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When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It All Begins With...ABC

After recommendations by two tech people whose opinions I respect, Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers and our own head tech, Scott Mays, at Charlevoix Public Schools, I decided it was time to move this up to the top of my "to explore" list and make a visit to Alphabetimals.  This site which is free to use was designed by freelance cartoon illustrator Patrick O'Toole and his wife, a psychologist, to promote literacy.  For students, teachers and parents this is loaded with activities and resources.

When visiting the site the first activity, front and center, is a book where each of the letters in the alphabet are introduced.  As the pages turn the sound icon at the top produces the sound of the "letter animal" as the letters to the left move.  On the bottom that icon is a pronunciation of the animal's name.  Of course, not being able to resist I clicked on every single letter.

Beneath this activity users are invited to type in an entire word in a box.  I typed in the word "BOOK".  I expected with the double "O" to have the same "letter animal" used twice but a different animal was shown for the second "O".  Users then have the option to preview it on fun gifts, share it on Facebook, Twitter or via email or print it out. 

Free cut-out flash cards, coloring pages and a wall poster are available by going to their Facebook page.  I did go to their page and Like them.  To get the PDFs of the cards, coloring pages and poster the next screen states:  Secure browsing is not supported (https).  I decided not to proceed as I wish to protect the information contained in my Facebook profile.  Hopefully these will be available to download securely on site soon.  The Facebook page did state that they hope to have a coloring book for sale soon as well as an app for a mobile device. 

I can see using this application for activities beyond the initial introduction to the ABCs and the pronunciation of the words.  Some of the animals might not be familiar to the students so basic research would be the next step.  Links to such sites including the animals, National Geographic Kids, Kids Biology.Com, or Kids' Planet ESPECIES Animals Facts Sheets,  could be placed in the same folder as the link to Alphabetimals.  Older students could assist with the reading of information.

I recommend using this site not only for the obvious reasons but for its potential for exploration.

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