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Five-Minute Film Festival: Hooray for Pi Day

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Do you celebrate Pi Day? Pi is an essential mathematical symbol, representing the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Coincidentally, pie, a delicious dessert usually made with a pastry crust and fruit filling, shares the same pronunciation. So someone came up with the brilliant idea to combine them and celebrate both on one day: March 14th, or 3/14 (which matches the first digits of pi). It's one of those rare holidays that can make math fun for anyone, whether you're the kind of person who's interested in a tart pastry or a juicy math problem. Not sure what I'm talking about? Just read (and watch!) on for more Pi Day fun.

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National Poetry Month: Useful Resources for Teachers and Students

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In honor of National Poetry Month in April, Matt Davis has put together a list of useful poetry links for educators, including resources from the web, Edutopia's most popular poetry-themed blogs, and other quick reads.

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Sue Wise's picture
Sue Wise
Prof. Dev. Provider --Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium

The Library of Congress has millions of free primary sources and teacher resources. Here is a just small sampling useful for National Poetry Month:
* Literature and Poetry lesson plans (grades 3-12) http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/themes/literature/lessonp...
* Found Poetry (primary source set) http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/poetry/
* Poetry and Literature (resource page) http://www.loc.gov/poetry/
* From the Catbird Seat (blog) http://blogs.loc.gov/catbird/
* Poetry 180 (a poem a day for American high schools) http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/

ajr1206's picture
ajr1206
Educator, Author, Mentor, Consultant

Thanks for all the terrific ideas and links posted so far.
In invite you take a look at some of resources on my website including this one: Poetry Notebook: Product and Performance
http://teachingenglishlanguagearts.com/?p=1531
Students do research gathering biographical info on poet, selecting poems on theme, on topic, or by same author; model (pattern) poem(s), write original poems, write review (evaluation), memorize and recite poetry. Interim due dates make grading manageable and create formative assessments throughout the unit.

Melanie Link Taylor's picture
Melanie Link Taylor
Educator, Blogger, Southern California

Poetry to inspire, comfort, surprise, delight. Necessary, since we are poets all.

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Student Apps for Winter Reading

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Edutopia blogger Monica Burns shares a generous list of winter reading apps and ebooks for elementary students in class and with their families.
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Jeff Lehman's picture
Jeff Lehman
Teacher of Computer Science and Religious Studies

Sadly, it doesn't look like either Read Me Stories or Storia are available in the UK. I can't find them in the Kindle app store or on Google Play.

Demetria's picture

I appreciated your blog because many parents during the winter break still would like to engage their children with reading, but some forget that the use of their tablet can play a big role in increasing their child's emerging reading skills. By using their tablet can provide an interactive tool to enhance their child's love of stories and reading.

Debby's picture

The Dr. Seuss Bookshelf is by Oceanhouse Media. They make many book apps, including Berenstain Bears and Little Critter, that are available for Android and Nook, not just iOS devices. My four year old grandson loves listening to the app read the story, then he explores the page to find if it has any surprises. While he explores, the app says and shows the names of different objects.

docofsoc1's picture
docofsoc1
Parent of 1 first grader, CA, sociologist, parent blogger

We're in our second year of using Bookboard.com with our six-year old who loves books but struggles with reading and learning challenges in general. What works for us here is the focus on ebooks that are beautiful recreations of the print originals, without a lot of distracting bells and whistles going on (audio is offered on about a third of the collection)...and kids are motivated to read more as reading allows them to unlock new books to add to their library. Parents can also adjust the reading levels. My daughter likes to "take turns" reading ebooks and her library books -- the variety helps her remain engaged.

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

Scholastic just released a sneak peek from their Kids & Family Reading Report coming out in January 2015. The numbers are interesting: 73% of kids said they would read more if they could find books that they like. That's the key, isn't it? Find books the kids like and an easy way to put them into their hands.

If you're curious, here's think link to the sneak peek: http://www.scholastic.com/readingreport/

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A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom

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Edutopia blogger Vicki Davis, in the first half of a pro-and-con discussion about social media in the classroom, positions it as a vital life skill and provides 12 positive examples of classroom use.
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Sam Rubenstein's picture
Sam Rubenstein
High School English teacher from Brooklyn, NY

I would love to use social media like you and many other teachers have, but what do you do about firewalls and students who will use social media to bully others? My students haven't done anything like that, but there's always the fear of getting in trouble because one kid can't control their impulses and posts something offensive on another wall, or something gang-related or instigating a fight?

As for firewalls, a lot of the social media sites the kids want to use are blocked. What do you in that situation?

RHHSJBJones's picture

If bullying occurs use it as a teachable moment with explanation of consequences and then do them.

Rob Currin's picture
Rob Currin
High School English Teacher, Coach, Student

Fictional twitter accounts! I just wanted to share something that I have really gotten a kick out of recently. I started a Twitter account for Holden Caulfield @_therealholden_ and "Holden" tweets updates that center on our reading of The Catcher in the Rye. Students can interact and the whole thing has been a lot of fun.

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program

Hi Sam! I think there are a couple of different issues here. Bullying is bullying, period, and your school is legally required to have policies in place to deal with it. The larger issue has to do with school culture and classroom climate as well as being very clear about what quality digital citizenship looks like and sounds like. It requires direct instruction and conversation, analysis of other conversations pulled down from other sites (just hit the comments section on Huffpost for some awesome counter- examples of that!), and conversations (like #edchat) that you view and discuss together as a class.

Last, the conversation around firewalls and social media sites is one that has to be had at a higher level in the administrative food chain, I'd think. If you can make the case that you need to have them unblocked for sound pedagogical reasons, I think you'll have a better chance of getting them unblocked.

Michelle Luhtala at bibliotech.me has a lot of good thinking on this subject. You can follow her @mluhtala

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

@Rob, I love the fictional Twitter account idea. These kinds of things really make the characters come alive.

Do you see what Jeri's comment below? She had her class take fictional roles from Antigone and play them out on Facebook. Talk about having to demonstrate an understanding of the story and the characters!

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

Hi Sam,
Whether it's under your auspices or not, students are already using social media to communicate. It's my honest opinion that we should be using age-appropriate social media tools with students at all grade levels so that we can drive the conversation about how to be good digital citizens. Digital Citizenship is an important part of my curriculum. kids make mistakes and do things they shouldn't, but it's a lot easier to have a meaningful, learning-focused conversation with them if they make the mistakes when you've already talked about these issues.

The worst-case scenarios you bring up aren't going to happen or not happen because of the tools you use in your classroom. They're going to happen or not happen based on the tone you set with your students as to the kind of people they need to be whether they're online or off.

Lemlem's picture

Social media has been playing a greater role in our daily life. When it comes to the field of education, there are a lot of ways that social networks such as twitter and facebook can be used to enhance the teaching and learning environment and increase educational relevance. Students use social media everyday to communicate and gather information about various topics. So all in all social media is relevant to enrich classroom experience by connecting students with peers around the globe.

Renee T's picture
Renee T
#DSMsum14

Hi Vicki,
I feel lucky that I've had the chance to listen to you in person at last year's TIC in Dubuque, IA. I was reading this article for my Digital and Social Media class (this week we are looking at blogs and Twitter) and I agree with many of your statements. I especially connected with the parts about if we ignore SM, kids won't do it. Well, guess what, they're already snapchatting, tweeting and the like in class.

Dave Chaffey's picture
Dave Chaffey
Just a good bloke taking a look around :-)

Great article. I guess I see the challenges in education, but I have to question whether its not, perhaps, overstated? A lot of what I've read recently is tending towards a movement away from social. Two articles worth looking at are http://personalweb.about.com/od/facebookculture/a/Kids-Facebook.htm and http://www.kbbdigital.com.au/news/764-social-media-over-hyped-fad-or-eme... .Perhaps its not going to be the be all and end all. Just the next yo-yo or hula hoop fad... :-)

Lyn Lesch's picture
Lyn Lesch
I am an education writer who writes about how the experience of young people while they learn is even more important than what or how well they learn.

One of the best uses of social media in the classroom would be to connect students to the world of professional expertise as part of their classroom learning.

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Lyn Lesch's picture
Lyn Lesch
I am an education writer who writes about how the experience of young people while they learn is even more important than what or how well they learn.

One of the best uses of social media in the classroom would be to connect students to the world of professional expertise as part of their classroom learning.

(1)

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Five-Minute Film Festival: 7 Videos on Love for Valentine’s Day

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It's Valentine's Day! And Edutopia's VideoAmy has collected these 7 delightfully entertaining videos about love to help you celebrate.

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A Parent's Resource Guide to Social and Emotional Learning

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Explore a curated list of blogs, articles, and videos for parents about fostering skills like kindness, empathy, gratitude, resilience, perseverance, and focus in children.

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Doing Good Together™'s picture
Doing Good Together™
Doing Good Together™ offers family-friendly volunteer ideas & fun kindness activities to help busy families grow big hearts.

We love this list of valuable resources! In addition to these great finds, we suggest our projects, reading recommendations, and conversation tips found on our website, especially in our Big-Hearted Families(tm) program. We promote not only kindness lessons, but also the idea of family service and volunteering as a way to teach kids the benefits of giving to others and helping their community.

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Resources for Learning About Empathy on Valentine's Day

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Empathy is an important skill. In honor of Valentine's Day, Matt Davis has gathered a variety of great resources to help teachers bring lessons about compassion and caring into the classroom.
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Barbara Gruener's picture
Barbara Gruener
Counselor and Character Coach

Thanks, Matt! I appreciate your comprehensive coverage on empathy, the best gift a person could give or receive for Valentines Day ... and every day. I appreciate the shout out for our Empathy In A (Shoe) Box lesson at the Corner on Character. It has been a high-interest post for sure and is such an engaging activity for my students! To actually wear another person's shoes while a portion of their story is being told proves to be very powerful. Couple it with the book The Sandal Artist by Kathleen T. Pelley and you've got a dynamic duo!

Lina Raffaelli's picture
Lina Raffaelli
Former Community Engagement Intern at Edutopia

Such an important topic and V-day is a perfect time to reflect. Thanks for sharing

storybow's picture
storybow
Educational Stories for Children

Great List! Thank you very much for sharing Matt!

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6 Teaching Tools for Black History Month

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From interactive timelines and rich multimedia to lesson plans and study guides, find a variety of web resources that can help bring black history into the classroom.

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DeanJeanQuam's picture
DeanJeanQuam
Dean of University of Minnesota - College of Education & Human Development

Nice list! We have a resource to add. You can also celebrate Black History Month by hosting an African American Read-In in your classroom or community: http://cehdvision2020.umn.edu/cehd-blog/celebrate-black-history-month-by.... Either formal or casual, it's a great way for students to learn the historical significance of education and literacy in the African American community.
-Dean Jean Quam, University of Minnesota CEHD

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Shelley's picture

Thank-you everyone for all the great online resources. I work in an environment where there is no access to online resources. Therefore, I have utilized our local public library. I was able to get a variety of DVDs and books.

I highly recommend reading the link on the Do's and Don'ts of Teaching Black History.

Jennifer Carey's picture
Jennifer Carey
Director of Educational Technology from Miami, FL

Thank you all for this list!! This is excellent. Thanks for everyone who included additions.

noellerapozogmailcom - 268991's picture

I teach fourth graders and broaching the subject of African American studies can sometimes be a tricky thing (considering how horrible and violent it was), especially working in a district that's demographics are primarily Caucasian. However, after reading your blog and checking out the websites you tagged, I felt better informed and more comfortable talking about African American history from the stand point of it being, "American history" as well- I've never really looked at it this way. I appreciate your insight and the resources you provided- I found them very helpful. Currently my students are creating African American reports. Each student has chosen a person to explore and research on his or her iPads and in the library. I've taught them to write a summary style of essay using a persuasive tone to convince me that there person of choice is the most interesting African American that has lived. They are also expected to create an oral presentation explaining their person to the rest of the class, as well as some sort of visual aid to go with their report. We'll see how it goes...

Thanks for your post and information I found it very helpful!

Basmah's picture

I really like the banner that you have in your picture. May I ask where you got it?

Debra Cotton's picture

Thank you for the many links and teaching tools for Black History Month. I especially appreciate the repeating of one of Pat Russo's Dos and Don'ts of Teaching Black History Month that says "reinforce that 'black history' is American history." I have used a couple of your teaching tools to convey Black History.

DeanJeanQuam's picture
DeanJeanQuam
Dean of University of Minnesota - College of Education & Human Development

Nice list! We have a resource to add. You can also celebrate Black History Month by hosting an African American Read-In in your classroom or community: http://cehdvision2020.umn.edu/cehd-blog/celebrate-black-history-month-by.... Either formal or casual, it's a great way for students to learn the historical significance of education and literacy in the African American community.
-Dean Jean Quam, University of Minnesota CEHD

(1)

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7 Super Bowl Lesson Plans and Resources for the Classroom

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Explore a curated list of Super Bowl lesson plans and resources from around the web.

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Traci Gardner's picture

Thanks so much. I added a link from the Thinkfinity page back to this post, so maybe we'll get some cross-site love going on :)

Stephen Krashen's picture
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

In the discussion of the superbowl in class, please also include the role of professional athletics in society. Noam Chomsky has pointed out that understanding of the details of athletics (eg points after touchdown, off-side penalties, linebackers, odds, details of players' strengths and weaknesses ...) is often more complex than politics, and that fans are usually capable of deep critical thinking involving many complex issues (pass or kick? punt on third down? kick the field goal or go for the touchdown?), but we are told that politics is too hard, and we should leave it to the experts.

He concludes that organized sports is a way of diverting our attention away from areas we could have an influence on to areas we can't have an influence on.

I think the average citizen knows a lot more about the superbowl than the common core standards. To see what you know, please take our short quiz: http://www.progressive.org/test-your-public-ed-savvy

Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Media teacher

I love to use the Super Bowl ads to teach target audience. Our kids are so well trained to NOT stereotype people, that it's a stretch for them to understand target audience. Not only does it help them understand their own audience when they write, but it also helps them realize how advertisers are trying to get them to buy something.

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Hillary Hill's picture
Hillary Hill
Social Media Marketing Associate at Edutopia

Dwarfofred,

That's one of the coolest project that I have ever seen. I bet the students love it!

Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Media teacher

I love to use the Super Bowl ads to teach target audience. Our kids are so well trained to NOT stereotype people, that it's a stretch for them to understand target audience. Not only does it help them understand their own audience when they write, but it also helps them realize how advertisers are trying to get them to buy something.

(1)

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Resources for Assessment in Project-Based Learning

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Andrew Miller
Looking for tools and strategies for effective assessment in project-based learning? To support you, we've assembled this guide to helpful resources from Edutopia and beyond.

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bryantg's picture

The National Education Association Foundation (http://neafoundation.org) provides grants for:
"Any practicing U.S. teacher, counselor, or education support professional* employed by a public school, including public higher education institutions"

I found a ton resources and information about applying for a "Student Achievement Grant" here: https://www.neafoundation.org/pages/nea-student-achievement-grants/

The grant amounts available are $2000 to $5000 and are provided for any proposed work that engages students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepens their knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students' habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection.

Adam Bellow's picture
Adam Bellow
Founder of eduClipper.net

Thank you for pulling these great resources together! PBL is certainly not a new idea, but it does require divergence from the standardized education focus. The articles here, like all the Edutopia resources, offer practical guides and discussion points that can lead to successful implementation. Just wanted to say thank you for making PBL accessible.

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