I’ve been trying to do some end of year things with 5th graders that would be good or creative alternatives to what they may normally do on the computer or during their free time. I think this is especially important now that the year is drawing to a close. A week or so ago they loved using BeFunky for all its photo effects so now here’s another site that they seem to enjoy. In fact the lab has been so quiet for the two classes I used it with that you could have heard the proverbial pin drop. Knowing what a class of 5th graders during the last 50 minutes of the day is usually like it was actually quite relaxing! Zimmer Twins is a web site that allows you to create cartoon “movies”. The site can be used without registration but movies can’t be saved. Registration would be perfect for kids at home however, allowing them to save their projects. They also state on the site that they monitor daily for appropriate content. Today I dug a bit deeper in and found a short teacher section. They give ideas for teacher use including suggesting that the teacher can register with their email address and then allow all the kids to use the nickname and password. I’ll probably do this next year now that we have a district policy for kids putting work up on non-district sites. Check out Zimmer Twins . It’s an interesting and enjoyable site for all ages.
I’ve liked the National Geographic for Kids web site for a long time and when I was in the classroom always showed my 2nd graders what could be found there. But until recently I didn’t realize that they had their Young Explorer magazine online. I recently spent a class period with each of my six 1st grade classes to show them how to use this resource. They were enthralled and mesmerized for a number of reasons. It’s real. It has wonderful pictures. You can turn the pages and it reads the text aloud if you click. They spent 30 minutes – no one talking going through the pages of issues. Some kids listened to it all and some read it themselves. It’s a perfect place to introduce young kids to non fiction and a perfect resource that works with the wide range of reading levels you find in a typical 1st grade classroom. It’s also now a permanent link on the list of read aloud sites on my school web site.
My 4 5th grade classes had a ball with the photo efects available for free on BeFunky. We spent one class session doing crazy things with pictures! First they took one regular picture of themselves using Photo Booth. They uploaded the picture to BeFunky, played around with the effects, and then saved it back to a folder I’d set up on the server. The next class session I wanted them to learn about using the Publishing layout view in word, not terribly exciting of course but with the opportunity to add the pictures they’d created they loved it and practiced using text boxes, inserting pictures and using Word Art to create a page layout. So….what do you think of my new portrait?
Math MovesU seems to be a great site for 5th, 6th and maybe a bit beyond. You can register on the site to be able to keep track of points earned but unlike other sites registration isn’t necessary to be able to visit this site. It looks to be a site that could be used with the whole class on an interactive board and woud keep attention but could also be used on individual computers. Once you choose a character and enter there are games, facts, quizzes, polls that you can try. I really want to explore this site more when I have time because I visited and tried only a couple of different places. It looks good to me!