One of the most common questions parents ask is “How can I integrate Smart Tutor with my at-home instruction?” Here are some tips that educators have shared with me about how they use Smart Tutor with their children:
Interactive Whiteboards or Smart Boards
If you have an interactive whiteboard, Smart Tutor’s interactive tutorials and activities are ideal for use with them. We are hearing from educators that the program provides a more engaging experience by reinforcing the skills taught in their lesson plans in a fun and motivating way. Children actively participate by coming to the board and clicking on answers, and educators especially like how the program triggers whole group discussions.
RTI – Use the Intervention Reports
Response to Intervention is an important but time-consuming task. I was recently told by two teachers who use Smart Tutor in Ohio that RTI has become much easier for them because the program assesses and automatically provides the individualized instruction their children need. They also told me that they monitor their progress and check the intervention reports every Friday so that they can use this information to plan any additional strategies that might be needed for the following week. They also use award certificates to acknowledge their children’s achievements and keep them motivated.
Story Time Tuesdays
We recently started podcasting using iTunes and TIVO. All materials can be downloaded for free via the iTunes Store and even via TiVo. Educators are now using these free stories during story time to build listening and comprehension skills. One educator asks her children to download the stories and write a summary or review. If your children have access to iPods, iTouches or other portable music players, you can ask them to download it on iTunes.
A middleschool educator from the Special Ed department in a Florida school district also uses a concept she calls “Friday Games.” If her children complete their Smart Tutor assignments by Thursday, they get to spend one hour playing reading or math games on the computer. Another educator uses the math and reading games as practice so that children don’t forget basic concepts such as telling time, multiples of a number, homophones, synonyms and antonyms, and prefixes and suffixes, just to name a few. You can check out our free Reading Games and Math Games here.
One ELL/ESL educator uses the bingo cards from our Interactive Flashcards site to teach her ESOL children new words and concepts in English. The interactive nature and simple design of the cards also make it ideal for students with Special Needs. The flashcards are also available in French and Spanish, so they can be used for foreign language instruction as well.
We hope these five tips will help you integrate Smart Tutor in your learning environment. Feel free to share your own tips and best practices.