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Classrooms use eChalk at Mill Creek

Students use eChalk at Mill Creek Elementary.

Teachers at Mill Creek Elementary School are revving young minds with educational activities, games, simulations and puzzles available with a new tool, eChalk.

eChalk is an interactive Web-based program available to all classrooms during instruction at Mill Creek and offers educational games that the child can play at home, librarian Kris Gray said.

The software is designed for SmartBoards or interactive whiteboards and works with home computers. eChalk is not compatible with iPads.

Now commonplace in classrooms, SmartBoards respond to touch for input, such as scrolling or right clicking an item, as a computer responds to a mouse or keyboard. The teacher uses a projector to display a computer screen on the SmartBoard. Most SmartBoards use ‘pens’ with digital ink for students to solve problems or select an option on the screen.

“Teachers use eChalk for supplemental activities, virtual manipulatives and review,” Gray said. “Without eChalk, teachers would resort to pen and pencil and actual manipulatives.”

eChalk offers review in language skills, such as sequencing, comprehension and story telling. As examples, eChalk showed the power of punctuation in changing meaning in these sentences: “My mother says Sam has no sense of humor.” “My mother, says Sam, has no sense of humor.”

Reminiscent of paper worksheets, other Web pages ask the student to correctly punctuate sentences with either a question mark or exclamation point.

Principal Melanie Barkley and her staff at Mill Creek issues passwords and usernames for families to access their account and use eChalk for review at home.

Mill Creek sixth-grader Yocus Jones said that learning with eChalk is fun. “When you have trouble in math, science or any subject, you can get on eChalk and figure out your problems. Next thing you know, you’re a master at it.”

Students can practice and review their skills in a game format that adds an element of fun to learning and practicing, Gray said. “They don’t even realize they are working.”

For more information, visit echalk.co.uk.

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