New K-2 Leveled Readers

The K-2 New Leveled Readers are a great addition to any classroom and are perfect for guided reading sessions. Teachers can choose books that are approaching, on or above grade level for each student. Each level has a different subject to avoid comparison with their neighbor.

Accessing the Leveled Readers

To print these booklets for your students, simply log into your online account. In the blue menu bar select the “Reading” tab. Select the publication and week number. Scroll down, past the article, past the lesson plans, past the worksheets until you get to NEW Leveled Readers.

From here, download the book of your choice. Once downloaded, choose a print option.

For A Mac:

  • In printer settings go to the preview tab and choose layout.
  • Make sure the two-sided box is checked.
  • Under Two-Sided choose Short-Edge binding
  • Click print

For A PC:

  • Choose the Layout tab
  • Choose Print on Both Sides
  • In the drop-down choose Flip on Short Edge
  • Click print

The pages will print in the proper order. Simply take the page from the printer, fold it in half with the cover on the outside, staple the folded edge and your booklet is ready.

Leveled Reader Characteristics and Structure

Since our leveled readers are mainly for beginners, our layout uses large text and clear spaces between words. Each page only has about two or three simple sentences per page and we incorporate illustrations to help the reader gain understanding as they read. The content is typically on a subject that is familiar to the student and has a simple plot.

As your students begin to advance, each level increases in complexity. Start using our new leveled readers for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments. For more ELA ideas you can read our article on blending social studies with ELA.

New Professional Development on Demand and Online Walkthrough

We have made several additions and improvements to our online Professional Development page. From online walkthroughs, worksheets, classroom strategies and more, we’ve added all new content to help teachers use Studies Weekly to its full capacity. A lot of what we teach in our in-person training will be readily available online.

Accessing PD on Demand

Once logged into your account, click the “PD Training” tab to access the PD library.

From here, you’ll see multiple series of videos and reference guides that direct teachers on how to get started and set up their online accounts. Our Chief Product Officer, Kim Molgilevsky, even shares classroom strategies that can add structure and substance to your lessons.

1. Getting Started

This series guides you through what to do when you first receive your Studies Weekly box. It explains what you’ll receive and how to sort your publications. It also gives you instructions on how to register online. Read  this article for more information on getting started.

2. Online Walkthrough

Our Online Walkthrough Series provides detailed instructions on how to set up your class and utilize your online account. This video is part of our Online Walkthrough Series where we walk you through all of our additional resources on Studies Weekly Online.

3. Classroom Strategies

In the Classroom Strategies Series, we list activities and samples that are perfect to boost student comprehension skills. For example, we have a compare and contrast pop-up, a display tray activity, Cornell Note-Taking and more.

In addition to these three series, we provide worksheets that coincide with what is being taught. For example, here is the Display Tray Worksheet:

At Studies Weekly, we are constantly looking to help our customers utilize our curriculum and provide them with the resources they need to teach their students more effectively. Our goal is to make using Studies Weekly easy, allowing teachers to plan less and teach more. For full access to our PD library, go to studiesweekly.com/online/pdod.

Schools and Districts can also request in-person training(s) by contacting our customer service team at 1-866-311-8734 or by emailing support@studiesweekly.com. For more information about our in-person training, read about our training options.

 

Top 5 Science Experiments with Discovery Dan

Coming up with science experiments for the whole class can be a challenge at times. We have a whole collection of fun science experiments that are easy and help explain the science behind it all. Students are able to conduct these experiments with the help of science extraordinaire, Discovery Dan. Here is a list of our top five experiments:

1. Solar Oven

Did someone say pizza? In this episode, Discovery Dan teaches us that we can use the power of the sun to make our own solar oven out of a pizza box!

2. Let’s Build a Rocket

You’ve probably heard it said sometime in your life: “It’s not rocket science.” Well, this time it is. Learn some basic rocket science and help Discovery Dan make a rocket in this episode of Project Time.

3. Invisible Ink

He looks like Discovery Dan, but he’s quite possibly a secret agent–at least for purposes of this video. Every secret agent needs special tools. Find out how to make your own invisible ink and secret messages in this episode.

4. Magic Coins 

There are many forces at work in the universe. Discovery Dan explains how gravity and inertia work according to Newton’s laws. We test it out for ourselves by experimenting with quarters.

5. Vacuum Packed

Have you ever wondered how vacuums work? In this episode, Discovery Dan investigates pressure zones to figure out how his vacuum works.

For more experiments with Discovery Dan, check out our YouTube playlist, Studies Weekly for Kids, or visit our Project Time page. We promise your students will love when it’s time for science.

Top 5 Virtual Field Trips in our Library

One major aspect that sets Studies Weekly apart from other textbooks is our vast library of videos.

Exploring Virtual Field Trips

Most of our videos are created here at Studies Weekly headquarters, but for special projects, we send our video team all over the U.S. to capture interviews and virtual field trips. Taking a virtual field trip can be fun and exciting for your class, so we are going to highlight five of our favorites.

1. National World War I Museum and Memorial

For our first virtual field trip, we take your class to Kansas City, Missouri to tour the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The Museum opened in 1926 and was designated as America’s official World War I Museum by the U.S. Congress in 2004.

In this field trip, we are led by Mike, one of the Museum directors, and taken through the history of World War I, or what was once called, “the war to end all wars.”

2. Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park

For this virtual field trip, we head down to the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the Florida Keys to visit Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park. The only way to get to Fort Jefferson is by seaplane or boat.

Ranger Mike of the National Park Services guides us along as we explore this amazing site. Fort Jefferson covers 16 acres and is made up of 16 million bricks. It was one of America’s greatest military assets, as it its location is right along the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

3. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

For this field trip, we take you over to Collinsville, Illinois to visit one of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilizations, the Cahokia Mound State Historic Site. Cahokia was the biggest American Indian site covering six square miles and had about 10 to 20 thousand people, called the Mississippians.

In this video, we take you on a tour with one of the lead in-house archeologists to learn more about the site and the people who lived there.

4. Virtual Field Trip: San Jacinto Monument

The San Jacinto Monument is located in Harris County, Texas. The historic site is dedicated to the heroes of the battle of San Jacinto. We explore the 567.31-foot-high monument, the museum and the USS Texas.

The USS Texas is noteworthy for being one of six remaining ships that served in both World Wars. It is over 100 years old and is the first battleship memorial museum in the United States.

5. NASA

In this virtual field trip, we take you to the Kennedy Space Center. The Kennedy Space Center incorporates about 700 different buildings which most people aren’t allowed in but we take a look at the Visitor Center with Discovery Dan.

These are just a few of the primary source interviews, micro-documentaries, hands-on activity videos, fun fact videos and virtual field trips we have here at Studies Weekly. To explore more, login to your account online, or visit our YouTube page.

 

Teaching with Primary Source in Social Studies

Teaching with primary source has become more prevalent within the classroom. Due to the internet, primary sources have become more accessible and have provided enhanced teaching opportunities within social studies.

Benefits of Primary Source

Evidence has proved that students do not retain memorized facts and dates very well. What they will remember are first-person accounts that emotionally connect them to the subject. Students remember what they find interesting. That retention can make all the difference.

Unfortunately, textbooks don’t provide an immersive experience, just details. Fact and figures do not provide meaning so students have a difficult time connecting with the information.

Without a primary source, there would be no credibility and false information would be presented as facts. Primary source provides opportunities to tell real accounts and stories from history. Without it, there would be a lack of multiple perspectives and viewpoints.

Finding primary sources can also be a time-consuming process and once found, can require intensive lesson planning. Common Core, C3 and other skills standards covering social studies instruction require students to view a variety of multimedia sources. Studies Weekly is unique in that we provide thousands of primary source materials ranging images, works of art, diaries, videos and more. Teachers can find all of our primary source materials on their online account.

Bringing History to Life

Not only do we lay out the facts, but we tell the stories of history. We let the people in history tell their own story through primary sources. As well, we paint a picture of each event so teachers can relate it to what students are doing today. As mentioned above, students remember information better when they are emotionally connected to the subject.

In addition to primary sources, we offer lesson plans and other resources to help teachers relay these stories. Using creativity in conjunction with primary sources can improve students’ conception of the event and time period. These activities, for example, could be creating a narrative or comic, acting out a skit, having a debate, or hosting a mock election.

Let us know how you use primary sources within your lessons in the comments below. For more information about primary sources, click here.

Using Your Teacher Supplement and Other Materials

Each of our publications has corresponding teacher materials designed for it, including a teacher supplement. Starting in the 2018-2019 School Year, Studies Weekly will include teacher materials on all orders of 10 or more student publications. The teacher supplement includes assessments, lesson plans, answer keys, etc.

The teacher supplement is also available online at www.studiesweekly.com/online. You will find many other amazing teacher materials online including; lesson plans, standards correlations, worksheets, primary source documents, teaching ideas, virtual field trips, and more.

Accessing The Teacher Supplement Online

  • In the blue menu bar select the Reading tab  
  • Select your publication icon from the list available
  • You may also select the week you are working on. This provides more Resources to you than if you were simply on the publication.
  • Scroll down past all weeks to the Resources tab found at the bottom
  • Find the quarter you are interested in viewing
  • You may choose to View the file online or download it to your computer
  • PLEASE NOTE: All password protected PDFs will be encrypted with your login email address as the password.

What You’ll Find Inside

Within the teacher supplement, each week is laced with detailed descriptions, explanations and references in regards to the lesson. It provides a list of vocabulary words and theme words for the class to know. In addition, it suggests alternate literature and websites to browse for further information and resources. It even offers a summary of what students have learned prior and what they were taught the previous year.

The teacher supplement then lists the week’s objectives and provides guided questions for each section within the week. In some cases, teacher supplements can be overwhelming but we try to make it easy and straightforward. Our whole goal is to make sure teachers are spending less time planning and more time teaching.

Go ahead and login to view the teacher materials for yourself! Let us know what you think in the comments below. For further tips and resources, view here.

 

How to Assign and Edit Online Tests

After every weekly unit, there is an assigned test. These tests are located on our online version and can be accessed through the teacher’s profile. To help prepare students for the test, each article has comprehension questions listed at the end. Students can answer these questions and potentially earn coins which they can use in a few of our online games.

Refreshing Comprehension Questions

Some teachers who have multiple classes have the option of refreshing their answers so that a blank set is ready for the next class. You can do this by clicking the drop-down menu on the top right-hand corner and selecting “Clear Progress.”

From there, all you have to do then is refresh the page and you’re good to go! Once your students have completed the practice questions and have finished the week’s final lesson, then they are ready to take the test.

Accessing the Test

To activate the test, simply select the publication you are using. This will then take you to a page listing all of the weeks in order. Find the week you are working on. Each week will be accompanied by four options located on the right.

The first option will be “Activate Test.” Go ahead and click the button to change it from red to green. This will now give your students access to the test. No need to worry about students losing their progress while taking the test because their answers will be automatically saved. If you decide to edit the test, select the second option “Edit Test.”

Editing Tests

One of the first things you will see when you edit a test is an option to add a new question. When you select that button it will provide you with a drop-down menu that includes a list of options to choose from. Below is what those options entail:

Each question will also have an “edit” button below it. This enables you to change the question and answers. You can also determine which option will be the correct answer. If you decide to keep the original question instead, you can always click, “Reset Question.”

Allowing Retakes

If a student needs to retake a test, go back to the list of weeks. On the week they are working on, select the third option “Test Scores.” Make sure that the test is activated or else the student won’t have access.

When in the Test Scores tab, click on the student’s name on the left-hand side. Then click on the “Allow Retake” option below their name.

You also have the option of letting the whole class retake the test. If you select the checkbox left of the first name category, it will select every student. From there, select “Allow Retake.”

When students log into their online accounts and click on that week, they will find a test available for them to take, or specifically, to retake.

To check on how your students are doing with each passing week, you can monitor them with our online gradebook. For more information about our online product, read more on how to get the most out of your Studies Weekly account.

 

 

How to Utilize Our Game-based Learning Activities

There are two main methods used in educational games: gamification and game-based learning. Gamification consists of using game design elements in the classroom in order to engage students. For example, a teacher drawing hearts on the board for classroom management. Game-based learning is a strategy that utilizes games to produce specific learning outcomes. An example would be “The Oregon Trail.”

On Studies Weekly Online, we offer four game-based learning activities. Two of the games can be found on the left-hand side within each week’s reading.

First, you will find a crossword puzzle. In this tool, students read clues and type the correct answer into the puzzle.

Second, is a game called Misspilled. In this game, students sort their incorrectly spelled or correctly spelled vocabulary words into corresponding “laboratory vials.”

The last two games are in the form of a self-contained avatar character — one being Revere the Rat and his virtual habitat, the other being your own Studies Weekly Explorer and their treehouse. Students can earn coins and gems by answering questions correctly within the publication. These coins are then used to purchase accessories for their virtual avatar and their home.

The coins act as a monetary incentive and help motivate students’ interest. To answer the questions correctly, the student has to understand the reading. This, in turn, increases student comprehension.

Teachers

As a teacher, you may see how many coins your students are earning.

  • Log in to your online account
  • Go to studiesweekly.com/online
  • Enter username (email address)
  • Enter password
  • Click Login

  • Select the Classes tab
  • Click on Reports
  • Look beneath the Gems icon

Students

Students can access their avatar and see their progress the following way:

  • Log in to your online account
  • Go to studiesweekly.com/online
  • Enter username (email address)
  • Enter password
  • Click Login

  • In the upper right-hand corner click on the student profile picture
  • Choose either “My Rev Rat” or “Explorers”

 

 

 

 

 

Teachers, for more information on how to utilize different features within your online account, read this article.

 

How to Leverage Technology in the Classroom

My daughter, a first grader, keeps asking me for a phone. “So many kids have them!” and I wonder, “For what?” but I know the answer: for everything. Technology is everywhere. It’s in classrooms, churches, the bus, the dinner table. Everywhere. And rather than resisting it, there are some key things that teachers, in particular, can do to leverage the growing trend for electronic classrooms to work in their favor. Here are a few of those things you might consider:

1. Have a Clear Electronics Policy in Place

No matter how much you care about your students, as a teacher, you know realistically that if given free reign of a tablet or laptop, any kid from the age of 5 to 18 (and beyond!) is going to return the device at the end of the day with the thing loaded with a variety of farm heroes, exploding candies, pictures of doe-eyed kids with flower crowns…and not to date myself even further, but I have no idea what kids are playing these days. Whatever it is, without some clear boundaries in place, it’s not going to be what you’re teaching them.

So first things first, when you come to embrace technology in your classroom, lay out a clear electronics policy. What are the consequences of excessive or inappropriate technology use? What tools are okay to use and which are strict no-nos? If you hear technology knocking at your classroom door, it might be time to get together with your school or district IT professional and determine what constitutes “acceptable use” in your school.

2. Create Natural Consequences for Misuse

With any luck, your students are growing up in environments where they understand that every action has a natural consequence. According to Edutopia, “a disruption should always be a bigger headache to the student than to you as a teacher.” When our 6-year-old is acting out like 6-year-olds often do, my husband will sometimes say, “You better stop that or you won’t go to the park tomorrow!” This is frustrating because the consequence of her action is more of a headache to me than it is to her. No park tomorrow means “hang out with mom and push every button you know she has.” Kids need consequences that are relevant to them without putting a burden on someone else.

In a classroom setting, if a student is using technology for something other than schoolwork, the consequence might be that the device is taken away. If they use tablets to take notes, then the natural consequence of misusing it is that they have to use pen and paper. If students are using devices to create presentations, they have the option of completing the project at home or again, pulling out the stone-age tools of pen and paper and creating a rough draft that way.

3. Use Your Powers for Good

With recent hurricanes ravaging the south, and the strongest earthquake in Mexico in a century shaking up and destroying homes south of the border, there is no shortage of terrible things happening. People all over the country and all over the world need help, and no student is too small or too young to make a significant impact. Consider using technology to teach your students the value of humanitarian aid. No matter the subject you teach, there are things your students can do to leverage technology to help people around the world.

To cite a few examples, FirstGiving, Pledgie, and GoFundMe exists for purposes just like this. DonorsChoose is another one that is specifically for classrooms if you have a project that needs funding or just to raise awareness or bring support to fellow educators. Students can use these tools to create awareness of what is going on in the world, or they can use them to facilitate projects of their own.

4. Make Classroom Content Shareable

There are several examples of classrooms across the country that are doing this perfectly. Teachers are now posting documents such as syllabi online for parents to review. Some schools even offer parent accounts so parents can track their child’s progress. Even students are able to collaborate using cloud-based software to work on and complete projects together.

Students are going to need to be able to navigate software programs and share ideas as they go through school and beyond, and as they grow in their professions. Whether this looks like a classroom website that all students can post homework assignments or class notes, or a Facebook page where students can bounce ideas off each other, we have seen firsthand the significant results of educators creating and promoting shareable tech.