Thursday, October 19, 2017

Writing Programs

i have looked at what the needs of todays writers are. I'm talking about the K12 students who are both getting lots and lots of writing practice thru tweeting and texting but are not learning to clearly structure anything more than sentence fragments.

The biggest tool out there is turnitin which schools use to detect cheating.
There's also massive essay grading programs used for most of the standardized tests.
There are not so many good grammar checkers or pratice tools.

VocabularySpellingCity has a nifty pair of writing practice programs for sentence writing practice and paragraph practice writing.  There is also a great set of short (ie 8 week writing classes) provided by Time4Writing which is used mostly by parents to help with their kids' writing. Often for homeschoolers learning to write.

Time4Writing is an online writing curriculum designed with homeschoolers in mind. In fact, the creation of Time4Writing was the direct result of feedback from users of the Time4Learning Online Homeschool Curriculum who wanted more targeted, individualized writing instruction.  The outcome of that feedback was an elementary writing curriculummiddle school writing curriculum, and high school writing curriculum that covers the key writing skills students need to know by graduation. In addition, the variety of lesson types is designed to keep young writers engaged and motivated to succeed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Science SBIR 2012

Science educators have proposed interactive hands-on engagement to enhance science instruction for over 30 years. During the early 90s, hands-on science kits and teacher professional development institutes and programs were implemented across the nation (Roychoudhury & Kahle, 1999; Stohr-Hunt, 1996; Supovitz, Mayers, & Kahle, 2000; Supovitz & Turner, 2000).

However, the use of kits, specifically the refurbishment of consumable items, represented additional costs to school districts. During the hands-on kit based era, the refurbishment process often revealed that few of the items were ever used from the science kits. This observation indicated the limited use of science kits to enhance science instruction. Further, teachers reported that the significant amount of time necessary to set up material centers, distribute manipulatives to students and control the safe handling of certain items served as barriers to science instruction.

Research found that a science kit curriculum requires more professional development investments by school districts than they are able to provide (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). The typical professional development structures for science teachers in the U.S. are problematic and have a limited impact on teacher practice and student learning (Randi & Zeichner, 2004; Weiss, Banilower, McMahon, & Smith, 2001).

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Writing and Vocabulary

Is it impossible to be a good writer with a poor understanding of vocabulary? I think so. I think it's also nearly impossible to be a good writer without a certain proficiency in spelling. Why?

Becuase when someone writes, they should be thinking about what they are trying to say and how they are trying to say it.  It's hard to imagine someone without basic spelling skills having the spelling automaticity required to write well.

Or, the cognitive load of trying to spell each word can prevent someone from thinking about what they are trying to write. But if their spelling is automatic, they can think about their writing.

Schools and students develop spelling and writing automaticity largely through practice.  Here's some great resources for practicing for each grade level.  For second grade spelling, third grade spelling, fourth grade spelling, and fifth grade spelling

In second grade, and I quote:  Second grade spelling word lists include Dolch and Fry sight word lists and word structure lists (compound words). Second grade students can build sight word fluency and phonics mastery through the use of VocabularySpellingCity’s interactive online games. Second grade games feature both audio and visual elements, an effective learning tool for all maturing readers and writers, specifically English Language Learners (ELLs).

And quoting from the 5th grade materials:

Fifth grade teachers can find hundreds of free vocabulary and spelling word lists on VocabularySpellingCity‘s website. Word lists can be paired with engaging, interactive games to practice fifth grade English language arts concepts. In addition to online learning games, VocabularySpellingCity offers printable worksheets on topics including hyperbole, personification, and metaphors to help make planning fifth grade vocabulary lessons easy.
Fifth grade-level word lists support reading and literacy programs like Journeys and Wonders. Teachers can use lists to supplement fifth grade language arts lesson plans. VocabularySpellingCity can also administer and assess spelling tests and vocabulary tests. Fifth grade teachers can create their own lists to accommodate more advanced spelling patterns that include affixes and multisyllabic words, as well as remedial word lists that include high frequency words and commonly misspelled words.
Maybe the traditional spelling practice really is the way to learn these words and the whole CCSS thing of just read read read is not going to develop the skills needed for writing. No duh!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Writing Requires Strong Vocabulary & Language Arts

Most writers are real technicians fo the langauge. Their mastery of mechanics and vocabulary are an important part of their trade.

Many of them are really fascinated by words and word games.  I'm not saying that if you have a big vocabulary, you'll beocme a writer. I am saying that if you build skills, like vocabulary, you might write better using the exact right word at the right time.

Here's  collection of literacy related learning games for grade one, two, three, four, five, and kindergarten. Share them with your parents and other teachers.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Science4Us Mission

The U.S. weakness in science starts in the primary grades (NAEP, 2009). The mission of Science4Us (S4U) is to revive science education via an original, powerful, and complete online curriculum focusing initially on providing a strong K-2 curriculum. S4U believes that the best possibility of broadly achieving the desired level of student and teacher engagement in science within today’s environment is through an online, digital approach with embedded professional development. There are four key reasons that S4U is positioned to succeed in this mission:

  1. The imminence of standardized science assessments and goals creates a need for new curriculum.
  2. Today’s students are technologically savvy learners ready to engage in digital learning.
  3. The school infrastructure (human & technical) is ready and able to rely on an online curriculum.
  4. The S4U team has deep in-house expertise and tried-and-true experience in:
    • School science best practices and classroom realities
    • Digital education production and game development
    • Marketing techniques powerful enough to make a nationwide impact

The goal of Science4Us is to improve STEM education with an easy-to-use investigative online low cost, standards-based, innovative, research-based, curriculum suited to today’s educational system.

As background, the Science4Us model is a based on the 5E Instructional Model.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Elementary Science Program

There's such a huge need for Americans to get solid technical educations and there's such a wasteland and lack of study in today's elementary schools. Sheez!

Enter one nice solution. Have you seen Science4Us? CHECK IT OUT!

The mission of Science4Us is to provide a solid foundation of fundamental science concepts for students in their formative years, on which a deep understanding and interest in science can be built. Science4Us realizes that the teachers are integral to the mission. Teachers can struggle to provide the foundation early elementary students need. Science4Us makes it easy.

The Science4Us curriculum includes pedagogical and content training for teachers, embedded and on-demand, that does not require a large time commitment. Science4Us provides all of the support that teachers need to  lead exemplary science lessons, using the 5E Instructional learning Model for Elementary Science.

 Here is an overview of their curriculum by grade:

Inspire your students with Science4Us, an early elementary science curriculum that builds solid foundation skills.

Free Science Educational Widgets. Students are taught physical science, life science, earth/space science and inquiry skills with over 350 online, animated activities as well as tons of offline material. Science4Us also includes hands-on projects, investigations and cross-curricular math and language arts activities that maximize the learning process and help students gain further understanding. We have compiled these early elementary science resources for you to use at home or in the classroom.

Free Science Songs

Science Songs

These educational songs are found throughout our K-2 curriculum. Through fun, catchy lyrics, science concepts are presented in a way that young learners will enjoy and remember. You can find more Science4Us videos on ourYouTube channel.

Free Science Lessons

Animated Lessons

Science4Us covers four “books” of science – Physical Science, Life Science, Earth/Space Science and Inquiry. The comprehensive curriculum includes 28 modules with over 350 online, animated activities.

Free Science Projects

Hands-On Projects

Students will enjoy learning fundamental science principles through engaging, hands-on experiments. These fun projects for elementary students use easily attainable, everyday household items such as balloons, magnets and eggs. (Warning: Some experiments may get a little messy!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Best Educational Games for Back to School

Many schools and teachers post a list of recommended websites for learning games for their students.  Here's a curated list of educational and engaging learning games for schools to post on their website and send out to teachers.  Obviously, it can be adjusted by the teacher's or school's focus and their types of students.

Spelling Games

Phonics Games

Syllables and Segmenting Games


Writing Lessons and Activities

Typing/Keyboarding Games

Vocabulary Games

Brain Training Games

Bookmarking Sites
Symbaloo's Visual Bookmarking has some great webmixes!

Writing Programs

i have looked at what the needs of todays writers are. I'm talking about the K12 students who are both getting lots and lots of writing ...