For Your Listening and Viewing Pleasure

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

This week offers a variety of ways to learn. There are articles for those who like to read, podcasts for those who like to listen, and videos for those who like the visual. They will engage your mind and maybe inspire your creativity, and provide resources, tips, and ideas to engage and empower your students.

If you teach or use current events in your classroom, you might want to check out Flocabulary’s Week in Rap. They have both elementary (grades 3-5) and middle/high school version (6-12) that takes the week’s news and puts it in a rap format. While it does cost to join Flocabulary to access their resources, you can view the videos in The Week in Rap without joining.

History teachers and history buffs will enjoy this next find! I have been listening to and watching webinars on culturally responsive teaching and culturally responsive literature, especially focusing on making sure all voices are heard and represented. In one (I cannot remember which), they mentioned the podcast Uncivil on Gimlet (a podcasting host). Uncivil is a 13-episode podcast where they go back in time to the Civil War for the stories that we did not learn about in (think- left out of) the history books. For more history podcasts, check out my other post, Listen Up.

Speaking of podcasts, in this week’s Shipley PLN Lower and Middle School Edition, you can read and listen to this article and podcast featuring Dr. Bernard Harris, who in 1995 was the first African American to perform a spacewalk. In the 26-minute podcast, An Astronaut’s Guide to Improving STEM Education (and What Space Is Really Like) Harris speaks to STEM education and culturally responsive teaching:

We’ve approached teaching up to this point that we bring in students from many different sectors in different communities and we force them to learn our way.

If you take students’ culture, their backgrounds, into account and teach in a culturally responsive way, then you have a better opportunity for improving their learning.

~Bernard Harris

Can you remember what you had for lunch yesterday? If you cannot, you might want to do a little retrieval practice! I have written numerous times about using retrieval practice in your classes. In one of Agarwal’s recent emails, she referenced the Learning Agency’s new videos highlighting retrieval practice in action. Agarwal is part of the Learning Agency, recently launched in 2019. You’ll see and hear how teachers are using dual coding, spacing, interleaving, and more in these short (6-10 minutes) videos. You’ll also find The Science of Learning guides for teachers and students as well as links to TED talks like this one. For more examples of retrieval practice, you can check out their YouTube channel with over 20 videos.

Teachers need to provide numerous opportunities for students to create by providing options and choices for students to collaborate, examine exemplars of creativity, find solutions to problems, use non-traditional formats to consume new information and content, and have the flexibility to put the ideas together to create and express new and better ideas

Innovate Inside the Box

If you are looking for ways to incorporate different performance assessments in your classes, check out this post, Student Agency: What Do Students Want to Create to Demonstrate Their Learning? There are some great options and ideas that your students could choose from including presenting a TED talk, creating a movie, and writing a children’t book to name just a few.

Finally, if you are looking for learning opportunities, you should check this out. Harvard’s Graduate School of Education has two-week online workshops beginning next week and continuing through the new year on a variety of topics (for a fee of $149) including diversity and inclusion, culturally responsive literature, and educating global citizens. How did I come upon this gem of an opportunity? My curiosity led me to it!

Question, Watch, Practice, Listen, Learn

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One simple way to “innovate inside the box” is as simple as shifting your (and your learners’) focus from getting right answers to asking better questions

from Innovate Inside the Box

It is always fun looking for things to share with my colleagues each week. Sometimes things just come my way, sometimes sites or links are shared within articles or webinars, and other times I am looking for something else and just happen upon them. This week I have a few things that I learned about through a combination of these ways.

Even if students are not terribly interested in the content being taught, when they are asked to figure out great questions and explore solutions, as opposed to memorizing and regurgitating answers, they will experience more profound learning and develop mindsets that will serve them beyond their time in the classroom

from Innovate Inside the Box

A small group of colleagues are reading Innovate Inside the Box: Empowering Learners Through UDL. There are many alignments and connections between the book and things we are about at school which is one of the (many) reasons I am enjoying it. In one of my recent posts, Oh the Possibilities, I left people dangling, hinting at how they might feed their curiosity. Not sure if people took the bait I left but today I am going to continue with adding to the resources. What I was hoping people would do was to click the link that took them to the Right Question Institute‘s Question Formulation Technique (QFT) page so they could learn more about ways to get their students to ask the questions in the class instead of being the ones to take the lead with that.

Interestingly enough, I happened by the Teaching Channel (if you have not ever been to the Teaching Channel or watched any of their videos, you should definitely make your way. You can read an earlier post here) and their home page had videos and articles relating to engaging and empowering students using inquiry including this post on using the QFT. A happy coincidence! You can check out their videos on a range of topics, grade levels, and subjects.

A Teaching Buffet: Something for Everyone

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Some might say that I am a hoarder. But not like the ones that you see on Buried Alive. I am more of a “tabs” hoarder. I have shared this tendency before: I tend to keep lots of tabs open until I really have time to dive in. Of course I could use my One Tab extension and place them in a single, “save for later” tab, but alas, I do not. I like to leave them where I can see them until I am ready to dig in.

So today is the day I am wading through my tabs so that I can share them with you.

First off is Peer Teaching options from the Teaching Channel. One of the best ways to know if your students understand a topic or concept is to have them teach another student. So in this menu of videos from the Teaching Channel, you will find several options to use peer teaching in your class from appetizers to dessert.

Next is a “Wow!” It is a collection of digital history projects for use in grades 9-12 but some can be widened to include 6th -12th. What first led me to this was my looking for resources to use with our fourth grade students in their study of slavery as they prepare to read Jefferson’s Sons. I found this post from The Global History Educator that really is a WOW for history teachers. Included are 12 digital history projects that include The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, Mapping the 4th of July, Back Story, and nine more incredible resources to use right now in history classes as a resource for you and your students.

The next two are from Matt Miller of DITCH Homework and DITCH Textbook fame. The first is several ways to end the year with GSuite tools and the next is 10 Things Teachers Should Know About the New Google Sites. Personally I love the new Google Sites and find it very easy to use. While I miss the sharing options for individual pages, I think the new drag and drop interface makes up for it until they hopefully bring that piece back.

I have written before about Jo Boaler and the other day I came across this video where she introduced Polyups. Never being one to pass up on anything from Jo Boaler, I took a look. After I figured out how they work, I was hooked and your students will be too. Polyups is a computational math thinking playground for students in grades 3 through 12 and covers Number Sense, Operations, Order of Operations, Problem Solving in 3rd -5th; Functions, Sequences, Logical Thinking, Algorithmic Thinking in 6th-8th; and Series, Numerical Methods, Calculus, Algorithms in 9th -12th. You can take a look at their videos here.

I learned about this next site on Twitter. Taste Atlas is just that– a world map of foods. I just finished reading Americanah and Jollof of Rice was one of the dishes Ifemelu (main character) mentioned several times. Taste Atlas has Jollof of Rice on Nigeria since it is a national dish. Once you click on a food or search a country, you will get foods of the region, where you can find the best of it, and recipes, and more. Interestingly enough, when I searched Florence, Italy (since I was recently there and my son is there studying abroad) one of the places they mentioned as best places to eat is the pizza place my son raves about, Gusta Pizza. Pretty cool.

Class Pad is a free digital math tool that makes solving math problems on the computer as easy as click, type, draw, and solve. It’s your digital scratch paper with built-in calculator that I can see teachers using along with Screencastify to make tutorial videos and your students doing the same to show how they solve problems. One of the cool aspects of Class Pad is the ability of Class Pad to recognize your geometrical figures that you draw and turn them into sharp figures (unless you draw a circle- no sharp lines there!). Subscribe to their YouTube channel where they will be adding more videos as they create them.

For more great articles, tools, tips, and videos, check out this week’s Shipley PLN Lower & Middle School Edition.