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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Why I Won’t be at CAMT 2016

Posted by kcaise on June 28, 2016 in apps and gaming, conferences, Discovery Education Network (DEN) |

I have had to regretfully pull out of presenting at the Council for the Advancement Mathematics Teachers conference held in San Antonio, Texas this week. It does conflict with the International Society for Technology in Education but that is not why I am unable to present.

In February I had a surgery and on June 9, 2016 I had to go back in to remove a hematoma that was very large. I am attached to a wound vac and have to go for treatment in a hyperbaric chamber for two hours every day for up to 30 days. Then every other day that packing that is in my right breast has to be removed and replaced which is painful.

I didn’t expect and wasn’t prepared for any of this so I am making the resources available that I would have shared had I presented. I will upload the videos another day so that you can view how the tools work on another day. There is no audio at this time as they are demo videos only and thought I would be speaking while they played during my presentation. So check out the resources and feel free to leave comments or questions and I will do my best to respond to them very soon.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding during this difficult time.

Click here to open this binder in a new window.


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How you can Win $1000!

Posted by kcaise on June 5, 2016 in blogging |

No, it isn’t a scam or spam email. You really can win $1000 for you and $1000 for your school by sharing your story of how an educator inspired you. I received an email through this blog about this awesome opportunity and wanted to share it with you.

The website, http://www.insp2ed.org/, is where you submit your story about an educator who has inspired you and encouraged to do great things in education. By doing you have the opportunity to win some spending money and earn some money for your campus as well.

Inspired2Educate is a national recognition program that encourages current K-20 educators to honor the teachers or administrators who inspired them to embrace education as their life’s work.

Tell us your story in a video or in writing! Each month, PeopleAdmin will award one person with $1,000 for professional development and $1,000 for their educational institution.

thankyou#Inspired2Educate is a program designed to recognize and praise educators and the people who inspired them. Each month $2,000 is awarded to someone who shares their story with us. So what are you waiting for? Hopefully I inspired you to share your story with #Inspired2Educate!



#CAGTI16 – Google, Here I Come!

Posted by kcaise on May 22, 2016 in blogging, tech integration |

Screenshot_052216_022051_PMIn July 2016, I will be visiting THE Googleplex in Mountain View, California! If you live/lived in that area please let me know how hot it usually is so I know how to dress for the Google Geo Teachers Institute (GTI). I have been selected to visit Google for the two-day professional development session and become one of the elite GTI teachers!

I know several ed tech teachers and tech specialists who have been at previous GTI sessions and will be attending this session. Excitement is running rampant in our Google+ community! I am honored to have been selected and know that part of the reason I was selected was my online presence and reach via this blog, Twitter and Facebook so thank you in contributing to me being selected for this opportunity!

When late July rolls around, think of me and celebrate with me as I make my journey to California! Thank you to all of my connections, readers and those who made this opportunity possible – I can never thank you enough!

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Group Work – Who’s Missing?

Posted by kcaise on May 2, 2016 in blogging |

Quite often teachers want students to acquire collaboration skills and create group project assignments requiring students to work in groups. This is definitely a needed skill to learn and requires students to use critical thinking skills and the upper tier of Bloom’s Taxonomy when collaborating on a group project.

Having students in online learning programs participate in group projects is a lot more challenging to structure. Finding a time that is convenient for everyone and some type of meeting platform must be used like Skype or a VOIP platform like Blackboard or Adobe Connect. There are many other platforms for students to use to meet but those are the most prevalent ones. I keep a wiki on web conferencing platforms so feel free to review the wiki page for alternatives if you are looking for a meeting solution: http://caisefiles.wikispaces.com.

One of the frequent challenges that arises is that one person doesn’t show up or contribute to the project. One blog author, Torria Davis, Ph.D., shared that one of her colleagues recommended the “Survivor’s Clause” where the student is ‘voted out of the group like on the Survivor TV show.

How do you handle this situation regardless of whether you are teaching online or face to face classes? Do you give that person the whole assignment and they do everyone’s part? Do you counsel that student or colleague and hopefully they come around in time? I would love to hear your thoughts on how you handle this situation. Please share in the comments.


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