LearnZillion – Help Students Avoid the Summer Slide

As another school year comes to a close we will soon be sending our students home for a much needed respite. It’s time for them to play, focus on developing their nonacademic talents, and enjoy a break from the everyday routine of school. Unfortunately, we know that many of our students will return to school in the fall in need of 4-6 weeks of review to get them back on track. This learning loss is commonly referred to as “the summer slide”.


Teachers hope that students will continue to read, write and participate in real world learning experiences that they can bring with them to the classrooms in the fall to help them be successful. Unfortunately, many students do little during the summer months to stay academically stimulated in the area of math, often because parents lack resources and time to help. LearnZillion is a Cool Tool that can provide parents and students with opportunities to retain math skills and perhaps even make gains during the summer months.

LearnZillion is a free resource of Common Core aligned lessons that use narrated video for instruction. The pause button allows students to tackle the learning at their own pace, while built in learning supports make Learnzillion an effective instructional tool that addresses a variety of learning needs. A Coach’s Commentary on the side of each playlists provides parents with additional information and support. The math lessons provide guided practice opportunities and they also offer a downloadable form for taking notes. This is a nice tool for independent practice over the summer and one that many parents would appreciate having.




Features at a Glance


  • Narrated video lessons for students aligned with Common Core Standards and identified by skill.
  • An iPad app.
  • Coach’s Commentary videos that provide teachers and parents with tips, including identifying common mistakes made
  • Guided practice video lessons.
  • Discussion protocol for use by parents and teachers
  • A notes template for student use.
  • Quizzes to check for mastery
  • A parent letter
  • Quick access codes associated with each lesson.
  • Playlists of resources focusing on a particular standard.
  • Additional CCSS aligned lessons in English/LA
Uses for Summer Learning
  • Teachers can use the handy parent letter to provide students and parents with targeted practice on skills they need to master. Just select the appropriate lessons and click on Quick Code, then copy and paste those into the parent letter.
  • Teachers can take it a step further and create a summer class for students and assign a series of lesons and quizzes for individual students.
  • Use the calendar to assign lessons and due dates to students for completion over the summer.



Present.Me

Present.Me is a free tool that allows you to use the webcam and microphone on your computer to record yourself giving a PowerPoint presentation. Just create and upload your presentation, then use your computer’s webcam to talk about it as you progress through the slides. The end result is a side-by-side view of the presentation along with the presenter. The entire creation is stored online and easily accessed through a link.

Uses in Education:

  1. My first thought is this would be a great way for teachers to try The Flipped Classroom approach to teaching by publishing a Present.Me and asking students to view and interact with the content for homework in preparation for the next class. After all, many teachers are already familiar with PowerPoint and recording yourself with this tool is quite easy.
  2. Another good use of this tool might be to have students use it as a substitute for the traditional whole-class project presentation.  Instead of asking the student audience to sit through hours of student-led presentations, assign them a task related to viewing the presentations and let them interact with them at their own pace.
  3. Teachers can use this tool to create and publish presentations online for parents unable to attend Open House/Curriculum Night that generally happens at the start of the year.
  4. Schools and districts might consider using this tool to make good use of limited staff development time by creating and publishing an ongoing list of resources. Provide teachers with time to view and interact with presentations during staff meeting time, and also give them the opportunity to continue the learning at home.
  5. And of course, this tool could be really useful for virtual conferences of all kinds.

Try Present.Me for yourself

The Flipped Classroom


As an instructional tech facilitator my goal is to help teachers progress through the stages of technology adoption to get to the point at which they are using technology as a tool for learning, rather than using it as an add on to supplement traditional learning activities. To do that successfully, teachers must adjust their roles, moving from traditional teacher to learning coach or facilitator. Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams are a couple of innovative teachers who have developed an approach to teaching and learning known as The Flipped Classroom, which certainly supports the idea of teachers as learning coaches. 

At it’s most basic level, The Flipped Classroom approach means front loading the learning and assigning the  prep work as homework in order for students to come to class prepared to use it. This means the classroom  becomes a place for collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication where the teacher serves as a facilitator who interacts with students, assesses them, and spontaneously pulls together groups for reteaching and challenge. The Flipped Classroom is a place where students are actively engaged in applying the learning and it is noisy and unpredictable. Worksheets as homework become obsolete and students no longer sit in the classroom listening to lectures. Essentially, The Flipped Classroom is a place where “the teachable moment” comes alive.

If you want to learn more about The Flipped Classroom, please watch the video below and also check out The Flipped Classroom Network, a social network where Flipped Teachers share their experiences and learn from each other. As for me, I am excited to Flip the professional development classes I’m teaching this summer.