SDGs or Sustainable Development Goals are so important to our planet and help to provide real pathways to empathy, to learning and doing for our students. Terri Eichholz posted about a new site that combines PBL and SDGs. It is called Unit Planning Game and you can learn more about it here. Is this new to you? Have you always wanted to give it a try, but were unsure where to even begin. Have no fear, they are offering a FREE clinic starting next week ,
(Jan 21-Feb 10)
And speaking of empathy... Empathy is one of those "buzz" words of late. You need to cultivate empathy as part of the design engineering process, etc. etc. Sometimes, empathy is the #1 reason a student chooses to do a project. Many times, it's just a word. Today John Spencer sent me an email with a link to a video he made about empathy. He really brings it home to all educators. His whole blog post with 7 ways to promote empathy can be found here. (Scroll down on his page)
Google Slides Templates
Nick LaFave recently wrote a great blog post illustrating some useful Google Slides templates. He gives easy to follow directions and examples of templates for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Time Magazine, National Geographic, DC Comics, and a Harry Potter Newspaper. There are even bonus templates! Check them all out here.
Storyboardthat just keeps on getting better. If you haven't visited recently, go back and check out all the new lesson plans, incredibly useful graphic organizers, new characters and now you can use Storyboardthat to make a gif.
I saw a tweet about this ebook, created by Christine Pinto and Jessica Twomey and just had to see what it was. Rather than misquote them, " In the midst of our casual conversation, we were talking about how one of our kiddos is challenged with letter identification, but CAN remember letters J and K because he uses them on the keyboard with shortcuts. The idea sparked….what if we made a BOOK that has a shortcut for every letter of the alphabet? You never know what will connect with the kids when they are grasping the letters in the alphabet!" (https://www.innovatingplay.world/the-abc-shortcuts-of-google-apps-ebook/. The link to the book should open if you click on the image below.
Google Chrome Lab
I was going to quickly wrap this up with a reference to the new online Etch a Sketch that came out of Google Chrome Lab. But, then I went there and looked around. I've played with the chrome music lab stuff, but did you know there is a Rubic's Cube lab? They have some amazing things in the Collections pages.
Aside from all the cool Music Lab stuff, there are pages and pages of WebGl experiments, fractals, and so much more. So- I didn't actually play with the Etch a Sketch. But you can!
Global Ed & Empathy
One of the most effective ways I know to foster empathy is to demonstrate the similarities we share. Global education projects provide a great pathway. One of the nicest projects I came across last week is the Kindness Rock project. Our 4th grade teachers have embraced both global ed and several kindness projects which actually just enhance and continue their longstanding excellent class projects. For those who haven't seen the Kindness Rock project:
Two of my champions of Global Ed have been hard at work this past week. Both Lucy Gray and Julie Lindsay have new projects in the works. Julie, over at Flat Connections, is offering a new PD program for educators that looks really interesting. After having taken her Flat Classroom course (twice), I know that I can recommend her professional development offerings for all who are interested in expanding their horizons with their students. This new series is called Playbooks and is divided up into 4 strands. You can read much more about it here.
Flat Connections is also starting a new round of projects for students. The new project this round is Windows to the World for grades 3-6, as well as the familiar favorites. This looks like an updated, revamped model of the A Week in the Life project, which I helped moderate 5 or 6 years ago. Lots of fun, lots of learning. Check out all the projects that are on offer here. These are well managed, global projects that really help you and your students connect around the world.
Lucy Gray is on the road again, currently at TCEA in Texas, then moving on to Mumbai, D.C and Boston. She and Steve Hargadon offer an incredible wealth of opportunities for teachers and students at all levels. Check out her upcoming work here.
Scratch 3.0 Preview
For all of the Scratch fans out there... it's almost here. Scratch 3.0 is due to be released in August, but... you can preview it now!
Check it out herescratch.mit.edu/preview-faq. Lots of info on the FAQ page too. Even more info is available on the wiki.
This is also the summer of the Scratch conference at the MIT media lab in Cambridge. Lots of fun, lots of learning. Amazing group of international educators. I can honestly say that I have met more people from other countries at the Scratch conferences I have attended than at ISTE conferences. I can sit and talk with folks from across the Connecticut River or sit and chat with friends from Mexico, France, Russia, Sweden, or Brazil. More info here.
Curation, Fact-Checking and More...
I had tagged a great article from Joyce Valenza- one of the world's greatest librarians- to share and then I listened to an excellent webinar from the folks over at Common Sense Media about a new game they are creating for middle and high school... but then I saw this image and post from Cult of Pedagogy by Jennifer Gonzalez. I am a dumper. I'll give you the links and maybe do a second blog post on our snow day tomorrow- but enough! I know I tend to overwhelm teachers I work with at times, but at least then I can go in to the classroom and help, can sit down and talk it through. After reading the examples she cited- oh, yeah. That's me. So... maybe tomorrow.