Below are my recommendations for apps, videos, websites and other educational media that you can do with your young students to promote the types of critical thinking, science, numeracy, and literacy skills that they’ll need.
Blogs and Articles
#DiverseKidLit | Diverse Children’s Books is a Twitter hashtag promoting the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters – “diversity” meaning inclusive and multicultural literature for children of all backgrounds.
WeReadToo | The WeReadToo app has a great collection of over 600 books written by Black authors for children and adults. This app gives a summary of each book.
Beacon Box | The Beacon Box is a subscription box for educating Black children on the rich and varied history of Black America and its contributions. The company uses the K-8 curriculum frameworks from several states to make sure that all box activities are age and grade-level appropriate.
Boston Children’s Museum page on Instructables.com | Instructables is a great website for finding STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) activities that you can do with the child in your life. Here is the profile for the Boston Children’s Museum that you can check out and connect with.
The Kid Should See This | The Kid Should See This connects busy teachers and parents to a growing library of short and sweet videos on science, nature, music, art, technology, storytelling, and other subjects. These videos can be watched in the classroom, or together at home.
SAMR Application Scope and Sequence | The technology teacher behind this blog post goes into detail about the apps and tech resources that teachers and parents can use with their students. Each resource that is mentioned has been aligned with the SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy teaching frameworks.
5 Simple Ways To Encourage Brain Development In Your Little One | This NPR article describes tips and strategies from The Boston Basics Campaign for encouraging development. The Boston Basics Campaign is a citywide coalition of organizations and individuals working to make sure that every child gets a great start in life.
Boys and Learning: The PBL Solution | I recommend this article from the DefinedSTEM website so that readers find out how teachers are using project-based learning in their classrooms to nurture the academic growth of their young boys. Read how open-ended questions, movement, and hands-on activities are used to engage these students.
The Ruff Ruffman Show Google Classroom | This popular PBS Show where kids take on challenges and learn the value of failure—all while modeling science inquiry skills and learning about core science concepts – is now available on Google Classroom. This webpage features YouTube-inspired videos, digital games, and real-world activities.
Science, Technology, and Mathematics Apps
SolveMe Mobiles is an app developed by the Education Development Center out of Waltham. The player must solve mathematical equations in the form of interesting challenges and puzzles, and is a great way for students to practice their mathematical skills.
Toca Builders is a simplified version of Minecraft, a block-based building game. In this virtual 3-D world, users (ages five and up) control six different builders to create, stack, paint and even demolish colorful blocks on a 360-degree grid.
Simple Machines is a kid-friendly app that introduces users to simple machines and mechanical motion.
Robot Factory by Tinybop is a creation app that encourages kids to design robots beyond their wildest imaginations. Kids develop robots (think Wall-E or R2D2) from 100 different parts and then test out their creations in an environment full of obstacles to see if their robot will survive or fall apart. Kids will learn useful design lessons in physics and engineering while constructing and testing their robots.
Discover and explore physics in daily life, such as on the playground. Using Playground Physics, you can record a video of yourself or your friends, tap points along the way to trace a path of motion and discover the motion, forces and energy involved. Users enter measurements (height of object, mass of object being tracked) to understand how a person’s potential or kinetic energy changes as he or she moves.
Bedtime Math was developed for parents who want to incorporate math into their daily routine. It offers a math story of the day and an accompanying word problem based on the story.
Crazy Gears is a mechanical learning game for kids ages five and above that helps introduce users to simple machines and mechanical motion.
Kidzworld is a safe, secure, content rich Social Network and online magazine for kids and teens, ages 9-17. Kidzworld has content that includes topics such as homework help, including science fair ideas, holiday info from around the world, movie reviews, exclusive celebrity interviews, video game reviews and much more. Kidzworld also offers printable crossword puzzles for teachers to use in their classroom. Launched last fall was Kidzworld’s mobile site which is now live so users can stay connected and informed with ease.
Curiosity Machine is a great website for engaging you and your children in a variety of engineering challenges. The challenges are for students in from Pre-K to 12th grade, so your child can grow in their content knowledge as they move through each grade.
Art and Creativity Apps
This popular app uses cartoons to teach children how to organize and present story ideas. It uses a “Story Arc” with five scenes to guide story structure (setup, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution). Kids move characters around each scene as they record the story. For ELLs, Toontastic can be an great tool for building writing skills or analyzing stories. Students can either create a piece of original writing, or recreate a story they read in class.
TeleStory is a video-creation app that allows kids to write, direct and star in their own shows. Kids record a story using a variety of fun themes like a news report, music video, space adventure or spy movie. With costumes and special effects, this app enables kids to showcase their imaginations. It is great fun, and an incredibly motivating way for kids to tell a story.
Students or teachers can create and share media projects that incorporate video, image, voice, or even drawings. Once posted, projects can be open to text, voice or video comments from a select group or from all VoiceThread members. It’s a natural fit for a range of student presentations and projects such as explaining research or retelling a story with original artwork. For ELLs who sometimes are hesitant to speak up in class, VoiceThread gives them a chance contribute their ideas.
Tell About This
This versatile pre-writing or publishing tool is easy for young storytellers to use. Dozens of photos sorted into categories including culture, people, family and fun, serve as inspiration for prompts. Kids can tell stories using the in-app recording feature. Teachers can also create custom prompts with their own images and voice. Giving ELLs a safe space to tell stories about their lives and experiences validates their unique contributions to the class community.
Students can create impressive video slideshows using research resources built right into the app. They can take screenshots from an interactive map, safely search for images from the Web and access image archives from trusted sources like the Library of Congress. Kids put the slides in order, add text, music and narration, and then export the final project as a video file. Shadow Puppet Edu supports ELLs in developing academic vocabulary in both collaborative groups and independently.
Chatter Pix Kids is an app that turns pictures into talking animations. Kids can either take a picture or select an image saved to the camera roll. With a swipe of their finger, they draw a mouth on any image. There is one button to press to record, and the mouth is then animated to match the recording. Using ChatterPix Kids is a great way to get kids to bring pictures and simple stories to life.
Teaching Channel Summer Learning Library This website has links to a other educational websites for you to use with your child over the summer.
Literacy Skills Apps
- Agnitus Personal Learning Program
- Busytown Mysteries
- Elmo Loves ABCs
- Endless Alphabet
- Endless Reader
- Letter School
- Millie’s Crazy Dinosaur Adventure
- Monkey Word School Adventure
- Reading Rainbow
- Ocean Swimmer by Sago Mini
- Learn to Read by Starfall
- PBS Kids
- Raz Kids
- Sesame Street
Below are some videos that you can explore with your to help them learn their sight words for reading. We have used these resources in class:
- Alphabet and Sight Word Songs and Videos
- Sight Word Rap
- Sight Word Song
- Sight Word Videos
- Sight Word Rap 2