Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Using CPS and Audacity to Create Read Aloud Tests

There are times when test questions need to be read aloud to students. Since you can add audio to questions in CPS, it occurred to me that a teacher could use Audacity to record themselves reading the question.  That would allow the student to simply click a button to hear the question read to them. The test can be given as a teacher lead test with the student setting the pace. All the teacher would need to do is start the test and then let the student take it from there.
If you have ever used Audacity before, I think you will agree that it is relatively easy make a recording. Each question would only be a minute or two. Just remember to export the recoding as an mp3 file. Then you would add the recording to each question individually.

To add the recording to the question in CPS, choose “notes and media” from the question drop down (in the options area of the question). Click on the audio/video tab in the question note window. Click browse and navigate to your audio file and double click it. Click “ok’ in the CPS – fine details window. Then click “save & close”. Click save and close (two separate buttons this time).

To give the test., click on the engage tab. Put a check next to the name of the lesson (test). Click the engage button. Remember, the test will have to be teacher lead since the student will have to hear the audio. At each question the student can click on the notes button to listen to the audio.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Preparing Your Teacher Website For the Summer

The end of the school year is coming upon us so you might want to start thinking about preparing your teacher website for the summer once the dust settles on the EOC tests. Some items you can add to your site are educational games, summer reading lists, subject level projects, Art activities, summer holiday resources, printable online resources, subject level resources and references and online quizzes. As you know, students can never get enough testing!
Teacher Vision has a page of summer links you can check out by clicking here http://www.teachervision.fen.com/summer/teacher-resources/6668.html.
You might also want to develop your website further by following a few of the tips you can find when you log into Schoolwires and click on the “Editor Best Practices” tab of any page (while in the edit mode). You can also click the “How Do I” tab and look at the “Best Practices for Teacher Sections” in the Additional Resources column. Please remember that our District font is Trebuchet MS size 3 for title text and size 2 for regular text.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Using CPS Verbal Engage Questions and ActivInspire Expresspoll for Formative Assessments

When teachers ask students questions in class without the use of Student Response Systems such as CPS or ActivExpressions, do they receive an accurate assessment of whether or not the students truly understand what was covered in class? Student response systems allow students to remain anonymous and therefore permit all students to respond without worry or concern.  Teachers can ask questions that require more thought provoking text responses from the students.
CPS users have a choice of a large screen where teachers can type the question they want to ask the students or a smaller response bar that can be placed anywhere on the screen. To change the setting from a large screen to a small response bar, choose “delivery options” from the settings menu. Teachers then have the option to check or uncheck the “show large screen” box in the verbal questions section of the delivery options window. Once that is done they would click “verbal engage” from the “engage” tab and choose “short answer” or “essay answer” depending on the character response they want from their students. Short answer has a maximum of 40 characters and essay answer has a maximum of 120 characters.

ActivInspire users would open the expresspoll from the main toolbar and choose text response “ABC”.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Anything Containers in ActivInspire

So let’s say that you are using ActivInspire with your students to teach a concept in class and you need a place on the page for students to write notes or calculate math problems. Let’s also say that you need more than one area for you students to answer your questions or solve your problems and there isn’t enough space on the page. You can use the shape tool to draw a rectangle (note paper) with a tab so that the student can slide it on the page answer the question or problem and slide it off the page to make room for the next students answer. If the student wrote their notes on the rectangle and slid the rectangle off the page, the notes they wrote would not move. Not so if you select the rectangle, click on the properties browser and choose can contain “anything” in the drop down in the container section. If you don’t see any options in the container section of the properties browser, click the plus sign to the left of the word container. Now when the student writes in the rectangle and slides it off the page so only the tab is visible, the notes will go with it. You can also create more than one rectangle (sliding note area) on the page for multiple students.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Helping Low-Performing or At-Risk Students with Their NCVPS Course

If parents or Distance Learning Advisors find that students are falling behind in a North Carolina Virtual Public School course, they should know that they do have options available to help. Here are some suggestions that will help the students pass the course.

1.) Students can contact their instructors during office hours.
2.) Students can set up a time for one-on-one tutoring with their instructor through Wimba, Pronto, or the phone.
3.) The DLA of the school can create peer tutoring sessions with other successful NCVPS students.
4.) The DLA can have EC students meet with the school's EC specialist to help them.
5.) NCVPS has an extensive list of assistive technologies such as text to speech, visual, mobility and Math tools at http://goo.gl/eryLQ.
6.) Students can attend review sessions at the school.
7.) Students can also attend tutoring sessions at the school if they are available.
8.) If the student is not logging into the course on a regular basis, the DLA might consider creating a time that the student works on their course at the school.
9.) If the student has an EOC in the course, the DLA could place the student in an EOC Reviews at the school.
10.) I send out progress reports to the DLA’s every two weeks.  I include the NCVPS teacher contact information (email and phone) in the Excel spreadsheets so that the DLA’s can contact the teacher.
11.) The parents can log into Blackboard with the students at home and supervise their work. 
12.) The parents can also communicate with the NCVPS teacher.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Study Jams is a Math & Science Resource for Students

Study Jams http://studyjams.scholastic.com/studyjams/index.htm has over 200 topics/resources available for students to use to help them learn Math and Science content. Some of the more popular Jams are: Creating Equations From Word Problems, The Universe, Volcanoes and Photosynthesis. The Jams include videos, key vocabulary terms and a test. Related Jams are shown below the selected Jam.