Benchmark Passages #reading #program, #leveled #reading, #leveled #books, #lesson #plans, #student #worksheets,


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Digital Running Records on Raz-Plus

With our Online Running Record tool, Raz-Plus or Raz-Kids members can:

  • Assign and listen to recordings of Benchmark Passages and Books.
  • Score recordings using an online running record tool.

BENCHMARK PASSAGES & RUNNING RECORDS

Find students’ instructional levels by assessing their reading skills with developmentally appropriate texts while recording reading behavior. Benchmark Passages are short text selections that are one part of a three-part process to help place students at their instructional levels for leveled reading sessions and to assess their readiness to progress to the next level.

Why Benchmark Passages

Benchmark Passages assess comprehension and reward students’ progress from level to level. They are one part of a three-part process that provides a more complete assessment of reading behavior and comprehension than any of the parts independently.

  • Each level has 2 fiction and 2 nonfiction passages.
  • Each level has at least 1 fiction-nonfiction passage pair on the same topic.
  • Each passage uses a level-appropriate percentage of words from leveled books at that reading level.
    • aa-E = 100%
    • F-J = 95% + 5% new words
    • K-Z = 90% + 10% new words
  • The text of the entire passage is used in the Running Record.
  • Most are one page long, but upper level passages can be two pages.
  • ALL are available on Raz-Plus .

How to Use Benchmark Passages

  1. Give a student a Benchmark Passage he or she has never seen before to read aloud. If you prefer to use familiar text, use the fiction-nonfiction topic pair at each level. Use one passage from the pair to support a student’s understanding of the topic before assessing with the other passage.
  2. Record the student’s reading behavior using the passage’s Running Record form.
  3. If a student scores 90 percent, assess the student’s comprehension using a Quick Check from Level A-Z and Retelling Rubrics .
  4. If a student scores from 90%-94% percent on the running record and answers comprehension questions at 80%-100%, he or she is at an instructional level. (For more details, see About Running Records ).
  5. Use Benchmark WOWzers to reward students’ progress from level to level.

Features and Chart

  • 2 7 words per line; 4.5 words average
  • 1 line per page
  • 30 55 words total
  • Complete sentences
  • Repetition of high-frequency words
  • Repetitive pattern with one or two word changes per page
  • Pattern may change on last page, such as a surprise ending
  • Predictable language
  • One-to-one text-to-picture correspondence
  • Familiar topics
  • Consistent text placement
  • 10 pages

Big and Little

Ted Sees a Pond

Near the Pond

We Read About Animals

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2017 LAZEL, Inc. All rights reserved. Learning A-Z, Headsprout, Raz-Kids, and Science A-Z are registered trademarks of LAZEL, Inc. Reading A-Z, ReadyTest A-Z, Vocabulary A-Z, and Writing A-Z are trademarks of LAZEL, Inc. Other trademarks, logos, and service marks used in this site are the property of LAZEL, Inc. or third parties.


When Can You Claim a Tax Deduction for Health Insurance? #tax, #taxes,


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When Can You Claim a Tax Deduction for Health Insurance?

Each year, June 28 marks National Insurance Awareness Day, serving as a reminder that it’s a good time to review your insurance coverage and ensure that it still fits your needs.

This is particularly true for health insurance and making sure you have the right amount of coverage at an affordable cost.

Health insurance can be expensive, so being able to claim a tax deduction for some of your insurance costs can help you save come tax time.

Since there are specific rules and qualifications you must follow, here’s an overview of when you can and cannot claim a tax deduction on your health insurance.

When health insurance is not tax-deductible

If you didn’t pay for health insurance, you can’t take a tax deduction for it. If your employer pays your health insurance premiums, you can’t deduct those costs. However, if an employer only pays for part of your premiums, you still may be able to claim a tax deduction for the portion you paid.

If you received a subsidy or premium tax credit to purchase an insurance plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace through the Affordable Care Act, any advanced-payment subsidy that lowered the cost of your health insurance premiums cannot be claimed as a tax deduction. However, the money you paid out of your own pocket for your premiums might be tax deductible.

You can’t take a deduction for health insurance you paid for with pre-tax money. If you have insurance through your employer, the premiums you pay are usually taken out of your paycheck before your income taxes are calculated. Since these premiums are paid with pre-tax dollars, they’re already income-tax-free, meaning you can’t claim them as a tax deduction.

Also note, you can not deduct health insurance unless you itemize your tax deductions or you are self-employed. You don t need to know if you qualify for itemized tax deductions, TurboTax will figure it out for you.

When health insurance is tax-deductible

If you’re self-employed, your health insurance premiums may be tax deductible. If you’re self-employed and not eligible for an employer-sponsored health plan through a spouse’s job, you may be eligible to write-off your health insurance premiums on your taxes. However, you can’t write off more in health insurance premiums than you earned.

Health insurance premiums paid with your own after-tax dollars are tax deductible. For example, if you purchased health insurance on your own through a health insurance exchange or directly from an insurance company, the money you paid toward your monthly premiums can be taken as a tax deduction.

Some Medicare plans are tax deductible. This includes Medicare Part B and Part D prescription coverage.

There are limits to the amount of your health insurance you can deduct. If you are able to write-off your health insurance, there are limits to how much of your premiums you can write off.

If you’re able to claim your health insurance as a medical expense deduction. you can only deduct medical expenses that exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (7.5% if you’re 65 or older). If you’re self-employed and claimed the self-employed health insurance deduction, you don’t have to exceed the 10% threshold because you’re writing the premiums off as an adjustment to your self-employment income rather than as a tax deduction deduction.

As with all tax laws, TurboTax is up-to-date with the latest tax law changes. If you have more questions about the Affordable Care Act and how it impacts you and your taxes, you can get answers from TurboTax Health .

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Top 10 social media dashboard tools #awareness #networks, #brizzly, #cotweet, #hootsuite, #mediafunnel,


Top 10 social media dashboard tools

How to manage the torrent of social media conversations and increase your productivity!

By Kim Bale
Socialbrite staff

O ne of the things we often hear from nonprofits and social enterprises is: How do I manage the torrent of social media conversations coming at me?

The answer used to be: Painstakingly and one conversation at a time. But a new crop of social media tools aims to tamp down the social media gusher by letting you update, monitor, manage and maintain several communication outlets at once. (While it s sometimes hard to know what counts as a social media dashboard, we re not including a wide range of customer relationship management (CRM) or social media monitoring tools here.)

When selecting a dashboard for personal or professional use, you should consider such items as cost, analytics and which social networks they support, among other things. Our list is meant to feature some of the breakout social media dashboards in the space and highlight their distinguishing features to make the selection process a bit easier.

Here are 10 of our favorite social media dashboard tools:

Threadsy: Unify your email, social networks

1 Threadsy is an intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard that allows organizations to connect through multiple email accounts as well as Facebook and Twitter. Free to use, Threadsy is great for managing your nonprofit or business s brand from one clean dashboard across the big names in social media platforms. With no fees and no downloads, this service should make a splash in the space for both personal use and use by your organization.

Myweboo: Organize your information streams

2 Haven t heard of Myweboo. That s OK. This upstart startup invites users to discover, browse and read popular streams and share them with friends and followers. You or your organization can choose from a wide variety of “applications” to connect to and stream to a dashboard from categories like news, social, fashion, photo and video. These streams can be viewed together of filtered from “My Dashboard” and then easily shared via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Delicious and other networks. You re in complete control of which sites will make up your dashboard. Free to use, Myweboo is run by an appealing brother-and-sister pair of young tech stars.

Hootsuite: Integrate all your platforms

3 Our personal favorite is Hootsuite because of the depth of its products and services. Nonprofits and cause organizations can update multiple social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and more) from a computer or iPhone, Android or BlackBerry device. A team of users can track results of their interactions and create a dashboard that will work efficiently with their preferred social streams. Hootsuite offers two versions. One is free and aggregates up to five social network and two RSS feeds; it stores stat history for 30 days and is ad supported. For $5.99 a month, your organization can enjoy unlimited capabilities for a single user, with each additional user costing $10 per month.

Spredfast: For teams of social marketers

4 Spredfast allows an organization not only to manage its social media presence but also to monitor and measure its voice across multiple social media channels from one easy-to-use dashboard. A great choice for organizations with multiple hands in social media marketing efforts, Spredfast offers superb organizational tools that help identify and assign tasks to multiple users across multiple social media sites ranging from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and blogging platforms. It also lets you publish video to many video sites at once, similar to TubeMogul. Free for 30 days, Spredfast has pricing tiers that start around $212 per month for nonprofits. See the new writeup on Spredfast on our sister site, Socialmedia.biz.

MediaFunnel: Collaborative, permission-based system

5 Coordinate and manage your nonprofit s social media presence with MediaFunnel. a collaboration platform that lets you navigate and moderate online conversations about your brand. One interesting feature: You can use MediaFunnel to manage your team member s social media updates say, by holding your intern s tweets in a queue until approved by a supervisor (roles include admins, publishers and contributors). Chiefly geared to businesses, MediaFunnel makes it easy to combine several social media accounts and to offer solutions for presenting a brand s presence through multiple voices. Scheduled tweets, brand alerts and tweets via email or SMS are supported.

CoTweet: Advanced features for Enterprise users

6 CoTweet is used by thousands of individuals and employees at nonprofits and corporations around the world. The free Standard edition is limited to a few Twitter accounts and geared to a couple of team members. The paid Enterprise edition supports Facebook, too, and is geared to brands more deeply engaged in social marketing, brand building and customer support. It supports an unlimited number of users, advanced workflow, more analytics, third-party integrations including Salesforce.com productivity tools, unlimited conversation history for deeper customer relationships, a mobile app, rich profiles of fans and followers and more.

Seesmic: Free, clean credible

Netvibes: Share your widgets with the world

8 Netvibes lets organizations keep track of the news and trends that matter, create unique personal and public dashboards and share these public dashboards or sites with anyone, anywhere, at any time. You can easily create fun and personalized widgets detailing the weather, to-do lists, Twitter feeds, Facebook posts or Flickr updates, among many others and post them to both personal and public dashboards. Organizations can choose a theme, name their pages and organize them with tabs and share them with the world.

TweetDeck: Connect with your contacts

9 If you re a Twitter aficionado, you may already use TweetDeck. which works on the Mac, PC, Linux, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. It connects organizations with contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google Buzz and many more. Free of charge, TweetDeck allows users to schedule future posts, manage multiple accounts and update several social media sites at once to maintain consistency. One unique feature allows users to send tweets longer than 140 characters through smart cross-posting to both a Buzz and Twitter account. Twitter is a desktop app and not Web-based, so one thing we don t like is the inability to manage the app s font size on different screens.

Brizzly: Simplify your updating

10 Brizzly simplifies your social media browsing and updating experience while taking some of the work out of keeping up to date with trends and followers. It lets you update on Twitter and Facebook. Its Brizzly Guide helps explain trending topics on Twitter. Brizzly is free.

Tools that can integrate your social networks

There are, of course, other social media dashboard solutions for the enterprise. One good choice for businesses is Awareness. which lets your team publish, manage, measure and engage across multiple social media channels.

Another is Sprout Social. Social media tools for business, a social media management suite. We listed Sprout Social in our roundup of Paid social media monitoring services .

Also, don t forget other tools that can integrate your social networks:

• You might want to try using a browser as your social media dashboard. Flock has been the most social of the social browsers for the past five years. Others say Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox will get you a social media dashboard with the right add-ons/extensions. And Marc Andreessen s upcoming RockMelt (Mashable review ) will take it a step further, requiring you to log into Facebook before using it.

• Unilyzer has a social media dashboard to unify your Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.

• We re impressed by the private beta of Nimble and will report back when we ve used it more extensively.

• TwitterFeed lets you feed your blog to Twitter, Facebook and more.

• Ping.fm is a free service that makes it easy to update your social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr and Delicious.

• RowFeeder is a tool to cross-post, to track conversations on Twitter and Facebook and to create analytical reports.

What s your favorite social media dashboard? Please add a comment.

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