Algebra 1 (Website)
[Connections Education (800) 382-6010]
Connections Education is a leading provider of virtual schooling for students in grades K-12.
Algebra 1 (divided into 1A and 1B) offers wonderful tutorials for students beginning Algebra, and those in need of remediation. Lessons are scaffolded, and numerous drills, quizzes, videos, animations and hands-on activities teach critical, fundamental concepts.
A Course Tree on the left links to the units in the curriculum, and corresponding lessons are viewed in the right pane. The program utilizes many instructional aids, such as Teachlet® Tutorials (interactive presentations, videos, practice, with instant feedback), iTexts (practice problems and answers), a PowerAlgebra Website (practice problems, videos, and interactives), Extensions (links to additional resources such as Pearsonschool.com), and a downloadable TI-Nspire™ Graphing Calculator.
Lesson 1 (Preparation for Success) helps to prepare the student for the step up to Algebra with reassuring words like, "Math: Fear Not! Many students feel anxious when it comes to math. This is understandable; math looks different than other subjects." It then offers strategies for combating math anxiety, and encourages use of resources at hand, including LiveLesson® sessions and Section Message Boards; discussing mathematical processes and solutions with a Learning Coach; and writing down questions while working on assignments.
The curriculum for Algebra 1A includes Ready, Set, Algebra; Foundations for Algebra; Solving; Solving Inequalities; Introduction to Functions; and Linear Functions, Systems of Equations and Inequalities. Algebra 1B includes Exponents and Exponential Functions, Polynomials and Factoring, Quadratic Functions and Equations, Radical Expressions and Data Analysis, and Rational Expressions and Functions. There are Unit Reviews, Unit Tests, a Semester Review, and a Semester Exam.
Algebra 1 is winner of this year's BESSIE Award in the category High School - Algebra Website.
LANGUAGE! Live (Website)
[Voyager Sopris Learning (800) 547-6747]
Winner of the 2015 BESSIES for Middle School ESL Website, LANGUAGE Live! is much more than an ESL website - although it does that very well, indeed. Designed for grades 5 through 12 students who are reading two or more years below grade level, LANGUAGE Live! should be used, not just in ESL/ELL settings, but in special education, as well as general education classrooms, and wherever reluctant readers can be found.
LANGUAGE Live! is, at its simplest level, a reading remediation program. A science-based approach, led by literacy expert Louisa Moats, it is a two-tiered program with word training online, and text training in the classroom; and it promises two+ years gain in reading skills in a single year. The two levels, beginning in Level I with the simplest of phoneme and graphene skills, and building to complex text decoding in Level II, are introduced and reinforced by peer-age "live" mentors who explain and encourage students along the way, while more mature teachers explain the lesson. The word games, avatars and trophies, in-system email, and more, motivate students to continue to try their best, and the microphone playback encourages correct pronunciation.
LANGUAGE Live! was designed to reach the Common Core State Standards, and the theories of close reading with a questioning mind are important to its structure. For classroom teachers, a dashboard is provided with reports on individual students, whole classes, the benchmark attained, score details, parent reports, and lesson by lesson overviews.
The online technology of LANGUAGE Live! is seamless, and the production values are letter-perfect. This is literacy intervention at its highest and best, and it may just revolutionize the way reading is taught.