This week, I was in my daughter's 1st grade classroom during reading time and observed students using online phonics activities from Starfall.com. The teacher was at her reading table with about 6 students and the remaining 18 students were working independently at various stations/centers. She had the cutest computer center. She had a low round table with 6 laptops around it. The students sat on a stylish fluffy rug while working on the computer. She had a stylish umbrella in the middle of the circular table to make the kids feel like they were working outside on a patio. All the students were 100% engaged in the online phonics activities and not one of them interrupted the teacher for tech support or instructions. They were so tech savvy and happily worked independently.
Great suggestion...Your daughter is so fortunate to have such a creative teacher! Yes, I use starfall.com quite a bit with my students (however, have never set up a patio umbrella).
Not only is there basic phonics instruction (letters and sounds) included in the website, it incorporates reading comprehension of short stories, plays and fables, too. It also coordinates a calendar and seasonal activities that students enjoy.
Starfall also offers a complete packet of printable resources that can be used to reinforce instruction or sent home for practice. My students from grades K to 3 love working with it....Thanks again for bringing it to our attention, and with those clever ideas for "outdoor" centers, which I just my try!