Do you allow students to use computers in your classroom during center time or free play? The computer center was one of my students favorite places to go! I bookmarked websites, so my students knew which websites were appropriate for them to use. Of course this takes some modeling on how to use the websites, what to click, what not to click, etc. However, once they learn how to use these websites, they can work independently on the computer and go from site to site to learn. Here's a list of 10 FREE educational websites that my students enjoyed.
I'm sure many of you have heard of ABCYa! This is a great website to use K-5 because it has a TON of games! I like how the games are organized by subject/skill.
Starfall is another very popular website to teach primary age kids how to read. There are lessons on letters, sounds, simple words, emergent readers, etc.
Cookie reminds me alot of ABCya. It has a variety of games and is also organized by subject, however Cookie is mostly PreK-1st grade.
I've shared a few websites before from Professor Garfield. This website has activities for reading, math, art, and science. I mostly use the reading games such as Orson's Farm, Fishing with Phonics, and Match of Mystery.
This BBC Bitesize website has games that my students really enjoyed for both reading and math center time! I let my kids know that this game is British based, so the voices have a bit of an accent. :) These games are for K-1st.
Academics has a TON of math games and then some reading games. This is for grades 1-6. If you have a competitive class, they'll love this website. They get to race against other kids or the computer to find the answers the quickest and win the game. This is great for math fact practice. You will have to show kids how to enter their name, click "join", then "play".
Education.com is also like many of these websites where they have games sorted by subject and grade level. Their games are for PreK-2nd grade.
IXL is another website with a TON of activities for reading, math, science, and social studies and it goes from PreK-12th grade. This website is helpful because it really breaks down the subjects by skill and standard. It does seems to have more math games than the other subjects, but it is still a definite site to use!
Turtle Diary once again has games by grade level and by subject. They have A LOT of games to choose from!
I'm sure you've also heard of PBSKids. This website has games featuring a lot of fun characters that your students would recognize and is educational!
The easiest way I have found for students to only use the website I want, is to bookmark them. I even put the websites into folders so whether it's reading or math center time, they know which folder to go to. If it is a website by grade and level, then before you bookmark it choose exactly the page you want them to go to EX: Kindergarten-math. This is a huge time saver for me, because I don't have to keep helping them find a website or tell them what to play. All of these are approved games!
One thing I do that REALLY makes life easier is to change my homepage to whatever website I want the students to practice first. If we are learning CVC words, then I'll find a game I want them to do, and BOOM it's ready to go as soon as they open the internet! If they get lost clicking around or want to play again, they just have to click the "home" button. Change out the homepage whenever you want them to do try another website or specific skill.
I know letting your students freely work on the computer can be scary, but they love it! As long as you MODEL what to do and how to play the games, they'll do great. If you have a way to project from your computer to a big screen, that's the easiest way to show students how to use a new website. They are also really good at figuring out the games themselves. :) It's great to incorporate technology into the classroom, so you should try it!!