Transition to NGSS, Create Digital Stories, Relive Past Events & More
Let’s Protect Potential Together
With technology, access to knowledge is everywhere. Students carry entire libraries in their backpacks and hundreds of textbooks in their back pocket. Technology doesn’t matter much when it has a broken screen or buttons. That’s where OtterBox helps. Introducing OtterBox UnlimitEd, a protective case engineered specifically for technology used in the K–12 environment. OtterBox UnlimitEd protects your technology investment and the learning potential of every student.
Funding and Recognition
Grant to Enrich Advanced Placement Teaching
Advanced Placement (AP) Teacher Grants provide funds for supplies, lesson materials, or field trips to enrich advanced placement teaching in any subject. The National Society of High School Scholars offers grants of $500 to support programming and to purchase materials and other resources to enhance delivery of these courses.
Deadline: September 30, 2016, for applications
Grants for Enhancing Imaginative Learning
The Kids in Need Foundation awards grants ranging from $100 to $500 to preK–12 teachers to provide innovative learning opportunities for their students. Projects that make creative use of common teaching aids, approach the curriculum from an imaginative angle, or tie nontraditional concepts together for the purpose of illustrating commonalities may qualify for funding. Teachers may apply for a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores Teacher Grant, Elmer’s Teacher Toolkit Grant, Dollar General Reading Scholars Teacher Grant, Georgia-Pacific Innovation Grant, ArtSkills Teacher Grant, Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) Creative Writing Teacher Grant, or Helping Humanity Fund – Navajo Pottery Project. Teachers are welcome to submit more than one application, but each application must be for a different project. Interested applicants will find this grant opportunity on GetEdFunding, a free database sponsored by CDW•G of thousands of funding opportunities for educators.
Deadline: September 30, 2016, for applications
Contest That Supports a Cause
The Cat in the Hat has thrown his iconic red and white hat into the ring for president. Now he wants children to help him decide which cause to support—education, ocean conservation, environment, hunger, kindness. Children across the nation are encouraged to vote for The Cat to work with fellow Dr. Seuss characters and the organization and cause that they represent. The characters, organization, and cause with the most votes will receive $10,000 from Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Random House Children’s Books. At The Cat in the Hat’s “campaign headquarters,” students can check out The Cat’s campaign video, learn more about the causes, and then vote for their favorite.
Deadline: All votes must be cast by 11:59 p.m. on November 8, 2016. The winning organization and cause will be announced on or around December 1, 2016.
Plus: In the simple rhyming book One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote, The Cat in the Hat introduces early readers to the basic principles of democracy, including how political parties are formed and why Election Day is held in early November.
Safeguarding Your Students in Today's Modern Classroom
Keeping your school or district’s IT systems secure and running efficiently is a priority. NetSupport DNA supplies you with the essential tools to ensure that both systems and students are safe. Its new eSafety module has been developed with teachers, safeguarding leaders, and local authorities to ensure your school’s safeguarding policy is truly effective. eSafety and safeguarding are supported with keyword and phrase monitoring to alert schools of any online activity that may place a student at risk. The eSafety module also monitors websites visited and offers the option for students to report concerns directly to trusted staff. Building on the flexibility of a single solution for schools, NetSupport DNA includes energy monitoring, power management, USB endpoint security, printer monitoring, application and Internet metering, a flexible alerting suite, and an easy-to-use software distribution module.
Weekly Creative Thinking Math Lessons
To help K–12 students approach math with creativity and enjoyment, youcubed, a Stanford University center that provides research-based resources for teaching and learning mathematics, has released a series of free lessons in time for back to school. The Week of Inspirational Math (WiM) lesson series for teachers, parents, and students includes five lessons that offer students open, rich mathematics experiences to inspire creative thinking and a growth mindset. The lessons are accompanied by five motivational videos created by Stanford University mathematics education professor Dr. Jo Boaler and the team at youcubed. The lessons encourage creative mathematical thinking, as well as visual mathematics incorporating fingers, manipulatives, and motion in teaching and learning various concepts, as suggested by the latest brain science. The lessons provide opportunities for students to draw, visualize, discuss ideas, and work with models in mathematics—teaching mathematical ideas visually through pattern study and generalization. The lessons ask students, at regular intervals, how they see mathematical ideas and ask students to represent mathematical ideas in a multitude of ways, such as through pictures, models, and graphs.
Augmented Reality in the World of Sports
Augmented reality (AR) has come to the world of sports. Sportvision embeds country flags that appear to be under the ice in speed-skating events. Football fans see the first-down markings or the line of scrimmage as if they were painted on the field right under the players’ feet. And during the Olympic games in Rio, TV viewers see real-time visuals superimposed on footage of swimming, diving, running, and sailing events. Teachers can use these athletic events with their AR enhancements to develop classroom activities.
Web-based Arts Experiences
Artopia is a comprehensive web-based arts experience designed for middle school students, covering the visual and performing arts. Students closely examine important works of art and take part in activities that teach about styles, principles, and processes of each art form. They write about the artworks online, collect art cards in a virtual portfolio, and view videos of professional artists at work. Teachers may exhibit their students’ artwork in a virtual gallery, and both students and teachers can communicate with other artists in an online message board. A special area for teachers provides free downloadable lesson plans and classroom materials that tie Artopia activities to national curriculum standards.
Program Exploring Lives of American Heroes
National History Day, the American Battle Monuments Commission, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs have partnered to present the 2017 Understanding Sacrifice program. This professional development opportunity takes 18 teachers on a journey of exploration and discovery through the lives of American heroes of WWII. Travel fees, materials, and most costs are covered for all accepted teachers. In return, teachers produce educational materials in a variety of disciplines, from art to science and history. These classroom resources are then hosted for free on the program’s website to help teachers around the world reinvigorate their teaching and learning of WWII. In July 2017, a select group of 18 middle school and high school educators will follow in the footsteps of history as they visit WWII historic sites and American cemeteries in San Francisco, Honolulu, and Manila. Participants will be required to engage in an intensive 18-month academic study that will run from September 2016 through spring 2018. Their study will include regular webinars, reading assignments, and discussion board postings, as well as a 12-day Pacific field study to be held in July 2017 (specific dates to be confirmed this fall). Applications for the 2017 program must be received no later than midnight on September 2, 2016.
Virtual Mentorship Program
The School Administrator Virtual Mentorship Program (#SAVMP) helps to develop administrators to lead innovative school environments that meet the needs of today’s students. This free program pairs a new administrator with one that has more experience in the hope that each administrator will learn from the other through their shared experiences. Mentor/mentee groups connect via email, Twitter, video chat, Voxer, or other means. The coordinator sends a monthly prompt to ignite discussion. Standards focus on fostering effective relationships, embodying visionary leadership, leading a learning community, providing instructional leadership, developing and facilitating leadership, managing school operations and resources, and understanding and responding to the larger societal contexts. Each mentor and mentee is required to have a blog that shares learning openly but also creates a digital portfolio. Applications are open through the end of September each year, but mentors and mentees can be added and paired at any time.
TV Programs Examining Today’s Education Challenges
PBS has announced SPOTLIGHT EDUCATION, a special week of primetime programming examining the challenges facing today’s students and America’s education system. The programming features 11 films and documentaries on local PBS stations from September 12 to 17, 2016 (check local listings), and includes special episodes of NOVA, FRONTLINE, and PBS NewsHour. It also presents a new film from POV and the premiere of TED Talks, “The Education Revolution,” and concludes with the fifth annual American Graduate Day, a special broadcast celebrating individuals and nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping youth stay on track to high school graduation. SPOTLIGHT EDUCATION also kicks off a yearlong teacher support campaign—“Teach Boldly”—led by PBS and local member stations across the country. The “Teach Boldly” teacher support initiative will include a series of virtual and community training events and the launch of the new PBS Teachers’ Lounge, a creative digital space where teachers can share ideas, learn from peers, find daily inspiration, and access tools and resources to enhance their work in the classroom. Short-form and full episodes from the week, interactive content modules, and a social hub for SPOTLIGHT EDUCATION will be available on PBS.org and Americangraduate.org. In addition, previews, clips, and full episodes will be available on the PBS apps for iOS and Android devices and via station-branded digital platforms. For updates on the programming, follow #SpotlightEduPBS and #amgrad on Twitter.
STEM • STEAM • STREAM
Bundles of NGSS Concepts
The organization behind the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) has begun releasing sample “bundles” of standards to help people move away from thinking that the standards are supposed to be taught as a checklist. The bundles are intended to help teachers and curriculum developers understand how they might implement the science standards, or student “Performance Expectations,” in ways that can help learners see the connections between concepts and thereby optimize class time. A 24-page example bundles guide provides sample bundles and lays out the rationale behind bundling. Each bundle includes a course summary, a bundle document, and a course flowchart. The sample bundles are only one way that the standards could be bundled together; rather they’re intended to illustrate the process of bundling and the types of thinking necessary in building bundles that capitalize on the connections between standards. A full suite of example bundles covering all grade levels is expected to be released during the 2016–2017 school year.
Plus: In June 2016, a science teacher at Olympia High School in Stanford, Illinois, conducted a webinar that serves as an introduction to bundling the NGSS. Experts who helped to develop the bundling resource facilitated the webinar to discuss the principles of bundling standards. The webinar was recorded and may be viewed on the NGSS website.
STEM Assessment Tool
The nonprofit Measured Progress has developed STEM Gauge, a formative assessment resource that provides students with opportunities to demonstrate understanding of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Performance Expectations (PEs)—Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas—as instruction occurs. For a limited time, Measured Progress is offering a free Next Generation Science Standards STEM Gauge middle school topic-based item set for teachers to try in their classroom. Included with one free topic-based item set is access to the Teacher’s Guide and Formative Support Tools. The Teacher’s Guide provides an Item Index that displays the way each item addresses the three dimensions and lists Performance Expectations, learning targets, depth of knowledge levels, and item types. Teachers will also find suggestions for using science and engineering practices to engage students in learning science content. The Formative Support Tools help teachers integrate the NGSS into classroom instruction and assessment. The tools also include instructional strategies for transitioning to the NGSS.
Overcome Common Device Deployment Issues
While mobile device deployments continue to evolve and become more complex, available budget, space, and other key considerations for districts do not. With the help of LocknCharge, your district can make the most of limited time and technology funds to easily tackle some of the most common issues with mobile device deployments.
App to Travel Back in History
Timelooper’s free time travel app for iOS and Android devices allows users to experience key moments in history. All that is required is a smartphone and a cardboard headset. For example, someone visiting the Tower of London, the historic castle on the banks of London’s Thames River, can do more than catch a glimpse of the royal family’s crown jewels. The Timelooper app allows the visitor to experience the tower more than 750 years ago, in 1255. Instead of seeing a busy London tourist site, the visitor sees a medieval marketplace and a formidable fortress. Viewers can even see an elephant being led down a path. The smartphone’s built-in motion detection allows time travelers wearing a cardboard headset to move their gaze around the virtual world. Users can also relive unforgettable moments in history in New York, such as George Washington’s inauguration speech in Federal Hall in 1793, the building of the Empire State in 1931, the VJ kiss in Times Square in 1945, and the John Lennon Memorial in 1980. The videos are location-based, so visitors must visit the sites to unlock the historical experiences.
Geospatial Augmented Reality App
The Pokémon GO augmented reality game requires users to get out and walk around with their smartphones. Players find Pokéballs at Pokéstops, use them to capture Pokémon, add them to their Pokédex, and “battle” on a team for control of a gym. When they find a Pokémon in the wild, players can turn on an augmented reality version of their mobile device screen, which puts the virtual Pokémon into the live scene where their camera is facing. Players can then take a screenshot of the image. By saving the screenshots to their camera roll, students will have access to them later to use in classroom projects, such as creating a digital story about their adventures. Perhaps the most promising application is in teaching students basic skills about mapping, cardinal directions, and navigation.
Plus: Teachers can build their own Pokémon GO augmented reality project with Vidcode’s AR Pokémon GO Game Maker. Even if they’ve never built a game before, an online tutorial will walk teachers through the process, step by step. Once they’re done, they can share their project and visit the Gallery to get inspired by the games that others have created.
Interdisciplinary Collaborative Projects
Developed in North Carolina State University’s College of Education, Project-Based Inquiry (PBI) Global connects students internationally through interdisciplinary projects that require them to follow five steps: ask compelling questions; gather and analyze sources; creatively synthesize claims and evidence; critically evaluate and revise; and share, publish, and act. By conducting PBI Global with local and international peers, students negotiate the dynamic nature of collaboration, pursue varied means of communication, and internalize diverse perspectives. Students can use a collection of digital tools to effectively communicate and collaborate, including WeChat and Skype for discussing and planning in student teams. The capstone of every PBI Global is a showcase during which students present their digital products in front of peers, teachers, parents, and community members. The showcases are simulcast at partner schools so student groups present in real time.
Folded Stories with a Twitter Twist
A “folded story” is a story created by a group of people who do not know what the whole story contains. Different people write different sentences knowing only what the person before them has written. Folding the paper and passing it along when they are done keeps the whole story a secret until the end. Now a website does this with a Twitter twist: each sentence/entry is limited by 140 characters. The site, aptly named FoldingStory, was founded by a group of childhood friends from the Strong Street social gaming company. After registering and activating an account, users have three options: Read, Create, or Add. If they want to Read, students can choose a story completed on the same day, week, or month. If they want to share in the fun, students can hit the Add button and then select which story they want to contribute to from a list of almost finished, barely started, freshly folded, dormant, fledgling, aging, or random stories. Students have four minutes to write and post their 140-character sentence. If they want to Create a story, students press the Create button and type away. There is no time limit, but the 140-character rule applies. Additionally, when they create or add to a story, students need to follow the rules for posting.
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« August 15, 2016