Sunday, July 29, 2012

San Franciso Symphony Kids' Site- Fun With Music

I have a nephew who is interested in music and was looking for a website that could provide some basic concepts. I ran across this San Francisco Symphony (SFS) Kids’ Site and it is absolutely wonderful. The creators express a love of music and a commitment to music education within their community and beyond. This website allows communities who do not have access to the SFS a great way for people of all ages to hear, learn, and have fun with music.

Grades: Pre-K thru 12+

We Choose the Moon

We Choose the Moon is an interactive re-creation of the first mission to the moon, 40 years after Apollo 11 made JFK’s dream a reality.  The site is divided into 11 stages containing animation, archival photo, videos and mission audio that bring Apollo 11 to life. Create a personalized certificate for display.  This is a innovative glimpse into history with navigational features for adjustment to your own pace. 
(Grades 3rd to Adult)

Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Computer: The Perfect Holiday Gift

'Tis the holiday season and there are decisions, decisions, decisions. The choices are limitless--teddy bears, game systems, bicycles, books, educational toys, toiletries, gift cards, travel and the list goes on. At the top of my list is a computer--preferably a laptop. If you have a computer and an internet connection, then with the click of a finger you can do just about anything at the fraction of the cost. And then, you can explore what to do next.

I am a lover of zoos, and mind you there is nothing like the real thing. But the next best thing is an hour at the online San Diego Zoo. I can actually watch Yun Zi and Gao Gao, the great pandas, live on the Panda Cam. Another favorite is the Honolu Zoo featuring an entire page of exciting zoo video shorts.

Online museums are another example of the ability of a computer to bring excitement, history, and relevence into our lives daily and at our convenience. My personal favorite is the online Smithsonian Institute--there is just so much at this site.

Looking for fun and games--there is plenty of that as well. I have a special liking for sites that combine fun with learning. Sites such as GameGoo, Who Wants to Win $1,000,000, and Puzzle Pixies provide hours of learning and fun. Nixing the educational slant and going fullblast fun, sites such as and Yahoo Games provide plenty of entertainment. Another favorite place is You Tube--I have sat at my computer for hours watching old videos of Nat King Cole, Elvis, Sam Cook and others who died before I was talking. There are also the old Saturday Night Live clips. Of course, young folks will enjoy the likes of Justin Bieber and Beyonce.

Let us not forget the world of shopping. Its a great place to get deals and research items that you are thinking about purchasing in a brick and mortor establishment. I'm an avid and eBay Shopper, but the traditional retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target , Bloomingdales, FAO Schwarz and many more have an online presence as well.

The one thing the computer doesn't do is get you out in the fresh air and moving those body parts so by all means buy those bicycles and visit some of the places discussed but a computer certainly worth considering as a holiday purchase.

Lastly, if you're going to be online then do it safely. The FBI's "A Parent Guide to Interent Safety" provides tips on keeping you and all your loved ones safe with this wonderful toy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Educational Gifting

A birthday is looming, the holidays are coming, just got my bonus and I need to shop--there are so many reasons we find ourselves searching for that perfect gift for the young people in our lives. Consider a gift that will challenge their minds and expand their cognitive toolkit while providing hours of enjoyment. A search of the web will produce hundreds of marketing websites but if you comb through there are a few sites that offer some helpful ideas for that perfect educational gift:
Top 10 Educational Toys 2011--While likely not actually the best 10, there are some great choices on this list for all ages.
Family 5: Our Best Educational Toys for First Graders (Ages 4-7) --Good explanations of why these are good toys.
The Best Board Games for Every Age ( -- This one has to be our favorite!
Top 20 Educational Video Games -- Love this one too! Playstation and Nintendo can be educational too.
TeacherFirst: 100 Best Books -- It doesn't so matter if its on a savvy eReader or just plain old paper, nothing brightens the eyes like a wonderful book. Scholastic's article "How to Choose the Best Multi-Cultural Books" provides an essential facet to creating a comprehensive children's reading list.

Well, w think you get the gist. There are lots of educational gifts and learning does not have to be boring. Hopefully, we've primed you to the possibilities.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

University of Idaho: Information Literacy

Regardless of age, all students need help navigating and evaluating the vast information available on the web. This University of Idaho literacy primer will quickly transform any novice or random searcher into a savvy Internet guru. The site guides visitors through a series of modules that teach them how to distinguish different kinds of information on the Internet, search databases and other collections, search for and select research topics, locate and cite sources, and evaluate the sources they find.

Grades 5th thru 12+

Shakespeare Online

You will not find Gwyneth Paltrow on this website, but you will find plenty of William Shakespeare—young and old. On this aptly named site, visitors can read every play or sonnet from the world's most celebrated writer and, more importantly, make some sense of his works with study guides and essays, Old English language translations, quizzes and famous quotes.

Grades 8th thru 12

Saturday, July 02, 2011

New York Times: 1-in-8 Million

1-in-8 Million is a look into the lives of 54 not-so-ordinary New Yorkers, telling their own stories. It is an opportunity to go far outside of the conventional classroom without moving from one’s desk, an opportunity to hear, feel, touch, almost smell the people of New York. I found it to be a trip not just to New York—and I’ve traveled there many times—but a trip inside this city. I’d never seen it like this.

Grades 6 thru 12+

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Although at first glance not the most inviting site, once you start digging in Thinkfinity you will find all kinds of nuggets. The site features lessons plans for educators and parents. It partners with several of the best educational resources on the web. Some are web powerhouses such as EDSITEment, the Smithsonian Institute and National Geographic. But there are also partnerships with smaller but very effective educational resources such as Wonderopolis, Illuminations, and the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge. And if you keep digging, there is more and more and more.

All Levels

Sunday, June 26, 2011

BBC Nature

The photos! The videos! The wildlife! Even dinosaurs! Breathtaking! This is a walk on the wild side at your fingertips. There is absolutely no excuse for not being exposed to the world of nature--even if you live in the center of New York City. Its right here. The BBC is the largest broadcasting agency in the world and a public broadcasting service to boot. BBC Nature is definitely one of its finest microsites.

1rst Grade - 12+