Classroom Tools

Classroom Tools

This section marks a bit of a departure and a bit of a throwback for DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION.

More than 30 years ago, the magazine was Curriculum Product Review. As it has evolved into a magazine for K-12 leaders, the new product section has reflected this change. The unfortunate side effect was that some curriculum products no longer had a regular place in our magazine. The publication of this section rights that wrong, by giving curriculum topics and products a semi-regular home. We will bring you a special section examining curriculum trends and products quarterly.

Big Chalk

ProQuest Learning: Literature

www.bigchalk.com, Internet, $1,495-$1,795

The ProQuest Learning: Literature database currently delivers more than 90,000 original full-text works of literature from more than 1,300 authors, medieval times to the present. Organized into study units of 300-plus most-studied authors and genres, the material also includes author biographies, contemporary criticisms and reviews.

Search tools help students find the information they want, with searches based on keyword, author name, nationality, publication date, literary movement, gender or text strings. Study guides feature plot overviews, character notes, detailed summaries and explanations of literary styles. Study Units on themes and authors organize the original text, secondary material and Web links around each subject. Unit parts are organized by relevance, value and ease of access. The selected sources encourage students to think critically, comparing and contrasting works and authors.

Poets OnScreen, a new custom video feature, shows authors reading their own or classic poems. Custom-written guides to individual works, called KnowledgeNotes, offer thematic ideas, questions and lesson plans for teacher inspiration.

Palm Digital Media

EBook Classics Collection

www.palmdigital.com, Software, $499 and up/school year

This selection of classic literature gives users unlimited use of 500 eBooks for a school year. Created by Palm Digital Media and Lightning Source, the collection includes books commonly found on middle and high school reading lists.

The Classics Collection can be loaded on a school's server, with the eBooks listed by title/author on the school Web site. Users click on the selection and download it in less than a minute to a handheld, notebook, Tablet PC or desktop computer for reading.

LeapFrogSchoolHouse

Leveled and Read-It-All Books

www.leapfroghouse.com, Books, Single title $14.95 or $16.95 (packages available)

The new Leveled Reading series for grades K-5 offers 19 titles ranging from early reading to chapter books. On-demand, individualized audio support extends instructional reading time and helps transition students to independent reading.

The Read-It-All non-fiction series, for use with the Quantum Pad learning system, is for students in grades 3-5. Each book contains five articles and provides targeted instruction in fluency and comprehension.

Crick Software

Find Out & Write About

www.cricksoft.com, Software, Single license $49

This software series is designed to support young children who are learning to write. Each CD consists of an interactive talking book of non-fiction text. Text pages contain a link to writing grids that relate directly to each page, enabling students to write about the information learned. At least two levels of material are included on each CD.

MATH

LCSI Enriched Math

www.lcsi.ca, Software, Single user $49, Six-user lab pack $249, Site license $699

Designed to get students talking about math, this software suite has 16 modules based on content and process standards. Each begins with an activity to introduce a math concept through a strategic game with inherent math content, or through a challenge that can be solved using onscreen manipulatives.

When students are ready, they move on to Brainteasers, a series of word problems designed to stimulate discussion and learning. These activities introduce new strategies and help students synthesize ideas.

Evan-Moor

Basic Math Skills

www.evan-moor.com, Books, $29.99 each

When students in grades 1-3 need additional skill practice, these books include: reproducible pages of mazes, riddles, codes and other activities; drill and practice pages; application/word problem activities; and math tests with awards and reproducible practice cards. Other resources include timed math tests and test answer form.

Basic Math Skills is organized in sections that correspond to the NCTM content standards-number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis and probability.

SCIENCE

Grolier History of Science

www.scholasticlibrary.com, Books, $279

This 10-volume book set for middle school students brings to life the thinking of past and remote peoples as well as the many controversies and conflicts that have characterized the history of science. Each volume tackles a specific period, region or realm of science.

Topics range from the earliest attempts to grasp such phenomena as fire and weather and on to today's complex and rapidly developing physics, chemistry and biology. Explanations of the challenges scientists, mathematicians, and even philosophers faced are included.

Digital Frog

The Rainforest AT version

www.digitalfrom.com, Software, Site license $225-$350 (purchased in 2003)

This CD-ROM takes students on a virtual field trip to study rainforest flora and fauna. From the food chain to human influence, the rainforest's issues and complexity are explored. Students can learn what howler monkeys do when they wake up, place rainforest animals and plants in their proper niches, and learn about soils and climate.

With text-to-speech software and keystrokes for menu choices and commands, this program is geared toward high school students but encompasses topics accessible to all ages.

EOA Scientific Systems

Edu-Tutor Library

www.eoascientific.com, Software, Single license $59, 5-user license $147, Network license $299 per title

This series of 15 CD-ROMs for grades 6-12 is organized into geology, oceans, climate, weather and astronomy topics. Chapters on scientific method, measurement systems and units, as well as science careers, are included. Each CD has text tutorials with pictures, movies, animations and interactive exercises.

Tom Snyder

Graph Club 2.0

www.tomsnyder.com, Software, Single license $79.95, Unlimited site license $899.95

The Graph Club 2.0 now runs on Mac OS X as well as Windows XP and 2000. The software lets students in grades K-4 create, explore, interpret and print graphs. The program's design helps students make the transition from graphing with manipulatives to grasping abstract graphing concepts.

The new version includes 33 standards-aligned activities and allows users to switch easily between English and Spanish.

Also available is The Graph Club 2.0 Collection ($99.95-$1,039.95), which includes a CD-ROM with more than 75 additional cross-curricular, standards-based graphing activities in math, science, social studies and language arts.

NSTA

Learning Science and the Science of Learning

www.nsta.org, Book, $24.95

To bring theories to life, this collection of essays includes realistic scenarios featuring classrooms where students are encouraged to "construct" their own science learning. These scenarios offer specific ideas on how to help students become more reflective about the learning process-including what they know, what their stumbling blocks are and how to overcome them. The book also examines how to use formative assessment to gauge student learning throughout the course of a lesson, not just at the end.

SOCIAL STUDIES

Entrex Software Living Histories

www.livinghistories.org, Software, Single users $400-$1,250 (varies by package, district needs)

Network version pricing available Living Histories is a standards-based multimedia teaching resource for middle school social studies. The product currently includes nine CD-ROM titles, a VHS or DVD, a teacher's lesson planner, and online resources. The collection will continue to expand each year. Titles include Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Discover the World, Founding of America, American Revolution and Civil War.

Online resources and information includes a searchable database of facts, primary sources and multimedia.

Newbridge

Early Social Studies Program

www.newbridgeonline.com, Books, Big Book and Student Book Sets $94.80, Complete Program $1,049.00

This standards-based, non-fiction reading program has 24 shared reading titles for Grades K-2. The books are divided into six topic sets and include history, geography, government, civics, economics and culture concepts. The topics are Families & Communities, Our Land & Resources, Our United States, How Things Are Made, At Work in America and On the Move.

The program includes big books for shared reading, student book six-packs, and teachers resource books.

Teaching Tolerance

Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks

www.tolerance.org, Video, Single curriculum kit free, Additional kits within the same school $30, Video only $20

In the film Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks, boycott participants and witnesses and their sons, daughters, grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews tell the story of this woman who sparked a revolution.

Nominated in the best documentary short subject category, the 40-minute film revisits the familiar Montgomery bus boycott while highlighting and introducing new stories and unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.

The video is part of a classroom curriculum kit that includes a viewer's guide with activities and historical documents to help bring the Montgomery bus boycott alive.

Tool Factory

Interactive Skeleton

www.toolfactory.com, Software, Single user $79.95

This program was designed to make learning about the musculo-skeletal system fun. Students can explore the different bones of the human body using navigation controls. Hundreds of study notes and teacher tips accompany each image. Users simply select which area they would like to examine first, then click on any bone or muscle attachment to read its label, as well as descriptions of location, function, common injuries and more. The software also comes in a Spanish edition.

The Child's World

Spirit of America

www.childsworld.com, Books, $216-$1,137/set

Two new series are available in the Spirit of America collection, which is designed to foster pride, patriotism and in-depth knowledge of American history. Besides the 42-book Our Presidents set, the K-6 full-color collection now includes two 12-volume sets, Our Cultural Heritage and Our People.

Our Cultural Heritage tells readers about different ethnic backgrounds, the earliest immigrants and the impact of those cultures on present-day American society.

Our People, a biography series, presents the lives of historical figures. From Native American scholar Sequoyah's English name being George Guess to the fact that no women were allowed on Columbus' first two voyages, little-known facts help captivate readers.

OTHER and Co-CURRICULAR

Riverdeep Skill Detective, Skill Navigator

www.riverdeep.com, Software, Single user $99-$299 (5-user lab packs, 50-user network version and site licenses available)

Skill Detective is a series of diagnostic tests designed to measure middle school student achievement in the core curriculum areas. Skill Navigator, a more comprehensive product for high school students, includes diagnostic tests and a customized curriculum.

Skill Detective Upper Elementary is for grades 3-5 and Skill Detective Middle School is for grades 6-8. More than 75 math, language arts and critical thinking skills are covered. Student and class reports measure tests completed, questions answered correctly, results by skill area and areas of mastery.

Skill Navigator Mathematics and Skill Navigator Language prescribe each student an individualized course of study, and students can view week-by-week lessons and assignments as they progress through the program.

Teacher Created Materials

TechTools Resource Kit For Kidspiration

www.inspirationsoftware.com, Kit, $295

The TechTools Resource Kit for Kidspiration works with Inspiration Software's visual learning software for K-5. The resource helps build student confidence in organizing information, understanding concepts, and expressing and sharing thoughts using PowerPoint.

The kit includes 60 projects with detailed lesson plans, student activity pages, rubrics and scoring sheets, as well as Web and multimedia resources.


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