Category Archives: Education

Curricu-Links: 4 August 2013

Standard

General/Multi-Topic

  • DENapalooza Stops in Pittsburgh
    • The Discovery Education Network is offering a free professional development on Saturday, September 21, 2013 from 9-4 at Montour High School.  Session include topics such as digital storytelling, project-based learning and personal learning networks.  The tour will visit other cities as well.

Language Arts

Science/Health

Social Studies

  • A Short Explanation of the European Union
    • I know that many of our 6th grade teachers do projects on the Countries of the World. This blog post contains two short videos, one explaining the European Union and one explaining the United Kingdom.  I’m always confused by these countries, and now I know that’s with good reason.
  • Daily Flag Status
    • I noticed that some of the American flags in the area were at half staff yesterday but had no idea why.  Then I found this website.
  • Half Staff American Flag Notifications
    • The site also shows the status of the flag.  You can subscribe to email updates and even embed a widget.

Art

Information Literacy/Technology

Sources of my sources: Mr Schu (@mrschureads), Tom Murray (@thomascmurray), Edutopia (@edutopia), Gwyneth Jones (@GwynethJones), Nancy Hniedziejko (@NancyTeaches)

CIPA 10 Years Later

Standard

Today beginning at 11:00 EDT, ALA and Google are hosting a national symposium to revisit the impact of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Although CIPA is broader than education, if you’ve ever wondered about some of the technology choices that the schools make, this may provide some insight. You can follow the conversation on twitter at #CIPA_ALA13.  The meeting will also be archived, and will be made available on the ALA Washington Office’s Youtube Channel.

Source: The District Dispatch, News for Friends of Libraries, from the ALA Washington Office. July 23, 2013.

Curious about Creative Commons?

Standard

One of my goals as an educator is to promote a community of ethical users of information.  As such, there is rarely an instructional day during which I am not pontificating on the importance of honoring copyright and citing sources.  You will also hear me encouraging students and staff to use Creative Commons licensed resources.

The School of Open (through Peer to Peer University) is offering several free facilitated courses, including Copyright 4 Educators (US) and Creative Commons for K12 Educators.  Registration ends August 4th and the classes begin August 5th.  More information can be found on the Creative Commons website.

Most adults are familiar with copyright and it’s symbol (©.) The content creator is automatically granted the copyright to his/her work.   This means that from the instant that work is created, he or she has the right to say who can use it and under what condition it is used.  Very simply, copyright means “ask permission before using.”  The use of copyrighted material in the school is made more complex by “fair use” which stipulates that small portions of copyrighted material may be used for educational purposes without asking permission first, provided the work is given attribution.

Creative Commons is a (relatively) new type licensing for original works.  As with copyright, these works can be written works, (including books, poetry, websites, and more) music, images, video, dance, and any other type of work that can take a physical form.  A creator can assign his or her work a creative commons license with different levels of permissions.  So although you don’t need to ask permission to use the work, there may be restrictions on how it is used.  These restrictions can be combined into Creative Commons licenses.  The four types of restrictions are:

  • Attribution- You must give credit to the original creator
  • Non-Commercial- You cannot use the work for monetary gain
  • No Derivative Works- You cannot change the work or create a new work with it
  • Share Alike- You must license your new work with at least the same restrictions as the license of the original work

Here is a great infographic to help you make some sense of it all:

I know that with all of the other responsibilities of the classroom teacher, sometimes ethical use of information can take a backseat.  The internet has made it unbelievably easy to borrow the works of others, and our students don’t even realize that they may be infringing on copyright.  I urge you to learn about copyright and Creative Commons, practice ethical use of information, set standards for ethical use of information for your students, and consider giving your works Creative Commons licenses.

Curricu-Links: 22 July 2013

Standard

General/Multi-Topic

  • The Teaching Channel.
    • A professional development website featuring videos on a variety of topics. Browse all videos or filter by grade level, curricular area or topic.
  • Library Centers
    • Although this blog posts specifically addresses libraries, I thought some of the ideas would be useful to our classroom teachers and others.
  • The Bully Project
    • This is the companion website to the movie Bully.  The creators hope to spark a grassroots effort to take a stand for the silent.  Sign up to pledge to take a stand against bullying.  Educator resources available. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but even the trailer is powerful.
  • Wonderopolis
    • A website that peaks your natural curiosity to lead the way to discovery and understanding.  Includes a “Wonder of the Day” page.

Language Arts

  • Daily Writing Tips
    • This is a blog which does exactly what it says, delivers a daily tip about grammar, vocabulary, etc.  You can get a free 10 day trial for the daily exercise (some of which are pretty tricky by the way) but you will need to pay to access the exercises after the trial is over.
  • Children’s Book a Day Almanac
    • Anita Silvey’s daily book reviews.  She also includes a side-bar with other events for the day.  EHUE will have the print version in the library next year.
  • The Watson’s Go to Birmingham Movie
    • Airing Sept. 20th, at 8:00pm on the Hallmark Channel.  Watch the preview here.

Science

  • A Rare Spectacular Total Eclipse of the Sun
    • Short Ted_Ed talk explaining the science behind the total eclipse of the sun.  I get a little choked up every time I hear about this.  Read Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass and then mark your calendar, for August 21, 2017.
  • Exploring the Universe
    • While you’re at it, check out some of these books about the universe.  Book reivews from School Library Journal.

Information Literacy/Tech

  • Celly
    • This website allows school communities to conduct private conversations through text or their website.  No cell numbers are collected.  As always, I’m a bit skeptical, and I’m not quite sure if we’re there yet, but Celly does seem promising.
  • Guest Speakers on Skype
    • Ideas and lessons for bringing the experts into your classroom.
  • How Coffeechug Uses Evernote
    • This blog post is the first in a series about using Evernote.  Evernote is a website (and app) that allows you to collects ideas and information, view you data across devices and share with others. This post specifically deals with using Evernote to create learning portfolios.
  • Twitter Tips and Tricks
    • If you’re a twitter newbie this presentation by James Allen and Christi Unker can help ease your fears.  I’m hoping to be able to offer some Twitter PD for EHUE during upcoming school year.
  • The Complete Guide to Twitter Lingo
    • If you’re going to start tweeting you might as well be up on the lingo, right?

I found many of these resources by reading posts from the following: Diane Ravitch’s Blog, @coolcatteacher, Ted_Ed, Free Technology For Teachers, School Library Journal, The View From Here, John Schu (@mrschureads), Joyce Valenza (@joycevalenza)

Inspired Idea: Reading Remix

Standard

Hold Fast Remix from M E Shenefiel on Vimeo.

I was listening to some Pandora yesterday and the station kept playing those funky, jazzy remixes with spoken word throughout.  Maybe I’m still lingering on the rhythms of Langston Hughes and Blue Balliett’s Hold Fast, but I kept stirring that around in my head.  In the middle of the night I woke up with this idea of creating reading remixes.

Similar to a book trailer, a reading remix could be used to promote a favorite book.  Key words, ideas, and phrases could be remixed with audio loops, and possibly images to create a composition that enhances the book and engages a prospective reader.  Students could work individually or in groups to promote a book club book.  For classroom novels, you could have different groups find quotes and phrases for different themes throughout the book.  The challenge is selecting the words and music and deciding how to manipulate the tracks so that the end product is aesthetically representative of the writing.

Admittedly there is not a lot to look at in the sample remix above.  When I created this earlier, I was more focused on finding and manipulating the words and music than the visual appeal.  Other images could have easily been added.  That’s one of the benefits to a project like this… there is all kinds of room for flexibility.

Has anyone else done something like this before?  What types of advice do you have for starting a project like this?

Wishing You Passion

Standard

On Nerdy Book Club yesterday, Mr. Sharp (@colbysharp) posted his “Nine Days I Am looking Forward to Celebrating With My Students.”  Certainly, read about all of the marvelous activities he’s planned, but if you only have time for one video, watch this one, his first day of school speech,  in which he talks about how much he loves reading.

As you plan for 2013-2014 and begin to make your way back to the classroom, here’s wishing you this much passion for the endeavor you are about to undertake.

Unconferences and EdCamps as PD

Standard

Recently I’ve been reading and hearing the terms “unconference” and “edcamp” more and more frequently. I first heard of an “unconference” in reference to the first ever PSLA Unconference hosted by Joyce Valenza (@joycevalenza) and Stephanie Brame.

From the PSLA 2013 program:

“Share, learn, exchange ideas, solve problems, build community and capacity at our very first PSLA Unconference. No spectators allowed! Come prepared to start or participate in relevant, timely conversations and help us prepare an exciting, interactive agenda, culminating in a fast-paced Smackdown.”

I was unable to attend the conference but during and after the conference, everything I read pointed to how valuable and inspiring this session was.

Fans of the Nerdy Book Club know about the first ever nErDcamp, an edcamp for which the praise seems to echo infinitely with the participants.  (For those of us who couldn’t make it (me) we feel like the kid who missed the bus on the day of the field trip… although we can life vicariously through the Idea Board.)

Correction (See comment below) Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) Angela Watson (@Angela_Watson) just returned from ISTE in San Antonio, TX.

From Cool Cat Teacher The Cornerstone

My best learning still takes place in unstructured situations. In both edcamps and the Hack Education unconference, there are no presentations or formal sessions, just opportunities for educators to get together in groups talk about topics that matter to them.”

The internet is a pretty big place and I don’t profess to know it all (even though I am a librarian) but I have yet to read anything negative from people attending these types of events.  Maybe the nay-sayers aren’t posting or maybe I’m just not following them, but the overwhelming majority of comments about unconferences and edcamps have been very favorable.

With all due respect, I have to say, as of late I have been less than impressed with the topics that have been presented for professional development during our in-service days.  Not that there isn’t a time and place for the district to voice their goals and provide information and strategies to reach those goals, but wouldn’t it be rewarding if, even once a year, we held an unconference or an edcamp on a professional development day.  The concept of these types of events as professional development is appealing because it provides the participants with the autonomy to decide which topics are most important to them.   They have the added benefit of providing the administration with insight into the priorities of the staff.

Do you think this could work?  What are the drawbacks? And can someone please tell me the difference between an unconference and an edcamp?