Here are a few of the most frequent questions that I am asked from buyers, and potential buyers, about my resources. Hopefully, you will find these answers helpful.
Having your students there in front of you is obviously the ideal way to monitor their understanding of a topic, to see the need for differentiating the instruction, etc. There are days, however, where this just might not be possible. With more and more students having access to laptops and other devices the “free” snow-days of the past are being turned into E-Learning days more frequently in order to avoid adding days to the end of the school year.
Natural disasters are causing schools to close for short periods of time, for example, here in Nebraska many schools had to deal with flooding issues last spring and again in the fall which got a bit chaotic with school closings. Sometimes, it’s just the individual student missing out due to a short illness, to a student with an extended illness that prevents them from being in the classroom for a long period of time.
Another example is, homeschoolers might be using e-learning in their co-op groups/classes. There are many different reasons that we might not be able to be in front of our students in a literal way, but thanks to technology we can be in front of them in a virtual way during times of need.
As a curriculum writer, I try and incorporate as many choices and options as possible in my products. I know when I was teaching so many different things would come up and a simple textbook is just not designed to handle the changes and issues that come at you every day. My philosophy holds that ideally, a student will have that book in hand and be using as many of their senses to fully move that information from learning to knowledge. All of my products have a hands-on component that is printable and tangible that the student and teacher can work with together.
I also am a practical person and know that this ideal is not always possible so I have also added to almost all of my products a Google Drive format so the teacher has options. The Google Drive format covers all the same areas but can be done in a paperless environment using Google Drive (Slides and Forms).
The majority of my printable & Google format products are a mix of novel studies, social studies, and financial literacy materials. I also have a few ELA and Math centers that are interactive for Google Drive in addition to printable. In every download, you will find the full printable content as well as a page like this that contains links to add the Google format files to your Google Drive along with directions on how to do it.
Once you click that link your file will now appear in your Google Drive account. It is named “Copy of File Name”. You can easily change that to whatever you want it to be simply by clicking on the name box. From there you can assign the files to your students using Google Classroom.
For novel studies, your students will still need a copy of the novel to accompany the printable or Google Drive format of the novel study. With that copy, they can move through the novel study answering the comprehension questions, vocabulary activities, and extended writing activities all in the Google Slides, just as they can with the printable version. The teacher can monitor their progress in Google Classroom and I would suggest check-ins with small groups of students using platforms such as Google Talk (also known as Google Hangouts or Google Chat) or Zoom, to touch base with your students with a discussion of what they’ve read to make sure they are understanding the content and help them dig deeper in their understanding of the novel. This would be the same thing you would do with class discussions in the classroom, just using technology to cover the distance between you.
All of my novel studies contain assessments that can be completed in Google Forms. All of the multiple-choice comprehension and vocabulary assessments are self-grading which saves you a ton of time! The writing assessments can’t be in a self-grading format since they are not multiple choice in nature, but there are generally only one to two questions per assessment and can be turned in via Google Classroom for you to read and grade.
My social studies and financial literacy formats are very similar to the novel studies in Google format, however, there is no book or textbook needed to complete them. I include Webquest links for learning content and include slideshow presentations in all of my social studies materials to help the student gain the knowledge to complete the activities.
Again, Google Slides is used for the slideshows and for the completion of activities. Google Forms is incorporated in some of the financial literacy activities in the Escape Room activities to explore the content in addition to the Google Slides.
All of the interactive ELA and Math Centers are completed in Google Slides. Students will manipulate the components to practice the skills. This can be monitored by the teacher in Google Classroom.
Most of us take for granted that we have access to computers/laptops and internet access at home. We know that there are some students where it is simply not accessible to them. In public schools, we have the obligation to provide equity for our students. If your school doesn’t have 1:1 capability or you have a student who does not have access at home again, all of my materials are also provided in a printable format within the same product download. All these activities are the same, just on paper instead of the computer. You can send these packets home with your students. To touch base you could try phone calls with those students or maybe something like Facetime or Skype if they have access to that via a parent cell phone. Again, the same content, just a different format.
Technology has given us so many options on how to work with our students. I am not an advocate for screentime for all learning as I feel very strongly that using all of our senses through reading, writing, manipulating, and discussing is the optimal way to learn, but there are times when this is not possible and I hope that my materials can help provide you with different options to utilize at various times when e-learning is called for.
Take a look at these free samples available in my store that contain both a printable and Google Drive™ format to help you get a feel for how it all works.
You can find some tips in this post, Tips for Using Google Drive in Your Classroom, about how to more easily customize Google Drive products to better fit your individual needs.
I have three kids. One is now 20 and in college, the others aren’t far behind at almost 18 and 15! I have been working with them on financial literacy topics to help them become more independent while being responsible with their money. One day my daughter commented to me as I was helping her complete her W-4 for her new job, “I wish they taught this stuff in school. It’s so dumb that they waste time on other less important things and they never help us understand the things we need to do for a job or how to file our taxes.” Of course, she is 100% right! It was a lightbulb moment for me in seeing that there is a real need for some curriculum materials to create for my kids, but also to get out there to help all the other teens that need this!
I sat down to make a list of the critical things a teen in high school or starting out in college needs to know. Really, the key skills I have been helping my own kids with. First, just setting up that basic savings account to save some allowance or gift money for some of their future wants and needs.
Next, it’s a good idea for a teen who is ready to embark on their first job to open a checking account so that they are all ready to be paid via direct deposit when that job offer comes it!
Being offered that first job seems to be the big hurdle, but once the offer is made the teen walks away with a pile of paperwork such as a W-4 and direct deposit form and they often have no clue how to proceed!
Then, the shock of that first paycheck hits them when they come face to face with FICA for the first time!
Once the shock of paying taxes wears off, teens discover that they might be able to get some of that money back in the form of a tax refund! However, they need to file that 1040 to do it! This product, Jobs and Taxes for Teens, will help teens complete all these steps: fill out the W-4, read a paystub, understand their W-2, and file their 1040 return to get their refund.
Finally, students will learn about credit and debit cards and most importantly, how interest charges can easily snowball out of control very quickly! Moderation and responsibility is the key!
Being financially literate is so important to start off adulthood in a responsible manner so that a credit score is built in a positive way to lead them to be able to afford to buy cars, homeownership, and the other riches of the American Dream!
Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!
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