Monthly Archives: February 2010

Presentations, ETC


Presentations ETC is a gem of a resource if you’re looking for background slides to jazz up a presentation or looking for Powerpoint or Keynote themes that are different than what you’ve been using.  It was developed by the College of Education at the University of South Florida and has A LOT of variety for you.

I’m planning on adding a student resources page on our school web site with web sites that the kids can use for “legal” clipart, music, graphics in their projects and this site will be high on the list.


A bit of charming fluff! Morning Sunshine


I’ve had the link to Morning Sunshine for a while but haven’t done anything with it. It’s a site with at least 57 charming little games that don’t have any real educational value but are cute and fun. A few do really test coordination though and all promote good mouse skills.  They would be fun for kids and a good alternative to the shooting games and violent action that is in so many video games.  Haven’t tested these for use on a Smartboard but I’m sure there are many that would be very adaptable.  Go ahead and visit the site but be prepared to spend some time trying one game after another. You might try bouncing a star on a bubble or clicking on cows to fill your milk bottle. As I said a little fluff but very charming and good fun!

Professor Melonhead-the music will drive you crazy!


Professor Melonhead has the most annoying music but you can turn it off by clicking on the speaker on each page.  Regardless of the music it has a lot of activities that would be perfect for using on the Smartboard, very visual and easy to do with the tap or the drag needed.  The site could certainly be used on individual computers as well.  It has a wide variety of activities from one that shows how a letter is written while it says the letter name to a puzzle map of the U.S. that also shows the state capitals when the piece is placed correctly.  So give it a try and see what you think but don’t forget to turn off the music!

Thinkquest – (Facebook for elementary??)


Thinkquest is used by the 4th graders at my school.  I got the teachers into this last school year by registering our school and showing those teachers the site.  One of the 4th grade teachers calls it Facebook for kids. When you realize how many kids that are too young have Facebook accounts you’ll appreciate how Thinkquest acts as a safe substitute.  We have kept our account closed to all but the enrolled classes at school so Thinkquest allows a safe environment for kids to create their own blog, respond to teacher questions, do teacher assignments, create book lists and message their classmates.  The teachers have had to set guidelines on Netiquette and it’s been a great start on how to participate in a social network correctly and responsibly.  Thinkquest requires registration by a school, permission from parents, and regular monitoring of student submissions.  Access can even be shut off during times when teachers won’t be able to monitor regularly.  The kids are excited and motivated to be on their Thinkquest pages both at school and at home and they’re learning how to be responsible online.

Sand Art


Remember pouring colored sand into jars?  Then getting it home and all the pretty layers you’d made were now all jumbled or heaven forbid the container opened and the sand was all over the floor?  This site allows the fun and layers of color without the mess.  I learned about this sand site about a year ago and wish I could give credit to someone but…

It is a big hit with the kids.  I used it at the beginning of the year to give the new kindergarten kids experience on the Smartboards.  But I’ve found that all grade levels like it, just for something different.  It’s one of those calming sites that I’ll also go to as a stress reliever just to hear the sand and see the colors.

It’s easy to think there’s nothing on the site when you first get there because nopthing happens until you click the mouse.  To get colors press the “c” key.  when you’re on the color page draw your mouse across and you’ll get a changing color flow.  “E” gives you the choice to erase and start over.  A good beginning program for kindergarten and fun for everyone.