Archive for December, 2007

Browser Books

I was recently perusing Paul Hamilton’s Blog, The Treasure Chest of Free Stuff, when I came across Browser Books.

 This website was created to allow beginning readers to read books on their web browser. Readers can click on the triangle in the lower right-hand corner of each page to turn the pages. If they are unsure of a word, they can click on it to hear a child’s voice read the word to them.  

The site is easy to use.  Books can be searched by subject or level.  I’ll be adding to this to my computer center after Winter Vacation.



Teaching students writing, story elements and more through comics

Thanks to Bill Zimmerman and Tom Bloom for sharing their website Make Beliefs Comix on FreeReading. This allows users to easily make their own comic strips using the 15 site characters. Users can adjust their characters emotions as well as add speech and thought bubbles. This is a great resource for teachers that want to teach young students about language, story elements, reading, writing, computer skills and more. Check it out!


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Pass the Tissues!

I always find myself repeating the same things in my classroom this time of year. 

Wipe your nose!  Please go get a tissue!  Cover your mouth when you cough! 

It is no wonder I spent last week battling my annual early winter cold.  As it turns out, most teachers are in the same boat as I am this time of year.  Yesterday, as I was looking over my Union Newsletter, I came across a very interesting article: New Website Teaches Children about Proper Hand-Washing.


Scrub Club is a series of interactive games children play to battle the evil “Influenza Enzo.”  There are six “Soaper Heroes”, each of whom represents one of the six steps to washing hands.  Teachers can also download educational materials about proper hand washing to use in their classrooms.

Happy Hand Washing (and nose blowing)!


Brooklyn Firm Offers Up Free Online Lesson Plans for Teachers

FreeReading was featured in the New York Sun today! Check out the article here. -Anna

Elementary School in Rural France (Movie Recommendation)

To Be and To Have

Last night I watched one of my favorite movies, Être et avoir (To Be and To Have). This documentary takes place in a one room elementary school in the heart of rural Auvergne, France where a single teacher (Mr. Lopez) instructs children from ages 4 to 10 how to read, how to multiply, how to make crepes, how to share and find joy in nature and company.

Whether it is the extra scene where little Marie recites a poem about the moon or the episodes when Jojo sticks a pencil up his nose or tries with all his might to figure out the copy machine, this movie reminds us what a joy it is to work with children, plus it brings back a few memories of being in elementary school to boot.

Learn more about the film and see more photos like the one above here.


Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2007

The Frog who wanted to See the Sea

The New York Times just published a slide show of the best illustrated children’s books of 2007! Have a click through! I am particularly fond of the illustration featured above from, “The Frog who wanted to See the Sea” written and illustrated by Guy Billout.  Who doesn’t want to surf and think of turquoise waters when it is 30 degrees outside?!


Using hip hop in your math and reading classrooms!

I am a huge fan of Flocabulary–a hip hop group that writes, produces and performs hip hop music to teach children and teens vocabulary, history, English and math.
Everytime I visit a school district to show teachers FreeReading, teachers go wild when they hear the music Flocabulary contributed to FreeReading. Check out the Chipmunk–a song about a dapper chipmunk named Mr. T that teaches children Tier 2 vocabulary words from books such as Chrysanthemum and Make way for Ducklings.
Recently Flocabulary produced a new song called Know Your Two’s that teaches children their 2 multiplication tables. In addition, they have developed activities that build on the song here. Since this is a new song, Alex and Blake (the founders of Flocabulary) would love to hear your thoughts and feedback! So, over the holidays, why not do a little dancing to the tune of Know Your Two’s, and send Alex and Blake your feedback here. In exchange for your feedback, Blake and Alex will send you a free copy of the completed product to use in your classrooms!
Thanks and happy holidays!

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