Trying to have students secure all of the skills and content they will need to be successful with the Common Core, the Nevada Academic Content Standards, and Smarter Balanced can feel daunting. (Rather, IT IS daunting.) Consequently, I am trying to incorporate resources that I can use during the school day and that students can revisit outside of the classroom—especially at home. Listed below are resources I’ve started using. I’ve limited myself to only those things that take a minimal amount of time to set-up (no more than 30 minutes), are free, and have teacher monitoring tools so student performance can be tracked and progress documented.
TypingClub: https://www.typingclub.com. We all understand that students will be required to type written responses to questions on their standardized assessments. The degree to which students are already proficient with this keyboarding outcome is clearly limited. This is why TypingClub is helpful. You create an account for free and upload a student roster from an Excel file. Once you’ve done this, Typing Club gives you a unique URL from which students log in. Teachers can track student performance and monitor the frequency with which children are using the program.
For students, TypingClub works like a video game app. They receive points and stars for each level they complete and they can “redo” a lesson for a higher score or more stars (think Angry Birds). A leaderboard is generated for the class—I set mine at Top 10—that students can view; which for some kids incentivizes frequently returning to the site.
I already have students logging on weeknights and weekends, which they are doing because TypingClub has done a nice job of gamifying a pretty rote skill.
Below is an example of what I can see about student progress.
NoRedInk: https://www.noredink.com/ won the Innovation Challenge in 2012 for its creative way of having students working with language and writing standards. After you have created your free account and added a student roster, you can choose from dozens of grammar lessons for your students to complete online. You can assign the same lesson to all students or you can target specific lessons (e.g., prepositions, capitals, use of colons) to students after reviewing formative data. These lessons are specifically tailored to individual students based on their interest and needs and thus remove some of the banality of traditional language lessons.
When students login for the first time, they create a profile. From an expanse of areas including film, sports, television and music, students select favorite artists and content to be incorporated into their lessons. For example, if a child chooses the New England Patriots, and you want that student to focus on capitals of proper nouns, their lessons will incorporate the New England Patriots into their practice. Students can even add the names of family members, friends and pets so these nouns are included in their lessons.
You can see other free content I’ve curated for my students by clicking here.