Overdrive, DOGOnews & Thought Leaders & Innvoators Worth Following

This is a copy of an email I shared with my colleagues back at the end of October

Guess what?! I found another FANTASTIC EXCELLENT AMAZING GREAT news site for kids and it’s called DOGOnews (but I read it as dog gone news at first). Kids can ready by category (Current Events, Science, Sports, and more) or filter by Grades (K-3, 3-5, 6-8. Note: When you filter by grades, you will not necessarily get the most recent news). Kids can look at news on the map and see where in the nation/world news events are happening. There is also sections on Books, Movies, and Sites where students can read reviews and see trailers. Try it- bookmark it, and let your students have options for getting the news (other FABU options: Youngzine, Tween Tribune, and Tween Tribune Junior ALSO HAS TWEEN TRIBUNE IN SPANISH, Time For Kids, and Newsela— I gave you that link last week). 

Surely you must have seen or heard of the movie High School Musical. Well, then you’ll appreciate this “We’re All in this Together” reference when I strongly suggest that you read this WashPo article on WAIT FOR IT— math. Since many of you are feeling that we are all math all the time, you will get a lot of enjoyment of this article on math. It might say Common Core, but it can easily apply to our MIF as both encourage teaching understanding rather than the rote way we learned back when teachers used blackboards that were either black or green and clapping erasers outside was high on the job chart. Anyway, you will get a chuckle about halfway through at Stephen Colbert’s words and a at what one of the dad’s wrote in response to an assignment. I’m serious— it’s FUNNY! So, be like Dora and just keep swimming (after you read this article).

I love Pinterest and get weekly updates on great boards. Here is one for Spanish teachers that has a lot of lessons, videos, books, and sites to share with your classes. And here is an annotated list of 30 Pinterest Boards for elementary teachers including SPECIAL SUBJECT TEACHERS like Art, Music, and Science 🙂 Yay, something for everyone!

By the way, if you are like me, you love to read. At this point, I go from book to book on my Kindle or my Kindle app. Well, you can kick your book habit into Overdrive (literally) and rent ebooks and audiobooks right from your local library using the Overdrive app.This article will explain. And you’re welcome; I just saved you $7.49/book or $9.95 if you were using Oyster Books monthly.

Checking in with your students before, during, and after a lesson is important to your teaching as it informs how you progress with a lesson. Here are 52 ways to formatively assess your students. There are some really easy and excellent ways to do this. Some involve technology, like using PollEverywhere, Geddit, Padlet, Google Forms; others are simple, no tech ways like a show of thumbs or paper slips. However you choose, make formative assessment a regular part of your teaching day.

Yesterday’s #edchat was about educational innovators and thought leaders. It was a great conversation talking about who we thought was inspiring to us as a thought leader; who challenged our thinking. I immediately thought of Sir Ken Robinson, Alan November, and Seth Godin. Another chimed in with Alfie Kohn . It was a great online discussion about what kinds of people inspire us to to look at our practices and beliefs about education.Someone shared this link in the chat that lists 30 Education Innovators Worth Following on Twitter. If you are making your way into Twitter, these are some people you might want to check out and follow.

Five Minute Activities, PhotoMath, and Musical Shares!

Photo on 2-17-15 at 2.07 PMIt might be snowy and cold, but that does not stop me from getting the Shipley PLN Lower School Edition to you. Like the postal motto: neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail will prevent me from delivering your mail (something along those lines); Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough . . . You get the picture 🙂

Singapore Math has a Facebook page where it posts daily questions that you can share with your students. Depending on the type and your age group, it might be a fun way to open your math lesson or even your day one day a week.

Speaking of math . . . This just might be one of the coolest apps I’ve seen after Wolfram Alpha! With PhotoMath you use your phone’s camera to scan a math problem from a text book or homework page, then PhotoApp solves the problem AND shows you step-by-step HOW to solve the problem. If you have or know middle or high school students, or upper elementary students, this might be something to share with them for when they need a little extra help with a problem.

If you can believe that I have another Pin to share you would be right! This pin board is all about critical thinking, but 2 of the pins stuck out for me because they are quick to implement: the first is about things you can do when you have 5 minutes- the 2nd is the invention box. I love the 5 minute activities for movement and brainteasers as they are great ways to energize and refocus your students. I love the invention box idea because we all have things lying around our house that students can repurpose when/if we give them innovation/genius hour time.

If you are having your students create written documents in Google Drive, and you want them to see which words they (or their peers if they are peer editing) use frequently, then try using the word cloud ad-on. See this post from Richard Byrne for more on how you can use this in your class.

Many of you are blogging or tweeting or are thinking about it. This from Vicki Davis and Linda Yollis talks about ways to build an authentic audience for your students. If you are on the fence about getting started, just ask the students who are receiving comments on their blogs or who have skyped with other schools how it feels when they see these comments or make these connections. They LOVE it! And by the way, our student bloggers are writing and commenting beautifully. Check them out and please leave a comment. 

Grab your chairs, some post-its, and turn on the music for this next idea. I came across this fun idea from Lisa Nielsen, the Innovative Educator. Though it seems to be geared towards adults for a post professional development reflection activity, I can see it working really nicely in the classroom as either a reflection at the end of a unit, or as a fun way to review for a test. It’s called Musical Shares and it’s a take off of the old birthday party game Musical Chairs (you know, the one where there are actually people who get out and someone who wins?). The kids move to the music, stop when it stops, sit in a chair and answer the question that is prompted on their chair.

Staying with the Music for a moment, this is a really cool video that visualizes rhythms and beats. Our music teachers and any musicphiles will find this informative and a may want to show the kids.

Finally, in many social studies classrooms, it’s mapping time. Well, here are some ideas to build map skills in the PK-8  (actually PK-6; I misread. We’ll blame it on 45) classroom.

Folks, I love sharing these with you each week. If you love getting them, and if you have found them useful, if you actually open them and maybe read them, drop me a line. Let me know that this tree is not falling in the woods with no one to hear it.

What if

What if we all decided to try something a little risky and something that makes us not entirely comfortable? This post from Justin Tarte talks about how we as teachers can stay relevant (which is something we all need to do!).

Food for thought: creating a classroom for social justice. Jeanne Stanley would be proud . 

For all our Science friends, this Pinterest Board from Steve Spangler (who will be a guest on the Ellen show).

Here is a math site that I think could work nicely with our Math in Focus. Thinking Blocks uses models to help students set up a math word problem. Once the students set up the model (they look like the bar models you are using with MIF), then they place the labels that go with each piece. Whenthey have the model set properly, then they place the numbers in the problem. This could be a viable option for additional math practice. PreK-grade 1 friends, please take a look at this because if you think this site could work with our new math program, there is an app for the ipads which could reinforce the bar model. All math functions can be modeled with Thinking Blocks! This is already a shortcut in the Lower School Internet Shortcuts, Math folder as it is one that I shared in the past. Nancy Carroll, a teacher on Twitter shared how she is using it with her 4th grade students and looking at it made me think it could work for you too!