[Istation (866) 883-READ]
Istation is an adaptive, supplemental learning system that provides individualized learning content for school-age children. Its main focus is on Reading and Writing (Pre-K to 12) and Math (Pre-K through 8).
The license-based program is first downloaded, then launched from the computer. Though not web-based, all data is shared through the local network so teachers, parents and administrators can monitor progress and reports from any computer with Internet access. After logging in with a unique user ID and password, a child-friendly Main Menu with large icons allows access to lessons, e.g., Early Elementary content will have icons for Reading with ISIP, Books, ISIP Modeling, Lectura con ISIP, Libres, Writing Rules, Math with ISIP, Ipractice en Espanol, Teacher Station, Assignments, and Logout. (Note: ISIPTM refers to the unique Istation Indicators of Progress, a computer adaptive assessment of early reading ability.)
The reading program (in both English and Spanish) begins with an assessment (which repeats monthly) to monitor and record progress in order to generate appropriate lessons. Lively and colorful cartoon characters and animations guide the child, and through a game-like setting, children encounter lessons that promote various reading skills, from phonemic awareness to vocabulary, spelling, and more. Hands-on activities include answering multiple choice questions, filling in the blank after listening to auditory prompts, selecting letters to form words, and so on.
Istation Math also offers an adventure-based curriculum where students progress through a game by following animated characters, answering interactive math questions, and learning mathematical content such as place value, number comparisons, rounding, and fractions.
For teachers, the Istation Report and Management Portal provides easy access to Setting up Istation, Training Videos, and Teacher Resources (lesson plan ideas, printable materials, and detailed reports). The reports are impressive, and include charts and graphs such as Summary, Skill Growth, Skill Growth by Tier, Tier Movement, Distribution, Lexile Trend, Rate of Improvement, and more.
Istation is adaptable to students ranging from ELL/Special Education/At-Risk to Gifted. It is a valuable resource for both classroom and home use.
Spotlight on the Maya, Aztec, and Inca Civilizations
[Rosen Publishing (877) 381-6649] - (Website)
Specializing in ebooks, Rosen Publishing's Spotlight on Maya, Aztec, and Inca Civilizations is another substantive title worthy of careful note.
These ebooks explain the culture, daily life, economy, geography, government, and technology of each civilization in a total of eighteen separate books. Each book contains vocabulary, primary sources, additional information, and such features as 'People to Know' and 'Places to Know.'' A pop-up below each page offers additional options - a table of contents, page browser, primary source highlights and a list of printable items.
For teachers, Spotlight provides instructional support in the form of planning guides, lesson plans and templates, graphic organizers, and many printable enrichment activities.
Winner of the 2016 EDDIE for Middle School History, Spotlight on the Maya, Aztec, and Inca Civilizations would be a good unit in upper elementary as well as early high school. A terrific tool for any history or social studies teacher.