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Word Girl Definition Competition: Live vocabulary game show!

What it is: Mark your calendars now for the Word Girl Definition Competition on April 27, 2011; this is a live vocabulary event being hosted by Scholastic and is free to participate in!  You must register by April 22 to recieve your webcast event kit, participate in the definition competition, and be entered for a chance to win books and Word Girl prizes.  The Word Girl Definition Competition is a fun way to engage students with vocabulary words in a fun, interactive context.  The competition includes a 30 minute live webcast where students will enrich their vocabulary and have fun.  This will also be the kick off to the Scholastic summer challenge to get students excited about books and reading throughout the summer. The competition is made up of 3 rounds plus a bonus round.  The competition will be in game-show format, students will be challenged to work those vocabulary skills as they answer questions pertaining to word usage, definitions, using words in different contexts, and reading comprehension.  Your students will play along with the game in real time by submitting answers online during the webcast and may be called out during the event.  This event will help your students understand the meaning of words, use context clues for correct word usage, leverage visuals to define words, draw on existing vocabulary knowledge, and present vocabulary words in varied and interesting ways.  Fun right?! How to integrate Word Girl Definition Competition into the classroom: This one is a no brainer, if you teach elementary students this is an event that your class should participate in.  Word Girl making vocabulary fun as it is, combine that with a fun LIVE game show format and you have got yourself a winner.  This would be a great event to involve your students in and will have them flexing those vocabulary muscles.  I love that this competition isn’t just focused on definitions but on helping students learn strategies for decoding words using visualization strategies and context clues…those are skills that can be easily transferred!  Sign up your students today to participate in this fun, friendly competition! Prior to the competition, build up some excitement and squeeze in some extra vocabulary practice by giving your students the opportunity to play on the Word Girl website.  This could be done as a center in the classroom or in a one to one environment. Tips: If you aren’t familiar with the Word Girl website, be sure to check it out here. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Word Girl in your classroom!

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Algebra Lab

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Science, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 01-10-2012

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What it is:  Algebra Lab may not be much to look at graphically speaking, but the resources here are pretty stupendous!  Algebra Lab was created by Mainland High School teachers in partnership with Georgia Southern University and a host of student assistance.  The site includes really well done lessons, activities, practice pages (online), study aids, glossary, and word problems.  Algebra Lab is like a free, living textbook.  It has enough substance to help students work their way through algebra, while understanding the connections to how that algebra is used in a practical sense.  I didn’t appreciate Algebra until I took physics and chemistry.  When I saw what those equations I learned were actually used for, I could appreciate the learning requirements in algebra.  Algebra Lab does a beautiful job of helping students learn algebra within a context so that they really get a grasp of what these numbers are doing.

How to integrate Algebra Lab into your curriculum: I have enjoyed watching the debate over Algebra unfold in the last year or so.  One side of the argument asks if it is really necessary that EVERY child be required to take algebra.  The other side argues that algebra has great thinking skills that it develops, it gives students additional tools to understand the world through math.  I’m not sure where I land on this debate.  I don’t know that I believe that algebra should be a requirement for every child, and yet I think that my exposure to algebra was valuable.  Maybe the debate just needs to be reframed…HOW should algebra be taught?  I’m all for things being taught within context.  If you can teach any subject in a way that sheds light on other learning it is valuable.  I love when students make the connections between something like ratios and a site like Miniature Earth.  They not only get excited about the math (yes, really) they see a purpose for wanting to learn more about how it works.  Sometimes I think our job of teachers is really to help students see the overlaps that occur in learning so that they can make connections and have a cause to want to dig deeper.

I digress…

Algebra Lab is a great resource for math (and non-math) teachers.  Here you will find lessons, activities, word problems and practice opportunities for students.  Students can directly access the site, or you (the teacher) can pull ideas out to use within any other teaching you are doing.  The site is great for students to explore on their own (blended learning algebra style) or with guidance from a teacher.  As a non-math teacher, I appreciate the way the site helps me think like a math teacher.  It reminds me how all of these pieces connect to other learning.

Tips: If you have a one-to-one setting, students can practice directly on the website for immediate feedback.  Very helpful!

***Want to do your part as a CHANGE MAKER in personalized education?  Check out, support and spread the word about the Learning Genome Project!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Algebra Lab in your classroom!

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