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Teachers' Picks: arts and crafts

The latest in arts and crafts, music, software, and projectors.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Best Arts and Crafts
 


Best mess-free modeling PlayFoam molds like clay, but has a unique texture. It re-molds without drying out, making a lasting buy. $27.99, activity kit; $99, class set

Best sticky supply since the glue stick Super-Safe Craft Tape Center comes with eight rolls of craft tape—great for decorating bulletin boards and art projects. The wooden center has a safe plastic cutting edge. $49.50.

Best for outdoor masterpieces 3D Sidewalk Chalk has dual-ended, multi-colored sticks for creating a 3D playground. 3D glasses make “warm” colors rise and “cool” colors recede. $4.99.

Best for eye-popping Bulletin Boards Pop-Its from Carson-Dellosa feature 24 brilliantly colored 3D designs that make bulletin displays more lively. $4.99

Best way to brighten cloudy days The Color Surge Classic Tips set includes 20 sheets of Color Surge paper, eight markers, one stencil, and a storage folder. $7.99

Best for character building Invite kiddos to make as many wacky characters as they can with the People Shapes Project Kit ’s 24 cutouts and outfits. $29.95
 

Best Musical Notes

Best for Making Some Noise Instruments from Around the World are a perfect fit for small hands and multicultural music lessons. Includes ten instruments—from Ghanaian rattles to a frog-shaped Asian rasp. $79.50

Best Intro to World Music Sesame Street Playground songs and music videos will help kids learn about and build respect for other cultures. Chinese “Rubber Ducky” is a hit! $14.98

BEST for ing-Along Classroom Song Bank makes it easy for students to sing their favorite tunes. Each of the 40 colorful cards features a popular song, like “Wheels on the Bus.” A storage box is included. $29.95

BEST for would-be Beethovens World of Music and Making Music are innovative software programs that allow kids to “draw” their compositions. In World of Music, students can choose sounds from distinct regions of the world. $39.99

BEST Tune Training Melody Express Musical Train lets PreK–1 students have fun playaing with notes and sounds. The engine reads the notes on the tracks. No reading required—kids just match colors to change the music. $42.95;

 



 

Best New Tech


BEST PROJECTION RECORDING The Samsung SDP-850DX document camera can record audio and full-motion video. With a single keystroke, lessons can be scanned and saved for future playback. It can be connected to any whiteboard. $899;

 

 

 

 

 

BEST BUDGET PROJECTOR Epson’s EX line of 3LCD projectors offers educators one of the most economical choices with its $549 EX30 basic model. The EX50 and EX70 are both under $800 as well. For a classroom to be interactive today, it needs to project more than a teacher’s voice. Thanks, Epson, for keeping teachers’ wallets in mind. $549–$799
 
 
BEST TABLET AND SRS FIT Teachers having difficulty using response systems and tablets together should look at the Qwizdom Q7 Presenter , designed specifically to work with their SRS. Without a whiteboard, teachers and students can interact, control presentations, ask or answer questions, and even view private data interactively. $429; $300 with SRS
 
 
BEST NEW WRITING PAD The Classpad is RM’s new budget-conscious slate. Add it to the list of whiteboard alternatives. Teachers gain classroom mobility and Internet access, and it works with Easiteach 3.4 (included) and Microsoft applications. $349

Must-Have Software

Type to Learn 4
Budding typists act as “Agents of Change,” keyboarding their way through a futuristic world. They encounter intriguing characters, while saving information in 36 keyboarding lessons—complete with real-time diagnostics and activities. $699.95, unlimited site license or network.

Timeliner XE
This is an easy Web-based way for kids to create timelines. Tom Snyder offers over 400 activities in all core areas. There are 50 ready-made research assignments, with articles from Grolier Online, electronic note taking and “Finish Me” activities. $2,600 unlimited site license; $99, single computer.

Lexia Reading v5
Lexia’s original software was developed by the father of a dyslexic child. Today, it has become a Web-based reading option for all children. Teachers can assess, manage, and individualize reading instruction. Secure hosting is an option. $5,000, school; $500, single teacher.

Kidspiration 3
Students can organize reading and writing and improve math problem-solving skills by using visuals that help the understanding of key concepts. Kids can record and listen with the Listening Tool and teachers can record directions. $69, three single copies; $895, 20 licenses.

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