Saturday, September 05, 2009

Quest for (free) interactive activities and books on the web: Toon University, StarFall, StoryLine Online

It is the beginning of the school year, and many teachers are walking into classrooms with interactive whiteboards, thanks to the stimulus money earmarked for the schools.  

I have lots of resources for interactive whiteboards that I hope to share on this blog over the next few months. If you have some to share, please leave a comment.  I'm looking for FREE resources, but links to fully-functioning trials for inexpensive applications are also welcome.  Please share only your most favorite, high-quality sites.  Also please provide information about the site, including subject matter, grade/age level, and how it can be used with students.

Toon University

From the title of this site, you can guess that it is "cartoony".  That's ok.  Toon University offers a few free web-based activities that just might encourage you to sign up for a full-year subscription for $99.95.  This price includes 1 parent log-in and 2 child logins.  You can explore the site with a free 10-day trial.  The site allows users to toggle between English and Spanish,  and the parent-teacher log-in allows lets you see student activity, scores, and progress.

I especially like the book "I like to dance with my sister".   "My dad dances like a bird... My uncle dances like a dryer".  Cute.

Children can use the picture navigation system, which is organized by subject, or they can type in what they are looking for in the search-box in the upper left-hand corner:

To save you time, I've listed the free toon university links below:

(click here for flash version)

The Elvis That Cried "Mouse!" (K-4th)
I Like To Dance (K-2nd)
See ToonBooks written by kids!

1st-6th Grade Language Arts / Math Games
Discovering Coin Values (1st)
Comparing Number Values (2nd)
Advanced Alphabetizing (3rd)
Prime Factoring (4th)
Geography: U.S. States (5th)
Angles (6th)

Smartoon Cartoons
The Planets Adventure! (1st-6th)
The History of Money (1st-6th)

Pre-K to K Activities
The Letter "M" (Pre-K to K)

myBrainTeaser Create Your Own Games

Click Here for Samples

I've mentioned the Starfall website in the past.  It is still free, and still going strong, for students who are reading between the K-2 level.  In addition to free interactive stories, games, songs, and thematic activities,  the StarFall site offers low-cost writing journals and books.


Educator Information
Parent Information
Screen shot of one of the activities in the "Who Am I?" section. This is easy-to-use on an interactive whiteboard.

The Starfall music section is worth a listen, too.

Storyline Online

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation is the sponsor of Storyline Online, featuring actors and actresses from the guild who read children's books aloud.  One the website, there are downloadable lessons and activities that relate to each book.  Each video can be selected for the full screen and has captions that can be turned on or off.  These options make it good for use on a classroom interactive whiteboard.

Here is a list of stories available on Storyline Online:

To Be a Drum, by Evelyn Coleman; read by James Earl Jones
Guji Guji, by Chih Yuan Chen; read by Robert Guillaume
Sebastian's Roller Skates, by Joan De Deu Prats; read by Caitlin Wachs
Sophie's Masterpiece, by Eileen Spinelli; read by CCH Pounder

Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon; read by Pamela Reed

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, by Mem Fox; read by Bradley Whitford

No Mirrors in My Nana's House, by Ysaye M. Barnwell; read by Tia and Tamera Mowry

The Night I Followed the Dog, by Nina Laden; read by Amanda Bynes  

Thank you, Mr. Falker, by Patricia Polacco; read by Jane Kaczmarek

My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, by Patricia Polacco; read by Melissa Gilbert

Knots on a Counting Rope, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault; read by Bonnie Bartlett and William Daniels

Brave Irene, by William Steig; read by Al Gore

A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon; read by Sean Astin

Private I. Guana, by Nina Laden; read by Esai Morales

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, by Eileen Spinelli; read by Hector Elizondo

The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg; read by Lou Diamond Phillips

Me and My Cat, by Satoshi Kitamura; read by Elijah Wood

Dad, Are You the Tooth Fairy, by Jason Alexander; read by Jason Alexander

When Pigasso Met Mootisse, by Nina Laden; read by Eric Close

White Socks Only, by Evelyn Coleman; read by Amber Rose Tamblyn

Romeow and Drooliet, by Nina Laden; read by Haylie Duff

Enemy Pie, by Derek Munson; read by Camryn Manheim

More to come!

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