As 2006 drew to a close, I took some time to review all the sites I recommended this year, and pick five favorites. Although TIME magazine highlighted the importance of user- contributed content in naming "You" Person of the Year, here in my corner of the world, the best educational content is still created by small teams of talented wizards. Not to downplay the importance of YouTube, MySpace, Flickr or Facebook in the online culture, but my quest for the best takes me to far different corners of the Web.
The official Nobel Prize site is not at all stuffy or pretentious, and really makes the work of the winners come alive. My favorite section is Educational Games, which houses dozens of fun, interactive activities based on the work of Prize winners. Other site highlights are Nobel Laureates Facts (only thirty-three women have won the coveted award) and Internet TV with interviews and lectures by the Laureates.
"In many ways we are still living in a Renaissance world. And you can see the origins of our world in the visual arts of the Renaissance." Although I normally skip as fast as I can over Flash intros, I did enjoy this one. Turn on your speakers to hear the accompanying music. The Renaissance Connection is one of my annual picks because of its creative interface and six lesson plans in PDF. Visit to explore the life of a Renaissance artist or to imagine yourself a patron of arts.
SFSKids is on my list because of its friendly animated interface. Learn about the instrument families, and then explore the rest of the site. My favorite feature is The Radio, which consists of six channels, each featuring a different musical theme. For example, Channel Two is Big Moments, and includes Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, and Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (among others.)
Silverstein's Official Site for Kids is a joy to play around in. The high-bandwidth version has more bounce, but they both have the same basic content. Visit for the games (such as Finish Shel's Poems), the terrific printables (a coloring book, a bookmark, and two Poetry Kits) and to watch animated video clips from Silverstein's poems and books (some performed by Silverstein himself.) To view the animations, click on To Memorize Tomorrow, and then choose a Silverstein book.
The Walt Whitman Archive is a pick because of the breadth of its resources. Visit for a biography, contemporary literary criticism, a gallery of photographs, and complete e-texts of many of his works. My favorite click is a thirty-six second MP3 audio clip of what is thought to be Whitman reciting four lines from his "America" poem. The original recording was made on a wax cylinder well over a hundred years ago!