H/T to all the gracious members of my PLN who share resources every day!
Code for Life
I had not seen Code for Life until Richard Byrne wrote about it in his blog. Although it does seem that we have a plethora of coding resources to choose from, I liked both the simplicity of the drag drop interface as well as the curriculum alignment for the teachers.
I'd been hearing about this since last spring and finally took the time to check it out. Since I don't teach in a traditional classroom, I sometimes don't spend the time to check out some tools that I would otherwise find indispensable. This is a quick and easy way to let students know what the expectations are, to help teach, and has a pretty extensive, easy to use tool bar. Even if you love your current tool set, check out all that this classroomscreen has to offer. Lori Gracey over at TCEA wrote up a great post about this tool today. Check it out here.
I had hoped that the 3rd grade would be able to try some of these, but with the NGSS transition, perhaps not. If you are working on anything to do with space- check out these really cool STEM challenges from VivifyStem. I hope to be able to take some of these ideas and use them for STEAM challenges as well.
Black History Month
There are some excellent resources online for Black History Month. One of my favorite new resources is the hyperdoc shared by Randi Merritt. ReadWorks has featured Reading Passages for the month. PBS has an excellent collection-Black America Since MLK- And Still We Rise. Our local station is hosting a special screening of More Than a Month- Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart on Thursday 2/1 at 1pm ET
Storyboardthat offers a collection of storyboard ideas for students to learn from or use to start their own creations. We also have 2 tabs on our HES symbaloo for Black History month. The 2 tabs are pinned to the beginning of the navigation tabs for the month.
Last, but certainly not least- Adobe Spark
When I read about the changes in Adobe Spark for students under 13 last week, it really made my day. Adobe Spark is a beautiful, easy to use tool, but the TOS was limited. Teachers essentially had to create one account and then have all of the students log in and use it. Now, beginning in April- students under 13 will be able to use Adobe Spark. You can read the whole announcement here. Many different bloggers wrote more about this, but perhaps you'll enjoy Monica Burns' post here
Image CC: By Rebeca Zuñiga
I recently read an article about Esther Wojcicki's work, watched a few of her videos and then saw that there is now an actual Moonshot in Education movement, a little like the 20% time that many of you have heard about. One of the primary goals is to give students agency in order to help prepare them for the real world. This really resonated with me as several of my colleagues were just talking about this today- allowing students to make decisions, to work collaboratively on real projects. The Washington Post recently ran an article about the skills Google was looking for in their employees: same skills that Esther is promoting: "Project Aristotle shows that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence. And topping the list: emotional safety. No bullying. To succeed, each and every team member must feel confident speaking up and making mistakes. They must know they are being heard." You can learn more about her work, her goals and maybe sign up to get more info and resources here.
H/T to Leslie DiChiara for sharing Hillary Goldwaith-Fowles' article: Digital Does Not Equal Accessible. As more districts incorporate digital tools into the mainstream student population, we often get the impression that the tech or the digital access will magically cure all. Needless to say digital ≠ accessible. OER ≠ accessible. UDL ≠ accessible automatically. Check out this wonderful article and all the crowd-sourced comments to help bring this issue into focus for all.
Diana Benner down in Texas has published the first in a series of articles on accessibility on chromebooks. Nicely categorized, features a short list of chrome extensions to check out. If you are looking for a more complete listing, or other options, check out Eric Curts' work here.
#Ditch Summit report
I ended up binge-watching all 9 hours of Ditch Summit on a couple of those frigid days of the vacation week. As usual, it was worth my time. Two of the presentations really stood out. My favorite as far as potential gold mine of resources was Jon Corippo's EduProtocols: What They Are and How They Can Impact Learning. You can get in touch with Jon on Twitter: @jcorippo. He has so many great ideas to help streamline your workload and get more time with the students. You can get a quick synopsis from the notes Matt Miller provided. The other presentation I really enjoyed, although I have to say just picking 2 is hard, was Tanya Avrith and Holly Clark's presentation on Technology and Pedagogy. "How can we use technology to amplify great teaching instead of just putting technology on top?" Contact them: Website: hollyclark.org Twitter: @HollyClarkEdu & Website: tanyaavrith.com Twitter: @TanyaAvrith. These two amazing women are doing the work, not just talking/writing about it, and it shows in the way they approach the topics and in their solutions to the problems we all face. Here's the quick synopsis from the notes Matt Miller provided.
Storytime from Space
I saw this site referenced the other day and thought it was the coolest thing! Astronauts are reading/videoing children's books from the International Space Station. You can learn more about it here. Here's a short blurb from NASA: "Story Time From Space combines science literacy outreach with simple demonstrations recorded aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Crew members read five science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related children's books in orbit, and complete simple science concept experiments. Crew members videotape themselves reading the books and completing demonstrations. Video and data collected during the demonstrations are downlinked to the ground and posted in a video library with accompanying educational materials." You can read more about the research involved in this project here.