Starting out with a little social studies. Did you see the article inThe Washington Post the other day? Ken Burns has come out with a new collection for educators. Here's the gist of it: "Created for sixth- to 12th-grade educators, the new one-stop destination houses a full library of classroom-ready content — aligned to state and national standards — about historical events and issues that Burns has highlighted in his films.“Ken Burns in the Classroom” includes hundreds of video clips, lesson plans, activity suggestions, discussion questions, handouts and interactives to help educators integrate the films into their classroom instruction.
I checked out the site- part of PBS Media and loved what I saw. I also learned about his other site "Unum" which I had never seen before. It was inspired by the motto of the U.S.
KEN'S NOTE "E pluribus unum was chosen as the motto of the United States in 1782. It means “out of many, one” which captures the very soul of this project. It’s all one story. It always has been."
EdSurge ran an article about a renaissance for Social Studies. Their 3 major points to focus upon are :
1. Focus on student engagement above all.
2. Ensure a diversity of voices.
3. Listen, build, learn, repeat . Read the whole article here.
And of course, a little geography too. Richard Byrne wrote a blurb about this the other day, so I went over to the Google blog to check it out. https://www.blog.google/products/earth/new-google-earth-creation-tools/ "With new creation tools now in Google Earth, you can turn our digital globe into your own storytelling canvas, and create a map or story about the places that matter to you."
On to Science articles this week: We hear about/talk about diversity and equity a lot lately. These articles relate these topics back to STEM.
Kathy Renfrew and Amber McCulloch did a NSTA blog post recently where they discussed "Ensuring All Elementary Students Have Access to Science Learning". The problem, as most of us are aware is that teachers in elementary school have little time for science. The students are tested in Math and ELA on the state tests, thus most of the teaching time is devoted to those core subjects. One of the resources they mentioned is easy to access and worth 22 minutes of your time. It's called Elementary Science Video Workshop and will "walk you through some learning tools centered around why elementary science, what does good science instruction look like, and how building leadership teams can best implement changes to what science instruction looks like in your school." Check out the blog post for more tools to explore, including this one about integrating STEM into the curriculum. The NGS Navigators podcast did an encore of Jay McTighe and Dr.Judy Willis talking about Upgrading Your Teaching: Understanding by Design Meets Neuroscience
A bit about accessibility. I noted an interesting article and a great resource shared online by Dodie Ainslie over at BT BOCES in NY state. Dodie shared an excellent resource to help access learning through #Chromebook and #Google accessibility features. She said to feel free to share and adapt. I really appreciate having all these tools listed in one handy slide deck. Thanks @djainslie! Just click on the image below to make a copy for yourself. (File>Make a Copy)
Edutopia shared a nice article on Developing Executive Function back in January. Don't you just wish that we could go through a checklist and miraculously all have perfect executive function? This article is aimed at the middle school student and walks you through setting up priority lists with students. The with is important, not for the students. Here's the article and here's the video
And last but not least esports.
I have seen several articles of late raving about the importance and popularity of esports. Within the last year this has become a hot topic. Since the first and last video game I played was pong, gotta say, not up on this topic. But- if you are into video games, or even if you're not, you need to understand a bit more about esports. Here to help you out..
EdTech Magazine with the recent article: Fact or Fallacy: Why Esports Are Here to Stay in K–12 Schools Tech & Learning University also ran an article about esports in highered.
I got this in an email today from Steve Hargadon and Library 2.0. This looks like an excellent mini-conference- just 3 hours of learning, tomorrow, Wednesday 10/30/19 3-6 EST. Free and it will be recorded as well. It's not just for librarians! Check it out!
"We're excited to announce our third Library 2.019 mini-conference: "Emerging Technology," which will be held online (and for free) on Wednesday, October 30th, from 12:00 - 3:00 pm US-Pacific Daylight Time (click for your own time zone).
Tomorrow’s technologies are shaping our world today, revolutionizing the way we live and learn. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Drones, Personalization, the Quantified Self. Libraries can and should be the epicenter of exploring, building and promoting these emerging techs, assuring the better futures and opportunities they offer are accessible to everyone. Learn what libraries are doing right now with these cutting-edge technologies, what they’re planning next and how you can implement these ideas in your own organization.
This is a free event, being held live online and also recorded.
I've been meaning to share this link for a while now. I love this site, SmARThistory, https://smarthistory.org/. It reminds me of Google Arts and Culture, but is easier, at least for me, to navigate and seems to have been curated with educators in mind. I like the collections, the images, the videos and they even offer free books that you can download as pdfs. Here's a couple of videos to watch from the beginner course: Introduction to the Visual Arts, informative and funny. Do check out the web site for a lot more!
While I am in my social studies folder, have you used Facing History.org? This is their mission statement, "Facing History fosters empathy and reflection, improves students’ academic performance, reinvigorates teachers, and builds safe and inclusive schools."
Aimed at secondary school teachers and students, I found a nice mix of material- some for students, other for professional development for teachers. You can check out their recent course (microcredentials offered), Teaching with Current Events: Practicing Media Literacy and Understanding Human Behavior by clicking on this link. They also offer a lending library of materials, as well as a large section on teaching strategies. I like the database, which sorts by subject, media, lesson, featured collection and much more.
I recently attended Edcamp Worcester and tried out a site that was new to me, called Ever Fi. It has some good units to try out. I'm not quite sure what you would call this sort of digital platform. Here's their blurb- "EVERFI empowers educators to bring real-world learning into the classroom and equip students with the skills they need for success–now and in the future. Thanks to partners who share this mission, EVERFI’s online resources for teachers are available at no cost."
So, for example there are courses in finance for K-12, courses focused on wellness, on SEL, etc. It's free. A teacher I met from central MA, really likes it and demo'd it for all. It is worth checking out. The one unit I am particularly interested in for K-6 age is The Compassion Project- aimed at grades 2-4. They even have a financial literacy course for grades 4-6. If you teach middle or high school there is a far greater selection of courses to choose from. Whether you use some of this for bell work, or an intro to a subject or as a mini course on its own, it is worth your time to check it out.
These last couple of weeks I have been inundated with science professional development, science in the STEAM lab and over the weekend, computer science PD. What could be more fun? I really enjoyed learning more about Project Lead the Way recently. Our students, grades K-6 at HES, along with middle school students at Hopkins, all participated in the Massachusetts STEM challenge. I worked with grades 3-6, on Zero Energy Waste, making and testing solar fans. The curriculum was robust, with a solid 10 hours that could be worked into a gen ed classroom easily. I enjoyed, and from the sounds of it, the students enjoyed, making and testing our solar fans. I hope to have our school begin to participate in the PLTW program.
I also got to test out the NICERC curriculum for microbits. I love using microbits in the STEAM lab. They are inexpensive, versatile, easy to use and can be integrated into the curriculum. I hadn't tried out the NICERC curriculum (it's free) and found it easy to follow. It is an NGSS based curriculum, and is phenomena driven. Here's their blurb. "We’re the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC). We offer grant-funded cyber, STEM, and computer science curricula and professional development to K-12 educators at no cost. Our goal is to empower educators as they prepare the next generation to succeed in the cyber workforce of tomorrow." The focus is 3 fold- STEM, computer science and cyber science.
I spent most of the time working in the STEAM fundamentals program: "STEAM Fundamentals is a project-based, hands-on curriculum designed to engage students in real-world applications. In each module, students study natural phenomena and investigate fundamental concepts while developing social, observational, descriptive, and higher-order thinking skills. Each module develops concepts in a logical and practical manner that students can relate to and teachers can easily implement." Right now they have units for 2nd and 3rd grade, with 4th and 5th coming soon. We played around with the force and motion for 3rd grade. We also spent time with the STEM EDA curriculum. This one is aimed at middle school, grades 6-8. The modules are well-developed- and fun. Did I mention that it's free?
Want to check it out? You do have to sign up to request access.
Looking for free STEM lesson plans for K-5? Snoopy may have something for you from the Space Foundation.
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.
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.