Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015 Curriculum Guide

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Welcome to The Educents Best Curriculum Guide of 2015! We've pulled together some of our favorite tried and true, as well as brand new curriculums and tools for the year based on user reviews, ease-of-use and educational quality. Learn more about each curriculum below!
 

Rosetta Stone for Homeschool

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Rosetta Stone Homeschool features a foreign language curriculum specially designed to provide homeschool students with a rich, fully interactive and engaging language-learning experience, while giving parents the tools and resources needed to manage student progress without extensive planning or supervision. Rosetta Stone Homeschool is self-paced and designed to make it easy for parents to offer language learning even if they don't understand the language their students are studying. Students are instantly captivated by Rosetta Stone so they stay engaged. Plus, with positive reinforcement and quick results, their language-learning confidence soars! Rosetta Stone provides up to five levels of instruction in select languages, beginning with a foundation of listening comprehension, speaking, grammar, reading and writing. With Rosetta Stone, your children will do more than learn about a language. They'll learn to use it. Parent Administrative Tools let you track your student's progress with just a few mouse clicks. You'll see which exercises they have completed, assess how well they've done and determine how long it took them to finish. You will also be able to select predefined lesson plans and generate progress reports, documenting student achievement for college and job applications. Check out their curriculum here.

 

Schola Publications

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You see many phonics and Latin programs for sale, and they may look similar. We invite you to take a moment and discover the difference other parents and teachers have for yourself……
1] Did you know that English DOES make sense and you can confidently teach spelling, handwriting, reading, grammar, composition, literature and even Latin in one seamless method?   
2] Utilize this proven technique of brain function learning versus memorization to unlock the greatness in each child.      
3] Let me help you learn Latin and teach it to your student at the same time, earning high school foreign language credits as you build advanced English grammar and vocabulary skills.   
4] You can teach a child at any level all their language arts subjects or Latin in about 45 minutes per day!  
With over 30 years of experience, if you allow me, I consider it an honor to demonstrate these methods and much more…. while optimizing your budget. Author: Barbara Beers

 

WriteWell

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WriteWell is an innovative online writing platform that makes writing fun and engaging for kids in grades 4-12. WriteWell helps students produce clear and well organized essays by walking them through the writing process. Students write directly into WriteWell’s innovative “write in chunks” interface by following grade-appropriate supports that tell (and show) the student what to write in each paragraph. WriteWell offers content for a variety of writing styles and grade levels. Write better and more efficiently with a simple and intuitive writing tool. You can also try it for free!

 

PetraLingua

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PetraLingua teaches the basics of Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Russian or ESL English. The courses are available online and in langauage learning sets, and they are suitable for children 6 – 10, for families and schools. Multilingualism is linked to a variety of cognitive benefits, including early reading, better listening perception, improved problem-solving skills, and higher scores on school tests which is why PetraLingua created PetraLingua for Families. Children’s natural sense of curiosity motivates them to learn a new language without any effort, by exploring. With the clear PetraLingua course structure, it's very easy to plan your lessons by introducing new vocabulary with videos and songs, using interactive exercises to repeat the new words, and practicing with the activity book and flashcards. The PetraLingua for Schools program covers the curriculum of the first 2-3 years and offers all the necessary elements for a beginners language course including step-by-step vocabulary introduction with video lessons and songs, and lessons organized on a progression pinciple, starting from a child's closest experiences. The program also features lots of revision possibilities with interactive games, activity book and flashcards, different activities to keep young learners interested, and a teacher's board to track student's progress. The PetraLingua Homepage offers a free demo lesson for each language and detailled lesson plans are available.

 

Time4Learning

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Time4Learning is an online, interactive curriculum for PreK-12th. It can be used for homeschool, skill building, and summer study. Time4Learning combines the technology kids love with the education they need to make learning fun! Real life concepts are taught with animation, adding a sense of humor, to make lessons engaging. The curriculum can be used by following Time4Learning's lesson plans or you can use the activity finder to hone in on a particular area of study. For example, if you want to work on fractions and nouns only, you can. With automated reporting, adjustable grade levels, and support, Time4Learning helps customize a curriculum to your child's needs. Give your children the tools to work independently, study confidently, and excel in the comfort and safety of their own home. Over the past decade, Time4Learning has helped over 400,000 homeschool students including gifted, special needs, and mainstream, discover their learning styles and instill a love for learning. Whether you’re looking for homeschool curriculum, skill sharpening, or looking for educational summer fun, Time4Learning can help! Time4Learning is available on tablets now, perfect for traveling. Their award-winning curriculum is available all year long, is student-paced, and accommodates every family’s schedule, even on the go!

 

Time4Writing

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Time4Writing.com offers 8-week online writing courses for elementary, middle and high school students. Each online course is led by a certified teacher who provides one-on-one instruction, personalized feedback and guidance along the way. Time4Writing offers basic, intermediate and advanced courses that teach topics such as grammar, sentence structure, paragraph writing, essay writing, sentence writing, writing for the SAT and research papers. Each course includes fun, interactive lessons and writing assignments. Students can easily access the virtual campus with their own secure login from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection. The writing process includes learning to think, asking good questions, building confidence, and getting your thoughts out. Students work on their schedule, at their own pace. Once an assignment is submitted, students receive constructive feedback from their teacher within one business day. Parents can also log in to monitor reports and purchase additional courses. In addition to teaching students the ins and outs of a particular area of writing, Time4Writing also teaches students how to think and express themselves clearly and confidently. Time4Writing curriculum helps elementary, middle and high school students build skills and master the art of writing at all levels. Courses come with a 14-day money-back guarantee.

 

CTC Math

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CTC Math specializes in providing online video tutorials which take a multi-sensory approach to learning. Favorably reviewed in Cathy Duffy's 102 Top Picks and The Old Schoolhouse Crew Review the lessons are short and concise to help your student break down concepts and appreciate math in a whole new way! The lessons are taught the traditional way, not to a "test" and CTC Math is NOT aligned to Common Core. Each one of the video tutorials are taught by internationally acclaimed teacher Pat Murray who is renowned for teaching math concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way (and in only a few minutes at a time). CTC Math has seen students who struggled with math are now getting fantastic results! And ones who were doing OK before are now doing brilliantly.

 

MathScore

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Your children will ask to play MathScore because they genuinely think it is fun – but when you watch them play, you realize they are getting rigorous math training!  Since when did math become fun? Making math practice feel like a game is what makes MathScore so special. Developed by MIT graduates, MathScore’s proprietary adaptive algorithms keep students motivated because the content adapts to be just challenging enough (not too hard and not too easy) for students to believe they can succeed. This motivation leads to improved performance and fast learning. Multiple public school studies showed a direct link between time spent on MathScore and improvement on standardized tests. Read the testimonials at www.MathScore.com to learn about how the more time a child spent “playing” MathScore, the more their test scores increased! Best of all, MathScore is free to start. Take as long as you need to experience real success, then pay to unlock the rest of the content when ready. MathScore supports grades K-9 and parents of all ages.  Also, kindergarten is 100% free!

 

Leadership Education

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Educators often get so concerned with “what” to teach that they neglect the “how” and “why.” Yet understanding these creates happier, more empowered children. TJEd gives you the “how” and the “why” to make the “what” more powerful, more memorable, more relevant to your children. They will be inspired as you apply the 7 Keys of Great Teaching and the 4 Phases of Learning. You will bring them face-to-face with greatness. And they will love learning. Discovered and articulated by Oliver and Rachel DeMille, Thomas Jefferson Education, or “TJEd,” (pronounced “tee-jay-ED”) is an educational philosophy and a methodology by which great individuals throughout history have been educated. Thousands of families and professional educators are applying those same principles today, with amazing success. The 5 Habits of Highly Successfully Homeschoolers will show you the “secrets” of excellent homeschooling. Use coupon code EDUCENTS-15 to get 80% off your copy here! AND! TJEd is also offering their premium parent training, the 7 Keys Certification ($160 value) - free when you sign up for their newsletter here! Remember, an investment in your education is not a withdrawal from your kids’. It will pay dividends on a gold standard for generations to come! TJEd.org “An Education to Match Your Mission”

 

Kirkwood Education Online

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Kirkwood Education Online offers much more than academic curriculum. Students are guided through seven stages of character development with exercises that promote spiritual growth, interpersonal skills, and strong work ethic. Every curriculum concept is taught and demonstrated by instructional video and interactive computer lesson. Academic achievement accelerates as students learn to take responsibility for their own education. Students earn weekly printable award certificates highlighting academic progress. Powerful positive affective experiences occur when a student has invested energy into reaching an objective, and that accomplishment is then recognized and validated. Parental involvement is the single most critical factor in a child’s academic success. Kirkwood Education Online facilitates this involvement and affords parents the opportunity and tools to ensure their child has complete mastery of each curriculum component before moving on to the next. Maintaining accurate records is one of the most daunting tasks of homeschool parents. Kirkwood Education Online effortlessly maintains accurate records and provides parents an at-a-glance overview of their child’s achievement and academic progress in real time. Kirkwood Education Online is committed to providing homeschool families with a system of education that will enable every child to develop the skills of success and fulfill their God-given potential.

 

Kuato Studios - Safari Tales

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Safari Tales is an enchanting animal adventure game that encourages exploration in reading and vocabulary skills by casting kids as both adventurer and storyteller. From Kuato Studios, one of the world’s leading learning-through-play developers, children play as five baby animal friends, exploring an African savannah teeming with wildlife, mini games and artifacts to discover and collect. Kids learn countless facts about the various environments, inhabitants and items they encounter on their way, building knowledge and enhancing reading skills. At the end of each play session, the child’s adventures, discoveries and achievements are converted into a beautiful interactive storybook. Each tale can be read with parents, strengthening literacy, reasoning and enquiry skills. Curious kids can also construct over a thousand different questions to ask an in-game guide, Darwin, who will supply intelligent and fact-filled answers. By scrolling on-screen world wheels, kids see how words join together to create different sentences, aiding skills in sentence structure, reading and creative thought. Through the game’s ‘Parent Corner’, mom and dad can tailor gameplay, setting reading ages and can control game length from a variety of session times, ensuring playtime fits the family routine. Safari Tales is available on iOS and Android, priced at $3.99.

 

GiftedandTalented.com

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GiftedandTalented.com was born out of 25 years of research at Stanford University. They provide adaptive, online K-12 courses in mathematics, language arts, science and computer programming. Their flagship course, Redbird Mathematics: Advanced Edition, features the latest in adaptive instruction, gamification, and digital project-based learning. Redbird Mathematics won the 2015 Association of American Publishers award for best mathematics resource. This online, K-7 math course offers students over 15,000 exercises, 500 instructional modules (including multiple forms of instruction for key concepts), 50 digital manipulatives, and 75 games. Additionally, students tackle real-world STEM challenges. Students who take GiftedandTalented.com courses can finish 2+ grades ahead. Watch this 3-minute video to learn more about Redbird Mathematics: Advanced Edition.

 

Cover Story Writing

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Middle schoolers love this Language Arts program! In this exciting video-based curriculum from Daniel Schwabauer, the creator of the popular One Year Adventure Novel, 6th–9th graders take a guided tour of the universe of "Story" as they create content for their own magazine. Students write poems, short stories, nonfiction articles, letters, and many other short pieces, all for a magazine of their own invention. They also learn to notice and record their thoughts and ideas by following the creative structure of The Remarkable Journal of Professor Gunther Von Steuben. DVD-based and parent-friendly, the program comes with an optional 12-lesson grammar component, included with purchase. Cover Story's approach to grammar de-emphasizes memorization of latinate terms and emphasizes true comprehension. Cover Story transforms writing for both strong writers and reluctant writers. It is fun yet practical, and inspires kids to communicate, through a magazine, what they are already passionate about. As noted curriculum reviewer Cathy Duffy writes, "the delivery and learning methods are so different that even reluctant writers are likely to enjoy the process." Watch demos at CoverStoryWriting.com.

 

One Year Adventure Novel

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The One Year Adventure Novel writing curriculum guides students (grades 8–12) step by step through the process of writing a compelling, fully structured novel in one school year. DVD-based, self-directed, and parent-friendly, it is ideal for homeschool students! Young writers, no matter how much natural talent and discipline they have, need training in understanding "Story"—what makes a story work. With honesty, passion, and humor, author Daniel Schwabauer takes students behind the scenes of novel-writing. Extensive support resources that come with a curriculum license welcome young writers into a vibrant Creative Community where they can thrive as writers. They can join an active online Student Forum to give and receive feedback on stories, watch monthly webinars on writing topics, participate in contests, and more. The course is worth one full high school English credit. Whether you have a student who loves to write, and you know they need training to take their gift to the next level—or a student who could just use a fun change of pace from traditional English curriculum - we recommend this fascinating high school English course! Watch demos at OneYearNovel.com.

 

Applied Scholastics Online

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Applied Scholastics Online Academy is a fully accredited non-profit K-12 organization dedicated to helping students acquire real life skills and critical thinking through home study. Applied Scholastic's vision is that by embracing the uniqueness of the individual they create students who love learning and truly use what they learn to ensure a successful future. Applied Scholastics provides parents with effective teaching tools and step-by-step curriculum designed to make learning enjoyable. For more information contact: Registrar@AppliedScholasticsOnline.com.

 

Risas y Sonrisas

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Risas y Sonrisas, "Laughter & Smiles", is what this award-winning Spanish program is all about...making learning and teaching Spanish fun!
The curriculum is multi-grade appropriate for grades K-5. It provides a variety of creative resources to keep all learning styles engaged - colorful visual aids, catchy songs, ASL (American Sign Language), games, role playing, books, workbooks, online activities and more.
The curriculum covers beginners to advanced concepts in Spanish. The focus is on vocabulary acquisition and practical conversation rather than formal grammar. What sets this homeschool language program apart from others is that it not only includes DVDs, CDs, an instructor manual and workbooks - it also includes a myriad of hands-on learning activities that allow children to explore and manipulate the language they're learning.
Knowing Spanish is not necessary with the media tools provided in the program and you will learn with your child! The curriculum was developed by native Spanish speaker and teacher. Best of all...children love learning with "Laughter & Smiles!"

 

Character is Higher Than Intellect

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Character Is Higher Than Intellect is based on a 5-level Hierarchy: 1) Self-discipline; 2) Responsible Behavior; 3) Honesty to Self; 4) Honesty to Others; 5) Reverence for Life (for the public school version) and the Creator of Life (for Private Schools and Parents) which encompasses all values. The curricula have a powerful teaching methodology utilizing high-interest media, role-plays, examples and non-examples of the concepts or values being taught.  When the methodology is coupled with high-interest stories or scenarios that capture the interest and enthusiasm of the learner, they become involved in the learning process through role-plays and other student involvement techniques, then deep, vital learning occurs; also retention, and transfer is maximized. That is because learners remember: 10% of nonsense syllables; 35% of factual material; 50% of what is heard; 65% of what is seen and heard; 100% of what they feel. The lessons in Character Is Higher Than Intellect are designed to be at the feeling, 100% retention level.  There is curriculum for every level, written specifically for that level. You’ll love teaching it and watching enthusiastic students learn vital, life-shaping values, principles and concepts.

 

Conceptual Academy

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Self-study courses in physics, chemistry, and physical science created and presented by best-selling textbook authors and respected college professors Paul Hewitt and John Suchocki are now available for grades 8 – 12 through ConceptualAcademy.com. Each course includes hundreds of video lessons featuring the authors’ recorded classroom lectures, studio presentations, and screencasts. These video lessons reach a broad range of learning styles while providing the context students need to make sense of the textbook, which is sold separately. Each class within a self-study course is further personalized with the author’s written messages guiding the student through the content. Carefully selected homework assignments, worksheets, chapter summaries, and unit exams allow students to articulate and confirm their understanding. Home-based lab activities are found within the textbook as well as within a separate lab manual. These are genuine, full-length science courses for the college liberal arts major made affordable for high school students seeking an enjoyable introduction to upper level science. Home school group facilitators may request an instructor’s account through which customized courses can be created. Contact Conceptual Academy for more information. Conceptual Academy's chemistry self-study courses were reviewed by Cathy Duffy, known for her rigorous assessments of homeschool curricula.

 

Life of Fred

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Not sure where to start? Read more about the Life of Fred books on the Educents Blog. Instead of nothing but dry exposition and endless drill exercises, these books contain fun stories about Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius. During his hilarious adventures, he encounters every day math situations that call for solving mathematical problems. Children actually want to read these books. The stories carry on through the exercises, leading the student through them. Many of the books have a series of quizzes called Bridges every few chapters. Passing a quiz means the student is ready for the next chapter. Some books have all the problem solutions in them, while others have separate answer keys or companions.

 

Math Mammoth

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Math Mammoth Light Blue Series constitutes a full elementary mathematics curriculum for grades 1-7. It is mastery-oriented and organized into chapters by topics.Thus, in each chapter the curriculum concentrates on one theme and its connecting topics (such as place value, multiplication, or geometry). Each grade level typically contains 8-10 chapters. The curriculum focuses strongly on conceptual understanding, and visual models and exercises are used extensively. Mental math and number sense are also emphasized. The curriculum is nearly self-teaching for many children, since the full explanations of concepts are included in the student books, thus it requires fairly little preparation time from the teacher. The curriculum also meets and exceeds the Common Core Standards.

 

Complete Curriculum

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Complete Curriculum publishes distinctive K-12 digital texts and provides an engaging web-based instructional interface.Your students will experience engaging supplemental activities, real-world application exercises, and 21st- century skills with development activities. Their cutting-edge technology takes students beyond the textbook into a world where what they learn becomes more than answers on a page. It becomes a part of their experience. Further, their program allows educators to supplement and customize each daily lesson in an affordable, accessible and effective curriculum that provides streamlined instruction, practice, reinforcement and testing. By blending academic, social and interpersonal skills development, Complete Curriculum texts promote teacher and parent involvement in catalyzing a student’s learning ability— in and out of the classroom. Developed by a consortium of teachers, academics and editors, Complete Curriculum texts organize and present content that enables parents to actually participate in helping their child to study or complete their homework, and enables home-schoolers to affordably ensure the curriculum they are teaching their children meets the required grade level content expectations. It also enables beginning educators to confidently engage their students and immediately produce on the first day of class. Experienced educators can creatively adapt each lesson and text to their preferred teaching style and methods.  
Thanks for checking out our Best Curriculum Guide of 2015! We hope you discovered some new curriculums and learned something new about your favorites as well. Happy learning!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Oh Snap - it's Almost September! Word Work Time Saver



These days time just seems to be flying by!  For some of you school has already started and for many others your days are filled with getting ready for school to start soon.  This is such a busy season that seems to usher in a busy school year.   I know how limited time is which is why I am sharing one of my favorite time savers with you today.

Learning Stations (or Centers) is the norm in the primary classroom today.  But gone are the day when stations are just for play.  It can be tough finding education activities that your students can do independently.  One way I build independence is by having a station that stays consistent all year long.  Do my students do the same activity all year long?  No.  But they do have some of their centers that include the same format all year - but the content changes.  I find it easy to to teach these stations in whole or small group at the beginning of the year.  Once I see that the class understands the activity and can complete it without much direction I use it as a center.  Here's a couple of the on-going centers that I use in my classroom.

1.  Multi-Sensory Sight Word Pages


I LOVE these sight word practice pages and so do my students.  As a teacher I love that this one page includes so many different ways to read, write and spell sight words.  I introduce this activity whole group as we learn our first sight words.  I take the time to explain each section and model my expectation on the page.  We usually do 3 - 5 pages whole class before I put this in a word work station.  After that all I have to do is change out the page to match the sight words we are working on.

This activity makes it super easy to differentiate for my students too!  I can easily give students the words they are working on in their guided reading lessons to make sure I am challenging each of them at their instructional level.


Each page gives your students 7 ways to practice reading and writing the word.  I begin these pages whole group in my classroom.  Why?  I want to train my students to do the page.  Here's what we do. First, point to the word in the box and read it.  Then we trace it with our finger.  Next, trace the word with a pencil on the dotted lines, then write the word on the lines with your pencil.  Now for the class favorite - Rainbow Writing.  I teach my kids that this is not coloring.  We use crayons to write the word inside the bubble letters with at least 3 different colors.  Then we practice reading the word as we search for it amongst other words.  I tried to put other words in the search box that look similar to the target word just to make sure students are reading through the word and not just looking at the first letter.  Last, we build the word.  In the available letters I always try to include letters that are similar or have common mistakes. This is just another way to help them master their letters too!

In my TpT store you can find sets for many of the most common sight word/high frequency word lists.  I have a set for Fry's First 100 Words, the Dolch Word List, common kindergarten words, common first grade words and more.  I am also happy to put together a custom set with your school specific sight words too!  Stop by and check them out!

2.  Write the Room

Another one of my favorite on-going learning stations is Write the Room.  During this word work station students use a clipboard and move around the room to write down letters, words or sentences that match a corresponding picture.


One of my favorite beginning of the year activities is write the room with names.  This is a great way to help the kids get to know each other and start to recognize their own name and the names of their friends.

Another great write the room activity at the beginning of the year is searching for letters around the room.  The students had to find the letter somewhere in the room before writing it on the recording sheet.  Click on the picture below for a  recording sheet you can use to put this station in your classroom.  The kids really loved doing this activity with magnifying glasses.

Another reason I love write the room activities is because they can easily be changed out to match a topic being taught at the time.  I really love incorporating our science and social studies themes into our language arts activities.  Here's a Write the Room activity from my Community Helpers Activities Set.  In this activity students are matching the picture of the community helper and writing the name of that job.

All you have to do is cut these cards apart and tape them up around the classroom.
The students then do a "scavenger hunt" looking for the cards!  

Students use this recording sheet to write the name of the community helper
after finding the card in the classroom.  
You can find this write the room station and more community helper activities in my Community Helper Centers and Activities set in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Just click the picture below to check it out.


I hope that you got some ideas on using on-going learning stations to help you students work independently and save you some time!  If you have a favorite on-going station please share it in the comments and help out another teacher.

Don't forget to check out the other September resources on the Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals Oh Snap - It's Almost September Link-up.

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