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We're head over heels for Booster's Valentine Creator

Share the love with your friends and family by using Booster's Valentine Creator. Booster's Valentine Creator is an interactive webpage that helps you create customized valentines—all with just a few clicks of the mouse. Here's how to put a little pizzazz into your valentines this year: Choose a character. All the Imagine Learning stars are here, from loveable Pete the Prairie Dog to chatterbox Mike the Microphone. Select a colorful background. Roses are red and violets are blue; we've got a color that's perfect for you. Pick a memorable message. Using the arrows above the card, select the perfect sentiment. Once you've completed your creation, download and print it, or email it to a lucky recipient. Teachers, be sure to share the love with your class, as they will be absolutely smitten by this fun, interactive activity. So put some heart into it and make a sweet valentine for that special someone. Happy Valentine's Day from all your friends at Imagine Learning!
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10 fun ways to use video creation in the classroom

Why not celebrate Digital Learning Day by instigating a video creation project in your classroom? Students enjoy working on video projects—they inspire creativity, allow for teamwork, and produce a final product the students can be proud of. Incorporating video projects in the classroom is one way to provide a rich blended learning experience for students. Divide students into groups to make a movie of a book they have read, retelling the elements of a plot. Or, ask students to create a video project about their favorite character or chapter instead of writing a book report. Create a song or rap video to help students remember math strategies, spelling words, or grammar rules. Turn student-written poems into artistically visual videos. Play charades by asking students to create a 30-second video. They can act out vocabulary words and have the rest of the class guess which word they represent. Design a movie about the history of your school or community. Have the children act it out. Produce a news segment of a special event, such as a guest speaker, a school 5K fun run, a beautification project, or a fund raiser. Ask students to highlight themselves in a one-minute get-to-know-you video. Invent a music video, using a song the students are learning in music class. Build a short documentary to explain a science project. Video is great to show time-lapse changes for experiments. Allow students to re-teach a unit using video. Students can create props and visuals to summarize what they learned about a given topic.   Useful Video Apps Many students now have access to iPods, phones, and tablets which are equipped with great, portable cameras for taking video. The following movie-making apps are useful, inexpensive (most are under $2), and can take your student-created videos to the next level: ScriptWrite, iMovie, Game Your Video, Action Movie FX, Time Lapse Camera HD, Movie Looks HD, Avid Studio, SloPro, FiLMiC Pro, TiltShift Video, and Scrolling Credits. Helpful Online Tools Masher is a fun, free, tool for creating video mash-ups. Masher offers large collection of video clips, music, and effects from their gallery. You can also add your own images, video clips, and music clips through the Masher uploader. Masher allows you to insert text throughout your video. Using Masher is simple: just drag elements from the media gallery into the timeline editor. From there, you can arrange the sequence of elements, and when you are ready, you can publish and share your production. Animoto is great for quickly making simple videos by using still images, music, and text. If you can make a slideshow presentation, you can make a video using Animoto. Animoto's free service limits you to 30-second videos. By applying for an educational account, you can create longer videos. Stupeflix is a service that allows users to create video montages using their favorite images and audio clips. Stupeflix allows users to drag and drop their images into a desired sequence. You will want to upload your own audio clips as Stupeflix offers only one default soundtrack. But an advantage of Stupeflix is that it allows you to use more than one audio clip within the same video. Photo Peach is a new service that allows you to easily create an audio slideshow, with captions, from images in your Flickr, Picassa, or Facebook account. You can also use images saved on your local hard drive to create a slideshow. Adding captions is easy: simply type the text into the caption box. Also, changing the order of images is a simple drag and drop procedure. Xtra Normal is a unique service that enables students to create animated, narrated movies just by typing the dialogue then dragging and dropping characters and set elements into the movies. There are free and paid plans for using Xtra Normal, but the standard plan should be more than adequate for most academic uses. If your class uses these ideas or resources for making video, we would love to hear about it. What ideas do you have about incorporating video in the classroom?
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Tips for making the most of the end of the year

It's that time again: the weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and students and teachers alike are looking forward to summer vacation. Such an atmosphere might make it difficult to stay motivated, but there's no reason to coast until the end of the year. In a child's education, every week counts. So how can you make sure that these last few weeks count for your students? Read on for some tips for helping both teachers and students stay motivated through the end of the school year.
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5 ways to beat standardized test stress

For teachers and students alike, standardized testing week (or weeks) can be incredibly stressful. And if you work with English learners or struggling students, you know your students can get especially anxious when standardized testing rolls around. So what can you do to make sure all the hard work your students have put in over the past six months doesn’t go to waste? Here are five tips for helping your students beat testing stress and do their very best on those all-important tests.
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5 ways to beat standardized test stress—Tip #1: Teach good test-taking strategies

They might not know it, but many of your students are already using good test-taking strategies. So take a few minutes to brainstorm good strategies as a class, and then add a few of your own helpful tips to the list. Once you've got a pretty good list, discuss which strategies students will use as they’re taking tests. By the time testing week arrives, your students will have a whole arsenal of good test-taking strategies to help them do their best. Here are a few test-taking strategies to help you get started: Read all directions carefully. Read the question and all answer choices before marking your answer. If you’re not sure of an answer, eliminate any answers you know are wrong. Then, make your best guess. Don’t spend too much time on difficult questions—do your best, then move on. Come back to questions you haven’t answered at the end of the test. Before reading a long passage, read the questions you’ll be answering about the passage so you know what to look for as you read. If you finish early, use the last few minutes of test time to check your answers, correct mistakes, and check to make sure you have answered all the questions.
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