Due to the high demand for Skype tutoring, Beach Cities Tutoring is now offering Skype tutoring so that you can have tutoring even when you are out of town, just want more flexibility as far as time, or want to refer us to friends that are not lucky enough to live in the South Bay;). Please inquire for more information.
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I just found this very cool site and wanted to share it with you. They offer video tutorials and online courses in all types of subjects for all ages in the fields of education, design, photography, business, audio/video and 3D animation. This is a great source of education for middle and high school kids to get extra training in subjects that interest them during the summer or school breaks.
Looking for educational way to keep your middle schooler busy over Xmas break. Check out these apps that your middle schoolers will not only love but also learn from.
- Word Joust: Students can go on knightly quests, do battle with trolls, and learn vocabulary words to win points. Kids can compare their performance with classmates.
- BrainPop- Watch an educational movie on various humanities and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects and then take quizzes them to see how much you learned. BrainPOP Jr. is also available for younger students.
- Frog Dissection- Students can do a virtual dissection of an amphibian to learn about its parts and their functions.
- Desmos- a super fast online calculator that can graph any function. It also allows you to add sliders, do regressions and plot whole data tables. It makes complex math fun, interactive, and accessible.
- InstaGrok- search engine that generates a web of related videos, images, articles and terms based on students’ queries. Students can also use it to evaluate sources and quiz themselves on specific topics. It is an excellent tool for research.
- Duolingo- Learn a new foreign language using an intuitive, step by step learning progression that leads speakers through the basics of the language while gently challenging them and explaining key grammatical concepts.
Looking to get your middle and high schoolers more interested in reading? Want to have interesting discussions with them about real life lessons? I was so excited to discover http://www.commonlit.org this week at my English team meeting. Commonlit offers teachers, parents and students access to texts organized by theme and lexile level (reading level of difficulty) and it’s all free! These articles are great for working with Common Core as students can defend their opinion using text based evidence. The articles are high interest and include themes such as : friendship/loyalty, morality, prejudice/discrimination, power & greed, resilience, technology, social pressure, and more. Students can read articles at their reading level (5th-12th) to improve comprehension and reduce frustration. Commonlit is also a great way to practice writing as each article has a writing prompt question that can be answered and defended using the article. I definitely plan to incorporate this into my teaching and tutoring and wanted to share it with you.
If you are considering taking AP Computer Science Principles in the Fall of 2016, you will help to ensure that you will have a job after you graduate college. Nearly, 70% of computer science majors in college have at least one job offer waiting for the right after they graduate. The new course will emphasize creative ways to solve problems in the larger world and is meant to prepare students for both college and employment situations. In development since 2008, 50 high school and higher education teachers are collaborating to make sure that the course is interactive, current, and relevant.
How will AP Computer Science Principles Differ from the Past Computer Courses?
Instead of simply reviewing a programming language, the course will cover technology and programming as a solution for computer issues. It will focus on computers and their interaction society.
In addition to computer science, the course will build communication and collaboration skills, emphasize problem solving as individuals and as groups, and examine technology in the world. The class will focus on seven big ideas entrenched in the principles of STEM education: creativity, abstraction, data and information, algorithms, programming, the Internet, and global impact.
The class is meant to mimic a first semester introduction to college computing course. The course teaches the computational thinking practices necessary for developing the knowledge and skills to analyze data and communicate. Because the course focuses around seven big ideas, each uses questions and concepts to connect every idea to the next. These questions tend to be large-scale questions that rely on information learned in previous sections.
The AP Test
As with many AP classes, the Computer Science Principles course features thorough learning goals and objectives. This course will be creative, iterative, and exploratory, which makes it very useful for a variety of learners. The AP test for this course will consist of two parts. First, the AP exam and then the through-course AP assessment. The AP test will be administered as a multiple choice test filled out with paper and pencil. Students will be required to demonstrate their understanding of course learning objectives.
In the through-course assessment, students will complete two performance tasks involving programming. They’ll look at student learning in a more comprehensive way than can be achieved on a timed test. Students will perform their knowledge in a real world way.
Overall, the course aims to teach valuable job skills to students that will lead students to future careers in technology.
Wondering what jobs will be the fastest growing in the US by 2020?? If you guessed jobs in computer science, you are correct! These jobs are growing two times as fast as the national average for job growth. By 2020, there will be 14 million jobs but only 400,000 computer science students. So how can you get your kids involved in coding at an early age? Participate in “Hour of the Code.” Seek computer science tutoring. Build confidence in girls in math and science as in 2013, only 19% of girls took the computer science AP exam. When it comes to choosing a college major only .03% of girl select computer science. Also, ask your high school counselors what the prerequisites are for Computer Science AP. Even some middle schools offer classes in coding… Culver City Middle School… Go PanthersJ!
Below are some great resources to help your kids with coding at home!
Hour of Code and Beyond at http://www.code.org
CSUunplugged at http://csunplugged.org/
15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to code
Teaching Kids to Code, an EdSurge guide
Harvard’s Scratch Curriculum Guide
Take advantage of summer to expose your children to the principles that govern electricity. Sound boring??!! Well through the use of technology you can make this type of lesson engaging and fun. Mobile technology can be used to explore all types of science and math topics in a way that is accessible, interactive and allows students to visualize and create.
Explore the options below:
- Circuit playground- a web TV program that acts out basic concepts and vocabulary with fun graphics and puppets.
- http://www.sciencecom/category/experiments/ -provides a list of science easy science experiments with instructions that can be done at home
- Muse Maze Circuit Jam- geared for older kids, this interactive game makes electronic circuits easy to understand and contains over 100 puzzles that gradually introduce circuit basics without getting deep into formulas and equations. Kids can have fun while learning about voltage, current, and resistance.
- EveryCircuit app- has a custom built simulation engine. Users can build a circuit and understand the flow of power without the danger of building a real one. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.everycircuit.free
Touch Typing – The Building Block for Success
I always took my high school typing class for granted throughout high school and college and especially as a teacher! I can type very quickly without looking at the keys which allowed me to research, type papers, write business reports, emails and blogs very efficiently. My typing ability is probably the reason I am not a big Ipad or texting fan. These methods of communication are just a lot slower for me because I have to hunt and peck type. Unfortunately, most schools today do not offer typing classes. Summer is coming up though and it is a great time to help your child learn typing, a skill, that will set them up for success in high school, college, and in their future careers.
Touch typing is typing without using the sense of sight to find the keys. A person possessing touch typing skills will know their location on the keyboard through muscle memory. It can improve any individual’s typing speed and accuracy dramatically.
Here are some FREE typing programs geared for elementary aged children
1 Big Brown Bear http://www.bigbrownbear.co.uk/keyboard/keys.swf
This game provides several exercises designed to improve kids touch-typing skills. These exercises start with using a few keys and gradually increases the level of difficulty till the learner reaches the total keyboard mastery. This game teaches learners to use the correct fingers for the different keys and improves their finger movements over the keyboard.
2. Key Seeker http://annrymer.com/keyseeker/index.html
This is a great tool that helps young learners recognize the letters on a keyboard and use the correct hand to stoke the key. This is a must have tool for kindergarten aged kids to help them learn two skills all in one game: letter recognition and keyboarding.
3. Type A Letter http://gwydir.demon.co.uk/jo/typing/index.htm
This web tool helps kids learn to type fast using prompts from the screen. Kids are required to type the letters displayed in the screen as fast as possible so that they can achieve more letters at the end of the go. This tool also allows players to customize how they want to play this game. They can choose whether to type capital or lower case letter, select the font they like, determine the length of go and color of the letter.
4. Keyboard Climber http://www.tvokids.com/games/keyboardclimber
Keyboard Climber is a typing game in which kids help the monkey gets to the top fast by typing the letters that appear on the screen. Any wrong letter will result in the monkey falling down to the bottom.
5. Free Tying Game http://www.freetypinggame.net/play3.asp
This is a game that provides good typing practice to learners. Players have to save letters from being eaten by frogs. To do this, they need to type letters fast before the frogs swallow them.
In Typing Ghost, players are required to destroy the ghosts by typing the words on them. To cancel the typing, players need to use the ” backspace” key.
Through typing letters on keyboard, players control the key man to eat all the food in the maze. When the food is over, players can eat the ghosts.
8. Keybr http://www.keybr.com/#!game
Keybr is an excellent web tool that teaches you the art of touch typing. You are required to type in the letters shown on the screen without having to look on your keyboard.
9. Learn Typing http://www.learntyping.org/typinggames.htm
Finally a site geared for teens to learn to type and memorize the keys.
In light of our recent blog about using podcasts in the classroom, I started researching how podcasts can be a great resource for improving foreign language skills for high school and middle school students. Podcasts offer the ability to get away from flashcards and textbooks and hear real Spanish at your convenience 24/7. With teens addicted to their phones anyway, Spanish podcasts are the perfect tool because podcasts are fun and can be listened to anywhere, even while walking the dog, jogging, driving in the car, etc. Some other benefits of Spanish podcasts include the ability to learn Spanish at your own pace and customize learning since students can choose podcasts on topics of their own interest. Finally, podcasts allow students to listen to native speakers with varying accents as well as improve their vocabulary.
Below are some great Spanish podcasts to try out!
1) Audiria- http://audiria.com/index.php
Audiria is produced by two brothers from Malaga, Spain. They provide a series of engaging podcasts for all levels that promote Spanish language and culture. New podcasts are available everyday and are free! They cover a wide variety of real life situations. In addition, there are exercises and additional resources to support student learning.
2) Coffee Break Spanish– http://coffeebreakspanish.libsyn.com/
Coffee Break Spanish features 80 fun lessons of 15-20 minutes each. The podcasts focus on Mark, an experienced language teacher, and his student Kara. Each podcast is themed with topics such as finding your way around town and ordering a coffee. And there are lots of opportunities to repeat the phrases.
3) Spanish Pod 101- http://www.spanishpod101.com
The coolest thing about these podcasts are that they include a host of native speakers from different parts of the Spanish-speaking world, including Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico. This helps students to learn the different accents as well as specific words unique to each country.The episodes are upbeat and enjoyable with the language spoken at normal speed. The dialogues are repeated several times and a wealth of supporting material is provided. Spanish Pod 101 has lessons for beginners all the way up to advanced Spanish language speakers.
4) Language Trek http://languagetreks.com/individual/podcasts
Language Trek is specifically designed for school students. The hosts are Johnny Spanish and Christina, who both have colorful, engaging and infectious personalities. The podcasts breeze along at a good pace, but not so fast that you get lost. Throughout the podcasts the listener is invited and encouraged to repeat words and phrases out loud. The lessons typically last for about ten minutes and each one is divided into bite-sized chunks. Covered topics include: saying what you do for a living, asking and saying what language you speak, and expressing how you are doing.
5) Podcasts in Spanish http://www.podcastsinspanish.org/pages/level1.shtml
These podcasts include dialogues spoken at normal speed. It can be tricky to understand what is being said but each podcast is accompanied by a transcript, worksheet, answers and vocabulary tasks. Once you have a worked through those, go back and listen to the podcast again. These podcasts cover interesting, current topics. For example, there are podcasts on how social networking has changed the way we relate to each other, neighborhood services and a trip to the zoo.
6) Fluent U http://www.fluentu.com/spanish/
Fluent U is unique in that it differs from the other Spanish podcasts because it is more of a learning platform where you can learn new words through real live videos and Spanish audio dialogues, check out annotated definitions, add new words to your own personal vocabulary lists, and much more! FluentU has a big library of videos and short audio dialogues that cover a variety of situations. While the dialogues aren’t as long, they can be very topic specific, which is great if you’re learning Spanish topic by topic. Within every video or audio dialogue, there’s a full dialogue and vocabulary section covering the main vocabulary and grammar points. Some examples of content are posted below
Examples of content: A Grandmother Explains Twitter, HBO’s The Pelayos, Your Emotions Are Contagious, Man and Science: From Myth to Reason, Antonio Bandera’s Favorite Word, Three Tips for Public Speaking, Frida Kahlo’s Daily Routine.