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The EL Explorer

News from ExploreLearning

December 2011


This newsletter is full of great information on Gizmos®, Reflex and the latest happenings at ExploreLearning:

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New Reflex Game: Wind Rider

Tell Your Reflex Story, Win a Flip Camera

ExploreLearning Educator of the Month

Holiday Fun with Gizmos

ExploreLearning's Fall Conference Tour

New Reflex Game: Wind Rider

Wind Rider Reflex GameWe recently launched a new Reflex game called Wind Rider. Students use math facts to puff up their hot air balloon and float through the big, blue sky. There are glowing balls and small balloons for power-ups. Students race to get a high score before the sun goes down, while avoiding obstacles such as thunderstorms, windmills, airplanes and even some bad ol' crows.

The addition of Wind Rider means Reflex now offers seven diverse games. This variety helps keep students engaged and entertained. And that helps them progress toward mastering their math facts with Reflex.

Tell Your Reflex Story, Win a Flip Camera

Do you have a Reflex moment? Maybe it's a struggling student who tells you they are starting to like math? It might be your classroom reaching a new fluency milestone. Or, it could be watching your own child giggle while working on a home assignment.

Reflex FlipcamTell us your Reflex story and win a Flip camera. It’s easy to enter the Reflex “Tell Us” contest. Just go to our Reflex Facebook page and tell us your experience with Reflex and how it has positively impacted your students, or your own kids. During December, original entries on our Facebook wall will be entered to win a top-of-the-line Flip minoHD 8GB camera with a unique Reflex cover design! Each Facebook post counts as an entry, so tell us in words, snap a photo of Reflex in action, and record a short video for yet another entry. One unique entry per day. Enter as many days as you’d like.

If you have not tried Reflex yet…what are you waiting for? You can try it free for 14 days. That's two full weeks to begin your story.

On January 2, 2012, we’ll draw from all December entries for one grand-prize winner of the Flip camera. We’ll also choose three grab bag winners of assorted ExploreLearning Reflex merchandise. We’ll notify the winners via Facebook messaging and get shipping details.

ExploreLearning Educator of the Month

StephanieAlejandra Guzman has been teaching high school science for four years, first in Miami-Dade Schools in Florida and now at Stafford High School in Texas. She was named Teacher of the Year at Miami's Somerset Academy Silver Palms, and now serves on the Stafford MSD Technology Committee as well as the district's mentoring program for new science teachers.

Mrs. Guzman, or "Mrs. Gizmo" as some of her district administrators refer to her, started using Gizmos in 2009 and has been integrating them into her teaching practically every week since then. Since moving to Texas, she has been helping her new district get set up with Gizmos. She has also been presenting Gizmos at science and technology conferences around Texas, demonstrating their effectiveness in her specialty, Biology.

Plants and SnailsPlants and Snails Mrs. Guzman points to the Plants and Snails as an example of how Gizmos can help save on lab expenses, avoid experimentation on live animals, and allow for faster data collection. Plants and Snails is also her personal favorite, because students often have difficulty understanding how photosynthesis and respiration are interdependent. As with many lessons, she covers the concept in her lecture, but then uses a Gizmo to drive and reinforce understanding.

"Gizmos are great because they are teacher and student friendly and they require no lab prep! They are very easy to use and all of the work (lesson plans, background, vocabulary, worksheets, assessments) are provided. Gizmos make teaching easy and fun!"

Holiday Fun with Gizmos

When we think about using Gizmos for holiday-themed lessons and activities, our thoughts naturally turn to the classic Holiday Snowflake Designer. There are plenty of other Gizmos that can fit into fun holiday activities as well. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Quilting Bee Gizmo- Use Surface and Lateral Area of Prisms and Cylinders to determine how much wrapping paper is needed for a gift…

- Use Percent of Change to discuss holiday discounts…

- Use Chocomatic to make and wrap candy bar gifts…

- Use Cannonball Clowns to estimate the distance to Grandma's house…

- Use Gizmos such as Quilting Bee, Distance Time Graphs, Circuit Builder, Fido's Flower Bed, and 3D and Orthographic Views to design holiday-themed patterns and objects.

You can make fun competitions out of these activities and reward the most creative designers by posting their results on the Gizmos Facebook page. And, get in the spirit of giving by posting your own Gizmos-based holiday activities on the Facebook page, so other educators can benefit as well.

ExploreLearning's Fall Conference Tour

Pshwew! We've had an amazing fall conference season. Our Sales and Professional Development teams traveled to about 50 conferences in over 20 U.S. states, three Canadian provinces, and two other countries. We even attended (and sponsored) an "unconference" in Toronto.

A crowd forms for Gizmos demonstrations at an NCTM conference.

Educators packed into our booth to learn about using Gizmos for inquiry-based learning and Reflex for building math fact mastery. Though sometimes they stopped by just to have a blast playing Reflex games and competing to win top-of-the-line Flip video cameras.

Current subscribers frequently stopped by too. Ontario Project Manager Stephen Lippa notes that, "often teachers attending a conference will seek out the ExploreLearning booth simply to say 'thank you' for making Gizmos so great!" We're always ready to "talk shop" with subscribers to help you get the most out of Gizmos and Reflex.

This week, we'll be wrapping up the season with NSTA Seattle. Then after a short break we'll be heading back out for a packed spring schedule starting with BETT in London. We can't make it to every single conference, but we're going for another record in 2012. So whichever education conferences you attend, look for us there!

Stay in Touch

If you want to comment on any of the information in this newsletter, be sociable and post your insights on the Facebook pages for Gizmos and Reflex.

And as always, if you have a question or comment about Gizmos or Reflex, don't hesitate to contact our Customer Support team using the support form for either Gizmos or Reflex. We would love to hear from you.

New to Reflex?

  Watch View Introduction to Reflex!  
  Watch Tour Educators' tour of Reflex  
  Watch Tour Students' tour of Reflex  
  Watch Read The research on Reflex and math fact fluency (white paper)  

with Reflex

Connect with Reflex on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Reflex YouTube Channel Connect with Reflex on LinkedIn!

New to Gizmos?

  Watch View Introduction to Gizmos!  
  Watch View What educators are saying about Gizmos  
  Watch View Teaching with Gizmos – demo movies  
  Watch Read What the research says about Gizmos  

with Gizmos

Connect with Gizmos on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Gizmos YouTube Channel Connect with Gizmos on LinkedIn!

Free Trials


Free trials are available for both Reflex and Gizmos!

Share these links with colleagues and let them explore these two best-of-breed products.

Reflex trial:

Gizmos trial:

Educators Love ExploreLearning


"Gizmos are animated and speak to the learner on multiple levels. It gives the students another view of the lessons that are being taught. My students and I find Gizmos to be interesting and empowering."

Fern Dantzler, Math Coach
Memphis Schools, Tennessee

"Students are really loving using [Reflex] and have asked to stay in from recess to practice math."

Dave Yaciuk, Vice Principal
Upper Grand DSB, Ontario

"Students love to share their thinking and their strategies. They also love to use the interactive whiteboard. They show a great deal of interest thanks to the visual and tactile aspects Gizmos offer. Once teachers see the involvement and the desire to learn in the face of their students, they really want to know more about Gizmos."

Renée Michaud, Math Coordinator
CPFPP, Alberta

Critical Acclaim for Gizmos



Winner: Distinguished Achievement Award
2011, 2008, 2007, 2005 AEP


Winner: Golden Lamp Award
2010 AEP


Winner: Best Science Instructional Solution
2010 SIIA CODiE Awards


Winner: Awards of Excellence
2009, 2008 Tech and Learning Magazine


Winner: Best K-12 Instructional Solution
2009 SIIA CODiE Awards


Winner: Best Science Instruction Solution
2007, 2006 SIIA CODiE Awards


Diamond Award in Mathematics
District Administration Magazine


E-Learning Innovation Award
Macromedia Corp.


Best Education Website
Webby Awards


Three time Digital Dozen Honoree
Eisenhower National Clearinghouse



ExploreLearning is on LinkedIn


Connect with EL on LinkedIn!At the top of this sidebar, we provide links to social media sites where you can connect with ExploreLearning.

You may have noticed a new social media icon appearing this month: LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn site provides another way you can connect with us…and another opportunity to recommend Gizmos and Reflex to other education professionals. From the Products section of our LinkedIn page, you can write a personal recommendation for Gizmos and/or Reflex and let other LinkedIn members know what these products have done for your teaching environment.

Connect with Reflex

Connect with Reflex on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Reflex YouTube Channel Connect with Reflex on LinkedIn!

P.O. Box 2185
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Connect with Gizmos

Connect with Gizmos on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Gizmos YouTube Channel Connect with Gizmos on LinkedIn!