Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New from Discovery Education

Here's the latest update from Discovery Education:

Discovery Education has provided a curated list of updates below, which includes links to relevant resources and virtual events available within our current DE Streaming subscription.  If you are having trouble logging in, contact DE Customer Support: 800-323-9084 ext 1.
Timely Content:  
·         Black History Month Content:
o   Shmoop Learning Guide for Uncle Tom's Cabin - A lively learning guide to support educators in crafting engaging lessons around literary content.
o   Picture It! Instructional Strategy with Historical Images  - Using these historical images, this strategy encourages students to collaborate and make evidence-supported connections using a large amount of information.
·         Tundra Connections: Arctic ABC's - Feature animals and information specific to the Arctic, also discussing the type of education required to become a biologist and work with polar bears.
·         Econ Essentials Learning Modules - These interactive modules can integrate seamlessly into the classroom as an introduction to basic economic concepts or a reinforcement of lessons already presented.
·         Navy STEM Lesson Plans - DE and the US Navy present a series of interactive lesson plans specifically designed to explore new ideas from the physics of flight to the engineering of future ships.

Professional Learning Opportunities:  
·          Educator EssentialsWhether brand new to Discovery Education, looking for a refresher, or ready to recommit to digital integration, this curated content is essential to launching or continuing your Discovery Education journey.

Upcoming Monthly Virtual Experiences: 
·         Live NFL Experience at Super Bowl 51 - January 31st - Go on a Virtual Field Trip with the National Football League and the American Heart Association to learn how easy and fun it is to get active and heart healthy.
·         President's Day Virtual Viewing Party - February 17th - In celebration of the great leaders of our nation, join us for an interactive experience looking at the contributions of two of America's greatest presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
·         Pi Day Virtual Experience - March 14th -  Join us to celebrate the mathematical constant Pi and learn more about its significance in mathematical research, and its everyday applications.

Monday, January 30, 2017


Looking for more ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year?  Check out the various cultural resources at Google Arts and Culture. Visit Arts of the New Moon for museum trips, artwork, and those red envelopes! These images are just a few of your options.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

So why is it the year of the rooster?

Here’s a way to explore the Chinese Zodiac calendar with a TED-Ed lesson (including a review and guided discussion questions).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Letter the text speak

Do you have students who would benefit from listening to the text on a web page?  Speak to Text is a chrome extension (free) that you can install.  Then just highlight the text on a web page and right click.  Be sure the sound is on!

Think about the option- you could take text from Discovery Education resources and convert it to an ebook!  You can access Speak Text from the Chrome Store here.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Can you make me smile?

The newest SOS (Discovery Education Spotlight on Strategy) is LOL.  How could you use this humorous strategy in your classroom?  Here is the link the PDF within the district. (To readers who do not have a Discovery Education account, please go here.)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Just give it a thought

Alice Keeler shared this post on using Google Slides to example a math problem.  Please don’t worry about the type of problem she is solving- but rather think how your students could use this approach.  It is almost as if you could see their thinking!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

ChatterPIX meets Animal Farm

In Mrs. Redmond and Mr. Hall’s LAL class, the students were finishing Animal Farm.  To demonstrate their understanding of propaganda, they needed to create their own!  They crafted their speeches and then used ChatterPIX to record.  This was done with just one iPad in the classroom.  The results were combined using iMovie- take a look at the Period 1/2 video.

If you give a student an iPad,

Above is a video created in Puppet Pals from Ms. Condurso’s class at Wilson.  This was their first time exploring the app.  I gave a brief overview and then let the students create.  Think how you could use this iPad app to have your students demonstrate their understanding!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

So why these numbers?  Why didn't Roman numerals live forever? Here’s a TED-Ed lesson on on the history of numerical systems.  This might be interesting in your math classroom.  It might answer the question “ Why do I need to know place value?”- after all, this is the basis for our number system.  See if they have a guess why is is base 10 (and not another base).

Monday, January 23, 2017

Paper Slides explain it all!

So how do you know if your students really “got it”?  How about letting them play the teacher as they show you what they know using paper slides? Mrs. Langella and her students created paper slides to take the mystery out of three digit (times 1 digit) multiplication.  Please enjoy their video- and listen for the confidence in their voices- they got this! Special thanks for their interest and enthusiasm.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Another look at the Periodic Table

While you may recognize some of the elements in the Periodic Table, here’s a chance to learn something (on the practical side) about each element.  Click here to view a table that connects each element to a real world application. Click on the element to get the larger image.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

New to Google Classroom?

Ready to try Google Classroom but not sure where to start?  Check out Alice Keeler’s blog post (and accompanying infographic) with step by step directions.

Friday, January 20, 2017

New notifications in Google Classroom

In addition to the new student assignment, you can now get notifications when student work is turned in late (or if the student resubmits the work).  Here are two blog posts with the details- one from Alice Keeler and the other from Richard Byrne

Here’s the official notes from Google:

For teachers: new notifications to manage student work

We understand the information overload that teachers feel as they balance a busy class schedule, a sea of papers to grade, and after-school activities. To help them stay on top of it all, teachers will now receive two new types of Classroom notifications—one when students submit work after the due date, and one for when students re-submit work. Busy teachers can also continue to use Classroom’s other notifications—like updates on their scheduled posts and comments on student work—to help keep them organized throughout the school year.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What’s so great about the Great Lakes?

Because of my DEN contacts, I’ve meet folks who live near the Great Lakes (and I see pictures in their Facebook posts).  But for an East Coast person (who has only seen the lakes from a Chicago landing), I never really understood their importance.  The TED-ED lesson (What’s so great about the Great Lakes) would be perfect in a geography lesson.  It’s just enough information to help you appreciate their “greatness”.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Who knew Storyboardthat speaks Business?

While speaking with Florence Berman yesterday, she mentioned using Storyboardthat in her high school business classes.  Today she shared some photos!  Want to use Storyboardthat in your classroom- sent me an email (or contact your building media specialist).

So what does a parent see?

Have you invited parents to your Google Classroom?  The Add Guardian feature came out in the fall. You need the parent's email address to invite them and then they need to have a Google (but not necessarily a Gmail) account to accept.  They do not have access to your classroom but rather can select a daily or weekly summary of events.  Here’s a sample of a weekly summary (yes, I signed up as a parent).  If the student is in more than one Google Classroom, all the summaries will appear in one email.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Listen first, then….

The title of this Alice Keeler post intrigued me (talk about a good hook!)- “I treated parents like PayPal treated me”.  She shares a recent (and unproductive) PalPal experience and it caused her to reflect on some of her own parent interactions.  I would have to agree- my intuitive reaction to a parent complaint is to explain (and perhaps with a generic response- read her post and see how well PalPay did with that approach!).  She has revised her plan and I think I will as well.  Listen first- please read her suggestions at the end of her post.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Student assignments in Google Classroom

Here are some additional suggestions from Alice Keeler on how to use the new student specific assignment function in Google classroom.  Her post also includes screenshots that will make you an expert in no time!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Planning a video project?

It sounds so easy- let’s make a video!  In this blog post from Richard Bryne (on the MySimpleShow website) echoed my personal experience- you really need to do some planning!  The students are excited by some structure is really needed. Richard outlines his steps to success.  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

P is for preview

Do you ever have troubles finding a Google file?  Even though their search tools are great, sometimes I just need to “see” the file to make sure that’s the one I want.

Alice Keeler (in her blog post here) has the solution- the p key!  Just go to your drive and select a doc (this feature doesn’t work on files) and press the p.  You will now have a preview of the file.  You can then open it, go back to your drive- or use the arrows on the side to scroll and see other files.

Friday, January 13, 2017

What’s new in Discovery Education?

Want to stay updated on new Discovery Education features?  Sign up for their free weekly newsletter here- and you will never miss a new feature or product.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Teacher Stress and Mindfulness?

I found this NPR podcast/article interesting. Taking care of yourself might reduce your stress.  Here is also a link to a series of stress related TED talks. Remember, as Meria Carstarphen says, “Put your oxygen mask on first….”

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Google Classroom- Assign by Students!!!

Now you can create assignments (or announcements or questions) and assign it to specific students!  No longer is Google Classroom an “all or nothing” system.  When creating the assignment (or announcement or questions), select the drop down next to the class name (the default it All students) and then specify which students should get the assignments.  If you are assigning to multiple classes at once, you will not be able to access this option.

Here’s the text from the Google release:

For students: individualized work for differentiated learning
Starting today, Classroom makes it a lot easier for teachers to assign work to individual students and groups based on their unique needs. As they’re creating an assignment, post or question, teachers can choose whether to share it with the entire class or just with a subset of students.
Juli Dalzell, a seventh-grade teacher at Thomas A. Blake Middle School in Medfield, MA, says she likes how the new feature lets her teach students who may grasp concepts at different paces. “I can assign different levels of questions or quantities of assignments,” says Dalzell. “Also, I can push out documents, such as answer keys, as students complete their assignments.”
With this feature, students can also discreetly receive extra practice if they’re struggling with a new subject. Sara Enberg, a library media specialist at River Willow Elementary School in Hudson, WI, says that the new update creates “an easy way to assign a reteaching or extension activity for students who are struggling... Just a quick simple video for a couple of students and they were back on track.”

Think of the possibilities- we know one size doesn’t fit all, and now you can tailor work and resources to meet your students’ needs.

Really understanding health headlines

In this middle-high school lesson from the New York Times, your students can learn to decipher the truths (or myths) behind health headlines (“Chocolate found to stave off death!”).  Help them read behind the headlines and to think critically.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Give your Brain a break!

Here’s a link to the WeAreTeachers site with a month of January Brain Breaks!  Just a little something to help you and your students refocus on the learning.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Fake News (can your students tell the difference?)

Fake news seems to be all the rage recently.  Here’s a well-written article from School Library Journal packed with strategies and resources to help you improve media literacy with your students.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Do you Ed Web? (You should!)

EdWeb.net is a free online community.  They offer over a dozen live afterschool webinars each month (various content and grade levels).  While they provide a PD certificate for the live session, you can also access their archived sessions (and after a brief quiz), obtain a PD cert as well!  

Here’s my strategy.

  • Join the Ed Web and then join communities that interest you.
  • Once you join communities, you will get emails of upcoming webinars.
  • Or
  • Browse webinars or view their calendar (on the left sidebar)
  • I often will register for sessions (even though there is a date conflict)- this way I will get the email link for the archived session and I can learn at a time that’s good for me.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017


Before WriteReader appeared in the TeachersFirst highlights, I had seen it and asked Maria Vella to “test drive” it with her third-grade class.  They loved it!

It allows you to create a story, add your own images, and publish to your class.  In a feature geared for younger learners, there is a separate student and parent line (so the parent could provide a translation of the child’s words if needed. For the complete post, please click here.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Digital Literacy Lesson Plans

I saw GLEAN via a posting in TeachersFirst weekly highlights.  Scan their list to see if there is something for you and your students. For the complete post, please click here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Adobe Spark adds Video

Recently, the Adobe Spark product added video (to his collection of images, text, and icons). This might be something to consider when creating paper slides.  Need a few other suggestions? Check out Richard Byrne's post here. This is a free app or can be created on their website here.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Value of a Teacher (from Alan November)

Alan November has been working with teachers for a long time. In this recent TED-x talk , he shares his concerns with today’s students and classrooms.  Are we working with the million dollar pencil or have we harnessed the technology to deeply engage our students in their learning.  Do they really know how to search ( country code? assignments written since the internet? Point of view? How can you make thinking visible?  What are you doing to provide world wide connections for your students?) .This to 20 minute talk is worth your time.