Showing posts with label Early Childhood Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Early Childhood Education. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

By Request - 5 Good Sites and Apps for Elementary School Language Arts Lessons

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader who was looking for "the best sites and apps for elementary school students." That is a very broad question and I rarely say that any site or app is "the best" because what's best for my students may not be the best for another teacher's students. That said, I'm putting together a response to the question in the form of four lists of sites and apps for elementary school. There will be a list for math, science, social studies, and language arts. The math list is available here. Today's list is about language arts resources.

Building Language for Literacy is a set of three nice little language activities from Scholastic. The activities are designed for pre-K and Kindergarten students. Leo Loves to Spell asks students to help a lobster named Leo identify the first letter of a series of spelling words arranged in a dozen categories. Reggie Loves to Rhyme features a rhinoceros that needs help identifying the words that rhyme with objects found in places like the home, the garden, and the supermarket. Nina the Naming Newt needs help identifying the objects that belong in places like the home, the store, and the firehouse.

Sproutster is a free iPad game that has a concept similar to the one behind Free Rice. The difference between the two games is that Sproutster wants you to spell words and Free Rice wants you to guess the definition of words. Sproutster asks you to spell three to five letter words by catching letters in a bucket as the letters rain down on you. You don't need to catch all of the letters. You just need to catch letters in sequence to spell any word that you like (proper nouns don't count). When you have spelled a word dump it out to make a plant grow. When the plant has reached its full size you move on to the next level. For each plant that is grown Sproutster donates 30-50 grains of rice to the UN WFP.

Reading Bear is a free service that offers narrated lessons on recognizing and pronouncing letters and words. There are also some lessons on prefixes and suffixes. Students can control the pace of each lesson to match their needs. After each lesson on Reading Bear students can take quizzes to test their skills. The quizzes present a picture and a set of words. Students have to match the correct word to the picture that they see. Through the narrator, students receive instant feedback on each question in the quiz.

Vocabulary Spelling City offers a database of more than 42,000 spelling words and sentences. The words and sentences can be customized for your students. This means that Vocabulary Spelling City supports US and UK spellings of words like "favorite" and "favourite," "color" and "colour." Teachers can use Vocabulary Spelling City to create custom lists of words for their students to practice spelling and to study the definitions of those words. To help students learn the proper pronunciation of the words on their practice lists Vocabulary Spelling City provides clear, spoken recordings of every word. Students can play games, study words, and quiz themselves on the spellings of the words on their lists. Vocabulary Spelling City allows teachers to print activities for use in their classrooms when their students don't have access to computers. Vocabulary Spelling City offers an iPad app to complement the website.

The Early Childhood Education Network's Literacy Center provides young students with online learning activities in four languages. The Literacy Center provides tutorials and games in English, Spanish, German, and French. The tutorials and games are designed to teach students the alphabet, writing the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, phonics, and basic spelling. Each section begins with a tutorial before moving on to ask students to apply their new knowledge to an activity. For example, in the alphabet section students first hear and see each letter before being asked to form the letters.

Monday, November 21, 2011

iStoryBooks - A Great Storybook App for Tablets

iStoryBooks is a free iPad, iPhone, and Android app that offers two dozen free digital storybooks for kids ages two through eight. Most of the stories in the app are adaptations of classic children's tales like The Ugly Duckling. The story that I went through after installing the app on my Motorola Photon(my favorite of the three Android phones I've owned) is The Story of Thanksgiving. The app gives you the option to read each story or to read along with each story while listening to the narrator.

You can find the iOS version of iStorybooks here.
Get the app from the Android Market.
And now you can get iStoryBooks on Kindle Fire

Applications for Education
If you have or teach children under eight, iStoryBooks could be a great app to install on your iPad or Android-powered tablets. Children can practice reading and recognizing words by going through the stories with the narration turned on. Or you can turn the narration off and read the stories with your child or student.

On a personal note, this is one app that I'm sharing with my sister when I see her on Thanksgiving so that she can use it with my two year old niece.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Kid Should See This - Open Culture for Kids

The Kid Should See This is a neat blog that I started following last week. The blog is written by a mother with some help from her three-years-old child. Each post features a short video that she thinks kids should see. The videos are educational and entertaining in nature. For example, one of yesterday's post features a short video about sand bubbler crabs. And a few days back the post featured the classic Sesame Street clip that you'll see below.

Applications for Education
The Kid Should See This is kind of like Open Culture for kids. If you're looking for some short, educational, and entertaining videos to show to your young student(s), take a look at The Kid Should See This.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Safe Kids - Videos and Lessons for Teaching Safety

Safe Kids USA is a network of organizations dedicated to preventing childhood accidents. One of the ways that Safe Kids USA pursues that goal is through the production of educational materials for teachers and parents. The Safe Kids USA educators' section offers free lessons, games, and fact sheets appropriate for pre-K and elementary school use. For parents, Safe Kids USA offers videos and safety guides addressing a number of potential hazards. Safe Kids USA even offers a section of videos and safety guides addressing the specific needs of children with special needs.

Embedded below is a Safe Kids USA video about fire safety for all families.

Applications for Education
As a high school teacher I don't have to do nearly as much as elementary school teachers do in terms of teaching kids about fire safety, crossing streets, and other routine safety issues. (In fact, my safety lessons are limited to fire and lock-down drills). If I was a pre-K or elementary school teacher, I would take a look at the teaching activities and videos offered by Safe Kids USA.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Literacy Center - Multilingual Lessons for Pre-K

The Early Childhood Education Network's Literacy Center provides young students with online learning activities in four languages. The Literacy Center provides tutorials and games in English, Spanish, German, and French. The tutorials and games are designed to teach students the alphabet, writing the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, phonics, and basic spelling.

Each section begins with a tutorial before moving on to ask students to apply their new knowledge to an activity. For example, in the alphabet section students first hear and see each letter before being asked to form the letters. See the screen captures below for a demonstration of the sequence.
Alphabet activity 1.

Alphabet activity 2 - Student constructs letter.

Applications for Education
In addition to the online learning activities for students, The Early Childhood Education Network's Literacy Center in collaboration with Read Today offers hundreds of free printable resources for teaching early literacy skills.

Thanks to NJTechTeacher for the link via Twitter.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

PBS Parents - Educational Activities to do at Home

I'm not a parent (although I did recently become an uncle), but if I was a parent, PBS Parents is one website where I'd be spending a lot of time. PBS Parents has a wealth of resources addressing questions and issues common to new(er) parents. But those resources are not what I want to draw your attention to today. Instead, I'd like to point out the home education resources available on PBS Parents.

The education section of PBS Parents offers resources and ideas for teaching basic mathematics, reading, and science to children from age 1 through the first grade. One of example of the education resources is Science in the Kitchen. Science in the Kitchen presents parents with simple activities you can do at home to introduce children to very basic science ideas.

Applications for Education
If you're an early childhood educator looking for educational resources to recommend to parents to use at home with their kids, PBS Parents should be on your list of recommendations. Similarly, if you're looking for some educational activities that your kids' babysitter can do with your children, PBS Parents may be a good place to look.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
PBS Activity Pack - Music in Every Classroom
PBS Teachers Webinar Archives
Forum Network - The Best of NPR and PBS

Monday, June 1, 2009

Raylit - Personalized Lessons and Games for Pre-K

Raylit is a neat site for students under age seven. Raylit provides students with interactive lessons, stories, and games. To use Raylit parents register and enter their child's age and first name. Raylit then generates personalized lessons and stories in which the characters say the child's name. All of the lessons, stories, games, and videos that children access on Raylit are advertisement free.

Applications for Education
Raylit could be a good, fun place for children aged 3-7 to receive some lessons on basic reading, math, and science. When I tried Raylit I found that the talking characters speak clearly and slowly enough for students to be able to hear everything clearly.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Digital Children's Library in English and Spanish
Get Ready to Read
Help Kidz Learn - Free Games and Stories

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Target Education Grants

In these tough economic times every school could use a little help. In an effort to provide that help, Target Stores offers grants for field trips, arts education, and early childhood reading programs. The arts education and early childhood reading grants range in value from $1000 to $3000. Applications for both programs are due by May 31. Field trip grants are worth up to $800. The applications for the field trip grant will be accepted in August 2009.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Find Money for Your School - Grant Gopher
Donors Choose - Teachers Ask, Students Learn
Class Wish - School Supply Help for Teachers

Monday, October 27, 2008

Digital Children's Library in English and Spanish

The Story Place is a children's digital library produced by the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg counties in North Carolina. The Story place features digital stories in English and Spanish for students of pre-school age through elementary school. The digital stories are arranged by age group and by theme. I looked at the pre-school story about firefighters and thought it that it is the type of story I would share with my pre-school aged child, if I had kids. Along with the digital stories are activity guides for parents and reading lists.

Application for Education
The Story Place is a great source of digital stories that teachers and parents can use to introduce reading to young students. The digital stories contain audio of each story as well as the text of the story. The parent activities could be printed and sent home with students as a way to encourage reading at home.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Childsplay - Educational Games

Childsplay is a free, open source, package of educational games designed for students ages 2 through 9. The games are free downloads for use on Mac, Windows, and Linux systems.

Below is a screenshot of a flashcard game from Childsplay.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Get Ready to Read!

Get Ready to Read is a program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. The program is designed for parents, teachers, and librarians to assess the readiness levels of children prior to Kindergarten. In addition to the assessment tools and learning activities to do with young students, Get Ready to Read has online games and videos designed for student use.

Below is a video introduction to the Get Ready to Read program.