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Wednesday, 19th September 2007

Resource of the Week: Kids.gov...and a few other resources for students and teachers

Resources of the Week: Kids.gov...and a few other resources for students and teachers
By Shirl Kennedy, Senior Editor

USA.gov is, of course, "the U.S. government's official web portal." So what is Kids.gov and why is it especially worth your time if you are a student, a teacher...or a parent?

Kids.gov is the official kids' portal for the U.S. government. It links to over 1,200 web pages from government agencies, schools, and educational organizations, all geared to the learning level and interest of kids. Kids.gov is maintained by the Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC), those folks in Pueblo, CO 81009.

We recently spotted a press release from the U.S. General Services Administration highlighting a new design for the Kids.gov site, along with some organizational changes.

To simplify navigation, Kids.gov was divided into two age groups: Grades K-5 and 6-8. Each group features links from government and non-government sources geared to specific learning levels. A new section for educators includes links to helpful lesson plans, classroom activities and web resources. New links and special sites are also highlighted on the homepage, so kids can always find something new and fun.

Certainly worth a bookmark in the classroom, the media center, the public library...and on the computer the kids use in your home.

The home page also features a "site of the month" -- the current one being Smithsonian Education:

A place for kids to explore, discover and learn. This fun site has tons of cool information; it's divided into four topics: Everything Art, History and Culture, People and Places, Science and Nature. You can design your own sculpture online, take a virtual trip to the Galapagos, and play the Viking board game. Pop quiz: How deep in the ocean does the giant squid live?

Hint: Look here for the answer (PDF).

Navigation is simple on Kids.gov. Click one of the choices at the top -- Grades K-5, Grades 6-8, Educators -- and a menu appears, with subject choices, such as arts, careers, computers, math, money science... Of particular note: the last choice on each menu is "State Websites." This takes you to an annotated page of links to state government websites especially for children, geared toward the appropriate grade levels -- e.g., state websites for K-5, state websites for 6-8, and a separate page for educators, which includes a few state websites especially for teachers. Some of these are topical -- i.e., Hawaii's Forests and Wildlife -- and other are more general state kids' portals -- i.e., Florida Kids. These age-appropriate, useful resources can be difficult to track down when you really need them, such as when children are doing reports on specific states.

Gary sent along a list of sites especially for teachers that deserve a mention here, too:

+ Gateway to 21st Center Skills:

Your state affiliate and NEA (National Education Association) have partnered with The Gateway to 21st Century Skills in an effort to provide you with free, comprehensive resources that will make your lesson planning easier. Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect to receive from your visit to the Gateway:
* Access to thousands of quality learning resources through the latest in faceted search technology
* Reinforce core content with learning resources from NASA, PBS, National Science Foundation and over 700 other contributing education content providers
* Access to 21st Century teaching tools, assessments and professional development
* Access to the Achievement Standards Network, a digitized version of every state's core academic standards
++ Also note the use of Siderean search technology.

+ PBS Teachers

PBS Teachers is PBS' national web destination for high-quality preK-12 educational resources. Here you'll find classroom materials suitable for a wide range of subjects and grade levels. We provide thousands of lesson plans, teaching activities, on-demand video assets, and interactive games and simulations. These resources are correlated to state and national educational standards and are tied to PBS' award-winning on-air and online programming like NOVA, Nature, Cyberchase, Between the Lions and more.

Also: PBS Parents
+ Teachers' Domain (WGBH Boston)

Teachers' Domain is an online educational service with two related components — Collections and Courses — that help teachers enhance their students' learning experiences and advance their own teaching skills.

+ Video: A Bit More From PBS
In this post we offer direct links to several PBS program (NewsHour, Nature, etc.) as well as the PBS Video Field Guide that are available for free and can be keyword searched.

+ Library of Congress Releases Preview of New Homepage for Teachers

+ National Science Digital Library (K-12 Teachers Pages)
++ Higher Education Teachers Pages

+ Digital Library for Earth System Education

+ The Educator's Reference Desk

The Educator's Reference Desk is a personalized Internet-based education service that includes 2000+ lesson plans, a question archive, the ERIC database, and a collection of over 3000 educational resources.

+++ Of course, ResourceShelf faves like:
++ Librarians Index to the Internet
++ Infomine
++ Intute
++ IPL
++ AcademicInfo.net
are valuable for both students and teachers.


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