Holiday Resources from PBS LearningMedia

Posted by kcaise on December 6, 2016 in blogging |

I recently received an email informing me of the great holiday resources found in the PBS LearningMedia Community. Below is the list of holiday resources for busy parents and educators:

PBS LearningMedia offers interactive activities surrounding Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, such as the Daniel Tiger Holiday Collection. This collection gives advice to parents and teachers about how to deal with varying emotions children may experience during the holiday season

PBS LearningMedia holiday resources include:




Connect via Live Chats during Hour of Code Week

Posted by kcaise on November 28, 2016 in blogging |

Next week there are several virtual, live chats that were listed on Tech & Learning’s website. The schedule is as follows with other developing and appearing on the schedule link at http://nepris.com/go/hourofcode. Appropriate grade levels are listed on Nepris’ website along with more information for each chat along with key questions, expected outcomes, supporting documents and curriculum alignment.

During this week, industry professionals from AT&T, JoyLabz, Sphero, and more offerscreenshot_112816_023855_pm their skills and expertise for students to become familiar with the practices and career possibilities available in Computer Science. With topics from Robotics to SEO, Nepris provides a platform for students of all interests and proficiencies to learn, advance, and excel in the constantly growing field of Computer Science.

Current sessions:

Be sure to check daily for new sessions that are posted to the schedule on Nepris’ website. Feel free to share sessions that you will be attending to hosting here and I will add it to the schedule. The more the merrier this time of year!


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Thanks for Giving!

Posted by kcaise on November 25, 2016 in blogging |

give-thanksWe just celebrated Thanksgiving with our extended family members this week and I wanted to give Thanks for giving your support this past year. Each of you have given time to read my blog, buy my book, hear me present, or attend a webinar that I have hosted and I thank each one of you for your support of my avenues of sharing. It means a great deal to me that you have supported me throughout the past year and I look forward to another great year thanks to each of you. You mean the world to me and I am grateful that you are a part of my life. Thanks for giving of yourself, your time and your support to me.


Homework Helper – PBS LearningMedia Students

Posted by kcaise on November 5, 2016 in blogging, curriculum, Digital Media |

get-your-teach-onPBS has great resources for teachers and students to assist with teaching the curriculum. Teachers can create assignments surrounding the many resources of the PBS LearningMedia platform. Students can also access the resources and others to help them with home as part of the PBS LearningMedia area for students.

New Student Portal

PBS LearningMedia now offers a student learning portal and a suite of productivity tools for teachers. These new features make it easy to create personalized learning experiences for students to explore inside or outside of the classroom.

K-12 students now have a dedicated place to access trusted content, homework support, and custom coursework. PBS LearningMedia for Students offers direct-access to curriculum-aligned resources while allowing students the freedom to investigate at their own pace and delve into topics that ignite their curiosity.

This is a great option for students to access quality resources to assist them with their homework. Much like other video and print resources, PBS LearningMedia has resources aligned to state and national standards. Students can login and complete assignments or puzzles that have been created for them by their teacher or search for information or learning media to assist with their homework assignments or research papers. There is a wealth of content available for use for free for educators, parents or students. Check it out when you get a chance.

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Looking for Election Resources for 6 to 8 Year Old Students?

Posted by kcaise on September 21, 2016 in curriculum, Digital Media, online learning |

pbs-electionIf you have been looking for age appropriate election resources for students aged 6-8, then ‘PBS Kids You Choose’ is the place to go. They have quality resources for younger students and the press release states describes the resource area as the following:

PBS KIDS YOU CHOOSE aims to teach kids about the Presidential election process in an entertaining and fun way, reminding them that even though they are unable to vote, their voice still matters. You Choose 2016 allows kids to:

  • “Meet the candidates” and learn fun & important facts about them
  • Collect trading cards of past presidents and their spouses
  • Create a campaign poster digitally, using a new online coloring tool
  • Watch videos featuring favorite PBS KIDS characters and new role models discussing democracy/election/government related topics

Now, younger siblings can become involved in the conversation. Older children from middle and high school (and grownups too) can turn to PBS LearningMedia’s new interactive Electoral Decoder, a scrubbable timeline of Presidential elections – since the first in 1789, where kids (and adults) can run different scenarios to see what states a candidate must win to achieve to the key number of 270 electoral votes. And it is free and accessible to all. These recent additions to the larger PBS ELECTION CENTRAL initiative, now involves entire families and kids of all ages to be involved in the Presidential elections, now less than 50 days away!

You can trust that students will enjoy and learn about the election on a level that is age developmentally appropriate for younger students with the ‘PBS Kids You Choose’ collection of resources. Visit the website election resources!

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Need an Easy Way to make a Graphic Organizer?

Posted by kcaise on September 17, 2016 in blogging |

Do you use graphic organizers as part of your instruction? I know I do and struggle formatting some of the ones I want to create to assist my students.  I recently came across a wonderful website that helps you make creative and innovative graphic organizers. The site is called ‘Graphic Organizer Maker’ at http://graphicorganizer.net.  This site will enable you to easily create a variety of easy to complex organizers.

imageTo create a new graphic, you click the blue button on a previous screen and are then taken to the screen above. Once there you fill in the title and instructions after selecting the type of graphic organizer that you would like to create. The site will also fill in default instructions for you. I recommend that option as the default instructions are very clear, detailed and precisely describe what students are to do to complete the organizer.

Once the directions are complete, you have the option to save, print or delete the graphic and start over. It is super easy and convenient!



Classroom Funding Sources

Posted by kcaise on September 12, 2016 in blogging |

Teachers spend hundreds of dollars on supplies, materials, copy paper, printer ink, etc for their classroom. Much of these items should and could be supplied by the campus but due to reasons beyond the control of the teacher those supplies are not funded. I remember teaching at several campuses that had no hand soap as students misused and abused the use of handsoap in the restrooms. Same with making a mess with the paper towels so those weren’t provided to us either. Then suddenly an increase in staph infections among the students at several campuses throughout the district convinced the administrators hygiene was suddenly important and hand sanitizer dispensers were installed in every single classroom and office along with the availability of soap and paper towels. Without that outbreak of staph infections I doubt we would have had basic hygiene items available. Sad that’s what it took to get basic hygiene items.

Resources like the Grant Wrangler helps teachers write grants for various donation sites that teachers can use to fund projects and supplies for their classroom. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo can be used to fund projects although they are not generally designed specifically for classrooms. This site lists grants and funding opportunities that teachers can apply for to fund their classrooms – https://thejournal.com/articles/list/listings.aspx.

The following list of websites are great resources to get projects, materials, supplies and funding for classroom items. I have written many a grant and received thousands of dollars for the campuses that I worked at and it is exciting to see the trees growing of the campus that I wrote an environmental grant to receive several trees for the campus. The ceremony to plant the trees was so much fun and very rewarding!

Anyway, check out the list below and please add additional sites and resources for classroom grants that may be of interest to educators. Ashton Kutcher funded several hundred projects back in March and many celebrities and philanthropists do the same through the following resources from time to time. Take a chance and if you need assistance leave a comment and I will be happy to help you.

Classroom Funding Sources

Adopt-a-Classroom – http://www.adoptaclassroom.org

Classwish – www.classwish.org

Donors Choose – www.donorschoose.org

Digital Wish – www.digitalwish.com

Educators USA – www.educatorsusa.org

Pledgecents – https://www.pledgecents.com

Teachers Count – www.teacherscount.org/grants/

Ziggedy – www.ziggedy.com

Grants for Teachers is a repository of funding opportunities.

Know of other resources? Please share below!

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What is International Dot Day?

Posted by kcaise on September 11, 2016 in blogging, Discovery Education Network (DEN), global projects |

dot_overlay2If you haven’t heard of International Dot Day then I have some tech news you can definitely use with your students. September 15th, is declared International Dot Day. International Dot Day is when the world collaborates and creates dots that start the journey or path students’ lives will take by making and leaving their mark on the world.

Dot Day is the ‘brainchild’ of Terry Shay, fellow Fable Ambassador, who is a creative, collaborative educator who came up with this idea that correlates to the book by Peter Reynolds. So far, 6,415,975 educators and students in 134 countries have signed up to participate in Dot Day activities on or around September 15 including the remainder of the school year. You can join the Dot Club at the following link: http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/register.

At this link you can download the International Dot Day Educator’s Handbook – http://www.fablevisionlearning.com/fablevision-dot-day-handbook.

International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.

The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.

And each year on International Dot Day – with the help of people just like you –the inspiration continues. What started as a story in the pages of a book is transforming teaching and learning around the world as people of all ages re-discover the power and potential of creativity in all they do.

Discovery Education is hosting a live webinar in conjunction with International Dot Day on Tuesday, September 13th at 1:00 PM (ET). Register your classroom today!

There are many activities that you can have your students participate in along with many resources at this link: http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2016/09/06/celebratewithde-international-dot-day/.

Don’t miss this opportunity to join the fun in this global collaborative event!


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Why I won’t buy one extra box of tissues for my kid’s school supplies blog post

Posted by kcaise on August 11, 2016 in blogging |

“Why I won’t buy one extra box of tissues for my kid’s school supplies; signed, a frustrated parent” is the title of the blog post that I recently came across on Facebook. At first I was taken aback by the content of the blog post. This is the time of year when teachers put out school supply lists for parents to purchase supplies for their child in the classroom. The tone of the blog post seemed very critical of teachers listing items on the school supply list. Take this paragraph from the blog post and think about it for just a minute.

And let’s talk about that list; shall we? I mean, who in their right mind thinks it’s a good idea to request that our kids purchase Expo markers in bulk or boxes of Kleenex that should be supplied already? ESPECIALLY when those might not get used by my kids? Who thinks it should be my job to bring Ziploc bags to school?

I was appalled to read this, nevertheless, I kept reading. I noticed the text taking a turn for the better.

Well I’ll tell you who. I am.  I’m not going to buy just the one extra box of tissues because (let’s all be honest here) I can afford more than that. And “gasp” what if someone other than my precious Timmy uses them? Well, then, haven’t I done a good deed for the year for less than the cost of a coffee? We should all be interested in what will create the best learning environment for all these kids, for all these little people who will be making big decisions some day like what to do with YOUR Social Security or how to fix YOUR city infrastructure or how best to treat that cancerous mass in YOUR body.

I know there are times when teachers ask for a great deal of supplies that the school should be supplying. When I was teaching in the classroom there were many times that I spent my own money supplementing what the school did not supply for my students and I. That included Ziplock bags and Clorox wipes sometimes or hand sanitizer as mentioned in the blog post. Regardless, the burden of supplying glue, markers, etc. ends up with the teacher and school supply lists help ease that burden.

The blog post asks parents to approach the teacher if something seems like an outlandish request.  As teachers we recognize not all parents can afford to buy school supplies for their children. Your help is needed so that we can teach and reach our students with innovative teaching strategies. I encourage you to buy extra supplies while the prices are so cheap as the prices will be back to their regular prices during the school year after the initial mad rush for supplies ends. Teachers go out of their way to reach their students so hopefully you can do the same in return when it comes to purchasing school supplies.

The blog post I referenced (https://butimeanwell.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/why-i-wont-buy-one-extra-box-of-tissues-for-my-kids-school-supplies-signed-a-frustrated-parent/) has many comments sharing pros and cons for purchasing school supplies.  Many were from actual teachers sharing their reasons for including items on the school supply lists. What are your thoughts on the school supply lists created by teachers? Are we asking too much of parents? Please feel free to leave a comment below.







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Student Incentives Based on Test Scores?

Posted by kcaise on August 5, 2016 in blogging, testing |

I came across a blog post shared by @thechalkface on Facebook of a letter sent by a group of second grade teachers to parents for an end of the year incentive party based on scores on the high stakes state tests. The students could attend the incentive party for various periods of time based on the scores made on the state standardized test.  Below is the letter that lists the criteria to attend the party.

party letter testing



This concerns me a great deal. I know there are teachers that say external factors do not ‘factor in’ to test scores but students have off days or family issues that affect their performance on standardized tests. The above criteria are punitive in nature in my opinion. The blog author, @thechalkface, called for naming which school and teachers this letter originated.

I, too, would love for the school to come forward but with the backlash that will ensue I can understand why the teachers would remain silent on their actions. I find this insulting and belittling to the students involved. Passing on the pressure and the results of teaching the students tested concepts throughout the past school year and burdening the students with that pressure is beyond my comprehension.

Incentives such as the ones featured in the letter are contemptuous at best. Students can only do their best and should not be penalized for poor performance unless a student deliberately tanks it as a measure to get back at their teacher. I seriously doubt this kind of behavior would result from a second grader. Also, scores are to be kept confidential. If a student only got to attend the party at the specified time for not doing well on the test, then everyone knows how well that student did or did not do on the test. That is a blatant disregard for the confidentiality of the results of the test scores.

I agree and also ask for the parties to come forward that came up with this idea. Not to throw rotten tomatoes but to request they attend training on confidentiality and test scores as well as sensitivity training. Being caring and sensitive to the emotional, physical, social, behavioral and psychological needs of each student probably cannot be taught but it is worth a try on my book. Those skills are definitely lacking in this instance.

What is your take on this letter? What if your child received this letter? What would be your response? We need to take a stand on issues that occur like this and this situation should never have occurred in the first place. Feel free to comment below.


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