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Hot Shot Business

What it is: The Disney website has a lot of engaging and fun content for kids, unfortunately, not all of it is educational.  Hot Shot Business is one of the better Disney games I have seen for the classroom.  It teaches kids about business and entrepreneurship through a fun simulation game.  Students are introduced to the idea of entrepreneurship and franchising by their virtual business hosts, Kate and Jack.  Kate and Jack offer advice and recommendations throughout the game.  The decisions that students will make throughout the game will have consequences that extend beyond profits and losses alone.  They will have to deal with environmental factors, as well as finding ways to provide jobs for members of the community.    Students can choose to start a pet spa, a candy factory, a comic shop, custom skateboard shop, professional landscaping, or a magic shop.  Kids are sure to find a business that they are interested in!  The entire game is narrated which is great for all levels of readers.  As students play the game, they will be exposed to the nuts and bolts of running their own business, they will have to make decisions about how to respond to market trends, how to respond to customer preferences, how to respond to fast breaking news reports that may affect their business,  and how to respond to ethical dilemmas.  Students even have access to a Hot Shot Business kit where they can download and print out business cards and fliers. How to integrate Hot Shot Business into the classroom: Hot Shot Business was designed to meet national standards in both language arts and math, making it fit easily into any curriculum.  The ideal setup for Hot Shot Business is a few days in the computer lab for a 1-to-1 setting where each student can work individually on setting up their own store.  Game play could extend for several days depending on the unit that you are teaching.  The Disney site has some excellent lesson plans and suggestions for implementation, I highly recommend them.  I like the idea of connecting with entrepreneurs in the community during this unit so that as students are working through the game, they can get advice and recommendations from those who do it every day. If you can’t make it happen in a computer lab setting over several days, choose a business to start as a class and make decisions as a team.  You can do this using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  In this scenario, students will have to discuss their decisions and reason with each other to decide on a course of action. Hot Shot Business is a really well designed game, it would be a great addition for the 3rd-6th grade classroom.  I suspect that it ties into several of the curricula already being used in schools, I know that Treasures (MacMillan McGraw Hill) has units that it fits nicely into.  This is great hands on learning, a definite step up from Lemonade Stand. Tips: This is a really great site, but I must warn you that it eats up the bandwidth! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Hot Shot Business 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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