Build Computational Thinking, Instill Social/Emotional Learning & More
Class Is in Session at an AMC Near You
Movies have the power to take your students back in time, transport them to a distant planet, or inspire their imaginations. For a unique and memorable way to connect with your students, schedule a school field trip to an AMC theatre. Choose from AMC’s calendar of films or select from a catalog of educational IMAX films, available year-round.
Funding & Recognition
Infuse Learning with Kindness, Community, and Purpose
On #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, align your students’ attention to gratitude and giving with TeachOne, a giving movement focused on educating young people about service and community. Join more than 10,000 K–12 educators across the country as together they commit to TeachOne philanthropy lesson on November 29. With more than 1,700 free online K–12 lesson plans aligned to Common Core and state standards, as well as 50 mini-grants available for service learning, Learning to Give makes it easy for teachers to guide students to be compassionate, engaged citizens who become lifelong givers. Consider sharing #GivingTuesday across your network with free Learning to Give K–12 lesson plans. Use #teach1 to spread the movement!
Contest Fostering Appreciation of Biodiversity
Now in its 17th year in the United States, the Get to Know Contest is sponsored by the Wildlife Habitat Council, National Recreation and Park Association, Wildlife Forever, and more than 50 other partners from coast to coast. The contest encourages youth (19 years of age and younger) to develop a deep appreciation for nature and biodiversity by getting outdoors and creating art, writing, digital photography, video, and music. Whether their outdoor experience begins with a single tree in a backyard or acres of boreal forest in a national park, youth can learn about and celebrate their local biodiversity by participating in the contest. Winners will receive a variety of “wild” prizes, including the chance to have their entries published in the 2016 Get to Know Calendar. For the art, writing, and photography categories, three winning entries will be chosen from each of the following grade ranges: Kindergarten to Grade 4, Grades 5 to 7, Grades 8 to 10, and Grades 11 to 12. For the video and music categories, a total of three winning entries will be chosen.
Deadline: November 1, 2016, for entries
Contest Promoting Drug Prevention
National Family Partnership strives to raise drug awareness in youth and schools by sponsoring the Red Ribbon Photo Contest. Interested schools decorate their campus with a red ribbon and the current year’s theme—YOLO. Be Drug Free in 2016. Applicants then take a picture of the decoration and upload it onto the contest’s website. Public voting will take place in November to decide the winner. Entries with the most votes will receive an iPad and $1,000 for a local K–12 school to use toward drug prevention. Eligible applicants include employees and parent volunteers of any public, private, or parochial K–12 school. Interested applicants will find this grant opportunity on GetEdFunding, a free database sponsored by CDW•G of thousands of funding opportunities for educators.
Deadlines: November 2, 2016, for entries; November 17, 2016, for public voting
Digital Learning • Learning Support
Curriculum Modeling Mathematical and Computational Thinking
High school math classes focus traditionally on solving equations; the world of mathematical modeling emphasizes creating equations. The nonprofit Association of Computational and Mathematical Modeling (AoCMM) is developing a free mathematical modeling curriculum that it plans to share with teachers by early 2017. The curriculum will show students how to construct equations that solve complex real-world engineering, science, and computing problems. Founded two years ago by students of Cupertino High School in Fremont Union High School District in California, AoCMM offers free online tutorials, helps to organize local modeling chapters, and runs an annual international competition. Last year’s mathematical modeling event attracted 111 teams from 13 different countries. The nonprofit has chapters across the United States and in China and India. Students are encouraged to participate by creating tutorials that share mathematical modeling techniques. AoCMM collaborates with professors from Harvard, Northwestern, and Brown universities, as well as instructors at Peking University and London’s Imperial College, who also help design and judge the annual modeling competition.
Age-Appropriate Sex Education Resource
AMAZE is a collaboration between experts in the field of sex education—Advocates for Youth, Answer, and Youth Tech Health—that has created an age-appropriate, online sex education resource for 10- to 14-year-olds. The AMAZE videos provide the answers young people want and need in an age-appropriate and relatable format. In the Internet age, plenty of information is at young people’s fingertips—some good and some horrifying. That’s why AMAZE provides early access to appropriate and accurate information. Recognizing the critical role parents and educators play in educating young people about their changing bodies, sex, and healthy relationships, AMAZE also provides resources for parents and educators to use in talking with the young people in their lives. The AMAZE videos are approachable and facilitate communication between young people and parents, guardians, and educators.
Lessons from the Vietnam War
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), the nonprofit organization that founded and preserves the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, has released new curriculum materials that are available to teachers to teach Vietnam in their classroom. The Echoes From The Wall curriculum set explores the Vietnam War and era through 14 lesson plans that include background readings, in-class and extension activities tied to national learning standards, and lecture presentations incorporating primary source audio and video. The lesson plans cover a range of topics, from Motivations for US Involvement to the Legacy of the War in Vietnam. Educators can review and download individual lesson plans or the full curriculum from the VVMF website.
Plus: For students who would like to view artifacts of the war up close and behind the scenes, VVMF has debuted a new videoconferencing/distance learning program that connects students around the country and world to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection. By signing up for The Things They Carried program, students can learn about the Vietnam War, discuss questions of war and peace, and view some of the more than 400,000 items left in remembrance at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall since 1982. From swords to draft cards, these objects represent the range of experiences citizens had during a divisive time in US history.
Interactive Curricula Challenging Bias
The Anti-Defamation League’s free curricula help K–12 students understand diverse perspectives, strengthen critical thinking skills, challenge the development of emerging biases, and build skills and motivation to take action against injustice. Timely and relevant, Current Events Classroom lessons assist educators in teaching about news topics and other issues of the day. Curriculum Connections—multigrade interactive curriculum units—challenge students to think critically about past and current issues. For example, one featured Common Core–aligned lesson provides an opportunity for middle school and high school students to learn about the refugee crisis, view and analyze related artwork produced by artists all over the world, and engage in other activities designed to deepen their understanding of the refugee crisis and promote empathy for what it means to be a “stranger.”
George Washington University’s Higher Education Administration program prepares exceptional leaders for administrative, academic, and research positions in two- and four-year higher education institutions, national and international associations, government agencies, and other postsecondary educational settings. The Doctoral degree offers flexible weekend and evening classes, and provides a high-quality, fast-paced scholarly experience where students practice seamlessly integrating theory and research. The program affords countless opportunities and connections for students, while the university’s Washington, DC, location provides the distinct advantage of being a neighbor to numerous national organizations. Program graduates rise rapidly within administrative and scholarly ranks based on their knowledge, skills, experiences, and research expertise. Graduates are knowledgeable of critical issues in higher education, able to conduct independent primary research, and equipped with necessary skills for academic and administrative career development.
Strategies for Fostering Constructive Civil Discourse
How can you create a safe and reflective classroom where students learn to exchange ideas and listen respectfully to one another? What strategies are most effective in helping students practice constructive civil discourse? In the midst of a divisive United States presidential election and ongoing issues related to race, justice, and policing, educators have an essential role to play in creating classrooms where students learn to listen respectfully to different opinions and experiences, try out ideas and positions, and give—and get—constructive feedback without fear or intimidation. To help teachers navigate these challenging times and support their students in developing effective skills for civic participation, Facing History and Ourselves is offering a free guide titled Fostering Civil Discourse: A Guide for Classroom Conversations.
Virtual Event on Integrating Digital Media into Instruction
The Discovery Education Community is offering a no-cost virtual event that will provide teachers and administrators actionable strategies for deepening the integration of digital media into classroom instruction. The 2016 Fall VirtCon will take place on October 22, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET). Streamed live, VirtCon will give participants the opportunity to connect with their colleagues, share ideas and instructional tools, and discover new digital resources they can immediately integrate into teaching and learning. While it includes a variety of engaging online workshops and presentations, the 2016 Fall VirtCon also features a number of ongoing discussions on timely education topics, including Literacy Through Digital Content, Learner Agency and Student Ownership, Professional Learning Strategies, and Collaborative STEM. Virtual participants will be able to interact with others by joining the online Twitter chat, using the hashtag #FallVirtCon. At the conclusion of the 2016 Fall VirtCon, all sessions will be archived and available on the VirtCon website.
Online Modules Putting Growth Mindset Research into Practice
A Stanford University research lab, Project for Education Research That Scales (or PERTS), is investigating practical ways to put growth mindset research to work in K–12 schools. The Stanford lab is offering free online training modules for teachers, creating a diagnostic tool to determine if their classroom practices are supported by mindset research, and assessing their professional development needs around the subject.
STEM • STEAM • STREAM
Project-Based Learning Module for Makers
In the last few years, a small group of designers at Artifact Design created a system called the Zed Digital Makerspace. (Zed stands for “Generation Z Education.”) This network system connects schools with museums to promote STEM education through project-based learning. Students drive their own experiences, build their own projects, and learn about programming, design thinking, and paper prototyping through workshops at their school, which then become part of an immersive digital experience back at the museum. Stories in the Sky is the first learning module in the Zed Digital Makerspace. This interactive museum experience explores the myths and science of our 88 recognized constellations. It uses animation, sound design, and star facts to generate a sense of wonder in children and adults alike. It is a user-driven experience—that is, users follow their interests wherever they may lead. The plan is to build each program with the help of scientists, educators, storytellers, and most important, youth. Stories in the Sky was the subject of Artifact Design’s first Design-Thinking Workshop. An online video demonstrates how the whole system works.
Lessons Exploring the Digital Humanities
Imagine if students could launch an augmented reality Pokémon GO-style app that turns the world around them into Charles Dickens’s London or J. D. Salinger’s New York. Proponents of the digital humanities—the combination of art and literature and modern tech—are working to figure out how to make this imaginary scenario into reality. By incorporating software, mobile devices, and some other gadgets, teachers can add another layer of engagement for students. Tech and storytelling are a natural fit. At the University of Texas at Austin’s Digital Writing & Research Lab, researchers are tinkering with the latest technology, such as littleBits, Arduino, and Google Cardboard virtual reality viewers, to determine how they could be incorporated into the writing curriculum. When they come across the technology that works, the researchers publish their lesson plans on the lab’s website. For example, the Game Jam plan outlines how educators can have students build video games as “an expression of classical rhetorical practices.”
Interactive Periodic Table
Ptable packs a powerful reference punch followed by advanced capability to manipulate information and seek out more. After starting with the basics, such as atomic weight, students can dive into interpreting color codes, experimenting with dynamic and interactive features, and sampling videos from the University of Nottingham, podcasts from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and compelling images of everyday applications. To enhance students’ learning, visuals show common items that contain a particular element—for example, air packs, mica, and welding kits for oxygen; or sushi, canned tuna, and toy mazes for mercury. Ptable offers translation into 46 languages, so ELL students will have no difficulty keeping up in class. Lectures comparing element properties come to life through color-coding and temperature and ionization slider bars. Lists of compounds for individual elements or any combination of elements are a click away for research or homework. Social studies students can find information and sources on discoveries and scientists embedded in Wikipedia entries, videos, and podcasts. Environmental science teachers might point students to abundance percentages for Earth’s crust, the Sun, oceans, meteors, and humans.
3D Videos Providing Virtual Reality Experiences
YouTube has a dedicated channel for 3D videos. On their computer, users can scroll around using their mouse, but to enjoy the full virtual reality experience, they can place their smartphone in their VR viewer and choose the Cardboard mode. Some of the best videos have informative narrations. For example, from BBC News comes a 360-degree tour inside the Large Hadron Collider, “the world’s greatest physics experiment,” with a fascinating explanation. Cost: Free
App Exploring Cultural Traditions Through Gameplay
Do your students like sushi? Can they say “hello” in Swahili? Being Global is an interactive, multimedia, and trilingual app kit for parents and educators to teach children about the goodness in exploring, appreciating, and respecting other children’s traditions, religions, and values the world over. Children discover what it means to be global in a whimsically drawn and thoughtfully told interactive, animated story that also includes gameplay. The app is available for the iPad and iPhone by SachManya. Cost: $2.99
Interactive 3D World Atlas
Barefoot World Atlas from Touchpress Limited puts the world at students’ fingertips. With this app, students can use their iPad or iPhone to fly around a magical, interactive 3D globe and discover the rich wonders of Earth. They can easily explore the world’s continents, great oceans, and changing environments. As they travel from country to country, students will meet different people from around the planet and find out about their way of life. With the tap of a finger, students will encounter amazing wildlife and discover famous landmarks, fantastic natural features, and remarkable buildings. Expansion packs, available as in-app purchases, are overflowing with features to add to students’ globe. Packs include Puzzles, North America, Great Cities, International Football, and World Art. Cost: $4.99 (app); $0.99 (in-app purchases)
Global Community for Practicing Dialogue Skills
On the Generation Global platform, students can develop the skills and experience to flourish in an interconnected and complex world. Generation Global is designed for 12- to 17-year-olds and is active in more than 20 countries from around the world. Students learn and practice the skills of dialogue in the classroom before engaging in dialogue through videoconferences or online. The videoconferences connect classrooms across the world, allowing students to explore, articulate, and develop their own views, while encountering and considering the views of others. The online community encourages dialogue among students, who work in small groups with other students from around the world, sharing their views and engaging in dialogue on prearranged topics. The community is a safe space, with a trained facilitator to manage the flow of the discussion. Working with specialists, Generation Global has developed flexible teaching modules that can be incorporated into existing curricula and that suit a range of educational systems. The classroom activities help students to approach diversity in an open-minded way and to learn the skills of dialogue. There is no charge or cost involved with the program.
Program to Encourage Expanding Book Choices
For years, teachers, librarians, and booksellers have worked to encourage reading by creating booklists that link a popular title to “readalikes”: “If you liked Harry Potter, try Diana Wynne Jones’s Chronicles of Crestomanci,” or “If you liked The Hunger Games, try The 5th Wave.” Now Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, wants to turn that practice inside out. Instead of leading readers to books in the same genre or format, Yang is spearheading the Reading Without Walls Challenge, a program designed to help readers find books they might otherwise never choose on their own. Readers of all ages will be able to complete the challenge in one of three ways: by reading a book about a diverse character, or about an unfamiliar topic, or in a new format, such as a graphic novel or an audiobook instead of a printed book. They can then share the challenge on social media by taking a photograph of the book and posting it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ReadingWithoutWalls. Visit the Children’s Book Council’s website to find out how to be a part of the fall 2016 pilot program. The deadline for all feedback and testimonial is December 12, 2016.
Online Community Inspiring a Positive School Climate
inspirED—born out of a partnership between Facebook and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence—is an online community designed by educators, teens, and experts in social and emotional learning (SEL) to help high school students and educators work together to create the best possible learning communities. Teachers and students can become a part of inspirED by joining inspirED’s teen or educator community groups; starting an inspirED team at their school; and trying out the social and emotional learning resources on the website in their classroom, school, or community. Resource topics include Safe & Comfortable, Connected & Supported, Connected & Balanced, Inspired & Empowered, Respected & Valued, Passion & Purpose, Energized & Motivated, and Happy & Excited.
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« October 17, 2016