Archive for category: On the Internet

In-car literacy activities

carHere are some good ideas to help boost your child’s literacy without leaving the back seat. (Them, not you. You’re driving. Hands on the wheel!)

The post also has ideas for apps and in-car activities for kids.

From Scholastic.

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Media Literacy and “Teaching Kids News”

TKN_logoI’m a freelance journalist who is also involved in children’s literacy.

A few years ago, I brought those two aspects of my life together to co-create: TeachingKidsNews.com (TKN).

(Here’s the story of how TKN got started: an interested parent + an enthusiastic teacher.)

TKN provides daily, kid-friendly news. For each article we add teaching questions taken from the school curriculum.

So, kids can find out what’s happening in the “real” news–and teachers/homeschool parents can cover off the curriculum.

Recently, TVOParents talked to the founders of TKN about media literacy and why it’s so important for kids to develop critical media literacy skills.

Here is TVO’s wonderful piece on TKN and media literacy.

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Strange word game – but fun!

monkey-go-happy-guess-starfishMonkey GO Happy, Guess? is an odd game, yes it is.

But it’s fun. Kids’ll like it.

And you can’t deny, it’s all about words.

The online game is one of a series of simple, quirky word games by PencilKids.

In Monkey GO Happy, Guess? (the spelling and punctuation of its name belie its oddness) you have to figure out what word is needed, based on a picture clue.

For instance, a picture of a STAR plus a picture of a FISH would equal STARFISH.
The clues get progressively stranger, albeit not necessarily much more difficult, as you proceed.

Every time you get one right you earn coins.

Underlying all of the oddness is oddly catchy music, bonus games in which you have to figure out roman numerals based on clues, the occasional brainteaser plus the chance to use your accumulated coins to buy mini-prizes (a trampoline, a car) for the little monkeys at the bottom of the page.

It’s all very odd, but fun. And word-oriented.

The link for this game is via Bart Bonte‘s excellent online casual games page.
You can search his site for the other Monkey GO Happy games.

 

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More about the three important literacy boosters

49th shelf logoWe’ve talked before on GKR about the three most important things you can do for your kids to get them reading.

(Hint – there’re in the sidebar, over there on the right-hand side!)

The fine people at 49th Shelf, a Canadian literature site, have allowed me to talk a bit about them. Just in time for Family Literacy Day, Jan. 27.

(If you’re not familiar with 49th Shelf, get yerself on over there and check it out. It’s a terrific website that promotes Canadian literature.)

And by the way, if you’re looking for something to do to celebrate Literacy Day this weekend, come on down to my book launch for Gabby.

It’s this Sunday at 1:00 at the International Travel Authority cafe, 1165 Bloor St. W., Toronto. There’ll be cake!

 

Here’s the article on 49th Shelf.

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Must Pop Words – great game for literacy, typing skills

must pop words enterHere’s a smart, fun game that’s great for literacy and for improving typing skills.

In Must Pop Words, letters – inside bouncy balls – fall down and accumulate at the bottom of the page.

You have to type words using the letters. Every word you type erases those letters. If the letters pile up to the top of the page (which they will inevitably do) you lose.

Little tasks like, “create a word ending with e” or “create a six-letter word” let you earn extra points.

The balls bouncing around and the cute penguin who sticks his head in every once in awhile make this a signature Bart Bonte game – one of a series of elegant, fun games you can find on his website. (In my opinion, Bonte is the best casual game designer on the Internet.) Enjoy!

Play Must Pop Words here.

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An awesome way to remember “subject” and “predicate”

“Mr. Morton is the subject of the sentence and what the predicate says – he does!”

Thanks to Tina, via her FB page, for this.
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DrawaStickman.com

Draw a stickman.comYour kid will love this.

You draw a stick figure, and the website brings it to life.

There is a literacy component, because the site takes the stickman through a plotline. You’re given instructions like, “draw a key in my hand” before he can open a locked box.

Kids have to read and understand the instructions, and then figure out how to fulfill them.

(So like life.)

There’s plenty of action to keep kids interested in the story. I won’t spoil it for you, but think dragon, fire, flood… cartoony, though, not scary.

And throughout it all is a very quirky sense of silliness. For instance, at some point the site itself catches on fire and detritus drops on the dragon’s head. Stuff that kids love.

After you’ve finished the scenario – a couple of times, likely – take a look at the gallery. People have done some pretty incredible “stickmen,” like Steve Jobs, Gandolf, anime and other really inventive characters.

Visit www.drawastickman.com.

 

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For the love of books

This is the video that’s recently gone viral. If you (and your kid) haven’t seen it, you must – it’s lovely. One-minute and 52 seconds of delightful, stop-motion, book-adoration.

Visited the bookstore “Type” in Toronto this morning and got the back-story: Apparently a couple of filmmakers (Sean Ohlenkamp for one) have made these kinds of videos before on a smaller scale. They wanted a larger venue, so they approached the owners of Type, who were happy to accommodate. Type let them take over the store for a number of nights from 9 p.m. until the next morning, when all the books – of course – had to be back on the shelves, in order.

They had about 20 volunteers to help them reshelve each night. (The books didn’t go back by themselves, unfortunately.) It took over a year to edit.

The video came out a couple of days ago and it’s really taken off. Gotten coverage throughout North America. Yay for Type – and books! (And my friend Val, who originally sent me the link to the video!)

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Fun online Hallowe’en “differences” game

Terrific Hallowe'en - differences gameTerrific Hallowe’en is an easy, fun and speedy online game.

The goal is to find the differences between the two, similar-looking pictures.

You click on each thing that’s different. It might be a missing leaf on a tree, a missing house in the background, or a different-coloured tie.

When you spot the five differences, you get a new pair of images. There are three levels: Easy, Medium and Hard (which you can’t unlock until after you’ve finished Medium).

The game is timed, so you can’t just sit there staring. However, if you do take too long it flashes you a hint – well, it shows you a difference. Not really a hint.

It’s a good way for kids to really look at an image, and think about “same” and “different.” It’s also good for hand-eye co-ordination, since you have to click right on the difference.

Small kids can play it with an adult, by just pointing to the screen with their finger. And the Hard level is perfect for older kids, who won’t be bored.

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Silent E

Here is a great video that teaches what Silent E does. (Spoiler alert: For one thing, it makes a hug huge!)

Thanks to thekidshouldseethis.com, who brought this to my attention via a tweet.
Their website is fantastic – it’s a collection of videos that kids just gotta see.

And if you’re in the mood for something slightly more modern…

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