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Learning resources, fresh ideas & timely tips from Imagine Learning

3 Top Social Media Choices for Elementary School Educators - Twitter

Part II: Twitter Our previous blog post mentioned a few ways teachers use Instagram in their classrooms. After all, photo sharing is always a great way to enhance learning, which explains Instagram’s appeal. Even so, teachers may want more features. Enter Twitter. Not only can Twitter incorporate photos, it allows users to post links to articles or blogs and participate in live chats with like-minded professionals. Like Instagram, Twitter uses hashtags to funnel certain tweets into varied news feeds. Both platforms also require the @username feature. So, just what is Twitter, and why do educators use it?
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3 Top Social Media Choices for Elementary School Educators - Instagram

Part I: Instagram How many times has someone suggested that you should post your classroom doings via social media? If you work with elementary kids, you might wonder if social media is age appropriate. Or you may be intrigued by the idea but have too little time to create an account. The fact is, most elementary school educators use social media for personal reasons—but they often have qualms about online social interactions at the office or in the classroom. Some worry about too much screen time in class. Then, there are privacy concerns to consider. Plus, some educators don’t feel that they know enough about social media to use it effectively. Regardless of how you feel about social media at school, you may benefit from learning how other educators use social networks. In this blog series, we’ll focus on the most popular social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. To begin, we’ll learn how Instagram works and why some educators use it at school.
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Can't Afford New Classroom Computers? Try This

You’ve trimmed your technology budget again. Meanwhile, some of your schools still put up with computers from the Stone Age, and something has to give. You just hope that ‘something’ isn’t another aging computer. Meanwhile, each school's computer lab serves an increasing number of special-needs and English language learners every day. And therein lies the problem. Where can a busy administrator find affordable--maybe even free--computers for classrooms?
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Win a tablet in the northeast region back-to-school contest

We have a great contest for our partners in the northeast! It’s time for school again, and we want to help you gear up for a great school year! As you organize professional development days, schedule computer time, and create plans for great classroom teaching models, we want to make integrating your Imagine Learning licenses into these plans as easy as possible. Easy is great, right? While you are making your school year easier, you will also be entering your school for a chance to win more technology! Every school that submits a completed integration plan  on or before October 16, 2015 will be entered to win an iPad or Android tablet up to a $499 value. Please note that each school can only submit one integration plan. Please work with your colleagues to make a plan that works for everyone.
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Wrapping up the school year

Summer is almost here, and we hope you have had a happy and successful school year. As a token of our appreciation for a great partnership this year, please use this fun, customizable video to celebrate all you have accomplished this year. Fill out your class name below to create a custom video featuring the Imagine Learning characters singing just for you. Then, share your video with your friends. You can even print out a summer souvenir for the whole class as the perfect year-end gift. Have a great summer!
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Brand new Language & Literacy activities target core skills

The latest 14.3 release is jam-packed with powerful new content in three activity suites. The new activities teach core concepts about syllables and contractions, increase depth of knowledge, and develop critical reasoning skills. The Points and Reasons Suite helps students develop critical reasoning skills and prepare for testing. Points and Reasons uses peer modeling in a real-world situation to teach students how to identify, create, and support a claim. Light it Up allows students to practice reasoning skills as they select the best point to support a claim. Prove the Point asks students to read a passage, identify the main point, and think about the quality of suggested reasons to select the best point to support the claim.
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Announcing our 2015 limerick contest winners!

We had a lot of great entries to our contest and loved reading your many creative offerings. We also had the difficult responsibility of choosing between them! However, we are very pleased to announce our 2015 limerick contest winners! You did a great job. We hope you enjoy your prizes. 1st prize: Jack wins a $25 Amazon gift card! My dog is a very bad boy. He chews up all of his toys. But give him a treat, And he’s very sweet, Unless he’s in a mood to destroy. 2nd prize: Robert Re is getting a Booster bobblehead! There once was a colorful bug, His name was, ironically, Doug, He slept like a baby, And acted so hazy. He was really attached to his rug. 3rd prize: Julian Garcia, please enjoy your talking Mike the Microphone plush toy! I once had a pet named Fred he loved to chat and to be fed he loved to eat bugs and lay on rugs there was hair everywhere because he shed Thanks to everyone for your participation! Winners, we will be contacting you to get your prize.
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Limericks for the lads and lasses

It’s the wonderful time of year again To get some paper and pull out a pen, Draft up a ditty, If you think you’re witty, Then share it with a special friend. St. Patrick’s Day is approaching and we want to include you in our celebration with another limerick contest!  If you participated last year then you will recall special consideration was given to limericks with an educational flavor. If you think you can handle the challenge, show us your seriously superb stuff! We look forward to a litany of lighthearted limericks.
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Rules of engagement

Our new Cloud product allows students to create their own virtual environment. Are video games a waste of time? Educators and parents alike are concerned about the time spent on video games and the growing lack of engagement in schools. But are video games a total waste? Some researchers have found that the principles behind video game creation can teach valuable lessons when it comes to educating and engaging our students. Imagine Learning Product Manager, Carter Durham, addresses the key findings in a webinar titled “Rules of Engagement: The Potential Impact of Video Games on Education.” You can view the full webinar here, or, if you’re short on time, read the summary below.
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What dreams are made of

At this holiday season, we thank you for the important work you do every day. Our teacher tribute video highlights how teachers encourage kids to make their dreams come true. Watch the inspiring video here. Holiday Card Video v2 from Imagine Learning on Vimeo.
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Imagine Learning takes part in Operation Gratitude

Imagine Learning employees donated toys, food, and hygiene items to Operation Gratitude. This year for Veteran’s Day, Imagine Learning employees honored veterans by participating in Operation Gratitude. During our weekly company-wide meeting, we celebrated a few employee veterans—Todd, Kelly, and Eric—and learned about the mission of Operation Gratitude. Afterwards, we gathered to write letters of gratitude and appreciation for Operation Gratitude. We also donated toys and other items for care packages.
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Student success in Smyrna, Tennessee

Take a look at Smyrna Elementary where the school was selected to pilot Imagine Learning. As educators used Imagine Learning to personalize instruction, they saw students make tremendous gains and exhibit much more excitement about learning. Meet the principal, teachers, and students of Smyrna Elementary in their video story. Kid Stories in Smyrna Elementary School, Tennessee from Imagine Learning on Vimeo.
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Booster's costume creator: it's a scream!

It's officially October, and that means it's time for putting up spooky decorations, carving pumpkins, and best of all—dressing up in costumes. Deciding on a costume can be downright scary when there are so many options to choose from, so we invite you to try Booster's Costume Creator. This interactive site will allow you to try several costumes and see which one works best for you. And because it’s both fun and educational, you can dress up Imagine Learning characters in fun costumes, both hysterical and historical. Learn about Cleopatra, Blackbeard, or Einstein as you craft your creepy creation. Choose a background, pick a message, and then witch your friends a happy Halloween by sending your masterpiece to them as an e-card. Here’s how Booster’s Costume Creator works: 1. Pick a Person. Always wanted to be a brilliant scientist? Fond of famous pilots? With Booster’s Costume Creator, you have your choice of dressing up as a pirate, a vampire, an emperor, or several other options. 2. Choose a Costume. Want to add Shakespeare’s puffy shirt with Blackbeard’s silly pantaloons? No problem. Using three interchangeable panels, you can easily mix and match your favorite items from each character’s outfit plus a unique background to create a truly spook-tacular costume! You can even click the info buttons to learn about each character—from fearsome Blackbeard the pirate to disappearing pilot Amelia Earhart. 3. Share … and Scare! Now that you’ve picked the perfect costume, it’s time to scare somebody with it. Email an e-card of your boo-tiful character to friends and family, or simply print it off and hang it up somewhere. It’s a scream come true!
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Imagine Nation awards announced

This month, we’re celebrating top-performing Imagine Learning schools and districts through our customer recognition program, Imagine Nation. Schools are being recognized for outstanding usage, exceptional enthusiasm, and amazing Imagine Learning innovation for the 2013–2014 school year. Imagine Nation schools receive one of four prestigious awards: World-Class School, Top 50 School, Super School, and Top 10 Percent. For more information, see the official press release or view the lists of award-winning Imagine Nation schools.
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Celebrating ten years

This summer we celebrated ten years in EdTech! Imagine Learning started back in the summer of 2004 when a passionate group of educators and software developers became inspired to create better ways of teaching language and literacy to the children of the world. The vision was to develop adaptive software for a better, more individualized, student experience. The team did this by using some of the brightest minds in education to design and incorporate the type of engaging activities and games that draw students in, so children learn while having fun. This positive user experience helps students build confidence as they work through the content, experiencing success along the way. In early 2005, the first build of Imagine Learning was completed. It included first-language support to help English language learners (ELLs). As an ELL student becomes more confident in an English-only environment, first-language support gradually fades.
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Imagine Learning and Scantron form alliance

Combining language and literacy curriculum with adaptive assessment to help educators individualize instruction. Imagine Learning today announced a new alliance with Scantron, a leading provider of K–12 interim/formative assessment solutions. The combination of Scantron’s leading online assessments with the Imagine Learning platform offers an independent, valid, and reliable growth measure to evaluate student learning during program use and across grade levels. This strategic relationship expands assessment resources available to teachers and administrators to now include a market leading, researched-based diagnostic tool that provides an unbiased data set to measure and track student learning—allowing educators to make better-informed decisions regarding individualized instruction. Read the full press release on our news page.
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Imagine Learning partners with VUS

Imagine Learning is pleased to announce a recent partnership with the VUS organization in Vietnam. Last year, a partner in Southern California introduced the company to VUS and since then, that introduction has blossomed into a full international partnership. Executives at Imagine Learning are pleased about this international venture and believe the partnership has great potential for future growth. Imagine Learning's CEO, Joe Swenson, and Director of International Business, Ben Eyre, with VUS partners VUS believes in equipping Vietnam’s next generation with one of the sharpest tools for success: English. With its multiple training centers throughout Ho Chi Minh, the company seeks to teach English and thus enrich students’ knowledge, broaden their vision, and allow them to integrate into world education. Learning English not only makes a difference to the students’ own lives, but it contributes to Vietnam’s social development as a whole.
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Imagine Learning releases version 14

Imagine Learning launched version 14 today, the latest update to its K–6 language and literacy software. Version 14 delivers the latest in optimized, individualized instruction: interoperability between devices, improved instructional design, new activities for older beginning students, and the new student Growth Reporting tool. Watch the video below to see all version 14 updates. Or, read the official press release. What's New V14 from Imagine Learning on Vimeo.  
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Imagine Learning Values: Be innovative and change our world

Imagine Learning’s second company value is to be innovative and change our world. We believe that to be a leader, we can never accept the status quo. We can never be comfortable. We are always pushing and exploring, developing and testing. We set goals that challenge us, because we know that by stretching to meet them, we’ll go farther than we ever expected. For us, being great today just isn’t good enough. We innovate to change our world. At Imagine Learning, our mission is to open doors of opportunity by teaching language and literacy to the children of the world. We want to change the world by giving students the language skills they need to succeed. How do we do that? By being innovative. But what does it mean to be innovative? This is the wall of iPads hanging in our production area. These iPads are running constantly to search out bugs in our product.
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Teacher Highlight: Tips from a TESOL kindergarten teacher in Shanghai

Catherine Lamb is a teacher in Shanghai, China and is, coincidentally, my mother! The beginning of her teaching career started with the birth of her first child, and continued until her youngest (that’s me!) was preparing to leave the nest. She then returned to the workforce. She currently works as a Primary Reception (Kindergarten) teacher and grade coordinator in a British international school. Because she is located in an international school in Shanghai, Mrs. Lamb’s students are often from many different countries. They speak many first languages but their knowledge of English varies from fluency to none at all. She has had students from Brazil, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Britain, America, China, etc. Her classroom is bilingual, and she team-teaches with a Mandarin speaking teacher; part of the day’s instruction is held in Mandarin and the rest is in English.       Mrs. Lamb, a teacher in Shanghai, China         Tips from the Teacher: 1. Repeat repeat repeat. Repetition is key with young kids. Don’t worry about boring them. The repetition will bring fluency and confidence. When I give instructions, I model them; I say the same line over and over and over and I circulate among the children. Sometimes I say something twenty-four times, “Johnny, now it is your turn to show us your living thing. Susy, now it is your turn to show us your living thing.” Repeat repeat. After the “reader of the day” reads, I always ask the same question: "Do you want to keep this in your reading folder or put it in the red bin?"  By the time a shy speaker reads, he knows that question is coming and what it means, so he will be ready for it and have a successful experience responding. 2. Follow a strict routine so they know what comes next. My students are tossed into a world where they can't understand what's happening. They are young too. Knowing what comes next comforts them.  Seeing the schedule and knowing when they will go home gives them a sense of security. Even now (when they've memorized the schedule better than I have) they look at it first upon arrival. If I haven't updated it for the day they want to help me get it ready. They question any new items. One of my students was struggling with being away from his mom everyday, so every day at noon he'd go through the schedule with me to ensure himself he got to go home. The ELL students learn how to spell class subject names because they learn quickly what each word means and they know exactly where to find those words on the schedule.
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Best books for summer reading

On the final day of summer break last year, my daughter devoured Caddie Woodlawn. Last week I wrote about the techniques I use to encourage my children to read. This week, I am sharing a list of our favorite books. Some of them are award-winners—but even better—all of them win the approval of my three unforgiving children. So pull out the hammock, spread out a blanket, or puff up a beanbag. These books are sure to draw you in! 0–2 years Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle Drummer Hoff, Barbara Emberly and Ed Emberly The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, Bill Martin Jr. Guess How Much I Love You, Sam McBratney The Little Engine That Could, Watty Piper Good Night, Gorilla, Peggy Rathmann Quick as a Cricket, Audrey Wood Piggies, Audrey and Don Wood
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Spring into Action contest winners

Over the past month, we have been running a Spring into Action contest for Imagine Learning teachers and school site experts. Teachers were asked to try our new Action Areas™ tool, and then tell us how it worked to enter a contest for an iPad mini. We are happy to see that thousands of teachers are now using the Action Areas tool! Drum roll, please . . . . The new owners of an iPad mini are: Kasi Davis, a site expert from Asbell Elementary Raquel Jaeger, a teacher from Whittier Elementary   Congratulations to our winners! Winning an iPad is awesome, but knowing how to use the Action Areas tool is pretty great too. Teachers love the Action Areas tool because it pinpoints which skills students are struggling with and provides resources (printouts and activities) for immediate intervention. By grouping students together who are having trouble in the same area, the tool also forms instant intervention groups. So the Action Areas tool simplifies intervention. And simplified intervention means more happy teachers and more kids on track. Happy day.
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Jump into summer reading

One afternoon in June, I found my girls just like this. They had abandoned their water party for front porch reading. While summer is a perfect time for children to relax and enjoy travel and other activities, it can also be a time for young minds to become idle. This period of learning loss has been referred to as the "summer slide." But the only summer slide we want Imagine Learning students to experience is having fun on a slip-n-slide. So let's talk about summer reading! I have fond memories of childhood summertime reading. My sisters and I would read on a blanket under our large backyard tree, sprawled out on wet towels poolside, or in our gently swinging hammock. Since I recently inherited most of my mom’s large children’s book collection, my children are now reading the same books as I did. And many of the pages are spotted with evidence of summers past—greasy sunscreen fingerprints, dog-eared pages, and the occasional water spot. So how do you create a summer of reading? The first step to encouraging a summer full of reading is to get kids to make a summer reading goal. Children can decide how many books, pages, or minutes they want to read. Involve children in this process so they begin with excitement. Most libraries offer a summer reading challenge and often include an incentive for completing the challenge. But if your local library doesn't offer a summer reading program, you can always create your own.
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10 tips to help kids develop a love of reading

When I was six, I learned to read. The first book I remember reading was about a detective who loved pancakes. I haven’t stopped reading since. My family is a reading family. I remember first reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to my mom. That wizardly series quickly expanded and bonded my immediate and extended family. We had Halloween parties themed after Harry Potter, we went to the midnight releases of new books, and we cried together through the final book. When my family goes on a road trip, we each take a bag of books. I remember one long drive where my grandmother was listening to a Clive Cussler novel while I read my own book. I became quite practiced at tuning out outside distraction on that drive! When I was thirteen, I converted my best friend to reading simply because that was one of my favorite pastimes; now I've converted my husband as well. He recently told his mother how he has read thirteen books in the past thirteen months (she was very impressed). However, with the growth of technology in our daily lives, our younger generation has many options for entertainment. With so many demands on their attention and so little time in the day, recreational reading seems to fall to the wayside. As a hobby that offers more than just a way to pass the time, here are some tips to get your kids to read. If you would like some tips specifically for teens, this article is a good source for ideas.
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5 simple teacher appreciation ideas for kids

My mom is one of those amazing people who have chosen to be a middle school math and science teacher. After teaching for the last 22 years, she is retiring at the end of May. I may be biased, but she is truly a remarkable teacher. She works long hours, voluntarily tutors students before and after school, and insists on testing with explanation-type questions as opposed to multiple choice questions because she feels it is a better way to assess student understanding. This means she frequently brings home large stacks of papers to correct. I have seen how she worries about certain students and continually seeks to find new and better teaching methods. She tirelessly reaches out to parents and does an excellent job at communicating with them. And she even remains calm when working with the frazzled and sometimes mean you-must-be-doing-something-wrong-because-my-child-is-failing-math parents. She amazes me! Perhaps because I grew up observing what it takes to be a fantastic teacher, I have made a consistent effort to show gratitude and appreciation to the teachers of my own children throughout each school year.
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6 ways to teach with technology

Our post on post-literacy got me thinking about some ways to use technology as a tool in the classroom. Here are some ideas on using technology with your middle/high school students. These suggestions could both engage your students as well as introduce tech-savvy skills they don’t have yet. 1. Google it. If students have a question, join them in researching it online. Show them the best way to phrase their search with keywords. Google has a search engine specifically for research called “Google Scholar.” Direct your students to this for googling scholarly articles online. SweetSearch is another search engine created especially for teachers and students to use in research. It only searches on credible websites that have been reviewed by the experts of SweetSearch. 2. Analyze sources. Teach students how to recognize which websites/authors/publications are more reliable sources than others. Many teachers find that when assigning research to students, their bibliographies tend to be full of mostly Internet sources that aren't always accurate. Students are going to use the Internet, so show them where to go. Have them look at publishing companies, the author’s credentials, and the date of the information. This article shows some great questions to ask as you are analyzing the reliability of a source. A good example of showing how irreliable sources can look reliable would be to show your students The Onion. While the site looks very legitimate, it is completely satirical in content and would not be a reliable source for any research paper.
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Imagine Learning Values: Obsess over customers

  The Imagine Learning Values are showcased on a wall in the Imaginarium. At Imagine Learning, we believe in a central set of values that guide our decisions at every level. The first of these values is Obsess Over Customers. We believe providing solutions to our customers’ problems is the lifeblood of our business. And right at the core of this excellent customer service is our relationship with each partner. We are constantly identifying market problems so that we know exactly what kinds of solutions our customers will value most. We go above and beyond by creating a positive emotional experience for our customers. This sounds good and all, but what does this mean in the everyday hustle and bustle of Imagine Learning’s hardworking corporate team?
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Imagine Learning schools in Washington receive ELA Award

Christensen Elementary is one of seven Imagine Learning schools to receive the Washington State Board of Education Language Acquisition Award. The Washington State Board of Education recently awarded seven Imagine Learning schools with the first-ever English Language Acquisition Award. The schools to receive the award are Abraham Lincoln Elementary, Sheridan Elementary, Northeast Elementary, Central Ave Elementary, Christensen Elementary, Elmhurst Elementary, and Cascadia Elementary. The board created the new award because they recognized a need for an English language learner (ELL) focus, and they wanted to recognize schools whose ELL students are making the greatest progress toward the goal of becoming proficient in English, which is a major factor for students becoming college-ready. Award winning schools were selected based on the assessment of ELL students using the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA). The top five percent of achieving schools were recognized for their achievement. Students in Washington schools speak 187 languages. And Washington is not alone—the English language learner (ELL) population is the fastest growing subgroup nationwide. “Language acquisition is an indicator of school success and deserves to be acknowledged,” explained Board Chair Dr. Kristina Mayer. “We want to shine the light on what is working so it can be replicated across the state. The board will work with OSPI and other partners to support award-winning schools in sharing their strategies and best practices.”
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Integrating technology in Kent, Washington

Dedicated leaders in Kent, Washington are working together to ensure students receive an education that prepares them to be successful in a global workforce. When students come to school in Kent, they don’t have to “power down.” Instead, they have access to technology throughout the school day. As part of their digital instruction program, several Kent schools use Imagine Learning to differentiate instruction for students, supporting English language learners, struggling readers, and early childhood learners. Kent School District Superintendent Dr. Edward Lee Vargas says with the support of government, civic, and religious leaders they have been able to move beyond a digital school system to a digital community. In addition to implementing digital learning in schools, Dr. Vargas and his dedicated team put computerized kiosks with broadband capacity out into the community, hoping to provide resources for students, parents, and community members alike. The kiosks are being installed in places where they can be easily accessed, like grocery stores and high-density housing. “It’s been a series of partnerships that have created the capacity to be able to have these programs come alive,” said Vargas. Education is a top priority for Washington legislators who support the tremendous educational efforts in Kent. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan and Senator Joe Fain are dedicated to giving students the technological tools they need to be successful. “It’s really the key to helping them success in the 21st century,” said Sen. Fain. Watch the video below to see how leaders from Washington's political, technological, and educational sectors are working together to create a technology-based approach to learning in their schools—and their community. Kent School District—where technology is being maximized for school children & the community from Imagine Learning on Vimeo.
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Imagine Learning is Acquired by Weld North

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Imagine Learning is Acquired by Weld North Provo, UT – April 07, 2014 – Imagine Learning, a Utah-based language and literacy company, announced today that it has been acquired by Weld North Holdings LLC, an investment company led by former Kaplan, Inc CEO Jonathan Grayer. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Weld North believes Imagine Learning is poised for substantial growth in a vibrant and growing EdTech market. “Imagine Learning’s unique game-based solution engages children, makes it fun for them to learn and supports teachers in their pursuit of teaching English language and literacy skills to their students,” said Jonathan Grayer, Chairman and CEO of Weld North. “The company’s headquarters in Provo is situated in the midst of a rapidly expanding pool of excellent talent, and it has a long runway of growth ahead. We look forward to leveraging our expertise to facilitate that growth and positively impact the way children are learning in the classroom.” Imagine Learning will remain in Provo, Utah, and there will be no immediate management changes. Over the past decade, Imagine Learning has grown from a fledgling start-up—led by founder and former CEO Susan Preator—to a flourishing multi-million dollar company, contributing to the thriving technology-friendly hub of Utah County. Imagine Learning is in the process of expanding its workforce and recently secured an additional 26,000 square feet of office space at its current location in anticipation of continued growth. Joe Swenson, Imagine Learning CEO, said the acquisition is evidence of Imagine Learning’s strong position in the digital education sector. “We want to recognize the incredible efforts of our founders, all of our coworkers, and our board members, including those from Sorenson Capital. Through their dedication and hard work over the past 10 years, Imagine Learning has become one of the most recognized digital English language and literacy programs in the country for K–6 students,” said Swenson.
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NY Times Article: Former Kaplan Chief Assembling a Digital Learning Company

Here's a link to some exciting news about the future of Imagine Learning! External link: NY Times: Former Kaplan Chief Assembling a Digital Learning Company
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Bryant Elementary making news

Students at Bryant Elementary are among the most dedicated Imagine Learning users in the country. They recently received the Top 50 Award for top-notch usage and were featured on the Sioux City KTIV News. Struggling readers and English language learners are using the program to increase vocabulary and practice reading skills. The school is committed to ensuring that students use the program for at least 90 minutes each week. Teachers even allow kids to come before school to have extra time on the program, and the hard work is paying off. Teachers say test scores show that the kids are making great progress. Congratulations, Bryant Elementary! Watch the KTIV News story.
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2014 Limerick contest winners

This year, we were lucky to receive more limerick entries than ever before! Our judges were amazed at how many creative limericks were submitted. We would like to thank everyone who participated, and announce this year's winners. First place: Lorena Sanchez Prize: $25 Amazon gift card There once was a bilingual teacher Who had a unique and rare feature When homework was missing Her hair would start hissing A gorgon she was- what a creature! Second place: Emma, 5th Grade Prize: Booster bobblehead figurine In orchestra we all strum, and in choir we all hum, music at school, is totally cool just wait ’till the marching bands come! Third place: Stephanie, 2nd Grade Prize: Mike the Microphone talking plush toy There was a girl from the west she found a pretty bird in his nest with beautiful colored eyes it picks up food when he flies and she took it home like a guest. Honorable Mention: Geniene Delahunty Prize: Imagine Learning stickers and pencils There once was a school named Yealey Where learning was a priority– daily! Imagine Learning’s a hit Our kids don’t mind to sit As their English is growing greatly! Please join us next March for another rousing round of limerick writing!
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Happy Pi Day!

At Imagine Learning, we love to celebrate. And Pi Day is no exception! But being a language and literacy company, we left the math equations to those other experts. Here, we ate pie to our heart's content.
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Write a lucky limerick

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up quick. Grab a pen and write a limerick. Be a rhyming rockstar, you’re sure to go far, and a lucky winner we’ll pick. Want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? You have something clever to say? Join in the fun, add in a pun, And encourage your friends to play. Try writing your own limerick. Write it down with a leaded stick. Make it divine, and submit it online. Your limerick we’re sure to pick. Join in the St. Patrick’s Day fun by entering our annual limerick writing contest. To help you along the way, we've created a fun little video about writing limericks, hosted by Nick from the Imagine Learning software. Nick teaches students how to write limericks step-by-step, and explains the process by sharing his own limericks. Teachers, get your students involved! This video is the perfect way to begin an engaging lesson plan on limerick writing. You can also watch the video on Vimeo. We hope you have fun trying your hand at poetry writing! Submit entries in the comments section below. We will award prizes to the top three limericks. Prize Pot-o-gold: 1st prize: a $25 Amazon gift card 2nd prize: a Booster bobblehead 3rd prize: a talking Mike the Microphone plush toy We’ll accept submissions through end-of-day Monday, March 17th. Special consideration will be given to limericks with an educational flavor, and also to student submissions. Check back often to see the entries—and the lucky winners. You’ll be green with envy. Good luck (o’ the Irish) to everyone! Nick's Limerick Video Lyrics: Hello! How are you? I’m Nick. Here to teach you a fun little trick. To have a good time when writing a rhyme try writing your own limerick! There are limericks of all different kinds. So how do you write one that shines? You’ll see that it’s cool if you follow the rule: a limerick is made of five lines. So listen close to this song. Lines one, two and five are all long. And in poems of this sort make lines three and four short and I promise you’ll never go wrong. You need to be sure and contrive to rhyme lines one, two, and five Then do it once more with lines three and four and your limerick surely will thrive! So let these pointers take hold And if you’ll write as you were told at the rainbow’s end you’ll find there my friend your own limerick pot o’ gold!
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Working together in West, Texas

When the community of West, Texas was rocked by a devastating fertilizer plant explosion, the school closest to the blast was severely damaged. Teachers were unable to salvage supplies and curriculum that had taken years to develop. But because the people from West and the surrounding communities pulled together to offer help, students were back in school receiving instruction within three days. Shortly after the blast, Imagine Learning heard about the loss of West's English learner and literacy programs, and arranged for West Elementary to receive a site license—which means that every English language learner is able to use the Imagine Learning program at no cost. Denae Buzbee, the District ESL director, says that since the implementation of Imagine Learning, she has seen students gaining confidence and improving their reading levels. “It’s brought us together as a community. It could have been a lot worse—we know that. We’ve had this horrible event, but we’re going to stick together and we’re going to be okay,” said West Elementary Principal Michelle Scott
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Valentine Creations for your classroom

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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Study: students see 36-65% greater gains with Imagine Learning

SEG Study Executive Summary SEG Measurement, an independent research firm, announced the completion of the first phase of a study of nearly 1,000 English language learners in grades two–five in a large California school district. Study results demonstrate that students in programs using Imagine Learning’s curriculum show greater improvement in reading than students not exposed to Imagine Learning software. The study compared growth in reading skills of students who used Imagine Learning to comparable students who did not use Imagine Learning. Students used the Imagine Learning software for approximately six months between December 2012 and June 2013. Students in second grade using Imagine Learning showed 36% greater gains in reading than students who did not use the program. Imagine Learning students in grades three–five showed 65% greater gains in reading than non-users. "Students using Imagine Learning showed statistically significant gains in reading skills and outperformed students who did not use Imagine Learning," said Scott Elliot, president of SEG Measurement. "These findings are particularly important, given that students only used Imagine learning for half of the school year. More extended use of Imagine Learning may yield even greater gains for the students."
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Holiday video: Helping children reach their potential with Imagine Learning

At this holiday season, we express profound gratitude for our dedicated partners in education. Thanks for making a difference.   Click on the card to see how doors are opening for children everywhere. (And you might want to grab a tissue.)
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