Science in the City

Mar 15, 2013

Quizlet Makes it Really Easy to Study

This week I'm going to feature a tech tool that I have used successfully in many different ways. Are you familiar with quizlet? It's at

You can use quizlet for vocabulary, formulas, or really anything that you need to match things up and memorize. (Some examples would be states and capitals, foreign language terms, even chemical formulas).

On the website, kids can flip through the terms and definitions like flashcards, play two different games, or different modes to learn the terms, including one where the computer reads the definitions and they type in the words (great for ELLs).

If you have ipads or ipods in your classroom, there is an app as well. This year, however, I do not have much technology time available. That's ok! I'm still using quizlet.

Once I enter in the terms and definitions, I can print out various things -- a glossary, flashcards, word and definition cards that can be matched, or quizzes in a couple different formats.

I try to focus more on concepts, but the bottom line is, if kids don't understand the vocabulary and language then they can't be successful.

More ideas of how I used vocabulary in creative ways are available in my TpT product located here.

Mar 12, 2013

5 Simple Steps to Alleviate Student Stress and Increase Confidence

Hmmmmm. We are now approaching state testing time. It's not here yet, but its coming. That leads me to several thoughts. I'm not going to get into the politics of testing....I think we all know where we stand on that and are sick of discussing it. I'm going to focus, instead, on how to prepare kids, and how much of our preparation is not about content.

Kids get stressed about so many aspects of testing. It is so important to take away their anxiety! For this reason, it's important to practice and coach them, make them familiar with all aspects of it. These include things you may not think of. Here are some ideas:

- room arrangement. If you will be moving furniture, or seats, do it at least a week ahead of time so that's not scary.
- what will the test look like? If possible, make your unit tests and tickets out out of past state tests. Not from a test bank, but actually from the test. This way they look the same.
- what will the format of the answer sheet be. Make sure they are familiar with this and how to fill it out well ahead of time.
- let them use class time to study, with structure. For example, I took 15 minutes of class this week to have them get into partners and quiz each other in vocabulary words. They could either read the definition and have their partner guess the word, or give clues and guess the word. They got really into it, and started competing and cheering each other on! A the end we talked about ways they could study vocabulary at home. Many realized they could do this with other family members, or even on the bus.

So simple, but they need to be explicitly taught these skills and made to feel comfortable and confident.

Mar 1, 2013

First Year Friday Featured Guest - Check it Out

I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a guest blogger in the First Year Friday Feature - advice for first year teachers. Feel free to read it, and check out the blog in general. Amber has some great resources and features on her blog.  Just click on her blog button below.
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