Tag Archives: Education

Curricu-Links: Retweet Round-Up

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Here are some interesting links that I found on Twitter over the last several days.  I hope you find them interesting as well.  Thank you to those in the Twittersphere who took the time to share.

Here are the same links in OneTab.

Curricu-Links: Retweet Round-Up

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Here are some interesting links that I found on Twitter over the last several days.  I hope you find them interesting as well.  Thank you to those in the Twittersphere who took the time to share.
Here’s the OneTab link to these resources.

Google Maps and GAFE Apps

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I’d like to make an appeal to Google for Education to include Google Maps in the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) suite.  I’d like to encourage my fellow techie teachers (and not-so-techie teachers) to make the same appeal.

Bear with me on this… here’s my situation…

I’m a thinker.  I don’t say this to imply that I’m some kind of super intelligent, Plato-inspired philosophical guru.  Those who know me know that this isn’t the case.  What I mean is that I like to think about ways to make things better.  I get inspired by those who are smarter than me and I think about how I can use their inspiration to improve what I do.   Unfortunately for me, and my patrons, I am not necessarily a do-er.  I get paralyzed by imaginary road blocks before my plans are ever put into action.  In many cases these grandiose plans never make it past my head and we all lose.

“Earth-Erde”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Earth-Erde.jpg#/media/File:Earth-Erde.jpg

Such has been the case for a project that I have had in the works for several years.  Each year, as summer break approaches, I have this inspired idea to map, with pictures, where my students read over summer.  I make a poor attempt at collecting photos and usually I get a handful of students and teachers who hand me photos.  The photos pile up on my desk and I forget about them until the following spring when I’m preparing for summer break.  Seeing the pictures reminds me that I want to try the project the following summer.  Rinse and repeat.

This summer I decided I WAS going make it happen.  I was bound and determined to bring this project to fruition.  Our district uses GAFE, so naturally I thought, Google Custom Maps… electronic images.. perfect solution! Except… Google Maps is not part of the GAFE suite.  I’m finally putting a plan into action, and I have a real-life road block!  Ever the thinker and problem-solver, I came up with my work-around.  I’d use my personal gmail account to create the Google Custom Map… not an ideal solution (I prefer to keep my professional and personal accounts separate) but again, I was determined.

After a lot of hoop-jumping, I was able to get the summer reading map created, with pictures, and able to embed it on the school website.  It looks the way I want it to look, and the feedback from parents has been very positive.  All is good with one small exception:  When I’m logged into my school gmail account, I can’t view the embedded map.  My best guess is that for some reason Google Maps and GAFE don’t play well together.  It should be so much easier to put this plan into action.

Why would Google Apps for Education not include Google Maps in their suite? The GAFE suite is designed to promote collaboration, creativity and communication among global learners.  What better way for students to understand their connection to a global community than by helping them to visualize what that looks like?

Including Google Maps in the GAFE suite would invite a multitude of opportunities for other creative, collaborative, educational projects.  Imagine students working in groups to map events during the American Revolution, using primary source images form the Library of Congress.  Language Arts teachers could create class maps featuring the settings of fictional stories.  Science classes could map migratory patterns of various species.  High school students could map the global repercussions of current events.  Students could create their own custom maps to make connections with places of personal interest.  These maps could become part of their educational portfolios.

There may be some very valid reasons that Google Maps is not included in the GAFE suite.  I’m guessing that maybe there are privacy issues, or maybe it’s just a matter of money.  I’d love to understand the rationale, but I have a hard time believing that providing access to Google Maps would present obstacles that wouldn’t be faced in the other apps in the GAFE suite.

So again, I’d like to make an appeal to Google for Education to include Google Maps in the Google Apps for Education suite.  I’d like to encourage my fellow educators to make the same appeal.

What do you think?

Curricu-links: Retweet Round-Up

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Here are some interesting links that I found on Twitter over the last several days.  Thank you to those in the Twittersphere who took the time to share. Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.42.48 AMRight now this is just a hodgepodge of different topics, hopefully in the future I’ll have this a bit more organized.  You can also access these links through the QR code or my OneTab Link.

Summer Reading: A Long Walk to Water

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A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park


Genre: Realistic Fiction

Recommended for: grades 5 and up

Based on actual events, the story of two children into different time periods, facing life-threatening struggles in the country of Sudan.

Topics/Themes: drinking water, Sudan, family, Sudanese Civil War, The Lost Boys of Sudan, global issues, helping others, survival

My Two Cents: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  Each chapter in this book intertwines the stories of two children trying to survive in circumstances that the average American child can barely imagine.  Nya’s twice daily trek to fetch drinking water for her family seems like such an antiquated prospect to us, and yet this event is a reality for many children today. Salva’s story begins with the bombing of his school by Sudanese rebels and his subsequent escape from his village.  Separated from his family he will travel on foot for hundreds of miles over several years through the deserts of southern Sudan, then Ethiopia, on to Kenya and finally to the U.S.

A Long Walk to Water is an inspirational story of struggle, survival, and giving back.  (I’m thinking One Book, One School!) It is also a story that begs us to get involved, take action, and make a difference in our world.  Salva Dut founded the non-profit orgaization Water for South Sudan to help the people of South Sudan drill for clean drinking water in their villages.  On this website you can find more information about A Long Walk for Water and other resources related to the book.

Watch this moving video about how Water for South Sudan is changing the lives of the people of South Sudan:

Water for South Sudan from Water for South Sudan on Vimeo.

For a more in-depth look at this book, check out Linda Sue Park interviewing Salva Dut. (Also from the Water for South Sudan website.):

Pair with: 

Hoping for Peace in Sudan : Divided by Conflict, Wishing for Peace by Jim Pipe.

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams.

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World by Christine Ieronimo

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together

Summer Reading: Trash

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Trash by Andy Mulligan. Realistic Fiction/Mystery.

The lives of three “dumpsite boys” become forever entwined when one day Raphael discovers a bag containing a wallet, a map, and a key.  Soon all three are running from the police and desperately trying to solve the mystery of why the bag is so important to the authorities.

Themes/Content: Poverty, trash, waste, money, corruption, power, survival, courage, fear, friendship, education, codes, standards of living, character perspective, environment, greed

Recommended for: Grades 6 and up, readers who like dramatic stories, readers who like a lot of action, readers who like mystery, inquiry projects for social awareness or environmental issues, discussing character perspective

My Two Cents: When I choose a book to read I intentionally try to not know much about it.  I rarely read the summaries or reviews before I read the book.  It took me several chapters to realize I wasn’t reading dystopian science fiction.  The conditions of squalor in which the characters live are so extreme, how could I think otherwise?  Then I started thinking about my trip to Ghana several years ago, and I connected some of the scenes described in the book with some of the poverty stricken areas I had visited then.  Here I confess that I broke out of my normal routine and skipped to the acknowledgements at the end.  Mulligan said, “Behala dumpsite is based loosely on a place I visited whilst living in Manila.” Here is what he had to say about the book:

This book is definitely not for younger students, even though young children are the protagonists.  The authorities are brutal with Raphael as they interrogate him.  Rat (Jun-Jun) is completely alone in the world, living in the midst of filth and trash with the rats as company.  Gardo takes the leadership role and gives the others strength.  They all must take drastic measures just to survive in the harsh environment which surrounds them.  The boys do find compassionate people who play a role is helping them solve the mystery.  At first solving the mystery is a matter of survival, but eventually the boys realize that they are compelled to right a wrong that occurred before they were born.

This book will be eye-opening for those of our students who are born into a life of privilege.  As we encourage our students to be more globally aware, Trash could be used to spark discussion about living conditions in developing countries and possibly as in impetus for our students to affect change.  The book might also encourage students to learn more about the environmental impact of these very real sites.

Similar/Paired Books from EHUE Library:

  • Bailey, Gerry, and Felicia Law. Cowries, Coins, Credit. Minneapolis, Minn.: Compass Point Books, 2006. Print.
  • Bedford, Deborah J. Garbage Disposal. North Mankato, Minn.: Smart Apple Media, 2006. Print.
  • Bellamy, Rufus. Food for All. North Mankato, Minn.: Smart Apple Media, 2006. Print.
  • Clifford, Tim. Around the World with Money. Vero Beach, Fla.: Rourke Pub., 2009. Print.
  • Kent, Zachary. The Story of the Peace Corps. Chicago: Children Press, 1990. Print.
  • Ma, Yan, and Pierre Haski. The Diary of Ma Yan : the Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. Print.
  • Milway, Katie S. One Hen : How One Small Loan Made a big Difference. Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008. Print.
  • Povey, Karen D. Garbage. Detroit: KidHaven Press, 2006. Print.

Favorite Quote: “The absence of money is drought in which nothing can grow.  Nobody knows the value of water until they’ve lived in a dry dry place- like Behala.  So many people waiting for the rain.” (Mulligan, Andy. Trash. Oxford: David Fickling Books, 2010. 149. Print.)

The Final Word(s): A powerful gripping mystery. 🙂

Curricu-Links: 6 August 2013

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General/Multi-Topic

Genius Hour

Genius hour is a block of time set aside to allow students to autonomously work on projects for which they have  passion.  Wouldn’t it be nice if this could be worked into our schedule somewhere?

Sashimi Tabernacle Choir

WARNING: NO REAL EDUCATIONAL VALUE HERE! (unless you count making a creative idea into reality.)  I was looking for information on Makerspaces and I came across this (in the middle of a TEDtalk if you can image.) Honestly… it is creative and it makes me smile so I thought I’d share…

Language Arts

The Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf

Need to recommend a great read, but stuck for a title? Check out this post of the 100 must-reads for 9-14 year olds.  How many have you read?

Picture Books as an Art Form

From the Eric Carle Museum. Provides a framework for using picture books, not just for entertainment, but to promote discussion.

Social Studies

Back  in the Day: Lessons form Colonial Classrooms

An Education World article with many resources for teaching about colonial classrooms.  Inculdes suggestions for hands-on activities and resources.

iCivics.org

Great lessons and interactive games related to civics.  The lessons contain everything you need for lessons on citizenship, branches of government, the constitution, and others.  Check out the teacher page or just play a game!  If you register, the points you earn from playing games can go toward making an impact on the world.

TeachingHistory.org

This site, published by the National History Education Clearinghouse, was featured in a blog post on Free Technology for Teachers about “Why Hoistorical Thinking Matters” Features teaching materials, history content and best practices.

Science/Health

79 Animal Adventures in Honor of Shark Week

Blog post by Common Sense Media.  Includes apps, movies games, and more.

Information Literacy/Technology

SoundBible

Free sound effects with licensing information clearly marked for each file.

August AASL Hotlinks

I receive these monthly via email with my membership in AASL, but many of the articles are applicable to all educators. Includes a lot of information on curriculum, assessment, STEM etc.

Wikipedia as an authentic Learning Space

Professional development opportunity provided by EasyBib. Hurry!  The meeting is tomorrow August 7, at 3:00 EDT.

PicMonkey Collage

This blog post from Free Technology for Teachers discusses creative ways to use this new tool effectively.  PicMonkey is free and no login is required.

Sources of my sources: Susan L. Panter (@SLPanter), Joyce Valenza (@Joycevalenza), Robin Bryce (@busybryces), Emily Gover (@Emily_EasyBib)