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Weekend Website #40: NORAD Santa

Drop by every Friday to discover what wonderful website my classes and parents loved this week. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of yours as they are of mine.

santa site

Track Santa on Xmas Eve

Age:

Kindergarten-third grade

Topic:

logic games, thinking games

Address:

NORAD Tracks Santa

Review:

santa games

A village full of holiday games

There’s so much to like about this website. Target users are young children, so I like that this website requires little reading. Once they get to the site (I have a link on our classroom start page for NORAD Santa), they can watch a Santa video while I get everyone else logged on. They can also check out the real-time countdown of how long until Santa arrives while they’re watching the video (BTW, the video comes through YouTube so I have to stay on top of making sure they don’t stumble onto YouTube once the video ends). Once the movie ends(s, students click through to Santa’s Village (requires the skill of scrolling down the page and finding the link–hard for kindergartners, but we persevere).

Santa’s Village includes twenty-five games, added at a pace of one a day, for children to play as they await Santa. First, students must pay attention to detail (see the picture to the left), find the numbers of the games and know which day of the month it is so they select a game that is open. This is accompanied by festive holiday music.

christmas tree game

Christmas tree game--very popular

Games include holiday themed versions of popular kids games such as tic-tac-toe, Zippy Elf Word Sleuths, the Game Room, Ornament Collection, sledding games, Christmas Putt and Play, Snowball Warrior, and an MP3 player with music. In fact, every game is accompanied by holiday music which the students love. The favorite of my students is a Christmas tree that you connect the lights to make it work (it’s #10 in the Village). It takes a lot of logical thinking and if-then analysis. I have never seen an adult complete it, but my first graders love seeing who can do it the fastest (and they are fast. It took one little boy ninety seconds. I asked him how he did it. His answer: His dad tells him to look backwards for the answers and that’s what he did. Wow.). When they complete the tree, I have them print a screen shot (I get to teach them that skill through this exciting project), print it, sign it and hang it in the classroom project gallery.

On Christmas Eve, this site is where all children go to track Santa’s progress across the planet as he delivers his gifts. I share this with my parents so they’ll know when to get their kids in bed, allowing Santa to arrive in private. Parents like this part of the program.

This site is available only through Christmas. My students are always disappointed that they can’t play it out of the season, but they are on top of reminding me when the season is back and they can, again, play NORAD Santa.

–reprinted with permission © Ask a Tech Teacher

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