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  • With school starting again, we know that lots of you are busy getting classrooms ready and looking at planning for the new school year ahead.

    The great news is, if you’re looking for ideas and inspiration to support your plans, you’ll find lots of resources on LearningGrids to support students of all ages, across a range of topics, themes, and curriculum areas. Here are some helpful hints on getting to the resources you’re looking for quickly and easily.

    If you’re looking for a specific topic or even a particular resource, use the search box on the LearningGrids page – just type one or more keywords into the search box and click Search.

    Alternatively, you may be looking for resources for particular subjects or curriculum areas. In this case, use the category and subcategory links on the left-hand side. To browse the resources available, click to select a category from the list. Click a subcategory to focus your browsing.

    To display resources designed for a certain age range, drag either end of the Age slider. To filter the search results based on the program, uncheck those you wish to exclude on the right-hand side.

    Here on the curriculum team, we have been busy over the summer too, adding to our ever-growing bank of resources and helping you to be ready for the new school year, whatever curriculum you’re following!

  • I have recently been working with an AT (Assistive Technology) team in a school district that is in the early stages of an iPad® roll-out to all its elementary school students. The Clicker Apps (Clicker Sentences, Clicker Connect, Clicker Docs, and Clicker Books) have been installed on each device, and have been selected as the framework for their writing support focus in 2014-15.

    Because the Clicker Apps enable easy creation of targeted, differentiated activities, the team found that teaching staff were creating a myriad of resources on their individual iPads.  They wanted to find a way to share and access these resources from any device, and they came up with the idea of creating a dedicated DropBox account just for Clicker Apps resources.

    Within the newly created DropBox account, they created folders for each of the Clicker Apps, subdivided further into folders for grade level and subject area. Because the Clicker Apps have integrated DropBox access, they were then able to have all the teachers connect to this single account from within each of the Clicker Apps. The net result is that with a couple of taps, ALL teachers in the district are able to browse and utilize hundreds of resources that their colleagues have created, as well as share their own.

  • My colleague, Cath, was visiting a school recently and got into a discussion with an elementary school teacher about using Clicker 6 to support the literacy development of older, more able students. Cath opened our LearningGrids website and showed her some of the ready-made resources that really encourage experimentation with language, for example, Powerful Verbs and Adjective Alternatives.

    When Cath was an English teacher, one of the areas she used to focus on was developing variety and complexity in sentence structure. Using the Sentence Building wizard, she created some sentences where a clause could be added in different ways:

    Clicker 6 clause activity

    Clicker’s speech support is really effective in a situation like this as students can hear the effects of using commas and the difference in emphasis achieved by manipulating word order.

  • Clicker and Foundational Skills

    Clicker is a fantastic tool for tackling the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts in elementary schools. Over a series of blog posts, I am going to explore some of the Clicker features and resources that are available to support all strands of the Common Core. Let’s start with Foundational Skills.  

    LearningGrids is full of Clicker sets that “are directed toward fostering students’ understanding and working knowledge of concepts of print, the alphabetic principle, and other basic conventions of the English writing system.”1 

    On-screen books like Getting Ready for School – Read make use of Clicker’s integrated speech feedback with highlighted text. These features reinforce reading conventions such as left-to-right word order. On-screen books also provide great opportunities to develop reading fluency. On LearningGrids, there are books to accommodate a wide range of reading levels from emergent readers to fluent, independent reading. And all books can be adapted to fit the needs of individual students, such as simplifying text for struggling readers or removing the recorded speech to ensure independent reading.

    Clicker’s speech recorder tool is available in on-screen books, allowing student to practice their reading or to keep a record of their reading accuracy and fluency. The sound recorder is also perfect for phonological awareness activities. With activities such as Listen and Say – Phonemes and Find the Vowel Sound, students identify the phonemes and record the segmented sounds.

    The extensive picture library that comes with Clicker makes it easy to create phonics and word recognition activities. With Clicker’s Quick Page Matching Wizard, you can easily create word and picture matching activities like The Head – Read and Find. In another matching type of activity, CH Digraphs, students find pictures that have that specific digraph and can then record themselves reading the words.

    And don’t forget to check out Clicker Foundations for Reading – it is a wonderful “Powered by Clicker” series that has lots of activities to support the Foundational Skills.

    National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Washington, DC: Authors, 15