Friday, August 31, 2012

Using HotDots in your Reading Centers!

Hot Dots come in MANY different subject areas & age levels!
an easy way to integrate technology 

I  found that they're not expensive at all.  I've always seen the $50+ price tag attached to Hot Dots.  I didn't realize that was if you planned to purchase the pens in bulk, or as a set of six.  I learned you can actually get started with Hot Dots for around $19 ~ yay!  You can purchase a pen for around $9.50 and get a set of cards for around $9.50 as well.

When my package arrived, I received my Hot Dots pen and three card sets.  I was excited to see what these gadgets did and how they could engage my children.  Because I actually took the time to try out each package, I feel like my mind has been changed about this product.

I love trivia ~ and Hot Dots offer me a challenge while giving immediate feedback:

Yes, I'm hooked!  In the video above, you can see the feedback the pen provides for correct and incorrect responses.  Each pen type makes different sounds.  The dog pen barks.  You also get a good glimpse of what the cards actually look like.  For me, this is huge.  I enjoy seeing the materials that will be in the student's hands.  If the the layout is not aesthetically pleasing, the children will not be that engaged and could become distracted.  The Hot Dots cards are great!

I received three sets of Hot Dots cards: Synonyms, Context Clues, and Human Body.  By far, my favorite set is Human Body.  The Human Body cards are larger and include colorful illustrations and pictures.  They are developmentally challenging (which I love!).  They're not too easy, and they encourage critical thinking. 

What I recommend to get as your 'starter kit:'
 1 pen & 1 set of cards = about $19

I love to shop.  I love it even more when the experience is stress free.  Because my time is often limited, I like to get great things without spending a lot of time or a lot of money.  Therefore, because Hot Dots are a bit on the pricy side, I'd like to make a recommendation for what I would purchase.  In fact, I've already ordered another set of cards.  

First, you need a pen.  There are 3 choices:

Please click here to see the pens on the Educational Insights website.

You can also  buy a pack of pens.  They come in sets of six.  

Then you need a set of cards. I'll feature a few of my favorites below.

I'd start with one set, see how you like it and how you'd use it with your students.  Then get more.

*Click here to see all of the Hot Dots Items from Educational Insights*

Here are the Human Body cards I love:

Even if the human body isn't in your standards, I recommend getting these cards.  I find that we are all interested in learning more about ourselves, and these cards are informative while interesting.  They'd be great to place in a discovery center.

If you do word work or vocabulary building, you'll love the context clues set:

Again, there are so many card sets to choose from.  Please click here to see all of the sets available.

What I really Love about Hot Dots:

I go bananas over products that are ready to use upon arrival.  The less I have to learn, the better!  I don't have time to read a big instruction manual or teach myself how to get creative with a tool.  With Hot Dots, I opened the clear wrapping of the card set and placed a battery in the pen.  Bam - ready to go!  

I instantly thought of several ways I could integrate this feature into my existing curriculum and schedule.  In fact, I got really excited because I quickly began to brainstorm how Hot Dots would actually enhance my current schedule.   

They're affordable and portable!  Now that I have one pen, I'd like to purchase another so that I can have another partnership working together during our workshop time.  I especially love the corrective feedback Hot Dots provide.  Now, when I'm working with a small group, I know that my other learners are engaged and receiving appropriate guidance or affirmation for their thinking.

Because the cards are so different for each subject area, the engagement level will stay high since the content is so varried.  There is always sometime new to learn!

My students always gravitate towards the National Geographic books and the 'Did you Know' books when we have book orders.  They love finding out interesting facts.  Hot Dots Science cards are going to be a bit hit in my class this year! 

Hot Dots Jr. - A Fantastic Classroom Tool:

I am a second grade teacher; however, I have a four year old who will enter junior kindergarten this year.  I couldn't close this post without highlighting the Hot Dots Junior program.  Here is a great video that goes in detail to explain what sets are included in the Junior set.

I've ordered the Jr. Problem Solving set for my four year old, Jacob:

There is also a Hot Dots Jr. app available for $0.99 in iTunes:
{click here to see the video and app in action}

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