Featured Post

Game for Science

What it is: Game for Science has to be one of the coolest virtual worlds for kids.  This virtual world is dedicated to getting kids excited about science and technology.  Students can explore various virtual islands where they will learn about health, aeronautics, genomics, environment, engineering and more.  Students can learn more about science careers, what scientists do, play games, learn interesting facts, and explore science photos and videos.  Students can play the Game for Science as a tourist without registering, or they can register for an account (this requires an email address with confirmation).  This is an outstanding way for kids to get excited about science and technology.  As students travel through the virtual world, they can collect neurons (smart stars) by answering questions and playing games.  The neurons can be used to purchase items for their avatar. How to integrate Game for Science into the classroom: Game for Science is a great way to introduce new science topics or areas of science.  The virtual world will capture interest and keep students wanting to learn more about each topic.  If you teach younger students (without email addresses), visit the virtual world as a class on the interactive whiteboard or the projector.  Give each student a turn to direct the journey through Game for Science.  The rest of the class can jot down observations in a science notebook that can be used in later learning and experiments.  Students who can read independently can visit the site individually on classroom computers as a science center or in a computer lab setting.  Older students can register for an account and earn neuron points for their characters.  This is a fun site for students just to explore and interact with; however, for use in the classroom, you can direct students to specific islands to study.  For example, as you begin a unit on the environment, students can visit the corresponding island.  Game for Science makes for a great jumping off point that will grab students attention and interest in the subject they will be learning about. Tips: There is a chat feature on the registered version of Game for Science, this allows students to interact as they discover new islands and talk science. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Game for Science in your classroom.

Read More

Podcast Summit

Posted by admin | Posted in Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources | Posted on 20-02-2008

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

1

As promised I want to share some of the incredible uses of podcasting in the classroom that I heard at the Colorado Podcast Summit yesterday. One of the keynote speakers was ISTE Primary Teacher of the Year Carol Greig. Her Keynote entitled “Podcasting for the Struggling Reader” was truly inspiring. Carol teaches kindergarten in the Eugene School District in Oregon, here she started a podcasting program for her struggling readers called Reading Buddies. The Reading Buddies program uses several iPod shuffles that are loaded with reading lessons (created and recorded by Carol) that go home with the students. Carol said something that I think rings true with educators everywhere, “No one can teach my students as well as I can.” Reading Buddies allowed Carol to go home with her students every night using the iPod. The goal of the Reading Buddies program was to help struggling readers reach the benchmark. Carol loaded the iPods with reading lessons based on the individual child’s needs, this provided guided learning at home with and extended student learning. In the Reading Buddies packs Carol included vocabulary picture cards which she created, fluency cards, a book or two and the iPod Shuffle. A sample lesson might sound something like this: “Take out the green picture card. What picture do you see first? That’s right, a cat! Cat starts with the letter C. Cat, Cat. What is the next picture?” Carol pauses after a question so that the students have time to think and respond. The Reading Buddies program helps kids with vocabulary, fluency, alphabetic principal, rhyming, phoneme segmentation, and literature. The iPod “buddies” have been a huge success with 99% of students reaching the reading benchmark by the end of the year. Carol started getting calls from parents requesting that their student be a part of the Reading Buddy program, parents and other educators in the district started offering help to create the recordings for the Reading Buddies. At the end of the first year a parent called to thank her for the wonderful program and things it had done for her son, but she also benefited. After her son went to bed, the mother would listen to the reading buddy and follow along, she learned English by listening to her kindergarten son’s Reading Buddy! There are some good rules that were set up for the students who have reading buddies, each child was told that only the child who was given the Reading Buddy was allowed to use it, if a Buddy was lost or broken the students family was responsible for replacing it. It is a privelege that can be taken away if the Buddies were not cared for. They have never had to take a Buddy away or replace one that was lost or broken by a student. The future of the Reading Buddies program includes expansion to other grades, older students could have their anthologies or science text recorded on the Shuffle. The Reading Buddies program won the presidential award for reading and technology…it is easy to see why!

The new iPod Nano would be great to use as a reading buddy because students could have audio and visual presented. The Shuffles are nice because they are so affordable (the 1G just dropped to $49 yesterday!) I am hoping to get a Reading Buddy Program up and running at my school. I will keep you posted with any success stories or lessons learned!

Comments (1)

[…] and help students develop a love for story.  Books Should Be Free is a great way to start a Reading Buddies program at your school with some MP3 players or iPods that can go home with students loaded up with […]

Write a comment

*