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.
Media Literacy Week
This week is Media Literacy Week in the U.S. October 24-31st is Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2019
What is it? Why is it important? From Wikipedia: Media literacy encompasses the practices that allow people to access, critically evaluate, and create media. Media literacy is not restricted to one medium. Wikipedia
These stats are from 2 years ago- and I'm quite sure that they are worse today. At a time when misinformation and fake news spread like wildfire online, the critical need for media literacy education has never been more pronounced. The evidence is in the data:
When I saw this post by my old friend Wes Fryer, I knew I would have to share it with you. I first met Wes back in 2007 or maybe 2008 at NECC, now ISTE, spoke with him on most Saturdays on the Classroom 2.0 Live series for years and I have continued to follow his work online ever since. Wes is currently the Technology Integration and Innovation Specialist and Digital Literacy teacher at Casady School in Oklahoma City. This link is to an excellent post that Wes originally created to help teach his 5th and 6th graders. Great ideas for one and all. Click on the link or on the photo below. Thanks, Wes!
More Googley Stuff
When I first looked at my list of things to share this week, it seemed that 90% of them were ideas using something Googley. Easy to use, versatile. Check out some of the wonderful ideas folks have shared recently.
This week, October 14–18, 2019, is Digital Citizenship Week.
Commonsense Media is leading the way, as usual, with some great activities, broken up into short 10 minute bites, to help your students understand what it means to be a good digital citizen. Interested? Check out their lineup here.
Schoology has put together a free ebook that you can download to learn more about digital citizenship. Here's their info: In this eBook, you'll learn:
The Digital Citizenship Institute is happening right now. This has a global appeal. I first met Dr. Marialice B.F.X. Curran about 9 or 10 years ago at edcampCT. She was, and is passionate about digital citizenship. The professional development and now these conferences offer a great way to connect, to practice digital citizenship and to learn more about digital citizenship around the world. I like to see what's in store for the day and know that it is all recorded and I can catch up with it later. You can check out the offerings and register here. The daily videos are also posted.
Natalie Ryan recently shared her
BrainPop Digital Citizenship
doc to an online STEM group. Great resource.
DigCitCommit has pulled together an excellent set of resources for students, for educators, and for families. I like the focus on a positive way to look at digital citizenship vs. fear mongering and negativity.
Game-based Digital Citizenship programs
Two easy to use resources for elementary students are Digital Passport (from CommonSense Media and Interland, from Google.
Digital Passport consists of 6 interactive games. "Introduce students in grades 3–5 to Digital Passport™ by Common Sense Education. The award-winning suite of six interactive games addresses key issues kids face in today's digital world. Each engaging game teaches critical digital citizenship skills that help students learn to use technology responsibly to learn, create, and participate. Games are available in Spanish."
from Flocabulary and NearPod
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