Category Archives: Educational Websites and Resources

Math Games to Utilize at Home or in the Classroom…and Math Chimp~a Great Math Resource Aligned to the Common Core

Math Chimp

A wonderful resource for parents and teachers…and fun for children of all ages. This interactive site engages the brain through math games aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

http://www.mathchimp.com/

Sheppards Software

This is a great site for ages 5-16. It offers everything from basic addition to algebraic problems to solve.

http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/math.htm

The Math Games

This is a great fraction enhancing website. It offers simple games like matching to help young minds grasp fraction strategies.

http://themathgames.com/

Math Playground

This is a F-U-N site! It offers games like “Escape from Fraction Manor” and “Project T.R.I.G” A great mental workout for even my old mind ūüėČ

http://www.mathplayground.com/games.html

Math-Play

This site offers games for elementary and middle school students.

http://www.math-play.com/

Play Kids Games

This is a great classroom resource too! This site offers classroom to create and upload math games. Sounds like a Best Practice to me…math and fun!

http://www.playkidsgames.com/mathGames.htm

As always, if you find these websites helpful, then we are thrilled. However, if these websites end up being less than expected, please let us know so we can remove them from our recommended lists.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

4 Comments

Filed under Common Core State Standards "Nuts & Bolts", Educational Websites and Resources, Educational Websites that are FREE, Math

From Learning Apps to Imagination-Enhanced Games with Discovery Kids…Holiday Break can be Educational Too!

Imagination Fuels Discovery

www.kids.discovery.com

Discovery Kids inspires kids to explore the awesome world around them and satisfy their curiosity with innovative games, activities, quizzes and articles.  Discovery Kids is trusted by parents, and helps children exercise their minds and bodies while actively learning through exploration.
Sue has older children and even they love this site! Check it out and let the imaginations soar!

Numbers are Found in all Aspects of Life...Seek and Find!

www.itunes.apple.com

Read reviews, get customer ratings, see screenshots, and learn more about NumberStax on the App Store. Download NumberStax and enjoy it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Money Wise Today=Opportunities for Tomorrow

Trisha found this great site (Money Wise Moms) and wanted to share it with our audience. Enjoy!

www.moneywisemoms.com

Shop smarter. Balance your budget. Be a Moneywise Mom
These are some sites or apps we have come to enjoy. We would love to hear about your favorite learning apps or websites that enhances the learning process.
May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,
Denise

Unlock the Teacher Talking all things Educational

Leave a comment

Filed under Educational Websites and Resources, Educational Websites that are FREE, Favorite Sites, Recommended Learning Apps

Educational Websites to Utilize While Shopping for Children this Christmas

The holidays are quickly upon us and I have received emails asking for educational gift recommendations.  The following sites I feel are user friendly for parents and provide items that are educational and fun for children of multiple ages.  The sites were chosen because I feel after reading and researching more about theses companies, that they themselves help play a positive role in educate as a whole because it is the right thing to do.  When we come together for the common good for the right reasons, amazing things can happen and at Unlock the Teacher, we are all about sharing the good!

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ~One of my favorite publishers!

Bio:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Group

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group encompasses three award-winning imprints as well as the HMH¬†franchise line and the Graphia¬†and Sandpiper¬†paperback lines. Houghton Mifflin introduced its first list of books for young readers in 1937 and has published such luminaries as H. A. and Margret Rey, Virginia Lee Burton, Bill Peet, Holling¬†C. Holling, Scott O’Dell, and James Marshall; its contemporary authors and illustrators include Chris Van Allsburg, Lois Lowry, Steve Jenkins, Joyce Sidman, Brian Lies, Sy Montgomery, and Allen Say. Houghton Mifflin is also home to some of the best-loved children’s book characters: Curious George, Lyle the Crocodile, George and Martha, Martha of¬† Martha Speaks,¬† and Tacky the Penguin.

Clarion Books became an imprint of Houghton Mifflin in 1979. Clarion’s award-winning authors include David Wiesner, Linda Sue Park, Paul Galdone, Russell Freedman, Karen Cushman, Katherine Paterson, and Gary Schmidt.

Harcourt Children’s Books, known for classics such as¬† The Hundred Dresses¬† and¬† The Little Prince,¬† features notable authors and illustrators such as Avi, Janell¬†Cannon, Lois Ehlert, Mem Fox, Gerald McDermott, Han Nolan, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel, and Don and Audrey Wood.

I recommend that readers young and old check out this online educational store.¬† Notice the authors listed in their bio…amazing! This is a great resource for schools, teacher and parents.¬† Regardless if you are shopping to put a gift under the Christmas tree or enhance the classroom or school library, this is a great resource tool!

Scholastic

Bio: Read everyday. Lead a better life.

I recommend this site and this company.¬† It is cost effective and one can shop and know that most if not all products will enhance a child’s education.¬† I also like the way this company helps schools…I am a HUGE fan of this practice and Unlock the Teacher believes in giving back to the community too!

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio~The Independent Guide to Social Media

Bio:¬† Educator, parent & kid testing goes into each product considered for an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award. We don’t accept ads or charge “review fees” from manufacturers or publishers, so you know you’re always getting independent opinions. We have awards for the best toys, books, videos, and audio for kids.

I encourage readers to check out their book and toy recommendations.

Oceanhouse Media

Bio:¬† Oceanhouse¬†Media, Inc. is a leading publisher of more than 270 apps for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android and NOOK Color devices. The company‚Äôs mantra is ‚ÄúCreativity with Purpose,‚ÄĚ developing apps that uplift, educate and inspire.

I recommend that readers check out their amazing book apps!¬† My children own many…they are educational, affordable and fun! A great 21st century tool for the parent.

Veggie Tales

Bio:¬† Big Idea Entertainment is a leading studio and producer of children‚Äôs and family programming, characters and brands. Big Idea‚Äôs best-selling series VeggieTales¬ģ is the #1 animated home video series in the US with moms of pre-schoolers*.¬† Since 1993, VeggieTales¬ģ has sold 54+ million videos, 13 million books and more than 7 million CDs.¬† VeggieTales¬ģ and Big Idea‚Äôs property, 3-2-1 Penguins!¬ģ, enjoyed four seasons as top-rated series on NBC Saturday mornings, Telemundo and ION TV via the qubo¬ģ children‚Äôs programming block.¬† The studio’s two theatrical releases, Jonah-A VeggieTales Movie¬ģ (2002), and Universal Pictures’ and Big Idea’s The Pirates Who Don‚Äôt Do Anything¬ģ-A VeggieTales Movie¬ģ (2008), are distinguished among the most successful faith-based films of all time. Big Idea also maintains an extensive presence in publishing, licensing and live entertainment arenas.

I am a huge fan of this company, their vision and their products.¬† They have a range of products for children from pre-K to teenager.¬† I also like their education online games that they offer for children too.¬† If you haven’t taken a look at them or their products, I encourage readers to do so.

Discovery Channel

I recommend this site because…the learning toys at this site are amazing!¬† The prices are a little higher than one might find in a local reatailer, but the learning potential is high. The goal would be to try to find a toy that your child or student might be able to utilize for a few years to make the purchase a true investment.

These are some of my favorite sites to shop and explore for new educational discoveries.  Please share your favorite places to shop this holiday and I will post them here so we can all benefit from positive collaboration.

Post comments or recommendations here or email comments or recommendations to me at denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com …no spam please!

Have a super day!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

Leave a comment

Filed under Educational Toys, Educational Toys and Online Stores, Educational Websites and Resources, Sharing the Good

Recommended Level Books with Some of our Favorite Series for Pre-K to Grade 8

Working in education for many years and being an ELA teacher, I love to read, recommend and talk books with students of all ages.  I have compiled a list of books based on what students say they are reading as we go into schools, and some of my personal favorites that I have utilized in the classroom or read at home.  Unlock the Teacher loves to share the good in education, so we would love to know some of your favorite reads too.

Given that the holidays are just around the corner, please share your favorite books with us and we will post it here as we compile a Christmas Must Have List for Readers of All Ages.  Send us your thoughts here, on our Facebook Page, or on Twitter @unlockteacher.

PreK

“Phonics Friends” eBook¬†by Denise Ball, Trisha Vaughn and Sue Atwell @ Unlock the Teacher

“Mrs. Bindergarten gets Ready for Kindergarten” by Joseph Slate

“Here we go Around the Mulberry Bush” by Will Hillenbrand

The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn

“Dragon’s Alphabet Soup~Learn the ABC’s” an eBook by Rachel and Michael Yu

1st Grade

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” an eBook¬†¬†by Oceanhouse Media

Frog and Toad are Friends” by Arnold Lobel in paper or eBook format

“Biscuit” Series by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

“Katie’s Farm Adventures” an eBook by Denise Ball,¬†Trisha Vaughn, Sue Atwell @¬†Unlock the Teacher

“Katie’s Exploring Adventure” an eBook written and illustrated by OLQM 1st Graders

“Katie’s Horse Adventure” an eBook written and illustrated by OLQM 1st graders

“Fox and Friends” Series by Edward Marshall

“Frog and Toad” Series¬† (My daughter loved this series.)

2nd Grade

“Biscuit” Series by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

“Little Critter” Series by Mercer Mayer

“Dragon” Series by Dav Pilkey

“Henry and Mudge” Series by Cynthia Rylant

Robert Munsch Books

Keven Henkes Books

“Nate the Great” Series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (My son loved this series.)

3rd/4th Grade

“Horrible Harry” Series by Suzie Kline

“Judy Moody” Series by Megan McDonald

“Cam Jansen” Series by David Adler

“Jigsaw Jones Mystery” Series by James Prellar

“Magic Tree House” Series by Mary Pope Osborn (paperback and eBook form) *Great to enhance imagination

“Junie B. Jones” Series by Barbara Park *Funny and good vocabulary builder

“Stink” Series by Megan McDonald

“Franny K. Stein” Series by Jim Benton

Matt Christopher Books

“Rainbow Magic” Series by Daisey Meadows

“The Adventures of the Beailey¬†School Kids” Books by Debbie Dadey¬†and Mearcia¬†Thorton Jones

“Flat Stanley” Series by Jeff Brown

“Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle” Series by Betty MacDonald

“Pony Pals” Series by Jeanne Betancourt

“My Weird School” and “My Weird Daze” Series by Dan Gutman

“Nancy Drew” and “Clue Crew” by Carolyn Keene

“A to Z Mystery” Series by Ron Roy

“Black Lagoon Adventures” Series by Mike Thaler

“Katie Kazoo Switcheroo” Series by Nancy Krulik

“Amber Brown” Series by Paula Danzinger

“The Time Warp Trio” Series by Jan Scieszka

“Spring into Art and Poetry” an eBook and Poetry Unit by Denise Ball, Trisha Vaughn, Sue Atwell @ Unlock the Teacher

“Geronimo Stilton” Series

“Encyclopedia Brown” Series by Donald Sobol

“Mysteries of the Beach” an eBook by Denise Ball, Trisha Vaughn, Sue Atwell at Unlock the Teacher

“Boxcar Children” Series by Gertrude Warner

“Clementine” Series by Sara Pennypacker

“Animal Ark” Series by Ben Baglio

“Secrets of Droon” Series by Tony Abbott

“Wayside School” Series by Louis Sachar

5th/6th

“The Indian in the Cupboard” Series by Lynn Banks

“Fudge” Series by Judy Blume

E.B.White Books

“Michigan and American Chillers” by Jonathan Rand

Ronald Dahl Books

Beverly Cleary Books

“Little House” Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Eleanor Estes Books

A Series of Unfortunate Events” Series by Lemony Snicket

“Harry Potter” Series by J.K. Rowling in eBook or Paper Format

“The Ranger’s Apprentice” Series *One of my favorite series!

Louis Lowry Books

7th/8th

“Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls

“Winning Season” Series by Rich Wallace

The Adventures of Wishbone” Series by Nancy Butcher

“Harry Potter” Series by JK Rowling

“The Ranger’s Apprentice” Series *One of my all time favorite series!

Louis Lowry Books

Here are a few good websites for additional information on leveled readers:

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

Leave a comment

Filed under Curriculum Resources, Educational Websites and Resources, Leveled Reading Lists, Recommended Books for Ages 8-15, Recommended Books to Read, to Learn, to Inspire

Patriotic Lesson Plans for the Classroom or Home School Parent

In order for our students and children to learn pride in our country, then we must model the expected behavior.  I have selected a few sites that I find informative and useful when teaching American History to students k-12.  If you have a great resource that you utilize in your classroom, please share.  It is in the collaborative process that we will succeed!

Patriotic Symbols

http://www.history.ctaponline.org/center/hsscm/index.cfm?Page_Key=1386

Developed by Dr. Priscilla Porter in conjunction with Carol Ann Fullam, Bellflower Unified School District; Lynne Lords, Los Angeles Unified School District; Carrie Tokunaga, Culver City Unified School District; Elisa Field, El Rancho Unified School District; and, Sharon Beatty, Compton Unified School District under the auspices of the Center for History-Social Science Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills

American Government

From the 13 Colonies to Constitution Amendments

http://www.mrdonn.org/government.html

F-R-E-E Power Point Presentations in American History (I love this site!)

http://americanhistory.mrdonn.org/powerpoints.html

Free Video Clips to Accompany Your Great Lessons

http://videoclips.mrdonn.org/index.html

Lesson Planet Lessons

http://www.lessonplanet.com/search?keywords=patriotism&media=lesson

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

www.unlocktheteacher.com

denise@unlocktheteacher.com

Facebook: Unlock the Teacher

Twitter: unlockteacher

Leave a comment

Filed under Best Practices from Awesome Educators, Curriculum Resources, Educational Websites and Resources, Patriotic Lesson Plans on US History

Recommended Books for Avid Readers, Boys Ages 8-12 with Some Great Author Websites

After having a wonderful conversation with a few parents last night, I thought I would put down some thoughts to share.

I think we in education, often forget that we have been given amazing gifts in our collegial studies and in the classroom that many parents would love to have.¬† Personally, this past week with sixty-two family members in town for a celebration, many with whom I ever see, asked many questions on¬†the “Academic Chart” on the refrigerator and how did I know just what Nathaniel and Claire needed to work on at ages 6 and 9?¬† How did Unlock the Teacher come up with the ideas for our academic eBooks, why those given topics?¬†Can I send them drafts of our first in the series of books being written with Dr. Lick (Director of Family Medicine at Beaumont Hospital) and Dr. Letscher (UDM Professor) and¬†what languages are we¬†planning on publishing them in?¬†¬†¬†Does phonics need special attention with young school children etc.

Interestingly enough, these are similar questions I found when conducting the Needs Assessment for our Unlock the Teacher book.¬† Many of the parents in our focus groups had similar questions…a thirst if I may, for knowledge that would allow them to better help their children, identify their child’s learning styles and begin to provide them tools for life-long learning.¬† Parents who wanted to become planters of knowledge seeds.

So this week, on the sidelines of the freshman football field, I have had similar conversations as the ones mentioned, but on the topic of books.  If you are a parent or teacher of boys who reads often, then hopefully these book recommendations will help. (Example: my 9-year-old son reads approximately 30 minutes when he wakes and an hour before bed and sometimes for a time during the day to calm his spirit.  He reads through 2-3 300-400 page books a week.  This has been his pattern of behavior since the beginning of 3rd grade and lasted through the school year and has increased this summer.)  Talking to various parents, this is common for a few boys and parents are desperately seeking reading material that will engage their avid readers minds, without filling it with inappropriate images.  This can be tricky, when you have 8-10 year olds reading at a grade 9 and above, where many book written for that given age has some sort of sexual undertones.  A subject undertone that I would rather my 9-year-old not to read about yet.

Given all this, and the wonderful dialogue I had with these parents and seeking out additional recommendations from some of my teacher colleagues, here is a brief list of recommended books sans inappropriate material:

The Rangers Apprentice Series Books 1-10 by John Flannagan (Note: A great website  for young boys with free games etc.)

The Percy Jackson Series and Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Note: A great website for Narnia games online.)

The Youngest Templar Books 1-3 by Michael P. Spradlin

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (My son loved this, a great mystery.)

The 39 Clues Series by Rick Riordan (Note: Great free online games at this site.)

The Mysterious Benedict Society  by Trenton Lee Stewart (Note: Fun website!)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

No Talking by Andrew Clements

Tom Sawyer Companion Library by Samuel Clemens (Note: Many teachable moments when reading this with child.)

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

The Hardy Boys Series by Franklin w. Dixon

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

These books are well written and sure to engage the avid reader (boy or girl really).  I have read all these books before my son, so we could discuss and I could utilize them to further his learning.  However, I also had available many if not most of these books in my classroom over the years as well.  I hope this helps, and these books are found to engage and activate the imagination for your young reader.

I would love to hear your suggestions and post them here on our blog…knowledge is meant to be shared no hoarded!

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

Leave a comment

Filed under Curriculum Resources, Educational Websites and Resources, Educational Websites that are FREE, Recommended Books for Ages 8-15

Zondervan…A Great Educational Site for all Stakeholders in the Life of a Child

As educators we are always looking for good material and strategies to share that will help our parents (the first responders) and teachers be more effective in the life of a child.  Each child is special and unique, so we try to find educational tools to address all learning styles.

This morning, I stumbled upon a site/company that I had forgotten about.¬† I utilized some of Zondervan‘s products in the classroom many moons ago and somehow I forgot how positive some¬†of their products were for students of all ages.

Zondervan¬†has company values that promote positive character development…refreshing!¬†At Unlock the teacher, we are all about promoting the good…good in ourselves and others; we love this list of values that Zondervan promotes.

OUR VALUES

Integrity ‚ÄĒ We maintain high ethical and moral standards in speech and in personal and professional conduct.

Initiative ‚ÄĒ We are willing and empowered to proactively contribute to the success of the company, its customers, and other employees.

Excellence ‚ÄĒ We give our personal best.

Innovation ‚ÄĒ We seek out new possibilities in every area and embrace ground-breaking change that adds value.

Respect ‚ÄĒ We have as much consideration for the personal and professional worth and dignity of others as we do for ourselves.

Accountability ‚ÄĒ We are responsible for our own actions and answerable to others.

At a time where children, parents and teachers are all trying to find words of inspiration, I am thrilled to offer our readers a look at Zondervan.¬† If you are like me and new them in the early 90’s, I encourage all stakeholders in the life of a child to take a moment and revisit this company. Zondervan offers book for all ages…us adults too ūüôā

My Recommendations

Little People age 6 and under

Cecil the Lost Sheep  good message and sure to engage the young learner/emerging reader

Teens

All books by C.S. Lewis…my students loved his work!

Starlighter by Bryan Davis

Girls~ The Katy Lambright Series

Parents

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (I read this and loved it, life changing and quite inspiring!)

Teachers

I just recommend you visit site and explore!  Zonderkids~Inspiring Young Lives

I am a firm believer that as educators we need to speak the language of the 21st century in order to be effective in our craft.¬† This is a great site to explore eBooks (you know we are huge fans of eBooks here at Unlock the Teacher) and educational apps.¬† Hope you visit this positive company’s site and comment on what you think of recommendation(s).

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

PS Thank you for such a positive response to our curriculum workshops…over 400 views in three days!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Achievement Gap Blogs, Blogs that Inspire Us, Curriculum Resources, Educational Apps for Supervisors, Educational Websites and Resources, Educational Websites that are FREE, Favorite Sites

“Reading with Max”…A Great Reminder that we all Have Gifts and Talents to Share

We love to support local businesses and schools that promote the good in education.  Reading with Max  has been featured on our blog before, but we want to share with you a wonderful event being planned to promote reading this summer:

Read With Max Reading and Fundraising Event Set for August 10th, 2011

Max is an award winning children book author who is dedicated to helping children manage similar experiences in their lives. Maximus, a.k.a “Max,” is an
English Labrador who shares stories about his real life experiences from his point of view so children can relate too. You can purchase Max’s newest books,
music, ask him questions, enter his contests, ask him for his paw-o-graph, shop, or share your own adventures at his website www.readwithmax.com

Max has teamed up with sharing knowledge about LeaderDogs for the Blind.  We applaud his efforts to utilize his gifts and talents for the betterment of many.  This is a wonderful example for our children, our future.  Together we can make a difference if we ALL choose to utilize our unique gifts and talents for the good of us all.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

 

http://readwithmax.blogspot.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs that Inspire Us, Business We Support, Sponsor or Develop Curriculum For, Educational Websites and Resources, Promoting Literacy

From Basic Facts to Fractions…Great Online Learning Math Games for All Learning Styles

BASIC FACTS
A+Math

Online flashcards and games for math practice.

Cool Math Games
Fun math games.

Funbrain.com-Math Baseball

Fun game teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and elementary algebra.

Math Fact Cafe-Flashcards

Online flashcards for the elementary grades.  *** I really like this one!

Math Magician Games

More online flashcards, but in a timed setting and a progress report can be printed when finished.

Factor Game

Play this online version of the “Factor Captor” game in 5th Grade Everyday Mathematics.

F-R-A-C-T-I-O-N-S

AAA Math 

Covers all fraction topics.  NOTE:  I think this is a fabulous site for scaffolding the learning process for all things fractions!

FUNBRAIN-Fresh Baked Fractions

A game for simplifying fractions.

Learning Planet.com-Fraction Frenzy

Use a game to practice matching equivalent fractions.

Visual Fractions

Practice identifying fractions and operating with fractions.¬† **This is my learning style ūüôā

These are some great math sites I found while conducting research this morning.  The fractions sites are SO good, that I had to share.  I hope these sight help make the learning process fun for your math learner!

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise ūüôā

2 Comments

Filed under Educational Websites and Resources, Educational Websites that are FREE, Learning is Fun Lessons/Activities, Student or Industry

A Participant from One of Our ePublishing Workshops is Publishing Her First eBook at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com

Melanie Osborn participated in one of our “ePublishing Workshops” this past month, and we are so thrilled for her that she has collated some of her inspiring poetry and is publishing it at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com

"Weekly Inspirational Thoughts" by Melanie Osborn

We find her work to be moving and inspiring. Unlock the Teacher LLC team has no doubt that she will take her writing to amazing levels and we feel honored that she wanted to share her success with us.

Please visit her blog at www.melanieosbornwriter.wordpress.com and on Twitter: @me_writes

Please help us welcome her to the world of writing…

We love to promote the good and her message is nothing but good.

We wish her many blessings and may we follow her example and continue to try to maximize our potential,

Denise, Trisha and Sue

The Unlock the Teacher LLC Team

1 Comment

Filed under Blogs that Inspire Us, Educational Websites and Resources, ePublishing Workshops, Poetry We Love