Being a former first grade teacher, I know the difficulties of integrating technology into the primary classroom.  In the past I allowed my students who completed their assignments the option of playing Jump Start on one of the three desktop computers in my classroom (I called this my “Technology Center”).  As much as I thought I was incorporating technology effectively, I was actually using technology as part of my classroom management.  Now that I am more proficient with different devices and available programs, I see the vast array of opportunities to integrate technology into Math and Language Arts Core Instruction.  Let me show you some options that you might consider as well!

Fuel the Brain

Fuel the Brain

I love this resource because of its simplicity and engagement.  Students are sure to find the games appealing, and you will find them purposeful.  In addition, all of the games are tied to Common Core State Standards in ELA and Math.  Teachers just need to select Teacher Guides and drill down to a specific grade level then subject.  There you will find all of this site’s resources already aligned to specific CCSS indicators.

Fuel the Brain CCSS

Here is a common core standard with a game, interactive, and printable already aligned!  The hard part of alignment has been done for you!  Try it!


Mr. Nussbaum

This website was created by Greg Nussbaum, a teacher at White Oaks Elementary School in Virginia.  He conceptualized academic content in a digital format that was both rigorous and engaging for students.  He wanted all students to enhance their learning by using the internet in an interactive way – truly this resource accomplishes that feat.  Drill down by grade level, subject area, and off your students will go to a highly engaging activity!

Mr. Nussbaum

Mr.Nussbaum 2Another wonderful option is drilling down by a specific Common Core Standard to find games, online practice, and/or printables for your students.  Check it out!

Mr. Nussbaum 3

Turtle Diary 

This fun resource is dedicated to early childhood education.  There are resources for everyone.  To start with, students have access to hundreds of interactive games to help them learn. The games are created in multiple formats so differentiation based on need is streamlined.  In addition, teachers have access to over 1,000 activities and over 200 lesson plans to stimulate student achievement.  Why reinvent the wheel?  Using this resource will be highly engaging for students and ultimately save you time from looking for 20 different lessons you need for various subjects – they are all right here!  Try it!

turtle diary

Don’t let the “Premium Feature” lull you into thinking that you will have to pay for these resources. ALL teachers can set up free accounts for their classes.  The only drawback of the free accounts – there are ads (something you can live with!).  However if you choose to go with the Premium Version here is what you will be getting:

turtle diary 2

Your Challenge

Ok I know this post will be hard to connect to for some viewers either due to teaching assignment or interest.  However, we ALL have been touched by those students who have extremely low skills and need foundational supports.  So here’s the challenge – Pick an underperforming student or students, maybe they have IEPs or maybe they don’t, and have them use one of these resources in a targeted area needed for growth.  Would your student(s) respond to this resource in a positive way AND would their targeted areas of growth improve?  How could you measure that growth so this resource didn’t become part of your classroom management plan or “Technology Center”?

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  1. I have viewed and sent these sites to our teachers to use as resources. I like how Mr Nussbaum has different areas for children with learning difficulties. I can definitely see where our teachers will use these programs in their classrooms and in the computer labs. I have a three year old granddaughter and know she will enjoy playing on these site too.

  2. I looked at Turtle Diary. Since the 5th grade level isn’t functioning yet, I chose the highest available grade level, 3rd grade, and browsed the language arts activities. The site offered quite a few activities that incorporated instruction on parts of speech, including subordinate conjunctions. I could see posting links to this activity and others related to parts of speech on my Weebly website to add to the independent practice options for my freshmen students.

  3. Today’s post is perfect! Our district went 1:1 with Chromebooks for grades 3-12 this year. Our focus, early on, has been integrating technology for those grades. K-2 crave tech too! I’ve spent the last few weeks trying bulk up my resources for primary grades. I know our teachers will be very excited to add these sites to there “technology center. Interesting twist on using these sites for lower functioning older students as well. Thanks!

    • That’s great! I hear a lot of times from K-2 teachers how so much of our tech PD is really geared towards older students. I try to incorporate as much K-2 options for them as I possibly can!

  4. I think these resources are great. I truly appreciated all three. I am currently organizing a resource site for the teachers in my school district. I emailed my k-2 teachers this morning as soon as I added them and I have already got one response back about how much they appreciated these sites. I think using sites like this will improve student engagement and not be used so much for management because students will not need much management once they have the students attention. The technology station should be what kids look forward to doing.

    • Awesome! I love the CCSS drill down option. With our curriculum mapping, I have had a hard time finding the right digital resources without spending a ton of time searching. These resources eliminate a lot of wasted time.

  5. I teach 9-12 and at this point I feel the sites are too elementary. I will share these sites with my K-5 teachers and they will be ever grateful.

  6. As a 7th grade Language Arts teacher, I would have a hard time with these sites as well! I do have students for RtI, but they aren’t this low. I did, however, pass these resources along to one of our resource teachers. She has students in the middle school that are performing at least 3-4 grade levels below.

    Also, I sent these resources along to my mom, who teaches 2nd grade.

    I don’t think my students would respond to these websites in a positive way, because the resources are so elementary. They are middle school level and already think they are too cool for school, so they would probably do the opposite of what I wanted them to do with these resources.

  7. I think a few of the tools on Turtle Diary would be useful in my freshman basic skills English class. They have a section of smartboard games, and I noticed Word Spider: It’s a tool that allows you to type a vocabulary word in the middle and branch off related words or ideas. I could see my basic skills students using this tool to visualize concepts and make connections.

    The students would respond well to this resource if they didn’t see the rest of the site; they might be insulted by the low age of the target audience. Of course, I could also spin it as a site designed for younger students that has a few useful high school-level tools.

    I’d be targeting their context clues and vocabulary skills. I think they could raise their scores using this tool, but it’s something that would be difficult to measure. I could use a control group (no website) and an experimental group (using the site).

    I may link this particular tool to my Weebly, My etymology students might even like it.

  8. While I am a high school math teacher and would not devote class time to the sites (GVC!); I can see some use for them at the RTI level or even after finals when we still meet with each class to keep their brains working maybe even as a challenge to see who can best each other.

  9. I explored the Mr. Nussbaum site and believe that using the grade 6 tab in the US History sections (American Revolution, War of 1812, French and Indian War, US Territorial Acquisition, Civil War, etc.) would be beneficial and worth sharing and trying with students as another resource for 8th grade US History as they do projects at my school. I don’t believe that all the activities for these sections would be the most appropriate for an 8th grader (some are though – building a timeline for Civil War events) but the readings are helpful. The key information is the same as any other text but broken down and without all the fluff. This could be helpful for all students, not just ones with IEPs too.

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