membership
Kids Search Engines
How to Research
- A Google A Day
- How to Search on Google
- Power Searching (with Google)
- Teaching students to search/research
- Internet Search and Research–a lesson plan for K-8
- BrainPOP–Bring learning to your fingertips™ with the BrainPOP® Featured Movie app
- Kids Picture Dictionary
- Primary Source Documents
- SparkVue–collect and display live data from iPhone etc to the iPad
- Talk to Books–research your topic based on books
- TED app–TED’s official app presents talks from some of the world’s most fascinating people
Teachers have known for decades that ‘summer learning loss’ is a reality. Studies vary on how much knowledge students lose during the summer months–some say up to two months of reading and math skills–and results are heavily-dependent upon demographics, but the loss is real.
To prevent this, teachers try approaches such as summer book reports, but students complain they intrude on their summer time. When teachers make it optional, many don’t participate. The disconnect they’re seeing is that students consider these activities as ‘school’ rather than ‘life’. They haven’t bought into the reality that they are life-long learners, that learning is not something to be turned on in the schoolhouse and off on the play yard.
This summer, show students how learning is fun, worthy, and part of their world whether they’re at a friend’s house or the water park. Here are nineteen suggestions students will enjoy:
- Youngers: Take a picture of making change at the store. Share it in a teacher-provided summer activity folder (this should be quick to use, maybe through Google Drive if students have access to that). Kids will love having a valid reason to use Mom’s smartphone camera.
- Any age: Take a picture of tessellations found in nature (like a beehive or a pineapple). Kids will be amazed at how many they find and will enjoy using the camera phone. Once kids have collected several, upload them to a drawing or photo program where they can record audio notes over the picture and share with friends.
- Any age: Pit your math and technology skills against your child’s in an online math-based car race game like Grand Prix Multiplication. They’ll know more about using the program and will probably win–even if you do the math faster. You might even have siblings compete.
- Grades 2-5: Set up a summer lemonade stand. Kids learn to measure ingredients, make change, listen to potential customers, and problem-solve. If you can’t put one up on your street, use a virtual lemonade stand.
- Any age: If your child wants to go somewhere, have them find the location, the best route, participation details, and other relevant information. Use free online resources like Google Maps and learn skills that will be relevant to class field trips they’ll take next year.