Summer Enrichment; Reads, Coding & Apps

Summer doesn’t have to have a backward slide if kids keep their minds active. Learning new and different stuff will increase their academics upon return to school. The stressful tests are over, there is no more mandatory curriculum. Just summer, kids and parents.

Summer Books:

bird_lake_moon“Bird Lake Moon” – by Henkes

 

 

 

Unknown“Olive’s Ocean” – by Henkes – Newbery Award Winner of 2004

 

 

 

Turtle_in_paradise“Turtle in Paradise” – by Holm

“Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer” – by Megan McDonald

 

 

Learning Computer Programming This Summer – for all ages
Logo Playground

logoTurtleAcademy.com

Super fun and engaging way to learn programming. Suitable for all ages.

 

 

 

Learning while having fun… Apps

teachme3rdTeachMe:3rd Grade – by 24×7 digital LLC

This app for 3rd graders is ideal during and after the school year. Kids practice spelling, sight words, multiplication, division, fast multiplication and division; earning points and prizes.
What I find the best about this app is the writing part, which kids find a bit frustrating but they all work at it. They start paying attention to their penmanship, which in third grade is still in beginning stages with most students. Summer is a perfect time for the review and this app has all the foundation that they will need in 4th grade. TeachMe: 3rd Grade app does a great job getting kids to mastery of content through a fun and captivating way.
TeachMe: 3rd Grade doesn’t feel like work. You will know that kids really like it, when they repeatedly ask to play it.

Helping Kids Like Math

board-935455_960_720Kids today are digital natives. They learn different. Kids don’t like math. Really? Where is this coming from? Kids love math. Let them master their number sense and watch them treat it like a game. There is enthusiasm in the class during math. So, what is the problem with math? There is no problem with math. We have a problem with bad curriculum. We have a problem with Common Core standards that are developmentally inappropriate, especially for primary grades. We have a problem with a foreign company, Pearson, that provides kids with tests designed for failure. So, no we don’t have a problem with math. Students enjoy elementary math.
What they don’t enjoy is reading. As years go by, the vocabulary becomes more domain specific and increases in difficulty. This coincides with students reading less as they go from upper elementary, middle and high school. Reading is a huge part of math. If students cannot understand what they question is asking them due to dense vocabulary, they struggle with math, no matter how well they did in early elementary.

Reading comprehension effects all academic subjects. If a child struggles in reading, the odds of them graduating high school are very low. Reading is a skill developed throughout all schooling and life. What is different with this generation is that they are tasked with deciphering numerous reading formats, which makes reading comprehension skills more important then ever. Yet, today’s students spend less time reading than previous generation.

If we want to help kids like math, science or social studies, we have to help them become better readers. Reading promotes critical thinking, problem solving, and deep learning. All of which translates into math success in middle and high school.

 

Florida Hands Over $4.47 Billion/year to Foreign Curriculum Company

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“Pearson is said to control 80 percent of the public school curriculum in the U.S. and claims to be the global leader. Pearson PLC’s yearly revenues reported in August 2016 said to be as large as $4.47 billion. Of greatest concern is that Pearson is a multinational corporation based in England. It has its primary listing on the British stock exchange and a secondary listing on the NYSE.”

continue reading 

 

Florida Teachers Testing Fiasco

teacher-1280966_960_720Florida Teachers Failing General Knowledge Exam; How?

You don’t have to look for the “Weird Florida” guide at Books-a-Million to hear something super messed up about Florida on daily basis. Here is one. Florida Department of Education has hired the super over-paid Pearson (read: over $200 million contract; British curriculum company) to create teacher examination tests. Now we all know how good Person is at making tests. Just look at kids’ test scores, the wording of their exams and the strange 5 answer questions. You have to see it to believe it. Pearson not only speaks foreign language to our students, but now they have succeeded to design a General Knowledge Test that has a teacher passing rate of 58%. Wow. How?

test graph

Out of teachers that took the general knowledge math exam, 6027 of them failed. How  can this test be a valid assessment tool with such low passing rate. Again, all takers are university graduates.

How is Florida Teacher Exam having a lower passing rate than the Bar Exam?
How? How are teachers like Kaitlyn Frank, graduates of the University of South Florida failing these tests? The University of South Florida is one of the best state schools. Their education department is excellent. How is it that their graduate cannot pass a General Knowledge Test?
How can a 13 year teacher veteran not be able to pass the General Knowledge Exam?

What kind of general knowledge are we testing that a university graduate and/or cannot pass?
Now none of this makes sense, except it does. All people who are familiar with the Florida Department of Education and Pearson testing know that they make $200 per every exam and retake. That is a lot of extra money for retakes. If you want to view your test, you have to pay them on average $100 to do so. Just like Pearson is paid on average $50.00 for every test Florida student takes, they are paid for retakes and hold backs. Sadly, all your answers are: money.

If the General Knowledge Test requires teachers to pass all 4 sections to keep their certification, and one of the sections has a failing rate of 43%, then 43% of all teachers that need this exam are unable to keep their job. It took one teacher six times to pass a test. Dear God. That is $1200,00 just to keep working. Not sure if she passed.

Anyhow, Florida doesn’t treat their teachers any better than students. Eh, it is just money.
Got to love it.

If 43% of university graduates are failing Pearson’s General Knowledge Test, then we have to look at the test. As a curriculum writer, I can design a test that will ensure lower passing rates. How? I can write questions in a very confusing manner, as our British friends, and then not allow the test takers to view their results. Also, my questions do not have to be general knowledge, all I have to do is call them that. It’s easy. It would be unethical and it would work against American students and their teachers, but Person will make a lot of money. While the Florida Department of Education will surely not do anything at all.

P.S. – Most of Florida teachers were educated out of state.
Read:
http://www.abcactionnews.com/longform/florida-teachers-failing-frustrated-teacher-test-scores-not-improving-new-state-numbers-show

Mrs. Lena, M.Ed.

Science Test Prep Bundle Giveaway!

FCAT previewWhat is the best time to get ready for Science Standardized Testing?

With the testing season in full force, most teachers start reflecting on their yearly test prep strategies. After all, when the results are in, we can either take credit for learning gains or use the data to improve our instruction next year.

When it comes to science and social studies, the story is much more complicated. Science and social studies testing doesn’t only test yearly growth but learning completed in prior years as well. 5th Grade science test includes content learned form 1st to 5th grade. Being that science and social studies are not taught on regular basis in public and/or charter schools, preparing students for the multi-year content exam is intense work.

What is the best time to start science exam test prep? It is the beginning of the year. Assessing prior student knowledge will provide a solid anchor where to start reteaching/refreshing of the past years content. Chances are, science knowledge mastery is all over the map, and incorporating benchmarks from prior years will be a must in effort to get students in 5th grade up to speed. The same can be said about 8th grade science exam, being that 6th and 7th grade science is dense in content.

Monthly Giveaway! – Science Test Prep Pack Giveaway

5 Lucky Winners will win! Science Test Prep Pack!

72 pages of science content
Section 1 : Complete & Incomplete Metamorphosis
Section 2 : Vertebrates & Invertebrates
Section 3 : Photosynthesis
Section 4 : Solar System
Section 5 : Continents and Oceans

To Enter:


1 Sign up for the Kids Read Newsletter  – 1 entry
2. Follow us on Twitter – 1 entry    @kidsread09
3. Follow us on Pinterest – 1 entry @beatlebug

4. Share on FB – 1 entry

Open to all residents of the United States.

Mrs. Lena, M.Ed. 

Giveaway Ends on April 1st, 2017

DecodeLearningAdd

Leading Online Tutoring- DecodeLearning.com

What’s Wrong with Math Instruction?

math-1547018_960_720The United States Department of Education awarded $2.75 million grant to Canadian researchers to study implementation and effectiveness of JUMP Math (Canadian remedial math program that focuses on math fundamentals). The study took place in rural Ontario (rural Canada). The researchers found that math achievement improved and every child can learn math. Money well spent!

Of course every child can learn math. You can ask any teachers in the U.S. and they would have told you the same, saving you time and money. Plus, how does this study translates to the U.S. schools? Our curriculum is very different from Canadian. Our demographic is much different from rural Canada. The math concepts we cover do not parallel each other. The U.S. curriculum and benchmarks are substantially more advanced than Canadian. Thankfully, the obvious questions was answered. A huge number of the U.S. schools lack sufficient textbooks yet we fund studies that are completely irrelevant to every day classroom.

The question is not if our kids can learn math. The question is how we go about teaching math. We have also learned years ago that the discovery method of math instruction is not effective. Again, nothing new here. We need to stop answering the same question, and start asking questions that actually make a difference.

Why do kids have such hard time with high school math? Why do we have so many high school drop outs? In Canada, math is optional in the last two years of high school, otherwise students would not graduate high school. Instead of lowering graduating standards, we need to look at what makes the difference in math instruction. While programs like JUMP Math that focus on math fundamentals do make a difference, they don’t come close to answering the important question of building a math foundation that will carry students through middle, high school and university, successfully.

So, what works? Singapore math curriculum woks. Why? As successful European math instruction, Singapore math is visual, developmentally appropriate, it builds step by step, and even more importantly, it implements the elements of geometry throughout its K-12 curriculum. NY Eureka Math incorporates Singapore math and is completely free for individual use online. The reason most students find math difficult in high school isn’t the arithmetic (number sense), it is geometry. As someone who taught both elementary and high school math, I find that students truly struggle with geometry, and the problem is two fold. We don’t focus on geometry enough, and by the time students reach high school the gaps in knowledge of geometry are so large that most students simply don’t have the time to catch up. Asian and European students don’t struggle with math as their North American counterparts and it is all the result of learning gains accumulation.

Our shortsighted educational goals that only see the end of the year test score, undermine the best interest of students, schools, and our society.

Lets get serious.
Mrs. Lena, M.Ed.

 

 

Make Science for All – NOVA

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nova-wgbh/join-nova-make-science-for-all/widget/video.html“>novahttps://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nova-wgbh/join-nova-make-science-for-all/widget/video.html