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Looking for a fun way to engage your students’ minds and bodies using books? That’s exactly what my colleague Jubilee Roth and I were looking for last year—a fun activity to wrap up the semester with our students—when she came across the idea of StoryWalks.
The StoryWalk Project was created by Anne Ferguson in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont. Ferguson was looking for a way to get kids and parents active together, and thus the StoryWalk was born. Since then, StoryWalks have been installed in over 300 public libraries in the United States and even worldwide in such countries as Malaysia, Russia, Pakistan, and South Korea.
Reading isn’t generally considered a dynamic activity, but students who participate in a StoryWalk get to not only hear a great story but stimulate parts of their brain that are normally at rest when they sit down with a book. Instead of snuggling up in a cozy reading spot, readers are presented with colorful pages from an illustrated book, displayed one-by-one on stakes as they stroll along an indoor or outdoor walking path. Readers are able to take their time and reflect on the subtle nuances of the story, make inferences about what may happen next, and have co-constructed conversations with any walking partners.
How to Set Up a StoryWalk
You’ll need two copies of whatever book you choose because the pages of most illustrated books are double-sided. After taking the books apart, laminate them and mount them. Make sure you get stakes that are high enough that the pages can be read without crouching down, then place them at a relaxed distance from each other along the path of your choosing.
It’s really important to consider where you place your StoryWalk path. I did not take into consideration, for example, the closeness of my StoryWalk to our third-grade portable classrooms, which had the windows open because it was warm. Not only was the StoryWalk disruptive to that classroom, but all of the third-grade students knew the ending of the story.
Choosing Books for a StoryWalk
The right book at the right time can make all the difference. Since books bridge the gap between what readers know and what they have yet to experience, careful book selection can make StoryWalks even more powerful. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Picture books are ideal for this activity because they’re short and captivating.
Social and emotional learning can be supported with illustrated books that include themes like self-awareness, self-management, self-efficacy, and social awareness.
It’s important to keep readers interested so that they continue to the end of the path. Try choosing a book with a surprise ending and keep them guessing!
It helps to choose a book with readability and possible relevance to the community.
Here are some of the books I chose:
Baghead, written and illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Weezer Changes the World, written and illustrated by David McPhail
One Cool Friend, written by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small
Sheep Take a Hike, written by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margot Apple
Although we tend to think of fiction when choosing books for a StoryWalk, nonfiction can also be effective. Imagine learning the parts of a cell as you walk between pages or reading a how-to instructional story or the biography of a prominent historical figure.Behavior During a StoryWalk
Managing behavior during a StoryWalk can be a bit tricky if you don’t provide students with some expectations ahead of time. Much like a field trip, StoryWalks involve a lot of space sharing, which requires a different set of social norms. I found that younger students especially were not accustomed to traveling in a large group.
Explain to students how to ensure that everyone has a view of the pages as you walk. The front row will need to crouch down so the back row can see. Students need to form a half-circle around each page. You can, of course, arrange your StoryWalkers into multiple smaller groups as opposed to an entire class, which could make it easier.
It is also important to show students how to walk and talk about the story, so they are not just quickly walking through the StoryWalk, missing the benefit of reading together in this way. Have students raise their hands to read a page aloud. Ask stimulating questions between pages to help them relate the story to their own experiences, further drawing them in. Encourage students to take their time and interact with each other, sharing their thoughts about the story and characters.
After completing a StoryWalk, extension activities can provide a deeper understanding for students as well as keep the conversation—and therefore the learning—going.
Students can try to write an alternate ending or even add to the story’s original ending. Our youngest students can draw their responses to these prompts, while we transcribe the words to go with them. Older students can do peer reviews, co-write responses, or illustrate them and even use media to animate.
Invite students to share about a time when they did something that was featured in the story. Before we did our StoryWalk for the book Baghead, I held up a paper bag that I had cut holes out of to make a face. I asked students, “Why would someone wear this?” Students wrote down their predictions. After our StoryWalk, they came back to their predictions to write about what came true or didn’t, and any surprises in the story. Some chose to write about a time when they tried to cut their own hair, as the protagonist had, and what happened next.
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Expressive and receptive language skills are valuable abilities that help all students to succeed in and out of school. Expressive language allows us to communicate needs and wants through words, symbols, or gestures, whereas receptive language is our ability to listen and understand information that has been transmitted via words, symbols, or gestures. It’s most important for all students, including English language learners (ELLs), to develop speaking and listening skills in order to move to higher-order expressive and receptive skills such as reading and writing.
Flip Helps Support Student Language Needs
One easy edtech tool that helps students practice their language skills is Flip (formerly known as Flipgrid). I found that Flip was a powerful tool for working with all my students, including my ELLs, because it helped them practice their speaking skills while also meeting their individual needs.
I first started using Flip in my first-grade classroom of 23, where about 10 or 11 were ELLs. Using Flip allowed me to give my students a safe space to answer questions and also practice oral skills without the pressure of others watching. I found that many of my ELLs preferred the weekly question(s) on Flip compared with in-person questions that we did in our classroom daily. When using Flip, not only are we addressing language needs, but we’re helping students meet the learning outcomes set forth for them.
Make Expectations Clear and Offer Simple Training
In order to get started, the first thing teachers can do is review the expectations of Flip usage. In my classroom, I introduced Flip virtually—we were teaching from home at the time. I explained to the students that we would practice our speaking and listening skills on a new online program. I explained that I would give them a question daily or weekly, and their job would be to respond back to me with their answer.
I also reviewed expectations for the language output, or the types of responses that I hoped to see from my students. For students with lower language-speaking abilities, I made it clear that I would be OK with simple words or phrases to answer the questions. As for students with higher language-speaking abilities, I expected them to respond using simple to more complex sentences.
When deciding what the expectations for each individual student were, I considered different factors. The first factor was the speaking score that they received on their English language proficiency assessments (WIDA Screener for Kindergarten, etc.). I met with students in level two and below for one-on-one meetings during small group rotations. We discussed their tasks and practiced using recently learned words before they went back to work independently. The second factor I considered was my students’ ability to speak in front of others.
I took many anecdotal notes about how my students responded to the questions I asked. This gave me insight into how to design lessons that would encourage their development. Throughout this process, none of the students knew what their other peers’ expectations were, which allowed them to focus on their own goals.
Next, I created a video for both students and families that showed them how to access Flip and use the program, including all of its logistical pieces. Each student had experience with using their Google accounts, so logging in to Flip wasn’t a problem for the most part. When all the students gained access to their account, I showed them a video I had made with a practice question.
Once we viewed my initial video post, I showed my students, step-by-step, how to record a response video to my question. We practiced making multiple responses to that video to ensure that all students were comfortable with making a video on their own.
Create Prompts That Encourage Engagement and Support Growth
In the early days of using Flip in my class, I created questions around topics that students could relate to on a personal level. For example, we started by talking about favorite colors, favorite foods, family, and “would you rather” questions. As the year progressed, I created content-related questions.
When developing the questions for student responses, I embedded scaffolds that would help students who needed them. For instance, for each question that was stated orally in the video, I also provided written directions, as well as sentence stems and word banks to help students develop their response. These important tools are essential for English language learners and other students because they offer differentiation that can help them craft oral responses.
Throughout the course of the school year, I saw improvement from all of my students in the area of language development. The biggest success I saw was in my students’ comfort in communicating with their peers and with me as their teacher. Many of my students felt more comfortable using academic language that they encountered in class texts, tests, lessons, etc., to effectively ask and answer questions in person during class after practicing their language skills on Flip.
Scaffolding Needs Will Decrease Over Time
I had students who went from using only gestures to communicate to progressing to answer questions with words or simple phrases. Many of my ELL students who had higher speaking abilities started to use more complex sentences. For example, when asked a question, the students would restate part of the question and then give their reasoning using words such as “because.” As time passed, I also noticed that I was able to cut back on the sentence starters as a scaffold on Flip for many of my students because they had become comfortable with using their own language to answer questions.
I encourage all teachers who have the opportunity to teach native English speakers as well as English language learners to incorporate programs such as Flip into their daily or weekly instruction to give all students an accessible way to practice their language skills in order to improve their communication in and outside of the classroom.
This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.Introduction
Machine Learning is based on the idea that you receive back exactly what you put in. You will only receive trash if you offer trash. The term “trash” here refers to the noise. This is a common misunderstanding that the more features we have in our learning model, the more accurate it would be. However, this is not the scenario; not all of the features are equally important and will aid our model’s accuracy.
The number of features and model performance does not have a linear relationship, as seen in the following diagram. The model’s accuracy increases up to a certain threshold value, but after that, if we add more dimensions, the model’s accuracy will only get worse. The “Curse of Dimensionality” is the name given to this problem.
The drawbacks of adding unnecessary dimensions to data.
It will be time-consuming. The model will take more time to get trained on the data.
The accuracy of the model may also be impacted.
The model is prone to a problem known as “Overfitting”.
Assume the two dimensions/features are strongly correlated, and that one can be found using the other one. In this case, iterating over the second feature would simply consume more time without adding improvement to the model’s accuracy.
This becomes one of the most challenging problems to deal with whenever we have a lot of features in our data. We use a technique known as “Feature Selection” to address this issue. Only the most significant features are chosen in this technique. As a consequence, accuracy may also get improved and lesser time will be consumedMethods for Feature Selection
1) Filter Method
This approach takes all of the subsets of features and, after picking them all, attempts to determine the optimal subset of features using various statistical methods. Correlation Coefficient (Pearson, Spearman), ANOVA test, and Chi-Square test are examples of statistical techniques used.
All features that have a strong relationship with the target variable are picked. After picking the optimal subset, the machine learning algorithm is trained on it and its accuracy is evaluated.
2) Wrapper Method
It’s easier than the filter approach because statistical tests aren’t required. Wrapper methods are classified as follows:
Forward Selection: The method starts with no characteristics. Later continues to add characteristics to the model that increase its accuracy with each iteration.
Backward Selection: It starts with all the features and then eliminates those that increase the model’s accuracy in each iteration. The process will be repeated until no improvement in the elimination of any feature is detected.
Recursive Feature Elimination: This technique employs the greedy strategy. It doesn’t have all of the features. It tries to identify the most significant features. It will only accept them.
3) Embedded Method
This approach creates various subsets of features in all feasible combinations and permutations. It then chooses the subset that will provide the best accuracy.
We will learn about the ‘Boruta’ algorithm for feature selection in this article. Boruta is a Wrapper method of feature selection. It is built around the random forest algorithm. Boruta algorithm is named after a monster from Slavic folklore who resided in pine trees.
But, exactly, how does this algorithm work? Let’s explore…Working of Boruta
The independent variables’ shadow features are generated by Boruta. Shadow features are duplicates of the original independent features with adequate shuffling, as seen in the Figure below. This shuffle is performed to eliminate the correlation between the independent and the target attribute. Here S1, S2, and S3 are the shadow features of the original features F1, F2, and F3.
The algorithm would then merge both the original and shadow features in the second step.
Pass this combined data to the random forest algorithm. This provides the importance of the features via Mean Decrease Accuracy/Mean Decrease Impurity.
Random Forest determines the Z score for both original and shadow features based on this. Compare the shadow features’ maximum Z score to the individual original features’ Z score.
The algorithm uses the shadow features’ maximum Z score as the threshold value. The original features with a Z score higher than the max shadow feature are deemed “significant,” while those with a Z score lower than that are deemed “unimportant”.
This procedure is repeated until all the important and unimportant features have been identified, or other termination conditions have been met.Using R to implement Boruta
Load the following libraries:library(caTools) library(Boruta) library(mlbench) library(caret) library(randomForest)
we will use online customer data in this example. It contains 12330 observations and 18 variables. Here the str() function is used to see the structure of the datadata <- read.csv(onlineshopping.csv, header =T) str(data)
Now we will use the ‘Boruta’ function to find the important and unimportant attributes. All the original features having a lesser Z score than shadow max (circled in the plot below) will be marked unimportant and after this as important.set.seed(123) boruta_res <- Boruta(Revenue~., data= data, doTrace=2, maxRuns= 150) plot(boruta_res, las=2, cex.axis=0.8)
Split the data into ‘train’ & ‘test’. 75% for training and the rest 25% for testing.set.seed(0) split <- sample.split(data,SplitRatio = 0.75) train <- subset(data,split==T) test <- subset(data,split==F)
Check the accuracy of the random forest model when all the features are used to train the model. Here all 17 independent features are used. It is providing an accuracy of 90.63%rfmodel <- randomForest(Revenue ~., data = train) pred_full <- predict(rfmodel, test) confusionMatrix(table(pred_full, test$Revenue))
Get the formula for all the important features using the ‘getConfirmedFormula()’ function. Here 14 features are confirmed as important.getConfirmedFormula(boruta_res)
Checking the accuracy of the model when trained with only important attributes. In this case, the model is giving an accuracy of 90.77% which is slightly more than the previous model even though only 14 out of 17 attributes are used.rfmodel <- randomForest(Revenue ~ Administrative + Administrative_Duration + Informational + Informational_Duration + ProductRelated + ProductRelated_Duration + BounceRates + ExitRates + PageValues + Month + OperatingSystems + Browser + TrafficType + VisitorType, data = train) pred_confirmed
<- predict(rfmodel, test)confusionMatrix(table(pred_confirmed, test$Revenue))
Shivam Sharma & Dr Hemant Kumar Soni.
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Does the number 404 mean something to you? If you have browsed the Internet long enough, you might stumble onto this number on more than one occasion. It shows up every time a site can’t fulfil a user request because of bad links, a typo, URL change, deleted page, or many other possible reasons. While some web owners dreaded the 404 pages, some others decided to use them as their creative outlets and came up with really fun and amazing results.The Concept of 404 Pages
It’s clear that if you want to keep your visitors from fleeing away, you have to modify your 404 page to show more than just an error message.
In his book “Emotional Design,” Donald Norman said that a great design is about how it makes you feel, what it helps you do, and what it says about you. Applying this principle to web design means that a successful 404 page should:
Make the visitors feels positive - You can use funny words and pictures to amuse your visitor, or wow them with amazing images. Make sure that landing on your 404 page is an unexpected but rewarding experience. Make it similar to finding an easter egg or winning a lottery instead of having an accident.
Help the visitors do/achieve something more - Your 404 page is also a good place to do a little bit of promotion. You can put links to your popular posts there or links to other locations on your site that you want your visitors to visit. Don’t forget to include a search box and a way to report the broken link so that you can fix it.
Show the visitors who you are - Branding and personality are important to establish your reputation on the Internet. So why not use the 404 page as another way to achieve that goal? Make the page in sync with the image that you want the world to see.Creating a 404 Page in WordPress
The easiest way to create a 404 page in WordPress is to use a plugin called 404page. This plugin will let you set any page as a custom 404 page. Just build and customize a page, and choose it as your 404.
Since you can use any theme out there for your WordPress, and there are various page builders that can help you make any page imaginable, there’s virtually no limit on what kind of 404 that you can create for your WordPress site.Creative 404 Pages for Your Inspiration
When you are ready to build a custom 404 page for your WordPress site, here are some creative and fun 404 pages that might inspire you.Ford
Ford, a car maker, cleverly use a road to draw 404 and an animated car moving nowhere in loops.Roman Menshikov
This 404 page concept utilizes the lonely atmosphere of the image to show the feeling of being lost.Derek Clark
Another 404 page concept that will fit photography sites.GigMasters
As a site that deals with shows and performances, using a magician to represent a page that disapears shows that the webmaster put a lot of thought into planning the page.The Movie Nerd
This site uses the 404 page as a recruitment page. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, why don’t you write it for us?I Love Icons
Where is it? What is that? It looks like 404. Am I lost?Brendan Pittman
Nobody is in the audience. Maybe it’s because nobody should be here. You’re lost; return home. A great 404 page concept for music-related sites.
Where’s the party? Not on this 404 page.Lego
What can represent the Lego site better than its figures?Umbro
To maintain its identity as a sport-related company, Umbro created a sports-related 404 page.IMDB
It’s fitting of a movie database site to show a movie-related 404 page. The page will show different movie quotes every time you refresh the page.Dilbert
A 404 page showing a funny 404 page comic strip. Which one did Scott Adams create first: the strip or the page?Mark Dijkstra
Sometimes simplicity can go a long way. The page might appear simple, but creating it is not as simportant as its look.magnt
Magnt doesn’t want to shoulder all the blame. You and your inability to type are also responsible for bringing up the 404 page.Blue Fountain Media
Let’s play PacMan. Missing page? What missing page?Huwshimi
Why Ninja? Why not?Wearespry
No, don’t go home. Mom, can I keep it?NotFound.org
And if you are still not sure about what kind of WordPress 404 page that you want to build, you can put that error page to good use. chúng tôi is an organization that helps find missing children. If you decide to participate, your 404 page will always be updated with the latest missing children info. By speading the information, you increase the chance of finding those unfortunate youngsters.
Image Credit: Jonathan Patterson
Jeffry Thurana is a creative writer living in Indonesia. He helps other writers and freelancers to earn more from their crafts. He’s on a quest of learning the art of storytelling, believing that how you tell a story is as important as the story itself. He is also an architect and a designer, and loves traveling and playing classical guitar.
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Since paid campaigns have become expensive, small business owners turn to cost-effective digital marketing where they can pay less and get effective results. As online business turns responsive in sales growth, entrepreneurs prefer to start marketing with less or no money. From website launching to PPC, a marketer can evaluate the strategy, the current market trend, and the minimum cost invested in the marketing. If you’re into small business and thinking about how to do digital marketing in a cheaper way, read the article and get the inputs.
Cost-effective digital marketing is helpful in another way because, after the evaluation, you can finalize your strategy and focus on your resources so that they can properly utilize them to fetch the expected ROI from the market.What is Low-cost Digital Marketing?
When the total expenditure on digital marketing reduce, and prefer spending less money or completely free, it’s called low-cost digital marketing. Small business owners, medium to large, who want to sense the market trends, and believe in tested and trial methods, can experiment with low-cost internet marketing. Investing in paid campaigns involves extensive monetary activities. If the company budget sometimes follows the low-cost system, marketing expenses reduce automatically. Besides, when the market is not static and not providing an unsatisfactory outcome, it would not be wise to spend on digital marketing.
However, there are ways to continue digital marketing flow with minimum expenses. Let’s see how to do it.How to Do Cost-effective Digital Marketing with Proven Results? Content Marketing
With content, marketing is possible. Thanks to Content Marketing which occupies massive space in digital marketing. Besides, there are many channels you can use to market your business with powerful content. Let’s see how many ways you can go for content marketing for free or less expenditure −
Podcast − Podcast is the current trend that internet users go crazy for. The podcast is audible content in which you record your words and share the link with your audience. Those who don’t get time to read can listen to the content. You can make a podcast and share it with your listeners.
Video Content − You can start video marketing since visuals can attract more consumers to your site. It’s quite an effective form of marketing as people can watch you on their screens. Please remember that your body language should align with the content you share on screen.
Webinars − If you’re into the education industry, you can conduct a webinar for free. Several tools are available to conduct a webinar to address your prospects and sell your course.Email Marketing
It’s another way of cost-effective marketing. You can list out your contacts and start email marketing. There are free tools available that you can use to hit the inbox of your contacts or business subscribers. An email with content, infographic, etc., can impact the readers’ minds. You can establish a connection for the long term through emails. Thus, it’s suitable for low-cost digital marketing.Social Media Marketing
Social media is another excellent platform to attract your prospect. You can use the medium to interact one-on-one, get real-time feedback and sell your product/ service. Below are the ways to market using social media −
Company Page − Almost all social media allow business owners to create a company page. Once you create the page with your company details, you can add your target buyers. Regular posts on your company page with relevant information will increase engagement, and people will come to know about your company.
Create Company Profile − If you want to join people on your post on social media, you must create a company profile with relevant images. Next, you can post blog links, announce offers, make festival wishes to your buyers, etc. You can redirect the traffic using various social media trends and re-direct them to your website. The outreach will be good enough for business.
Paid Campaign − If you’re ready to invest less in paid marketing, you can start paid campaigns on social media. You can try with a low budget and observe the impact on the dashboard.Search Engine Optimization
SEO is another effective marketing tool to generate traffic to your website. Search Engine Optimization is crucial if you want to rank your website or blog on Google’s first page. Besides, with SEO, you can try link building to increase your website’s domain authority. You need to use high-volume keywords to grab your target audiences so that visitors must visit your site. You can do SEO with minimum expenditure and start marketing your website and blogs on several online platforms.
These are effective ways to market your business digitally. These are proven strategies and result-oriented tools to increase traffic to your website, promote your product/service, and minimize marketing expenditure.Benefits of Low-Cost Digital Marketing: A Few
Low-cost digital marketing has practical benefits in terms of monetary factors. Here are they −
The cost-effective marketing will support your overall budget
Risk is low
You can experiment with the current trends
With minimum expense, you can sense the recent buyers’ trends (their preferences & non-likes)Conclusion
There are probably almost as many ways to organize your iPhone apps as there are iPhone users, and most of us have probably experimented with a bunch of them. But more than eight years later, I’m still using a method I first tried back in 2013 (that screen size! those icons!).
Instead of organizing my apps by what they do, I organize them by where I am when I use them ….
For quite a while, I thought I had the most logical way to organize my apps: by category. For example, I had a bunch of chat apps in a folder called, imaginatively enough, Chat. Camera and other photography-related apps were in a folder called Photography. And so on.
But as the number of apps grew, there came a point where the cracks in that approach started to show themselves. First, there was the question of remembering how I’d categorized an app. When I first started using Dropbox, for example, it was almost exclusively for business use, so it went into a Business folder. Later, however, it became a much more general tool.
Second, although a bunch of apps might belong in the same category, that might lump together apps I used all the time with apps I hardly ever used. For example, I went through a phase of using GarageBand a lot (to kind of pretend I could play an instrument… ), and that was in the same Entertainment folder as Kindle, which I used only if I’d forgotten to take my physical Kindle on a trip.
To be clear, I do still use categorized folders – but only for apps I hardly ever use. The apps I use frequently are organized by usage occasion.Organize your iPhone apps by context/place
For example, I have apps I use all the time at home. While my Mac is my primary device when I’m sitting at my desk, in the evening I’m more likely to use my iPhone to simply check email or play some music.
There are other apps I use almost exclusively while I’m out and about. BBC News and The Guardian, for example, are news apps that I use to quickly catch up on the world while I’m on the move, while at home I’ll use the website on my Mac. WordPress on my phone is another example of an app I only ever use while mobile – used when I come up with an idea for a piece I want to write, and I just create a new post to jot down a few notes I can use as a prompt when I’m sitting at my desk.
The third major category for me is travel. When I’m in another country, I make extensive use of apps like Google Translate and Revolut (used because the card gives the best exchange rate, and I use the app to freeze the card between uses). There are also apps I use only when in a specific country, like the Western Union app to send myself cash in Buenos Aires – so I have a subfolder for that, given I’ve now taken to spending one month a year there.
So effectively I have three Home screens:
Each of these has the main apps I use in each of these situations, with the Dock used for the key apps I use everywhere.
Of course, one can argue that there’s little need to organize apps at all: just stick your most-used ones on the Home screen, then use search for everything else.
I do tend to use search for apps that are either used out-of-context (for example, to access a travel app while I’m at home), or an app used so infrequently that it’s in one of my categorized folders. But I still find it a smoother experience to have instant access to the apps I’m most likely to use in any given circumstance.
Photo: Marten Bjork/Unsplash
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