StudySync is an engaging online resource that offers multimedia materials to support over 500 texts. This digital library covers English language arts, history, science, math and technology, and social studies. Each text offers audio, video, critical thinking questions, prompts, and lesson plans. The kicker? All of these well-written lesson plans are linked to Common Core standards. This research-based program employs best practices such as close reading of text and reading and writing across the curriculum. With teacher-created or public groups, students interact and engage in a variety of ways –- from short quick-writes to more thoughtful responses to prompts and peer review.
A full text of StudySync’s library is also available as an e-text through the Gutenberg Library. Lesson plans include differentiation, ELL guidance, and assessment. Texts range from "Huckleberry Finn" and "The Raven" to Einstein’s letter to the president.
- "Think" question for Macbeth -- Why do you think Shakespeare uses the prophecy of the witches to set in motion Macbeth's rise to power?
- "Blast" discussion topic -- Is the NBA’s minimum age requirement fair for young athletes?
The depth and quality of StudySync's multimedia materials is really outstanding, but its coolest feature is SyncTV, which can fit beautifully into classroom study. SyncTV's dramatized chats involve a diverse group of kids responding to a prompt on a subject like Frankenstein's monster or Anne Frank, for example. They bring in several points of view, citing evidence from the text, sharing their own activated prior knowledge, and making connections to what they already know. Their connections often lead to current topics important to teens. They use iPads or other technologies as they do research to bring sophisticated meaning to the text, including outside quotes, biographical information, and in-depth character analysis.
The lively banter between teens is appealing and not stuffy at all, which kids should respond to. This rich discussion models for students what engaged learning can look like, and hopefully they'll be moved to emulate it in the classroom. StudySync really does make it easy to incorporate multimedia into your language arts curriculum.
Once you enter class info and become a part of StudySync's online community, you can assign tasks to individual students, small groups of students, or the entire group. Students can interact with each other in a variety of formats on a variety of topics –- from short quick-write responses and “Blasts” to more engaged, thoughtful responses to Prompts and peer review.
StudySync offers these "Blasts" four times per week, and they are current, relevant questions debated through an online community. You can also create assignments in the Goals section. Possible assignments can include a SyncTV episode, reading and writing activities, or short 40-character "quick writes." Navigation is straightforward. Once student information is input into the system, collaborative learning can begin! The inclusion of Common Core standards here is just icing on the cake, making it easy for you to align StudySync materials to current curriculum requirements.