October 18, 2011
Stephanie Minor: ExploreLearning Educator of the Month
Stephanie Minor is in her tenth year of teaching. She has a B.Sc. in Geology and worked in both mining and oil exploration before getting her B.Ed. She is now teaching at the brand new DSBN Academy, an Ontario public school geared toward empowering students to become the first in their families to graduate from a post-secondary institution.
Ms. Minor has been using both math and science Gizmos for three years. When she can't get time for her students to use them in the computer lab, she presents them herself both to introduce and to reinforce concepts. For example, she uses the Density Gizmo as a highly effective intermediate step between a class lesson on buoyant force and a design challenge where students design a boat to float the largest load.
Last year, she also started using Reflex in grade 2 and in grades 5-8. She notes that even her eighth graders have had a lot of trouble with math facts but were of course too embarrassed to admit it. When she would approach the problem, she found they were "not inclined to do the awful, boring flash card type activities." With Reflex, however, she saw a real difference.
"Many problems were not ones of understanding grade 8 concepts, but rather errors resulting from incorrect math facts, or slow processing because of a lack of math fact fluency. Reflex definitely helped improve the students' confidence in math."
Stephanie has been part of the DSBN Academy design team for almost two years. While reviewing students' applications she came to realize that math was going to be a major focus area. Specifically, she noted that she would need help building their confidence in mathematics, and she thinks Reflex is the right tool to build that confidence. Ms. Minor has worked hard to ensure Reflex will be available for DSBN Academy teachers.
October 10, 2011
New lesson materials published!
We've posted 3 sets of new Lesson Materials today! In addition, the Gizmos themselves (all 3 of these) were updated to gain some new problem types, so your students will be able to get more practice with more types of problems. Check them out:
As usual, each set of updated Lesson Materials includes 4 documents (Student Exploration sheet, SE Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary sheet), all of which are available as a .doc or a .pdf. (Note: You will need to be logged in to see all the documents.)
This brings us to 18 math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials. We have a long way to go on the math side, but we're hard at work on it!
Hope these new materials are a help - to teachers and students alike.
October 04, 2011
Great Gizmos training experiences
We get a lot of great feedback about our top-notch Professional Development staff. As an example, recently we got a note from an inclusion teacher in Massachusetts' Falmouth Public Schools who said this after attending a training with PD Regional Manager Betty Korte:
"Betty was just terrific and adeptly read the 'pulse' of our staff as tech-savvy and tailored an afternoon which was just perfect for my staff. She was totally knowledgeable about all aspects of the program, kept the training moving at a good pace for the audience, she was wonderfully pleasant and kept to the agenda in a timely manner."
Betty is just one of many superb trainers ready to help you improve teaching and learning in your classrooms. Our PD team brings a wide variety of training offerings to schools, from Initial Gizmo Training which helps teachers start off right with Gizmos, to targeted offerings helping teachers utilize best practices in math and science to customized support programs to sustain broad use of Gizmos over time.