Featured Post

Stop Disasters

What it is: Stop Disasters is a collection of disaster simulation games created by the ISDR (International Strategy for Disaster Reduction).  As students play the games, they learn about natural disasters and actions that people can take to help protect themselves and others.  The student’s job is to plan and construct a safer environment for their population. Students must assess the disaster risk and try to limit damage when natural disasters strike.  Some advice that students are given within the game will be good and some of it will be bad, it is up to them to discern which is which.  Students can choose from 5 different scenarios, Tsunami, Earthquake, Hurricane, Wild Fire, and Flood.  Each scenario has 3 levels: easy, medium, and hard.  When students enter the simulation, they are greeted by a local who briefs them on the situation.  Students are given a budget and time limit to complete the necessary precautions.  After 20 min., the natural disaster occurs and tests their solutions.  Students develop the land and learn about their choices each step of the way.  During the game students can keep track of their budget, the population they are working to keep safe, a map and risk management map, and their remaining time.  The game is very engaging, it reminds me of the SIM City games that I played as a kid.  This game will put those critical thinking muscles to the test! How to integrate Stop Disasters into the classroom: Stop Disasters is an excellent game for teaching students about natural disasters through an engaging simulated environment.  It is up to each student to create solutions for their environment before the natural disaster occurs.  Students get immediate feedback during each development period and get to test their work when the natural disaster strikes.  This game is best played in a computer lab setting where each student has the opportunity to interact with the simulation individually.  A simulation game takes about 20-30 minutes to complete so make sure that your students have ample time to complete the game.  After students complete the simulation, bring them back together as a class and discuss choices that were made, why those choices were made, and what outcomes students observed.  Students can also write a reflection piece on what they might do differently next time.  Stop Disasters has quite a bit of reading embedded in game play, it is best for 4th-5th grade students and older.  If you are teaching younger students who won’t be able to read the site independently (or you don’t have access to a computer lab) the simulation can be run as a whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer. I found Stop Disasters while working on a unit in our Treasures curriculum that had the theme of natural disasters.  As an extension activity, students can create public service announcements about safety using a tool like Animoto or create safety posters for their population. Tips: Students can learn more about the ISDR on this site, when we are talking disasters with kids, it is always nice to have a place where they can learn about organizations that are working to help keep them safe.  This makes the topic less stressful and overwhelming for students. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Stop Disasters in your classroom.

Read More

Fluency Finder App: Updated with new features!

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, Interactive book, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 21-08-2013

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


Normally I post all of my app posts at my other blog, iPad Curriculum.  Because iDevices are becoming SO common place as a technology in the classroom, I’m going to start posting them here as well.  If you just want apps, head over to iPad Curriculum and you can search apps only!  Just like iLearn Technology, you can search any app by Bloom’s Taxonomy level.  All of the websites I share on iLearn Technology are completely FREE, the apps I review tend to be a mix of free and paid apps.  At the bottom of each post, I share the cost of the app.

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 2.29.31 PMFluency Finder

What it is: In the US it is back to school time!  I love these first days of school when you get to meet a new group of students and uncover their passions, strengths and weaknesses.  Fluency is one of those measures that is great to have from the beginning of the year because it means that we as teachers are armed with the background knowledge to help build reading confidence in students.   You can easily find and track fluency rates so that you have more time to help students strengthen reading skills and find books that are confidence-building and enjoyable for them.  I have written about Fluency Finder before (here), but I’m writing about it again because they have just come out with some great new features worth another mention!  Fluency Finder now has a data-sharing email function so that you can share fluency results with all stakeholders easily.  Comprehension questions have been built-in so now you have a one-step fluency and reading comprehension assessment.  Very handy!  Reading passages are being updated with a snapshot list so that you can quickly compare passages.  32 brand new passages are also being added from literary classics for 1st-8th grade reading levels.


I like Fluency Finder because of the way that it instantly calculates results and then stores them in your Student Record for instant access.  Really handy when you are in the library with students and want to quickly remind yourself of their current fluency levels to assist them in selecting the perfect, not-to-hard-book that will keep them reading with enjoyment.

How to integrate Fluency Finder app into the classroom:

Fluency Finder makes it simple to assess reading fluency in 1st-8th grade reading levels.  To get started:

  • Add students to the app
  • Select an appropriate grade level passage for the student to read
  • Print the passage from the www.fluencyfinder.com website (students could also read from their own iDevice or computer if you want to save paper)
  • Begin assessment, start the app timer as the student begins reading
  • Student will read from printed passage as you follow on your iDevice marking any mistakes
  • Tap the (+) button when student makes a reading mistake
  • Tap the (-) button if the student self-corrects a mistake
  • End the timer when the student finishes
  • Tap the “finish assessment” button to instantly see results

Now instead of focusing so much on keeping track of the fluency and score, you can focus on what actually matters: listening for fluency, comprehension and expression.

Being a paperless school, we are LOVING this option for helping students choose books that are at a level that is “just right.”  It gives us the opportunity to help students hunt down the perfect amount of challenge and really focus on a story they can love.  We are all about encouraging an absolute love of reading!

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 2.29.58 PM

Tips: Target Fluency Rates

First Grade: 60-70 wpm

Second Grade: 80-95 wpm

Third Grade: 100-120 wpm

Fourth Grade: 120-135 wpm

Fifth Grade: 130-145 wpm

Sixth Grade: 140-150 wpm

Seventh Grade: 150-160 wpm

Eighth Grade 160-175 wpm

Cost$6.99 (iTunes link)

Compatible with: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Fluency Finder in your classroom.

Comments (4)

[…] Finder is a great way to track reading fluency…start your school year with this great app! ilearntechnology.com/?p=5104 […]

[…] Fluency Finder App: Updated with new features! @ktenkely ilearntechnology.com/?p=5104 […]

Hi! My name is Kaley McDonald. I’m an Elementary Education major at the University of South Alabama. I took a class this past summer, which was a course to orient the study to the fundamentals in the teaching of reading, during which we were required to tutor a struggling reading student. For every session we always began and finished with a Running Record. It is an assessment that requires you to follow along as a student reads while marking mistakes, self-corrections, and assessing whether the student displays adequate reading rate and expression. The Fluency Finder App is absolutely genius! It can be challenging to locate reading material that is level appropriate. It is also difficult to do these types of assessments with pencil and paper while remembering all that you’re looking for and what symbols go where and mean what. The data-sharing email function, comprehension questions, reading passages, and student record storage would provide easy access for teachers, ultimately saving an enormous amount of time and paper. Another awesome attribute is that it is reasonably priced and so worth it! I would recommend this app to any teacher who is searching for an updated technological assessment for fluency.

Hello, Thank for this information about Ipad Curriculum. I will share with my coworkers about the Fluency Finder app. I currently teaching Math but I know the Reading teachers will love this app. Please continue to write about any new apps or new technology being used in your classroom.

Write a comment