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Monday, October 21, 2013

Discovery Education Presents Common Core Academies

I've been the guest of Discovery Education at a few of their events over the last couple of years. Each of their events that I've attended has been well organized and great learning experiences. I'm sure that their newest series of free events, Common Core Academies will be equally as good as their other events.

Discovery Education's Common Core Academies are free events arranged around the themes of Common Core Math, Common Core Language Arts, and leadership of Common Core implementation. The highlights of each academy are...
  • practical strategies to implement CCSS
  • reseach-based instructional practices
  • best practices in using digital content
  • resources and digital tools for immediate classroom integration
Discovery Education's Common Core Academies are being held in eight locations over the next four months. You can see the list of locations and register for these free events here.

How to Overcome Stage Fright

When it comes to public speaking some of us are 100% comfortable on stage. Others of us are completely freaked-out by the prospect of having to speak to a public audience. I fall into the 100% comfortable category, but I've presented with people who are close to the freak-out category. I've always told those people to "fake confidence" until they are confident. So why do people get stage fright and what can be done about it? This TED-Ed lesson has the answers.



Applications for Education
Understanding why something happens and accepting it are the first steps to changing it. This TED-Ed lesson could be a great little lesson to share with students in the weeks before they give presentations in your classroom.

5 Online Tools That Help You Align Lessons to Common Core Standards

Common Core, love it or hate it, if you're teaching in the United States there is a good chance that you'll have to work with it. If that describes you, take a look at these five tools that can help you create lessons aligned to Common Core standards.

Teaching Objects is an online lesson planner that enables you to pull materials from your Google Drive and YouTube accounts into your lesson plans. As you write your lesson plans and organize your materials in your Teaching Objects account you can search for an identify the Common Core standards that align to each of your lesson plans. (To use Teaching Objects you do have to have a Google Account).

Alchemy SmartBinder is a free service for creating, organizing, and sharing lessons. With an Alchemy SmartBinder account teachers can create lessons that include text, images, videos, audio files, and web links. Each lesson can be aligned to Common Standards and or any other standards system that you use. Each lesson can be shared with students. All lessons are organized in courses in your Alchemy SmartBinder.

Common Curriculum is an online lesson planning resource that aims to help you align your lessons to Common Core standards. In Common Curriculum you can enter your courses and write your lesson plans. After you enter a lesson plan into your Common Curriculum planner you can click "search for standard" to have Common Curriculum search for Common Core standards that might match your lesson plan. The more text that you include in your lesson plan the more likely Common Curriculum is to find Common Core standards that match your lesson plans.

OpenEd is a site that claims to be the world's largest educational resource catalog. On OpenEd you can search for videos, games, and other educational materials. Your searches can be conducted according to content area, grade level, Common Core standard, or a combination of those factors. You can also search according to keyword although when I tried the keyword search option it didn't work well. As a registered OpenEd user (registration is free and takes less than thirty seconds to complete) you can create courses and playlists of videos and other materials that you find in the OpenEd directory. You can align your courses and playlists to standards. If you choose to align your course to a standard, OpenEd will suggest materials to you.

MasteryConnect is a service that offers a few products that I think teachers in U.S. public schools should know about. First, they offer a good system for tracking your students' mastery of Common Core standards. Second, they provide a great community of educators who are connecting and sharing lesson ideas. And third, MasteryConnect now offers a curriculum mapping tool that allows you to easily connect your current lessons and curriculum to Common Core and or state standards. You can see the MasteryConnect curriculum mapping tool in the video found here.

Disclosure: MasteryConnect helps feed me and my dog every month through their advertising payments.

Colds, Flu, and the Immune System

I've caught my first cold in two years. And like a lot of people I become a miserable grump when I'm sick. The upside of getting sick is that it reminded me of some resources that can help students understand colds, flu, and the immune system. Those resources are included below.

With the flu and cold season arriving, it's a good time to remind students of the importance of hand washing. The Scrub Club offers some nice resources for sharing those reminders with students in grade K through 3. Scrub Club is a website designed to teach students why they need to wash their hands. The Scrub Club offers videos, comics, and games designed to promote healthy hygiene habits to prevent the spread of diseases like the flu. For teachers, Scrub Club offers free downloads of posters, cartoon books, and lesson plans to promote hand washing. The downloads are available in English, Spanish, and French.

What is the difference between having a cold and having the flu? Explania has the answer in the video below.


What is ‘flu? - Explania


So how is a cold or flu passed from person to person and what exactly is it doing to your body? NPR answers those questions in the following animated video.


Paul Andersen explains the immune system to high school students in the video below. This is a video that would be a excellent to use as part of a flipped lesson.

7 Halloween Themed Educational Activities

Halloween is a just ten days away so you may be looking for some Halloween-themed educational activities to use in your classroom. Here are some activities to use with your students over the next ten days.

Math vs. Zombies is a free iPad game with a Halloween theme. The game is has three virtual worlds each containing ten levels of basic math problems. The object of the game is to correctly solve as many math problems as possible before the zombies catch you. The math of the game is basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Scholastic offers a variety of Halloween-themed activities for elementary school students. The Halloween Tooth: Max's Math Adventure is a math activity for K-2 students. In the activity students read and listen to a poem about Halloween candy then complete a set of activities in which they make patterns and count candy. Halloween Web Hunt is a simple web quest for students in grades three through five. The activity has students visit a virtual museum and online libraries to answer questions about mummies, bats, and Halloween history. Writing Mysteries provides a template and walks elementary school students through the process of writing mystery stories.

Halloween Magazine offers a safety game for students. The game is designed to teach students to recognize safe and unsafe situations while they're out trick 'o treating.

ABCya is currently featuring a half dozen Halloween-themed activities for elementary school students. Ghost Typing is a typing game in which students have to type words appearing on the screen in order to bust the ghosts. The words that appear on the screen are Halloween-themed words like ghoul, pumpkin, and orange.

Smarty Games offers Halloween Math. In Halloween Math students move a ghost to catch the answers to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems.

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