Math & Reading
I got an email over the summer from a veteran teacher asking me about eSpark. I had never used it and after checking around a bit, advised the teacher to go ahead and do the free pilot for the year. Today, another veteran teacher decided to try it as well, since the first teacher (5th and 6th grade) has reported that she is getting useful data and the kids are engaged. So, what is this eSpark? It is differentiated reading and math instruction for K-5. It has some good reviews on both edsurge and commonsense media. Does it stand out from the crowd? I don't know. Is it expensive? Probably. Is it worth checking out? Sure. Here are a couple of videos to hlearn a bit more about it.
I was looking around for something to do with cards for young students and came across this site with 16 Math Card Games posted by Jill Staake for We Are Teachers. They look like a lot of fun. And, of course while I was clicking through them, I found this treasure trove of math resources from Mrs. Weigand! Wow! so many choices! Check it out when you have a chance.
If you haven't been by Jo Boaler's YouCubed site recently, take a peek at her work on Data Literacy and listen to her interview on the Freakonomics podcast entitled, America’s Math Curriculum Doesn’t Add Up (Ep. 391)
This article from The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller, hit home for me. She talks about kids becoming Readers, In Spite of School. I just had a conversation with a teacher at school today who was having her students use Epic- just to free read for 15 minutes. She was successful in engaging her students, at least in part, because she wasn't telling them what to read, or what not to read, or regulating the reading level or whether it was a graphic novel or an audio book or testing them on their reading fluency or comprehension. The kids simply choose what to read and they read it.
I have to admit, I don't like graphic novels. Never liked comic books as a kid. Would rather read a 300 page novel than a 32 page graphic novel. So, I went out and bought George Takei's memoir, They Called Us Enemy. I haven't really gotten into it yet- but I will- just because I need to look at graphic novels through a different lens. You can borrow it when I'm done. Do I have to love graphic novels? No, but I have to respect that some people do- and that they are reading, obtaining information and maybe even learning to love reading. Check out Donalyn's article, she is far more articulate than I.
I saw a tweet from Lucy Gray referencing Glide Apps the other day, so I decided to take a quick look at it. Similar to some other app creators, you can very quickly and easily make an app. Check out their video. Take one of your spreadsheets- try it out! There is also a nice little tutorial on Online Tech Tips.
Ideas to Share
I was excited to see a hyperdoc by @nadineglikison to help kids learn to more effectively use Read and Write for Google Chrome. We have this for our district, but not everyone knows how to use it or how to help students use it. However, when I opened the hyperdoc and found that topic was all about poop and farts- not so excited. Honestly, I can't justify this in a classroom. The how to part is fine, but seriously... Oh well. Perhaps the version for younger kids will be created with a topic that I can use. Here's the link if you want to check it out. Nadine has shared it, CC: By: NC: SA.
The Feedback Fallacy is an article from the Harvard Business Review that I found interesting on two levels, both as an adult working with other adults, and as an adult working with children. The immediate message is, of course, we're doing it wrong. Our standard beliefs are not based in reality. So, what then? According to the article:
So, how does this translate to education? I liked the very last sentence:
"We excel only when people who know us and care about us tell us what they experience and what they feel, and in particular when they see something within us that really works."
I started looking through old posts I have done about dyslexia and wondered... what else can I add? Then... wow! So many great resources out there that I had not explored. Who knew that dyslexia was a superpower?
I love Understood.org for the clear messages they impart to parents and teachers. I started reading their page on historic figures that many now think were dyslexic. You can find this here. Then I got caught up in their page on Dyslexia as a super power. I had just looked at Christopher Brantley's announcement about his first comic/graphic novel which is coming out in time for Dyslexia Awareness month, called Phonetic Boy. Then I flipped over to "What's your Super Power?" and listened to the creator of Dog Man and Captain Underpants talk about having dyslexia. You can read more about him and other celebrities with dyslexia here.
I saw a webinar offering on Dyslexia Awareness that I signed up for here. You could also check out this webinar given by Wendy S. Farone, Ph.D. on Dyslexia: The Myths and the Mysteries
on Oct 16th.
But wait, you're not a SPED teacher, you don't need to know more about dyslexia.
YES YOU DO! Research shows that approximately 1 in 5 students in the typical classroom has dyslexia! So, chances are, you have students in your classroom today with dyslexia. And the really cool thing is, just about anything you do to help a student with dyslexia, will also help all your other students too. UDL works.
I saved the best for last... Microsoft has teamed up with Made by Dyslexia to offer a one hour online course on Dyslexia Awareness.
C'mon, you can spare an hour that may help you help your students, can't you? The link to the course: https://education.microsoft.com/courses-and-resources/courses/dyslexia-awareness-in-partnership-with-made-by-dyslexia
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:
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??