Once again the internet as a resource for teachers never ceases to amaze me, as educators we are spoilt for choice as to the amount of games, ideas and simple activities which are freely available for us to enhance the teaching and learning taking place within our own classrooms and the wider school community.
Indeed at this point many of the larger education publishers are getting in on the act and producing sites with plenty of useful content which is invaluable to teachers for planning and teaching. I myself love the online content available on the Folens site (www.folensonline.ie). Teachers can gain access to the activities and extra resources for any of the books which the children are using within the school. It allows for use of posters and books on the IWB and therefore whole class discussion and student involvement can really be enhanced.
The site which is my favourite at present is the Scholastic site, this publisher known to many of us for the work on publications such as Clifford the Big Red Dog have a website which has a phenomenal amount of resources for people to avail of. Perhaps my favourite section of this website at present is the 25 Best Websites for Teachers page (http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/25-best-websites-teachers). This page goes through subject by subject and suggests the best website for ideas and resources for teachers teaching each of these subjects. For example there is a link to Teacher Tube for teachers who wish to show videos with suitable content to their class rather than relying on YouTube, the Geography section sends you towards Google Earth, and indeed they have chat room and blogs available for teachers to chat in and discuss issues they may be encountering.
Although most of the sites are of American origin they are filled with very suitable material for all educators and this is especially true of my favourite site they point you towards and that is the art section and the Crayola website. I have to put my hands up and say that at times I do get stuck for ideas and creative projects for the children to do but since finding this site I no longer have this problem, Crayola more creative then I could ever be and provide endless ideas for art for all ages.
The site is really bright and attractive and makes it a joy to navigate through its easy to follow layout. The colouring pages section has lots of nice pictures to colour including some lovely Disney pages, great to keep the children busy on wet day when they cannot get out playing. Next is the section where they have all the lesson plans laid out and available to use. The lesson plans are easy to follow and indeed most are inter linked across the curriculum combining art with Literacy and maths and other subjects. I loved the idea of Alphabet Around the Room, Flashlight Poem and Pick Out The Patterns, the patterns lesson even discusses the artist, Gustav Klimt, which brings in the looking and responding element of the Visual Arts curriculum.
The website I must add does encourage the use of their own products which I do not feel is necessary as to me a crayon is a crayon however I will forgive them this as the resource they are providing really is fantastic and has allowed me to be much more creative in my classroom than I ever had been before.