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Magazines > MultiMedia Schools > March/April 2003
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Vol. 10 No. 2 — Mar/Apr 2003
CyberBee
Web Site Treasures
By Linda C. Joseph • Columbus Public Schools • Library of Congress

[Editor's note: URLs mentioned in this article appear in the table below.]

Imagine being shipwrecked on a deserted, barren island with 30 students. You find an old barracks completely decked out with beds, cooking paraphernalia, and food. It will be a few days before you are rescued. The waters are shark-invested, so no swimming is allowed. With nothing else to do, your students begin searching for buried treasure. They are convinced a pirate ship must have landed on this island. After digging in several locations, a large, water-tight crate is discovered. Aha! The treasure chest has been found. Inside are 31 laptop computers (batteries fully charged) with wireless connectivity, five PDAs with probes, and a digital camera. You dig out a copy of the current issue of MultiMedia Schools magazine from your knapsack and turn to the "CyberBee" column. With a smile on your face, you know how to turn these treasures into golden learning experiences. Even if you are not on a desert island, you can help your students discover a treasure-trove of information by visiting these Web sites.

ART

ArtCyclopedia

Over 7,500 artists are represented with links to more than 100,00 works. You can search artists by name, artworks by title, or art museums by name/place. A search for Winslow Homer returned the date of the artist, a short quote, over three dozens links directly to his paintings in museums, related Web sites, and articles about him. In addition, there is a Today in Art History feature that is loaded with information.

LANGUAGE ARTS

Pop-Up and Moveable Books

The University of North Texas has prepared a virtual tour of pop-up books from the 19th century to present. There are many wonderful illustrations, including a few animations that give you an idea of how the movements would appear in the book. This is a must-visit site if you are planning any lessons about pop-up books.

RIF Reading Planet

The focus of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is to develop children and family literacy programs. Reading Planet is chock full of activities geared toward the elementary grades. Students can write book reviews, illustrate stories, write stories, send postcards, and participate in polls. If students do not have a clue about what books they might like to read, send them to the Super Sorter. After answering a series of questions, they are given a list of books and activities related to their interests.

HAND-HELD TECHNOLOGY

Learning in the Palm of Your Hand

The Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education (Hi-CE) at the University of Michigan is one of the best sites on the Web for free Palm software. Learn how viruses spread by playing Cooties. Draw and write using Sketchy and Free Write. Create practice drills with Bubble Blasters. In addition there are loads of ideas for using hand-held technology in the classroom.

MUSIC

Creating Music

No matter whether you are 4 or 104, you will be fascinated with this creative environment. It's a place for kids to compose music and play with musical instrumentation. In addition, there are music games and puzzles. Turn up the volume and have fun.

New York Philharmonic Kidzone

Make your own instrument, meet musicians, play Mozart's Minuet game, and learn about composers at this kid-friendly site. When you enter the page, you find yourself in a balcony seat listening to the orchestra warm up. From here, you can choose all sorts of areas to explore—from the instrument storage room to the composer's gallery. Book your tickets now for a visit to a great site.

MATH

FunBrain

Fun Brain is one of the most popular sites for elementary teachers and students. There are games, quizzes, and standards guides. Some of the games include Change Maker, Fresh Baked Fractions, and Guess the Number.

GoFigure

Keep your students on their toes with this self-paced math challenge sponsored by MathCounts and Compaq Computer. Begin at base camp and progress up the mountain of problems until you reach the summit and success. Problems are randomly selected so your students will be able to play several times.

Pattern Blocks

Pattern Blocks was inspired by the No Matter What Shape Your Fractions Are In site developed by Cynthia Lanius. In this Java program, four different pattern blocks or manipulatives can be dragged onto a grid and moved around. The purpose of this activity is to familiarize students with different shapes, their relations, and their properties. Easy-to-understand instructions are provided along with links to fraction activities.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

PE Central

Many activities are provided for physical education teachers to use in their daily instruction, including interdisciplinary lessons. A few of the other topics covered are adapted physical education, assessment ideas, and positive learning climates. Be sure to read the Kids Quote of the Day; it will make you smile.

P.E.4Life

P.E.4LIFE is a national, nonprofit advocacy organization for promoting quality, daily physical education programs for America's youth. A free community action kit is available for the price of postage. The P.E.4LIFE: Community Action Kit includes PowerPoint presentations, handouts, sample letters, and a dynamic, 7-minute video that highlights the benefits of quality physical education.

PUZZLES

Internet Coach

Wow! What a cool place to visit. Set up a free account and then construct crosswords, word scrambles, anagrams, or secret codes. Login anytime and have your students solve them. You can also send an e-puzzle greeting card.

The Jigzone

Solve jigsaw puzzles online. Select a level of difficulty from six pieces to 247 pieces for each puzzle. Upload photos and create your own jigsaw puzzles. Share puzzles with friends and receive the puzzle of the day via e-mail.

REFERENCE

MegaConverter

The name says it all. This useful tool converts and calculates weights, measures, and units. There are currently two versions: MegaConverter Original and MegaConverter2. Both have an interactive conversion dial that is a snap to use.

yourDictionary

Features include definitions, pronunciations, translations, explanations, word of the day, and activities for increasing vocabulary. There is a specialty glossary with over 50 categories of subjects. Translate foreign languages or visit the multilingual library. Enter the game room and find crossword puzzles, encryptions, fill-in puzzles, word jingles, and semantic scramblers. Write your name in 10 different languages. The educational services section offers essays from leading linguists about word histories. This is an excellent reference site to add to your bookmarks.

Wacky Patent of the Month

Ever heard of an eye protector for chickens, audible toothbrush, or self-waiting table? The Wacky Patent of the Month is devoted to recognizing selected inventors and their remarkable and unconventional patented inventions. An archive of previous months is available.

SCIENCE

BrainPop

A highly interactive site that is lots of fun. Content is based on the needs of its users and the National Science Education Standards. At present, BrainPOP.com has over 80 original animated movies covering health, science, and technology topics. You can view two movies per day for free. If you need to play more than that, you can purchase a BrainPop School Pass. See the site for details.

Wild Eyed Alaska

Travel instantly to the remote Gull Island in Alaska to see puffins, kittiwakes, and other wildlife. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute makes this adventure possible. By using this virtual laboratory, students can experience science firsthand instead of reading a textbook. The site features video footage, captured by the nearby Pratt Museum, of animals rarely seen by most young people. A narration accompanies the video describing the animals and their actions while additional facts about the animals appear on screen.

SOCIAL STUDIES

New Deal Network

Study the Great Depression using the New Deal Network as an educational guide. Documents, photos, the arts, letters, and created lesson plans for teachers are included in this extensive site sponsored by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the Institute for Learning Technologies at Columbia University. Particularly interesting and powerful are the letters written to Mrs. Roosevelt by children during the Depression which are included in the Dear Mrs. Roosevelt lesson.

Memorial Hall Museum Online

The history of New England is revealed through artifacts and historic documents. Browse the online collection to view items on a variety of topics. Use a magic lens to transcribe written documents. View period clothing from all sides by rotating the picture or watch a video to see how tools were used during Colonial times. Create your own chronology of events by selecting topics and dates. Detailed lesson plans for all grade levels are ready to use or may be adapted to your community.

Treasures Found

Continue to imagine that the Web sites are so engaging that students barely notice a ship on the horizon. Rescued, they leave the island taking the treasure of knowledge with them. Now that is a happy ending.

Be sure to visit the MultiMedia Schools home page [http://www.infotoday.com/MMSchools] with active links to all of the Web sites mentioned in this article. Then fly over to CyberBee [http://www.cyberbee.com] for more curriculum ideas, research tools, and activities to use with your students and staff.

Resources


ART

ArtCyclopedia
http://www.artcyclopedia.com/


LANGUAGE ARTS

Pop-Up and Moveable Books
http://www.library.unt.edu/
rarebooks/exhibits/popup2/default.htm

RIF Reading Planet
http://www.rifreadingplanet.org/rif/


HAND-HELD TECHNOLOGY

Learning in the Palm of Your Hand
http://www.handheld.hice-dev.org/


MUSIC

Creating Music
http://www.creatingmusic.com/

New York Philharmonic Kidzone
http://www.nyphilkids.org/


MATH

FunBrain
http://funbrain.com/

GoFigure
http://mathcounts.org/GoFigure/HTML/Default.htm

Pattern Blocks
http://ejad.best.vwh.net/java/patterns/patterns_d.shtml


PHYSICAL EDUCATION

PE Central
http://pe.central.vt.edu/

P.E.4Life
http://www.pe4life.com/


PUZZLES

Internet Coach
http://puzzles.apte.com/

The Jigzone
http://www.jigzone.com/


REFERENCE

MegaConverter
http://www.megaconverter.com/

yourDictionary
http://yourdictionary.com/

Wacky Patent of the Month
http://colitz.com/site/wacky.htm


SCIENCE

BrainPop
http://www.brainpop.com

Wild Eyed Alaska
http://www.hhmi.org/alaska/


SOCIAL STUDIES

New Deal Network
http://newdeal.feri.org/index.htm

Memorial Hall Museum Online
http://www.edgate.com/d.pl?url=
http://memorialhall.mass.edu/home.html

 


Linda Joseph is the author of Net Curriculum: An Educator's Guide to Using the Internet, published by CyberAge Books. The recipient of numerous awards, in addition to her work in the Columbus Public Schools and the Library of Congress, Linda is a part-time instructor for Ohio State University. Communications to the author may be addressed to her at Columbus Public Schools, 737 East Hudson Street, Columbus, OH 43211; 614/365-5277; ljoseph@iwaynet.net.
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