And they're off! Celebrate all things Derby on Kentucky Derby Day on May 4th. This collection from George Lucas' Edutopia covers the historical background of the Kentucky Derby and how it continues to influence American culture and horse racing fans everywhere.
This Earth Day (April 22) marked the 49th anniversary of the modern environmental movement. This browsable collection of questions posed by elementary- and middle-school students to the scientists of the American Museum of Natural History and their responses covers everything environment-related, from pollution to endangered species to climate change.
Social storytelling fun; artwork inspires, but limits creative freedom
Pros: A huge collection of curated art provides kid-authors with distinct and inspiring illustrations.
Cons: Students can't add their own art to stories, which limits creativity a bit.
Bottom Line: For anyone interested in kid-authored storybooks, this is a great resource.
Why do we pay taxes? What do taxes pay for? Who is required to pay them? Tax day just passed. Why not investigate all about taxes in this Schoolhouse Rock video! Sing along with the song to learn about taxes, why we have them, and why we should pay them.
Site for reviewing and sharing books makes reading a social adventure
Pros: It's clean, colorful, and really appealing to young readers; all instruction is written in kid-friendly language.
Cons: There isn't much room for kids to write reviews in their own words.
Bottom Line: This safe, simple social network lets kids share their reading success with friends, creating healthy competition and confidence.
Celebrate the zoo by checking out the Smithsonian’s National Zoo website! Click on the “Animals” tab at the top to search for or select any animal you want to know more about; picture, physical description, habitat, size, eating habits, lifespan, and more. Watch lions, panda bears, elephants, and more as they walk about in their habitats, eat, play, and sleep.
Captivating catalog of biodiversity with great classroom resources
Pros: Resources are polished, engaging, and include the necessary support materials.
Cons: Some games lack baked-in learning, and resources could use more support for diverse learners.
Bottom Line: Powerful images and videos capture kids' attention and make them want to learn more.
Did you get fooled last week? Check out this site for a list of 13 words associated with deceit and trickery. Reinforce spellings, pronunciations, and meanings of these words to help you spot April Fools next year.
Check out how all that food you eat affects your brain. Through this animated TED Talk, students can see how various foods, such as spinach, can help your body and brain function in a healthy way.
Substantial all-in-one tool scaffolds the research and writing process
Pros: It's like a one-stop shop for research and writing, from gathering sources to organizing research and outlining a workable draft.
Cons: The automatically compiled bibliography could potentially encourage student passivity rather than inquiry into why citation is important.
Bottom Line: This smart, intuitive system supports students in every step of the writing process.
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Valerie Bourbour is a certified educator and past Co-Director of The Academy of Ormond Beach. Ms. Bourbour has experience in online learning platforms and aims for student success.