I Have a ThingLink for STEAM

I am excited to be hosting an online presentation at the STEAM & Arts Integration Winter Online Conference on February 7th. We invite you to jon us at the conference for the presentation, I Have a ThingLink for STEAM.

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LearnZillion – Help Students Avoid the Summer Slide

As another school year comes to a close we will soon be sending our students home for a much needed respite. It’s time for them to play, focus on developing their nonacademic talents, and enjoy a break from the everyday routine of school. Unfortunately, we know that many of our students will return to school in the fall in need of 4-6 weeks of review to get them back on track. This learning loss is commonly referred to as “the summer slide”.

Teachers hope that students will continue to read, write and participate in real world learning experiences that they can bring with them to the classrooms in the fall to help them be successful. Unfortunately, many students do little during the summer months to stay academically stimulated in the area of math, often because parents lack resources and time to help. LearnZillion is a Cool Tool that can provide parents and students with opportunities to retain math skills and perhaps even make gains during the summer months.

LearnZillion is a free resource of Common Core aligned lessons that use narrated video for instruction. The pause button allows students to tackle the learning at their own pace, while built in learning supports make Learnzillion an effective instructional tool that addresses a variety of learning needs. A Coach’s Commentary on the side of each playlists provides parents with additional information and support. The math lessons provide guided practice opportunities and they also offer a downloadable form for taking notes. This is a nice tool for independent practice over the summer and one that many parents would appreciate having.

Features at a Glance

  • Narrated video lessons for students aligned with Common Core Standards and identified by skill.
  • An iPad app.
  • Coach’s Commentary videos that provide teachers and parents with tips, including identifying common mistakes made
  • Guided practice video lessons.
  • Discussion protocol for use by parents and teachers
  • A notes template for student use.
  • Quizzes to check for mastery
  • A parent letter
  • Quick access codes associated with each lesson.
  • Playlists of resources focusing on a particular standard.
  • Additional CCSS aligned lessons in English/LA
Uses for Summer Learning
  • Teachers can use the handy parent letter to provide students and parents with targeted practice on skills they need to master. Just select the appropriate lessons and click on Quick Code, then copy and paste those into the parent letter.
  • Teachers can take it a step further and create a summer class for students and assign a series of lesons and quizzes for individual students.
  • Use the calendar to assign lessons and due dates to students for completion over the summer.

3 Interactive Math Tools to Engage Students

The flexibility of virtual manipulatives and interactive math tutorials can provide opportunities for all students to master math.. Here are 3 interactive sites that work well with students working on their own computers, projected in front of the class, or on an interactive board.

Thinking Blocks
This is a very nice interactive site for modeling and solving real-world math problems, designed  for elementary and middles school students by Colleen King. The site uses a series of interactive templates to provide guided instruction through tutorials that model the step-by-step process of solving a problem. Then it provides students with  independent practice that also walks them through the process and provides them with immediate feedback and progress checking options. Content includes addition, multiplication, factions and ratios, but there is also a modeling tool for teachers to create their own problems.

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

This a library of colorful and interactive web-based virtual manipulatives and tutorials for teaching math. The award-winning project, developed by the National Science Foundation,  is research based and designed to use a virtual learning environment to actively engage students in math and help them visualize relationships and applications. The wide variety of manipulative is impressive and activities are available for teaching math in grades PreK-12. 

A Maths Dictionary for Kids 

This animated, interactive online math dictionary for students, developed by Jenny Eather, explains over 600 common mathematical terms and math words in simple language. It’s colorful, interactive and kid-friendly. This tool might be especially useful for parents to use as a reference supporting students at home.