Sometimes the empty title box and + at the beginning of a blog post can be intimidating. Sure, you may have plenty of things to say or share, but looking at the empty space can make you hesitate, second guess, and procrastinate. I liken that to both the start of the new year– be it in the fall when a new school year is beginning, or in the winter, when the whole year is in front of you — and a swimming pool. Some people like to dip their toes in the water to get them used to the temperature as they ease their way in; others just jump right in.
In this case, I am going to offer you both: things you can jump in and use right away with your students and other things you can dip your toes in to try out as you ease your way in to the new year.
The first two are from PBS Learning Media, a favorite of mine for all subjects, all ages, and all types of content.
First is for our younger elementary students: Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum. This series of episodes, lessons, games, and activities is based off the book series, Ordinary People Change the World. The group of lessons is designed to help children make the connection between the character strengths of the historical figures and the same strengths they may also have. So far there are lessons on Zora Neale Hurston, George Washington, Cleopatra, and Isaac Newton.
Next is geared toward upper elementary, middle and high school students in grades 4-12 and it is a collaboration between PBS Learning Media and Ken Burns called Ken Burns in the Classroom. I first read about this in this article from the Washington Post. Ken Burns has been photographing and creating documentaries on all subjects and this partnership with PBS Learning Media is a “one-stop destination” of “classroom-ready content.” There are lesson plans, media, photographs, a gallery, and documents searchable by era or film beginning with the Revolution and the New Nation in 1754 to Contemporary United States from 1980 to Present. Each lesson comes with supporting materials and articles and links to additional content. Just by clicking on the lesson tags will bring you to even more content from PBS Learning Media. For example, I started here with Ken Burns’ Civil War and Reconstruction, made my way to The Civil Rights Act of 1964 from the Library of Congress, then to more materials on Civil War and Reconstruction housed in PBS Learning Media.
If you are thinking about flipping your classroom, this article from KQED offers a few tips from a teacher who has been flipping her math classes for the last several years. First, a flipped classroom model is when your students view content at home, often in the form of a video or another online option, then use class time to work on clarifying understanding, working in small groups, or working through the problems at school. This allows for more interaction between the teacher and the students during class time which, in traditional models, can often be spent delivering instruction and covering content. In this article, Three Simple Tools to Make Math Thinking Visible, Stacy Roshan shares her flipped learning journey and some ways she has iterated on her original model including how she uses Flipgrid, Edpuzzle, and Sutori to enhance the interactivity with her students.
Next, you know my fondness for what Pooja Agarwal shares to help make learning stick. This past week she and her co-author, Patrice Bain were interviewed (again) as part of the DITCH Summit and this download is notes from their session, Using Powerful Teaching to Remember and Thrive. You’ll find easy-to-implement tips, practices, and tools that you can begin using with your students tomorrow like brain-dumps, retrieve-taking instead of note-taking, and Just two things.
Last, do you want to build a snowman? How about an app? In his recent, “Favorite New Updated Tools of 2019” post, Richard Byrne shared Glide Apps. Glide Apps creates an app from content in Google Sheets. If you can add information to columns and rows, you can build an app with Glide.
So, which one of these will you jump into and which ones will you choose to dip your toes in this new year?