Best new instructional resources on the internet

Try a little R&R—reading and ‘riting—at “”

Recognizing the need for a safe and interactive learning environment for children, is among the first sites of its kind to blend interactive multimedia with reading and writing. The site’s mission is to provide high-quality content to children, educators, and parents that will enhance the reading and writing experience of children. weRead believes that children learn best when involved with fun, interactive activities. The “ePoems” section of the site allows students to created their own poetic works of art by giving them a glossary of poetic terms; animated poetry lessons; examples of poetic forms, such as haikus, ballads, and cinquains; and a “write your own masterpiece” feature. “eStories” encourages involved reading through the presentation of animated, interactive, and colorful online stories, such as “The Hare and the Elephant,” “The Field Trip,” and “A Colorful Journey.” The “eColoring” portion of the site even allows kids to download original pictures in outline form to color at their leisure. Finally, teachers will appreciate the “eSafeSurfing” section, which helps even the youngest students understand the hazards of web surfing and the measures they can take to remain safe while using the internet.

Extra, extra: “Children’s Express” is making headlines all over

How do you get kids to read the news and become involved in current events? Have them read news created by and for kids, of course! Created in 1975, Children’s Express (CE) is an international news service reported and edited by kids ages eight to 18 for adult print, broadcast, and online media. A nonprofit journalism and leadership organization, CE’s mission is to give children a significant voice in the world. CE’s worldwide headquarters in Washington, D.C., oversees bureaus in New York, D.C., and Marquette, Mich. CE also operates four offices in the United Kingdom, and the organization plans to expand to Japan, Germany, South Africa, and Vietnam. Yahoo, Lycos, Net Magazine, and the American Library Association all have recognized the CE News web site as an outstanding educational site. The site’s young journalists address almost every topic under the sun, from arts and entertainment, to crime and violence, to education. Other topics include family issues, health, technology, the internet, money, poverty, politics, race and class issues, religion, science, sexuality, and world affairs. The student journalists even tackle controversial issues, from the Elian Gonzalez saga, to the presidential election, to the ethicality of cloning. This is, perhaps, the single best source for student reporting anywhere on the web—and a must-read for all would-be journalists, civics instructors, and many others.

Take a healthy look at this wellness site for kids is a terrific health resource sponsored by the Nemours Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to children’s health and the largest physician practice delivering subspecialty pediatric care in the United States. Designed with kids in mind, the site provides hundreds of useful articles divided into separate sections for kids and teens and addressing subjects such as “Smoking Stinks,” “Taking Care of Your Skin,” “About What Vitamins and Minerals Do,” and “Why Exercise is Cool.” The “Dealing with Feelings” section of the site answers questions on topics such as “Am I Too Fat or Too Thin?,” “Dealing with Bullies,” “Welcoming a New Baby into Your Family,” and “When Somebody Dies.” In “Everyday Injuries and Illnesses,” users can find articles such as “Hey! A Tick Bit Me!” and “What is Puke?” Other sections, which include “My Body,” “Growing Up,” “Kids Talk,” “The Game Closet,” and “Word! A Glossary of Medical Terms,” all contribute to make this site a top-notch resource for students, school nurses, and health teachers who want to make health and wellness easy for kids to comprehend.

Lift the fog from meteorology with “Dan’s Wild Wild Weather”

Did you know that El Nino is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific, having important consequences for weather around the globe? Did you know that in an average year, lightning kills and injures more people than hurricanes or tornadoes? Or that more tornadoes occur in the United States than any other place in the world? All these facts and a thousand more are available at Dan’s Wild Wild Weather Page, an interactive weather site for kids created by Dan Satterfield, chief meteorologist for WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Ala. Satterfield addresses these topics as well as temperature, humidity, wind, clouds, pressure, climate, precipitation, satellites, and radar, to name a few. Each subject is illustrated with photos, diagrams, charts, and colorful depictions of the many types of weather that exist on our planet. The site also provides teachers with their own page for finding information, including tutorials on “How Weather Works,” “Weather Units,” “Making a Weather Station,” and other free resources.

“Cool Science for Curious Kids” will satisfy students’ interests

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute invites curious kids to explore biology on its Cool Science for Curious Kids, a site dedicated to encouraging exploration of the natural world and the biological processes it contains. The “One Inch Square Project” gives young scientists a template to cut out that encourages “looking closely without a microscope.” Kids are encouraged to examine something interesting—like a tree trunk, a leaf, or some soil—through the one-inch square, draw a picture of what the square contains, and identify and describe each thing they see. The “Plant Parts Salad” activity allows young botanists to identify the different parts of each vegetable plant they put into their “virtual salad.” For example, kids are asked to determine that a tomato is a type of fruit, and broccoli is a type of flower. Other do-it-yourself science projects answer questions such as “Where do butterflies come from,” “What are the tiny particles in the air,” and “How do I classify critters?” Fun and interactive!

“Witchcraft in Salem Village” eliminates the ‘toil and trouble’ for history teachers html

The University of Virginia’s “Salem Witchcraft Papers: Transcription & Archival Project” introduces the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and presents information on other aspects of the history of Danvers (formerly Salem Village), Massachusetts. The web site features rare documents—including the complete 1692 Salem Witchcraft Papers—and narratives of witchcraft cases. Search features allow kids to browse through rare documents, search through rare books containing important information on the witch trials, and view actual historical maps of Salem Village at the time of the notorious events. The “Ask the Archivist” portion of the site features Q&A with historian Richard Trask, a leading authority on the Salem witch hunt. He serves as town archivist for the town of Danvers, where he is custodian of all early town records, the Brehaut Witchcraft Collection, and tens of thousands of manuscripts. For instance, did you know that in 1992, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a resolution acknowledging the good names of those condemned witches of 1692 who had not been exonerated previously? Or that more than 40 people in 1692 did, in fact, confess to being witches, in some instances accusing others as well? These historical facts and many more can be found at this site.


Research and management resources for the K-12 decision maker

Ditch those first-year jitters with “Survival Guide for New Teachers”

Entering a classroom for the first time can be as challenging as any adventure on earth, and many first-time teachers need all the help, encouragement, and insider advice they can get. This site should be called “What a First-Year Teacher Really Needs.” The Survival Guide for New Teachers, produced by the U.S. Department of Education, is not a portal with links to other sites, but rather a multi-chaptered essay on the ins and outs of handling your first classroom. The site starts with a “Message to New Teachers” and presents segments entitled “Working with Veteran Teachers,” complete with tips on best practices and taking advice gracefully, and “Working with Parents,” featuring ways to encourage parental involvement. “Working with Principals” discusses professional development and disciplining issues, and “Working with College and University Education Professors” gives advice on how to form successful partnerships with higher-education institutions. The whole online essay is available in downloadable PDF format and provides a quick read on many topics critical to having a happy and successful new school year.

“Creative Classroom Online” gives educators food for thought

Creative Classroom—a national print publication featuring interesting and entertaining articles for teachers and administrators—also features an online magazine. This colorfully illustrated site is packed with book and technology reviews, classroom activities, and ideas from colleagues, as well as opportunities to get freebies, enter contests, and apply for grants. In the “Tech for Learning” section, the magazine presents information on new software, sites to visit, technology time-savers, and a Q & A session with leading experts. In “Management Musts,” educators are a taught the best methods for managing behavior problems and motivating students. The “Tough to Teach” chapter features a special article on the critical first six weeks of school. In “A+ Activities,” teachers can find interesting lesson plans for several topics and read a special feature story on “Teacher Trade Secrets.” This site, updated bimonthly, was created to keep educators current and inspired.

“” promotes safe and valuable internet use by children is the official site of UNESCO’s “Innocence in Danger” U.S. National Action Committee. The mission of WiredKids is to promote safe and valuable use of the internet by children. According to the site, the greatest risk children face in connection with the internet is being denied access. Therefore, WiredKids strives for equitable access for all children, not just those with enough money for a home computer or those who speak English. The site also champions the effective use of the internet in education. WiredKids includes several sections that provide teachers, schools, and libraries with quality resources, educational programs, and support. Special emphasis is placed on peer coaching from teacher to teacher, librarian to librarian, and school to school. The site also touches on the ever-important issue of internet safety and privacy. At WiredKids, child advocates, policy-makers, law enforcement officials, parents, community groups, and kids all join forces to teach and learn how to use the internet safely. WiredKids also effectively disseminates information about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by outlining the key aspects of the act and its provisions for keeping kids safe online. A great resource for the safety-conscious educator!

Nick’s new site for teachers is a top pick of ours

Kids have always loved Nickelodeon, the media company dedicated to providing fun, informative entertainment for children. Now, teachers have reason to love Nickelodeon as well, with Nickelodeon’s online educational resource for teachers. offers free lesson plans for preschool, elementary, and middle school teachers that complement Nickelodeon’s Cable in the Classroom programming. Many Nickelodeon shows are copyright-cleared for 10 years to use in the classroom. This informative web site allows educators to check out Nickelodeon’s monthly program calendar for easy-to-use, curriculum-based materials for all of the cable channel’s educational shows and initiatives. The “Inside Kids” portion of the site offers a listing of educational programming by age group, as well as a bulletin board for teacher comments and networking and a lesson plan index created to complement Nickelodeon’s Cable in the Classroom programming. Kids will love the lesson plans and programming suggestions that feature all their favorite Nickelodeon shows, such as Blue’s Clues, Gullah Gullah Island, Kipper, Mr. Wizard’s World, and Maisy.