I love this quote from Sylvia Martinez. I get tired of the buzz words used in education- from "learning styles" to growth mindset to grit. I think we all just want to find ways to reach kids, to light those fires and help them learn to love learning. Yes, compliance is nice. I did compliance as a young girl in school- got the A's, never learned much math- but could follow the recipe, and honestly, never really cared about school. I liked it because it was easy for me, my friends were there and I just like to read. Now, as an educator, I still work on trying to find ways to make school meaningful for students, especially those who struggle. I fail every day. Not in the ever popular "first attempt in learning" manner; I just make mistakes, miss the cues, and more. It is certainly not my first attempt. But, I have learned to care about what I do, or perhaps, I do what I care about... and that helps me persevere and demonstrate if not mastery- grit.
If you ever get a chance to hear Sylvia speak, go for it. She is an engineer, an educator and goes around the world talking with and helping educators. Her latest book is a new version of Invent to Learn, co-authored with Gary Stager. They also run a makers conference every year up in Manchester NH.
Andrew Roush wrote a great article on the TCEA blog about Interactive Maps. I had never looked at these National Geographic Maps. They have lots of very cool features. Andrew goes through these in his post with some good examples. If you just want to investigate on your own, head on over to National Geographic's Mapmaker Interactive. There's a playlist with 9 short videos to get you started.
I had never heard of this site before and it was explained to me as sort of an ask the expert type of site. Not so much from what I can see, but really interesting and is much more about learning about people. This is from their About page:
"DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
The Human Library™ is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers.
A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered."
Lots of "books" to explore and it looks like they will be starting a Human Library for children this summer.
Here's a TED talk to learn more:
I first skimmed through this article about how Google is working to make devices more accessible to all, but was utterly transfixed by one of the projects- Project Euphonia. This project is to expand the capabilities of speech recognition to all. I'm sure that you all have had students who were difficult to understand, for various reasons. I know that when I am looking for assistive tech solutions, I sometimes just plain run into the wall with artic issues- and speech to text just plain cannot work. This project, although still in its infancy- has real promise for those with articulation issues due to development, medical issues and more. Just watch this short video and see what you think. The article is here- there are several other projects to check out.
Ideas to Share
It's often hard to talk about world issues with students. We all come to school with different backstories, different issues that we have had to deal with in life. As an educator no one wants to make a student feel vulnerable, or uncomfortable. So, how do you talk with kids about first world problems vs the rest of the world problems? Or do you agree with Patrick Gothman that this sort of thinking is divisive and we should stop saying, "first-world"? How do you address the social inequities that we deal with in the US and compare/contrast them to what others face on a daily basis? The video below is made of combined images from artist Uğur Gallenkuş. You can read more about the images here.
By this time tomorrow, we will all know what this magical new product is, but so far Jay Silver is just sending out teasers. For those of you who have loved using MakeyMakey in the classroom, Jay is one of the inventors. Here's a short blurb from a longer EdSurge article. "According to a project summary from the National Science Foundation, which has given Gamebender $1 million to pilot its wares in museums and schools, the product “is composed of a projection system that allows real-time programmable interactions between everyday and virtual objects without a computer screen.” According to Andrew Sliwinski, Co-director of Scratch, “GameBender will bring the power and magic of coding to kids in a totally new way."
My Twitter feed seems to be filling up recently with warnings about copyright violations after a school district in Houston got sued- and lost- big time, to the tune of $9.2 MILLION! I know that some teachers are pretty casual about copyright, using the educational "fair use" clause as a reason not to follow the rules. Back when I taught a grade 9 computer class, one assignment was to create a page for a field guide, in conjunction with a trip to the Everglades. The kids were thrilled to see so many hits on their work, over 4000 for one year's version. I explained to them that that meant that any copyright violation was seen by 4000 lawyers. Fair Use is used in a court room- you do not want to go there. Please review the basic copyright rules! You may be surprised that some of the things you take for granted as OK, really aren't. Check out Richard Byrne's blog post about this here, or watch the video of his webinar with Dr. Beth Holland below.Copyright for Teachers.
#InnovatingPlay - #iplay019 Creating a Global Play Box
When I saw this slide deck from the #InnovatingPlay, Creating a Global Play Box, I knew that many other teachers would love to see this resource. Jessica and Christine's website/blog posts and twitter chats simply contain a wealth of resources that they have created or have been shared through their PLN. So, check out the slidedeck here- Global Play Box. When you have time to spare and you are looking for amazing ideas for Early Childhood or Elementary curricula, just spend the day following the links on their blog
STEM Lab Challenges
Karly Moura has done it again! She has created and shared an excellent collection of STEM challenge cards and badges. She gives links to all the instructions and has each task clearly defined. I don't have exactly the same array of STEM stuff that Karly has, but now that I have this slidedeck to use as a template, perhaps I can go through and decide to make some microbit or edison challenge cards. It would be a challenge to make some Cubetto or BeeBot cards- using mostly graphics for the non-readers. As always, Karly makes me think of new ways to use materials and to organize lessons, and provides ideas for assessment.
Ideas to Share
Math with Bad Drawings
8 Things Every School Must Do To Prepare For The 4th Industrial Revolution
Must be getting to the end of the year. I looked through all my bookmarks/wakelets for the last week and there was a whole bunch of unrelated "stuff", no unifying theme whatsoever. Here you go...
Erin Riley's "The Art of Digital Fabrication"
I was lucky enough to meet and learn from Erin last summer at the Maker Educator Collective Bootcamp in Indiana. Erin was one of our facilitators for the week. Little did I know that she also works at Greenwich Academy, is the director of the @GA_EDLab and knows my cousin Jane, who also works at GA!
An artist, an engineer, a teacher, Erin helped me begin to learn how to design with a laser cutter. I love the new book and am looking forward to learning more this summer!
This course was shared recently in a FB STEM teacher group. It is simply a pretty comprehensive set of lessons for NGSS grades K-5, set down very clearly by teachers in classrooms in Michigan. It is a work in progress. If you are looking for ideas for elementary science and/or trying to transition to NGSS standards, this is a nice collection.
Rivet- Reading App
Richard Byrnes shared this one recently, Rivet- a reading app from Google. I had never heard of it. Check out the video below and the review Richard has on his blog. Sounds like something to check out... and it's free.
When I saw this article in the Smithsonian Magazine, I immediately thought of Josh Driver. A 5th/6th grade ELA and Social Studies teacher, he infuses his lessons with hands on games, Senet, Mesopotamia Surplus, etc. This article talks about a new find, an ancient Roman game board, found near the Hadrian Wall. It also cites other web sites that I had never looked at... like AncientGames.org, which has some really cool games on it- kind of like chess. Check it out.
Matt Miller: Awesome Lesson Planning
Matt has a new 4 part video series out, all about how to align, realign your lesson plans. I know you don't usually think of "lesson plans" and awesome in the same sentence... but Matt can help. "These are part of a NEW four-part video series called "Awesome Lesson Planning Made Easy." It's full of strategies to level up your lesson planning game, making you more organized and helping you to get more done." I love listening to/watching Matt's videos- full of practical ideas from a teacher who is actually in the classroom... Check out his whole series.
Lori Gracey, over at TCEA, shared a new word cloud tool- Word Wanderer. You can read all about it on her blog post. It's pretty easy to use and has some different comparisons.
EOY Google Classroom Cleanup
2019 STEM for All Video Showcase
Every year NSF sponsored video projects are displayed in a giant video showcase. Enjoy, learn, get new ideas...
From the website:stemforall2019.videohall.com/ "More than 240 federally funded projects, highlighting innovations in STEM education, share short videos of their work. Researchers, practitioners, policy makers and the general public are invited to post to the discussions. Share your perspectives, ideas and feedback. Vote for your favorites. Voting and discussion ends on May 20 at 8PM EDT."
Build a Better Book
Related to the STEM for All showcase, I watched a webinar today which featured presenters who have a video in the showcase. The webinar was with Colleen Graves and Stacey Forsyth
and part of the focus was using the Makey Makey. What I really liked about this project- it involves students in improving accessibility for others.
This is a blurb from the project website to give you a brief overview:
"The Build a Better Book project works with school and library Makerspaces to engage youth in the design and fabrication of inclusive media, including picture books, games and graphics. Using both low- and high-tech Makerspace tools, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, Makey Makeys, conductive boards and craft materials, youth design, fabricate, test and refine multi-modal books, games and STEM graphics that incorporate tactile and audio features. These products are designed by and for learners with visual impairments as well as other physical and learning disabilities. Through the project, middle and high school youth develop technology skills and learn about STEM careers as they design and create multi-modal picture books, graphics and games that can be seen, touched and heard!"
The link to the showcase presentation is https://stemforall2019.videohall.com/presentations/1438.
The project website link is: https://www.colorado.edu/project/bbb/
Don't miss the project gallery https://www.colorado.edu/project/bbb/design-gallery
This film has been around for a couple of years. I have yet to see it in an IMAX theater. Next time someone takes a class to the Boston Science Museum... Anyway, the film is inspiring and they have created an excellent pool of resources for educators. They have free teacher's guide with step by step lesson plans. " It includes multidisciplinary activities for students in grades K–12 and has been written to meet Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), as well as common state science objectives. Each lesson presents students with an engineering challenge inspired by the work of real engineers and can be used to help introduce the engineering mindset to the classroom or your home. " Access the guide from the website. They also have a series of short videos to introduce topics as well as 10 hands-on activities. You can go even further with an additional 30 activities from film partner DiscoverE’s website:
http://www.discovere.org/dreambig/activities. Well worth your time!
Global Problem Solvers
Science Buddies has teamed up with Cisco to create a free STEM Superheros video series. Here's the blurb: "A free animated series from Cisco emphasizes teamwork, social, and creative skills in solving world challenges. With a team of teens each with a real-world superpower, the GPS series educates kids about STEM-based problem solving and social entrepreneurship and inspires them to find and use their own superpowers."
Check out what they have to offer here.
Ideas to Share
Global Accessibility Awareness Day
National Day of Action
Teach With Tech Conference
Using Google Tools to Support Writing
Wait! I Can Run Linux on a Chromebook??
MassCUE has a new digital micro-credential program that you may want to check out. Here's their blurb... and the link: " This four-level program is available to all MassCUE members at no cost during the introductory roll out of the program. Many of the module tasks are embedded in the Hoonuit platform that is included in every MassCUE membership! After completion and review of each badge level, an educator will receive PDPs as well as a badge within a three-week period after completion and approval from the MassCUE PD Committee. We encourage participants to earn all four badges."
I just attended a Digital Promise webinar yesterday on micro-credentials. They have a pretty amazing platform of micro-credentials to choose from. Most are free, but sometimes the issuing agency will have a fee. Check with your school or licensing authority to be sure that they will accept micro-credentials.
Sorry- back to MassCUE News...
There will be another GooglePalooza in Western Mass again this summer- over at Gateway Regional in Huntington. I went last year, had a good time and gained new ideas to use in the classroom. Chris Parker does an excellent job hosting and helping to organize- and they have good food. Here's the link and the blurb" MassCUE’s Googlepalooza event is a full day of G Suite for Education (formerly Google Apps for Education) hands-on workshops taught by experienced Google Certified Trainers and Educators to promote better learning in the classroom. Participants will have a choice between presentations at varied ability levels – all covering a wide variety of G Suite tools, devices (Chromebooks, iPads, Android Tablets), teaching strategies, and implementation. All of this learning for just $65 (fee includes lunch.)"
Summer PD... I have not attended this online PD, but have heard great things about it- Check out Hive Summit- https://www.hivesummit.org/ They have not announced this year's speakers yet.
I recently read this article in EdWeek: Explicit Phonics Instruction: It's Not Just for Students With Dyslexia. What I got out of it- there is a move to reexamine reading instruction.
Then I read the Washington Post article which was referenced- "Want to read fast and well? Ignore the rules of the speed-reading gurus" A quote from Seidenberg rang true, “A look at the science reveals that the methods commonly used to teach children are inconsistent with basic facts about human cognition and development and so make learning to read more difficult than it should be. They inadvertently place many children at risk for reading failure. They discriminate against poorer children. They discourage children who could have become more successful readers.”
Finally I went back to the other articles referenced and chose " Hard Words Why aren't kids being taught to read? This was really interesting and kind of terrifying.
Look at the graph below-(You get more info on the interactive graph online). The author then goes on to talk about "balanced literacy" and concludes that it does not reflect the current brain/learning science. Really interesting article. Check it out: https://www.apmreports.org/story/2018/09/10/hard-words-why-american-kids-arent-being-taught-to-read
Ideas to Share
Looking through the links I saved recently, 3/4 of them came from Jen Giffen (http://virtualgiff.blogspot.com). Always a great resource- lately I think I have bookmarked most of her posts.
Holocaust Remembrance Day
Thursday, May 2nd marks National Holocaust Remembrance Day this year. The Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC has anamazing collection of resources for educators and students. The section I really like is American and the Holocaust. The variety of topics, the images, and the videos are easy to access for all middle and high school students. Especially in view of the rising tide of hate crimes in the US, these topics are critical to discuss with our students. As always, Teaching Tolerance has excellent resources as well. The first video below is from their site. The lesson plans are accessible here.
Global Design Day
May 6 is Global Design Day. You can sign up and try out one, or more, of the design challenges. Here's the blurb from the web site: "Students need to make, build, and tinker. The Global Day of Design is one-day that focuses on using the Design Thinking process in school. Our goal for the Global Day of Design is to inspire a transformation in schools around the world to incorporate design into an every day practice with our students." Need more inspiration? Read AJ Juliani's recent post: How Long Will We Wait to Give Students Choice?
Ideas to Share
For Parents of Kids with Anxiety
Lunapic- Quick Photo Editor
Wakelet: Google Translate Resources
GAFE for Littles
It seems like a week doesn't go by without seeing a great new idea from Christine Pinto, or a new way another teacher has used one of her templates. Looking though my bookmarks for the last couple of weeks, there were a couple of ideas I wanted to be sure you saw.
First was her graphing with Google Sheets template. I saw another teacher post on Twitter about how she had used this with her Kindergartners to graph eggs and they did a great job. What a wonderful way to introduce the idea of data collection and visualization to our youngest students! You can check out her post here. You can take this idea and run with it for spring with flowers, baby birds, etc...
Christine and Jessica Twomey also collaborated on a 2D connected play board. This is the tweet about that one. Looks like fun for a lesson or just a center time activity.
Another great collaboration from Jessica and Christine was on animal habitats- using Google Slides. Looking at this one, I could easily see this being adapted for our grade 2 habitat projects. Lots of ideas, tools, ways for students to demonstrate learning. Click though to Flipgrid and you can even get the link for the complete lesson plans.
So, if you aren't already following Jessica and Christine on Twitter- here's another reminder! You're missing out on great ideas, not only for the littles, but most can easily be transformed for all elementary grades.
Jessica Twomey : https://twitter.com/jlabar2me
Christine Pinto: https://twitter.com/PintoBeanz11
This is a resource that is new to me. It is essentially research based curriculum for CT. Here's part of the blurb- "...focuses on researching innovations in computational thinking education at the elementary and middle school levels with a primary emphasis on equity and inclusion for all underrepresented populations - underrepresented ethnic minorities, females, and students with learning differences."
What I really liked was the fractions unit for grades 3 and 4. There are also 2 Scratch units- one for an intro and one for middle school. The breadth of these ideas flow from a CT reading list for PK-2 and up to quantum mechanics for HS and uni. And the resources are free.
Check them out here https://www.canonlab.org/resources
Ideas to Share
More Poetry Links
I saw this one come up the day after I posted about National Poetry Month and knew that I really had to include it. Be sure to check out Kathleen Morris' blog post with a list of 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry month, a list of 15 great ideas you can use tomorrow and so much more. My favorites- a poem by our friend Kevin Hodgson over at the Norris School and a visual poetry mosaic tool. Richard Byrne also shared links about National Poetry month, using Poetry 180 . Check out his post here. I absolutely loved Tricia Fuglestad's work with second graders on Shel Silverstein's poem.
I was excited to read that StoryboardThat now has Infographic Templates for Education. Many of our HES students have used StoryboardThat to tell a story, as a book report, etc, but now, there's a new, easy to use feature- Infographics. One of the many things I like about StoryboardThat aside from their dedication to keeping our student info safe is their constant work to provide graphics to enhance learning.
Here's the blurb from their site: "Creating an infographic is an easy way to showcase different information and topics in a digestible and visual format! They help students combine data, information, and visuals to further understanding and synthesis skills."
We have a Vimeo Plus account here at HES. One of the new bonuses with the Plus account is access to the Essentials collection- for free. So if you or your students are working on creating new videos and need some stock footage, check it out. See me if you need access credentials for this school account.
Tinkercad 3D projects
AS we all learn more about using our 3D printer, I am always on the lookout for ideas to use the printing capabilities to integrate with and to extend our curriculum. Although it is tempting to just "go shopping" on Tinkercad or Thingiverse, I was happy to see some other examples on the We Are Print Lab click here . Here's one example:
Ideas to Share
National Poetry Month
Yes, it's April and it's National Poetry Month. I wrote a long post on this last year, see this link. One new link to add is theListenwise Blog. They have an excellent selection of poetry and lesson plans. Best of all, you can listen to them! I had never explored this web site before and am really impressed with the breadth of the offerings across disciplines, including social studies, science, ELA and current events. If you're interested in hearing a new poem every day, be sure to check out the Poetry Foundation. NYPL is posting a new poem every day . You can find many more ideas on Twitter #NationalPoetryMonth.
Learning and Movement
Jennifer Gonzalez wrote an excellent blog post on learning and movement. I embedded her podcast below, but her actual blog post has real examples, links and a whole batch of great video examples. Don't miss this one! Some of her videos referenced TPR, which I had never heard of, as well as a web site that was new to me- Teacher ToolKit. So, after you finish listening to her podcast, and reading her great ideas on her blog, watching all the videos, you can go check out Teacher Toolkit, too.
Now this sounds like a really cool idea from Book Creator and Elevate Books Edu. Here's a short version: "âThey have a growing library of hard copy books that weâll be converting into microbooks â short, bite-size, multimedia versions that give a glimpse into the concepts contained within the book. This gives teachers an opportunity to sample the book before committing to a deeper dive into the full book."
Read more about it in this month'sBook Creator newsletter, and check out an example below.
You know all those articles you've read arguing about screen time? How about all the ones about digital equity? Well, it seems that the latest thing is that the "elite" schools are moving away from screens and putting value on human contact. This has been a hot topic on the independent school list servs of late. I think it is just a pendulum swing myself. What do you think? Here's a recent NY Times article to get you thinking. Love the subtitle. Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good Screens used to be for the elite. Now avoiding them is a status symbol.
Ideas to Share
As I look at all of the amazing resources for students and educators that are online today, a couple words come up regularly, regardless of age group, regardless of discipline- choice and empathy. When I look at resources for digital design or STEM- first thing on the list- empathy; and the same thing happens when I look at ELA resources. They are all about choice and empathy, not just the subject matter. The two resources I have been looking at are ostensibly for "History" or "Global Culture". Both seem to me to be about people, empathy and the choices we make, even when we don't actively make a choice. Check them out, see what you think.
Facing History and Ourselves
The intro states: "Through rigorous historical analysis combined with the study of human behavior, Facing History’s approach heightens students’ understanding of racism, religious intolerance, and prejudice; increases students’ ability to relate history to their own lives; and promotes greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities in a democracy." I embedded a few of their intro videos below, but do check out all the resources available on theweb site.
Global Oneness Project
I love the stories on theGlobal Oneness Project web site. The imagery compliments the rich stories about culture, about climate and more. This is from the site: "Committed to the exploration of cultural, environmental, and social issues, we offer a rich library of multimedia stories comprised of award-winning films, photo essays, and articles. Companion curriculum and discussion guides are also available. All for free.
We aim to connect, through stories, the local human experience to global meta-level issues, such as climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity, poverty, endangered cultures, migration, and sustainability."
Ideas to Share
Matt Miller at CUE
GAfE 4 Littles
NGSS put out a new newsletter the other day with lots of resources to teach the new science standards, especially focused on ESL/ELL learners. Check out the link to see more.