There are an abundance of companies trying to “sell” you technology in your classroom, but there are a LOT of free websites out there! Here is just a short list of some that I have used with both my kids at home and my kids at school. I would love to hear what YOU use!
1. Khan Academy–While this site is geared towards older kids, I have found it appropriate for at least third grade and up, possibly second grade even. They have recently updated their site so students can now take a short (8 question) pre-test to assess their abilities. Then, the program recommends topics for the student to work through on his/her own. There are practice questions and the best part (in my opinion) is that if they get “stuck”, there is a hint AND a video to show them an example problem being solved. I could see this being used for RTI so one teacher could work with many students on different topics at one time. After taking the pretest, the teacher could group students with like results and work with a small group while the others work through some problems on their own. As the “coach” of the students, you get reports and even weekly emails showing their progress. And, it is all FREE! How do you (or how would you) use it in your class?
2. XtraMath–Are your students struggling with their basic facts? This program, created by a school volunteer, is just what you need! Again, the program will pre-test your students to see what they already know and then it creates a “plan” for them to work on. Students must answer correctly and quickly to prove they really know the facts. They can see instant feedback on how they are doing and you can see progress reports that show what facts they know and how long they have been practicing. They can practice at home as well! Better than flashcards, right!? Do you think your kids would benefit from this?
3. SpellingCity–Many of you might already know about Spelling City. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this website, it is a place that you or your students can type the spelling words you are working on and then use those words to play games. They also have games for vocabulary words, so the kids would have to know the meanings of the words as well as the spelling! Did you know that they also have games for other things, such as Parts of Speech, Figurative Language, and even Syllables? Don’t have enough computers for all of your students? No problem! You can also print activities from this site! While there is a premium membership available for an additional charge, many of the activities and games are FREE!
4. Read Theory– There are not very many Reading websites, especially for grades above first grade. This one is for ALL levels and it is FREE!! Students practice their reading comprehension with instant feedback. They can also participate in writing contests using the skills they have learned. Students can also earn achievements the more they participate! And, of course, the teacher can get reports on each student!
5. ReadWriteThink— This website is a little different than the ones above. While students can definitely use this interactive activities on their own, they will most likely use them as a product during a lesson. There is a wide variety of tools on this website! Kids can complete word sorts, make their own comic, organize their research, or write a poem. For the teacher, there is also lesson plans, printables, and professional development (articles to read AND free webinars).
Now it is your turn….what websites do you love to use with your kids? How do you use them? I can’t wait to hear your ideas!