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Scotch: Science Fair Central

  What it is:   Scotch Science Fair Central is a website collaboration between Scotch brand products from 3M and Discovery Education.  The site is a wealth of free resources for creating innovative science fair projects.  The site leads students step by step through creating a science fair project starting with choosing a project idea.   Students can search through multiple science topics in life sciences, earth science, or physical science.  Within each of these topics is several subcategories and then ideas based on a testable question, what is tested, and what data is collected.  This site is very comprehensive and will have your students thinking like a scientist in no time!  The site then leads students through the steps of differentiating their project between investigations and inventions so they can choose the appropriate project type.  Step two actually leads them through the investigation or invention process depending on which project type was chosen.  Step three takes students through the process of creating the actual presentation portion of the science fair project.  There is a great section of parent resources as well as a section for science fair coordinators. How to integrate Scotch: Science Fair Central into the classroom:  Science fair projects have the potential to teach students a lot.  They learn organization, responsibility, the scientific process, observation, testing, inquiry, problem solving, and critical thinking.  Science fair projects are extremelly worthwhile when they are accompanied by a quality process that students can follow.  I remember years when the science fair meant quickly pulling something ‘scientific’ together (two cans with a string in between to show sound travel) with very little gained from the project.  This was due in part to being assigned a science fair project without understanding the basis of how scientists work and think.  Scotch: Science Fair Central solves this dilemma because students are led step-by-step through the scientific process and along the way learn how a scientist thinks.  Before you assign a science fair project, spend a day in the computer lab with students and let them go through this site and begin to plan their science fair project.  I love how this site is organized into different types of science because it gives every student the opportunity to find a project that they are interested in and motivated by.  If you don’t have access to the lab, set up a science fair planning center on your classroom computers or guide your students through the site with a computer and projector.  If you are a science teacher, take a look at this great resource and use the planning guide to plan a school science fair.   Tips:  Be sure to send this site home to parents, they will appreciate the parent section as they help their child at home.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Scotch: Science Fair Central in your classroom.

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Rewordify: help kids understand what they read

Posted by admin | Posted in Evaluate, Inquiry, Interactive book, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), web tools | Posted on 14-08-2013

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Rewordify-understand what you read iLearn Technology

What it is: Rewordify is a neat online app that helps struggling readers, ESL/ELL students, etc. improve their reading comprehension and vocabulary development.  Students can copy and paste a difficult passage into Rewordify and it instantly transforms the text by highlighting words it has substituted with more common/easily understood, language.  Students can click on the highlighted word to view the original word that was replaced.

Teachers can use Rewordify to create vocabulary activities from any high-interest reading passage, make over 350 classics more accessible, and show students how to surf the web the way a strong reader does.

Settings within Rewordify let students adjust how they interact with difficult passages based on their own preferences and learning needs.

How to integrate Rewordify into your classroom:  Rewordify is a fantastic web app for struggling readers (or any reader!).  Often, non-fiction can be difficult for students to read and understand.  Even strong readers can struggle with the new vocabulary and terms used.  Rewordify simplifies the text so that students can read through it successfully for comprehension.  It doesn’t stop there!  Since all of the words that were reworded are highlighted, students can see new vocabulary in context.  Rewordify can help students build up the ability to recognize context clues and how to use them to increase comprehension.

Anastasis is inquiry based.  We do a LOT of research, even with our youngest students.  The Internet is packed with fantastic resources for learning, but these resources are typically not created with student readers in mind.  As a result, students may struggle through a text and lose out on some of the rich learning in the process.  Rewordify is a great solution for us because students can quickly copy and paste text into Rewordify (works on iPads too!) and instantly read a more student friendly version of the text.

Classic literature is classic for a reason.  This literature holds timeless truths, superior storytelling and enchanting characters.  Students rarely choose to read the classics on their own because the language can add a difficult layer to the reading, causing the story to be lost in the frustration.  Rewordify has more than 350 classics built-in to be read directly on the site.  Students can choose a book to read, modify their settings of how they would like to view the words, and jump right in.  Students can choose to have the words default to the easier, modified word; can ask Rewordify to highlight words that it would have changed so that they can click on the word if they need an alternative; or see both versions of the word in context side by side.

ESL/ELL students will enjoy this site for the way that it allows them autonomy in their reading and vocabulary development.

Rewordify is also a great way for students to learn and practice vocabulary and discovering new synonyms for words.  Any text can be added to Rewordify, high school students could plug-in their own writing to determine if they have used interesting language.  If nothing is highlighted, there could be some work to do on word choice.

If you only have one or two computers available to students in your classroom, why not set up a bookmark to Rewordify that students can visit as needed during research, reading, etc.?  Students will be empowered to read anything they encounter with increased confidence.

Tips: In addition to the classics, you will also see a variety of news websites and articles that work well with Rewordify.  Whole pages of the site are automatically reworded for ease of understanding.

What do you think of Rewordify?  How do you plan to use it in your classroom?

Comments (2)

[…] though, so i’m including a link to an excellent explanation from Kelly Tenkely’s blog. http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=5100 > > > Susan Stephenson > http://www.thebookchook.com > > […]

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