Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Choosing Who Takes a Turn

It's hard to be pick which child takes a turn in class first when there are so many eager students. I gave the Interactive Fruit Machine a try with fifth and first grade today. It was a rousing success.

As a Teacher I Liked...
Several features made this site a favorite for the teacher in me. It was super simple to type in the list of student names. When you're short on time even a few moments can seem like a lifetime. The site gives a little icon that looks like a disk. When you hover over the icon its label is Save As Web Page. A small html file is placed in the computer's download folder. It links to a save space at For each class, I saved the list of names and renamed the file: 1a fruit_machine.htm, 1b fruit_machine.htm and so on. Now, I can quickly click the file and the machine is up and running.

The Interactive Fruit Machine was really exciting for the students. I projected it on the board and had speakers attached to the computer. I could see a classroom teacher setting this up on a stand alone computer, too. The teacher could make the Interactive Fruit Machine a classroom job. The student could easily bring up the file and click the Fruit Machine button when required.

My Students Liked...
The look of the Interactive Fruit Machine in action is just fun. I clicked the Fruit Machine button and the names began to spin on the screen. The first grade students were cheering each other on as their classmate's names came up.

When a name appeared, I clicked the Remove button so that everyone got a turn with no repeats.

There are sounds, too. There are clicking sounds as the names spin by and when a name is highlighted, the sound of children cheering.

Learning to Avoid Ads on Web Pages
In the first grade, we were following the CyberSmart lesson for K and 1 called Find the Ad. I chose a math game on the Nick Jr web site called Moose and Zee's Balloon Math. We looked for the word AD or Advertisement.

It's interesting to note that most of the students thought ad meant 1+1=2. To explain the concept of an ad, we talked about commercials that try to sell them a breakfast cereal or juice. They learned not to click on the ads. After everyone had a turn, they had a choice of creating a Kid Pix drawing, using the balloon math on their own, or trying Diago's Puzzle Pyramid. They definitely needed the time to calm down from all the excitement of the Interactive Fruit Machine.

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