Friday, April 16, 2010

Resource Roundup (April '10)

Here are some great resources I've discovered recently that might help your children read, write, create and learn.

Purple Mash

Purple Mash is not officially open yet, but you can try some of the free APPtivities right now. There are all sorts of interactive treats which the site describes as a:

mash-up of creative tools and curriculum focused applications to inspire children throughout the curriculum.

You'll find lots of writing, drawing and creating activities, perfect for primary aged kids. Typing games, maths, shapes, building models - I know I only scratched the surface. In The Lighthouse Keeper, (see picture at left) I could choose a picture, some extra art, then answer questions to generate my sentence beginnings, which I finished by typing them in. Once done, I could "export" ie save to my computer. Loved that option!

The interface is simple, although I wouldn't have minded just a little explanation. But kids will have it worked out in no time. There are many activities here for your kids to explore, and they promise video mixing, photo editing and online presentation tools. Wow! Some activities will remain free, while others, Gourmet Mash, will be available to schools with an annual licence.

Search Engine - SortFix

New search engine, SortFix, looks useful. Once you put in your search words, it brings up special boxes that allow you to retain the better words generated and delete less useful terms. You can also choose to retrieve results only from Google, twitter, bing, images and YouTube. The interface is simple and uncluttered. You can see an animated introduction to the site on their home page, but I found out more by playing with it.

Narrowing search terms for research is such an important skill for kids to learn. SortFix seems to me to help with this by asking us to choose what particular words we retain or remove during our search.

Free Rice (update)

Free Rice, that great online space where you can build your vocabulary and donate grains of rice to help world hunger, has added subjects to its range. You can donate rice by answering questions about Geography, French, Grammar and more. Check it out!

Literacy Games

Here's a huge list of literacy games compiled by Samantha Miller for Online University Reviews.

Digital Gallery of World Picture Books

I stumbled upon this site, and literally sat with my jaw dropped when I realized what I'd found.

It's part of the International Library of Children's Literature. There is a time line of illustrated children's books, then each section has sample books for you to read online. For instance, under Art and Daily Life: Modernism in the Picture Book, you can read The Magic Boat by Tom Seidmann-Freud within Germany, or dip into The Circus from Russia.

It is truly fascinating to trace the changes in illustration style over continents and over the years. Well worth a look for any one who loves children's literature.

Great Online Digital Timer

This timer counts backwards with nice clear digits from the time that you set with the plus buttons - minutes on left, seconds on right. You also get to choose frantic music to accompany it if you want.

It would be useful if you have one of those youngsters who needs motivating to pack away his toys, or as a timer for a board game where you've broken the hour glass.

Listen-Along Storybook

Sterling, US publishers, have some free children's stories you can listen to, or download. Great when you want something for younger kids to listen to on a long trip.

Peter Rabbit

Thanks to Kelly Tenkely, of iLearn Technology blog, I had a lovely visit and play at this website. If you're a Beatrix Potter fan like me, I think you'll appreciate the way the website designers have made the art work, the tone even, so very Potter. Kelly explains it beautifully.

Learn Mouse Control with Bubblewrap

Thanks to Amy at teachmama, I discovered that popping digital bubbles is a great way to teach kids mouse control! Works on IWBs.


At BembosZoo, you choose a letter and the word for an animal starting with that letter appears. Then, the letters of the word rearrange themselves to create an image of the animal.

Origami Flowers at HP

Who can resist these beautiful flowers? Thanks to Terry of Scrub-a-Dub-Tub for sharing her find.


This word game is low tech, but I like it. Click to generate 10 random letters. Use pencil and paper to see how many words you can create. That's it!

Alice for the iPad

For some kids, those lucky enough to have parents who can afford an iPad, this may introduce them to a children's classic,
Alice in Wonderland. This is amazing technology,where pictures move and animate as you tilt the iPad. I don't have an iPad (yet!) but this app looks intriguing.
Harry Potter in 3d

You get to see
a Harry Potter map in augmented reality via your webcam.  No, I didn't go through the process. My Inner Geek was at war with the clock, and the clock won. But the description made my heart beat faster.

Hope you found something of interest here. If you know of any resources you think might interest The Book Chook readers, please contact me any time!


  1. Erin @ Letter Soup16 April, 2010

    Wow, I just found your site via We Teach. What an amazing resource this is! Thank you! I'm sure I'll be linking often.

  2. Book Chook16 April, 2010

    Hi Erin! and welcome to The Book Chook. I think we teach is a pretty amazing resource too.

  3. Terry Doherty18 April, 2010

    I love the idea of scribble. We have some letter magnets with a certain 8-year-old's name that we've recently put on the refrigerator. Every time someone goes into the fridge, they make a new word (or words) from the collection. Great fun and spelling, too! :-E

  4. Book Chook18 April, 2010

    Magnetic letters are such a great incidental tool for literacy. I must gather some ideas together for a post - thanks, Terry!

  5. Wow! You have been a busy Chook! I am completely blown away by Alice for the iPad. Everything about the Alice interactive book fits the story. I can't wait to see where they take ebooks!

  6. Book Chook19 April, 2010

    These surely are exciting times for publishing and for literature!

  7. Ian Newbold20 April, 2010

    Great stuff, and resources unearthed for us. Thanks. Have already widened my vocabulary and got some rice donated, lachrymal = tearful.

    Will be working my way through the other places you have highlighted.

  8. Book Chook20 April, 2010

    I love the vocab part of Free Rice too, Ian. Sometimes they stump me, reveal the correct answer, and then blow me down, ask me the same question again - and I still don't know the answer.

    Now that smarts!

  9. Anthony Evans06 May, 2010

    Hi Thanks for the review of PurpleMash.
    Its a dynamic and constantly evolving site and there are new things appearing there every week. If there is anything you'd like us to add let us know. :)
    follow me on twitter - @2simpleant
    Anthony Evans

  10. Book Chook06 May, 2010

    Hi Anthony, Yes I follow you on Twitter and thanks for that link. Somewhere on your facebook page I found a list of all apptivities at a glance, with a little text description. Now I can't locate it. If you subscribed to comments, can you post the link for us?


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