Grecian Urn Lessons?
This post from Jennifer Gonzalez still resonates with me, years later. If you have never listened to this podcast or read the write up on her blog, it is well worth your time. Essentially a "Grecian Urn" lesson is one that takes up more time than the educational value of the lesson merits.
I know that I had have given some real Grecian Urn lessons in the past. It may be a really cool project that I like to do; the kids love, the parents and even the admin think it's amazing. But, at the end of the day- is it a good use of time or is it just cool?
Sometimes it's a case of TTWWADI. This quote from Grace Hopper sums up her feelings about TTWWADI. "“The only phrase I’ve ever disliked is, ‘Why, we’ve always done it that way,’ ” she was once quoted as saying. “I always tell young people, ‘Go ahead and do it. You can always apologize later.’ ”
Just because you've always done that project to go with that unit of study, is that really a good enough reason?
Ideas to Share
Storyboardthat is having a 48 hour sale on their TPT site. It ends on Wednesday 9/25 at 11:59 pm. Although I'm not a big TPT fan, since so many teachers freely share their work every day... I am a fan of Storyboardthat and this sale- $1 for 100 pages of Mythology ideas or $1 for 200 pages of creative writing ideas and so much more, can't be beat. Check it out quickly before it goes away!
Global Collaboration Week
Miguel Guhlin recently shared a tool that I hadn't seen yet- Creative Studio for Google Slides. This is a chrome add on that allows you to export your slides as gifs, videos or even video with background music. Looking at the stats, not many users yet and mixed reviews. Try it and see it works for you. I usually end up downloading slides and flipping them to PowerPoint or just using Camtasia to get the videos that I want. This may be a tool to consolidate all that work. It is not free, by the way. There is a trial period, then $29/year. Check out Miguel's review here, and watch the developer's video below.
Celebrate Famous Latinx with Readworks and more
If you haven't tried Readworks' Article of the Day text sets, you are missing out. They have done so much to improve the search features on the site and have excellent ideas on incorporating reading throughout the day. Help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15) with these articles on Famous Latinx figures.
I saw this shared on Twitter the other day by @joliboucher. I love the idea of the template and can easily see if being used for other age groups, for special projects, etc. It is an engaging way to find great books to read. These all come from the Massachusetts Children's Book Awards. The covers and the write ups are freely shared on the Everything MCBA site. Simply click on the title and it will open a page with tons of info about the book. What I really liked about Joli's BookFlix is that it consolidates all the material in one easy to use template. Thanks so much for sharing @joliboucher! Template: https://tinyurl.com/MCBABookflix
Google for Primary Grades
I've written about this before, here, and here, but I did want to circle back and point out Eric Curts' resources as well. Eric pulled together a whole series of ideas last year, all with complete directions and templates. He has magnetic poetry, seasonal ideas, graphing and more. Please check out Eric's work here.
Ideas to Share
A special educator friend from Connecticut, Sharon Plante, recently shared an article, Audiobooks or Reading? To Our Brains, It Doesn’t Matter, about the effects of "reading" audio books on the brain. No surprises for those of us who understand that reading audiobooks is reading too, but check out the article and see what you think. I know that when I have used uPAR to check student reading comp that audio enhances the comprehension of reading material in more than 80% of ALL students tested.
Global Project Wakelet Collections by Lucy Gray
Lucy Gray has been involved in global projects for as long as I can remember. She puts out an excellent collection of links almost every day. When I looked at her Wakelet collections I was amazed at both the organization and the sheer volume of links she has collected. These 2 collections are a small portion of what you can find if you explore her shared Wakelets.
Social Studies Links
I shared some of these links over the summer with a few teachers, but they are worth repeating/adding to.
A wonderful friend and talented NYC teacher, Kate Meyer, introduced me to the 1619 podcast.
This link will bring you to all the available podcasts. This is the main link to the trailer. Below are some videos to tell you even more.
Can you identify each state by one photo? Fun quiz for all ages. Studying the 50 states? Regions? Or just for fun. Check it out here.
Free Primary Sources from the LOC
We had an interesting social studies PD with Laurie Risler recently, focused mainly on teaching students to differentiate between primary and secondary sources. Laurie also mentioned this collection from the LOC- free ibooks.
I downloaded several of them, but have yet to figure out how to distribute them on a set of ipads via Apple School Manager and Jamf, without having to log into each one with an apple id. If you know the magic, please leave some directions in the comments or email me.
East of the Rockies- AR app plus Learner Kit
This is aimed at high school age students- 12-17. It is an AR app (the cost is either 1.99 or 3.99- I've seen both.) Here's the synopsis: "The East of the Rockies app is an experiential augmented reality (AR) story written by Joy Kogawa, one of Canada’s most acclaimed and celebrated literary figures. The story is told from the perspective of Yuki, a 17-year-old girl forced from her home and made to live in the Slocan internment camp during the Second World War. As Yuki and her family adjust to their new reality inside the camp, they struggle to make life as normal as possible" The author, 84 years old, is a former internee at one of B.C.’s Japanese Canadian Internment Camps.
Richard Byrne recently shared a couple of links to two versions of a game called Bad News, used to teach students how to recognize disinformation. One is for older students, one for younger. It looks like a fun way to work on these skills that we all need every day. You can check out his post here.
Links to Share
EL Tech Tools is a google site filled with ideas, especially for EL teachers and their students. Created by Kelly Martin and Josh Harris for an ISTE presentation, you will find a solid selection of tools, nicely sorted into categories.
Where did the summer go? This summer went by so quickly! One of the things I try to keep up with over the summer are the great ideas posted by my PLN and some of the new ideas from vendors. I use Wakelet to bookmark and have a folder called "Stuff to Write About" This usually has a half dozen bookmarks/week that I use to come up a post every week during the school year. Well, now there's more than 60 bookmarks piled up! I will try to go through just a few of them today.
This is such a gigantic topic. Are we talking about bullying or copyright? The many facets of digital literacy also get conflated into digital citizenship. The age group that you are teaching also makes a huge difference in what you focus on. What I really do not think is useful in the least is that some schools/districts either do little or nothing until after an incident or that some bring in the local police to try to scare the kids. Remember "Just Say No"? Did it work for you?
There are some great digital citizenship lessons out there, and most are free. What is not free is carving out time to teach this. How can you integrate this multi-faceted topic into your curriculum?
Where to find more info? This video and much more info can be found here. You can also check out the new initiative.
Lee Watanabe-Crockett wrote a blog post listing 16 digital citizenship scenarios for middle school age kids that you may find useful as discussion starters.
I love CommonSenseMedia.org and their complete curriculum for K-12. The grade bands used: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12 are appropriate and include well thought out lesson plans- for free. They also created Digital Passport, which I have used with grades 3-5. Some changes have been made over time, mostly around log-in and how to get the kids on the site. Now you can send these games straight to your Google Classroom with a click of a button.
Of course Google also has a digital citizenship curriculum and games and much more. Check out Internet Awesome educator resources here. They also offer a way to have it force installed on student chromebooks and pinned to the task bar. Hoping I can make that happen, to make it easier for kids/teachers to use this one.
Online Safety Facts…or Fallacies?
The video below is from an excellent blog post by Mark Bentley.
Quote from his blog...
"I recently gave a talk on ten online safety axioms which might not be as effective as we think for keeping children safe. As it seemed to pique some interest, here’s a quick blog version." Please click through to read all about the 10 common axioms. Mark provides lots of food for thought.
Links to Share
News from Book Creator
Here's the info from the web site.
"Doc Academy is the school program of Doc Society, providing free, easy-to-use resources for secondary school teachers, including: