Friday, January 22, 2016

Edulastic: Assessment Skills Similar to ISTEP

Have you been looking for a tool for students to practice their test taking skills in a similar testing format to NWEA or ISTEP? Well look no further, Edulastic is the answer!

Edulastic lets students try drag-and-drop, sequencing, and multiple check box types of questions. Teachers can either create their own assessment, or they can choose to pull questions that have been created and made public by other educators. It is a pretty cool, FREE site.

Intro Video:

Check out this Getting Started Video or click here for a Getting Started PDF:

I recommend this tool for grades 3 and up. This site will work great in our ENSC 5th and 6th grade classrooms since it is web-based. But since there’s no app, I recommend 3rd and 4th grade students pin this website to their iPad home screens for easy access.

If you want to learn more about getting started with Edulastic, click here.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Actively Learn: Increase Student Engagement in Reading

One of my favorite tools to help improve comprehension is Actively Learn, a web-based program that allows students to interact with their reading in a way that is impossible to do with a physical book.

When I started teaching English 10-Honors my students read The Scarlet Letter on a PDF. They were able to highlight portions of the book and flag sections that they did not understand. We used digital sticky notes to annotate the book, very much like we would with a physical book. It wasn't great, but it worked.

During my second year teaching English 10-Honors I discovered Actively Learn and it changed the way I taught The Scarlet Letter and the way my students engaged with the book. An overwhelming of students preferred reading the book on Actively Learn and most asked to use it during subsequent units.

What makes it different? Active, collaborative engagement. 

Actively Learn provides tools for embedded questions, discussions, shared notes and annotations, in-reading dictionary, and more.

Check out the introduction video from Actively Learn:

Follow the directions below to set up an Actively Learn account and set up a class, find or upload content, and customize an assignment. 

If you want to watch more videos about Actively Learn check them out here.
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Find Free Images Using Google's Advanced Search Tools

When we need to find a picture to use for a project, website, or even a blog post, the first thing most of us turn to is Google Image. Thousands, even millions of photos are available in a matter of seconds. But, are the picture you find fair, free-use? Maybe. Maybe not. Luckily for us, Google has made it very easy to search for free, fair-use, public domain, or creative common images.

  1. Under the search bar, if you click on "Search Tools" it will open a new menu that will give you advanced search options.

You can filter your search results by size (bigger files are better), color, type (animated, drawing, photo), time, or usage rights. To find free use pictures you will want to open the drop-down menu for "usage rights". 

This will give you five options to filter your results. 

A) Not filtered by license: This is the default and will give you all search results. This is not recommended. 

B) Labeled for reuse with modification: This shows images that can edited and for both commercial and noncommercial uses.

C) Labeled for reuse: This shows images that can not be edited, but can be used for both commercial and noncommercial uses.

D) Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification: This shows images that can be edited  for noncommercial use only.

E) Labeled for noncommercial reuse: This shows images that can not be edited for noncommercial use only. 

As a teacher this was one of the first things I taught my students. So many students do not realize that not everything (and, in fact, most things) they find on the internet is free to copy and save for their own use. Using Google Image advanced search tools is one easy way to teach students to be responsible digital citizens.
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