Every year, the Golden Lamp Awards from AAP name the best of the best in PreK-12 learning resources. Over this week, leading up to the 2017 AAP Celebrates ceremony where we will announce the Golden Lamp winners, we’ll be looking at the finalists for each category. Our next category: Supplemental Resources.
ExploreLearning Gizmos from ExploreLearning
Category: Science, Health, and the Environment
About: ExploreLearning Gizmos is the world’s largest library of interactive online simulations for math and science in grades 3-12. Gizmos are fun, easy to use, and help students develop a deep understanding of challenging concepts through inquiry and exploration. Gizmos are flexible enough to use in small groups, individually, or with a whole classroom. Research-based, they are correlated to state science standards and more than 300 textbooks.
What the judges said: Gizmos are a very exciting supporting tool to schools and education. The resources (teacher guide, exploration sheet, vocab etc.) are helpful and well produced. Program design is highly intuitive - things are where you would expect/hope for them to be - enhanced by searching, but always able to launch a gizmo is exceptional helpful. Gizmos offer a variety of online activities that would be attractive to the student and usable given today's skill of students with devices.
English 3D from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Category: Resources for ELLs
About: English 3D is an English language development program for English Language Learners and long-term English learners that accelerates proficiency in the academic language, speaking and listening, and writing skills vital for life. Authored by Dr. Kate Kinsella, a national consultant on English language and literacy development, the program pairs engaging issues-based content with explicit routines, assessments, and daily practice opportunities that complement core instruction and put students on an intensive, accelerated pathway to English proficiency.
What the judges said: They would definitely use this for teaching not just ELLs but also for students who are native English speakers but struggle with reading. Even though it is based on the California ELA standards it could be used in other states; it can also be works adapted to special needs. The components to all of the courses are good and the tech part is easy to use. Other features the judges liked are the lists and charts that the students fill out that help them with self-monitoring and gives students ownership in dealing with those issues.
Category: News and Current Issues
About: Listenwise builds listening skills across the curriculum. World class podcasts and public radio are transformed into rigorous academic content, with the tools to differentiate instruction for diverse learners and assess listening comprehension. Our literacy supports make academic language accessible without reducing rigor for ELs and struggling readers. Our interactive transcripts, tiered vocabulary and reduced speed audio improve comprehension and expand vocabulary. Perfect content for advancing intermediate and advanced English Learners.
What the judges said: This package is outstanding in its content, timeliness, and usability. Stories run the gamut, and should be of interest to students, especially those in grades 7 - 12. As they augment major news stories, the podcasts and related stories provide an entryway to the critical thinking exercises included with each story. The ability to post student responses via the "classes" tabs as well as make assignments, keeps the content and the lesson's projected outcomes.
Number Talks: Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages from Math Solutions
About: Number Talks \ˈnəm-bər\ \ˈtōks\ 1. A five- to fifteen-minute classroom conversation around purposefully crafted problems that are solved mentally. 2. The best part of a teacher’s day. This dynamic multimedia resource was created in response to the requests of teachers—those who want to implement number talks but are unsure of how to begin and those with experience who want more guidance in crafting purposeful problems. It supports teachers in understanding: what a classroom number talk
What the judges said: This is an excellent resource for teachers. Its print examples, tips, and Learn More sections describe the pedagogy and content very well. Its video examples from different grades allow teachers to see number talks in action. The book gives a new depth to the understanding of numbers and how they are connected through all levels of math learning.
Inquiring Scientists, Inquiring Readers in Middle School: Using Nonfiction to Promote Science Literacy, Grades 6-8 from the National Science Teachers Association
Category: Interdisciplinary Resources
About: These research-based, classroom-tested lessons integrate all aspects of literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing) with engaging science activities for middle school students. The authors show that embedding nonfiction text and literacy activities into inquiry-based science honors the best practices of both disciplines. The lively activities cover topics from sunlight and the seasons to chemistry, toys, and accidental inventions, all presented in ways so students see the relevance and importance of science in everyday life.
What the judges said: The judges fell in love with this book at first sight. All teachers should be teachers of literacy, but it is time consuming to find articles that are appropriate for the diverse reading abilities in a middle school classroom. This book exhibits an understanding of its audience with access to articles that students will truly understand and which relate to the activities included in this book. It also provides an exceptional user experience for the teachers.
Category: Digital and Media Literacies
About: As a supplemental resource, myON enriches and supports core curriculum subject areas by providing unlimited access to more than 12,000 enhanced digital books, real-time assessments, and a growing Literacy Toolkit that enhances the literacy ecosystem and develops 21st-century skills. myON empowers teachers and today’s digital natives to “measure reading with reading” using real-time, actionable data including number and type of books opened and read, time spent reading, results of regular benchmark assessments, and more.
What the judges said: The myON platform is very impressive. The breadth of content across grades makes this a very enticing program for teachers and schools. The features such as highlighted text, audio and highlighting allow for multiple use-cases in the classroom for individualized instruction. They could imagine a teacher using this for independent reading at school, guided reading with the teacher and assigning content for reading at home.
Category: Social-Emotional and Character Learning
About: With Nepris, teachers meet STEM (and the Arts) professionals to talk with their students in a virtual, interactive session. A massive network of teachers and professionals are already in the community and if a suitable pro isn’t available, Nepris goes out and finds an expert to meet the teacher’s request. Industry groups can proactively offer sessions, too. Thousands of sessions (Shark Tanks, mentoring, virtual field trips and chats) have been archived to view and share.
What the judges said: The product is an invaluable tool for teachers and students. Nepris achieves the goal of providing quality educational opportunities for all teachers and students, regardless of where they may be located or what their particular circumstances may be. As long as they have basic current technology, teachers and students have access to a large base of experts and professionals. They can view archived videos, request a session tailored to their particular interests and needs, or sign up for upcoming scheduled sessions. The opportunities available through such a resource is immense and much needed to ensure that all students have access to quality education in a rapidly growing and changing world.
Category: Reference and Research
About: NextLesson brings student engagement and applied learning into the classroom. We offer 10,000 K-12 lessons that engage students in real world problem solving through topics they care about, such as sports, music, books and technology. We offer a range of lessons and projects from practice activities to Performance Tasks to rigorous PBL units. All lessons and projects are written by a specially-selected group of teachers and aligned to Common Core and other state standards.
What the judges said: This program is outstanding. Teachers have the levity to choose from multiple assignments and assignment types. The project sheets are timely and are from real world sources that will engage students. Math integrates with Science and ELA integrates with History. It has a great use of primary sources! The site is easy to use and navigate.
Lift Off to Literacy: Using a Shared Reading Approach from Okapi Educational Publishing
Category: Reading and Language Arts
About: Lift Off to Literacy is a shared reading program that prepares PreK, Kindergarten, and First-Grade students for reading success. With rhyme, rhythm, and predictable texts, students will build knowledge of key vocabulary, high-frequency words, and concepts of print. Big books, their small-book counterparts, and Vocabulary Starters invite repeated readings for different purposes, and the unique Reading Pens encourage first steps toward independent reading and fluency.
What the judges said: This is a smartly assembled reading program that offers a variety of ways for teachers to use it. The books are simple and colorful, and nicely mix nonfiction with narrative fiction. In addition to the commonplace big book/small book collection, it's great that Lift Off to Literacy has concise, colorful lesson-plan cards that are laminated for durability. Judges also found the program overview booklet smartly designed for easy access -- brief enough to invite the reader in yet offering the important information in clear language and organization.
Scholastic Art from Scholastic Inc.
About: Scholastic ART brings art history to life in middle school and high school visual arts classrooms. Featuring art of diverse cultures, time periods, and artistic movements, it helps teachers develop balanced art curriculums. With dynamic digital features, including art history videos, museum tours, and artist interviews, Scholastic ART is a complete print & online nonfiction art program.
What the judges said: Scholastic Art is very high quality across all measures. The videos are excellent, informative, and very engaging. The magazine is very appealing and offers depth as well as range on a multitude of topics. They appreciated the addition of video clips and skills worksheets, as a way to integrate art into the classroom, and also for art teachers who are now responsible for collecting academic data.
Lesson Series on Immigrants from the Southern Poverty Law Center
Category: Social Studies and History
About: Teaching Tolerance’s interactive lessons on immigrant experiences help students discover what they have in common with young people all over the world. In “Who Is an Immigrant?” students explore family, culture and community to better understand who they are in relation to the people around them. In “Exploring Young Immigrant Stories,” students engage in a variety of hands-on exercises designed to foster appreciation for the diversity of their peers, nearby or in far-away countries.
What the judges said: This resource takes a wealth of information on a singular topic that targets a range of grade levels and learners. The interactivity and creative methods of instruction invite participation and ultimately comprehension. What is valuable with this tool is it allows individual learning as well as serves as a springboard for group and class engagement. The simple, color design enhances accessibility. The logical presentation of learning modules furthers that goal.
Twinkl from Twinkl Educational Publishing
About: Twinkl provides access to a complete range of teacher created, engaging and inspiring teaching materials. Its 300,000+ assets include a scheme of work, (PlanIt), assessment materials, printable display materials, PowerPoints, games, activity sheets, interactive whiteboard activities, learning apps, and online tools to help users create their own personalized teaching materials. In a nutshell, Twinkl aims to help teachers save time and make the learning experience more engaging for students.
What the judges said: The judges were very impressed with the deep library of teacher-created resources, tagged with extensive metadata, geared for a great many different learning environments--school, home, afterschool. They were also impressed with the usability, the extensive library of resources, the search tools. They could not envision a Pre-K-8th grade educator (or prenatal mother even!) who would not be able to enrich their education curriculum or program with this wonderful tool.
Voces Digital - French 1 from Voces Digital
Category: World Languages
About: The French 1 curriculum framework offers balanced instruction for one year of French at the Novice level. The design allows for a strategic scaffolding of content that is enhanced with audio, video, and interactive capabilities. This framework can easily co-exist with the various teaching styles and technologies found in today's classrooms. Culture and language come alive for students, and teachers can both facilitate and manage classroom learning from one place.
What the judges said: This is a great resource. They liked that the teacher could access everything from one screen and that the program allows teacher to select activities, lessons, etc. based on individual students, classes, etc. The technology component is not just an add on but works throughout the content. The games are great for keeping kids motivated.