Grants and Other Funding Sources
Boost Students’ Interest in MathThe Actuarial Foundation’s Advancing Student Achievement grant program brings together actuaries and educators in local classrooms with the belief that interaction with real-world mentors will boost student interest and achievement in math. The Actuarial Foundation can provide a local network of actuaries ready to participate, as well as suggestions on how to integrate math concepts from the workplace into the classroom. Schools applying for grants will be given wide latitude in designing programs that enhance learning. However, a sufficient population of volunteer actuaries must be within easy traveling distance to make a regular program possible.
Deadline: None, but applications should be received at least one or two months prior to proposed start date.
Raise Funds Through RecyclingFundingFactory is a program that enables schools and nonprofits to raise funds by recycling printer cartridges and cell phones. Schools can also recycle digital cameras, GPS units and MP3 players in exchange for cash or points redeemable for classroom equipment. Participation in the program is free, and it’s an easy way to protect the environment, teach students how to be environmentally responsible citizens and secure funds for much needed upgrades or improvements.
Awards, Competitions and Other “Winning” Opportunities
Solve Real-World 21st Century ChallengesHosted by the Conrad Foundation, the Spirit of Innovation Challenge invites high school teams to use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to develop commercially viable, technology-based products in one of three categories: Aerospace Exploration, Clean Energy, and Health and Nutrition. The top fifteen teams, five from each category, will travel to the annual Innovation Summit at NASA Ames Research Center in California from March 29 to 31, 2012. In addition, this year’s competition offers a once-in-a-decade opportunity for select teams to travel to Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 with the U.S. Department of State to participate with an international audience in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The selected teams will also attend a U.S. workshop in May to meet their global peers in advance of the trip to Rio. To enter the challenge, student teams simply answer four questions about their innovative concept.
Deadline: November 29, 2011 for registration
Use Science to Address Global IssuesThe National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) DCAT Making a Difference Award recognizes and honors excellence in a science program developed and implemented by middle school or high school science teachers, grades 6–12. Entries must show innovative and effective teaching strategies combined with a science program that has influenced students to explore and investigate science and its application to global problems. The $2,500 award is to be used to enhance or expand the winning science program; the winning school’s lead science teacher and principal will be awarded coach airfare and two nights’ hotel accommodation to attend NSTA’s National Conference in 2012.
Deadline: November 30, 2011
Make Teaching an AdventureCreated alongside Elmer’s, American College of Education, Learning.com and Discovery Student Adventures, New Teacher Survival Central is an online destination welcoming, supporting and rewarding educators new to the teaching profession with an array of helpful and timely classroom resources. Now open for entries, the New Teacher Survival Central Sweepstakes will award one grand-prize winner an all-inclusive trip to Costa Rica and a prize pack, which includes a classroom set of NOOK color tablets, a STEM Survival Prize Pack, an Elmer’s Classroom Prize Pack, a tuition scholarship toward a master’s degree and a collection of Discovery Education DVDs. Teachers are invited to encourage their colleagues to enter the sweepstakes. Those who refer a winning teacher will also be rewarded with an Elmer’s Classroom Prize Pack and an all-expenses-paid trip to a professional development conference of their choice.
Deadline: Entries due by December 17, 2011
Engage Students in Global AffairsThis year marks the 10th anniversary of the World Affairs Councils of America’s education program Academic WorldQuest. This year’s categories focus on the Six Top National Security Issues facing the United States in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, as voted on by leaders of World Affairs Councils across the country: US Education: Competing Globally; US Energy Policy; US Economic Competitiveness; the Middle East; Afghanistan/Pakistan; and China. The 2011–2012 Study Guides include all of the resources for this year’s categories. All questions for both local and national competitions are drawn from the Academic WorldQuest Study Guide. The national competition will take place at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center on April 21, 2012. The competition is attended by more than 225 of the nation’s most promising students, along with their parents, teachers and chaperones. The three-hour competition is a unique opportunity for many students to visit the nation’s capital for the first time. A weekend of substantive programming enhances the experience. Find a list of local competitions online.
Click Here for More Information About Academic WorldQuest
Free and Inexpensive Resources
Make the Most of Digital LearningLearning.com provides teacher resources from industry-leading organizations (such as LEGO Education and NASA), open education resources (such as Curriki and PhET) and materials from teachers for teachers. Sign up for a free Learning.com account and you’ll gain access to the standards-aligned, peer-reviewed content—all in one place.
Explore Veterans’ Challenges and AchievementsWhen veterans return home from war, what challenges and opportunities await them? How are some veterans finding meaning in their post-service lives? In this lesson from the New York Times Learning Network, students examine some of the struggles that veterans face when they return home and then create displays that honor veterans and detail the ways that veterans are making a difference in their communities. The lesson is correlated to McREL’s national standards; it can also be aligned to the new Common Core State Standards for Language Arts, Life Skills, Historical Understanding and World History.
Get Students Creating TogetherSmithsonian Education has some new resources (videos and downloadable instructions) for easy-to-do book projects that can get your students talking and creating together. Click on any of the demonstration videos and the accompanying downloadable instructions to help your students make their own “memory” storybook.
Integrate History with Current IssuesSponsored by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, the Choices for 21st Century Education Program offers videos from scholars and matching lesson plans on current topics. The curricular lessons are designed to allow students to act as decision makers as they examine crucial points in history. Students can use historical and contemporary primary-source documents, maps, editorial cartoons and more to develop their critical thinking, creativity, innovation and collaboration skills, as well as their media, digital and civic literacies.
Let Reading Come AliveThe nonprofit Bookshare provides free electronic copies of books that are adapted into formats that meet the needs of students with visual impairments or certain learning disabilities. The text of the books can be read aloud by computers, magnified or spaced differently, allowing the books to be read by those who struggle with print textbooks.
Plus: The Read2Go app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch allows students to read Bookshare books on a mobile device. Read2Go is available in the iTunes App Store for $19.99. Interested individuals can watch a short video of Read2Go in action or get more information from the Read2Go web page. For access to Bookshare books on these devices, qualified individuals will need a Bookshare membership.
Click Here to Watch App Demo
Of Special Interest
Set a Course for AdventureThe Cleveland Museum of Art’s award-winning distance-learning program connects students from all over the country and beyond with the museum to enrich their studies of history, languages, science, math and the visual arts. Through live videoconferencing, students view art and artifacts from around the world while sharing in two-way conversations with museum educators. Lessons are designed for kindergarten through grade 12 and are aligned with national, Ohio, New York and Michigan learning standards. Teacher workshops are also available to introduce audiences to videoconferencing. Scholarships for the distance-learning programs are available for low-wealth school districts.
Increase Students’ Global AwarenessHow can we best prepare students to develop Common Core skills for history and the humanities in a way that incorporates global content and perspectives? Getting There Globally, a series of webinars led by Primary Source curriculum specialists, will introduce global resources and innovative pedagogical models that support Common Core standards and the mastery of vital 21st century skills for all grade levels. Each webinar will feature grade-specific, global primary sources and present strategies designed to help students analyze and evaluate a variety of complex nonfiction texts. The Getting There Globally webinars will be held on the following dates:
December 6, 2011: The Common Core for the Elementary Classroom
January 31, 2012: The Common Core for the Middle School Classroom
February 28, 2012: The Common Core for the High School Classroom
Turn Standards into Student AchievementWith the development of Common Core Standards for math and English language arts complete, and their almost-universal passage realized (forty-eight states, two territories and the District of Columbia are participants in the state initiative), schools around the country are facing the daunting task of beginning to implement the standards in their classrooms. To assist educators in that challenge, and to assure that they are able to enact the standards in as timely and seamless a manner as possible, School Improvement Network has developed CommonCore360, a free website that provides a host of resources to educators in need of Common Core Standards training. The site includes case studies—detailed descriptions of approaches that schools are taking to successfully apply the standards—as well as a Common Core blog, a place where teachers read, discuss and ask questions about the standards. In addition, to keep educators current on Common Core, the site hosts a newsroom with relevant articles gathered from all over the web.
Mobile Learning on the Move
Experience the Building Blocks of the UniverseWith The Elements app, students will discover the 118 elements of the Periodic Table up close on the large iPad screen. They can click to rotate 360 degrees and inspect each element. Then they can read the element’s story, which explains the element’s origins, how it was discovered and its significance in the universe. They can even see it all in 3-D using 3-D glasses (sold separately). The Elements app can be purchased for $13.99 from the iTunes App Store.
Plus: From the same developer, Solar System app for the iPad includes story pages illustrated with interactive scenes, videos and 3-D objects; fully rotatable and pinch-zoomable 3-D objects, including the Sun, all its planets and their major moons; and selected images returned by the NASA, ESA and JAXA space missions as well as detailed captions with technical data for every image and object. The Solar System app can be purchased for $13.99 from the iTunes App Store.
Enter a World of WondersThe Wormworld Saga is an episodic graphic novel that follows the life and adventures of Jonas Berg, who at a young age enters a parallel world through a forgotten painting in a dusty attic. From that day on, Jonas’s fate is linked to this fantastic and mysterious place, in which he will visit indescribable wonders, experience true friendship, face insurmountable evil and discover his family legacy. The Wormworld Saga has been available on the web for a while, but it’s now available as a free iPad app that offers features not available on the web version, including exclusive news and content, and the ability to share favorite scenes via Facebook, Twitter or email.
Click Here to Visit Website
See What You Think TogetherPopplet is an easy-to-use graphic organizing tool that lets even young children organize ideas by drawing, writing or importing imagery. This free app for the iPad can be used to create diagrams, flowcharts, mind maps, webs and outlines. For example, students can select the most important events from a story or historical event and then present them on a timeline made with Popplet. They can also insert photos of the parts of a plant, or of a simple machine, and then create a flowchart about how the parts function together. The online feature lets students collaborate on the same organizer at the same time and share their work with others.
Click Here to Visit Website
Build It, Block by BlockBlockcorner is an online building tool for all ages. Students can create blocks and move them around by typing in commands from a simple programming language. They can also mail a structure to a friend so they can work on it together. The Official Blockcorner Quickstart Guide can help them get started.
Ride the RidesRollerCoaster Tycoon3 is an amusement-park simulation that lets students start from scratch and design their own park with unique rides, or start with a previously owned park and try to make it big. Rides include the classic carousel, the horrific haunted house and the risky roller coaster. Students can add ice cream stands, burger restaurants and paths to the restroom, and soon the park will have a plethora of patrons. But like real-life amusements, students will need to fix rides, balance the budget, hire employees and even keep up with advertising and ride costs. The simulation is accessible in English, Spanish and other languages.
Click Here to Visit Website [English]
Click Here to Visit Website [Spanish]
Navigate a Rocky Terrain—RemotelyAt Your Command simulates how vehicles can be operated remotely or autonomously on Earth or the Moon. Students navigate a robotic vehicle over rocky terrain, using the keyboard arrow keys. Two scenarios are provided to help illustrate the advantages (and disadvantages) of each method of operation. Students can operate the vehicle fairly easily in the Earth-based scenario, but they’ll probably find the Moon-based scenario much more difficult due to the three-second delay, the time it takes for the signal to reach the Moon.
“Worth-the-Surf” Web Sites
Journey Through the Land of the PharaohsWant to walk around the Sphinx? Clamber inside the Great Pyramid of Giza and seek out the pharaoh’s burial chamber? Visit the magnificent tombs and temples of ancient Thebes? NOVA’s Explore Ancient Egypt, a multilayered, highly visual interactive, lets students view 360-degree panoramas, “walkaround” photos and other breathtaking imagery shot throughout the Giza Plateau and ancient Thebes (modern-day Luxor), often with special permission. They’ll see Old and New Kingdom tombs and temples, pyramids and statues, and a 140-foot-long wooden boat that is 4,600 years old.
Explore How Historians Investigate the PastHistorical Thinking Matters is a website focused on key topics in U.S. history that is designed to teach students how to critically read primary sources and how to critique and construct historical narratives. The site presents four student investigations of central topics from post–Civil War U.S. history, with activities that foster historical thinking and encourage students to form reasoned conclusions about the past. Also find teacher resources offering classroom materials and strategies, examples of student and teacher work and supplementary sources.
Separate Fact from MythAt the Plimoth Plantation’s You Are the Historian site, students become history detectives as they investigate the first Thanksgiving. (Some historians think that “The First Thanksgiving” wasn’t really a thanksgiving. They call it “The 1621 Harvest Celebration” because it was more like a harvest festival.) On this website, students use clues to try to figure out what really happened at the 1621 harvest celebration. They are guided by Dancing Hawk, a Wampanoag whose ancestors were at the harvest celebration, and by Sarah, whose ancestor, Remember Allerton, was at the celebration too. If students don’t know the meaning of a word they encounter, they can use the online Glossary. Or if they want an expert opinion, they can go to Visit the Expert.
Click Here to Visit Website
Plus: A Teacher’s Guide includes corresponding online activities for Historian Skills: separating fact from myth, identifying and analyzing primary sources, making educated guesses using cultural clues and considering multiple points of view. The Teacher’s Guide also includes a Historian’s Log with free, downloadable graphic organizers to further students’ online understanding and enhance offline work. The student activities are based on the Teaching for Understanding framework developed by educators at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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