Tract Learning's FREE Summer Program for Kids!

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 No comments

If you have been around for a while, you have heard me talk about Tract and my LOVE for this incredible company and learning platform. Tract is a kid-driven website that is highly engaging and very high-interest for upper elementary students. Students practice 21st century skills, find projects they are passionate about, and create during project-based learning.


I already LOVE Tract - but believe it or not - they just made their platform even more AMAZING with the creation of their first-ever Summer Creator Camp. I know as educators (and parents) we push summer reading to prevent the “summer slide”, but what if we gave students more ways to prevent this slide besides just reading? Tract Summer Creator Camp can also help prevent summer learning loss all while developing skills required to succeed in the 21st century. 


Visit summer.tract.app and use my code: MSSMITH to provide students with FREE access to all of Tract’s summer programming, including the first-ever Summer Creator Camp!


So what is the Summer Creator Camp?

  • Tract Summer Creative Camp starts on June 27 and every classroom account grants students access to this program.

  • Each day there will be activities and livestreams to help students level up content creation, video editing, and presentation skills.

  • Creator Camp will provide students access to six weeks of virtual, hand-on learning experiences that will take them from beginner to advanced.


What I LOVE about Tract Summer Creator Camp:

I was incredibly impressed as I looked through the Creator Camp information on the Tract website. It is so well thought out and organized for our students. The camp stretches six weeks and each day there is another topic being covered. The first week starts with videos about yourself, reaction videos, and gaming videos. By week three, students are using sound effects, creating stop-motion animation, and creating eye-catching text for videos. 


How to Assign Tract to your students:

If your students are already using Tract in your classroom, they already have access! If you would like to invite new students, simply send them the invite code directly from your educator account. 


Summer Creator Camp Schedule:

Like I mentioned earlier, Tract has done an AMAZING job thoughtfully planning out the content for this camp. Check out the image below to see the schedule and what your students will be learning! 



Blackout Poetry: A PERFECT End of the Year Activity!

Thursday, May 12, 2022 No comments


Blackout Poetry is SO MUCH FUN and I absolutely love how it allows my kiddos to apply a poetry skill with a book that we are currently immersed in. I feel like often times poetry is taught so independently that students struggle to understand how to actually apply it, but Blackout Poetry allows them to do just that. They are learning about poetry while applying it in a way that makes sense to them. We do blackout poetry once we finish the book "Chains".  Students absolutely love the book we read, so they are invested in the pages and love pulling out words to create a poem. I love how connected they are to the book and how excited they are to create their poem.

What is blackout poetry?
Blackout poetry uses a written piece of text from a book, newspaper, or magazine to create a poem.  Once you have found all of your words to make your poem, you "redact" all the words you don't want by blacking them out. You can take blackout poetry even further by creating an image or design to the page instead of just blacking it out. This can be done with literally ANY pre-existing text. 

How do I teach my students to do this?

For our "Chains" blackout poetry projects, I provide my students 4-5 different page options that they can use. They are also allowed to dig through the book to pick one of their own, but I know that would be too challenging for some students. Giving them a choice of a few pages is plenty for most of my students. If this is your first time introducing your students to this type of poetry, give them page options that include very vibrant words, lots of details, etc. This will make it easier for them to create their first poem. 

1) Once students have decided on a page, I have them skim the page for words that STICK OUT. They love this part because they don't have to read the page word-for-word. Ha. I tell them to circle word and phrases that they like. 

2) Once they finish circling words that stick out, I have them pull out their writing notebooks and write down the words/phrases in order and then read through them. What words do you know longer want? Mark them out. What words need connecting words like "a" or "and"? If connecting words are needed they dive back into the text and circle those as well. 

3) After they've gotten their words and phrases, I have them read it again to make sure it "flows" and follows a theme. What is the poem about? What are they expressing? At that point they create a title. 

4) Once their poem is how they want it to be, I had them type it out and gave them a new BLANK copied book page for them to re-circle their used words and sketch their image. Blackout poetry can be simply that - blacking out the other words on the page, or students can illustrate an idea or image on the page as they cover up the words. Most students choose to do that because it is FUN. I have them block their words off with sharpie and then sketch out their image before they color anything. 

*Disclaimer: I am NOT A PROFESSIONAL at poetry - this is just what we do in my classroom. Haha. My kiddos really enjoy this poetry activity and I absolutely love seeing them make deep connections with the text we are reading. = ) 

Valentine Gifts for Your Students!

Sunday, February 6, 2022 No comments

 


These three gift ideas are TRIED and TRUE. You can grab each item off of Amazon and they come to less than a buck per kiddo! Tags are editable and can be used year after year. Grab them ALL below.

TWOSday ELA Themed Breakout (Upper Elementary)

Saturday, February 5, 2022 No comments

 

Twosday Breakout
Looking for something to do on 2/22/22? This breakout is PERFECT! It is "TWO" themed, but still standards aligned and very engaging for your students. This blog post gives you the full details of the breakout! Keep reading for the scoop! This resource does require some prep, but I promise you it will be worth it! My favorite thing about this resource is since it is only loosely related to 2/22/22, it can be used year after year as a state testing review, just for fun, etc. 






I hope you LOVE and enjoy this resource as much as I do! If you have any questions, let me know! If you are looking for something to pair perfectly with this activity, I also have a TWOsday Stem Challenge pack! You can check it out here! 

Ways to Use Tract.App in Your Classroom!

Sunday, January 16, 2022 No comments

 


Over the past couple of months, you’ve heard me talking about my favorite new classroom tech tool Tract.App. If you haven’t tried it out, now is the time. 2022 is the PERFECT time to try something new in your classroom. Back in October, I explained just exactly how you can use Tract in your classroom and in November I explained how easy it is to get yourself AND your kiddos signed up on the website. Once you get everyone signed up and logged in, I have a great overview of the tracts your students can choose from here. Once your kiddos start exploring the Tract website, you will learn that it is easy to navigate and they will catch on quickly. 


There are so many different ways you can use Tract.App in your classroom. This month I am going to highlight a couple of my favorite ways I suggest to get your students engaged with Tract this month. Three big ways are: project-based learning, genius hour, and by getting students to create their own classes on Tract.

Ways to use Tract in your classroom:


  • Project-Based Learning - Project-based learning allows students to develop not only intellectually but also emotionally. Project-based learning allows students to solve problems, gain useful knowledge and tackle real-world scenarios. Tract makes Project-based learning SO easy. Using Tract students can easily build 21st century skills through any Tract that they find interesting. 

 

  • Genius Hour - Genius hour is inquiry-based, student-directed learning. It gives students the chance to explore their own unique interests in a structured way. I love genius hour because students are able to be in control of what they are learning and Tract allows them to do just that. Students can choose a tract based on a real-world scenario they are interested in whether it be cooking, singing, art, or technology. If you are new to genius hour and worried about fitting it into your schedule, I suggest implementing it simply 20 minutes a week to start with. When you see students motivated to learn and creatively engage in new challenges, you will quickly find a way to add more time if possible.

  • Create Classes on Tract - This is one of my FAVORITE ways to use Tract in your classroom because it is led BY students FOR students. Oftentimes in the classroom when students are having trouble with a concept or skill I will pair them with a friend who is proficient in that standard. Upon hearing the content and working through it with a friend, students are often able to successfully tackle the standard. Tract takes this learning process to a whole new level. Now with Tract, students can create their own learning paths about skills and passions they are knowledgeable about. Creating a learning path allows the creator to build 21st century skills, foster presentation skills, and conduct peer-to-peer learning. Every student wants to be the next TikTok or YouTube star, and Tract allows them to create a fun, educational experience for other students in a controlled environment. Head over to Tract’s Creator Academy which includes tons of classes to help students level up their creator skills, like how to outline, how to edit, how to make content engaging, etc. 


Have you tried out Tract Learning yet? Let me know your thoughts and how you are using it in your own classroom! I’d love to hear it!