Finding Internet sites useful in the K-3 classroom and library can be a challenge. Between needing activities that will allow the users to be independent, searching for sites without a great deal of advertisements, and checking to be sure that any information gathered is kept private and respects the user's safety, you may find it difficult to provide recommendations for your colleagues. The sites in this column provide a starting place for those recommendations.
**http://teacher.scholastic.com/clifford1/index.btm**
Young visitors to this Clifford's Interactive Storybooks site will have each line of the story read to them in a very realistic voice. Intended for early readers, students are asked to choose a word to complete the final sentence on most pages. There are four games in addition to the stories, each with the option of having the directions read. Students will practice thinking and phonics skills as they work through these activities. Reinforcements are appropriate and do not overshadow the learning. This site is also a good suggestion for parents who want to work with their children.
**http://pbskids.org/clifford/index.html**
Here is another Clifford site, this one from PBS and sure to be a favorite with youngsters and their parents. You will find additional stories, games, printable activities, a number of lessons devoted to character education and a backstage tour of the production studio complete with drawing lessons.
**http://wiredforbooks.org/kids.htm**
Kids' Corner features the works of Beatrix Potter in both print and audio. Young readers and their parents can enjoy the text and pictures from the original works in either English or Japanese. Real Audio versions are available for most of the featured works in English, French, German and Japanese. It works quite well to bring up the English text and the audio version at the same time. Some fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm and Kipling's Just so stories are also available at the site. Parents will also enjoy exploring some of the adult options available at the Wired for Books home page.
**http://www.abc.net.au/countusin/default.htm**
Count Us In, developed by the Australian Broadcast Company, provides 15 math-oriented games for youngsters. The games begin with counting, recognizing patterns and basic addition then move through telling time, subtraction, simple fractions and end with length and volume activities. Each activity can be played online or downloaded for use in either Windows or Mac format. The games are educationally sound and provide some excellent practice on math skills for youngsters.
**http://www.blueannewe.com/activities/index.asp**
Young learners visitors to Blue Ann's health-related web site will find a quiz, a concentration game, a word search activity and a printable coloring page. All activities provide sound health and nutrition information geared for young learners. While some advertising from the site owner, Arkansas Blue Cross/Blue Shield Insurance, is present, it does not detract from the learning activities. The health quiz would work quite nicely as an activity with the entire class displayed on a large screen.
**http://pbskids.org/lions/**
Beginning readers and parents will also want to check out this PBS site, Between the Lions. Here are more than 70 stories and activities ranging from teaching ABCs to Shakespeare tales. The stories are designed to be viewed with an adult who can read the text aloud. A number of songs, word and letters games and more than 200 printable activities are also available. Be sure to have the latest version of Shockwave on the machine for optimal viewing. And, make sure you spend time at the literacy resources found in the Parents and Teachers section.
**http://www.tolerance.org/pt/**
A wonderful gem for use with young learners is the Planet Tolerance, the kids' section of the Tolerance.Org site. Planet Tolerance contains four stories covering a range of diverse topics, from the first Jewish judge on the Supreme Court to a family of bilingual mice. A series of four activities includes an option for the learner to create a story from his life to a cross-country journey for women's rights. The Explore options to visit the Civil Rights Museum and series of thinking activities based on images will require adult intervention for K-3 learners.
**http://www.yesnet.yk.ca/schools/jackhulland/projects/butterflies/index.html**
Learn about butterflies, watch one hatch from a chrysalis, see a number of life cycle stage visuals and learn about Yukon butterflies at this site from an elementary school in Canada's Yukon Territory. Students have created a wealth of usable information and superb visuals for learning tools. A number of learning games such as jigsaw puzzles, a concentration game, as well as other options are engaging and easy-to-use.
**http://www.learningbox.com/Base10/index.htm**
Youngsters will delight in learning more about base 10 and fractions as they use the Shockwave-based games found at the Learning Box site. There are three options for practicing math skills. Two are activities dealing with number blocks and base 10. The third gives young learners practice with fractions. Each option requires mouse dexterity. The activities are short and well-crafted to hold student attention while practicing skills learned at school.
**http://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc/**
Be sure to check out the Play section of the kids' section of the CBC web site. Youngsters can color various tractors or 12 different animals and print their creations. An on-line connect the dot program teaches about dressing for various seasons and clothing types. The final activity provides the youngsters with memory games. They can choose between making a snack or working on a dog house. The main screen for the Play section also contains a number of whimsical animations for entertaining the young learner.