Summer is almost here

Part One: Exploring Thinkfinity

One of the uses of technology that I’m sure you are very familiar with is the use of online resources for research activities. This task will help you to locate online resources to use in your grade/content area. This first section will have you preview several reliable educational resources. I recommend looking back through the Georgia Performance Standards for your subject/grade level before moving on with this task (it will make it easier in the long run). If you’ve  had trouble developing TLAT lessons for your content/subject area, this might be a great time to try a new one!

There are many online resources that teachers use to collect tools and information for K-12 students. One cool one is Thinkfinity. Thinkfinity has resources for all content areas and all grade levels. So everyone in our class should be able to find something they can use.

1. Watch this overview of Thinkfinity. (Click on the red “take a tour” button in the bottom right corner – it’s a bit commercial and cheesy – but it’s a good overview). Then watch a detailed tutorial. This detailed tutorial really explains how to incorporate web resources in K12 classrooms. There’s so much more on the web than just lesson plans and long pages of text on Wikipedia. (You can skip the last minute that talks about how to do the survey – which you don’t need to do).

2. Use what you learned from the video to explore the resources within Thinkfinity. Set a timer for 15 minutes (seriously – really do this) and just explore the site to see what you can find. Try and focus on student interactive materials like the ones demonstrated in the detailed tutorial.

Part Two: Creating an Enrichment Kit
One big problem in education (and there are many) is the issue of “summer learning loss” Read this article to prepare for this next task. As a teacher, parents will look to you for ideas on how to prevent this “learning loss.” To help solve this problem, your task is to locate 8-10 exceptional web-based resources that a student from your grade/content area could use over the summer to enrich (NOT remediate) what they have learned in your class during the school year. You can focus on one topic or a multitude of topics. If you are focusing on elementary grades – you can focus on multiple subjects. These resources should include games and other interactive resources. Your resources should not be a set of webpages that contain only text. The Thinkfinity site is a great place to find interactive activities for any subject or grade level. (Hint – on any of the partner sites – look for words like “student interactive”).

As you locate your resources, you will add them to a new webpage called “Summer Tool Kit” or something a bit more creative. For each resource you find you will provide the title of the resource, the web link, and a short description of how this tool can be used (make sure to decide if your audience for your descriptions is students or parents).

Once you have finished collecting your resources, write a 2-3 paragraph letter to parents describing the summer enrichment kit that you have developed. Give them highlights of what they will find in the kit, suggestions for how they might use it, and a link to your Summer ToolKit webpage. (If you are teaching high school students you might want to talk to them in the letter instead of parents). You should attach the letter to the webpage. Here’s an example for an elementary Spanish student. (The parent letter is attached at the bottom of the linked page).

Here is an example of the same assignment for elementary language arts. In this example, the Maymester student used delicious to collect and organize her resources – then, of course, she attached the parent letter to the bottom of the page.

Delicious is a great site for organizing and sharing your website bookmarks.  Another good place for collecting websites into an online 3-ring binder of sorts is livebinder. You can use either for this assignment if you want.

Here’s an example of one Gretchen made for her daughter last summer also using delicious (no parent letter, though). **Hint: She found most of these resources by searching on the Thinkfinity site. She searched for “writing” and limited search results to grades K-2. She also did a Google search and used key terms like “reading games,” “summer reading activities,” “summer writing activities,” etc. So – use the Thinkfinity website as a resource and be smart about the search strategies you use.
Your completed tool kit and letter are due at the end of the day Wednesday.

Homework

  • Finish the Chapter 4 reading guide (This is the last one! Due Wednesday, 04/13).
  • Finish your tool kit/parent letter (due Wednesday, 04/13). On Wednesday we will be starting a new assignment, so it would be best if you get you tool kit before class.
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