Thursday, February 21, 2013

Common Core and Technology--a Powerful Combination in Delivering Highly Effective Instruction

With the new Common Core standards, teachers will need to weave in more technology in the delivering of lessons.  Though many districts are dealing with ever shrinking budgets, they can still meet that demand with minimal cost.  After all, all students of this generation regardless of their economic status have at least some access to technology during most of the day be it cell phone, XBoxes, tablets, etc.  Granted iPads may not be that common as instructional tools in many classrooms, but often times schools do have the money in their budgets to at least supply the classroom teacher with one to present learning in an exciting engaging fashion--something a textbook alone can never fully accomplish.  A teacher's imagination plus the support of an iPad linked to an LCD projector has the potential to fully motivate even the most reluctant students with ease.

Where does a teacher start in trying to find those key and inexpensive (or free) tools to support all students and especially those long-term English language learners as well as other struggling students?  Well, since a typical teacher's day has very limited to no free time in the day, it is hoped that this post will supply teachers with a few must have tools that are easy to use.  Use these sites as starting points and add to them as you go through the school year:)  NOTE:  our website ELL TEACHER PROS will be developing two new tabs on common core and technology.  It is still in the development stage but should be available in the next few weeks.

This site is from EDUCATION WORLD.  Subscribing to it is free and the information in it is current (there are of course many more sites, but this may be a good starting point especially for teachers who may still feel a but uneasy about how to get the most out of their lessons using technology).

INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY INTO THE CLASSROOM:  IT TAKES MORE THAN JUST HAVING COMPUTERS .   There are 19 internet activities here and all are great beginning points for both the novice and the veteran.  This blog post will address some of the ones that I have recommended as well as worked with before I became an instructional coach.

SPELLING--one of the best sites on the web for taking the pain out of trying to master English spelling is SPELLING CITY  (number 7 on the list).  Not only does it address spelling at any grade level or content area, it also offers sentence practice with the words being studied.  Students are presented with sets of scrambled words which must be rearranged using the word being studied correctly.  This offers some sentence structure practice.  Further, students have a variety of ways to master the definitions before they quiz themselves.  Lastly, for those who have done all the work, they can play games based on the words.  Students especially love this feature.  A computer lab would be good for this though I would not expect this to be a full period activity for mostl

If students' eyes glaze over at the thought of studying history, they will perk up with the use of the sites in numbers 8 and 11.  Number 8 focuses on key historical events which occurred on any given day.  So if it is March 15th, click here to find out what happened that day.  It could be a fun way to start a lesson with a direct tie-in to what is to be covered in class that day.  Number 11 I have recommended to history teachers--The Library of Congress.  Again, such tools can be used as instructional tools for the teacher in the lesson or for students doing research on a given topic. 

If science is the topic, number 16 would be a must-have for any science teacher (biology, astronomy, physics, chemistry).  NASA is the tool here and few students need to prodded to study Curiosity's adventures on Mars.  NASA also has tools for educators to use with their students, and, like all of the sites here, everything is free. 

Try some of these ideas out.  Your students will definitely appreciate your efforts:)



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