It’s that time of year again, where HelpTeaching.com holds its annual scholarship competition for aspiring writers! We put out a call for high school and college students to submit their short stories and informational texts aimed at children. The prize? A $1,000 prize to be paid to their learning institution.
We received around 1,000 submissions this year, and it was a tough job narrowing them down to our favorites! They were truly high calibre, interesting, creative, and fun to read. Some included themes of diversity and acceptance, others explained topics from how the stegosaurus was discovered to clever ways astronauts have used velcro! With each round of narrowing down our finalists, the task got even harder to choose the final winner. So, what we’ve done is compile a list of our top contenders and the piece we declared the winner.
Congratulations to all of the finalists and the 2021 HelpTeaching.com Scholarship winner!
The title of this story immediately piqued our interest to read more. A sweet story of community-building, problem-solving, and teamwork Boise State University Junior, Ashlee Vanliew, tells the story of a duckling in need and getting it back to its mother. You can read the story here.
How much do you think you know about how humans hear? Grad student Marisa Kolanovic writes an informative article that details the workings of hearing. The complex system is described clearly and in an accessible way, bringing new appreciation to a sense many of us take for granted. Read the article here.
Dinosaurs are an area of fascination for many children, and kids surprise parents and teachers alike at pronouncing their names and reciting their attributes! We enjoyed this story about the discovery and description of the Stegosaurus, by seventeen-year-old Eva Ternovska. It’s a piece your students will love reading. Read the piece >>
Teaching students about diversity and inclusion is more important than ever, and we loved this story where language barriers are overcome creatively and friendships are forged with the help of technology. Read University Junior, Yanely Itzel Bolanos’, story here.
Written by high school senior Hannah Cargo, this informational article explores Japanese Kabuki theatre. It’s wonderfully descriptive and educational about a style of theatre and acting that may seem quite foreign to those more used to method acting we commonly see on TV and in movies. Read Hannah’s piece here.
This informational piece by University of Arizona Freshman, Kathlyn Wise is full of interesting stories about the origins of significant scientific discoveries, useful everyday objects, and life-saving medicine. Kathlyn is an incoming freshman at Wheaton College. Read the piece >>
Seventeen-year-old Jaden Klein deftly sums up the science of a star, clearly explaining the chemistry and physics behind the billions of twinkling stars in our galaxy. Read the piece >>
Collecting is a past-time that many of us enjoy, and this delightful story by 16-year-old Avery Rose Nowowiejski caught our attention for its uniqueness, well-crafted story-telling, literary references, and pure charm. Click here to learn about Amy’s collection of faints in The Fainting Jar.
“Mom?” Aidan poked his head into the kitchen, a book tucked under his arm. “How would you unbake a cake?” We really enjoyed this novel approach to explaining chemistry concepts for reactions and states of matter by university sophomore Karen Zhang. It was well written, interesting to read, and clearly explained the science. Well done, Karen! Read the full story here.
Money is something we use everyday and it makes the modern world turn. But have you ever thought about how the system evolved? We loved how well written and explained this piece by 10th grader Crystal Ojiako was. Click to discover the Origin of Money.
Help Teaching 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
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.
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
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
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.
Want to embed a test into your website? Simply place the share link in an iframe, like the following:
“<iframe frameborder=”0″ height=”800″ src=”https://online.testroom.com/136832RVY” style=”width:100%”></iframe>”
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.
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 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:
In addition to the online lessons already available on Help Teaching, Pro and Group Pro subscribers have the ability to create their own lessons and assign them to students using our online lesson creator.
Below we’ll share some tags you’ll need to help you get started as you create online lessons.
For general instructions on how to set up a lesson, you can watch our online tutorial.
Embedding a Video
To embed a video into the lesson, use the following video tag:
In place of the video ID, insert the video’s YouTube id. You can find this in the video’s link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H17QPo0kS6I
Adding Practice Questions
If you add practice questions to your lesson, you will see a “Practice Questions” button appear on your lesson. You can move this button by placing the practice button where you would like it to appear in the lesson.
You may add images to the lesson from the Help Teaching library or from your uploaded images by simply clicking or tapping on the image you would like to add. This will automatically insert the image in your lesson.
If you would like to move the image, you can copy and paste the code where you would like the image to appear. Additionally, you can add float=left or float=right tags to your image to have it appear on the left or right hand side of the page.
Example: [img float=left]Baseball[/img]
If you would like to change the font, you can wrap the text in font tags.
Example: [font size=large]This is my text[/font]
Our site supports the following font sizes:
- medium => 16px
- large => 20px
- xlarge => 30px
- xxlarge => 40px
- xxxlarge => 50px
- huge => 100px
- xhuge => 120px
- xxhuge => 140px
- xxxhuge => 160px
Additionally, you can bold or italicize the text by adding a special code to the font tag.
Example: [font size=large bold=yes italic=yes]hello, world![/font]
Our lessons also support the addition of tables. Be mindful of the lesson width when creating a table and limit the number of cells (columns) you add. If you add too many, your table will not show up properly on the screen.
To create a table, use the following:
Start with: [table format=advanced] Then add a row tag: [row] Add cell tags within the rows for columns: [cell][/cell] Finish a row with an end tag: [/row] Finish the table with an end tag: [/table] You can also align content in cells with tags, such as the following: [cell header=yes align=center valign=center][font size=medium]Fossil[/font][/cell]
If you need more help creating or assigning online lessons, please reach out to our help desk.
This year, the HelpTeaching.com Scholarship received over 600 entries, with students from all over the United States and Canada submitting stories, poems, and informational articles on topics such as being kind to others, learning about the human digestion system, understanding people with disabilities. We would like to commend all of our applicants for a job well done. After reading all of the entries, we have chosen the finalists and winner of this year’s scholarship. All of the finalists’ pieces will be published on HelpTeaching.com and the winner will receive a $1,000 college scholarship.
The following pieces weren’t named as finalists or the ultimate winner, but we felt they deserved recognition because they had something special to offer.
Megan Rice, a student from Lyman Memorial High School, penned a creative poem about the kingdom of Aspenkranze and a little girl that brought some happiness back to the king through dance.
Jon Kramer, a graduate of North Olmstead High School and incoming freshman at the University of Findlay submitted an intriguing piece about blinking.
In addition to the pieces above, some authors chose to focus on bringing attention and fostering understanding when it comes to interacting with children with special needs.
Piglet Max by Maddie Whittemore, an IB student from Southeast High school, tells the story of a little pig with autism.
My Friend Nicky by Olivia Placzek, a graduate of the Academy for Classical Education in Macon, Georgia, shares one child’s thoughts about a friend who has autism.
Victor’s New Friend by Nikki Foy, a student at ECU, tells the story of a kid who makes friends with a classmate who has spina bifida.
Jacob Grube, a high school senior, submitted a poem about an owl who aspires to make deliveries. The only problem? It’s a job that is typically performed by pelicans. Read more…
#9 Shy Sarah
Daniella Jenkins wrote a short story about a girl who goes from being shy to being self-assured. Her piece, particularly the poem at the end, can inspire kids to have confidence in themselves. Daniella is a student at Loyola University in New Orleans. Read more about Shy Sarah.
In a short story by Lexus Hendrix, a student at the University of Central Florida, a little girl shares her feelings about her looks and the comments others make because she does not look like her mother. Even though they don’t look alike, she and her mommy do have something in common. Discover what it is!
In Natasha Moe’s short story, the main character learns an important lesson about being wise when posting on social media. It’s a great story to share with pre-teens or teens. Natasha is a graduate of Bloomington Senior High and an incoming freshman at Purdue University. Learn some tips for being kind online.
Students are introduced to the process of digestion through a poem written by Kendall Lowe, a rising high school senior. Digestion isn’t pretty, but it is a pretty interesting process. Find out what happens!
Noah Snitzer’s submission featured a fictional account of dog sledding during a Canadian winter. The main character starts off reluctant to participate, but discovers a new appreciation for the work of his father. Read more.
An apple pie is the basis for the short story written by Kennedy Webb, a student at the Ohio University Zanesville campus. Will Jamie’s pie in honor her nana take top prize at the county fair? Read the story to find out!
Grad student Ashley Teztlaff submitted a short story about a girl who raised money to build a well for children who did not have access to clean water. Ashley’s story highlights the ability kids have to make a difference. Learn more about it.
Kyle Mason, a student at The University of Tennessee, wrote a piece designed to help students learn more about their DNA makeup. After reading his piece, students will know that they truly are unique. Kyle even wrote his own questions to accompany the piece! Discover how unique you are!
This year’s winner is Tatiana Rusev, a junior at Arizona State University. Perhaps inspired by the Arizona Desert Tarantula, Tatiana wrote a creative and informative piece entitled A Night in the Life of a Desert Tarantula. Through her story, kids can learn more about the arachnid that is commonly found in the Arizona desert. Find out more.
- 24 March //
- Posted in Announcements //
- Comments Off on Help Teaching’s Plan for GDPR Compliance
On May 25th 2018, the most comprehensive change to privacy legislation ever undertaken —the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)— takes effect.
Here at Help Teaching, data protection is something we take very seriously. As a cloud-based company entrusted with our customers’ data, we’ll continue to view the treatment of our users’ data as a top priority.
Help Teaching and GDPR
Continuing to protect our customers’ information is extremely important to us. Measures we are taking include:
- Continuing to invest in our security infrastructure.
- Giving users the ability to access their own data and delete their account.
- Ensuring there’s a consent checkbox and that all user data is gathered only after receiving appropriate consent.
- Anonymizing IP addresses for Google Analytics
- Working to ensure we have the appropriate contractual terms in place with all relevant third parties.
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.
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»
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»
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»
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»
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»
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»
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»
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»
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…
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.
We are very excited 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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
Founder, Tribrio Inc.
The Common Core State Standards are one of the current hot topics in education. As schools across the country have begun to adopt the standards, teachers must find new ways to assess the critical and higher order thinking skills they measure. Test Designer’s members can now find ways to assess the Common Core State Standards directly through standards-aligned worksheets on HelpTeaching.com.
Worksheets aligned to the Common Core English standards can already be found on Test Designer. As soon as you open a Common Core aligned worksheet, a new module on the print preview page allows you to instantly see the standards the worksheet is aligned with.
One of the first subject areas of Test Designer to be aligned to the standards is language arts. Many of the worksheets you will find in the reading strategies category have been designed to include the in-depth analysis, reasoning and comparison and contrast skills that the standards promote. Students will also be introduced to longer reading passages and associated questions, similar to what they will find on many standardized exams. For example, eighth grade students can analyze President Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation in the Analyzing a Speech worksheet and fifth grade students can analyze characters in popular short stories. Common Core aligned worksheets are also available for grammar instruction. Instead of simply identifying the parts of speech, students can put them to use combining sentences and correcting punctuation. Many of the Common Core Standards for language are already represented through worksheets available on the Test Designer site.
English teachers are not the only ones who can access standards-aligned worksheets. Worksheets are also available for math for grades two through five on topics such as money word problems and for grades six to eight on topics such as the Pythagorean Theorem and Geometric Solids. While the Common Core Standards do not cover general science and social studies skills, teachers can also access premium worksheets in these areas. These premium worksheets, such as one Muscular System Anatomy, feature high-quality images and content.
Throughout the summer, Help Teaching team plans to add worksheets covering nearly all Common Core standards and content areas. However, access to these Common Core aligned worksheets and future worksheets is only available by subscribing to Help Teaching Pro.