LAPTOPS AND OTHER COOL MOUSING GADGETS
BEST FOR LISTENING AND MOUSING JUNGLE STYLE
Califone's Listening First Stereo Headphones come in animal themes sure to inspire wild little learners. "The adorable designs are perfect for motivating kids," says our teacher tester. "Plus, the plastic ear cups hold up to daily classroom use." www.califone.com ; $14.
BEST FOR THE MOBILE EDUCATOR
The new E-475M notebook computer offers a 15.4-inch wide-screen display and more than 10 hours of battery life. "This laptop is extremely fast," our tester says. " I ran multiple applications without delay." www.gateway.com ; $1,299.
BEST FOR ASSESSMENT ON THE GO
The updated Indigo Learning System handheld device works like a computer lab on the fly and is also simple for students to use. "Students were using the Indigo devices efficiently the very first day!" says one tester. www.learningsoft.net ; $2,695 for a six-unit classroom set.
BEST FIRST KEYBOARD
The KinderBoard is the perfect first keyboard for little ones, with large, one-inch-square keys and easy-to-read numbers and letters. "The over-sized keys rally help with limited keyboard experience,"says one of our testers. "And the color-coded keys help kids learn the alphabet." www.chestercreektech.com ; $79.
BEST FOR DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION
The Writer Fusion portable keyboard is a great tool for kids of all abilities. They keyboard features spell-check,writing prompts, and a large graphic display for easy viewing. "The adjustable font size and text-to-speech option are perfect for low-vision students," says our tester. www.writerlearning.com ; $299.
BEST FOR INTRODUCING COMPUTERS
The Fisher-Price Fun 2 Learn Laughtop is just for kids. Young students discover letters and phonics, play games, and explore cool mazes. "This cute laptop is a great way to introduce young students to computers," our tester says. "Kids really loved the music,animation,and light-up screen–as well as the fun surprise activities." www.fisherprice.com ; $30.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL SUPPLIES TO ORGANIZE AND BRIGHTEN YOUR CLASSROOM
BEST FOR POSTING LESSONS
Who knew those little sticky notes could teach, too? Post-it Notes now offers a line of educational products perfect for posting reading and math ffacts around the classroom. "Wow!" raves our tester. "These are perfectly geared for the busy life of a teacher of any grade level or subject." They also come printed in Spanish. www.postit.com ; $2.49–3.99.
BEST FOR ORGANIZING READING MATERIALS
The Reading Rack Storage Center is tops for organizing books, audio books, puzzles, and more. " I have loads of loose materials that I used to store in plastic bags in a file folder," says our tester. " This storage center makes it so much neater! It also keeps books together with extension activities, such as games or CDs that go with the book. I can even use it to store puzzles." www.etacuisenaire.com ; $39.95.
BEST FOR ORGANIZING CREATIVITY
The Crayola Classpacks keep all those crayons and markers organized in presorted,easy-dispensing bins. "I loved that I could finally keep crayons and markers organized," says our tester. www.crayola.com ; $65.
BEST FOR NO-MAINTENANCE WRITING
Never sharpen pencils again? It's true! JAKKS Pentech Ultrasharp Wooden Pencils and Liquaphite Mechanical Pencils featuring liquid graphite technology for writing instruments that last longer and never need to be sharpened. "No more endless trips to the sharpener," says our tester. " They even have the feel of a real pencil." www.jakkspacific.com ; $3.49 for a pack of three.
BEST FOR COLORFUL ORGANIZING
The Jonti-Craft classroom organizer has 20 removable folder partitions and cubbie trays with an easy-to-clean, stain-resistant surface. "The partitions are nice for managing messages and student supplies," says our tester. "The colorful design brightens up my classroom." www.jonti-craft.com ; $596.70.