Monday, December 3, 2012

ePals Common Core Implementation Center

Many of you probably know of ePals, a global classroom community for collaborating on projects with others worldwide. ePals recently launched its new Common Core Implementation Center that gives teachers access to a broad range of online communication and collaboration tools, along with rigorous learning resources designed to facilitate authentic, project-based learning, as specified by Common Core State Standards.

Resources available include customizable, project-based lessons and activities based on time available, subject focus and grade level from both teachers and respected content providers (e.g., National Geographic, Smithsonian, Cobblestone & Cricket magazines). Classrooms can partner in safe, digital workspaces controlled by the teacher to collaborate on activities and projects with other schools and classrooms.

Check out the Common Core Implementation Center on ePals to get started.

Here are some ideas to get started:

Create Real-World Connections for Each Topic: Find project partners for each content area your students are studying to enhance understanding and application of new concepts and to meet Common Core standards including Writing 6 and Writing 7.

Pair Students with Global Peers: Pair students within a project workspace with peers from other countries to accomplish specific goals, such as completing joint inquiry projects.

Host Online Discussions: Host dynamic discussions between students by posting forum topics for students to build on each other’s ideas and learn to express their own thoughts clearly and persuasively.

Share Student Work: Have students publish their work and ideas to the project group using media galleries and encourage peer review.

Create Collaborative Content: Use wikis to have student groups author joint content, such as a digital presentations and multimedia research reports.

ePals is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers.

Skqueak - Bring Photos to Life With Voice, Sketch, and Zoom

Skqueak is a neat iOS app that I learned about when Larry Ferlazzo nominated it as the Best Mobile App in the Edublog Awards. Skqueak makes it easy to enhance your pictures by adding your voice, drawings, and zoom effects to them. The app allows you to draw on your images in a Skitch-like way to point out important elements of the picture. You can also simply zoom-in on an element of your picture while you talk about it.

Applications for Education
Skqueak could be a neat way for students to create short digital stories about places they've visited, things they've done in your classroom, or about pictures that they've found online. You could use the app to add your voice to a chart or diagram that you're using in a lesson.

Teaching Kids News - Short Lessons About the News

Teaching Kids News is a news site developed for use in elementary school and middle school classrooms. Teaching Kids News features timely and relevant news stories written on a level that students can comprehend. Each article is accompanied by a set of discussion questions, writing prompts, reading prompts, and vocabulary words.

Applications for Education
Teaching Kids News reminds me a bit of the old Scholastic Weekly News that I loved to read in elementary school. TKN could be a good place for elementary school teachers to find some short current news lessons to use in their classrooms. TKN is based in Canada, but it does contain articles that are relevant regardless of where you live.

Beyond the Bubble - Assessing Research Skills with Library of Congress Documents

Beyond the Bubble is a resource produced by the Stanford History Education Group for the purpose of helping teachers teach with primary source documents. Beyond the Bubble provides teachers with lessons that they can use to help their students analyze primary source documents. Each of the lessons is accompanied by an interactive rubric that includes sample answers aligned to each indicator on the rubric. Learn more about Beyond the Bubble in the short video below.

Applications for Education
The interactive rubrics on Beyond the Bubble could be very helpful to some teachers when they're evaluating their students' work. In my experience the trickiest part of using rubrics that someone else wrote is understanding what they meant with the indicator language that they chose. Having a quick way to see what those indicators look like would be helpful to me.

Edublog Awards Voting Opens

The 2012 Edublog Awards voting opened today. The voting period runs from now through December 12. You can vote once per day in each category. To vote go to this page, select the category in which you want to vote, then select your favorite blog or person. You've all been so nice to vote for me for Best Ed Tech Blog over the last four years and I've been nominated in that category again as well as in the category of Best Individual Blog.

Click here to read about the nomination process used in the Edublog Awards.