6 Options To Make Sure Screen Time Is Learning Time This Summer

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1. Check with your school’s administration:

See if there are any summer enrichment programs hosted by the school or any they may recommend.

2. Curriculet’s Summer Reading Challenge:

USA TODAY and Curriculet have announced their 2015 National Summer Reading Challenge! Curriculet  and USA Today are challenging every student across the country to read at least 20 minutes every day over the summer. Students who don’t read over the summer can lose 2 months of school progress. This phenomenon is known as the summer slide.

Visit http://www.curriculet.com/blog/summer-reading/ for more details.

3. DIY.org Summer camps:

DIY.org offers 4 week long courses to students on a variety of topics that stimulate creativity and ingenuity.  First camp is only $10, after that the regular price is $39.  In order to participate a device with iOS 8.1 or later and a DIY Membership is required.

Visit https://diy.org/camps for more details.

4. Memrise courses:

Memrise functions on the Freemium model.  A premium account will give users a coach to help motive and guide, but the free account still allows users to complete courses.  There are many different options and many foreign languages that can be studied.

Visit https://www.memrise.com/ for more information.

5. IXL – Math and Language Arts

IXL offers family memberships at $9.95/month to help with Math and Language Arts skills practice.

Visit: https://www.ixl.com/ for more information.

6. Prodigy Math

Prodigy Math Game boasts that students who play for 1 minute at school in turn play 1.5 minutes at home.  Parents can set up home accounts for their student in grades 1-8.  Students will be engaged in the Prodigy Game while reinforcing math skills targeted at Common Core Standards.  Students can play for free and parents can access reports to see their child’s progress.  Premium version allows students to upgrade quicker, unlock more items, and a few other options.

Visit https://prodigygame.com/ for more information

Class Dojo: Engaging Positive Classroom Management

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Who: Teachers looking for an interactive and engaging avenue for classroom management.

How: Teachers create classes and student accounts.  Students can create their own avatars and earn points.  Teachers can use their computer or a smartphone to address student behavior in the classroom.  Students will recognize the positive point and negative point sounds over time.  Students will strive for positive behavior to gain points and badges.

When: Teachers can use Class Dojo throughout the entire day.  The addition of the app allows teachers to address behaviors while escorting their class through the hallway, or outside at recess.  Class Dojo takes the classic behavior scale on the wall and digitizes it.  Teachers can also use the program for parent communication.  Another option many teachers do is reward the class when they reach a certain point total.

Class Dojo is a great tool for teachers at all grade levels.  While the avatars may seem geared towards younger ages, older students will enjoy the “game-like” atmosphere this adds to the classroom.

Introduction video from Class Dojo:

Curriculet Announces 2015 Summer Reading Challenge

View the entire description by Curriculet here

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Announcing the 2015 National Summer Reading Challenge from USA TODAY and Curriculet! We’re challenging every student across the country to read at least 20 minutes every day over the summer. Students who don’t read over the summer can lose 2 months of school progress. This phenomenon is known as the summer slide.

USA TODAY and Curriculet have partnered to provide a free, turnkey summer reading program that motivates students to read while giving teachers, administrators, and parents a way to encourage and monitor student reading. The 2015 National Summer Reading Challenge is not your typical summer reading program. It’s engaging and fun for all students; and it beautifully enhances your existing program with engaging access to informational texts.

For more information, visit Curriculet’s site by clicking here.

autoCrat: Google Sheets Add-on creating merged documents.

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Who: Teachers who are looking for a way to turn Google Forms into merged documents. This documents can also be automatically sent via e-mail.

How: Create a form with questions (including an e-mail address if it is going to be sent out).

The questions will become the header row in the spreadsheet. The user will use these headers as the merge rows on their merged document, so the user needs to think ahead.  It is best to create the template that will be used first, so that you know what fields need to be added to your form.

After creating the form and template, open the Google Sheet with the responses.

Click on Add-ons, search for autoCrat, and install it.  You will need to grant permission. After this, click on Add-ons again, hover over autoCrat then click launch.

You will need to create a new merge job.  This is where is can get confusing the first time using this Add-On.  When you start a new merge, you will first need to select a template, this should be the Google Doc you created.

The next step is to map the tags.  This is where you will need to make sure that the tags from the header row match up with the merge fields you created on your template.

After this, you will then need to set up the merge settings.  This is where you can have an e-mail drafted to be sent to your audience.  You also select your naming convention here as well.   You can use the header row tags to merge information into the e-mail itself, as well as, select to have a Google Doc or .pdf sent to the recipient.

In the advanced settings section you can have autoCrat automatically run each time a new form is submitted.  When you are finished here, click save and you are ready to merge!

For those visual learners like myself, here is a great video by Amy Mayer taking you step-by-step through running autoCrat.

When: autoCrat is fantastic for creating certificates; either for your class or for professional development.  It is also very useful for creating invoices for summer programs or anything else your audience may need to pay for.  autoCrat can be a great addition for online registration forms.

Memrise – Engaging courses for students and teachers.

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Who: Teachers and students looking to extend learning and supplement classroom content.

How: Memrise uses the freemium model.  Teachers and students can sign up for a free account in which they can log in and take courses.  The courses also feature “mems”.  These are visual clues created by users to help remember answers.  There are many different courses available, including basic languages, GRE vocabulary, and SAT/ACT vocabulary.  The premium version ($9/month or $59/year at the time of this post) gives the user data to help with focus, best times, and difficult words.

Teachers can also create groups to utilize their free multimedia flashcard game.

When: This would work great as supplemental material for classroom assignments.  Memrise would also function well as a booster for students in need of extra help.  Memrise would also be great for extended lessons for students who would like to work ahead. This would also work really well for students and parents that are looking to continue learning throughout summer break-time.

About Memrise:  Memrise was created around three principles: Science, Fun, and Community.  The founders of the website are experts in “Brain Science”.  The program engages the user with quizzes that make them feel like you are playing a game.

Websitehttps://www.memrise.com/

After trying out the course in German (a language I studied years ago in high school), I found myself engaged and wanting to do more.  At this point I decided to try a course I knew nothing about, the Korean Alphabet.  In less than 5 minutes, I found myself engulfed in learning a new language, even if it were simply the alphabet.

This program is great as schools are heading into summer break and would be something to recommend to your students.

IPEVO – IW2 – Wireless Interactive Whiteboard – Cost Effective Solution for Classrooms

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DEVICE: IPEVO IW2 Wireless Interactive Whiteboard System

COST: $169.00 (plus tax and shipping if applicable)

INTERFACE: USB (via included Wireless Receiver)

POSITIVE:

Cost: With a sub-$200 price tag, this interactive whiteboard is a fantastic option for schools on a tight budget.

Footprint:  The IW2 Sensor Cam is placed somewhere near the projector. It is approximately 1.5″ wide, 2″ deep, and 3″ tall.  Included in the package is mounting equipment for any desktop or ceiling mounted placement.  The IW2 Sensor Cam requires power source and has a 3.6m USB cable and power adapter included in the package.

Interaction:  Users can either touch the surface with the tip of the Interactive Pen or use the large green button on the Interactive Pen to use the Interactive Pen while standing away from the board.  Students enjoy this feature as it is something different than other brands of interactive whiteboards on the market.

Installation: Users utilize the IW2 Interactive Pen.  The Interactive Pen and Sensor Cam both communicate with the computer through the included Wireless USB Receiver.  The Wireless Receiver snaps into the base of the Interactive Pen for easy transport and storage. Users need to install the driver file and the Annotator software.  The user then connects the Sensor Cam, Interactive Pen, and Wireless USB Receiver.  Follow the calibration directions in the manual and driver software and the interactive whiteboard is up and running. Visit the IW2 Download Page here to get the necessary files.

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Ease-of-use: After getting the IW2 running, using the device is pretty straightforward.  Users can switch back and forth between desktop mode and drawing mode.  In desktop mode, users can use the Interactive Pen just the same as using a mouse.  In Drawing Mode, users can write/draw/ highlight on anything displayed on the screen.  Users can also put up a shade that dims the entire screen, or dims most while highlighting what the teacher wants students to focus on.

NEGATIVE:

Calibration: The initial calibration can be difficult, as the user needs to click the corners of the screen and makes sure the red dot is displayed.  If you are not lucky enough to get it right on the first try, this could result in a lot of back and forth adjusting.  This is particularly difficult in ceiling mounted situations.

Stylus: At first glance, I felt that the new Interactive Pen was too long.  However, after using it, I found it to be useful in reaching the entire screen when standing to one side.

 

Be sure to visit IPEVO online and check out their entire lineup.

 

IPEVO has released a tutorial video for setting up the IW2 in your classroom.  This is very beneficial for those setting up an IPEVO product for the first time.

Illuminations: Excellent Online Resources for Teaching PK-12 Math

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Who: Teachers looking to integrate web-based technology into their mathematics classroom.

How: No account needed, visit the Illuminations website and look around!  This site is loaded with resources including: games, lesson plans, activities, brain teasers, and interactives.  All resources are aligned through NCTM PK-12 Math Standards and Common Core K-12 Math Standards.

When: Resources on this site are useful at any point in the lesson.  Teachers can use a brain teaser for a bell-ringer,  the lesson plans to help with the content, and even games/interactives for homework.

Websitehttp://illuminations.nctm.org/Default.aspx