MIND Research launches K-12 math game-a-thon
If they build it, they will learn from it. That’s the idea behind the national K-12 Game-a-thon, which invites students to let their imaginations and problem solving run wild as they design, build and share their own math games. Sponsored by the nonprofit MIND Research Institute, the third annual competition is open for entries now through July 1, 2016.
The Game-a-thon challenges students to invent a card game, board game, app, outdoor game, or any other game that addresses a mathematical topic ranging from counting to irrational numbers or measurement to modeling.
A growing body of research shows that mathematical experiences outside the classroom can have a significant impact on math achievement in school. In recent years, teachers have used the Game-a-thon to get struggling students excited about math through gameplay, to introduce advanced students to above-grade-level content, and to allow early finishers to apply what they’ve learned throughout the year
New to the Game-a-thon this year:
• A Game-a-thon starter kit to help spark teams’ creativity and guiding questions to help students design their game and help mentors facilitate the game development. The kit also includes printable templates for inspiration and feedback forms for testing their game with peers.
• A Facebook community to share Game-a-thon ideas and inspiration, and check in on progress with other participants.
• A recorded Google Hangout hosted by STEMconnector, Leveraging Game-based Learning to Increase STEM Engagement, introduces previous Game-a-thon participants, along with insights on game development from parents, teachers and a professional game designer.
“We’re excited to see students, teachers and parents enthusiastically embracing the National K-12 Game-a-thon this year like never before,” said Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of MIND Research Institute. “We had students ready to submit their games even before the entry period opened – and that’s the ultimate success right there. Kids all across the country are already having fun with math.”
Kids Discover launches online platform for reading content
Educational publisher Kids Discover has launched Kids Discover Online, a new platform that makes all of the publisher’s content available online from any device.
All content is searchable by subject and unit and offered at three different reading levels designed to excite even the most reluctant readers.
Specializing in the 100 most commonly-taught K-8 science and social studies topics, Kids Discover Online offers ad-free, high-quality, nonfiction reading materials vetted by subject experts from leading institutions. Subjects such as the Constitution, Ancient Greece, Matter and Ecology are presented using a mix of one-page infographics, articles, iconic photographs, and interactive elements to guide teachers and students through lessons.
“In 2014 we set out on a mission to answer one question: ‘What does the modern classroom look like?’” said Ted Levine, the president and CEO of Kids Discover. “We knew we wanted to offer up our entire nonfiction library in digital form, but more importantly we wanted to create an experience that educators and students would want to use on a weekly basis. Only once we began visiting schools and sitting in on classes did we begin to architect the experience of Kids Discover Online. It was our conversations with educators and students that enabled us to develop such an engaging platform.”
Upon logging in to Kids Discover Online, teachers will find a newsfeed of relevant science and social studies content that can be filtered down into ten different categories. Unlike a chapter book or textbook, Kids Discover’s content has the visual appeal of interactive GIFs, custom animations, and historically accurate photos and illustrations that make reading a truly immersive experience.
Each article within the platform offers three differentiated reading levels. Teachers can adjust reading levels for individual students and assign material through the Classroom setting. Students then log in to Kids Discover Online using a classroom code and are dynamically served content at the appropriate reading level. Students also have the option to select easy, medium, or hard reading levels if they are using the platform for independent reading or research.
App of the Week: Must-have multimedia annotation tool
Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated with help from Graphite by Common Sense Media. Click here to read the full app review. ThingLink What’s It Like? ThingLink is a tool — available on the Web as well as iOS and Android — for embedding multimedia content in images or videos. The
Join the Transform Your School Library movement
Mackin Educational Resources, global distributor of print and digital media to PK-12 schools and libraries, announced the formation of the TYSL movement, or Transform Your School Library.
This philanthropic endeavor was designed to provide school librarians and educators with critical information related to the evolution of today’s school library.
TYSL is comprised of dozens of the country’s leading change-advocates committed to shaping the future
direction of school libraries. Advisory board members include district level professionals, teacher-librarians, superintendents and more.
Several nationally recognized professionals have excitedly signed on as Advocates to help educate and share the vision.
“This revolution will serve to change the school library and school librarianship forever. School librarians are now becoming educational leaders as libraries are being transformed into learning commons that K-12 students love to be in,” remarked Randal Heise, President of Mackin. “TYSL was formed to make this vision a reality in every school across the nation.”
National and regional conferences, webinars and guest-speaking events are just some of the immediate plans scheduled to promote and enlighten schools and the public on this topic. For more information, visit Mackin-TYSL.com.
McGraw-Hill Education launches free project-based literacy instruction
In an effort to reach all students with meaningful literacy instruction, McGraw-Hill Education, a learning science company, has launched SRA FLEX Literacy Projects Jumpstart, a free introduction to project-based literacy intervention for grades 3-12.
Released in conjunction with the 2016 National Title I Conference, the complimentary 15-day lesson plan covers all five stages of the SRA FLEX Project Experience in an easy-to-follow sequence, aiming to boost literacy skills through reading, writing-centered activities and group collaboration.
The free, introductory FLEX Literacy Projects Jumpstart bundle includes:
The FLEX Literacy Projects Startup Guide and Login Card
FLEX Literacy Projects resources for either Elementary (3-5) or Secondary (6 and above) classrooms
A Collaboration, Presentation and Writing Assessment Guide
A FLEX Literacy Projects ePresentation, among other FLEX Literacy Projects Resources
"Project-based learning is one of the most effective methods for instilling complex skills in students, and – since virtually no skill is as complex or as crucial as literacy – it’s vital that we make project-based lessons available to as many classrooms as possible," said Christine Willig, president of McGraw-Hill Education’s K-12 group. "The FLEX Literacy Project Experience’s reading, writing and group activities help guide a far more meaningful learning experience by fostering higher-order thinking skills that are invaluable in the classroom and beyond.”
Project-based learning asks students to apply key knowledge and skills by solving real-world problems and performing exercises that push their critical-thinking abilities. The highly relevant, standards-based instructional support provided by project-based learning makes it ideal for struggling students.
Aligned with Common Core and state standards for reading, the FLEX Literacy Project Experience for grades 3-12 empowers educators to precisely adapt instruction to the needs of diverse of learners by addressing writing, speaking, listening, language and informational text. The program’s writing-centered projects include research, presentation and collaboration, providing a radically different way of learning. Students discover the excitement of thinking critically, communicating ideas and collaborating with their peers to develop written and oral presentations. Students can apply their literacy and technology skills to science, social studies and health projects to make cross-curricular associations with projects that build community connections.