Thursday, December 19, 2013

Are You Preparing Your Students for PARCC?

A look at the PARCC models for ELA/Literacy reveals that student will be expected to read more than one reading passage; the main article and the sidebar. Requirements include close reading, finding relationships among key ideas, and comparing information covered by both topics.  Teachers are scrambling to find complimentary resources for student practice.  While daunting, the task is not impossible.  New Jersey ELL teacher Carol Novick  has even included technology in her practice with her ELL students.
Carol found a short video clip on the South Pole Allied Challenge for the students to view on her ipad in a small group. The Youtube transcript feature was not accurate and she decided not to use it. Then Carol paired an edited online article with a short publisher created reader to recreate the assessment task.  The online article was run through the Chrome readability app to increase the text size and remove the ads for some students.  For others, she used readability text tool called to determine the reading level, then ran the text through  to reduce the reading level by simplifiying  the text slightly. Finally, she developed her assessment questions based on the PARCC samples. Carol's strategy of using current events paired with existing educational materials will fill the gap until more testing samples are available.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Screencasting on the iPad.

This interactive thinglink shows some apps for screencasting on your ipads.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Where in the World is Your Classroom?

Connect geography and culture using a Mystery Skype session with another classroom. The Global Classroom project and their partners, Hello Little World Skypers have brought their collective brains together to offer an experience where student use maps, communication skills and critical thinking to solve a geographical mystery. Students take on the roles of Map Keepers and Logical Reasoners in this exercise where they are required to find out the location of another classroom by asking only yes and no questions in a mystery Skype session with that class. For the past few years, many distant classrooms have forged connections and learned from one another. The Mystery Skype founder is a teacher from Holmdel, New jersey, Caren MacConnell or @Carenmac as we know her.

Monday, December 9, 2013

What is An Hour of Code?

Coding is making its way across the face of our elementary classrooms. This month the word is spreading thanks to the push generated by Computer Science Education Week's campaign to introduce one hour of coding for as many as 10 million students. They provide tutorials for students to get them started with absolutely no previous training needed.
The integration of computer literacy, graphics, mathematics and personal narrative allow students to tap into the higher levels of the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy as they create worlds of their own using tools like Scratch and Minecraft. Watching your students as they develop their own robotic friends and make shapes and entire worlds appear on their screens will provide the buy in that you may need as an educator to include an introductory, interactive learning experience that will only take an hour. Mr Tyler Watts, Computer Applications teacher for grades 6-8 at Arrowhead Middle School in Kansas City, KS, "Believes that all children should be introduced to programming to teach them Computational Thinking in order to better navigate our technology-rich world."  He provides a sample of a problem one of his students encountered during their use of scratch to help other teachers who may encounter similar situations.