Filed Under (holidays, Internet) by Lee Kolbert on 24-12-2009

This is an email I sent to my students’ parents today.
Feel free to copy it and share with your students.

Dear Parents,

Track Santa Online!

Even for those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, this is an amazing experience for your child.

Every year on Dec. 24, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) opens up their special site so people can track Santa in real time. It’s not just a “Oh, there he is on the map” sort of thing. Once you see where Santa is on the map, you can see the sparkle trails of where he’s been already, and click on the video icons to see videos and explore more. There are Wikipedia articles and beautiful photos at almost every location. According to Google, almost 8 million people used the site last year.

As of this writing, Santa is in Aparri, Philippines but in 3 minutes he will be in Zamboanga, Philippines.

Too bad this wasn’t available when my boys were young.

For more information, here is how the whole thing started. (Sometimes, mistakes lead to amazing ideas!)

Just so you know, they take the site down every year right after Christmas Day, so bookmarking it for later won’t do a thing. (I tried it.)

I hope you’ll share this with your children. No work for you… just give them the link and let them explore. Believe me, they will figure it out.

Mrs. Kolbert

Filed Under (Discovery Education) by Lee Kolbert on 22-12-2009

I recently blogged about our class’ exciting participation in Discovery Education’s celebration of Palm Beach County School District’s increased use of technology in the classroom. Although meeting Philippe Cousteau was certainly great fun, the real celebration included having Discovery come in and film an actual commercial that is currently airing on our local Discovery networks. There are two. The first is the short version at 30 sec. and the second is the longer version at 1 min and 30 sec.

The longer version shows more of my students, has a few more quotes and gives a clearer picture of how the day went.


:30 version:

1:30 version:

Filed Under (games) by Lee Kolbert on 18-12-2009

This is a guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about online college classes for

10 Online Educational Sites for Kids

Educational websites are a great way to engage students in learning. The average site is set up so that kids are able to have fun while they improve their skills and boost their IQ. Here are ten free online educational sites that you can introduce to the children in your life.

National Geographic Kids – This Parents’ Choice recommended site from National Geographic hosts educational videos, games, photos, stories, and other activities for kids. The site also has regular contests and other interactive prompts to keep youngsters excited.

Big Universe – Big Universe is an award-winning literacy site for grades K-8. Offerings include a free library of books to read online and tools that can be used to create and share books with other Big Universe users.

The Stacks – The Stacks is a Scholastic website for children who enjoy reading. Site visitors can create a profile, get book recommendations, write and read book reviews, and chat about books on a secure message board.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park – Children who can’t make it to the National Zoo can still see many of the zoo’s different residents through animal web cams. Some of the animals kids can view on demand include otters, cheetahs, leopards, ferrets, flamingos, lions, tigers, gorillas, pandas, and fish. – Part of the Kids Know It Network, this astronomy site is an excellent resource for kids who have an interest in outer space. The site provides games, activities, fun facts, and an astronomy dictionary. Kids can also take a free astronomy course online and receive a certificate of completion when they are finished.

NGA Kids – The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. provides an NGA site just for kids. The website is a great place for kids to learn more about art and try their hand at various online art projects, such as digital photography, image editing, painting, and collage.

Math Playground – Math Playground is a math website for elementary and middle school children who want to improve their math skills and have fun at the same time. While on the site, kids can watch videos, play math games, and complete word problems and logic puzzles.

Whyville – Whyville is a free virtual city and social networking site for kids. Members of Whyville can communicate with each other in a safe and secure environment while they learn about science, math, art, civics, economics, and other topics.

FunBrain – Created for kids in grades K-8, this educational website makes learning fun through web books, comics, movies, arcade games, blogs, and other online activities. Some of the subjects site visitors can learn about include math, language arts, history, science, geography, art, and music.

Kids Know It – The mission of this teacher-created network is to provide children with a fun and educational online resource. The network offers several education sites on topics like astronomy, biology, math, geography, geology, and spelling. Other resources include free educational music, movies, videos, and podcasts.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about online college classes for