EdTechLens sent my family one year licenses of Rainforest Journey for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades to review. EdTechLens has developed a Life Science curriculum for grades K-5. We used Rainforest Journey on a computer (using Internet Explorer) and an iPad (using Safari). Both are user friendly!
EdTechLens offers licenses for each individual grade and the price varies depending on how many children are accessing the grade. The options for licenses are 1 individual, up to 5 students, up to 35 students, and up to 100 students. You will need to purchase a license for each individual grade that you plan to use and select the number of students who are using that grade. This program is great for homeschoolers, schools, and co-ops.
There is a teacher portal for the teacher (Parent in the case of a homeschool family using the program.) to track all of your students. It is very easy to set up and even if you have a large family or class it shouldn’t take you a long time to set up each student’s account. You will know how many times the student logs in, their progression, and quiz scores. I really like the progression meter because it gives detail down to the individual chapter that has been completed. If it hasn’t been complete then the meter is red and once completed it is green. Hovering over the meter will identify which section it is whether it is the chapter, a lesson, an assessment, etc. When clicked, it will scroll down an show how much of the, chapter, lesson, vocab, etc has been completed and the assessment scores.
The teacher can access all of the class material for his/her student(s) from this portal. The answers to the assessments are available in the Teacher’s Resources along with a lesson plan sample, hands-on activities, and other resources. For those who need this information, at the bottom of every lesson page in the teacher portal the science standards that have been met for NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) and New York State Learning Standards Core Curriculum and the Lexile Measures are listed, as well as the word counts for passages. They are marked with circles with the letters ‘S’, ‘L’, and ‘W’ and when clicked on their boxes will expand. Another option available is the choice for the program to be guided, where everything is done sequentially or open which allows the child to make his/her own choice of what to do. I chose the open mode for my girls.
There are 5 units in Grade 1 and they are:
Unit 1: The Big Picture of the Rainforest
Unit 2: Adapt or Die!
Unit 3: Animals
Unit 4: Plants and Fungi
Unit 5: Ecosystems
In every unit there are a series of lessons, vocab, illustrations, and assessments. The students can also access the progress bar so they know where they are in the program and can see if they missed something. In the lessons EdTechLens uses beautiful, vibrant, colorful photos. My girls loved the photos! You can easily navigate back and forth between lessons. They also offer PDF pages of each lesson that you can print. A feature that I love is there is an option for passages to be read to the student! This is beneficial if you have a non-reader, beginning reader, or a struggling reader. They can read along with the speaker word by word. The vocab lists are very short for every lesson. There are a few words along with their definition on the vocab page. An option to print the vocab list via PDF is available. Any of the illustrations shown in the lesson are available on the illustrations page as well as available on PDF. One thing that we didn’t use but are available were the assessments. There are three assessments options to choose from; Depth of Knowledge, Open Ended Assessment, and Factual Assessment. You can choose to have your student complete 1, 2 or all 3 of these assessments. There are multiple choice and essay questions. In both the guided and open modes these assessments are required to be answered before moving on, unless you have turned them off. In the teacher mode go to ‘Course Outline’ on the left and you will see the units show up on the right. Expand each unit and unselect which assessments you do not wish to use. The setup for Grade 2 and Kindergarten are the same as Grade 1.
I noticed that my girls liked to sit by each other and work on the lesson together. As I mentioned earlier they loved looking at pictures of all of the animals. They enjoyed being able to listen to the lesson as it was being read to them by the narrator and preferred this over me reading the lesson to them. The girls liked to be able to use the program independently. They were giggling in hysterics quite a few times when they thought that something was funny, like an expression an animal was making or something about the picture that found to be silly.
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