Introducing New Websites
Today my students got to go to the computer lab for the first time for a non-testing reason. I used the time to introduce two websites that my students will be using frequently throughout the year. My hope is that they will use these websites at home as well as at school.
The first site is one that I have been using since I started teaching at my school. It is Mr. Martini’s Classroom (http://www.thegreatmartinicompany.com/). On this site, students will take a weekly 20-question multiplication facts quiz that will be timed to help develop operational fluency (being able to multiply basic facts quickly in order to do multi-digit multiplication and being able to understand what is happening in a multiplication problem). There are other resources on this site, such as division, subtraction, and addition practice. There are flashcards for students to use online or print, and there are other resources to help with fractions and geometry.
The other site I shared is one that I just discovered this summer via some teacher friends on Twitter. (I love Twitter, by the way. I have a wonderful network of educators who share all sorts of amazing resources all the time!) This site is Wonderopolis (http://wonderopolis.org/). This is a fun, child-friendly resource for non-fiction reading on a wide variety of topics. Each day a new question is posted. Today’s question, for example, was “Is the five-second rule really true?” After posing the question, students can read the answer, watch videos, and learn more. There are also vocabulary words related to the topic, ways to try it out, and recommended reading for more information. We probably won’t be able to visit the site every day, but we will use it often. There is also a free app that I have put on all of my iPads so that students will be able to access Wonderopolis while in the classroom.
Like I said, I hope that students and parents will take advantage of these resources if they can. Whether it is using the computer at home, at the local library, or at a friend’s house, there are a host of fantastic websites for students that promote thinking skills. Our school has many of these sites bookmarked in our Destiny Catalog (http://destiny.usd116.org/), which can also be accessed from home by clicking the link and selecting our school.