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Childtopia Games

What it is: Childtopia is like 10 websites in one…they have so many cool things going on that I am going to break it down into sections so stay tuned… Childtopia Games is the biggest section with games that are psychologist recommended. Games include: memory games, language, math, skill,...

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SNAP Learning Close Reading System

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 16-09-2014

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Recently, SNAP Learning invited me to review their Close Reading Portfolio. Wow! I’m so glad they did! The SNAP Close Reading Portfolio is really great.

Close Reading

What it is: SNAP Learning Close Reading Portfolio is a complete online program comprised of a series of interactive exercises that guide students in the meaning of words and sentences, how sentences are sequenced and arranged, and how ideas are developed in a text. The books online are engaging and all of the tools are so well integrated that students learn about strategies that should be employed while reading and are not just left reading text that is online. As a teacher, you can create student groups and assign reading collections to groups based on their needs. Online books can be filtered by Lexile level, FP level, grade level, fiction/non/fiction, etc. Create a collection for students easily and assign it to them so that they can choose a book that interests them within the parameters of their reading needs.

Close Reading

Close Reading

 

How to integrate SNAP Learning Close Reading Portfolio into your classroom: This online program is a fantastic addition to your literacy program.  When I taught 2nd grade, I loved getting to meet with small reading groups throughout the week. My goal was to meet with every group of 4 students twice in a week so that I could guide reading and help students build skills on a more one-on-one basis. While I led these small reading groups, I created tub work that students could work on independently to help build literacy skills (basically literacy centers that came to the students). At the beginning of the week, I would introduce this tub work for students. Each day of the week the tubs rotated to a different group and students would complete the activities. (To read more about how I organized tub work, read this post.) This was a great way for me to keep my students learning even though I was unavailable for guided learning or direct instruction because I was working with a reading group. I would have LOVED adding SNAP Learning Close Reading Portfolio into my rotation on classroom computers. SNAP Learning Close Reading Portfolio leads students step by step through close reading; it helps them build skills to help them understand a text. Students can highlight words that are difficult (that automatically get added to flash cards that help them learn later), answer main and supporting detail questions, and reflect on what they learned through the reading. The greatest part is the way that the program does “guided” reading and reads aloud to students while highlighting words. Truly, this is a great way for students to learn the skills necessary for reading and comprehension. As an add-on to your reading program (and certainly as a rotation for students to do while you work with individual students) it is awesome! The other benefit is all of the data collected for you. You can assign students stories to read, and see which words they highlighted, and all of their written responses. You now have some great background information for when you meet with students one-on-one.

SNAP Learning Close Reading portfolio makes it infinitely easier to collect information about how your students are reading when you aren’t able to sit right with them. This makes it a great companion to any reading program. I like the idea of using it as a center rotation (in classes with one or two computers) or independently in a 1-1 setting. While students are working through the close reading activities, you can work in smaller reading groups or one on one with students. The SNAP Reading portfolio keeps you and your students organized!

Because SNAP Learning let’s students create word lists while they read, each of your students could have a customized spelling list each week. A step into individualizing your curriculum for your students.Close Reading

Tips: There is all kinds of customization within SNAP reading to fit the needs of your classroom and each child. For example: when you assign reading, you can also assign reading timers for first, second, third, and fourth close reading.

You can request a demo of the close reading portfolio here- www.snaplearning.co/request_demo

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?

Treasures MacMillan McGraw Hill Supplement

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Create, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 03-08-2010

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I am not a fan of canned curriculum.  It has some benefits and is relatively easy to teach, but there is a lack of differentiation for different learners and the activities for practice are often shallow.  Treasures has some fun stories and themes but they are really lacking in their activities to practice the essential learning.  The activities are often shallow and don’t change from first grade to fifth grade.  The same copy from the dictionary activity is suggested for learning vocabulary for every unit in every grade level.  I created the Treasures supplement as a way to help teachers provide students with multiple ways of practicing the essential learnings.  I just finished the supplement for unit 1.  This is the supplement for first through fifth grade.

Treasures Reading Supplement

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 16-02-2010

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What it is: We use the Treasures Reading curriculum (Macmillan McGraw Hill) at the school where I teach.  Although there are things I like about this curriculum, one thing that is in need of improvement are the activities provided for students to practice the skills that they are learning.  The activities don’t change from 1st-5th grade, are very repetitive, and do not encourage any sort of deeper thinking skills.  In an attempt to remedy this for our students, I went through each unit for 1st through 5th grade and pulled out the essential learning components.  I found activities that were engaging and required some deeper thinking to supplement what was currently in the curriculum.  As I worked to supplement the activities, I looked for a few things: 1. The activity could be completed with the whole class, using an interactive whiteboard or projector, or could be completed as a computer center (for the classroom with 2 or 3 computers).  2. The activities had to meet and reinforce the essential learning. 3. The activities had to be more engaging than what was already suggested.


How to integrate Treasures Reading Supplement into the classroom: These guides are meant to be a supplement for the Treasures Reading Curriculum.  They are designed to offer some extra ideas for helping students to practice and solidify learning.  You will find a few activities that are meant for offline use such as a whole class bingo game or partner matching games.  You will also notice some suggestions for Promethean activities.  I created some supplemental flipcharts for our teachers to use that I am happy to share if you can use them. (I hope to have these up on Promethean Planet soon).   Many of these activities can be completed as a center activity in the classroom.  We don’t always have access to a computer lab of computers.  In the classroom with a few computers, set up a weekly rotation so that your students can complete some of the online activities.  Some of the games and activities are also appropriate for whole class participation.

In my classroom, I like to play games with my students.  I will often split students into teams where the teams will take turns working through a game.   Students love the extra layer of competition being timed.

In my reading classroom, I  had literacy groups that I met with every day.  Each day I met with a new group (those students who were in need of remedial reading met each day of the week).  During literacy group time, the group that I was working with read the story for the week, learned and practiced key essential learning together (phonics, grammar, vocabulary) , and worked on building comprehension strategies.  While I worked with my smaller literacy groups, the rest of the class  worked through independent literacy centers.  At the beginning of the week I explained all of the centers for the week.  Because my classroom had limited space, I put my centers into colored tubs that rotated around the classroom.  Each day a small group of students received a center tub.  The tub has all of the necessary supplies and directions for that center.  One of my centers always involved the classroom computers.  Sometimes the centers were inquiry based, sometimes games, and sometimes additional reading practice.  Every week, each student completed each center activity.  In the meantime, I was able to work one on one with my literacy groups.  This worked really well in my classroom and technology made it easy for students to work at their own level independently.

The guides are below in ebook format using Issuu, they have been separated by grade.  Even if you don’t teach the Treasures Curriculum, everything has been arranged by the learning focus, these overlap in most curricula.  You may find some great activities that meet your classroom need here:


First Grade:


Second Grade:

Third Grade:

Fourth Grade:

Fifth Grade:


*Note: The fourth and fifth grade spelling lists on Spelling City do not come from the Treasures curriculum.  The fourth grade uses Houghton Mifflin and the fifth grade has generated their own lists.

For a list of all of my publications check out my library on Issuu.


Leave a comment and share how you are using the Treasures Reading Supplement in your classroom.

My Story Maker

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, web tools, Websites | Posted on 15-06-2009

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What it is:  My Story Maker is an amazing interactive website created for the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh.  My Story Maker is an interactive story book where students are in charge of creating a story.  Students choose characters, and a genre and then begin telling a story.  The students create the story by dragging and dropping characters, objects, and backgrounds into their story.  The characters can have emotions and perform actions with the different objects and interact with each other.  As students drag different elements to the story book, a story is written for them based on what is happening in the pictures.  When they are finished, they have created an interactive book that they can read and share with friends.

How to integrate My Story Maker into the classroom:   My Story Maker is a fantastic interactive tool to get students creating a story.  What I love about this website is the way that it encourages students to create by first thinking about the elements of a story (who will it be about?, what kind of story will it be?, what happens first?, what happens next?).  This is a great tool to use to help students understand the importance of beginning, middle, and end, setting, supporting details, and dialogue.  My Story Maker would be fun to use to create a whole class story using an interactive whiteboard.  Students could take turns adding elements to the story and reading the story aloud.  As students create the class story, be sure to keep them thinking about the setting, plot, and characters.  My Story Maker can also be used individually on classroom computers or in a computer lab setting.  The written story will be very basic “Fox threw a ball to lion.”  Encourage students to embellish their stories with vivid verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.  When students are finished with their story they can download it, share it with others, preview it, or print it. 

 

Tips:  I learned about this site from Kevin Jarrett‘s excellent blog.  Check it out for great tips and inspiration for your classroom!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using My Story Maker in your classroom.