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Everything listed under: Learning Tools

  • What Should I Know About The Lexile® Framework for Reading?

       

    You’ve probably heard of Lexile® measures, but do you know why they matter? They’re not just another little trend in public education; they’re an important tool that parents and educators across the country can use to help kids improve reading skills.

    What is a Lexile® Measure?

    The Lexile® Framework is a standard that helps connect readers with texts. Students are assigned a numeric Lexile® measure that functions like a reading score. That number could be in the low 200s for new readers, or it could exceed 1600 for advanced readers. The higher the Lexile® measure, the more advanced the reader. The lower the score, the newer the reader.

    The same scores apply to texts. Books, articles, and websites get Lexile® measures based on the same scale that readers do, helping parents choose books and other reading materials that match their child’s reading comprehension. More than 100 million articles and websites and more than 150,000 books have been assigned a Lexile® measure.

    According to the Lexile® website, for instance, the first Harry Potter book was an 880 Lexile® book. Emerging readers with a 220 Lexile® measure probably not be able to read or understand Harry Potter, but readers with a Lexile® measure range of 780 to 910 can probably read and comprehend the book’s writing without frustration.

    Lexile® Measures Aren’t Based on Grade Level

    Once upon a time, a child’s reading level was based on how other students in the same grade level performed at the same time, on the same test. That meant that the same student’s score would be higher if the rest of the class performed below average.

    It also meant that a student could be identified as reading “below grade level” if he or she happened to be grouped with exceptional readers on test day. Basically, it meant that a child’s reading level was measured on a curve.

    By contrast, a child’s Lexile® measure isn’t based on how other kids in the same grade level did on that year’s test — it’s based on how well a child reads on a Lexile® scale that never changes. This takes pressure off of kids and parents, both, because it allows you to work on improving your child’s reading skills without comparing your child to other kids.

    Why Should I Care About Lexile® Measures?

    Lexile® measures are an international standard that puts the reader and the text on the same developmental scale. Students in more than 180 countries and in all 50 U.S. States use the Lexile® Measure Framework, making the system relatively ubiquitous in libraries, bookstores, and even magazines, news publications, and websites.

    Because the measure is so widespread, you can use it to help find reading materials that will keep your child challenged and happy learning to read. The days of guessing whether a book or news article is the right difficulty for your child are long gone. Now you just need to know your child’s — and the text’s — Lexile® measure, and you’re good to go.

    If you aren’t sure what your child’s Lexile® measure is, talk to his or her teacher or visit the Lexile® Framework for Reading website to learn more.

    Missouri Parent is here to educate you, Missouri’s public school parents, about legislation, funding, and policy issues that affect your child’s education. We’re also here to help provide information that will support you as you guide your child through his or her public school years in preparation for college or career.

    You can learn more about education in Missouri by bookmarking Missouri Parent News, and you can connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for daily education updates from around the state.



  • Preparing Your Child for Middle School in Missouri

     

    The transition from elementary school to middle school is one of the most significant transitions of his or her years in Missouri’s public school classrooms. We know that you want to see your child succeed at every level of public school education. That’s why Missouri Parent is here today with a few tips on helping your son or daughter successfully make the middle school transition.

    Talk About It
    Most kids will feel a combination of excitement and nervousness when it’s time to start middle school. Take a little extra time to bond with your son or daughter during his or her last year of elementary school and into that first year of junior high.

    By building in a little extra time, you’re there to offer insights and encouragement — or just a listening ear — when your child has questions or needs to talk about his or her fears.

    Do you have a preschool child? Click here to learn more about preparing your child for kindergarten in Missouri.

    Go To Open House
    Nearly every middle school and junior high school in Missouri offers some sort of open house event for students and parents. The open house usually occurs before the school year begins. The open house is a great way not only to meet your child’s new teachers but to familiarize yourself and your child with the lay of the land in his or her new school.

    Take the time to walk from one classroom to the next with your child, in the order that his or her classes will take place. Find your son or daughter’s locker, figure out where the closest restrooms are, and make sure he or she knows where you (or the school bus) will do school drop-offs and pick-ups before and after school.

    Get Organized
    For many students, middle school is the first time they’ll move between classes each hour of the day. Make sure your child has more than one copy of his or her schedule handy. That way, your child has a little reinforcement until the new schedule is fully memorized.

    Work together with your son or daughter to organize notebooks, folders, or binders for the new school year. If your child has a place for his or her homework assignments and other classroom materials to go, it’ll minimize the risk of lost of forgotten assignments.

    Scholastic offers some helpful tips on organization for middle schoolers here.

    Cool Clothes & Dress Codes
    Tweens may be excited to express themselves in new ways at the start of middle school. The transition from elementary school to junior high can even present an opportunity for your child to reinvent himself or herself between school years.

    Before heading out to find your child’s new back to school look, however, be sure you’re familiar with the school’s dress code. You don’t want to spend money on clothes your child can’t wear, and sending your son or daughter to school in clothes the school doesn’t allow could cause embarrassment — or even expulsion!

    Immunizations
    Depending on how old your child is the year that middle school begins, you might need to make an appointment for a few new immunizations. At between 11 and 12 years old, the State of Missouri recommends that children receive vaccinations for Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV), Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and Influenza.

    Read more about Missouri’s immunization recommendations for children from birth to 18 years old.

    Do you have tips for other Missouri parents whose students will start middle school this year? Leave a comment here, or chat with us on the Missouri Parent Facebook Page.

    Be sure to bookmark Missouri Parent News, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates on parenting, funding, and education legislation in the State of Missouri

  • Caring for Our Kids Helps them Learn Reading and Math

     

    In 2008, a researcher in England published a working paper that showed something that many hard-working parents in Missouri will be glad to hear: that simply taking good care of your child will help him or her to do better in school.

    According to the study, there’s more than one way a child can get an edge in school. We all know that family income and other financial resources can afford a child unique experiences and support, but the researchers in this study argued that money isn’t the only variable for student success. The way a parent cares for his or her child plays a huge role in academic learning.

    “The evidence suggests that caring for children [...] has a substantial correlation with the children’s measured skills in reading and math,” the paper said, “and this relationship is separable from the advantages of family resources.”

    In other words, even after adjusting for financial resources, parents who cared for their children from pregnancy through elementary school helped their kids do better in math and reading.

    Care is a hard thing to measure, of course, so researchers selected a variety of parental behaviors that they felt were a reflection of the way parents care for their children. The intent was to account for the way parents use the resources they do have (time, energy, and attention — but also money) to support their kids.

    The thing we found really uplifting about this study is that it provides evidence that there are things that every single parent in Missouri — no matter how big or small your income — can do to help give your child a stronger foundation for reading and math.

    From not smoking while pregnant to reading to your child often and from a young age; from showing an interest in your child’s schoolwork and activities to encouraging him or her to stay in school, you can do small things that make a big difference for your child.

    Many of the ways you can help your child, according to the study, don’t cost anything. “Caring, as measured here,” said the study, “does not ‘cost money’.”

    Contact your child’s teacher to ask about how he or she is doing in the classroom. Read your child a book, or let them read one to you. Take your child on a little outing to a local park, museum, or library this weekend, and make sure that they’re getting the rest, nutrition, and safe home life they need to succeed in school.

    Want to learn more about how you can help your child succeed in school? Bookmark Missouri Parent News, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, where we post policy updates, parenting tips, and other education news that’s relevant to you, the Missouri public school parent.


  • Corporal Punishment in Schools: Your Opinion

    Missouri lawmakers are back in the capitol for the First Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly, and one of the many conversations lawmakers will have during the legislative session is one about corporal punishment in schools.

    Senator Joe Keaveny (D – St. Louis) filed a bill that will prohibit spanking or paddling in public schools. This isn’t the first time that Missouri lawmakers have tried to ban spanking in schools – according to ConnectTristates.com, “similar legislation that also would have banned spanking in private schools failed last year.” (source)

    Senate Bill 241 would prohibit the use of corporal punishment in all Missouri public schools, says the Senator’s page on the Senate website. 19 states in America allow corporal punishment, such as spankings and paddlings, as a form of discipline in public schools. The Washington Post cites federal data analysis that says that “one child is hit in public schools every 30 seconds somewhere in the United States.” (source)

    Besides Missouri, the following states allow teachers and administrators to punish children physically: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.

    The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) ranks Missouri as the state with the 10th highest incidents of corporal punishment based on 2006 data, when 5,129 students received corporal punishment in Missouri public schools.

    Do you think that teachers and administrators should be allowed to administer spankings, paddlings, and other corporal punishment in Missouri’s public schools? We want to hear from you. Leave a comment right here, or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.


  • Students, Education, & Entrepreneurs Can Win At Startup Weekend

     

    This January, a unique chance to rethink education comes to Kansas, City, Missouri. The event, called Startup Weekend, offers participants a unique set of opportunities to launch and scale endeavors centered on improving education outcomes. (source)

    From January 23rd through January 25th, 2015, passionate educators, students, entrepreneurs, developers, and designers will come together on a mission to create the best learning opportunities for others.

    “Startup Weekend Education is a 54-hour experiential learning event designed to be a catalyst for education entrepreneurship, empowering people to think differently and to create better solutions to education’s biggest problems.” (source)

    Startup Weekend events have also been held in Columbia, Springfield, and St. Louis.

    Kansas City also hosts a non-education focused Startup Weekend in November, 2014

    Entrepreneurship in education can be seen in two lights. In one light, entrepreneurial skills are a valuable career lesson for students to learn in the classroom. In the other, entrepreneurial thought processes could help advance the state of American public schools.

    George Deeb, Managing Partner at Red Rocket Ventures told Enterpreneur.com that students with entrepreneurial mindsets are more resilient to tough economic and job market conditions.

    “I believe that the most important skills sets, are ones that promote business, technology and entrepreneurship. Two reasons: (i) those skill sets are always in demand; and (ii) kids can create a company or job of their own, if they can’t find one elsewhere.” (source)

    The Hawken School (K-12) in Cleveland, Ohio, endeavored in 2013 to advance its students’ education by infusing entrepreneurship directly into its coursework. The school developed a “course where students would learn by working on actual problems in the real world instead of sitting in a lecture hall.” (source)

    Its experiment worked: the director of the program received calls and emails from teachers all over America, asking her to hold an educators entrepreneurship workshop, and 30 teachers from 19 schools participated in the first two-and-a-half-day event.


    Here in Missouri, local students are participating in similar courses. Students in Parkway Schools can “exchange ideas with business mentors” at the Spark! Incubator in Chesterfield Mall. (Watch KMOV’s story) The program is highly selective, accepting only 15 students total from Parkway North, Parkway South, Parkway West, Parkway Central, and Fern Ridge.

    The goal of the Spark! Program is to “help student entrepreneurs develop the skills necessary to move an idea from light bulb to launch.” More than 70 local business people and entrepreneurs have collaborated with the Parkway District on the nontraditional class. (source)

    In Deebs’ story on Entrepreneur.com, he says that students need “skill sets that are mapped in relation to what the overall workforce demands today.” He goes on to assert that “the sooner our kids come out of school with employable skill sets, the better their lives and the overall U.S. economy will be…” (source)

    If the idea of changing your child’s career prospects or advancing the American economy through entrepreneurship appeals to you, then visit the Kansas City Education Entrepreneurship Startup Weekend website to learn more about how you can turn your energy and your ideas into a tangible model for Missouri students.




     

  • MoVIP Program Fills Gaps for Students in Unaccredited Schools

       

    The Missouri Virtual Instruction Program (MoVIP) offers approximately 250 virtual online classes for K-12 students across Missouri. The program’s mission is “to offer Missouri students equal access to a wide range of high quality courses, flexibility in scheduling, and interactive online learning that is neither time nor place dependent.”

    A Free Opportunity for Certain Students
    The program can help fill the gap between those students in schools whose accreditation has been suspended and their peers in fully accredited schools. That’s because the state requires provisionally accredited or unaccredited schools to pay for its students to take MoVIP courses; Students in unaccredited schools can take online courses through MoVIP absolutely free.

    Free doesn’t mean low-quality.MoVIP works with a variety of leading courseware providers, and all courses are taught by Missouri-certified teachers. The courses are an excellent opportunity for all Missouri students, and are an especially powerful tool for students in unaccredited schools.

    The Importance of the Foundation Formula
    When unaccredited or provisionally accredited schools or districts pay for their students to take MoVIP courses online, they can be reimbursed by the State of Missouri through the Missouri Foundation Formula.

    The Missouri Foundation Formula is a law passed in 2005 to help ensure that all of Missouri’s elementary and secondary school students—not just those in high-tax-revenue suburban areas—have access to adequate educational resources.

    Learn more about the Missouri Foundation Formula

    Spending Tax Dollars on Education, Not Transportation
    Statewide, conversations about accreditation and school transfer are highly controversial. The stakes are high, for students and for taxpayers; students should have access to a high quality education, and the Foundation Formula is already underfunded.

    The MoVIP program is a solution that doesn’t require students to spend countless hours (or taxpayers to spend thousands of dollars) on transportation to better schools nearby. And the courses, which are available to students anywhere there is a high-speed internet connection, range from Kindergarten social studies to Advanced Placement (AP) Macroeconomics.

    More than 250 courses are offered, including:

    · Core subjects for elementary and secondary students
    · 40+ Advanced Placement (AP) courses for high school students
    · Foreign Language courses like Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, and Latin for elementary, middle, and high school students
    · Dozens of language arts courses for middle and high school students
    · Art, music and photography courses
    · 60+ middle and high school math courses
    · Finance, accounting, and business courses
    · Dozens of opportunities in STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) subject areas.

    More About Online Education for Missouri K-12 Students
    MoVIP courses are available to all K-12 students in Missouri, including public schools, private school, and homeschool students. To learn more about the program, its courses, and how to enroll in courses, visit MoVIP’s website.

    MoVIP is currently registering students for the Fall 2014 semester. Course have a variety of start dates ranging from September 24th through November 19th, and students must register for courses 7 calendar days prior to the course’s start date.

    Continue to learn about educational resources available to K-12 students in Missouri by Liking MOParent on Facebook, following us on Twitter, and coming back regularly to the Missouri Parent Blog.



     

  • What Was Your Parenting Instruction Manual?

    There’s a barrage of parenting resources out there these days for parents at every stage in their lives and with kids of every age and disposition. First time parent? There’s a blog for that. Adoptive parent? There’s a book for that. Parent of a child with special needs? Take your pick of books, blogs, programs, and specialists.

    New parents might have it the worst, with stacks and stacks (literally and digitally) of materials available to them and enough pre-baby peace and quiet to read or for more than broken intervals of time. From classics like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “Happiest Baby on the Block” to newer and trendier resources like “A Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy” or the Scary Mommy Blog, there’s no shortage of information and opinions on parenthood.

    But parents of older kids have it tough, too. How many times have you wished there was a manual that told you what button to push to make your two-year-old’s tantrum stop? Or a handbook on how not to worry all night long about your teenager? How many hours have you spent Googling behaviors, health issues, or child developmental milestones, trying to better understand, and parent, your child.

    The sheer volume of information available is incredible. It can also be frustrating. Researcher and author Danah Boyd admits to throwing her “fair share of them [parenting books] across the room” in her review of Parentology by Dalton Conley. Surely she’s not the only one to admit that there’s not a prescription for parenting.

    On the other hand, there are a lot of great parenting tips, tools, and advice that can be found online and in books on parenting. So how, as a parent, have you navigated the vast sea of parenting resources? What was your parenting instruction manual?

    We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment today here on the MOParent Blog or on our Facebook Page.



  • The Declaration for the Right to School Libraries

    Around the country, school libraries are celebrating National School Library Month this April. As part of that celebration, many libraries are participating in the Declaration for the Right to School Libraries initiative, lead by the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Association of School Libraries (AASL).

    The ALA and the AASL believe that school libraries are integral to literacy and lifelong learning, and that school libraries “level the playing field” for students who don’t have internet access at home.

    The Declaration for the Right to School Libraries helps “raise public and media awareness of the critical importance of a fully-staffed and well funded school library program to parents, teachers, school administrators, and the community at large.” (source)

    The Declaration for the Right to School Libraries was inspired by ALA President Barbara Stripling’s cornerstone campaign, the Declaration for the Right to Libraries. The eleven tenants of the Declaration for the Right to School Libraries are:

    • School Libraries Change Lives
    • School Libraries Empower the Individual
    • School Libraries Support Literacy and Lifelong Learning
    • School Libraries Strengthen Families
    • School Libraries are the Great Equalizer
    • School Libraries Build Communities
    • School Libraries Protect Our Right to Know
    • School Libraries Strengthen Our Nation
    • School Libraries Advance Research and Scholarship
    • School Libraries Help Us to Better Understand Each Other
    • School Libraries Preserve Our Nation’s Cultural Heritage

    To read the full Declaration, visit the ALA website.

  • The Khan Academy: Reimagining Education


    Sal Khan was working for a hedge fund when he found out that his 12-year-old cousin Nadia was struggling in math. They didn’t live in the same city, but that didn’t stop Khan from tutoring Nadia: Each day the two of them would use the phone and internet to work together on math problems. Soon, Nadia was excelling and Khan found himself tutoring dozens of his young cousins and their friends.

    Fast forward eight years, and the Khan Academy has become a household name in education. Sal Khan has been recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”, he’s been featured on 60 Minutes, and he’s been shown on the cover of Forbes Magazine. Most recently, he was awarded the 19th Annual Heinz Award by the Heinz Family Foundation.

    What separated Sal Khan from the other men and women in the world who help a younger family member with their school work? What was it that turned him from a hedge fund analyst to a household name in education and a math tutor to students around the world?

    Sal Khan reimagined education.

    The Khan Academy began with a seriously ambitious mission: to provide free, high-quality education to anyone, anywhere in the world. Khan’s ambition paid off — The Khan Academy now offers self-paced, guided learning experiences to more than 10 million unique visitors each month. The site has delivered more than 300 million exercises, and its users have completed more than 10 million exercises.

    Students of the Khan Academy can get and give peer feedback, and they can build online portfolios of their work. When a student begins using the Khan Academy, he or she takes an online evaluation similar to a placement test. The results are used to deliver mathematics exercises that meet the students where they are.

    And Khan Academy students aren’t all traditional students. In fact, only 10% of the site’s users engage with the site in a classroom setting, and Khan’s students have included thought leaders and industry leaders like Steve Jobs.

    What would happen if more men and women thought about education like Khan does? At the very minimum, more kids like Khan’s young cousin would get one-on-one help with school work from a loving family member or friend. And at maximum? There’s no limit to what we can do for students when adults get involved in learning and education is taken out of the box.

    How would you re-imagine education for your child? What would you do to help kids learn? How much time would you invest in a child’s tutoring? Imagine what a difference you can make.

    Sal Khan is founder of the Khan Academy. He is a former hedge fund analyst who holds three degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard. He is married with two children and lives in Mountain View, California. The Khan Academy supports and has aligned its mathematics content with the Common Core State Standards

  • SPENT: Playing the Minimum Wage Game

    If you’re trying to help your child understand just how quickly one month’s pay can disappear, an online game called SPENT might be a good tool for you to know about. Created by McKinney and the Urban Ministries of Durham, SPENT challenges players to make ends meet for one month earning minimum wage.

    The game begins by presenting you, the player, with a believable scenario: You’ve become one of the 14 million Americans who are unemployed, and you’re running out of money fast. You need a job, and only three are available to you. In any one of those three jobs, you’ll earn a wage that’s roughly equal to minimum wage.

    Once you’ve chose a job, your bank account shows one full month of wages. SPENT presents you with either/or choices that will affect your bank balance. Examples include enrolling in employer-provided health insurance, choosing a place to live where rent is affordable but your commute isn’t too expensive, and deciding whether to send your child to a classmate’s birthday party (a gift will cost $10 – can you send your child to the party without one?).

    Your bank balance reflects your choices, and the game provides qualitative feedback on the choices you make. For example, if you choose a warehouse job that involves heavy lifting but pays well, the game will point out to you that the pay is good but the job will take its toll on your health.

    SPENT has the potential to be a powerful tool for parents of teenagers who don’t understand why they should have a plan for life and career after high school graduation. It could also be helpful for the parents among the 1.7 million Missourians who are earning an hourly wage: SPENT might be away to show your kids just how easily a month’s paycheck is spent.

    Note: Of the estimated 6 million people living in Missouri, approximately 3.7 million of them are between the ages of 18 and 65 (source). Nearly half of those working-aged residents earned an hourly wage, and approximately half of them earned less than the minimum wage (source).


  • Using TedEd to Create Video-Based Classroom Lessons

    What if we told you that, as a parent at home anytime or classroom teacher, you could turn any video on YouTube into an interactive classroom lesson in a matter of minutes using an established, reputable, and free website?

    If your ears perked up at the idea of video-based lessons, and if you’re familiar with Ted Talks, then this post is for you. Keep reading!

    TedEd, a division of Ted Talks, allows users to turn any YouTube video into an interactive TedEd lesson that you can share with your students, your peers, and the larger TedEd community.

    In short, you can easily capture your students’ attention with tools you already know they enjoy; video and the Internet.

    An Example Lesson
    This animated lesson, called “Sugar Affects the Brain”, was created by educator Nicole Avena. The 5:03-long video teaches students how sugar releases dopamine in the brain, causing people who eat sugar-rich foods to continue to crave them. More than 250 teachers have flipped Avena’s video into customized, interactive classroom lessons for their own students.

    Flipping Avena’s video isn’t stealing her intellectual property. In fact, Avena gets a sort of digital pat on the back each time her video is flipped; TedEd counts flips and lesson views, and it always gives credit to the video’s creator(s).

    TedEd + YouTube = Limitless Possibilities
    There are more than 330 TedEd Original videos, 162 Ted Talks, and more than 52,000 total TedEd Flips on TedEd’s site.

    Teachers can also use TedEd to flip any of YouTube’s billions (yes, billions) of videos into shareable TedEd lessons. The possibilities are virtually limitless.

    Teachers can use TedEd To:
    · Share original lessons OR flip other teacher’s video lessons
    · Creative interactive video-based quizzes ("Think")
    · Direct students to additional readings or resources (“Dig Deeper”)
    · Initiate and moderate discussions about the video lesson (“Discuss”)
    · Track student participation and/or quiz scores, making grading easy

    More on Grading
    TedEd allows you to create classroom rosters, to track quiz grades, and to monitor student participation.

    Ted Ed is designed with high school and college students in mind, so it’s probably not the best fit for elementary or middle school teachers.

    Have you used TedEd to create video lessons for your Missouri students? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment letting us know how you and your students liked using TedEd.


  • A New Kind of Pinterest, Designed for Education

    There are so many technology tools emerging for students that tools for teachers sometimes get lost in the mix. That’s not the case for eduClipper, a brand new Pinterest-like website that’s designed for K-12 teachers by a former teacher.
    Teachers and parents can use the eduClipper bookmarklet to grab content from anywhere on the web, placing it on any of their own (or their shared) eduClipboards. The source link of each piece of content is also grabbed, ensuring that original creators are credited.


    eduClipper also offers a “Follow Me” tool, complete with easy-to-use embed code, for educational bloggers and teachers who have their own websites. And for teachers who want to collaborate, it’s easy to share Collective Clipboards with peers or colleagues.

    Some ways eduClipper is different from Pinterest:
    · eduClipper is designed for educators, by an educator
    · eduClipper allows teachers to create classes or groups of students
    · eduClipper helps teachers align content they’re clipping and sharing to Common Core State Standards and ISTE NETS
    · eduClipper offers auto-citations of web content
    · eduClipper is safe and secure, allowing teachers to oversee and help set student permissions and settings.

    Be sure to check out Missouri Parent on Pinterest too!

    One school librarian says, "The motto of eduClipper is "Clip Anything. Share Everything." and although it may sound simple, it has brought a whole new dimension to social networking in education." – Kris Fulmer (source)

    eduClipper was just launched in the summer of 2013, and it’s already gotten great reviews:

    Richard Byrne, blogger for Free Tech for Teachers, said, “"Well after a big investment from some venture capital firms and ten months of testing and revising features eduClipper is better than ever. In fact, I think it's what teachers wish Pinterest could be." (source)

    Ed Tech Roundup says that eduClipper has “serious classroom potential”. It goes on to say, “You could easily integrate EduClipper into any subject at the elementary or secondary level and it's the perfect tool for organizing, sharing, and discussing digital content.” (source)

    Are you an educator? Have you used eduClipper yet? Leave a comment and let us know how you like it and whether you’d recommend it to other teachers in Missouri.


  • Another Snowpocalypse? 5 Snow Day Science Projects for Your Kids

    Snow days are the source of giddy excitement for kids, but for parents, they can be an unwelcome break in routine. How do you keep your kids busy when they’ve come in cold and wet from playing in the snow? Here are five easy ideas for simple science projects you and your kids can do together when it’s too cold to stay outside.

    The Snowy Day Science Lesson
    Based on the children’s book by Ezra Jack Keats, Scholastic has put together an easy project that you can do at home (or in the classroom) with young elementary school students to teach them about snowmelt.

    Materials: snow, pans or dishes, pens/pencils

    SnowTweets
    Researchers at the University of Waterloo, Cananda, have launched a global initiative that uses Twitter to gather snow depth information from all over the world. The next time it snows in your neck of the Missouri woods, measure the snowfall and tweet it. Check out the SnowTweets website for information on how to format your tweet, and get more information here about measuring snow depth.

    Materials: ruler, Twitter account, Internet connection

    Make a Snow Gauge
    Using a ruler and a coffee can, collect fresh snowfall and measure its depth in this experiment from the Parenting Squad. When the snow has stopped falling, bring your coffee can indoors and allow the snow to melt. Did the depth of the snow change when it melted?

    Materials: coffee can, ruler

    Growing & Exploding (Ice Expands)
    This project is another simple exploration of frozen and melted water that uses materials you already have at home. Learn about how water expands when it’s frozen using your own freezer or by taking advantage of Missouri’s bitter cold outdoor winter temps.

    Materials: empty can, plastic bottle, water, marker

    Make Frost
    Teach your kids how frost develops using this fast, easy project.

    Materials: empty soup can, crushed ice, salt, paper, water

    Did you enjoy this post? Check out these posts on the Missouri Parent Blog with other seasonal science projects you can do at home:

    Spooky Science Projects for Halloween Part I
    Investing Autumn with Your Student Part I
    Investigating Autumn with Your Students Part II
    Science, Math, and…Pumpkins?


  • I’ll Never Need to Understand Computer Code…Right?

    Today we’re going to highlight a few career paths that your student may not realize use computer science.

    According to Computing in the Core, “over 70 percent of computing occupations are outside of the information technology industry: 9 percent are in information services, 12 percent are in financial services, 36 percent are in professional and business services, 7 percent are in government and public education services, and 12 percent are in manufacturing.” (source)

    Read on to learn how the critical thinking and computational skills taught in computer science classes might help your child forge ahead in a seemingly unrelated career field.

    The Arts
    Musicians, videographers, photographers, and other artists need to learn computing and basic programming skills for editing, special effects, and digital composition.

    Financial Services
    Security of information and automation of trading services are vital in financial services.

    Healthcare & Research Science
    Researchers use computing technologies to process huge quantities of information in areas like DNA sequencing. Other healthcare professionals use computing for patient care, or to ensure security and privacy of patient information and records.

    Information Technology
    IT professionals design software, hardware, applications, networks, or devices.

    Manufacturing
    From designing new and better products to managing warehouses or shipment facilities, computer science is integrated into the manufacturing process from ideation through product delivery.

    Retail & Marketing
    Retail and marketing professionals use software to track and analyze purchasing trends and for inventory management.

    Military
    The United States' military relies on significant technologicalcapabilities to provide it with an advantage on the battlefield. Communications, planning, intelligence, and other fields all require members of the organization to be fluent in computer usage and basic computer science skills.

    Mapping, Global Information Systems (GIS) & Weather Forecasting
    All of these geography-related career fields use computer science. Mapping and GIS often approach interdisciplinary problems using computer science, and weather forecasters rely heavily on technology to help them collect and interpret weather trend information for accurate forecasting.

    How has computer science influenced your own career? Are there fields that you think Missouri’s students would be surprised to learn involve computer coding or other technical computing skills? Share your insights — leave a comment today.


  • 3 Fresh New Tools that Extend Learning Beyond the Classroom


    Educational technology changes perpetually, and is also changes quickly. To help keep you up to speed, we’ve highlighted three fresh and innovative new tools that extend learning beyond the classroom.

    Glogster EDU
    Glogster EDU is a complete educational solution for digital and mobile teaching and learning. The company’s logo reads, “Poster Yourself”, because the website empowers educators and students to create GLOGS — online multimedia posters — with text, photos, videos, graphics, sounds, drawings, data attachments, and more.

    Glogster EDU features:
    · An easy drag & drop interface
    · Flexibility for use by students, teachers, and classrooms
    · Sharability using embed codes, wikispaces, edmodo, social networks and social bookmarking
    · Creative use for book reports, research projects, classroom projects, homework, distance learning, presentations, digital posters, and more

    Example Glog:

    Kidblog 

    Kidblog is a safe and secure blogging tool that enables students to easily create — not just consume — digital content. The site offers clutter-free, ad-free design and lets students create blog posts from home or school using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

    Security is a highlight of Kidblog: Teachers maintain control over student accounts, preventing kids from needing to memorize usernames or provide personal information to create their blogs. The website has COPPA-compliant Terms of Service, and kids’ blogs are kept private; viewable only by their teachers and classmates.

    Teachers have full administrative control on Kidblog, using Google Apps for Education for site sign-in. They are provided with the ability to assign password-protected parent and guest account information at their discretion. Finally, Kidblog offers customizable privacy settings that allow teachers to follow the technology policies of their own individual schools or districts.

    ExamTime
    ExamTime has one overarching goal: to change the way that students learn. The company provides free study tools and encourages good study habits like goal setting, personal learning styles, brainstorming, and collaborative learning — all online.

    ExamTime allows students and teachers to build digital flashcards, quizzes, and notes, and to set up goals in preparation for assignments and tests that are still on the horizon. Digital study aides include mindmaps, flashcards, notes, quizzes and more.

    Students can access ExamTime on any device (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.), and once students have created study tools, those tools can be easily shared with friends.

    How have you or your family embraced 21st Century learning skills with your students or children? Do you have a favorite tool for digital literacy? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page — we’d love to hear from you!

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