Product Index
Curriculum Products
In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
Minerva, 5th Grade Science Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 1, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I am a 5th grade science teacher. I would use this in my classroom stations or Science Warm-up of the day/week. I have students who do struggle with reading because of their level or dyslexia. I believe this will greatly help them become a great reader. I'm excited to try this out starting Monday!

Strengths: This product solves the problem of my dyslexia students because they are able to listen to the text and follow along. They are also able to see highlighted text to help them. I love that the students can not tell what their reading level is just by looking at it. The art and the way the articles are written are engaging for students who find science or social studies boring.

Suggestions for Improvement: On of the MAJOR things I would improve to make this product better is to have resources for bilingual students. We have students who will come to the states from a different country. They may know a few English words but 80% of the time they don't know anything. Another thing I would change is added feature texts to the product. The articles are kid friendly(which I love) but they also need to look at the "BIG" picture. Most science articles will have diagrams or data tables to help them understand the concept. Students need to be exposed to this aswell.

Verdict: I would recommend this tool because it will help our students with their reading skills. Our school wants every classroom to do a read-aloud. This becomes difficult when you only teach 1 content and there aren't a lot of articles out there. Students will not feel ashamed that they are reading at a 2nd grade level in 5th grade because they can't tell a difference. Our ELLs will also enjoy this tool because they can listen and follow along with the text.

Sarah, Special Ed Teacher. School Type: High School, Low Income Population
Nov 14, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to teach skills for reading nonfiction texts. I teach high school special education students, most of whom are not reading on grade level. Nonfiction text is very difficult for my students to access and comprehend.

Strengths: It does a really good job of changing the text complexity to match the student's reading level. It does not change the appearance of the page between text levels, so students working side by side would not be embarrassed to be seen reading something at a lower reading level than the student next to them.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1) Add history! this is an area that my kids really struggle with, especially on state testing.
2) Allow teachers to select the reading level for a student when they want too, as sometimes we need to practice reading materials that are on grade level - this is what they will be seeing on their state tests.
3) Add the read aloud function for all levels. This would allow those students who are practicing (at the teacher's discretion) a higher level text to have it read for them. This will help prep them for state testing. I want them to feel successful after the test!

Verdict: The cost per student is amazing and doable on a small budget. The articles are interesting with student centered graphics, so it will be "fun" rather than "boring" to read about science. I really like that at a glance, the text does not look different between reading levels. My students often glance at each others work and nobody wants someone to see them reading "little kid/baby work".

Donna, Teacher Ela. School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: This product would be an excellent addition to my toolbox, as it can provide me with information on my students' reading levels and access to informational reading selections tailored to those levels. It would be beneficial not only in the target area of science but also in Language Arts, particularly with the new emphasis on informational reading.

Strengths: The idea that a science support product actually takes into consideration the different levels of reading abilities is simply mind-blowing. It seems like that should be a no-brainer, but it has been a long time coming. The articles can also be used to meet the emphasis on informational reading, so a single product can be applied to cross-curricular uses, meaning more bang for the educational buck.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be a plus if the diagnostic were designed so that it could be run at different times during the semester, allowing students to move up in complexity of language as their reading levels increase. Also, the ability to generate and print representations of student levels and progress (which helps justify the program to admin) would be a real plus.

Verdict: The strongest arguments for this application are the gaps that it fills in the Language Arts area (reading levels, informational reading) and the potential for support of the new science standards currently being developed. The fact that this application makes the same content available at a given student's current reading level is almost reason enough all by itself.

Charell, Instructional Coach. School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices
Apr 23, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to reinforce/review content from key science standards while building reading comprehension. I would assign students an article that corresponds with the standard we are covering this year. I would also assign an article for homework during the week to review science standards covered

Strengths: I am impressed that this program makes science content accessible to students of varying academic levels. Its great that students won't be able to identify the levels of other students based off of the way the website looks. The diagnostic capabilities makes this program able to be personalized for all students.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great if:
1) There was a highlighting tool or note taking feature (or some other way for students to manipulate the text...think close reading!)
2) There were math content articles as well
3) The reading comprehension questions could be read aloud
4) A way for students to review questions missed (i.e. the program would show the evidence in the article for where an answer to a question could be found

Verdict: I would recommend we use this tool because our school charter district traditionally has not had a heavy emphasis on science content being learned in the elementary age range. This program would allow teachers to assign science content at students academic level. This would help students who are reading at lower academic levels still be able to access the material being learned in science class.

Re'Shawana, Teacher. School Type: High School
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this resource to help students feel successful in the classroom. I've noticed that students enter the classroom at different levels (i.e critical thinking, reading, etc.), and they need specific tools to bring them up to speed.

Strengths: It was great to see a resource that meets students at different levels, while they are in a set a grade level (Example: Teaching 8th grade, but you may have students read at a 6th grade reading level). And when the student masters a level, they can have the opportunity to move on.

Suggestions for Improvement: I'm not sure if there is a resource out there like this, but for other academic areas. (i.e History, Math, English). This would be very beneficial for all academic areas, and I believe that educators would not be as stressed out trying to figure out where to meet all student needs.

Verdict: I would recommend this resource because students need to be knowledgeable on specific content area. Unfortunately, in some school districts students are not fully achieving the academic skills that are required, but are being socially promoted. This specific resource would allow students to work at their own pace, and not feel ashamed if their skills are not up to par. Also, this tool will helps the educator see where students are at, and to meet all the students where they are.

Joan, Teacher. School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, College Prep School
Jan 23, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this program to provide students with science articles at their reading level. I would have students read the articles in pairs during small group time. I can also use these articles to teach reading strategies such as close reading. The quizzes will give me feedback on what the students learned and will help me to form intervention groups.

Strengths: I love that the articles are leveled and students are assessed to match them with the appropriate level. It is also aligned to CCSS reading and writing standards, which will help incorporate these standards into general science classes. The articles are interesting and engaging as well as informative. Graphics will keep student interest.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would help to build in search terms involving NGSS standards. Articles can be found by topic, but a searchable alignment would be key. It would also help if teacher reports gave data on standards mastery not just percentages on individual articles.

Verdict: I would recommend this tool because it can align to NGSS standards and differentiates science articles to student reading level. Even better, it assesses student reading levels and assigns them to appropriate levels. As they progress through the year, it adapts to increase in reading level as they grow in reading ability.

Marcia, Pk 12 Librarian. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Low Income Population
Nov 17, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would coordinate with our school's science teachers to have students read the articles and take the quizzes when they come to the library as well as when they come to my Computer Skills class in the computer lab.

Strengths: I think the strengths of this program will show in how our students are able to learn key science facts by reading through articles that are on their reading levels which will in term help them be successful in school.

I like that the articles are similar in nature and there are quizzes after each article which helps determine the reading level of the next article assigned.

Teachers can collect data on their students performance which will help teachers when planning future lessons.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great if teachers could download the articles to a PDF document and print out articles for students who need to read it away from the computer and then they could come back to the computer when they are ready to take the quiz.

Verdict: I would recommend this tools because it would level the playing field when it comes to incorporating science articles into the curriculum. I like that the articles look similar to each other and they can read them on Chromebooks, iPads, or desktop computers.

Kris, Teacher. School Type: High School, Low Income Population
Jan 23, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I am a coordinator and would like to share this with my science teachers. They are concerned about the new science standards and this is a great way for them to choose the standards that are covered for the new curriculum. This also is a great alternative to an old textbook.

Strengths: it integrates literacy and science so that students are reading applicable up to date articles. Teachers save time with the vocab and quizzes and can assess the students' needs quickly. I also love the leveled reading, similar to AR. This save money in tons of ways....

Suggestions for Improvement: I would love to see this for math as well. There is so much needed in reading for math and students rarely equate literacy with math. Finding applicable articles for math and literacy would be amazing!!!

I am not sure how often the articles are updated, or if the creators continue to upload new articles and lessons.

Is there a way for students to access this at home? If they do not have online access, what options do they have?

Verdict: I would recommend it because it's affordable and that it integrates literacy and science. This makes it easy for teachers to access CCSS and to ensure that the students are getting up to date articles.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School
Jan 23, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: This product would provide my students with relative and reading level appropriate science material.

Strengths: Finally someone has NGSS aligned material for middle school students! Thank you! Having the program align the article with the students reading ability is great.

Suggestions for Improvement: I can't tell from what I have been able to look at so far,but if there is not currently a search tool to search by NGSS standard please add that. I don't like to waste time searching by key word, it is too broad sometimes. If I can search by standard I am more guaranteed to be able to find the material I am looking for. Also, if it is not already a possibility being able to link the article into my google classroom would be a huge bonus! When students have to log into multiple sites to access the material it is a huge time waster.

Verdict: Material is aligned with student ability. With a technical vocabulary, having the material leveled is a great help for students.

Agustin, Teacher. School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices
Apr 23, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I have used it to introduce a topic to provide the background knowledge to what I'm about to teach. I've also used it after a topic has been taught to see if the students understood it.

Strengths: Providing that informational text with the content that needs to be taught. Also differentiating the levels of reading per student.

Suggestions for Improvement: To work with google classroom to make it even easier to assign articles. Allow me to insert questions to gear my students to more of what I feel they need to learn. Highlighting or note taking tools within the article to hep students keep information focused.

Verdict: Right now with the development of NGSS there isn't a lot of curriculum out there and this website has a lot of content that helps me organize my content and how I'm going to teach it. In addition to that there is the aspect of it adjusting to the current reading level to each student making the content accessible no matter what.

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