Whether permanently or temporarily, there is a great deal of education taking place online. Teachers in one place and students in another. This is uncharted territory for many teachers, and they never believed this would happen, however, it has. As you begin to explore these uncharted waters, one thing you will need is a webcam.
Best webcams for online teaching at a glance (Updated July 2020)
Everyone has their own style, but when it comes to professions, there are certain dress codes that need to be followed. Big companies often have strict dress codes on custom t-shirts, or at least a definite and clear one that employees can just follow. However, it might be more complicated and challenging for people who work in a free work environment.
A good example is a tutor. Tutors are still teachers; they are just not teaching in regular schools. The work environments of tutors are offices, tutorial centers, and houses. So, with the workplace being different from that of a regular school’s teacher, one might get confused as to which tutor clothing is …
If you are a PK-2nd grade teacher looking for a resource that is captivating and increases self-confidence and a love of learning, look no further than ABCmouse. ABCmouse offers supplemental activities in literacy, math, science, health, social studies, arts, and music. An excellent resource, ABCmouse, is free for all teachers. All you have to do to get started is sign up for a free account, and you will be on your way to fun learning for your students.
What is ABCmouse?
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) are being slowly pushed to ensure students are armored with 21st-century skills to go out into the workplace or head off to college. If your school is like most, the curriculum for STEM and STEAM is hard to come by. It is where Piper comes in! We will examine what Piper is, how to use it, and Piper’s positive and negative aspects. By the end, you will be asking your administrator for money to provide this fantastic project-based learning curriculum.
What is Piper?
Founded in 2014, Piper Inc. aims to “help educators inspire students using project-based learning, inquiry, and design thinking.” Piper is the ideal project-based learning solution for teaching computer science and STEAM. Piper provides a computer-building kit that encourages the discovery of parts of a computer, the use of a blueprint, a computer’s construction, and coding.
Piper computer kit and curriculum are designed for 3rd-8th grades. The curriculum includes lesson plans aligned to multiple sets of standards, including Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, Computer Science, and ISTE. Piper is a comprehensive solution to STEAM. The lesson plans are easy to use that engage all learners.
How to Use Piper
The curriculum comes with lesson plans that include slide decks, videos, activities, discussion questions, and more. Students will work collaboratively with the ideal group being two students. Groups can be three people but no more than three students in a group. Using the lesson plans that come with the kit, you will guide the students through the following steps.
Step 1: Use a Blueprint
Students use a blueprint to construct the computer. There are no words and students must develop skills to read visuals. It can take one to four hours to put together the computer.
Step 2: Story Mode
Once the computer is put together, students play through specially designed Minecraft levels for Piper. Students will work in teams to complete challenges to build prior knowledge. These challenges will help build more components into the computer. Students will learn current and conductivity, inputs/outputs, binary states, parallel circuits, and grounding.
Step 3: Piper Code
Students will learn how to code new features in a game. They will progress through difficulties in completing the game. Students will access the internet, word processor, and more.
Bundles and Equipment
Piper kits come a wide variety of bundles. Piper kits are not only available to schools and teachers but also open to parents and homeschoolers. The best deal if you need multiple kits is the classroom bundle. This kit is upgraded and reengineered. It ensures greater student engagement and deeper learning. This kit includes 10 Piper Computer kits, three spare parts kits, a ten port USB charger for the batteries, an hour of virtual professional development, and a one-year license to the Piper Premium Curriculum. This curriculum is the cohesive lesson plans and supportive teacher manual.
Piper also offers a bundle of three kits and single kits. The curriculum is available separately as well as spare part kits. Whatever your needs are, Piper will accommodate. They create custom bundles and even rent kits for a month. If you decide to purchase kits, you can apply the amount of rent to the kits’ purchase. Piper’s willingness to work with schools to buy their kits makes them a trustworthy company that wants to “help educators inspire students using project-based learning, inquiry, and design thinking.”
Positive and Negative Aspects of the Piper Computer Kit
Much like any investment, it is essential to know the negative and positive aspects. Purchasing the Piper Kits for the classroom would be an investment, and weighing the positive and negative is important.
Using Piper in classrooms is ideal for kids who love to solve problems, work with hands, and need a sense of accomplishment and completion. Students will learn computer science, problem-solving, critical thinking, and engineering skills. Digital fluency through mechanics, electronics, circuitry, and coding will be developed by students using Piper. The problem-solving abilities come about through following visuals that are in 2D and trying them into 3D actions. They must also overcome progressive challenges. Students work together to build a prototype and test innovative ideas. It creates teamwork and collaboration. Another positive aspect of Piper is the support teachers receive to teach the curriculum adequately. Piper provides educational videos for teachers to learn how to use the curriculum.
Piper is the easiest way to teach STEAM. Clear directions boost success, and students learn to view engineering differently. Many students view engineering as adult work with bridges and buildings, but after working on their Piper Kits, they will see different types of engineers. Students will experience mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and software engineering.
Teaching students a growth mindset is essential as well. Working with Piper’s curriculum allows the students to grow a broader mindset. Failure is a chance to grow. Students will make mistakes building the computers, but students will learn that what they fail on is just a step in learning.
Using Piper in your classroom allows flexibility and creativity to shine. Everything you need is in the kit. Replacement parts can be purchased to use the equipment multiple times. The durability of the components will allow the computers to assembled 20 times without wear and tear. They are not a one time use kit.
Piper can be expensive for a whole classroom set. The Piper computer base is made of wood, which requires excellent motor skills to assemble. Students will need to use a screwdriver to screw in screws and hinges. The wood also makes the computer less durable than a standard computer.
The kit is designed for 8-13-year-olds; however, younger students will need guidance and encouragement not to get frustrated. Once the machine is built, the students are asked to connect to the internet to update the programming. If you connect via wifi, this is a problem since the computer does not come with a keyboard. You will need to enter the password for the wifi and, therefore, need a keyboard. Be sure to have a USB keyboard available and unplug it once the connection is complete.
Piper takes teacher suggestions and makes their product even better. The first version of the Piper kit came out, and many things needed improving upon. One of these was the battery life. Initially, the computer would run on the battery, but the battery didn’t have an external power source to charge while using. The high-resolution screen would drain the battery rather quickly. The fixing of the battery took place in the second version with the ability to charge and play simultaneously. The first version of the Piper Computer didn’t have easily accessible volume control. After teachers writing in and asking for convenient volume control, Piper added one to the top of the screen to help adjust the volume more quickly. Piper listens its customers to help make their product even better.
Piper claims to do all these beautiful things for students in STEM and STEAM, but is there proof? Piper did a case study in California with a school with 80% of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch and 30% English Language Learners. They utilized the computer kits on a Saturday for an enrichment program and then during a summer day camp. After the implementations, the school and Piper found that the ability to collaborate increased by 24%. Students became more digitally fluent by 28%.
Not only did students improve academically, but their character also enhanced as well. Students developed more critical leadership qualities and presented higher levels of mastery in computer science. Students were aware of their thoughts and understood their thought processes. Finally, different learning styles and aptitudes were able to shine through the process. Teachers were enthusiastic, and this enthusiasm was contagious. Students enjoyed the hands-on experience. The case study helps proves Piper’s claims that the computer kit is the best way to teach STEAM, computer science, and digital fluency.
As you can tell from all the positive aspects of Piper’s computer kits, we strongly suggest Piper for the STEM curriculum. There are many computer programs, apps, and software out there that will teach coding and how to assemble a computer, but Piper merges the physical assembly with the digital content. It shows the student how hardware works and how coding interacts with the hardware. Students learn essential concepts, such as the difference between a monitor and a computer. If you are looking for a STEM curriculum that is hands-on and teaches computer science alongside science, technology, engineering, and math, look no further than Piper and their computer kits.
Over the last few years, the consumption of technology has increased. As an online tutor, I utilize technology daily. I use technology to teach, plan, grade, communicate, and find online resources. During this usage, I consume blue-light. I had blurry vision, a headache, dry and irritated eyes. I did some research and found that I was absorbing blue-light, which could be the cause of my blurry vision, headache, and dry, irritated eyes. Here’s what I found.
What is Blue-light?
Blue-light is the light displayed by computers, …
With all the available technology, homeschooling has become more accessible and convenient than ever. This year there have been numerous online curriculums and STEM curriculums added to other online or traditional curricula. We found the six best online homeschool courses and put together the advantages and disadvantages of each.
1. Techie Homeschool Mom
How many hours a day do you homeschool is a popular question for parents looking to start homeschooling. It is also a question that creates discussion amongst parents who have been homeschooling for a while. Homeschool parents want to make sure their children are receiving enough schooling time.
On average, most homeschooling families do 3-4 hours/day homeschooling. However, what works for one family may not work for another family. The amount of time spent homeschooling depends on the children’s attention span and age, other outside responsibilities, and schedules. It is also dependent on state regulations. Some states require a certain number of hours each year.
Homeschooling time depends on what is best for the family. In the fairy tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Goldilocks always wants whatever feels “just right.” Homeschooling is the same way. It can be challenging to determine the amount of time that is “just right.” You might be working too much or not enough. Each child is different; therefore, each homeschooling atmosphere and schedule may be different. Take time, in the beginning, to figure out your “just right” amount of homeschooling time and the homeschool curriculum.
Teaching Hours: Homeschool vs. Traditional School
Don’t worry — this isn’t one of those debates about which is better. It is more about comparing apples to oranges. New homeschool families start their journeys out by thinking they have to homeschool seven hours a day because that is what traditional schools do. You can try to do seven hours a day, and it may work for your family; however, it is more unrealistic and not expected.
During a traditional school day, students are not actively learning for all seven hours. Instead, they are going to electives, having fire drills, lunch, recess, and taking bathroom breaks. Teachers are taking attendance and looking through homework assignments. Traditional school teachers do not teach seven hours a day, so homeschooling should not take seven hours a day.
Traditional school teachers have 25 or more students in a classroom that they need to keep in order. As a homeschooling parent, you won’t. All those students take more time. Homeschooling allows you to teach your child one-on-one or with online homeschool courses, which is faster and more efficient. What might make a traditional teacher 45 minutes to explain to 25 students, you can teach in 10 minutes to one student. Homeschooling will have few discipline problems and offer the flexibility of a different schedule day by day if needed.
Spending only three to four hours a day on homeschooling gives you flexibility in your day, which is beneficial to your children and yourself. It can create a less stressful atmosphere. If your child is a night owl, do homeschooling in the evenings. Morning people do homeschooling in the morning, and if you don’t want to do math on Fridays because of the weekend, don’t do math on Fridays. If you wish only to have a four day school week instead of a five-day school week, you can.
You can even stagger your homeschool day based on your children’s preferences. For example, if one child prefers to do homeschool in the morning, you can give them one-on-one instruction while your other children still sleep. Then when another child wakes up, you can give them their one-on-one instruction. This enables the child to work at his/her best time. One downfall is that it will make the homeschool day a little longer for you, and you need to very organized. Get a teacher planner to keep track of the lessons and progress that your child archives. The flexibility in homeschooling is very beneficial.
Homeschooling allows you to travel, go to appointments, and participate in other activities where learning occurs. Look for teachable moments in everything you do. A lesson can come from anywhere. Baking cookies can help teach measurement and fractions. A hike will give you opportunities to learn about ecosystems and botany. Playing a board game as a family will teach problem-solving skills and money skills. If you are traveling, even to and from the grocery store, listen to an audiobook, or have an older child read aloud. Then ask questions about the book. These teachable moments provide learning outside of your standard 3-4 hours/day.
No matter how much time you spend homeschooling, your homeschool day should always have a sustainable routine. This routine will help create a low-stress atmosphere and help the children know what to expect. Your homeschool day should include direct instruction, independent time, playtime, breaks, independent reading time, and elective time. The direct instruction time is when they are getting instruction from the parent/teacher. The independent time is when they are working on skills independently.
Kids learn a lot during imaginative playtime. They will learn problem-solving skills, creativity, and communication skills. Breaks are essential. As soon as you see your child unfocused, consider giving them a break to regain focus. Parents often forget to include independent reading into a homeschool day. This time is when kids should get to choose what books they read, and they read for fun.
During the elective time, students can play a sport, do an art project, take music lessons, or participate in homeschool co-op programs. If your homeschool day includes all of these activities, you will have no problem fulfilling your 3-4 hours.
Remember, the amount of time spent on homeschooling differs for every family. The average is 3-4 hours, but that doesn’t mean that is what you have to do. It depends on the child and age as to how much time you should spend homeschooling. Do expect to spend more time homeschooling the older your children get. A high school sophomore is going to require more time than a first-grader. Below is a chart that gives you an idea of developmentally appropriate homeschooling times.
|Grade Level||Suggested hours per day||Suggested days per week|
- Grade 2
|1 to 1 ½ hours||3 to 4 days per week|
|Grades 3 - 4||2 to 3 hours||4 days per week|
|Grades 5 - 6||3 to 4 hours||4 days per week|
|Grades 7 - 8||4 to 6 hours||5 days per week|
|Grades 9 - 10||5 to 6 hours||5 days per week|
Do you have a desire to travel abroad and shape people´s minds? TEFL will help you meet those desires. After becoming TEFL certified, you can go to over 40 countries teaching English to non-English speakers. We will look at how to get TEFL certified and how to find a job that will utilize that certification, but first, what is TEFL?
What is TEFL?
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. TEFL is a universal certification that determines your competence to teach English. It is an English language instruction for non-native speakers. TEFL is also known as Teaching English to Speakers of Other …
Are you looking for some help in increasing your test scores? Look no farther than the number one rated prep program, PrepScholar. PrepScholar has been featured in ABC, Fox News, USA Today, Lifetime, MSNBC, Time, AARP, Wall Street Journal, and CBS News. So what is PrepScholar, and what are the benefits and features?
What Is It?
PrepScholar is an online prep program tailored to fit your needs. It is a top-ranked prep program that competes with The Princeton Review and …
Do you want to learn a language? How about five languages at one time? Do you want your instruction to be efficient, personal, affordable, and convenient? Than iTalki is what you are looking for. But what is ITalki, does it really work and is it affordable? We will dive into iTalki and see if it is the best online platform for learning a language.
What is iTalki?
You may have heard of iTalki, seen reviews on blogs, and even youtube. It seems to be everywhere, but what is it? iTalki is an online language learning provider that offers lessons in over 100 languages. Currently, over five million people learn at least one language using iTalki. Employing over 10,000 professional, qualified teachers, iTalki leads the way in facilitating the learning of a language. iTalki claims that you will learn more than just a language. They claim you will discover a timeless skill, new perspectives, and connect with fascinating people.
Launched in 2006, iTalki was a social network designed for language exchange with learning new words as the primary purpose. They wanted to teach languages by connecting with others. In 2008, iTalki began the marketplace version you have today. It was a new idea met with skepticism. However, the concept proved to be ideal because, in 2012, iTalki expanded its marketplace with angel financing. To keep the business growing, iTalki rebranded and relaunched its website and apps in 2016. Growth continued, and iTalki completed its first acquisition in 2019. iTalki acquired Lingbe, a Spain based company. Now, in 2020, iTalk is looking towards the future with no looking back and not an end in sight.
iTalki is more than just a place to take language lessons; it is also a community. iTalki encourages its users to interact with people who are learning the same language socially.
The first way they do this is through articles. iTalki publishes articles a couple of times a week. These articles correlate with words and the best way to learn languages. The next way iTalki encourages a community of interaction is through the notebook, answers, and discussion platforms. These platforms allow you to post in the language you are learning and answer in the same style on other people’s posts. We’ll look at these in-depth a little later. The final way iTalki encourages a community of interaction is through their “language partners” section. This section allows you to search for people learning the same language as you. Once you find someone, you can message each other and work on your conversational skills so that you can learn together.
iTalki started as a social network designed for language exchange, and they have kept this purpose at the forefront with the community aspect.
iTalki provides efficient instruction. Once you’ve chosen the language you wish to learn, iTalki helps pair you with an attentive teacher that will deliver one-on-one lessons. You don’t have to worry about the teacher helping another student during your time. Customized lessons will meet your needs and desires, and you get to converse with the teacher before the lesson about what will take place during your experience.
One of the most efficient ways to learn a new language is through human conversation. iTalki began with the human conversation being the best way to learn a language, and they incorporate this when hiring knowledgable teachers. During this social conversation, the teacher will guide you through real-world scenarios using conversational skills. Lessons delivered this way are far more efficient than merely repeating what a computer tells you to say, as many other platforms teach new languages. Having a qualified/knowledgable teacher is very important in learning a new language.
As mentioned before, iTalki employs over 10,000 professional, qualified teachers. One of the positive aspects of iTalki is that you get to choose the teacher you work with to learn the new language. iTalki classifies its teachers as either advanced or native speaking. You also get the choice of a community teacher or a pro-teacher. A pro-teacher is a teacher that has passed several teaching exams and is fully qualified to teach the lessons. So depending on your level of expertise, iTalki has a teacher for you.
Once you decide which type of teacher you’d like, you can narrow down your search for the perfect teacher by hourly rate, language, and skills. The skill section refers to exam prep and age. For example, if you want your child to learn Spanish, you can select the skills section to teach children. Now that you have chosen all the criteria you want in a teacher, you can search through a list of teachers. Some things to look for when searching through the list include stats, star ratings, and availability. The availability times will be in your time zone, so there is no need to try to convert back and forth. Presenting times in your time zone is a positive aspect of iTalki.
Once you find a teacher you like, you can click on their name and watch a prerecorded video that will give you an idea of how they will interact during a lesson. It will also give you an idea of their audio/visual capabilities and see if you like them. Teachers often offer discounted trial lessons to see if you are a good fit for them. They may also provide packages for lessons all on the same topic. For example, if you are traveling to France and want to learn French for the aspect of tourism, a teacher might lump together five lessons about tourism in France.
A word of advice, sometimes you can find teachers on other forms of social media such as Facebook and YouTube. Look into these resources to see if they will fit with you. A lot of them upload language videos onto youtube, so youtube is another source to see how they teach.
Also, take advantage of trial lessons; this will give you an idea if they are the perfect fit for you. Once you book an experience with one of the teachers, iTalki will send you reminders of your lessons to ensure efficiency and preparation.
Learning a new language has been made extremely convenient with iTalki. You have complete access wherever you go with iTalki. The access convenience is because it works as a web-based program as well as on an app. You can select which language you want to learn, and whatever time is convenient for you. Some teachers offer teaching now an option that will allow you to take a lesson whenever suitable for you. You have 30 minutes of downtime you didn’t plan for, and you can take a lesson during that time. Conveniently, iTalki provides multiple platforms for having video lessons. These platforms include Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and QQ. You get to pay per lesson, which is convenient because you don’t have to commit to several lessons. Taking lessons with iTalki is very convenient.
iTalki is one of the most affordable online language platforms. It is more affordable than many other common ways to learn a language. Offline tutors cost more than 30% than iTalki. Language software can cost multiple hundreds of dollars for just a beginner. For example, the first piece of software for Rosetta Stone costs the same amount as 20 hours with a live teacher on iTalki. An offline language school can cost thousands of dollars. Offline schools offer no flexibility and limited teacher attentiveness. iTalki is a fraction of the cost of an offline school. iTalki offers various rates depending on what the teachers charge. Teachers can charge as low as $4/lesson-$80/lesson. There are even trial lessons that are as low as $1/lesson. When you join iTalki, you receive three free trial lessons as well. The free trial lessons make getting started very affordable.
Keep in mind; there are teachers from all over the world, and prices may reflect where they live. Just because a lesson costs $80/hour does not mean it will be a better lesson. Just because a lesson costs $4/hour does not mean you will get an inefficient lesson. Teachers set their pricing. New teachers tend to set their prices lower so they can get good reviews and raise rates once they have established a positive rating. This shows you they are working at pleasing their students. Maintaining the lessons is also affordable.
iTalki teachers create a personal-customized learning atmosphere. With iTalki, you can achieve language learning goals that you set with the help of a teacher. iTalki does not only offer language, but they offer dialects as well. For example, under the Chinese language, there are seven different dialects (Taiwanese, Mandarin, Shanghainese, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, and other). They even offer 13 various forms of sign language with different languages. Many teachers provide niche classes. For example, you can take courses in business in English or tourism in French. You could also learn Latin American Spanish vs. American Spanish or Spain Spanish.
The personal aspect also comes into play in the community interaction discussed earlier. iTalki will also let you take lessons in multiple languages at one time as well if that is what you’d like. As mentioned earlier, the lessons are catered to your desires and are taught by experienced native speakers in both language and culture. Because iTalki only does private lessons, you don’t have to worry about sitting through an experience that is not personalized. Speak up in your lessons, if something is not going well, let the teacher know. If they are talking too fast or you don’t like the resources they are using, let them know. The direction the lesson should go is up to you, don’t accept a bad lesson. The iTalki experience is entirely personal and customized to your desires and goals.
We mentioned earlier that iTalki started as a social network to get people connected to learn a new language through conversation. We want to take a moment and look at each of these components in-depth. To find these components, look in the drop-down menu of the community tab.
If you are looking for a way to improve your writing in your new language, the notebook is an excellent place to get started. Using your newly acquired skills, write about any topic, and share it in the notebook section. It is a public forum, so be sure whatever you write, you are comfortable with other people reading. Usually, a native speaker will come along, read your post, and correct it. It’s like peer editing in your new language. Use the “pay it forward” mentality when using the notebook section. If someone corrects your writing, you should correct someone else’s that is written in your native language. Fixing other people’s writing helps keep the flow going in the notebook section.
This section is similar to the notebook section, but it is all questions and answers. If you have a question you’ve come across while studying, you can post it in the answers section, and people will give you the answer. These questions can be anything from grammar-related to pronunciation, culture questions, or anything relevant to learning a new language. Much similar to the notebook section, be sure not only to ask questions but also to answer some. You can learn a lot about your new language by simply scrolling through this section and reading questions people have already asked.
Similar to a discussion board from an online college class, the discussions section is a forum for people to discuss anything that deals with learning a new language or the language in general. Not many people use the discussions component because they have the notebook and answer sections that work just as well for anything they may want to discuss.
The language partners tab is probably one of the best components of iTalki. If you want a real person to practice speaking your new language with, you can find someone in the language partners component. Both people help each other learn the language. You can filter through all language partners until you find one you think is the best fit for you. Once you do, you can message them or add them as a friend. Once they message you back, you can begin your partnership and learn from each other.
The community tab on the iTalki dashboard leads you to multiple places where personal learning can take place. Did we mention that everything in the community tab is free? That’s right, you can post to all the different components and find a language partner, and it is free. You can’t beat that!
iTalki provides a language learning experience that is efficient, convenient, affordable, and personal. However, the process can be a bit tricky. Choosing a teacher can be overwhelming. With so many teachers, it is hard to pick the best fit. Also, iTalki does not have any technical requirements for their teachers, which can make lessons difficult. We all know that some video platforms require faster internet speeds. If teachers don’t have these quicker speeds, lessons can be choppy and distracting.
The system to pay for a class at iTalki is also not the most simple way to make a payment. You have to deposit money on a digital wallet to pay for classes. You can not refund this money and iTalki charges fees. Be cautious when depositing money to make sure you don’t overpay.
That being said, we think the positive aspects outweigh the negative aspects. We love that you can take lessons in multiple languages at one time. The price range is very affordable, making it far more likely for someone to be able to take more lessons and become a more fluent speaker. Being able to take trial lessons helps pick the teacher and helps you know if you want to learn the language you have chosen.
iTalki is excellent for people who are just beginning to learn a new language, as the lessons are easily tailored. iTalki offers several free components that help with language learning, and we absolutely love these components. Realworld application is so important when learning a language and iTalki offers those, for free! With iTalki acting as a facilitator, people are guaranteed to learn a new language. Having a human conversation will get them there.
The need for learning a new language has always been there, and people love iTalki because it meets this need. Whether you want to learn a new language because of travel, education, or as a personal goal, iTalki is the resource for you! So, leave the Rosetta Stone CDs in their cases, hop online and have a real conversation, with a real human being practicing a language you’ve wanted to learn.
A Chicago based Ed-Tech Company, RedShelf was founded in 2012 and has been one of the fastest-growing private businesses in the country. Designed with students in mind, RedShelf is an online book store for textbooks. There is far more to RedShelf than just purchasing textbooks. The multiple features are designed for easier access and study tips for students. However, not everyone is a RedShelf fan.
What is RedShelf?
Read and study from home. RedShelf is an online textbook …
Over 1,000 educational institutions believe in Grammarly. Popular schools that utilize Grammarly include the University of Phoenix and Walden University. More than 250 Higher Ed and K-12 schools use Grammarly@edu.
Grammarly has been around since 2009. The company’s purpose is to help people communicate more effectively with businesses, individuals, and students in mind. Students have been using Grammarly to help check their papers for plagiarism; however, Grammarly is so much more and all it …
It’s summertime, and the kids are out of kindergarten and school and will hopefully not be glued to video games or cell phones. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, there are not many kid-friendly activities such as open playgrounds or parks available. STEM (Science, Technology, and Engineering and Math) toys are great activities that are fun and keep your kids’ brains challenged while learning at the same time.
STEM toys for 5-year-olds at a glance
- Botley the Coding Robot
- Code and Go Robot Mouse
- Colour Code game by Smart Games
- Castle Logix
- Geo Smart Mars
- Magna Tiles Clear Colors
- KEVA Brain Builders
- Kinetic Sand
- Kidz Labs Crystal Mining
- Smart Start: STEM, Grade PreK
STEM toys allow kids to learn and explore their curious minds. Five is the age of the “why” question that can drive parents a little insane. STEM allows exploration and keeps kindergarteners occupied so parents can have a little bit of a break or have peaceful moments of engagement with their child. Below is a list of the most popular and the best STEM toys for 5-year-olds. You can buy these toys for your child if you are a parent or as a gift to any curious kindergartener you choose.
Robots have always been a cool toy for kids to play with for many years. As technology progresses, children are starting to learn about how to code sooner than usual. Coding robots are a great way to introduce coding to your child or to nurture what they’ve already been introduced to.
One of the most popular coding robots is Botley, the Coding Robot. The Botley Robot is a robot for five-year-olds that work through a remote by entering a code. The remote is programmed with several activities and lessons to teach them the first steps of coding. Botley can move in a straight line or follow any thick black line that your child draws.
Code and Go Robot Mouse is another toy that introduces coding with a fun maze. Colby, the mouse wants to eat some cheese, and the children have to build a maze for him to get to it. Kids create the maze by using pictorial direction coding cards; then, they push the arrows on the mouse to tell him which direction to go in. There are up to 40 different command codes that kids can put in and say to the mouse where to go.
Board games are great toys for small children to include them in family game night. They also create an excellent way for parents to sit and introduce their children to coding and engineering through a game. An excellent engineering game for your five-year-old would be the Colour Code game by Smart Games. This game consists of 18 clear sheets with colored shapes on them. It comes with a book that includes 100 challenges for kids to put together and complete. This game promotes planning, problem-solving, concentration skills, and visual perception.
4. Castle Logix
Another challenging engineering game for kindergarteners is Castle Logix. Castle Logix is a 3-D wooden puzzle that challenges kids to build a different castle design based on a challenge they choose in the booklet. The blocks have three different towers with sticks of different lengths. The challenge is that the towers aren’t always going to be built in the same direction, and they have to figure out where they have to place the largest tower. This game promotes problem solving and strategy.
Geo Smart Mars is another easy engineering toy that your child can put together. Toy cars have always been a fun toy for young children, and with the Geo Smart Mars toy, they will have a greater appreciation for it because they have to put it together themselves. This toy vehicle promotes building and engineering skills by learning the basic concepts of construction. This toy has several colorful, bright magnetic pieces, a track, a motor, and a remote control. Kids aren’t limited to just one design, also promoting creativity; children can build their car with any design they imagine.
Another form of engineering toys that kindergarteners can play with that stimulates STEM learning is building toys.
One example of these toys is the Magna Tiles Clear Colors. These sets of tiles allow kids to be creative and start to engage in math and science early. The tiles come in several colors and shapes, allowing them to create different shaped puzzles, create number sentences and patterns. The tiles are magnetic and glow in the dark, promoting early introductions of science. Since they are magnetic, they can create many different shapes, designs, and patterns on several different surfaces around their home. The tiles can be used to play with beyond the kindergarten years by encouraging imaginative play and creating new challenges.
Brain Builders is a toy that encourages fine motor skills and basic engineering skills. It consists of KEVA planks and puzzle cards that provide challenges for kids to complete. The goal is that after they complete the puzzle card, they should be able to recognize the shape or figure that they have created. Each card that they pick has a different level, teaching patience when figuring out how to complete the challenge. This toy introduces your child to geometry and balance, giving them the confidence to face the upcoming challenges of math.
Science and Art
Kinetic Sand is a popular toy amongst kids, especially five-year-olds, that involves colorful, magnetic Sand.
This STEM toy promotes hands-on science learning. There are many different activities that parents can do with their kids that promote STEM activities. Some examples of activities that are age-appropriate are building a kinetic sand, Mr. Potato Head. Children can name the basic parts of the body by using positional words while putting them in place.
Teachers often use kinetic Sand to help kindergarteners learn how to count by having students build the number with the Sand, trace the number they made, and create several shapes as well. Kinetic Sand not only promotes science, but it also encourages creativity and creative learning while exploring science through touch.
Another toy that promotes science for your kindergartener is Kidz Labs Crystal Mining. This toy comes with a mining kit that allows kids to dig for minerals. It comes with a rock made of plaster that holds eight different colorful crystals inside. The kit comes with a digging tool, magnifying glass, brush, and instructions on how to mine for the rocks. This toy not only teaches kids about mining, but they also have an opportunity to learn about each of the eight minerals in the process of finding them. This toy kit was designed to develop your child’s interest in science with hands-on learning and discovery.
The Smart Start: STEM Books are designed for kids from 2 – 5 years old. The projects are fun and hands-on. The book includes STEM challenges and activities through which the kids have to solve problems that develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
STEM is one of the easiest ways to keep your child entertained over the summer or at any moment that they need to be entertained. For a five-year-old, it’s a great way to prepare them for their upcoming year in kindergarten. STEM is all of the subjects that they will be learning as soon as they go to schools or start homeschooling, so STEM toys are a great introduction to the subjects and a significant way to connect as a family. This selection of STEM toys, as well as many more, can allow parents to discover their child’s highest interests that they can further invest in the future. You may also be interested in STEM subscription boxes.
We have created a collection of weekly lesson plans templates for all grades and subjects. All templates are provided as a PDF document and are completely free to download. You can either print the lesson plan or convert the PDF file to a WORD document to make them editable to add times, subjects, and wording. You can then fill out the lesson plan and save it on your device.
Weekly Lesson Plan Templates at a Glance
Whether you are a teacher looking to make some extra money, or a subject matter expert who wants to share your experience with others, becoming an online tutor can provide you with extra income, a flexible schedule, and a rewarding part-time career. If you have ever wondered how to become an online tutor, we have some information and advice to help you decide if online tutoring is right for you.
Who Can be an Online Tutor?
Online tutoring jobs are particularly popular for college students. The online tutoring industry is wide and varied, and as such, most people will be able to…
When a child expresses interest in anything educational, it is already a blessing. Furthermore, having children with an affinity for science, technology, and math leaves you teeming with pride. You are excited to nurture their budding instincts for exploration, problem-solving, and creative application. A great way to do this is through investing in STEM subscription boxes and STEM toys!
Every month, you can receive a box of STEM-related, innovative learning activities for the next generation’s engineers, programmers, and mathematicians. Kids can do anything from puzzles and brain-teasers to model building; there are numerous exercises to enjoy and subjects to discover.
Our top 3 STEM subscription boxes are
Here, we have 11 of the best STEM subscription boxes for your child in this category. You can get them as one-time gifts or add them to your child’s monthly STEM curriculum. Either way, kids will adore working through these boxes.
These are our top 11 STEM Subscription boxes:
Age Range: 8 and up
Through hands-on and web-based learning, the Groovy Lab in a Box gives you and your STEM child, everything they need to complete up to five projects a month. Kids receive a lab notebook for the month’s theme. It provides them with the engineering fundamentals they will need to progress, as well as a place to detail the conclusions of their investigations.
As they navigate each activity and experiment, they can access the online portal, “Beyond…in a Box,” which includes videos and interactive exercises for them to deeper understand the month’s topic. With this two-pronged learning system, each box has a profound impact on your child. To top it off, you can have them complete the Engineering Design Challenge included with each box, which encourages your child to think critically and use what they have learned in a less controlled fashion.
Age Range: 2-10
Green Kid Crafts is another subscription on this list that is as much STEAM as it is STEM. Consider this box for your children if they are as interested in the arts as they are science, and would benefit from projects that connect the two. Parents, if you want to instill in your children the importance of sustainability and environment-awareness early on, this is also the STEM subscription box for you.
Boxes come with up to eight projects and a 12-page magazine dedicated to each month’s theme. Not only are lessons and projects created to teach earth-friendliness, the supplies provided are made from carbon-neutral and recycled materials. In addition, every box purchased plants a tree, so you will practice sustainability just as you encourage and teach it to your child. You get a lot of value for the price, so don’t overlook this STEM subscription.
3. Kiwi Crate
Age Range: 5 to 8 years old
Kiwi Crates is a subscription box designed for ages 5 to 8 years old. This box was created by teachers, and professionals in art, child psychology, and science, who were brought in to reassure that your kids are being properly engaged in learning. Each box includes imaginative play toys, art activities, and science experiments. It has three activities with all of the instructions and an educational magazine. If you finish all three of the projects before it’s time for the next subscription, the magazine includes puzzles, comics, connect the dots, and more activities to do on paper.
Due to the age group, most of the projects can’t be independently done and need parental assistance, but they only take about 20 minutes at the most to complete. Kiwi Crates is a branch of the Kiwi Company that creates crates, or subscription boxes, for children of all ages so once they turn nine and outgrow the Kiwi Crate projects they can move on to the next crate which would be the Doodle Crate or Tinker Crate.
Age Range: 9 and up
As STEAM as it is STEM, the Beautiful Discovery subscription focuses on patterns applied to nature. The kit is designed to teach your child to spot naturally-occurring configurations. This is a wonderful way to stimulate your child’s interest in art and science, as they are given coding and modeling projects made to incorporate both.
Some examples of box exercises include: Identifying the patterns in shells, leaves and more (included in the boxes); decoding the patterns of lizard scales; modeling spirals with code; reading eco-stories and allowing them to decode patterns in the ecosystems described; building origami models based on the month’s themes.
If your kids enjoy discovering the art and science that exists inside the outside world, this is the subscription box for them.
Price: STEMlab $19.99, STEMdeluxe $29.99/month
Age Range: 5-12
One of the best science-oriented kits you could get for your child is the Spangler Science Club box. They pride themselves on creating researched and tested in-home laboratory projects. Quantity is as vital as quality here; each box comes with up to ten experiments for your child to work on. Spread out across each month; your kid will always have something to do.
There are two boxes currently available, the STEMlab and STEMdeluxe. The STEMlab is already a formidable kit that offers exciting and thought-provoking exercises. The STEMdeluxe, however, offers upgradable activities that can be used in school for science projects. Since the Spangler kit can be utilized for traditional schoolwork, kids and parents will get excellent value from it.
Age Range: 9-13
Black Girl MATHgic encourages black girls, often underrepresented in STEM fields, to embrace their love for mathematics. Boxes come with a math activity booklet, a Caring Adult Guide, and three to five items related to the month’s chosen theme.
Activities are tested by in-house mathematicians and scientists, the themes and activities focused on real-world, introductory lessons that fortify young STEM girls for their future in mathematics. The lessons are designed to condition their skills and build confidence in them.
Another essential feature of this subscription is the monthly profile of a black woman in STEM, which further encourages girls to reach for the stars. If your STEM child could use some positive affirmation in multiple ways, buying the Black Girl MATHgic box is a great step in the right direction.
Age Range: 6-12
Technology and creativity collide with the Bitsbox. This STEM subscription box is made to teach your kids about the building blocks of computer science, with particular emphasis on apps. Your kids will enjoy the colorful coding projects from the physical kits, as well as the detailed lessons from Bitsbox’s web component.
First, kids learn simple coding language; then they apply it to a variety of projects. Each Bitsbox builds on the knowledge gained from the last one, so kids can start them without any prior coding experience. Some projects include simulations, greeting cards, and even video games. The Bitsbox website makes it possible for your up and coming programmers to build workable phone apps. In short, this is yet another excellent option for your STEM child.
8. Club SciKidz
Age Range: 7 and up
While matching its peers in quality, the Club SciKidz subscription sets itself apart with career-themed boxes. Each month focuses on a different career in the sciences, from oceanography to astronomy to robotics and other industries. Your child will have the opportunity to try on a different career hat to see which one fits best. This is also great for kids with a variety of interests they’d like to explore.
Each lab kit is filled with STEM-related activities designed for the month’s theme. A lab notebook with detailed project instructions is included. Kids can record their findings, untangle riddles, and discover current scientists within the corresponding career field.
Price: $179.99 + $15.99/month
Age Range: 9 and up
Do you have a STEM kid who is obsessed with remote-controlled cars and robots? Get them a subscription to GoBox, a STEM box dedicated to making and programming robots. All four subjects—science, technology, engineering, and math—are encouraged here as your kid constructs their bot step by step.
No prior experience in programming is necessary, just your kid’s desire to learn. You get major bang for your buck, because each box’s contents exceed a month’s worth of STEM projects. Your child receives a list of missions to complete in order to construct their bot. They must also complete tasks with their robot, allowing them to practice programming commands and get a deeper appreciation for the trial and error process. This subscription would be incredibly valuable for a child on the path towards a robotics career.
Age Range: 12 and up
Another excellent, girl-focused STEM box comes from Girls-That-Make. Lesson difficulty progresses as your child progresses, each box’s content building on the previous one. Girls learn and retain the skills taught each month, leading to increased competency and confidence in themselves.
A trademark of Girls-That-Make is that exercises produce wearable tech for the child. With the proper organizing instructions, STEM girls can create totes, hats, or bracelets while educating themselves about electronics, circuitry, and programming. If you have daughters that love science and tech, but also love cute accessories, think about adding this subscription box to their at-home learning routine.
11. Creation Crate
Age Range: 12 and up
Finally, we have the Creation Crate. The essentials of hardware and software programming are the main takeaways from this STEM subscription box. The crate adequately caters to beginners and experienced STEM kids alike. This box encourages parents and children to work together to construct and command a myriad of electronics.
STEM children who receive Creation Crates undoubtedly sharpen their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The system is structured to become more challenging over time, each month’s lesson building upon the last. Kids can absorb the fundamentals of electronics-based STEM skills (circuitry, engineering, coding, etc.), while having the space to challenge themselves. Creation Crates also comes with an online component, so kids have access to even more STEM projects and video tutorials for every course.
Best Family Activity
Overall, subscription boxes are one of the easiest ways to keep your child entertained over the summer. STEM is all of the subjects that they will be learning as soon as they go to schools, so subscription boxes are a great introduction to the subjects and a significant way to connect as a family. These boxes can allow parents to discover their child’s greatest interests that they can further invest in the future. You may also be interested in STEM toys for young children.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. If you are homeschooling your child, you should be looking into some of the STEM homeschool curriculum in our review. We found also some great STEM subscription boxes and STEM toys as an addition to the normal STEM curriculum.
Homeschooling has some advantages over public schooling in that they provide time for more focused lessons on …
Every student knows that the costs of college add up fast. Even with financial aid, expenses such as books, extracurriculars, boarding, and activities can be quite costly. Nowadays, most college students need to hold some kind of job to thrive. Unfortunately, busy schedules don’t always allow working just anywhere. This is where online tutoring makes perfect sense. Whether you’re looking to make a bit of extra money or just want to dip a toe into teaching, becoming an online tutor could be an excellent fit.
Unlike a …
Whether you are looking for an online tutoring job to supplement your current income or you are just missing teaching, here is a list of the top seven best tutoring websites that offer online tutoring jobs. If you are a college student and you want to earn some money on the side, you may be interested in our article about online tutoring jobs for college students.
We looked at several criteria for a website to make this list, including requirements, compensation, content, and commitment. Hopefully, our insight will give you the information needed to choose the best online tutoring job for you. For all the language teachers out there, we recommend reading more about iTalki. They have over 10.000 language teacher. Every teacher sets their own price and availability.
Teach English to children in China! The largest global teaching community is VIPKID. When you become a tutor on VIPKID, you will be teaching ESL to children in China. You do not need to Chinese. VIPKID is a full English Immersion program where English is the only spoken language. Before you apply for an English teaching position, make sure you hold the TEFL certificate.
There are many benefits of teaching for VIPKID. You can set your hours at a time that suits you. Flexible work hours allow you to teach at peak hours, such as early in the morning or late at night from anywhere. Another significant benefit is that the lesson plans are already developed, and materials are available to all tutors. Students will be on Beijing time, so the peak hours vary depending on the time zone.
The compensation is $7-$9 per class, with classes lasting 25 minutes. There are also incentives available. On average, you could make $15-$22/hour.
Vipkid is the larges global teaching community, and that comes with some requirements for their tutors. First, you must have at least two years of experience in teaching, coaching, mentoring, or tutoring. You must have the authorization to work in the U.S. or Canada, and you must have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. However, this degree can be in any field or significant. There is a long list of technology requirements that include a device, high-speed internet, and an HD webcam. VIPKID technology does not support Chromebooks at this time.
What we like about them
What we love about VIPKID is that there is no commitment, and you get to set your schedule. We also love that it is one-on-one instruction, and there are videos of teachers teaching to show you the expectations VIPKID has for their tutors. VIPKID tutors need to be very passionate about teaching English as a Second Language.
2. Chegg Tutors
Subject: All subjects
Payment: $20/hour and $1,000+/month
Tutors on Chegg are college students who like to tutor one-on-one. When you register to tutor with Chegg, you pick all of the subjects you’d like to tutor. From basic levels to professional levels, Chegg has it all. You can tutor ages K-12 and beyond.
The benefits of tutoring with Chegg are very similar to tutoring with VIPKID. You can set your hours. However, there is no peak time. You can tutor from anywhere and get paid each week. According to Chegg, you can make $20/hour and $1,000+/month depending on availability.
Chegg will match students to you, or you can answer help ads to find students. The requirements for Chegg are easy. First, you must provide two forms of proof that you were enrolled or are enrolled at a university. You must be legal to work in the United States and have a PayPal account. Once your application is approved, you can get started tutoring and making money.
What we like about them
What we love about Chegg is the convenience of just logging on whenever it is convenient for you and answering a help ad to tutor a student in need. It is more or less a job board. A student posts the subject and assignment they need help with, and you respond if you feel like you can help. You can also set a schedule, but sometimes things come up, and with Chegg, you tutor when it suits you. We also love that there are a few technical requirements.
Subject: English, Maths, Science, Social Studies, Languages, Business
This website is a middle of the road tutoring site compared to VIPKID and Chegg. Tutor.com has more requirements than Chegg but less than VIPKID. To begin, you will find a six-step application process to start tutoring.
First, you fill out your application. Then, you take a subject exam to ensure you are an expert. After this exam, you attend a mock session, and then your application is reviewed. Much like Chegg, you can tutor from K-12 and into adult subjects as well. You set a schedule and also log on when available.
A couple of benefits that are different from tutor.com than VIPKID and Chegg is that your pay differs by your subject, and tutor.com has a supportive environment with videos and a mentoring system to help you be successful in mentoring.
When tutoring for tutor.com, you must be committed to working at least five hours a week but no more than 29. There is no set payment schedule listed on tutor.com, and you won’t figure out what you will make until after applying, however, on Glassdoor.com, it says you can make $9-$13/hour.
There are many requirements to become a tutor on tutor.com. These include residing in the U.S., a valid Social Security Number, and eligible to work in the United States. You must be an expert in the subject you want to tutor and have strong oral, written, and fluent English skills. Besides a list of technology requirements, you must also be at least a college sophomore or higher or have a college degree from an accredited U.S. or Canadian university.
What we like about them
What we love about tutor.com is the fact that you get to decide what you tutor and that tutor.com will bring the clients to you and handle all the billing and payments (similar to TutorMe). We like the flexibility of setting a schedule but also logging on to tutor when you have spare time. We don’t like they limit the time, making it just a part-time job instead of the possibility of a full-time job.
4. Elevate K-12
Subject: Math, ELA, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Languages, Robotics, and Coding
Elevate K-12 has a very different approach to online tutoring. Instead of teaching to students who are in their homes or after-school programs, you will be teaching students during the school day. You keep the same group of students for a series in each class. Schools hire Elevate K-12, and then Elevate K-12 hires the tutors.
You get to set your hours as long as it is between the hours o 8 am-5 pm EST. Elevate K-12 provides the content and lesson plans in numerous subjects, including math, ELA, reading, science, social studies, foreign languages, robotics, and coding. You can make $13-$21/hour, according to Glassdoor.
What we like about them
What we love about Elevate is the ability to get to know a group of kids and stick with them. We think tutoring through Elevate K-12 would be excellent for a retired teacher or a teacher who needs a change of scenery. Planning would be minimal with the content and lesson plans being provided, and the flexibility of setting your hours and working from home is very beneficial.
Subject: All subjects
One of the aspects Skooli prides itself on is being the leading online tutoring company in tutor pay. Skooli pays more than any other site, $25/hour. You just need three things to tutor on Skooli, expertise, a device, and a wifi connection.
The expertise can be verified in three ways. First, you can hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in the field in which you wish to tutor. Next, you can hold a government-issued teaching license, or finally, you can have specialized instructor qualifications. You can set your schedule or login for instant sessions. It is one-on-one tutoring, just like Tutor.com and Chegg. Unlike any of the other tutoring platforms, Skooli requires you to pass a national level criminal reference check.
What we like about them
We love Skooli for two reasons (besides pay!). First, we love that they have a Tutor Help Center that not only helps you while you are tutoring but also helps with the application process. There are a total of 25 articles written with the tutor in mind to answer questions. The other reason we love Skooli is the online classroom. The classroom offers video conferencing, online chatting, screen sharing, interactive whiteboard, and access to Google Drive. This classroom can be seen and demoed even before being accepted as a tutor. The classroom is a great resource to help make your tutoring experience beneficial to you and the student you are tutoring.
Subject: All subjects
Brainfuse allows you to set your hours with 24/7 tutoring available. The peak time for tutoring with Brainfuse is 2 pm-11 pm. To be a tutor on Brainfuse, you must be a certified teacher or have experience educating in another way. You must have a four-year college degree or higher.
The application process is quite rigorous. First, you send your resume, and if you are an ideal fit, you will go through background and reference checks, multiple interviews, skills testing, and extensive training. Brainfuse does not have a set curriculum you are teaching but have numerous subjects they offer tutoring in. One of those subjects is writing. They have a writing lab in which you can help a student revise and edit documents they are writing. They also have a language lab for students to get live practice in learning how to speak Spanish. Students can send a question to teachers for help as well.
Brainfuse pays their tutors $10-$15/hour depending on subjects and experience.
What we like about them
What we love about Brainfuse is that they have an online classroom similar to Skooli and that each live session is saved and then emailed to the student so the student can go back and use the information again. We also love that Brainfuse hires tutors who are Spanish speaking for lessons to be taught in Spanish. This is great when tutoring adults who are Spanish speaking, so there is no language barrier. The last thing we love about Brainfuse is the app. This allows you to teach from anywhere without needing to be wired in truly.
Subject: All subjects
With over 300 subjects to choose from, TutorMe sends students your way once you are hired to be tutored in the subjects that you are an expert in. They allow you to have a flexible schedule with super convenient access. Students can message you directly as well. So creating a positive relationship with students will help you get more tutoring work. TutorMe offers an interactive lesson place similar to Brainfuse and Skooli.
To teach/tutor with TutorMe, you must have previous tutoring/teaching experience, mastery of subjects tutored, be enrolled in or have graduated from an accredited university, and at least 18 years old.
TutorMe pays their tutors $16/hour with bonuses. Your lessons must be at least 5 minutes in length to earn money, and you will get paid each week through PayPal. TutorMe handles the billing, and you control the tutoring.
What we like about them
What we love most about TutorMe is the two-way rating system. This rating system allows both tutors and students to rate each other. The rating system was put into place to maintain a high standard of quality not only with tutors but also students. Many other online tutoring jobs allow students to evaluate their tutors, but TutorMe is the only one we’ve found that helps the tutor to evaluate the student.
Whether you want lesson plans already designed and ready to be implemented or a free choice in what you teach, there is an online tutoring job out there for you. VIPKID and Elevate K-12 have curriculum already designed and waiting to be taught where the other online tutoring jobs on this list are more subject-based depending on student needs.
Becoming an online tutor can be a great supplement to income and could even be a full-time job, depending on how much time you want to put into tutoring depends on what the outcome will be. Keep in mind; you will be working with real students, and relationships are essential, especially if you want them to keep coming back for more!
The fourth grade is an important and exciting year for kids, teachers, and parents. It is the time when parents have to trust their children more and let them explore on their own. Especially when it comes to school, but this does not mean that parents can not help when their child needs support with fourth-year reading comprehension at home.
Creating a reading atmosphere at home with a comfortable reading chair and your child’s favorite book will help your child to feel more comfortable when reading.
Teachers do their best to help students when they struggle with …
Blue light is light that is transmitted through digital sources such as computers, tablets, and phones. It is the only type of light that passes straight through the cornea to the retina. It damages cells in the retina as well as disrupts the sleep/wake cycle because our body correlates blue light with daytime. Blue light throws off the natural body cycles and contributes to eye strain and increases the risk of macular degeneration.
As an online tutor or student, you consume quite a bit of blue light, daily. So much of schooling is completed online, from planning to grading to writing essays and using …
The GRE General Test can be overwhelming for a lot of students, and that’s understandable. It’s not an easy exam, and everyone knows that the preparation for it is crucial and must not be taken lightly.
Choosing a good GRE prep book is vital in preparing you to ace the test to get into the graduate school of your choice.
Because GRE prep varies per person’s learning style, and the time they have before the exam, we’ve listed down reviews of the best prep books on the market, along with a buying guide to help you choose the best GRE prep book for you.
Best GRE Prep Books at a glance
- Kaplan GRE Prep 2020: Practice Tests and Proven Strategies + Online
- 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems: 1,800+ Practice Problems in Book and Online
- The Official 3rd Edition Guide to the GRE General Test
- GRE Prep by Magoosh
- Manhattan Prep GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides
- Cracking the GRE with 6 Practice Tests 2020: The All-in-One Solution for Your Highest Possible Score
- GRE Prep 2020 and 2021: GRE Study Book and Practice Test Questions for the Graduate Record Examination 2020-2021
- GRE (Barron’s Test Prep)
- 1,027 GRE Practice Questions: GRE Prep for an Excellent Score
- Our Choice: Mometrix GRE Prep 2020 and 2021: GRE Study Book, Full-Length Practice Test, and Detailed Answer Explanations
Best GRE Prep Books Reviewed
The first on our list is GRE Prep 2020 by Kaplan. It’s a complete prep guide with two full-length practice tests, one included in the book and one online, with the latter patterned from the same computer-based test on the GRE.
It also comes with chapters on each GRE test section with practice questions for each chapter and several online supplementary materials.
The book has a lot of good practice problems with varying levels of difficulty, and the explanations that come with the answers are concise. It gives techniques in approaching difficult questions to make them more manageable. There is also a vocabulary guide with synonyms at the end of the book, which is superb.
Although Kaplan is one of the most popular GRE prep book, we noticed that some online supplementary materials have decreased in number and quality in the more recent editions of the book.
- Comes with lots of online supplementary materials
- Online test is similar to the official computer-based GRE test.
- Gives techniques in approaching difficult questions
- Recent editions have fewer online materials.
If you’re looking for a prep book that focuses on practice problems, then Manhattan Prep’s 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems is what you need.
This book boasts over 1,800 practice problems that are meant to mirror the content and style of the ones found on the GRE. It also comes with Manhattan Prep’s interactive online learning modules for a supplementary study.
This book is perfect for those who already know the contents of the GRE and only need practicing. It’s divided into chapters that focus on a specific question type, so you can aptly catch the momentum of each type before moving on to the next one. The solutions to the problems are also detailed and well-explained, and the book comes with a vocabulary word list.
However, because the book focuses on practice problems, you’ll need to get another book if you have yet to review the components and sections of the GRE. There is also no indication of question difficulty in the book, so that may demotivate you if you suddenly get a hard question that you can’t solve as quickly as the previous one.
Overall, this is a superb book for consistent and daily practice. You never run out of practice problems.
- 1,800+ practice problems
- Comes with online learning modules
- Perfect for daily practice and preparation
- No indication of question difficulty
Nothing beats The Official Guide to the GRE General Test, especially if it’s a prep book from ETS—the people who make the GRE test. This book is a complete guide that helps you manage your test-day expectations and tell you exactly how the test is scored—and with its authentic practice questions and online resources from ETS, there is nothing more reliable than this.
The product thoroughly reviews each section of the GRE and mentions four full-length practice tests, two of which are included in the book, and the other two, which are computer-adaptive tests, are available in their GRE PowerPrep software.
However, the PowerPrep tests are free and accessible by anyone with an account in ETS, and there’s no need to buy the book to take the online tests.
Additionally, the 3rd and the latest edition of the book is barely revised from the 2nd edition, apart from a few extra pages here and there. The CD from the 2nd edition is gone, but there’s the GRE PowerPrep software as supplementary material anyway.
We noticed that the practice tests between the two editions are the same, and the 2nd edition came out four years earlier. The book doesn’t provide many test-taking strategies.
Despite the guide not being updated a significant amount since the 2nd edition, this is still the closest you can get to an authentic testing experience for the GRE. You get a comprehensive review of each section, and you get questions that are accurate to the ones that will show up in the exam. The free PowerPrep software from ETS is also a big plus.
Pair this guide with a book like Manhattan’s 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Questions, and you’re armed with everything you need for the GRE General Test.
- Has the most authentic questions
- Comes with the GRE PowerPrep software from ETS
- The two online tests are computer-adaptive
- The 3rd edition is almost identical to the 2nd edition
- Doesn’t provide many test-taking strategies
While Magoosh has an online GRE Program has a wide array of learning materials and full-length tests, this book contains some of the best practice questions they have, along with strategies and even a study schedule for the GRE General Test. It also includes a full-length practice test with an answer key and in-depth explanations.
Each question has statistics of its difficulty rating and how many students get the question right to manage your expectations for the real exam better. It’s a lightweight book, but the included schedule helps maximize your study time.
It has also done a great job of dissecting the quantitative section to help to develop your intuition for such questions.
However, the verbal section of the book needs work. It’s not as detailed and comprehensive as other prep books. Additionally, the pacing of the questions seems to be all over the place. After an easy problem comes a difficult one, and it can mess up your momentum.
Lastly, there aren’t a lot of practice questions available in the book. It’s more for building knowledge and intuition than for practicing.
- Provides plentiful mobile and online learning resources
- Questions come with statistics and difficulty ratings.
- Great quantitative section focus
- The verbal section needs work.
- The pacing of the difficulty of questions is all over the place.
- Not many practice questions
If you’re looking for a complete, content-driven guide, then this Set of 8 Strategy Guides by Manhattan Prep is what you’re looking for. It contains eight books that focus on different topics, so this is for you if you need brushing up on the fundamentals.
Each book contains comprehensive and detailed explanations of the topic at hand and tackles each question according to difficulty. It helps build the mindset you need to answer difficult questions without getting overwhelmed, and it’s complete with all the topics in the GRE.
These guides are easy to understand, and they also come with access to six online GRE practice exams and other online learning materials.
This set is not for you, though, if you’re looking for a wide range of practice questions. There are only enough in each book to apply the strategies for each topic. However, you can pair these strategy guides with Manhattan Prep’s 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems and you will be well on your way to acing the exam.
- Includes access to six online GRE practice exams
- Comprehensive and easy to understand
- A complete guide for brushing up on fundamentals
- Not many practice questions
6. Cracking the GRE with 6 Practice Tests 2020: The All-in-One Solution for Your Highest Possible Score
The Princeton Review’s Cracking the GRE Premium Edition claims to be the all-in-one solution to acing your GRE General Test. It includes thorough math and verbal section reviews and even includes six full-length practice tests, two found in the book, and four more online, all with in-depth explanations.
The premium edition package also comes with access to exclusive online content such as information about grad school admissions, video tutorials of test-taking strategies, and even additional study guides. The book also teaches you tactics in managing difficult questions and your time during the GRE.
Despite the all-in-one solution claim, the practice questions and math topics in the book are often too easy and straightforward compared to the real questions. The verbal section does an excellent job of explaining the technique, but the practice questions are still not similar to the ones in the GRE.
There are also math concepts that might show up in the GRE that is not tackled in this book. That is a big deal-breaker because you want to study topics and problems that are as close to authentic as possible, and anything that isn’t is a waste of time.
- Includes six full-length practice tests
- Access to online exclusive premium content
- Lacking math concepts that might show up in the GRE
- Practice questions may be too easy
7. GRE Prep 2020 and 2021: GRE Study Book and Practice Test Questions for the Graduate Record Examination 2020-2021
This prep book by Test Prep Books is another complete and comprehensive guide to the GRE General Test. It includes a breakdown of the contents of the GRE, and it also gives strategies in tackling the questions that will show up. Plus, there’s a free Test Taking Tips DVD offer.
There’s a section of the book dedicated to strategies in overcoming the exam, which is especially important because some questions can be tricky. Each section is comprehensive, and it explains every topic straightforwardly, and it also explains answers in detail and gives suggestions, helping you understand what and where you went wrong.
This book, unfortunately, does not have a full-length mock test, but ETS has a free and realistic one anyway. It’s also not a book for practicing because it doesn’t have a lot of practice questions.
- Offers ways to tackle difficult and tricky questions
- A comprehensive and detailed review of the whole GRE test
- Free Test Taking Tips DVD
- Does not include a full-length mock test
Barron’s GRE is a guide with everything you need to know about the GRE General Test. It has reviews of each section with diagnostic tests and two full-length GRE tests. All of these tests come with answer keys and detailed explanations within the book.
The people who purchase the book also gain access to two more full-length exams online, which are accessible on any platform.
However, this prep book is lacking in several aspects. There are concepts, specifically in the quantitative section, that show up in the GRE that are not properly tackled in the guide. There are not enough information and practice problems given, and explanations are not given in full detail.
Additionally, some explanations are more complicated than they need to be. They go through unnecessary steps that could have had a simpler workaround. The practice questions in this book are also far from the difficulty of the real GRE.
- Access to four full-length GREs
- Up-to-date and comprehensive GRE review
- Detailed explanations
- The math section doesn’t fully explain some concepts.
- Some explanations are rather complicated
This product by The Princeton Review is another book filled with practice questions that are aimed to help you practice your way to an excellent GRE score.
Apart from the problems and drills, there is a diagnostic test included in the book to help you gauge how prepared you are for the exam, and a full-length practice test available online.
This book breaks down math and verbal concepts to better help you get into the problem-solving mindset, even when faced with tricky GRE questions. There’s also a bonus online vocabulary content for further prepare you for the verbal section of the exam.
However, despite being released in 2018, it has the same questions from the 2014 edition, which is available for free online. There are also several incorrect math answers in the book, and the practice questions are much easier than the ones in the GRE.
The quantity of the problems helps in practicing, but the explanations are subpar and might confuse the learner instead of helping them.
- 1,027 practice questions
- Access to an online full-length practice test
- Bonus vocabulary section
- Explanations can be confusing
- Questions have not recently been updated
- May be too easy for the GRE
10. Mometrix GRE Prep 2020 and 2021: GRE Study Book, Full-Length Practice Test, and Detailed Answer Explanations
The last on our list is Mometrix’ GRE Prep 2020 and 2021. It’s a complete guide with section reviews, detailed answer explanations, a full-length practice test, and even strategies and step-by-step video tutorials for difficult concepts.
It handles the topics straightforwardly and simply and gives comprehensive explanations of the concepts at hand. Apart from that and its drills and practice questions, it also includes tests for each of the three sections of the GRE to help you master them before taking the actual test.
The book puts a lot of attention to the psychology of the students who are planning to take the exam. It teaches you strategies and tips on overcoming obstacles before and during the test. Not only does it arm you with the subject fundamentals, but it also gives you the confidence boost you need to face the GRE. You can tell that the book was made with thoughtfulness in mind.
However, no matter how complete this guide is, it’s not going to be enough, and you might still need to buy a separate book if you need to focus on practicing answering questions. But overall, this is an excellent prep book—one of the best out there.
- In-depth, comprehensive, and complete GRE prep book
- Access to step-by-step video tutorials
- Straight-forward and simple explanations
- Great for learning, not for practicing.
GRE Prep Book Buying Guide
Before getting around to buying a prep book, it’s important to assess where you need to get started. If you only recently learned about the GRE and didn’t know much about it, then your first step is to gather resources that let you know what goes on during the exam day and what comprises the GRE.
It has three sections that you need to understand and read about before starting studying.
Next, take a practice test on the GRE website to check what areas or sections you need to improve on. This will help you focus on the subjects you know you’re having trouble with and will make finding a prep book easier for you.
As mentioned earlier, GRE prep varies from person to person. You can either take a GRE prep course on PrepScholar or find a suitable book that works best for your circumstances, consider the following factors:
Think about your learning style and what you’re looking for in a prep book. For self-studying, some books go over the full scope of the GRE test in detail, while some focus more on practice questions and even give special attention to harder sections of the exam. Some books also come with CDs for those who are more adept at learning visually.
Additionally, if you’ve already attended prep classes, you can get a book that was made specifically to follow up or to supplement what you’ve already learned. If you need to focus on practicing, look for a book with a ton of practice problems.
A good GRE prep book will have all the features and sections that will help you ace your test. First, it should have an overview of the exam along with the mechanics on how it’s scored and what you need to do during the test day. It should also contain detailed and comprehensive reviews of each section included in the test.
Most books will have a full-length mock GRE test, but if you can find one that comes with a computer-adaptive one, it’s going to be more worth it because it simulates the real exam. Some books also come with a question bank for difficult question types, and some come with extra online or mobile resources that can help you study.
Diagnostic tests are also convenient so that the learner can assess their current level of preparedness. Additionally, ETS offers a free practice GRE test on their website, along with other free learning resources as long as you have an account.
Take note of this, too, when you’re looking for a prep book. Lastly, books that contain test-taking strategies and tips are a big plus.
Consider how much time you have left before you’ll have to take your GRE, and buy a book that you know you can finish within that time range.
It’s important to study your prep book from front to back in great detail, so there’s no reason to overshoot or even over-prepare by buying a big book and then finding out that you can’t finish it.
Is it better to buy prep books online or in-person?
If you’re buying online, make sure to check the reviews of the book you’re going for. There can be a lot of reviews, but you might find that there won’t be many comprehensive ones.
Otherwise, it’s better to go to a bookstore to buy them in person so you can better check the contents for yourself. Look through the books available and choose one or a few that work best for you.
How much time do I need to study for the GRE?
Of course, it’s going to vary per person how quickly you learn and how much of the fundamentals you remember, but the more time you allot for studying, the better.
Spend as much time brushing up on the basics of the topics as solving practice problems over and over. Also, spend time internalizing test-taking strategies to make your time management during test-day easier.
The more information and knowledge you absorb before the GRE, the better armed you are to take it.
Do I need to take prep classes, or is a guide book enough?
That will depend on you and your learning style. If you learn and study better in a classroom setting, then a prep class will be well worth your time. There are also online prep classes available if time flexibility is what you’re looking for. Still, buy a guide book to supplement your classroom learnings.
But if you are good at studying by yourself, and especially if you prefer learning that way, then there’s no need to take prep classes. Visual but self-study learners can also pick up GRE prep books that come with CDs.
How many prep books do I need?
If you find a prep book that has everything you need, then you’ll be fine with that one book. However, that’s not the case most of the time.
Some books prioritize fundamentals and comprehensive explanations more than practice problems, and some books focus on practice problems without going over the sections of the GRE.
With these books, it’s often one over the other, and you can either choose one that fits your circumstances best or simply buy more than one prep book. You’re going to benefit more from grabbing multiple books with different strengths than picking up one book that might lack in content. You may find some of these textbooks as digital textbooks for 80% cheaper on RedShelf.
Choosing a prep book is a crucial step in studying for the GRE General Test. It can be overwhelming to browse because of the full range of options available in the market, but we hope this guide makes finding the best and most appropriate GRE prep book much easier for you.