“World Read Aloud Day” Fast Approaching

Posted by kcaise on February 24, 2015 in curriculum |

Our_Mission_—_LitWorldAre you interested in having your students participate in a global reading activity on March 4, 2015? Join the many classrooms and offices around the world for “World Read Aloud Day”! Each year on the first Wednesday in March the classrooms, offices, parents, students, etc. participate in World Read Aloud Day by reading aloud to someone or to themselves. It is an exciting venture and the World Read Aloud Day is just one of the projects found at Litworld.org.

World_Read_Aloud_Day_—_LitWorldAccording to their website, their mission and shared information World Read Aloud Day include the following:

World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their futures: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their stories.

World Read Aloud Day allows members of our year-round programs to invite more people into their literacy community and brings LitWorld’s messages to the rest of the world. World Read Aloud Day is now celebrated by over one million people in more than 80 countries and reaches over 31 million people online. The growth of our movement can be attributed in large part to our network of partner organizations and “WRADvocates” – a group of reading advocates and supporters taking action in their communities and on social media.

For more information about World Read Aloud Day and activities to participate in on March 4th, visit http://www.litworld.org/wrad/. Mark your calendars and join the fun!





Unleash Student Creativity – TCEA 2015

Posted by kcaise on February 4, 2015 in blogging |

Here you go! Here are the resources and more that I shared during my presentation, “Success Begins with Unleashed Creativity in the Classroom“. Feel free to email me with questions or leave a comment below. Enjoy!

Click here to open this binder in a new window.


TCEA 2015 – Here I Come! Find out when and where!

Posted by kcaise on February 3, 2015 in conferences |

TCEA_2015_-_ConfTool_Pro_-_SubmissionsAre you going to TCEA 2015 next week? If so, please join me in the Digital Square hosted by Scott Floyd from White Oak School District on Wednesday, February 4th at 10am. I will talking about #makereducation and #makerspaces. I will also be giving away several books about helping create #makerspaces or #makered learning activities for your students. Come #learnanywhere and share your ideas or learn some new thing about #makereducation and #makerspaces!

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K-3 Student Writers – Ready to Write to Win?

Posted by kcaise on January 29, 2015 in blogging |

I received an email today about a new PBS contest today. The details are as follows:

PBS_Kids_Writers_Contest____HomeThe Writers Contest is designed to promote the advancement of children’s literacy skills through hands-on, active learning. The contest is open to children in grades K-3 and encourages creative thinking and storytelling, while building literacy skills through the creation and illustration of original stories.

To enter, kids can submit stories to their local stations, and local winners will then be entered into the national contest. National winners will be announced during the summer of 2015, and the winning stories will be featured on pbskids.org/writerscontest.

This year, the judges include acclaimed writers, producers and children’s media creators, including Marc Brown, author and illustrator of the ARTHUR book series, and the Kratt Brothers, Martin and Chris, from the PBS KIDS show WILD KRATTS. The national winners will receive prize packages including ARTHUR books and a personal technology device courtesy of PBS.

To enter the contest or get more information, please visit pbskids.org/writerscontest. Good luck to those who enter!

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All it Takes is One – Do you Agree?

Posted by kcaise on January 12, 2015 in blogging |

imageI have been working on a special project where I score educator’s compositions in response to a posed question. For the majority of the responses, I do not know where, what level or content area the educators teach. It is amazing how much information you can gather as to the type of educator the author of the response is.

I can tell if they are a caring, compassionate educator from the written compositions that as well as educators who aren’t as dedicated to their students. Granted it could just be baloney in the responses or the writing style but fortunately most of the responses are very positive and the educators give evidence as to their positive teaching style and practice in the classroom. Granted I don’t know for sure but the comments appear to be good indicators as to how the educator feels about their students.

When I taught fourth and fifth grade, we always said we could predict which student was going to join a gang or drop out and who was going to be successful in their academic career. Were we right every time? No, we probably weren’t.

For those on the wrong track, what was the deciding factor if they continued down the wrong path or changed directions and began to exhibit successful traits? The intervention of a caring teacher. Some students truly do not realize their potential or want to put forth the effort to be successful.

Research shows that when a caring adult intervenes in a child’s academic path and performance, success can result. All it takes is one teacher to step in and encourage a student that is heading towards gang activity, drug or alcohol abuse, or has given up on school.

When I taught sixth grade, I saw numerous students turn around because one of the three teachers of the team I was on intervened. It didn’t take a great deal of time, usually an encouraging private conversation and praise in class. Sometimes we have to search for something good to praise students for but the effort in making a positive difference in the lives of our students is worth it. As Angela Maiers shares with educators and students, “You Matter!” Letting students know they matter can make all the difference and cause a student to see things differently and take a different life path. It can be very simple – one conversation with one student and praising a student one time. All it takes is one.

What are your thoughts? Please weigh in in the comments below. I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

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Writer’s Block – How do you Break Through?

Posted by kcaise on January 7, 2015 in blogging |

There are many times when a book or blog author runs into writer’s block and is unsure or totally blocked about that to write about next. I have the manuscript for a second book that needs to be finalized and I have been struggling with writing blog posts so I am stuck on both accounts. For those authors that have experienced this, what are some techniques that you use to break through and begin writing again? I try to read other blogs, newspapers, books, etc. to gather topics that move me and that I want to explore further via reading or writing. I would love to know what you do when you feel blocked? Please take a moment to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts and how you overcome writer’s block!



Crazy for Brainzy – Get a FREE Membership!

Posted by kcaise on January 3, 2015 in apps and gaming, curriculum, Digital Media |

The second set of codes are all gone. Sorry if you missed out. Remember each code is good for up to 35 students/children. I have asked for more but have been told they are out of codes. If they send more codes I will write another blog post to let everyone know including those who left comments on this page but didn’t receive a code. Enjoy and thank you Brainzy for sharing your site with my readers!



I don’t usually endorse paid educational services but Brainzy changed my mind. Brainzy is a website created by Education.com and contains over 300 games, stories, songs and videos for children aged 3-7 years old.

There is an annual or monthly cost associated with using the site but I have 10 codes that can be used for a home membership or in the classroom with up to 35 students. Just leave a comment below I will send you a code for a one year membership. For early childhood educators or homeschool parents this is very exciting news!

The press release stated the following about this new educational website:

Brainzy_Math_and_Reading_ProgramSan Francisco, CA, September 25, 2014Education.com, the nation’s leading destination for parents and teachers seeking supplemental learning materials, today announced the launch of Brainzy, a new kind of online learning program designed to build reading and math skills in children ages 3–7. Developed using rich data gathered from the 20 million worksheets downloaded each year at Education.com, Brainzy features hundreds of interactive games and activities that captivate young minds and delight parents weary of filling screen time with so-called education apps. Brainzy’s comprehensive program follows a methodical, building-block path created to spark curiosity, giggles, and grins while building more than 30 critical reading and math skills.    

The systematic approach of the new program sets it apart from the thousands of learning apps that take a one-off, episodic approach. Brainzy covers the essential skills teachers consider most important for early learning success while deeply engaging kids in a world rich with exploration. Guided by a lovable cast of original characters, kids cover a year’s worth of learning as they play through more than 300 fun games, videos, and read-along stories.

Brainzy takes kids to a pretend land and is full of educational games. Education.com takes the data of what the students to understand what typeBrainzy_Math_and_Reading_Programs of supplemental resources educators are looking for when using educational games and websites. It gathers real-time data from the games, videos and items accessed at the site to create quality supplementary resources for educators.

Education.com’s website has five million members with millions more visiting the website for blog posts and educational articles every month. Education.com serves as one resource for motivation, inspiration, advice and materials to use with students.

Knowing this, you can rest assured Brainzy is a quality site aligned with the Common Core State Standards and is filled with fun, fantastic resources to teach young children skills they will need to be successful in school.

girl-with-ipad-hires_jpg_and_announcing_Brainzy__new_games_for_math_and_reading_-_kcaise_gmail_com_-_GmailBrainzy is kid safe and does not contain advertisements so you don’t have to worry about pop up banners or banner ads that are questionable or inappropriate.

Check it out and don’t forget to leave a comment below and I will contact you for a code for a FREE one year membership!

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Connect with Santa using Technology

Posted by kcaise on December 24, 2014 in blogging |

It’s time for my yearly ‘connect with Santa’ blog post! This is a great time of year if you have little ones that are eagerly santa493awaiting Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve. The following links will enable youngsters to contact Santa Claus online or receive a phone call from him! I am reprising this blog post from the past two years and have added some new ways to connect to Santa Claus using technology. If you find the links are not working, please let me know and leave your favorite links in the comments section that might not be in the short list below.

Chat with or Call Santa

In addition to taking children to the mall to talk with Santa, as has been the tradition for a number of years, there are a variety of ways that children can interact with Santa Claus electronically.  There are several apps that you can download for a variety of mobile devices. Those are cute but a live ‘call’ or ‘message’ from Santa may be more meaningful and exciting to your children or grandchildren.

Below is a list of some of my favorite ways for children to interact with Santa. Whenever possible, I tried to include free opportunities as I know parents and grandparents can be exploited when really cute videos and phone calls are created and the eyes of children are filled with such excitement, delight and anticipation!

Santa’s Portable North Pole TV – http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/home

  • This site allows you to create a video but there is a fee to download/forward the video to someone.

Hello Santa – https://www.hellosanta.com/

My Santa Callhttp://www.mysantacall.com/

Elf Clubhouse (talk to the Elves) – http://www.northpole.com/Clubhouse/ElfChat/

Santa’s Good List – http://www.santasgoodlist.org/

Christmas Dialer – http://www.christmasdialer.com/

Live Phone Call from Santahttp://santaspeaks.com/call-from-santa/

Santa Callhttps://www.google.com/santatracker/#/village/santacal

Calling Santa - http://callingsanta.com (free app to download)

Santa Hotline – http://thesantahotline.net/

North Pole – http://www.northpole.com (letter from Santa)

Norad – http://www.noradsanta.org

Santa Tracker http://santatracker.google.com

Santa Live Chathttp://www.santalivechat.com/

  • If you use use MSN/Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger, add: santalivechat@hotmail.com and begin chatting with Santa Claus.***

Free Text Message from Santa

If you would like a free text message from Santa, contact me by filling out the form below and I will send a short text message to you for your children in the United States. If I get bogged down with tons of texts to send I will contact you. This will be done by myself so allow some time to get things processed.

My niece absolutely loved her phone call from Santa from the http://www.sendacallfromsanta.com/ website a few years ago. That and the portable north pole video were two big hits of the Christmas season for our family! Be sure to let Santa Claus know that I will be waiting for him with cookies and milk and carrots for his reindeer on Christmas Eve when you connect with him this year!

Children: Please do not leave voice messages for Santa Claus. He does not receive them here. Contact him at one of the numbers above or at the North Pole. Also, be sure to have your parents’ permission and show them this blog page before you contact Santa Claus or his Elves.

***Blogger’s note: I haven’t personally used all of the above services so please use discretion and make sure all children are safe and have parental permission when using an online service to interact with ‘Santa Claus’. Be certain that you approve of the site and read over the website’s Terms of Services for any fees incurred when contacting Santa Claus.

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10 Essential Traits of Effective Educators – Paychecks of the Heart

Posted by kcaise on December 24, 2014 in blogging |

Effective educators are effective for a reason. Whether the educator teachers online or offline, effective educators contain 10 traits that make them successful. When you see an effective educator in action, you will see the following traits in action as well.

1. Effective educators know their content and continue to learn new things in their content area. They are life long learners and are not afraid to say they don’t know something and know just where to go to find the information they are lacking. This could be an online resource, colleague or someone from their own personal learning network.

2. Effective educators take learning risks and create an environment where students feel comfortable doing the same. Asking questions of the teacher in front of the class or answering a question posed to the class and risking getting it wrong are encouraged and students aren’t afraid to take those risks. Students know that failure means a First Attempt at Learning and aren’t embarrassed if failure happens in the classroom.

3. Reflection upon lessons and a determination is made about what went well and what needs to be changed or eliminated. Reflection is a natural part of the learning and teaching process for effective educators.

4. Consistency is key to success. Consistency with rules, procedures, and routines is essential to a positive climate in the classroom. Teaching styles and lesson implementation can vary but the foundational principles and expectations must be consistent.

5. Lesson styles vary when delivering course content. Technology, science probes or a variety of things are incorporated to differentiate learning and meet the different learning styles of the students.

6. Classroom climate cultivates and reflects mutual respect and dignity. Student to teacher and student to student interaction is positive and respect is modeled and practiced.

7. Flexibility and organization are two traits that are apparent and students are guided in how to organize themselves according to their personality and learning styles. Organization is extremely important to success and effective educators model organization strategies and are flexible enough to be able to reach a variety of students’ needs.

8. Effective educators employ strategies to include parents, the community and a variety of educational stakeholders in the lessons and events occurring in the classroom.

9. Teaching course content is enjoyable and rewarding to effective educators. They enjoy what they teach and have limited misbehavior or discipline issues. Behavior problems are lessened when learning activities are hands-on, interesting, engaging and meaningful to the students.

10. Effective educators connect and collaborate with other educators to learn and share teaching ideas, strategies and resources. Effective educators know when to reach out to share strengths or seek help for a weakness and strive to increase the learning potential of each student in the classroom.

Truly effective educators are a rare breed. Student achievement in their classrooms are phenomenal and top the charts. Effective educators are not perfect with perfect students but the negative issues are greatly outweighed by the positive things happening in the classroom. Effective educators strive for greatness not for the monetary paycheck, but for paychecks of the heart by seeing their students achieve their maximum potential.

What other traits do effective educators exhibit that I did not include? I would love to hear how you earn ‘paychecks of the heart’ from your students!

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MIT STEM Video Project – Free Videos

Posted by kcaise on December 8, 2014 in blogging, Digital Media |

MIT shares that it has ‘gone into the movie making business’. The university’s Teaching and Learning Laboratory recently produced and released 47 “STEM Concept Videos” with Creative Commons licenses that allow educators to view and share the videos in the classrooom. They are also part of the school’s website through its OpenCourseWare website. Any educator is able to use the videos to teach complex engineering concepts and written authorization is not necessary in this context.

The videos cover themes that are geared toward first and second year engineering students but many high school students could benefit from the catalog of videos. The video topics include engineering curricula such as, “…problem solving, communications, probability and statistics, equilibrium and nine other broad categories.”

The content for each short video was thoroughly vetted with talented faculty and authors for the video scripts. Each video is less than 15 minutes and feature animations, visualizations, demonstrations and a variety of other kinds of examples to help student viewers understand the concepts presented in the videos. You can be assured the quality and content presented are top notch as a result of their detailed concept approval method.

The Teaching and Learning Laboratory worked with faculty to develop the instructional practices featured in the video. The video series was initiated by the Singapore University of Technology and Design which collaborated with MIT to produce the video series.

The Teaching and Learning Laboratory (Lab) used the backward design process and developed the video with the end in mind. The Lab worked with course instructors from the foundational courses of the engineering curriculum. It identified selected learning outcomes and what was deemed as “pivotal concepts”, critical skills that supported the learning objectives and outcomes for each video.  The pivotal concepts that served as the foundation for the videos met two essential criteria: the concepts were multidisciplinary and could serve as prerequisites for several concepts that would be taught in upper level undergraduate engineering courses. If the concepts did not meet the criteria, the concepts were not made into a video.

Once the pivotal concept was determine, the Lab assigned a primary author responsible for reviewing the videos created. A design team consisting of the Lab primary author, in conjunction with practicing engineers, brainstormed and developed ideas to help students visualize the concepts presented in the video. Each video was thoroughly review and the narration recording and supporting visuals were heavily scrutinized for content and quality.

Professor John Lienhard shared, “The resulting videos are a concise overview of challenging material.” If you have a flipped classroom or teach the advanced concepts presented in the videos, these resources would be excellent to explain and demonstrate concepts to students can conceptualize the complexities of engineering curricula.


Cross posted at http://elearningindustry.com/new-mit-stem-video-series.

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