The WWE has created several reading programs and demonstrated the importance of fostering a love of reading for pleasure by reading to and with students at Wilson Elementary near Fort Benning. They are also sponsoring a reading challenge to give away books and fans a trip to a WWE event. You can check out more information via their reading page at http://www.wwe.com/search/all/reading. They also have media regarding the reading initiative at http://www.wwe.com/videos/join-the-wrestlemania-reading-challenge-28574271.
February 24, 2016 has been designated as “World Read Aloud Day in conjunction with LitWorld. The day is filled with all kinds of learning activities to celebrate literacy and includes special guests, students or teachers reading aloud to classes around the globe.
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 100 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 and special thanks to Scholastic, our official 2015 World Read Aloud Day sponsor.
If you are interested in connecting with other classes or reading to a class via Skype or other VOIP platform, access the Google doc and sign up to join and celebrate with a class “World Read Aloud Day”. There are several resource and support items at http://www.litworld.org/wrad/.
There is also a special Padlet that has been created so that school personnel and guests can share and receive ideas on celebrating this special day of literacy.
As you may know, I wrote a book about gamification and creating mystery adventure quests. One resource that may be beneficial in creating mystery adventure quests or gamification learning activities is a PBS series called, “History Detectives“.
PBS has a tv show/video series that features the video and on the Educator page has additional resources and lesson plans for using the videos in the classroom. This series could be a great way to use PBS resources and create some really intriguing mystery adventure quests or gamification learning activities for your students. History can sometimes be a challenging subject to keep the instruction interesting and relevant so these resources may be just what you need to spice up your instruction and create challenging historical lessons for your students. Please let me know in the comments if you use and like the video series and especially inform me and share your mystery adventure quests you create for your students! I love to see innovation in action and celebrate your successes!
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 awaiting 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.
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 Call – http://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 Santa – http://santaspeaks.com/call-from-santa/
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 Chat – http://www.santalivechat.com/
- If you use use MSN/Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger, add: email@example.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.
PBS and MIT have joined efforts to meet the needs and abilities of young children and enable them to learn to code. December 7-13th is the ‘hour of code’ week and this app would be perfect to use in an instructional setting with younger students. Also, students ages six and up can participate in coding activities at the Apple store during the week of coding for students. (http://www.macrumors.com/2015/12/02/apple-hour-of-code-workshops-2015/).
You can read more about the collaboration and app below from the email and press release I received.
Features of the App:
PBS KIDS ScratchJr Features
- Colorful Programming Blocks: Snap together the color-coded programming blocks to create sequences of actions that cause characters to animate and interact in fun and exciting ways.
- PBS KIDS Characters and Backgrounds: Create projects based on PBS KIDS shows and mix-and-match over 150 characters.
- Paint Editing: Create unique characters and backgrounds.
- Voice Recording: Use the recording tool to add sounds and give voice to projects.
- Story Starters: Find inspiration with in-app story starters! Each Story Starter features a different set of characters and is designed to encourage children to edit and complete the story however they’d like.
Designed for kids ages 5-8, PBS KIDS ScratchJr enables kids to create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite characters from Wild Kratts, Nature Cat, WordGirl and Peg + Cat. By snapping together colorful programming blocks, children can make characters move, jump, dance and sing. In the process, kids will learn to solve problems, design projects and express themselves creatively.
What are the Eddies? The ‘Eddies’ are the Edublogs awards for blogs and bloggers. (I tried to think of something funny but nothing came to mind having to do with “Eddie”). Anyway, after eating turkey or after making preparations for Thanksgiving Day you can nominate some blogs or bloggers and honor the blog authors’ efforts.
You can nominate a blog or blogger for an #eddie15 you can nominate here: http://edublogawards.com/2015/11/24/the-2015-edublog-awards-nominations-are-open/
Edublogs suggests a few tips on nominating bloggers or blogs:
- Nominate in as many categories as you want!
- Please make only one nomination per category
- You can’t nominate yourself
- Even if you know that your favorite has already been nominated, it is best to nominate them again
- Categories are competitive, and only the most nominated will make it to the voting round
- Share your nominations using twitter (#eddies15), facebook, Google+ and email
The above was taken from the Edublogs awards site. Take a moment and make a few nominations. Make a blogger’s day or honor a small blogger sharing his/her talents with the blogosphere.
Today was my Global Education Conference presentation at 6pm EST/5pm EST titled “Connecting Classrooms via Global Collaborative Projects”. Below are the resources shared during the session.
Recording link: https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/recording/playback/link/table/dropin?sid=2008350&suid=D.7D54BD45C9C94B75713AE90852DBDD
Click here to open this binder in a new window.
On October 17th at 5pm Central, I will be presenting “Connecting Classrooms via Global Collaborative Projects for the Global Education Conference! I have presented for the conference below and have created an improved presentation and hope you will join the new and improved session! If you are unable to attend, you can watch the recording. All sessions are free, open to the public and recorded. Join us as we celebrate ways you can collaborate with classrooms around the world or across your school district. We will have fun! Come for the fun and come for the door prize!
My understanding is that the Civil War started due to the treatment and history of slavery. History textbooks in Texas say otherwise. Below is a newslist post from the American Federation of Teachers Texas hotline that shows the egregious errors regarding slavery that were discovered. I quoted the whole post below:
Hats off to Pearland parent Roni Dean-Burren for publicizing via Facebook video an egregious misstatement in her son’s geography text, which described Africans enslaved and transported by force to America as just “workers.” The errant text, from the McGraw-Hill publishing conglomerate, was approved last year by the State Board of Education along with many others.
To McGraw-Hill’s credit, the publisher has acknowledged the problem and announced corrective action. On Facebook McGraw-Hill said:
This week, we became aware of a concern regarding a caption reference to slavery on a map in one of our world geography programs. This program addresses slavery in the world in several lessons and meets the learning objectives of the course. However, we conducted a close review of the content and agree that our language in that caption did not adequately convey that Africans were both forced into migration and to labor against their will as slaves.
We believe we can do better. To communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor. These changes will be reflected in the digital version of the program immediately and will be included in the program’s next print run.
The McGraw-Hill text may have been vetted for conformity to Texas standards, but those standards themselves leave much to be desired, especially around the history of slavery. For example, the curriculum guidelines imply slavery was not the foremost issue in our nation’s Civil War, even though the war was triggered by a dispute over the extension of slavery to new territories. A 2011 study by the conservative Fordham Institute said the social-studies standards were heavily politicized and all but ignored slavery and segregation. The McGraw-Hill mischaracterization of slaves as “workers” is regrettably consistent with the Texas social-studies curriculum document that the Fordham scholars found “distorts or suppresses” unsavory aspects of our nation’s history.
The saving grace for Texas students is that their classroom teachers in social studies are able to supplement approved textbooks with additional, teacher-selected resources and instruction that meet higher standards of fidelity to the historical record.
I knew about the controversy but had no idea how egregious the error was. I knew the textbooks were vetted for alignment to our state test standards. Texas doesn’t follow common core standards although they are somewhat similar to the CCSS and the textbooks were supposedly vetted to meet the criteria of the Texas testing standards. Suppressing items because they are not favorable to the nation’s history is inexcusable in my opinion. What else has been suppressed or distorted?
Google Expeditions are virtual field trips that teachers can participate in with their students. Currently they are looking for schools to serve as content partners.
According to the Google information page:
Expeditions Pioneer teams will visit selected schools around the world, starting with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers need to take their students on journeys anywhere. The team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.
Expeditions is a virtual reality platform built for the classroom. We worked with teachers and content partners from around the world to create more than 100 engaging journeys – making it easy to immerse students in entirely new experiences.
Using Google’s Cardboard, a simple viewing device made out of folded cardboard, with an Android phone, students can experience a virtual excursion as an immersive, three-dimensional event. Reminiscent of the old stereoscopic View-Master devices introduced by Mattel in the late ’30s, Google Cardboard turns a smart phone into a cutting-edge virtual-reality viewer that gives an added dimension to virtual field trips.”
GOOGLE EXPEDITIONS IN ACTION
According to an online article from The Journal,
Kennis traveled to New York in December 2014 to help Google programmers develop an Expedition. The trip she designed was intended to explore cultural diffusion, or how certain cultural aspects spread from one group to another. She chose photo spheres, or 360-degree views, of various European landmarks to illustrate this concept, and then Google programmers built the virtual field trip from these photo spheres.
In May, Kennis got to take her students on the Expedition she helped create.
“My kids were really excited about it,” she said. “I created a fake passport for them with their picture on it, and some information about where they were going.”
During the virtual field trip, she led them through the photo spheres and prompted them to reflect on what they were seeing. One of the photo spheres showed a city wall in Italy, and she asked her students, “What is the purpose of this city wall?”
The experience “allowed them to tap into their kinesthetic and tactile learning style, because they were standing up and looking all around,” she said. “It was the most lively and exciting day I have ever had in my classroom.”
“Every student was so engaged and so excited; they felt like they were actually there,” she said. “It was amazing to see. It was a really powerful experience to see these students who are typically hard to motivate so immersed in something. That was probably the most amazing and rewarding part of it.”
BRING EXPEDITIONS TO YOUR SCHOOL
Sign up to let Google know that you would like the Expeditions Pioneer Program to stop at your school. Google will try to visit as many schools possible, but spots are limited so sign up quickly. Google will notify you if they are able to visit.
Sign up here to bring Google Expeditions to your school: i://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TOnK1hgk4rMweh-RNiK0iAucT_iMKz8wNp8cOGnq2eg/viewform