5 Fun Internet Activities for the Classroom
Fun and games on the internet can also be a learning experience that enhances curriculum.
If you want to spice up your lessons and get your students motivated, using the internet is a great way to get started. There are many free sites that offer fun and games for students that teachers can use as educational tools. Some applications focus on reading and science, while other offer tools that you can apply to just about any subject. Don’t be intimidated- try using technology in your classroom.
What it is:
Tumble Books is an incredible site that reads popular stories with kids in an interactive book. The Tumble Books site also has fun quizzes, puzzles, and games that correlate with the different books. Students can have the story read to them, read it on their own, and have individual words sounded out for them. When students are finished with the story they can take a quiz on the book to check for comprehension or write a book review.
How to integrate Tumble Books into the classroom:
Tumble Books is wonderful for emergent readers, remedial reading students, and independent readers. Because the level of support is adjustable, the same Tumble Book can be used in your classroom with every student regardless of reading level. Set up a reading center in the one computer classroom or each student can work at their level in a computer lab setting. These interactive books are popular with students and increase student phonics, reading comprehension, and reading strategies. Encourage students to read with Tumble Books at home as well…a great way to extend the learning day! Students can take a quiz on the book when they are finished or write a book review for other students to read. Everything about this site is amazing! Instead of popping in a video on those indoor recess days, use a projector and have the kids read along with a Tumble Book. Split the class into teams to play the games, they can take turns coming to the computer during their turn.
I have linked to Tumble Books through the Toronto Library. Schools and libraries can subscribe to Tumble Books for a very reasonable yearly subscription. Tumble Books also has a free 30 day trial that you can sign up for before committing to a subscription.
What it is:
Ad Decoder is a web game created by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. The game teaches students how to decode advertisements to learn the difference between real and ideal as well as some of the tactics that advertisers use to get them to buy a product. Students flip through a virtual magazine full of advertisements and try to decode the messages the ad sends off. When students scroll over the message the true message pops up.
How to integrate Ad Decoder into the classroom:
Ad Decoder is a great tool to use with students to promote a positive self image and character development. It helps them recognize advertisements and the true messages they send. It can also be used to teach students how to spot ads both on the web and in magazines. (Those advertisers are getting so sneaky…ads are starting to get really good at blending in with the good stuff!) Use the online Ad Decoder tool and as an extension activity, have the students go through other magazines and “decode” the messages in the advertisements. This should spark some very interesting discussion!
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has some other quality student activities including food and nutrition, physical activity, safety, and more. Check out the other quality activities and games on the site!
What it is:
Kerpoof is a free online creativity center where students can create their own pictures, stories, and movies. The Kerpoof studio provides students with scenes, characters, and props. Students use these tools to create stories that can be printed out or movies that they write and direct. These can be saved right on the website so students can revisit their picture, story, or movie.
How to integrate Kerpoof into the classroom:
Kerpoof is the creativity tool that can bring your students stories to life. Use Kerpoof as part of your publishing center. Students can use Kerpoof to illustrate their stories, or to create a real movie out of their own writing. Kerpoof would also make a fun writing prompt center in the classroom. This site also provides students with basic movie making skills and would make a nice precursor to an iMovie lesson. Students could plan out their movies on Kerpoof before they begin filming and editing with iMovie. Kerpoof can also be used to teach character education, have students create stories or movies that show emotion and solve problems. Teach the life cycle of a butterfly during science using Kerpoof’s butterfly pavilion scene. User Kerpoof to create life cycle scenes. Students will create a unique login so that they can revisit their stories and movies. Allow students to visit each other’s work during reading time. The site would be best utilized in a computer lab one to one setting. The stories and movies will take too long to just set up as a center in your classroom. If you don’t have access to a computer lab for this activity but have a projector, create an ongoing story or movie as a whole class.
Be sure to visit the teacher area of Kerpoof for some outstanding lessons and ideas for using Kerpoof in the classroom. You can also print out coloring sheets from the teacher area.
What it is:
Childtopia is like 10 websites in one…they have so many cool things going on that I am going to break it down into sections so stay tuned… Childtopia Games is the biggest section with games that are psychologist recommended. Games include: memory games, language, math, skill, creativity, and observation. Each game is broken down by age group making it appropriate for three to nine year olds to play. Games are fun and interactive and reinforce skills that children are learning at school and at home. There are 1400+ games on this site and can be played in 5 languages! The site is completely free but they also offer a CD version available for purchase.
How to integrate Childtopia Games into the classroom:
Childtopia Games are fun and interactive. With 1400 games to choose from you are bound to find one that fits the skill you are working on in any subject area. The games are truly great played individually, as a center, or at home for reinforcement. Childtopia Games are perfect for students who need remedial work. This site is easy for students to navigate and very user friendly.
This is one that you will want to bookmark for easy access!
What it is:
Be Funky is a web 2.0 application that lets students take any picture and transform it into a cartoon or a sketch.
How to integrate Be Funky into the classroom:
Use Be Funky in conjunction with other tools such a Bubblr (see post from the 16th) or software like Comic Life (check out iLearn Technology store for Comic Life). Since Be Funky changes a regular photograph into a cartoon, you can create cartoon comic strips in class. Transform field trip pictures into cartoons and invite students to create a comic strip retell about the field trip. Students can be the star of their own comic strips where they create a comic autobiography. Take pictures during a science experiment and create a comic strip with the scientific process of the experiment.
Be Funky requires you to have an account (this is free but asks for an email address). If you plan on having your students transform the pictures into cartoons you may think about creating one class account for students to use. I wanted to download the cartoon picture to my computer so that I could use them in Comic Life. This is not an option that Be Funky offers so I created my cartoon and then took a screen capture of the cartoon to save it as an image to my computer.
What it is:
Bubblr! is a tool to create comic strips using photos from flickr.com. You can use others public images or images from your own flickr.com account.
How to integrate Bubblr! into the classroom:
Bubblr! would be a wonderful site to use after a class field trip. Have a parent (or yourself) take pictures during the field trip. Create a flickr (www.flickr.com) account for your class. Upload the photos to the flickr account for use in the Bubblr! project. Students can create comic strips with the field trip pictures documenting the learning experience in a fun way. Bubblr! would also be fun to use for character education. Take picture of different scenarios (for example, a student taking a toy away from another student). Upload these pictures to Flickr and have students use Bubblr! to show what the different characters might be thinking and possible solutions to the problem. Bubblr! could also be used to help create a word wall…find pictures that represent words and add the word to the comic. Print out and create a Bubblr! word wall. Pictures can be found by keyword (tags) or by user. When students are finished with their comic strips they have the option of sending them via email, printing, or posting on a blog.
Since Flickr and Bubblr! are online applications, be sure that you have permission to post student pictures on either site.
*iLearn Technology column is dedicated to giving teachers practical tips for integrating technology into the classroom. All of the resources are free to use and simple to implement. This column is a weekly Friday feature, don’t miss it!