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Computers in the Classroom

Compiled by Karen Work Richardson (
September 2002

 This Month:

Back to School

In the July /August edition of Computers in the Classroom, I featured Blue Web'n. Blue Web'n is one of thse best websites I've seen for educators. Sponsored by Pacific Bell, it is a carefully organized list of screened websites. To generate this month's top ten, I started at Blue Web'n, selected a category and chose just one of their recommended web resources.

1. American Dreams Through the Decades: An incredible webquest designed by the Library of Congress and based on its American Memory collecction. My favorite part (which was really just a warmup activity) was the Jigsaw Puzzle page:

The entire webqest could be a bit daunting to complete but there are individual pieces like the Scavenger Hunt that could be used.

2. Who's That Lady: Another webquest from the Library of Congress that deals with First Ladies. While you might have your students complete the webquest, the format is also one you might want to use for your own online activities.

3. Become A Historical Detective: Also sponsored by the Library of Congress, this monthly activity asks students to use the collections to answer a historical mystery. Includes a brief but very helpful guide to problem solving and keyword searching.

4. American Memory Timeline: This site serves as a sort of online textbook of American history. Short essays are illustrated with photos from the collections. Links to primary sources like interviews and advertisements are included. An amazing resource for history teachers!

5. The Great Plant Escape: Great website for 4th and 5th graders learning about plants. The fun "solve the mystery" approach helps get students involved.

6. The Reconstructors: From Rice University, a very cool game that sets students up as "reconstructors" who must solve mysteries. The games revolve around drugs and serve as drug prevention lessons.

7. Cyberbee: A web portal for teachers designed by teachers in Ohio and full of curriculum ideas, treasure hunts, web projects and more.

8. Winter Storm: From Scholastic, this site talks about the science behind storms and includes an Interactive Weather Maker where users choose variables and create weather.

9. Virtual Architecture: This website accompanies the book Virtual Architecture: Designing and Directing Curriculum-Based Telecomputing by Judi Harris, the new Pavey Chair at William and Mary. It is full of great ideas for using the Internet and includes both the theory as well as the nuts and bolts of integration technology.

10. The NCES Classroom: Your tax dollars at work! The National Center for Education Statistics has a great website for kids. They can find their own school, create graphs, solve a teaser and play games and activities all centered around statistics.

Feature Web:

Digital Dozen

Much like this newsletter, the Digital Dozen features 12 website each month. Sponsored by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, Digital Dozen is an award given to 12 selected web sites that are appropriate for K-12 mathematics and science teachers, students, and classrooms. You can browse the current list or visit the archive. With six years of awarded sites available, make sure you have plenty of time to browse! Next month, I'll feature ten or so of the best sites I find.