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Websites of the Week
Recommendations from ictopus members.

If you have a site to recommend please get in touch through the 'contact us' button.


Recommendations from 2010
27/11/10 Story Starts
Here at ictopus we love Story Starts and we plan to publish an article about it in SGP in the spring. It is a great way for teachers to free the muse in their pupils and if it inspires more children to write like Jeremy Hodge (see Your Stories at Story Starts) it could well be instrumental in developing the next JK Rowling!

7/9/10 – Free clipart – a recommedation from Janice Staines
This free clipart site is worth a look.
Free Clip Art by Phillip Martin

20/3/2010 – Coventry Learning Grid – a recommendation from Dee Chamberlain
Coventry Learning Grid has lots of resources.
Haven't looked at them all but used the bar charts ITP in class ... very good.
One of the bar charts has an incorrect title when the question is clicked on but still think it is worth a look...
As ever – just proceed with caution...

16/3/10 – Copse and Robbers – a recommendation from Heather Govier
A lovely detective investigation with lots to learn about woodland creatures is available amongst the games on the ARKive Education website. The body of a pigeon has been found in the wood. Collect the clues to work out who the killer is. This is a great activity for home or school.

7/2/10 – Stickman – a recommedation from Dee Chamberlain
Was interested to read the article in SGP80 about using pivot stickman in class. You might be interested in stickman

I find it easier to use, and it offers a number of (pre-defined) different figures and backgrounds. Also its easy to create backgrounds in Paint and import them.

Recommendations from 2009
15/11/09 WOTW from Margarita R. Ruiz, Mexico
Reading this week's SGP article about using email with primary students, I decided to participate telling you about another email program that is thought to give our students a safety environment to work with. It is gaggle, you can find more about it at www.gaggle.net, they have a free version.
I have used it with my students with very good results.

7/11/09 A Top Tip from Pauline Marsh - Christmas Calendars
Working with a Y3/4 class, I took in a range of wigs, feather boas and hats, along with a mirror. The children went into the corridor in twos and threes so they were hidden from the rest of the class (with either me or a TA popping out to keep an eye on them). Each child dressed up in whatever they chose, with wigs proving particularly popular!! Another child took up to four close up portrait photos of them. We discussed taking a good clear close up photo. These were then edited by the photographed child who used picassa to edit, crop etc and select one photo to print out. This was mounted on card and a calendar tag added. There was a lot of laughter when viewing the finished calendars and parents were eager to buy these at our Autumn Fayre.

12/10/09
RED>18/10/09
I have just been introduced to Snippy by my daughter. Lots of possibilities as its so simple to use. It needs to be run each time you switch on but then sits on f11. Pastes into Office/Textease/ Notebook. Thought you might like to try it if you haven't seen it before.

Thanks to Margaret Watson for this WOTW.

National Archives
Brilliant for dramatic conventions in literacy and also history.

5/10/09
Percentages
This is an excellent resource for practice in calculating percentages. If the children get the answers correct, the game will move them on allowing them to find increasingly more complex percentages. Get them wrong and the game will provide more practice at that level.

Thanks to Dee Chamberlain for both of these WOTWs.

SGP68 Picnik - thanks to Simon Haughton

This site lets you edit photos in your web browser. All you have to do is load the picture and then you can manipulate it by adding lots of different effects - such as: alter the brightness/contrast, change the colour/tint, rotate the picture or put a fancy border around the edge. The interface is really easy to use and once you’ve done the edit you can either print your picture or save it onto your computer. Although there is an option to pay to get extra features, the majority of the tools are free and since the program is online it can be accessed from both school and home with no fiddly installation process.

SGP68 Wordie - thanks to Dee Chamberlain

Wordle is a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide.
Give it a try - you will love it! It will get children writing!

SGP70 Magic Gopher - thanks to Fiona Sanderson

Here is a bit of fun and a challenge! Not by a bunny but a gopher!
Can any of your children work out how it is done?
(Get in touch via the contact us button on the ictopus website if your children can tell us - or you would like us to tell you!)

SGP72 Primary School Safe Search - thanks to Lydia Pitkethly

Primary School Safe Search is not just a Google search page. It allows Primary teachers and children to search the internet and filters out any inappropriate material while prioritising educational websites. In school internet use safety is a concern and it is easy to be misled when it comes to searching the web. For instance, if a child were to type the word ‘firemen’ into an unfiltered search engine then the results would almost definitely include some content that you would not want children to see. However when using Primary School Safe Search you are presented with results that are safe for viewing with children and are mostly from educational sites. Another great feature is that it is free from advertising and those annoying pop-ups that have no relevance to what you are searching for.
The page also provides a bank of valuable links. Teachers will find really useful websites that help make planning and finding resources easier. Pupils will find links to some fantastic educational websites designed for children. What’s great is that everything is together in one place. If you make Primary Safe Search your homepage, it is easy to navigate from the main page to a web link in the resource bank. This saves precious time, allowing teachers to be more productive rather than wasting time searching through web pages they don’t really want. The company that provides this wonderful resource is Primary Technology, an ICT company specialising in the primary sector and therefore aware of many of the websites teachers and children like to use. However, if they don’t have a link to your favourite website you can email them and they will happily add it to the growing list of links.

SGP73 Primary Resources - thanks to Kate Gregson

I'm sure most people will be aware of this site, full of 100s of great resources (and some not so great) but worth a visit even if it's just for Moonmaths!

SGP74 Great Plant Hunt - thanks to Karen Laggan

This has many excellent resources, including video clips. If you are teaching anything about plants this should be your first port of call. There is a teacher's area and resources are grouped into year groups. There is also a kids’ area where children enter via their year group. Enjoy!

SGP76 Voices from history - thanks to Dee Chamberlain

Two children have recorded phone calls 'from history' giving first-hand accounts of life in Britain in days gone by; a child in the 1960s whose parents emigrated to Britain from Jamaica, and another calling from the 1950s to talk about the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

SGP76 Brenden is teaching - thanks to Mary Farmer

Brenden is Teaching has a number of good generators, such as the one for spelling lists, making name labels as well as loop cards.

SGP77 Google - thanks to Fiona Sanderson

OK so everyone knows about Google images - but we have Google images blocked in school, which is a shame as there are many good pictures. A high school student told me to put 'Google nr' in the Google search box, and lo and behold it bypasses the block!

You log into Google, then type Google nr in the box. This opens up a new Google search page somewhere else - Nr wherever that is. At the top of that page is ‘images’ in the Google menu, so fill in your search and click on images. I tried it at school where we have a block, and it works. Once the technicians get wind of it I'm sure it will be blocked.

Another good site for photographs is freefoto (and don’t forget the Pictopus gallery).

SGP59 Customized Google Search Engine - thanks to Philip Griffin

Google has now established itself as probably the most popular search engine. However did you know that it is possible to customize Google for your own purposes? This facility is not officially available in the UK as yet, so is not visible when you click on more to see the entire range of Google products. Instead, type in http://www.google.com/coop

If you do not already have a Google account the first step is to create one - you could create an account for your school (school@googlemail is so much easier than name@school.authority.sch.uk).

Once you reach the search engine creation page there are several options that can be chosen. The ones that are appealing to us teachers are the ability to limit the search to a particular list of sites and the ability to remove the adverts from the search results page. Google without adverts looks rather strange! When you have finished adding sites to the Google Search and tested your new search engine it is possible to copy and paste the code into a web page, for instance a page on a Learning Platform.

SGP61 eLanguages - thanks to Pat McLean

Did you know that ictopus is linked from the elanguages website?

SGP63 Dawn's typing machine - thanks to Neil Sands

I wrote Dawn's Typing Machine to channel my two-year-old daughter's fascination with my computer in an educational direction. It allows you to press buttons, and see the results very clearly on the screen.

The latest version has two modes - one for single letters, and one for words. In letters mode, you simply press a button, and up it comes, in a huge clear font, on the screen. It doesn't repeat if the key is held down. If you press another key, the new character comes up in place of the first.

In words mode, you can type whole words instead of individual letters. The font is smaller so you can get about 8-10 letters across the screen. To start a new word, press the return key.

There's a small selection of fonts available, chosen for being clear and uncluttered. If your computer has more than one of them available, it'll offer you a choice.

It's a free download from the above website. Full instructions are there. It runs in Java, available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux and others.

Recommendatons from 2008
SGP38 Topic Box - thanks to Karen Laggan

This is a great website for all subjects. It's particularly good for starters or plenaries. I really like how each subject is broken down into the different areas, which makes finding resources much quicker. Have fun!

SGP39 Read-Write-Think - thanks to Lin Tyler

Read-Write-Think offers a collection of online materials to support literacy learning in the primary classroom. The interactive tools can be used to supplement a variety of lessons and provide an opportunity for children to use technology while developing literacy skills. I particularly liked (and so did the children) the character trading cards that we used as a story planner. However there is so much more!

SGP40 Dipity - thanks to John Sutton

This is a fantastic online timeline creator.

SGP41 Writing Fun - thanks to Lesley Fraser

I recommend the writing fun website for literacy genres. It is excellent and I share it frequently with pupils.

SGP41 Supermathsworld - thanks to Dee Chamberlain

Excellent site for KS2 maths. Lots of content.

SGP42 Ziggity Zoom - thanks to Kristin Fitch

Not strictly speaking a WOTW but the lead article in SGP42 introduced this rich collection of resources.

SGP44 ComputerKiddos

This wiki, run by Kelley DeBoer, was featured in SGP30 but is worth another mention as it is a rich mine of resources. Scroll down to the Teachers’ Tools with links to teaching resources, browser based tools, open source software and more. Another section is called Interactive Lessons - media-rich lesson activities for children from kindergarten to 8th grade, which include assignments, video clips and links to the on-line support required to complete the piece of work.

SGP45 Learning Clip - thanks to Carol Gardner and Mary Farmer who both separately suggested this WOTW.

I have just stumbled on a wonderful free resource for the new numeracy strategy for years 3 & 4 and have just started using it. Some of the games are best suited to my lower ability children while others definitely stretch even the quickest. I will certainly continue to use it. The video introduction and plenary keep the children listening to the instructions and as for the games themselves, the children don't want to go out to play. CG

I would like to recommend what I think is a fabulous maths website called Learning Clip It is tied to the New Framework for Maths and I think has been created by a school teacher. The visual element of it makes learning new concepts not only easier but fun as well for my class of EBD children. I cannot recommend it highly enough. MF

SGP47 Headline History - thanks to Simon Haughton

This site contains virtual newspapers all aimed at children that report on real historical events in British history. You can choose to read articles about: the Roman times, the Tudor times, the Victorian times or World War Two.

Each era’s newspaper comprises of six editions, focusing on a different aspect of daily life – and since you are asked to input the region where you live, many of the stories shown are related to your local area. For the lead story in each paper you can also choose to watch videos of actors describing their account or reaction to the story being covered – brilliant for discussing the different attitudes and viewpoints people have in history.

The main Headline History website appears to have gone. We are trying to find out where. However, the link above will take you to the archive version of the site which will work in 'text only' version (see the link at the bottom of the front page). You might also like to look at Primary History - a fantastic offering from the BBC.

SGP49 Poisson Rouge - thanks to Derek Archer

Poisson Rouge is a web site that I saw mentioned in the NUT magazine. I've just visited it and I would like to recommend it especially for Early Years.

SGP49 Phonics Play - sent in by an anonymous reader

I recommend Phonics Play. It has activities and resources to support all phases of Letters and Sounds learning. I particularly like using the interactive games on the IWB with my class.

RED>SGP28 Word Searches from Flickr

This is an interesting little utility here that generates word search puzzles from words used as photographic tags in Flickr. You can either specify a topic – for example, ‘animals’ - or you can make a puzzle using your own photos by specifying your Flickr ID. Each puzzle has the photographs arranged around the perimeter and a word tag for each photo embedded in the wordsearch. Clicking on the ‘show hints’ button shows all the words to be found under their linked pictures.

SGP29 Learnenglish - thanks to Karen Stanton

This website offers support for teaching English as an Additional Language and is a link from the British Council website, therefore very reliable. We have used this site in Year 2 and children enjoy the easy-to-learn, sing-along songs. We have particularly found the Sounds Fun page useful with EAL children. There are also sections for parents and teachers.

SGP31 Build Your Wild Self - thanks to Kelley DeBoer

I used this site with my Kindergarten (aged 5) after reading ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. We watched the You Tube Wild Things video and had a wild rumpus in front of the projector .They loved using all the animal parts to build the mixed up animals. There is an interactive lesson on my wiki under Interactive Lessons - Where the Wild Things Are.

SGP32 Educated Fish - thanks to Geoff Turrell

Not strictly speaking a WOTW but SGP32 was devoted to introducing this rich collection of resources.

SGP33 Scratch

Again not really a WOTW - but a superb free resource - see Ingrid Hyde's article in SGP31 and Simon Haughton's article in SGP33 for details.

SGP34 Parachute and Tudor Joust - thanks to Amy Tuson a pupil at Radstock Primary School

Parachute is an enjoyable game where you have to create a parachute that will go the right speed and distance. This is a creative and unusual game and I really enjoyed playing it.

Tudor Joust is a very interesting game where you have lots of decisions to make. These include deciding shields, armour, horse and the place you will aim for to knock your opponent off the horse. The game is easy to use and very colourful and well designed.

SGP35 tutpup - thanks to Doug Dickinson, our newsblog editor for this WOTW. It was first published as a news item on May 31st.

Tutpup is a set of interactive tests of basic skills. It currently has four sections: maths; maths mix; tables and spelling and each section operates at a variety of levels. You appear to be able to play against other people (children) across the world. It is well worth reading the ‘help for parents’ section as the site builders seem to have tried very hard to make sure that the site is secure for young users.

Tutpup appear to be currently facing a shortage of available user name combinations so it is not possible to sign up as a new teacher user. You can however, see and use all the activities without signing up by playing as a guest.

SGP37 Del.icio.us - thanks to Steph Blackmore

Del.icio.us is a website where you save and organise your favourites online and access them at home, school or on any computer in the world connected to the web. Even when you get new computers you still have your bookmarks!

It's a social book-marking area where you can share websites with staff in school and find websites used by other Del.icio.us users - they've already done the work of finding an interesting website for you! Look at the popular sites too and you soon get to know some users within the key stage that you teach in.

The saved websites can be categorised and tagged by topics. I use it mainly for collecting Early Years resources and I refine my searching for quicker findings. A tip - when collecting tags use keywords, then save and sort into bundles as soon as possible to avoid getting overloaded with tags making them harder to find.

I have only recently found this website and I am sure there are lots more ways you can use Del.icio.us. So explore and enjoy! Good tagging!
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