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Secret Builders

  What it is:  You have undoubtedly heard of virtual world Second Life and its growing popularity in the education realm.  Second life has some amazing educational opportunities for older students (students must be 13 years or older to have an account) but nothing for the elementary age student.  Enter Secret Builders, an enchanting virtual world designed specifically for elementary age children.  Virtual worlds like this are highly engaging for all ages and allow students to interact with each other in new ways.  Secret Builders can be used to supplement different topics including literature, arts, science, and humanities.  One of my favorite features, is the ability for students to interact with historical figures like Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland, Galileo, and more!  Students can visit these historical figures homes and ask them questions.  There is a magazine in Secret Builders called The Crooked Pencil where students can submit writing to be published.  There are learning games to play that, like Free Rice, donate to a charitable cause for correct answers.  Students build up points by completing quests and can use the points to purchase things in Secret Builders.     How to integrate Secret Builders into the classroom:   Secret Builders is a really neat site, students will love the online world and ability to connect with other students online.  Secret Builders is more than just a ‘game’ sort of site though, there is a lot of learning to be done here!  Students can build netiquette skills, computer skills, and learn about humanities, arts and literature all in Secret Builders.  Students can write stories in Writers Block, go on a quest which requires logic skills and weaves in arts and humanities, perform a play in the Theater, solve puzzles, and interact with others.   This is a really neat alternative to worksheets and traditional story writing.  I think that the opportunity for students to interact with historical figures and tour their virtual home is fantastic!  I hope that they continue to add historical figures, I would have loved this sort of history environment! The ability for students to play games and earn real money for charities is a wonderful motivator for students and great for building character education.   Tips:   Secret Builders encourages student and teacher suggestions, if you have an idea, let them know…you may just add the next cool feature to the Secret Builders world!  Take a look at the Teacher page for some great classroom tie-ins and features.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Secret Builders in your classroom.

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Media 4 Math: Math in the News

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 10-12-2012

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What it is: Media 4 Math: Math in the News helps students view current events through the “prism of mathematics.”  Every week features a new story that makes headlines and the underlying mathematical story gets extracted.  The Math in the News site is a little bit confusing to navigate at first (it isn’t really clear where to find each issue of Math in the News).  Scroll down to see an archive of stories.  Each entry has a Slideshare version of the presentation, a YouTube version or the Math in the News app version.  These presentations are full lessons with embedded background knowledge articles and videos, data  sets, current event explanations and a walk through of how to solve.

In addition to Math in the News, Media 4 Math also has Math Tutorials, Promethean Flipcharts, Powerpoint slideshows, Math Labs, Print Resources, a Video Gallery, Math Solvers and more.  I really like the Math Solvers, students can choose a problem type, input their own data and see a breakdown of how to solve the problem.  The Math Labs include PDF worksheets and YouTube Videos that lead them through real-math problem sets.

How to integrate Media 4 Math: Math in the News into the classroom: Media 4 Math: Math in the News is a fantastic way to help your students make the connection between the upper-level math they are learning and life. I’m fairly certain that every math teacher in history has heard “what are we ever going to use this for?”  This site helps students not only see that math is everywhere, but also walks them through how to think mathematically.  There are plenty of resources that walk students through common mathematical functions.  This site is a great supplement to any math curriculum!

With new content weekly, your curriculum will be fresh and relevant!  Share Math in the News using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer, as a math center on classroom computers, individually with laptops or iPads, etc.   Flip your math class and have students explore a Math Tutorial to prepare them for the next day of learning.  Then they can test a few scenarios in Math Solvers and come up with their own explanation of the concept.  In class, students can work with you to solidify and practice the learning.

Tips: Sign up for the free weekly newsletter to have Math in the News delivered right to your inbox.  Do you have a classroom iPad?  Math in the News now has an app!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Math in the News in your classroom.

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