Chalk is an excellent web tool that teachers and educators can use to reduce their paperwork. Chalk allows users to convert any document into a form that can be easily signed or filled out online. As a teacher you can use this tool to distribute forms to be filled out and signed by others (e.g parents, students, school personnels…etc).
Chalk works with all kinds of forms including permissions slips, registration forms, evaluation forms, staff time sheets and many more.If you want to use data you have in store to prefill forms, you simply upload the spreadsheet containing that data into Chalk and use it to personalize your own forms.
Some of the interesting features offered by Chalk include: the ability to track people who have filled out your form, share forms using a generated link, recipients do not have to have an account with Chalk to fill out received forms, distribute the same form to many recipients, collect attachments along with forms, and many more. Chalk offers a free trail period after which you will have to pay to use it.
Pyonkee is a powerful iPad app for teaching kids and adults about coding. Pyonkee has been developed from the open source code of the popular coding app Scratch from MIT Media lab. This means that learners can use millions of Scratch projects for reference. Pyonkee provides student friendly programming environment where kids can use it to learn programming through engaging games and activities. They will also get to program their own games, animations and stories and boost their creative and collaborative skills. Pyonkee’s user interface is optimized for touch interfaces. It also supports pinch out/in display and font scaling for some devices. Sound recorder and camera are also provided for importing your sounds and pictures into the projects.
7 Learning Zones is a beautiful visual created by Edutopia featuring an interesting system teachers can use in their classrooms to organize and manage students learning experiences. This system is composed of 7 zones, each zone targets a specific area in the instructional process and suggests some examples of what it is designed for.
The 7 zones included in this visual are:
- Discovery Zone. This one is for providing a central focus, sharing examples. recording observations and using the data.
- News Zone. This is for displaying the learning targets, managing class-work and homework.
- Supplies Zone. This one is for sharing reference materials, creating hubs for students work, and providing a place for lost and found.
- Community Zone. This is for assessing progress, clarifying and correcting misconceptions taking notes and planning ahead.
- Quiet Zone. This is a place for quiet zone for reflecting, reading and writing and studying.
- Teacher Zone. This is to help you define the professional space to work with learners and adult visitors.
- Subject Zone. This last zone is for providing examples and resources for connecting subjects.
Download the "7 Learning Zones".
One program that is doing an unbelievable job of gamifying math is Prodigy Math Game. Prodigy is a free, adaptive math game that integrates Common Core math (1st-7th grade) into a fantasy style game that students absolutely love playing. Prodigy takes game-based learning a step further and provides teachers with a powerful set of reporting and assessment tools that allow them to easily identify trouble spots, differentiate instruction, and better manage classroom time. Prodigy has recently expanded its content offering to include skills that align to the Math Florida Standards (MAFS) and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). As a web-based game, Prodigy can be accessed at school and at home on virtually any device.
Prodigy is extremely effective at engaging students using an adaptive technology to cater to each individual. Prodigy’s personalized approach quickly identifies gaps in students’ understanding and works with them by pulling them back to prerequisite skills and then scaffolding them forward through more difficult concepts. Prodigy has also built out tools like virtual manipulatives, which teachers can use to walk students through solving certain problems. Prodigy also has a fantastic assessment feature, which allows teachers to customize content and align the game with what they are teaching in class. Assignment questions are integrated right into the game so students have no idea they are working on an “assignment”! The program is very user friendly and makes teaching math easier and more enjoyable.
Sign-up your class for free in less than 2 minutes, and see why teaching math will never be the same!
The good news for teachers and students is that it is possible to improve our working memory. These strategies can help activate and, over time, enhance the central executive function of working memory.
Repeat after me.
Asking students to repeat what you have said or to paraphrase it in their own words is a simple way to both assess and increase their working memory. The acts of listening and speaking what they have heard focus their attention on the lesson content and activate several components of the working memory model.
Make a game of it.
Children and youth love to play games, and card games like Concentration, Crazy Eights, and Uno can help to build working memory. Better yet, design learning activities based on memory games to help reinforce key content.
Lead a class discussion on the importance of identifying and focusing on relevant data in learning. Life is full of irrelevant information and distractions. When researching a topic online, for example, it's easy to get sidetracked by entries that are interesting but not relevant to the task at hand. A key aspect of improving working memory is developing your ability to attend to what's important now.
Hone short-term recall through practice.
Provide plenty of learning activities that involve working with bits of information. Word problems in math require students to identify, remember, and process data.
Learning to picture the components of a math reading problem (as just one example) in their minds is another strategy that engages and enhances multiple components of working memory.
Teach it to learn it.
The act of teaching also engages working memory. Through activities that involve peer teaching or learning in pairs and small groups, students can enhance learning by applying their working memory to the task of explaining and teaching new content to others.
Grounded in research on the effects of video on teachers’ professional learning, Teaching Channel Teams uses video to help teachers collaboratively reflect on - and improve - their instruction. In this eSchool Exclusive Ed-Tech Point of View, see how the Teams approach has transformed Common Core instruction, teachers' attitudes toward professional development, and so much more.
Click here to learn more.
ShowMe is a great learning app for educators. It allows its users to create and share lessons on the iPad. It offers a nice and intuitive whiteboard surface where lessons can be shared very easily. This app , though still in closed beta, looks like it is going to be a great app for educators. Teachers can use it to create lessons on the go and share them with their students. I am hoping ShowMe will go open to public in this summer for it is the ideal tool for this season when teachers have much more free time to create nice staff to share with their learners. I have picked up this video to let you have an idea about what this app is going to be all about.
Not having enough time to read a long article? Too long didn’t read (TLDR) does the job for you and provides you with a condensed summary of the main ideas of the article. We have installed the app and tried it on few articles and it appears to work perfectly.
TLDR analyzes the content of the article and creates a synopsis of it. You can also highlight text to be TLDR’ed for use with comments or on social media. We have checked user reviews in the Chrome web store and noticed several people gave it good ratings. We thought you may want to give it a try and see if it works for you. Watch this video to learn more about "Too long didn’t read app".
Instructional strategies, according to Alberta Learning, are “techniques teachers use to help students become independent, strategic learners. These strategies become learning strategies when students independently select the appropriate ones and use them effectively to accomplish tasks or meet goals.” the strength of instructional strategies is that they determine how teachers can go about realizing their teaching objectives.
Instructional strategies are derived from different educational theories. Here some examples of 4 key instructional strategies as identified by Gayla S. Keesse.
- Direct Instruction. This is what some refer to as the traditional method. Direct instruction is primarily teacher centred and consists of direct lecturing or vertical teaching. It is a form of explicit teaching that consists of repetitive practice, didactic questioning, drill and demonstration. This strategy is particularly useful for ‘providing information, or developing step-by-step skills.
- Interactive Instruction. As its name indicates, this strategy consists of creating learning environments conducive to interactions and discussions. It posits that learning takes place through interactive communication of knowledge and this interaction can happen in different forms including: open or closed group discussions, collaborative project work, whole class discussions …etc
- Experiential learning. One of the seminal works in experiential learning is Dewey’s "Experience and Education". This strategy highlights the primacy of the process of learning over the product of learning. The purpose is to enhance students motivation and increase their retention rates by connecting classroom learning to their lifeworlds. This can happen through engaging students in reflexive thinking about their own experiences and how to leverage what they learned in the past in new contexts.
- Independent Study. Gayla defines this strategy as “the range of instructional methods which are purposefully provided to foster the development of individual student initiative, self-reliance, and self-improvement. Independent study can also include learning in partnership with another individual or as part of a small group.
Google released a new service called YouTube Kids which is ‘a new family-friendly app that makes it easy for kids to explore a vast selection of videos on any topic.’ YouTube Kids features popular children’s programming, plus kid-friendly content from filmmakers, teachers, and creators all around the world. YouTube Kids apps are available for both Android and iOS.
This new app provides young learners with a variety of kids-appropriate channels and playlists including: Sesame Street, Thomas & Friends, and Dreamworks, online hits like Mother Goose Club, TuTiTu, and Super Simple Songs, plus anything else they’re into - music, gaming, science, crafts, and more.
YouTube Kids also provides parents with a set of interesting features to allow them to oversee how their kids are using the app. For instance there is a timer that parents can set to let their kids know when it’s time to stop watching. Watch this video to learn more about YouTube Kids.