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Announcing the HelpTeaching.com Scholarship Finalists

Help Teaching Scholarship Finalists This year, HelpTeaching.com offered its first scholarship opportunity to students around the United States. Aspiring writers in high school and college were invited to submit an informational article or short story for kids. After reviewing hundreds of entries, the field was narrowed down to ten finalists. The pieces submitted by the finalists deal with topics ranging from fitting in and learning life lessons to understanding where money comes from. Read on to discover more about the finalists.

#10: You Are What You Eat by Emma Granger

This poem, written by Emma Granger, a student at the University of Manitoba, introduces kids to the important components of food and how they work in their bodies. Kids will learn the difference between fats, lipids, proteins, among others and discover why they truly are what they eat. We chose this poem as a finalist because it offers a unique and engaging format and also contains a lot of information for kids. Read the Full Story»

#9: A Trip to Planet Brain: Journey to the Lobes by Kendall Nicely

Kendall Nicely, who will be attending Sweet Briar College in the fall, introduces kids to the parts of the brain through her short informational article. Kids can learn about each of the four lobes of the brain and, through the questions, identify key characteristics of those lobes. We chose this piece as a finalist because the information is presented in a kid-friendly, easy-to-follow format. Read the Full Story»

#8: What Makes a Genius? by Natalie Boubion

Have you ever wondered what makes a genius? Natalie Boubion, a student at UC Davis, answers the question in her short, informational article. People like Leonardo Da Vinci and Albert Einstein are considered geniuses, but how did they earn that title. We chose this article as a finalist because it presents a thoughtful discussion related to an interesting question. Read the Full Story»

#7: Money Supply: Its Creation and Destruction by Kaitlynn Gov

Another UC Davis student, Kaitlynn Gov, helps kids understand Money Supply through her short informational article. Not only can kids learn where money comes from, but they can gain an understanding of the importance of the money supply. We chose this article as a finalist because, in addition to the helpful information, the article contains key vocabulary words related to the economy. Those words are written in bold throughout the article and included in a word bank at the end of the article. Read the Full Story»

#6: A Tiger’s Life by Shae Sager

Shae Sager, a junior at Montana State University – Bozeman, wrote a short story written from the point of view of a tiger at two key stages in its life. Kids can read about the playful tiger cub, and then see how the tiger has changed by the end of this life. We chose this story as a finalist because of its unique perspective and the fact that it can be used as a lesson in comparison and contrast. Read the Full Story»

#5: Rainy Dog Saturday by Erin Conlon

Erin Conlon is a student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Animation. Her story, Rainy Dog Saturday, tells the story of an eight-year-old boy who cannot find anything fun to do on a rainy day. However, when he hears a sound at the door, his day starts to become a little more interesting. We chose this story as a finalist because it is a cute story for kids that offers an element of surprise. Read the Full Story»

#4: The Great Flower Competition by Ella Commerce

Ella Commerce recently graduated from Mt. Carmel High School in San Diego, California, and will be attending California Polytechnic Institute in the Fall. Her short story, The Great Flower Competition, tells the story of two brothers whose father issues them a challenge. The boy who can present him with the most flowers at the end of a month will win the competition. We chose this story as a finalist because it helps kids learn an important lesson. Read the Full Story»

#3: Why Wolves Howl at the Moon by Emily Edmonds

Why Wolves Howl at the Moon is a short story by Emily Edmonds, a student a North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina. In this story, Mama Wolf shares with her wolf cubs the story of why wolves howl at the moon. We chose this story as a finalist because it has the feel of a classic myth and tells a tale that many kids will find interesting. Read the Full Story»

#2: Little Lost Fish by Gina Gugliotta

Gina Gugliotta is a Health Sciences student at The Ohio State University. Her work as a swim instructor inspired her to write a poem to help children remember to stay safe around a pool. We chose this poem as a finalist because of its rhyme scheme and the creative way it teaches an important lesson to kids. Read the Full Story»

And the winner of the first HelpTeaching.com scholarship is…

#1 WINNER!: Little Elephant Tries to Fit In by Christine McLauchlan

Little Elephant Tries to Fit In, written by Christine McLauchlan, an Early Education major at New Brunswick Community College. tells the story of an elephant who has just moved to a new town and is facing his first day at a new school. We chose this story as the winner of the HelpTeaching.com scholarship competition because it deals with emotions that many kids can relate to and it helps kids understand that it’s okay to be different. Aside from the lessons the story teaches, we feel like Little Elephant Tries to Fit In is a cute story that will make a fun read-aloud in the classroom. Read the Full Story»

In addition to these passages from our scholarship finalists, check out the other informational stories and reading passages we have to offer.

Think you have a great story for the HelpTeaching.com scholarship contest or know students who like to participate? Help spread the word about this scholarship by posting the information and a link to our scholarship page on your school or organization’s website.

Announcing a Partnership with StudyLock

We are very eStudyLock App Logoxcited to announce the release of a brand-new version of StudyLock, an educational application that helps parents manage how their children interact with their smart devices for which Help Teaching is the exclusive content provider.

StudyLock is an intelligent educational system from Big Mage Studio, a talented and experienced developer with a great talent for designing engaging apps that kids love, that locks selected apps and games on the children mobile devices and only gives access after they answer a series of educational questions specifically selected for their grade. The questions available through StudyLock are geared for children and teens in grades 3-10.

The questions kids and teens must answer to unlock their devices are all provided by Help Teaching’s content contributors. Our contributors have over 20 years of combined teaching experience and are committed to providing the highest quality of content for use by StudyLock™. It’s the same high-quality content you’ll find as part of Help Teaching’s premium printable worksheets and lessons. Questions are broken into five categories: math, history, science, language arts, and health. All math and language arts questions are aligned to the Common Core State Standards too, ensuring that the content is focused on the knowledge and skills kids need to know. Parents can also create custom questions that are specific to their child needs.

Study Lock Quiz Screenshot

In addition to giving access to exclusive premium content from Help Teaching, StudyLock offers parents the ability to:

– Monitor app and game usage
– Remotely block access to particular apps and games
– Send on-screen messages/reminders
– Track a child’s progress in key subject areas

Through their partnership, StudyLock and Help Teaching provide parents with a comprehensive resource to monitor children and teens’ academic progress and provide them with tools to improve their skills. Parents can choose to have progress reports e-mailed to them and quickly see which standards their kids and teens need the most help with. Once parents determine where their kids need the most help, they can head over to Help Teaching to discover more resources to help them improve their skills.

The StudyLock app is free to download from Google Play or the Amazon app store and is supported by all Android devices – smartphones and tablets – running Android 4.1 or higher.

For more information about StudyLock, visit http://studylockapp.com/. If you would like to support StudyLock and its mission, you can do so via the StudyLock Kickstarter campaign.

Announcing Test Room – Online Assessment Platform

Online Test Administration for Educators and Trainers
Help Teaching now offers Test Room, an online assessment platform designed for teachers, parents, tutors, and trainers. Test Room gives educators the power to administer assessments online. It also provides statistical data to help educators quickly monitor and assess student and class performance. As an educator, you have many reasons to quiz students and now Test Room provides the convenience, tools, and flexibility to do so in a meaningful way.

Creating Student Groups

The My Classes feature lets you organize and assign tests for individual classes or groups of students. Once you create a class, you can assign a test to the entire group at one time. You may add or remove students to classes at any point. In addition, once a class has finished a test, you will have access to statistics on overall test results enabling you to evaluate class performance. A few other options for the class feature include:

  • Splitting up students in the same class into different classes in Test Room, perhaps by level
  • Administering different versions of the test to different groups
  • Creating and administering different tests to groups of students based on their ability levels or to easily adapt tests for special needs students

Scheduling Tests

Whether you want to give a brief quiz to check for understanding or a cumulative course final, Test Room offers numerous features for test scheduling to fit your needs.

Required Settings
Scheduling a test begins with either creating a custom assessment with Test Maker or selecting a pre-made assessment from Help Teaching’s expansive library of printable worksheets. After selecting a test to administer, simply choose your preferred method of inviting students to take the test. Options include:

  • Inviting students or classes by e-mail which automatically sends students a direct link to start the test
  • Sharing a public link with students instead of e-mailing them

Optional Features

In addition to the required settings, you can select a few optional features:

  • Private Note to include any personal reminders or comments that are not shared with your students
  • Test Instructions to share special instructions or reminders with your students when they start the test

Time Settings
Initially, all Test Room assessments offer unlimited testing times and open-ended start and end dates. As a teacher you can:

  • Set a maximum amount of time students have to complete the test by filling-in the Time Allotted field
  • Fill in the Start and End Date & Time fields to have students take or complete a test at a specific time

When you set these time settings your test will only be active during the set time period and can no longer be taken once the time period expires. Be sure to double check all your settings to make sure students can take your test when it’s time for them to start.

Test Administration Options

Depending on the purpose of assessment, you can select different options to change how students interact with the test. Some of these options include:

  • Allowing students to navigate back to previous questions
  • Keeping students from revising previous answers
  • Enabling practice mode so students can see answers and, if desired, take the test multiple times

All of these features are available in the Test Administration section and you’ll find specific boxes and instructions to help you make those choices there . For example, if you want students to be able to navigate back to previous questions to revise their answers, be sure to check the correct box.

Grading Tests

Along with giving students an easy way to take an exam, Test Room offers a few different options for grading, including:

  • Automatic grading of multiple choice and true/false questions
  • Immediate grade displays for students
  • Fill-in-the-blank and open-ended questions you can grade by hand
  • The ability to override any automatic corrections

With the grading feature, you can save a lot of time by letting Test Room do the grading and give students the feedback they want. Even if you choose to manually grade your assessments, you’ll still save time by allowing students to quickly take the test online.

Reviewing Analytics

To help provide you with a meaningful analysis of student mastery and progress, Test Room generates data on individual student performance and overall test performance.

Student Performance
Student performance data helps you see student performance based on the following information:

  • an itemized list of each test that student has been assigned
  • the completion status of the tests
  • the grade for each test
  • the date the test was scheduled

This way you can evaluate trends in individual student progress and test performance.

Overall Test Performance
Test Room also generates an overall statistical report for each test assigned. The test performance report provides:

  • the total number of students who have completed the test
  • the number of questions on the test
  • the average number of correctly answered questions
  • a grade breakdown by number of students
  • percentage of correct answers for each individual question

With this data you can monitor how individual students are performing and help make sure the quizzes and tests you assign are producing the desired outcome.

For more information on how to use Test Room, watch this our tutorial:

Announcing a partnership with StudyLock™ App

study-lock-app-icon
We are excited to announce Help Teaching’s partnership with StudyLock™, a parental control app. Help Teaching is an exclusive content provider for this innovative application that “parents love and teens hate”.

Eric Vreeken, the app’s creator, designed the app after having trouble prying his own children away from their devices and getting them to focus on their homework first.

The idea is that kids and tens must answer questions before they can use their devices. Help Teaching’s role is to provide the content for those multiple-choice questions, ensuring questions are available to cover multiple grade-levels and subject areas.

How does StudyLock™ Work?

StudyLock™ locks games, internet, cellphone use, smartphone applications, and texting to other telephone numbers, except for predetermined emergency phone numbers. In order for a child to unlock the device, they must answer questions in subjects such as Math, Science, History, and Literature. Parents control how many questions must be answered before the device can be used normally. Some kids may just need to answer a single question for a quick review, while others may need to answer more to encourage them to focus more on their studies and less on texting and playing with apps. Once the questions have been answered the cellphone or device can be used as normal.

The questions kids and teens must answer to unlock their devices are all provided by Help Teaching’s content contributors. Our contributors have over 20 years of combined teaching experience and are committed to providing the highest quality of content for use by StudyLock™. It’s the same high-quality content you’ll find as part of Help Teaching’s premium printable worksheets and questions. All math and language arts questions are aligned to the Common Core State Standards too, ensuring that the content is focused on the knowledge and skills kids need to know.

Of course, there’s more to StudyLock™ than just answering questions. Parents can choose to have progress reports e-mailed to them and quickly see which standards their kids and teens need the most help with. Once parents determine where their kids need the most help, they can head over to Help Teaching to discover more resources to help them improve their skills.

Test Designer is now Help Teaching

We’re excited to announce that Test Designer is now Help Teaching!

Why We’re Changing our name to HelpTeaching.com

TestDesigner.com launched in 2005 as a test maker tool, with a little over 100 questions across a dozen subject areas. When we first launched, we faced a classic chicken-and-egg problem – the platform needed content to be successful but didn’t yet have users to add that content. Fast forward to 2011 – the site had over 50,000 public questions across more than 300 topics and over 100,000 users worldwide. With all of the questions we had, we thought it only made sense to create a library of free printables. To give back to the community, we added free printables in December 2011. Printables, of course, turned out to be hugely popular with our members. So in the last 18 months, we have added hundreds of new worksheets and activities to our site.

Due to our expanded offerings, the original site name no longer represented all we had to offer and didn’t connect with our primary audience. Test Designer now offers numerous resources for teachers, homeschoolers and educators of all types designed to help them with teaching, hence the new name – Help Teaching.

What’s Next?

Where to begin? With the Common Core State Standards, of course! We are working aggressively to align our existing content to the CCSS and adding new content across the ELA and Math standards. We have an ambitious goal to have all standards covered for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

And we’re not stopping there! We thought, “Why not use our extensive library of images and add other resources besides worksheets?” As a result, we will be adding study guides, games and lesson plans in the coming months.

We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you so, so much for helping us grow by providing your feedback and offering your support over the last 7 years. Test Designer was something special, and, with your continued help and support, Help Teaching will be something even more special. As always, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest, or just send us an email to support at testdesigner.com

With hugs, love, and gratitude,

Lilia Tovbin

Founder, Tribrio Inc.