Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fluency Supported.....Digitally

Oral reading fluency can be so difficult to assess naturally with students as well as time consuming.  As an educator collecting running records from students I have often wondered about the students who get nervous reading aloud to me and how that affects their performance.  Then I heard about Fluency Tutor by Texthelp, and I can't wait to see it in action.

Fluency Tutor is an online tool, available in the Chrome Webstore as an app for both students and teachers, that supports oral reading fluency and comprehension.  The software incorporates Lexile-leveled passages for students in elementary and secondary levels.  Students are able to work independently to practice reading, record and submit assessments and monitor their progress.  Educators can assign specific passages to practice or assess, collect and listen to the students' submitted work and then mark or score them when time allows.  Teachers can set targets for students including Correct Words Per Minute and Lexile levels.  Parents have the ability to listen to the information the students have recorded as well.
After learning more about this resource, I wondered about that shy or those that get anxious about reading in the corner or hall to their teacher of reading specialist.  This resource seems like it would break down this barrier for many students.  I am excited to explore this software with students!

A great tutorial is included below:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ever felt like it was "Too Long Didn't Read (TLDR)"?

Sometimes we all need a little help.  Time is short and we need to get to the point.  Sometimes you just want to get the general gist of something before you invest too much time in a resource or topic. That is what TDLR can do for you!  This week, Todd Bugnacki (actually his daughter shared it with him first), shared TLDR and it intrigued me.  I looked into it and this is what it is all about:

This is an extension for Google Chrome.  An extension is a feature or functionality that can be added to your browser (Chrome) that will allow it to do something it does not normally do.  TLDR or Too Long Didn't Read is free in the Chrome Webstore here when used on a webpage, will create a summary of any web article that your browser is displaying all while staying on that page.  The extension will appear as an icon to the right of the address bar in your Chrome browser once you add it.  The user has the ability to choose how condensed the summary is of the page.  Choices span from a summary, short, medium or long version of the page.  These versions map the length of the article from 25%, 50%, and 75% of the original article length.  Information from the reviews also indicates that it supports German, French and Spanish as well..  
Summary in Medium 
The use of this tool for personal reasons seems endless as we seem to take in so much more of our information from the web.  News, media, etc. can be time consuming to take in and a shortened version might be a real time saver.  I am curious how you might make use of this resource in the classroom or if it might hinder learning.  Feel free to comment regarding this below.  

A brief tutorial for the use of the extension from the makers of the extension is below.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Putting the Pieces of a Digital Story Together

Last week I began working with a great group of K-2 teachers to explore digital Storytelling.  We used the presentation and link below to explore the parts of a digital story.  Each of the participants will be building a digital story next time we meet. As the K-2 teachers are using iPads we are focusing mostly on the use of iPad apps although some to the resources are also accessible on the web or through Google Apps.  Just sharing the presentation I used as well as the site that was created to support the learning.