When I was a kid, one of the best things about the start of a new school year was all the new stuff I would get. New pencil crayons and felt pens, mechanical pencils and shiny new math sets! Maybe even a new lunch kit or backpack! How exciting!
Well, I don’t have enough new felt pens for all of you (yes, I did buy myself a new set this September!) but I do have some cool new digital tools for you to use! So, in no particular order, here they are!
Dreamscape is a reading comprehension site/app from the Canadian company, Squiggle Park. Dreamscape is for students in Grade 2 to 6 (Grade 1 to 8 coming this fall!) Dreamscape is not meant to be your curriculum, it is meant to supplement your teaching. Many teachers use it as a centre or as something early finishers can do or as a choice at reading time. Here is a blog post about Dreamscape I wrote last year.
The great thing about Dreamscape is that it is a gamified universe, where students create their own little worlds by reading passages and then correctly answering comprehension questions. The game levels the reading difficulty up or down, depending on how the student is doing. The more correct answers a student gives, the more they can build their own world.
Dreamscape is based on the style of many popular multiplayer video games familiar to kids. Students can challenge other students to a competition, with each reading passages and answering questions at their own level. It is therefore possible that a child who is not a strong reader could “beat” a child who is a strong reader.
Dreamscape’s teacher “dashboard” gives teachers the opportunity to see how their class is doing as well as seeing how each student is progressing. You can see how much time each student has spent reading and playing and you can see what comprehension skills they are struggling with. You can use this information to target individual or class-wide intervention!
Dreamscape teacher accounts are being created for all SD45 teachers who teach Grades 2 to 6. As soon as that is done, we will send teachers information about how to set up their class and get started!
And….breaking news! Coming as soon as possible….French texts in the Dreamscape world! Teachers from our district will be working with the Dreamscape team to develop reading passages and questions for French students. Further down the pipeline we are also hoping to make First Nations texts available!
Tig Tag is a Science offering for Grades 3 to 6 that is part of our ERAC bundle. Tig Tag centres around short, purpose made videos, built into lesson plans that cover all of the Science big ideas. Tig Tag lessons include videos, images, quizzes, activities, discussion suggestions, explanations and glossaries. As Tig Tag is meant to be a teacher resource, no student log-ins are required. West Vancouver teachers who teach these grades will be sent log-in information. Here is a short video overview.
Teens 101 is also part of our ERAC collection and it’s aimed at grades 8 to 10. Teens 101 is a Canadian collection of video stories about teens and how they have overcome challenges in their lives. It’s accompanied by guides for teachers to use to stimulate dialogue as well as links to resources and help centres.. Information about how to log in to this resource will be given to teacher-librarians in the high schools soon.
Canoe Kids is a well-crafted, visually rich magazine that focuses on indigenous communities. Thus far the issues cover communities in North America (the Ojibwe, the Haida and the Mi’kmaq), but the author’s intent is to eventually cover indigenous communities all over the world. The resource is for students from K to 12, and although the reading level is a bit high for many elementary students, the information presented is a great resource and the images are stunning.
Canoe Kids is part of our ERAC bundle and will be available as soon as we refresh our ERAC contract.
The district is excited to be able to offer these new digital resources to teachers and students! If you have any questions about them, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com