New & Noteworthy Apps and Websites - Feb 18

February 18, 2014
Ellen Holderman
Common Sense Education


Every Tuesday, we spotlight newly reviewed products that received a 4 or 5 editorial rating. Since we're focused this month on STEAM and critical thinking, we wanted to be sure to spotlight products that focus on these themes. This week's list brings us apps, games, and sites that help kids think critically, including a personalized tool that fosters meaningful learning, an app that brings the American Revolution to life, a writing app that helps students choose writing topics, and a website that teaches intro to filmmaking.

We invite you to add your voice to the conversation. Do you use one of these products in your classroom? Consider writing a Field Note to let other educators see how you integrate these tools into your lesson planning. For tips on writing a great Field Note, check out this step-by-step blog post.


Gooru is a great portal for supplementing classroom instruction, as well as encouraging students to learn on their own. A wide variety of high-interest resources are available through a search function that's intuitive for today's kids. Give students the opportunity to explore -- the interactive activities are bound to engage. Read full review.

Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere's Ride
This is an excellent way for kids to learn about the political events, important people like Paul Revere, and the daily lives of people during the American Revolution. As they work through the interactive story, mini-games, maps, illustrations, and more, kids get a solid first look at the main issues and people that led to the revolution. Read full review.

Write About This
Write About This answers the question "What should I write about?" by giving students 125 images with 375 different writing topics to choose from. They can search by keyword or category, or just select a randomly generated image and writing prompt. Read full review.

Generator is an free online film resource that gives kids the training and tools to make their own short films. Since it's from the Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI), some info is Australia-specific, but it's still applicable to any budding filmmaker. Read full review.