Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day - in case you still haven't used any online sites...

A couple of days ago I listed 9 good sites to use for studying about issues associated with Earth Day. If you haven't had a chance to look at those yet, there is still time. As everything I post on EdTechSec, they are all easy to use and it takes just a second to begin using them.

From David Warlick's blog, 2¢ Worth, I looked at two more great Earth Day online learning games that are quick, free, and easy and engaging for kids.

The first is Elf Island. Elf Island is aimed at "tweens", which in game language could mean any kids from 2nd grade to 12th grade would stand a good chance of liking it. Registration is quick and painless, and kids under 12 must use their parent's email address. Absolutely NO personal information is given or exchanged in the game so it is very secure. The idea behind the virtual world of Elf Island is to empower kids to do good. Through entertaining and competitive gameplay, storytelling and social interaction, Elf Island players help non-profit partners achieve their goals on real projects. The more kids are Gaming for Good within Elf Island, the more Elf Island is revealed. Elf Island also recognizes and rewards kids who practice Good in the world through status and awards.

The second game is Emerald Island. Again, just a quick registration which consists of a username (no real name on either of these), an email address, and that's it - ready to play. Emerald Island is for younger students, or intermediate students who may struggle with reading. Students have to "create" their avatar/character, and then they find themselves on the Pirats (yes, that's pi"rats") ship. The Pirats quickly kick the player off the ship and you soon find yourself washed up on Emerald Island, the last green island around. The next few minutes are spent orienting the player to Emerald Island, then you can engage in all kinds of games and activities while you get to know the island and your neighbors. Most of the activities are "green" and involve motivation to keep Emerald Island green.

Both of these games are easy for students to jump right into, and manage to work in lots of educational eco-information in a realistic and thoughtful way.

These fun games can make a great addition to Earth Day activities.

The 3rd grade class at Tok School will be hosting an Earth Day celebration from 1:00pm to 1:30pm on Wednesday, April 22. The students will be making some healthy snacks to share, showing off some of the Earth Day crafts they have made (pencil holders, bird feeders, personalized pet food scoopers, and jewelry - all made from re-used materials that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill). The 3rd graders will also be available to show some of the other elementary students some of the fun Earth Day online games and activities they have learned how to use during the past week.

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