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How do you spell…..? March 25, 2010

Posted by twinsunplus1 in Digital Natives, Education, Technologies.
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My own children are in second grade and Pre-Kindergarten.  With the second grader we are in our second year of spelling tests.   Spelling does not come naturally to them.

We have tried LOTS of techniques–flashcards, repetition, writing, crying, yelling, more flashcards.  All of these usually ended with someone crying…and not always the second grader….   Then, our lives changed.  We found Spelling City.  

Spelling City is an online spelling resource.  Parents and teachers can import spelling lists OR they can use pre-established lists.  There is  “teach me”, “test me” or “play a game”.   The visual and audio component is a great new technique to add to the study skills. 

We have been using Spelling City for a few weeks now and I have to say, from my vantage as a parent, I LOVE IT!    My second graders can work independently on the words and take responsibility for their work.   If you are a parent or teacher with students who are struggling with their spelling, I encourage you to visit spelling city.

Name: Spelling City

Cost: Free Version & Membership Version

Pros: Allows for independent work, can print selected activities to work offline,

Cons: Selected activities cannot be printed, adds to student screen time. 

Digital Native Rating:  4 out of 5 .



Collaborative and Real Time Learning March 9, 2010

Posted by twinsunplus1 in Digital Natives, Education, Project based learning, Science, Web 2.0.
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As a science teacher, my goal is to get students into the lab for a hands on experience.  Often times students miss out on the experience of gathering enough data during a lab.  Without enough data, they cannot  interpret the information they have gathered.  The Center for the Innovation of Engineering and Science Education allows for collaboration and real time learning.   It also allows a way for students and teachers to gather enough information to see the results Gregor Mendel saw in his famous experiment. 

There are several different collaborative projects, however, the one I was immediately drawn to was the Human Genetics.  I was drawn to this particular project for several reasons.  First, it was ongoing and had open registration.  Second, the genetics analysis section of the curricula is popular and fun, however small class sizes sometime prohibit the correct analysis of the traits the class is observing.   Getting involved with the CIESE program keeps that problem from happening.  Now instead of a class size of 24 students, there is a data pool of thousands of students.  

The CIESE program explains how to get the project going in the classroom, a discussion area where classrooms can communication and share data, an area for tying into current events, and a reference area for both teacher and student use.  If you don’t feel up to participating in real time, teachers also have the opportunity to use data from past project runs.  

Have you used any of the programs and projects developed by CIESE?  How did it work for you and the class?   What other collaborative and real time learning are you using in your classroom?

Better get back to the natives,