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If you’ve ever read a post on iLearn Technology and thought, “man! That is way cool, I wonder how they do that at Anastasis?” Now is your opportunity to find out! We are hosting our first education conference in February. 5 Sigma Edu Conference I. Can. Not. Wait!! We have early bird...

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Library for All Six Degrees of Education

Posted by admin | Posted in education reform, Grade Level, inspiration, Language Arts, Teacher Resources | Posted on 24-06-2014

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I greatly appreciate people who recognize a problem and work in new, innovative ways to solve it. Today I learned about Library for All, who has just launched a truly innovative campaign to eradicate illiteracy in the developing world. The campaign is called Six Degrees of Education. Library for All is building on the theory of “six degrees of separation” to reach some key donors and influencers, such as George Lucas and Queen Rania. People who can help achieve the mission of providing access to books for millions of children in developing countries through the Library for all digital library.

Check out the Six Degrees of Education Library For All page and let’s see how our six degrees of separation can help spread literacy virally! Share on social media sites, when you are chatting with friends, or networking at a conference. According to the the six degrees of separation, if everyone who read this blog participated, we could help Library for All reach this goal in no time!

I relish the summer time because it provides me the opportunity to read, learn, and read some more. Everyone should know that gift! We can help, join me in spreading the word about Library for All’s Six Degrees of Education Campaign!

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

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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!

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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.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week Goodies from Learning a-z

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Language Arts, Podcasts, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 07-05-2012

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What it is: It’s teacher appreciation week!  One thing that I quickly learned in starting a school, teachers ARE the school. I always appreciate companies that recognize and honor this.  Learning a-z is holding an Open House during teacher appreciation weeks which gives you free access to all 6 of their sites for the whole week.  It also happens to be their 10 year anniversary, to celebrate they are giving away 10 free licenses each day of this week.  Learning A-Z is an excellent resource that I have used for ages.  Sites include: Reading A-Z which is a great collection of printable and projectable books and resources for 27 different levels; Raz-Kids which is a student-centered site where kids can practice reading online; Vocabulary a-z where you will find 12,000+ pre-made vocabulary words where you can build custom lists for students; Science a-z which delivers science curriculum resources across more than 60 units and includes three reading levels for each; Writing a-z which contains everything you need to teach writing in your classroom; and Reading-Tutors which provides more that 400 reading resource packets to use for one-on-one tutoring.

Be sure to take advantage of these great resources that are being offered FREE to you this week (May 7-11).

How to integrate Learning A-Z Open House into the classroom: The materials and resources at Learning A-Z are wonderful.  I like the way they are available at the touch of a button so that you can instantly customize resources and lessons for students on the fly.  Learning A-Z is like an instant boost to your classroom library.  Students have additional resources that they can access both at school and at home.  When I was a new teacher, Learning A-Z was a lifeline!  I didn’t have a great classroom library built up yet and I didn’t have the money to go out and build it up immediately.  Learning A-Z helped me give students exactly what they needed, when they needed it.  My second grade students loved the printed books, they would often color them, take them home and read them over and over again.  It gave them a sense of ownership over their reading.

Learning A-Z resources are great book-buddies for home.  One year, I podcasted all of these (I wish I had saved them so I could share!) and sent my students home with the book and an iPod nano so they could read along at home.  This was wonderful for the kids that didn’t have someone reliable at home to read with.

I also used the Learning A-Z resources as part of my literacy and science tub work.  You can learn more about tub work here. 

The resources can be used for individual students or for a whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  Be sure to set up your classroom computers with these resources for your students this week!

Tips: Learning A-Z isn’t always a free resource, but they always offer some free material for you to access.  You may find after this week that you would like a subscription.  Be sure to register for the license give away…great end of the year present!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Learning A-Z in  your classroom!

TED-Ed: Lessons (videos) worth sharing

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Evaluate, History, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, TED Talk Tuesdays, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 26-04-2012

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What it is: I have long been a TED talk fan, so much so that I started a lunch group at my previous school called TED Talk Tuesdays where teachers could gather over lunch, watch TED Talks and discuss it’s implication on education.  TED has a brand new education site that I am excited about.  TED-ed is a collection of educational video lessons that have been animated.  These lessons can be used as a supplement in any classroom.  Each video on the TED-ed site has an associated lesson, a Quick Quiz with multiple choice comprehension questions, Think which asks questions to help students think more critically about what they have watched, and Dig Deeper which helps students to explore the topic further.  In addition to the videos, TED-ed gives educators the ability to “flip” videos.  You can use, tweak, or completely re-do any lesson that is featured on TED-Ed, or even create lessons from scratch based on any video from YouTube.  You can re-title a lesson to fit your classroom, add context, questions and follow-up suggestions, and create a custom URL for your video lesson.  You can even track your student’s progress to see who has viewed the assigned video, the number of questions they attempted, the answers they provided, and the answers they got correct.

How to integrate TED-Ed into the classroom:  TED-Ed is a fantastic new resource for the classroom.  The videos can be used for flip teaching.  Flip teaching changes up the classroom model.  Normally students come to school to get instruction and do their practice work at home as homework.  In a flipped teaching model, the instruction is watched at home as “homework” and the practice happens in the classroom where students can receive teacher support.  This means that the focus in the classroom is on higher-order thinking and learning skills instead of on instruction.  How novel. :) Student can come to class ready for deeper inquiry, critical thinking, discussion with classmates, collaboration and get more personalized attention from the teacher.  You maximize classroom time by “going home” with the students.

Video is a great medium for learning because it allows students to learn at their own pace and gives them the ability to replay as many times as they need to.  Visuals are always useful when learning something new, video is a great medium because of the way that it helps enhance understanding through the use of visuals. 

Videos are searchable by those that have been featured, those that are part of a series or by subject.  Students can learn about the arts, business/economics, design/engineering/technology, health, literature/language, math, psychology, science/technology, and social studies.  The library will continue to grow as teachers flip the videos and TED-ed adds content from educators around the world.

The videos are great in a flipped classroom model but can also be used within the classroom.  Videos can be watched and discussed as a whole-class or put on classroom computers as a learning center.  When I taught second grade, I made sure that I had time individually with my students each week.  In the mornings, my students worked on groups with “tub work” to make this time possible with individual students.  These videos would make a great “second teacher” in a blended learning classroom where students could continue their learning while you work with students individually. 

Tips: Remember, if you don’t find a video that meets your classroom needs, you can always flip any video you find on YouTube!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using TED-ed in  your classroom!

An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton: Free online

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Interactive book, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 12-04-2012

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What it is:  Dallas Clayton created An Awesome Book for his son.  The book is about the idea of dreaming BIG and never giving up.  He decided to self publish and worked hard to spread the love of reading the world over.  Since then, Clayton has offered his book free online (lucky us!) and started a foundation to give away one book for every copy of An Awesome Book he sells.

How to integrate An Awesome Book into the classroom: An Awesome Book is an awesome book about dreaming big dreams.  It is a great book that encourages kids to believe in themselves and in those fantastic dreams that they have.  An Awesome Book is wonderful for reading as a whole class on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  You could also set up An Awesome Book on classroom computers for students to read through independently.  Fantastic!

When students are finished reading, ask them to create their own awesome books with their big dreams.

Tips: To learn more about An Awesome Book and it’s creator, Dallas Clayton, check out the Very Awesome World Website.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using An Awesome Book  your classroom!

BookSource: Classroom Library Organzier

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, iPod, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 21-02-2012

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What it is: Book Source has a pretty incredible tool called the Classroom Library Organizer.  A FREE account on Classroom Organizer let’s you digitally build and keep track of your classroom library, import BookSource orders, import student rosters, track book conditions, generate reports, and more.  All of this equals one thing for your classroom library: organization.  For an organizational freak like me this is heaven!  It makes it SO easy to track your classroom library, check in and out books to students, keep them located where they are supposed to be located in your classroom.  Basically it is a miracle worker (not to overstate it or anything).  As a teacher you can create book rules (like what you are prompted to enter in about a book upon return or how many days books can be checked out), you can choose which fields to display (including reading levels, word counts and interest level), and which fields to display to students.  You can even view reports about students reading habits.  Pretty handy.  And free. Did I mention free?
So, how does this nifty little tool work?  You won’t be spending your time typing in information about each and every book you own, that would be WAY too tedious…not to mention time consuming.  Classroom Organizer comes with a handy little (free) app for your smart phone.  Search “BookSource” in your app store, download the free app and you are armed and ready to go.  The app lets you scan ISBN barcodes on the back of books.  In a few seconds you have a complete entry for the book including the name of the book, the author, reading level, interest level, etc.  This gets automatically added to your classroom library.  You can even set a location on the book so that it is returned to exactly the location it came from.  SO smart!
Now for the downside: The site is not very explanatory.  You have to play around a bit to find what you are looking for and figure it out.  There are no “about” pages or even cues from the home page about what all the tool does.  As a blogger and a teacher, I find that annoying.  I don’t always have time to sit and figure a tool out without a little pizazz that says “don’t forget to look at me!”.  It is a small thing really, the tool isn’t hard to use at all, just not very consumer friendly…it doesn’t sell itself until you play.

How to integrate BookSource Classroom Organizer into the classroom:  Do you have a classroom library? Do you like organization?  Enough said!
We are using this as our only library tracking system at Anastasis since we are so small.  I started adding books to our library today.  If you don’t have time to do this yourself, enlist some of your students to scan books as part of their classroom job or clean up time.
Students can use Classroom Organizer to help them find books to read.  They can search by interest level, reading level, author, etc.
Tips:  If you use BookSource there are even more built in goodies to help you out!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using BookSource Classroom Organizer in  your classroom!

Literature Map- The Tourist Map of Literature

Posted by admin | Posted in Evaluate, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 22-06-2011

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What it is: Literature Map is a neat little web tool that I learned about from Samantha, an iLearn Technology reader. Thanks Samantha!  Literature Map makes it simple to discover new authors.  Student’s can type in the name of a favorite author and instantly get a cloud of related authors.  The closer two writers are together on the map, the more likely someone will like both of them.  Any of the authors in the cloud can be selected to see the authors related to them.

How to integrate Literature Map into the classroom: Isn’t it wonderful to find an author that you can’t get enough of?  Literature Map helps students in the discovery of new authors based on authors they know they like.  Tools like Literature Map can act as a catalyst in uncovering the love for reading.  Literature Map would be a great site to bookmark on classroom computers or in the library.  Students won’t be stuck in the “I don’t know what to read” or the “I can’t find anything to read” rut.

In the intermediate classroom or middle/high school classroom, ask students to choose two authors from the Literature Map to compare and contrast.  Students can dig into writing style, genre and author study as they compare/contrast.

Tips: If you don’t find an author listed, you can contribute to Literature Map so that others can benefit from your recommendations.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Literature Map  in your classroom!

Books Should Be Free: Free Audio Books from the Public Domain

Posted by admin | Posted in Download, Interactive book, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 25-05-2011

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What it is: Books Should Be Free is a fantastic collection of audio books that students can download and listen to for free from the public domain.  Books are easily searchable by genre, keyword, title or author.  Books can be downloaded as MP3 files, iPod or iTunes format.  Each book includes a description of the book, full text from Project Gutenberg, a Wikipedia link, and the audio download.  Students can play a snippet of the audio before deciding to download.  The collection is pretty impressive, including my favorite classics.

How to integrate Books Should Be Free into the classroom: Not every child has an extensive collection of books at home, or parents who model a love of reading.  Books Should Be Free expands every classroom and home library by giving students access to some of the most loved books of all time.  Students can download both the audio and accompanying text for a read along or simply listen to the audio file.  Audio books help students build comprehension, fluency and help students develop a love for story.  Books Should Be Free is a great way to start a Reading Buddies program at your school with some MP3 players or iPods that can go home with students loaded up with good books.

Tips: Looking for some more ebooks to expand your classroom library?  Check these out!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Books Should Be Free in your classroom!

March Project PLN: The 21st Century Library

Posted by admin | Posted in Project PLN | Posted on 15-03-2011

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Hot off the press, the March issue of Project PLN is here! This month we focused on reading, we got fantastic posts about reading, 21st century libraries and media specialists.  This is a fantastic issue packed with great ideas and a clear passion for literacy.  We hope you enjoy the March issue and will contribute to the April issue!

For the April issue: Mistakes. We have all made them. Sometimes it is easy to forget about them and move on, but we feel that mistakes are an important part of what makes an educator. We tell students to learn from their mistakes because it will help them grow as a person. Educators are not different. We love to share are greatest success with the world, but sometimes our slips can provide support for all of the teachers out there who think they are the only one to make a mistake.  Share your learning with all of us by sending your posts (remember these can be re-posts you have already written.  Send us what you’ve got to projectpln10@gmail.com


projectpln10 – The March Issue – The 21st Century Library

Create Your OpenZine

 

Once again, thank you to all who contribute and help Nick (@thenerdyteacher) and I pull this off each month.  I feel so lucky to be working with Nick to pull these outstanding posts together into one magazine that I get to share with all of you!  It is fun to meet more of our PLN up-close and personal.

Thanksgiving: Plimoth Plantation Virtual Field Trip

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 15-11-2010

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What it is: Scholastic has a wonderful site and interactive for students to investigate the first Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow, November 16th (2010), your class can participate in a Plimoth Plantation Virtual Field Trip.  In this 30 minute online field trip your students will get to meet a Pilgrim and a Wampanoag—straight from Plimoth Plantation.  This Virtual Field Trip brings the Plimoth Plantation Museum to your students. This is sure to be a fun trip where your students can experience the first Thanksgiving in a new way.  In addition to the field trip, your students will receive “letters” (emails) from the Pilgrims and Wampanoags making the experience even more memorable.   The site has the original interactive activities for your students to explore before or after the field trip.  Download the free classroom guide and sign up today!

How to integrate Thanksgiving: Plimoth Plantation Virtual Filed Trip to your curriculum: This virtual field trip is a fun way for your students to “experience” the first Thanksgiving.  Students will begin to understand what life was like for the Pilgrims and Wampanoags that first Thanksgiving and hear first hand what struggles they faced.   The virtual field trip brings the actors from the Plimoth Museum into your classroom.  Watch the field trip from your classroom using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer or bring several classes together in a larger space like the library.  After the field trip, set up classroom computers with the rest of the Scholastic Thanksgiving activities. Here students can explore the Mayflower, learn about daily life of the pilgrims and the Wampanoags, and check out the first Thanksgiving feast.  Scholastic provides a wonderful teaching guide that will help you use this site to its fullest.

Tips: Here are some of my other tried and true favorite sites for Thanksgiving:

Black Dog’s Thanksgiving fun and games

Scholastic’s First Thanksgiving

Investigating the First Thanksgiving

Free Rice and see how we used it as a Thanksgiving activity here

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Thanksgiving: Plimoth Plantation Virtual Field Trip in your classroom!