3 Non-Fiction Story Apps

by Rochelle Tkach, OCT

 

 

Looking for apps that focus on reading?  This blog highlights three non-fiction story apps recently shared in Cube for Teachers.

One Minute Reader App: Fluency, Vocabulary, & Comprehension App!


The One Minute Reader app offers a fantastic digital platform for students to improve their reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. It is designed with 6 different levels for students to work between and read a variety of non-fiction books. I would generally recommend this app for grades 3-6, but it can definitely be used in other grades depending on your students’ reading levels. The app has a placement feature that helps teachers determine where students fall within the One Minute Reader levels. After students have been placed, this app calculates students’ initial fluency by timing how many words they can read from a story in one minute. The app then scaffolds students to build their fluency by reading along with the app and practicing vocabulary. The app provides immediate feedback to show how well students improved after practice. One Minute Reader further builds students’ comprehension by asking 3-4 questions after the story. There is also a great reward system built into One Minute Reader! This app has been shared into the Cube for Teachers database as a curriculum resource for Language Arts. To read the full review of One Minute Reader, go to Teaching with EdTech blog.

News-O-Matic App: The Daily Newspaper just for Kids!  


News-O-Matic is a daily newspaper just for kids! It is a fantastic app to enhance global literacy because students are reading age appropriate non-fiction articles about events happening all over the globe. Daily, there are 5 new articles for students to interact with and read. The app goes beyond just text on an iPad screen. Students can tap difficult words to hear a definition. They can click the “Read to Me” option to differentiate their own instruction. The app further provides a picture slideshow and video for every article to make the experience multi-modal and interactive. A fantastic feature of the app is the little globe in the corner that students can click. This globe takes students to the place in the world where the article is situated in. This is such a great way for students to learn about simple facts from around the globe and provide some context for the article they are reading. News-O-Matic further has a school app (as shown above) where teachers can track students’ progress of what articles they have read and how well they did with the multiple choice questions at the end of each article. I have shared the News-O-Matic app as a curriculum resource for Language Arts in the Cube for Teachers database. Discover more about News-O-Matic on their webpage.

HMH Readers APP

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HMH Readers is another fantastic app for students to practice reading on the iPad. This app has a variety of leveled books and the option to sort books based on your students’ current grade level. Once you know the leveled books that fall under your students’ grade level, you can then sort them by this level to discover even more books. This app provides a variety of non-fiction and fiction stories for students to read. The app has built-in features to differentiate instruction such as a “Read to Me” option. HMH Readers further provide a glossary at the end of books to help build students’ vocabulary. Many of the books also have extension activities at the end of the book that students can complete to expand their understanding and demonstrate their comprehension of the text. I have recently shared the HMH Readers app as a curriculum resource for grades K-6 Language Arts in the Cube for Teachers database. Discover more about HMH Readers on their webpage.

Have you registered for Cube for Teachers yet?

Cube for Teachers is a community of thousands of educators sharing, searching and saving their favourite web resources into a free curriculum-aligned database. There are now over 25 000 web resources that have been shared in Cube for Teachers by educators just like you.

If you’re interested in writing for Cube for Teachers or sharing your blog, email us with your ideas.

For additional inquiries, contact Susan Kwiecien, Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers.

 

Daily Physical Activity Teaching Resources

by Rochelle Tkach, OCT

 

What a way to introduce the new Ontario Health on Physical Education curriculum into Cube for Teachers but with three great resources on Daily Physical Activity (DPA).

 

For Kindergarten to Grade 8, GoNoodle is a website that provides tons of free videos to enhance movement breaks in your classroom. Movement breaks or “brain breaks” have been a trending component to teachers’ classroom routines. Daily Physical Activity (DPA) is further a specific curriculum expectation in the Ontario Health and Physical Education document. It is therefore crucial that educators find creative ways to incorporate movement into their daily schedules. GoNoodle has videos that range from energizers to de-energizers. There is everything from Zumba to Yoga to brain exercises for students to engage in depending on their energy levels. Discover more features about GoNoodle by reading the full review at Teaching with EdTech blog. This resource has also been recently shared in the Cube for Teachers database as a curriculum resource for Health and Physical Education.

For Kindergarten to Grade 3, Cosmic Kids is a YouTube channel that provides many fun and engaging Yoga videos for young students to follow. All Cosmic Kids videos are run by a fun and energetic Yoga instructor named Jamie. Through really cool backgrounds and animated features, Jamie takes students on an adventure through Yoga poses! Students follow the Yoga moves that correspond with different parts of Jamie’s stories. Therefore, students are not just following a Yoga instructor moving from one pose to the next. They are taken on a fun and interesting adventure and may not even realize they are doing Yoga! Cosmic Kids videos are highly interactive and engaging ways to incorporate Daily Physical Activity into your next lesson. Follow Cosmic Kids on YouTube. This resource has also been shared in the Cube for Teachers database as a curriculum resource for Health and Physical Education.

For Grades 4 to 8, Just Dance YouTube videos provide a fun and engaging way for older students to get moving during Daily Physical Activity! Based on the Just Dance game, the YouTube version of these videos are free and easy to follow. Although students cannot actually earn points through the YouTube version, these videos are still a really fun way to incorporate students’ love of trending music with really fun dance moves. Furthermore, the dancers are animated, which may be another way to enhance students’ engagement with digital technology. Follow Just Dance on YouTube. This resource has also been shared in the Cube for Teachers database as a curriculum resource for Health and Physical Education.

Have you registered for Cube for Teachers yet?

Cube for Teachers is a community of thousands of educators sharing, searching and saving their favourite web resources into a free curriculum-aligned database. There are now over 25 000 web resources that have been shared in Cube for Teachers by educators just like you.

If you’re interested in writing for Cube for Teachers or sharing your blog, email us with your ideas.

For additional inquiries, contact Susan Kwiecien, Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers.

 

3 Must-Have Apps for Any Subject!

by Rochelle Tkach, OCT

 

As a teacher in the 21st century, it is extremely difficult to sift through all of the EdTech apps, software, and websites. Thanks to Cube for Teachers, searching for resources is quick and easy as teachers continue to share their favourite web resources into the collaborative database.

It has become apparent that school boards are really looking for apps that are cost effective and can be used across disciplines. After reflecting on this notion, I have narrowed down three must-have apps to use in any subject that have recently been shared in Cube for Teachers.

Create. Interact. Share. Educreations Interactive Whiteboard App!

Educreations is an interactive whiteboard for students to use on tablets. Much like a SMART Board, Educreations is a learning platform that enhances the multi-modal features of touch-based technologies. However, as an app, Educreations allows individual or small groups of students to personalize work from tablets. Students are able to upload pictures, label concepts, write thoughts with ink tools, record thinking or communicating in groups, and share work through links or emails. Educreations further allows for multiple slides within the app so that students can expand their work beyond one screen of a tablet. Educreations can essentially be a digital platform for students to work on in any discipline. It is not a content specific app so students can complete anything from a science lesson to a math lesson through this app. To read more about how Educreations can be used in your next lesson, read the full iPad app review on Teaching with EdTech blog.

Engage. Assess. Digitize. Socrative!

            

Socrative is a virtual response system, which is designed between two apps. There is a student view and a teacher view. The teacher view allows teachers to assess students in different ways. Educators are able to formatively assess students throughout a lesson by choosing the Quick Question system. The Quick Question option allows for on the spot polling. This means that students would enter their classroom on the student Socrative app and respond through multiple choice, true or false, or short answer. The type of question students answer depends on what the teacher has selected. Socrative also has the feature for teachers to create their own quizzes through the teacher app. Overall, this app is a valuable teaching tool for educators since it is able to assess students on any knowledge across disciplines. To read more about how Socrative can enhance your assessment practices, read the full iPad app review on Teaching with EdTech blog.

Students DITCH the Pen & Pencil with Penzu Classroom!

Penzu’s simplicity is easy for any teacher to begin incorporating digital tools into the classroom. This app offers a digital platform for students to write journal entries and add “paper clip” pictures to their digital entry. Penzu looks like a simple piece of lined paper (much like the ones in school notebooks) where students can type their journal responses instead of writing with pencil and paper. This simple interaction with a digital tool is usually enough to hook and motivate the current generation of students. Penzu can further be used across disciplines and is not a content specific app. It is an extremely versatile app since journal writing is a teaching method that can be incorporated into any subject. To read the more about how Penzu can reinvent journal writing for your students, read the full iPad app review on Teaching with EdTech blog.

Have you registered for Cube for Teachers yet?

Cube for Teachers is a community of thousands of educators sharing, searching and saving their favourite web resources into a free curriculum-aligned database. To date nearly 25 000 web resources have been shared in Cube for Teachers by educators.

If you’re interested in writing for Cube for Teachers, email us with your ideas.

For additional inquiries, contact Susan Kwiecien, Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers.

 

6 Great Apps to Support Pre-Writing

by Rochelle Tkach, OCT

 

Here is an overview of six apps recently shared in Cube for Teachers that support Language Arts Writing (pre-writing/ brainstorming) and potential cross-curricular connections to other subject matter.

Corkulous:

Image result for corkulous

Corkulous, is where your traditional bulletin board meets the digital world!  This virtual bulletin board makes a great digital brainstorming environment for students to throw around ideas, make connections between information, and classify points. Some of the app features include sticky notes, cue cards, label arrows, checklist templates, and more! Students are also able to upload photos to help support their brainstorming ideas and spark inspiration.  Learn more.

MindMeister:Image result for mindmeisterMindMeister provides a more advanced digital platform to brainstorm and even pre-write. One of the best features of MindMeister is how it supports a collaborative network. People can be added to edit and share on a mind map using their email. Through cloud technology, students, teachers, or administrators can edit and share their ideas together around a particular topic. Learn more.

Popplet:

Popplet is another wonderful mind mapping app for students to brainstorm ideas on potential topics or to demonstrate what they have learned. An important feature of Popplet is its’ ability to have students collaborate within the same network. Much like the app, MindMeister, discussed above, students can share their ideas by making comments, uploading pictures, and connecting information. Learn more.

Pic Collage:

Pic Collage provides a unique and more simplified way for students to organize their ideas through pictures. Pic Collage could be used as a way to differentiate the pre-writing stage for students who may struggle to express their thoughts in written form. Pic Collage at least gets the ideas flowing for these students and could help scaffold them towards richer ideas for a story. Learn more.

Stickyboard:

On Stickyboard, students are able to use sticky notes to write their ideas and begin to make connections about a topic. One of the unique features about Stickyboard is its dual function as a white board! Students can then organize their sticky notes through connecting lines, diagrams, columns, or through arrows. Learn more.

Inspiration:

Inspiration allows students to begin pre-writing through mind-maps and further provides many pre-made mind mapping templates in Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Math. All of these mind maps have built in graphics and symbols to support the pre-writing or brainstorming process. The app further allows students to record audio within the mind map to explain their thinking and communicating of ideas. Learn more.

Have you registered for Cube for Teachers yet?

Cube for Teachers is a community of thousands of educators sharing, searching and saving their favourite web resources into a free curriculum-aligned database. To date nearly 25 000 web resources have been shared in Cube for Teachers by educators.

If you’re interested in writing for Cube for Teachers, email us with your ideas.

For additional inquiries, contact Susan Kwiecien, Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers.

Gamify & Digitize Math!

by Rochelle Tkach, OCT

 

I recently shared the following Mathematics resources into the Cube for Teachers database under ‘Curriculum Resources’:

1) Prodigy
2) Digitize Math Manipulatives
3) Playpower

Are YOU Ready to Make Math Magical? Try Prodigy!

What student doesn’t like wizards, duels, rewards, and challenges? With over 1.5 million student users and growing, Prodigy has designed an engaging and meaningful way to gamify math for students. While students play Prodigy, they will have to duel against other players (other computer players not other students). The duel means that students are required to solve a math problem. Prodigy has a database of over 300 curriculum aligned math questions that target grades 1 through to 8. Furthermore, teachers can choose specific math questions to include in the game and assess students on these concepts without them even knowing they are being assessed. It all just seems like a game! Prodigy includes other features to differentiate instruction based on individual students, inform teachers based on data driven assessment, provide scaffolding throughout the game, and engage students through fun reward systems. Read the full review of Prodigy on my Teaching with EdTech blog!

Digitize Math Manipulatives!

Why not combine hands-on activities with the digital world? Clarity Innovations has created a set of free high quality math manipulatives for the Math Learning Center. These apps still provide the visual/symbolic representations of math concepts that traditional manipulatives have for years. However, now with the math manipulative apps, educators can support the unique learning needs of students today in the 21st century! Furthermore all of these math manipulatives have a whiteboard feature built in. This means students can not only use the digital manipulatives, but they can further write numbers, equations, or explanations of their thinking as they work with the manipulatives. Read the full review about these high quality math manipulative apps on my Teaching with EdTech blog!

1, 2, 3…BLAST OFF to the Math Planet App by Playpower!

Playpower is an organization that creates many high quality math education apps for grades 1-8. Playpower has really jumped on the trend of gamification in learning to make math more meaningful and fun for students. Math Planet was developed by experts at Carnegie Mellon University and has been tested across hundreds of classrooms to improve and enhance the richness of math learning. It has also won many awards! This app provides a gamified learning environment to learn many math concepts in a virtual outer space. The strands Math Planet focuses on include: Number Sense and Numeration, Geometry, and Measurement! With 9 different games and over 100+ levels, math planet makes a great addition to reinforce important math concepts. Read the full review of Playpower’s Math Planet app on my Teaching with EdTech blog.

Cube for Teachers is a community of thousands of educators sharing, searching and saving their favourite web resources into a free curriculum-aligned database. To date nearly 25 000 web resources have been shared in Cube for Teachers by educators.

If you’re interested in writing for Cube for Teachers, email us with your ideas.

For additional inquiries, contact Susan Kwiecien, Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers.

Reflection: FETC 2015

    By Susan Kwiecien: Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers

The FETC Conference

Recently, I attended one of America’s largest Edtech conferences with colleagues from Ontario.  FETC   (Florida Educational Technology Conference)  is an international conference for the integration of education technology into the K-20 school community that had over 9000 attendees and showcased 480 vendors (video). I was amazed by the number of sessions running throughout the day – people gathering to share their learning in conference rooms, concourse hallways and even on the exhibit floor. There was definitely no shortage of learning going on!

By attending FETC, I was delighted to see that no matter which side of the border educators reside, we all share one goal in common – strategies and resources to best support our precious learners.

Many teachers I met were on a quest to find relevant teaching resources. Sessions that shared resources appeared to be very popular to educators. As these resources were presented, I was simultaneously checking inside Cube for Teachers and saw that the majority had already been shared. It was a testament to teachers using Cube for Teachers, that they have been sharing valuable web resources.

I will be sharing many of these resources in upcoming Cube for Teachers blogs.

Tom Whitby

Tweetups

The FETC experience is not solely an 8am-5pm experience. There are usually PD events that extend into the evening as these events are also about building one’s network and collaborating with peers. As a result, I attended a fantastic ‘tweetup’ and  connected with many people I’ve come to know through my Twitter PLN such as Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) and Steven Anderson (@web20classroom) who have co-authored a book called, “The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning” that discusses the importance of connecting with educators online.

A great book…I highly recommend it.

While at the tweetup, I also bumped into Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1), who has compiled an extensive list of subject and topic specific resources on his website (cybraryman.com). If you’ve ever participated in an educational hashtag chat on Twitter, you’ve likely seen him sharing valuable resources with educators. It was great to learn that Cube for Teachers already has a place on Jerry’s Canadian resource page. Thank you Jerry.

Cyrbaryman

Cybraryman - Jerry Blumengarten

In Canada, our next big EdTech conference will be Connect 2015 (@CanConnectEd). It is the Canadian National Conference that connects educators with technology for 21st Century teaching and learning. This year will be The Cube’s 3rd year attending and participating at this event. We look forward to reconnecting with our Canadian and American PLN.

New to The Cube?

Cube for Teachers (@cubeforteachers) is a collaboration portal for educators and contains nearly 25 000 shared web resources and continues to grow on a daily basis as teachers continue to share their most favourite links.

Best regards,

Susan Kwiecien
Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers

A Great Opportunity for Teacher Graduates and Candidates

           Pic from Flickr User, Benson Kalahar

Are you a recent Faculty of Education graduate or are you graduating in the coming months? Either way, you’re ready for the next step – employment.

The truth is…the landscape is saturated. Graduates seeking employment exceed the number of positions available.  Compounding the problem is the addition of a new cohort of graduates vying for the same teaching positions.

The reality is that it may take a few years to secure a permanent position only after countless hours of volunteering and competing to get onto a supply list.

In today’s market, you need to stand out!

Your Digital Footprint

A digital presence in this profession is increasingly the norm. Every resource and tool you share online, defines your brand as a qualified educator.

A well-established digital footprint relevant to education demonstrates your knowledge, your dedication and your ability to curate credible information. Your digital footprint is your portfolio – it highlights your resourcefulness, your ability to collaborate and your willingness to share knowledge with an established educational network.

Your digital footprint matters. It has become an essential part of today’s teaching profession.

Your digital footprint distinguishes you from other candidates seeking the same permanent positions.

Cube for Teachers

Cube for Teachers is getting graduates noticed. Through the curation of credible links, understanding of pedagogy and the sharing of thoughtful blog content, graduates are defining themselves as a valuable addition to teams.

Cube for Teachers is inviting passionate teacher candidates and graduates to share their knowledge on various resources through Cube for Teachers’ blogs.  In doing so, you’ll be reaching and helping thousands of teachers, administrators and system leaders – providing them valuable resources while getting your name out there.

While you are helping Ontario’s educators learn about valuable web resources, Cube for Teachers is helping you build your digital footprint so you can demonstrate your knowledge to peers, administrators and system leaders.

Blog Content Ideas

  • Write a critical review of a specific curriculum resource;
  • Describe the benefits of a teaching tool and how it can be integrated into a lesson;
  • Write a review of a cluster of resources with a similar theme (i.e. inquiry-based resources);
  • Offer a reflection regarding a particular topic, blog, etc.

Consider a recent post in the Cube for Teachers’ blog.

Support

Whether you choose to write one blog or many, The Cube’s Administrators will provide feedback and advice to put your best ‘footprint’ forward.

That’s It!

The Cube continues to unite educators and system leaders.  Don’t miss your opportunity to participate and build your digital portfolio.

The infrastructure is already built.
Your audience is waiting.

To learn more about opportunities for blogging, contact The Cube Support Team.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
Cube for Teachers

FDK Blog Post 1 – The Basics


By Melissa Calder

 

In this first post of our FDK Blog Series, we delve into the foundation of the Ontario Full-Day Kindergarten program. You’ll find links to the Ontario FDK curriculum, an FDK primer from TVO, plus essential Ministry of Education documents.

SIX Essential Resources

Past FDK blog post: The FDK Blog Series

Cube for Teachers contains thousands of shared web resources worldwide and organizes them into 3 main topic areas:  Curriculum Resources, Tools and Technology, and Other Teaching Resources (including strategies, best practices, current topics).

 

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

The FDK Blog Series

By Melissa Calder

 

Are you teaching Full-Day Kindergarten (FDK) this Fall? If you are, you are certainly in good company! FDK will be available in all boards of education across Ontario as of Fall 2014.

We know that preparing for a new school year is a mixed bag of excitement and anxiety (we’re teachers too!) so we’ve put together an FDK Blog Series here at The Cube to explore play-based learning and the wonderful world of Kindergarten to help ease the transition into the new school year.

Below, we’ve included a few links to resources that delve into the history and evolution of FDK in Ontario. Stay tuned for our next post in the series entitled, “FDK: The Basics

Quick History: Resources outlining the history of FDK in Ontario

In 2007, the Ontario Liberals announced their commitment to the province-wide Full-Day Kindergarten program, as part of their election platform. Full-Day Kindergarten was not new to Ontario, as some school boards operating in marginalized socio-economic communities did receive support funding for all-day Senior Kindergarten prior to 2007.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario document provides further information about the beginning of the FDK Program in Ontario.

Former Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, asked Dr. Charles Pascal (OISE) to to recommend the best way to implement full-day learning for 4- and 5-year-olds.
This document provides the highlights of his advice:  Implementing Early-learning in Ontario.

We’d love to hear from you! What types of resources and/or topics would you like to see shared in this series? Although we have great blog posts planned, we love the challenge of finding ‘just right’ resources for The Cube community. Simply send us an email and let us know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Looking for additional teaching resources pertaining to curriculum, strategies and tech tools?  Be sure to check out  Cube for Teachers with 22000+ shared links by teachers.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

 

New Teachers: How’s Your Ontario Curriculum Content Knowledge?

Blog by Melissa Calder, OISE Graduate

Phew! We survived the seemingly never-ending winter. As gardens bloom and classroom teachers begin end-of-year activities, B.Ed students (teacher candidates) are preparing for convocation. Are you a recent grad, hoping to land a job in teaching? Feeling the crunch of competition for those oh-so-few positions available? I hear you: Me too. I am one of the thousands of newly minted teachers in Ontario.

With the education job market being being what it is in Ontario and the provincial election looming where education remains a hot topic, I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the road ahead. Of course we knew upon applying for teacher’s college that landing a job would be an uphill battle, so bemoaning the lack of employment prospects seems redundant and counter-productive.

Sage advice offered by our teaching mentors and professors encourages new grads to keep volunteering, continue to upgrade with AQ’s and of course being available for whatever comes our way. All valid ideas. But what about beefing up our curricular knowledge? Can you honestly say that you truly KNOW the Ontario curriculum? You may have the curriculum documents at the ready on your device or in paper format on a bookshelf, but do you feel confident with your content and subject knowledge? Pop quiz: In which grade do you introduce the concept of solar energy? What about structure and function of the major organs of various human body systems? How about the elements of art? Stumped? I was too until I began using Cube for Teachers.

Cube for Teachers is an ESSENTIAL resource for new and veteran teachers alike. It’s a goldmine of lesson plans connected to specific Ontario curriculum (K-12) documents and strands, a database of resources, a place where you can connect with other educators and ultimately a time-saving platform. Resource links are added to Cube for Teachers by Ontario teachers for Ontario teachers and tied to fields specific to education! Want to find resources for teaching a Grade 1 unit on solar energy that is cross-curricularly connected to math and art? No problem. You will also find resources related to teaching practice, classroom management, professional development and educational technology. The list goes on and on.

I encourage you to explore Cube for Teachers. Learn about curriculum expectations and the related strands. Ultimately, it is our responsibility as teachers to truly know our craft. Knowing, understanding and implementing the rich Ontario curriculum is essential to our future roles as classroom educators. Set yourself apart from the rest of the thousands clamouring to get their dream job – you know how to teach and by joining The Cube, you’ll know what to teach and how to connect lesson plans to curricular expectations. Having solid content knowledge will surely impress hiring committees and panels – and will ultimately make you a better teacher.

Take note:  You’ll want to register before your Faculty email address is discontinued which sometimes takes place upon graduation. Membership is free. Once you have created an account (where you can save unlimited resources and lesson plans), you are able to change your email address to one that you check regularly.