DOGO News: current events and non-fiction for your classroom

DOGO news: current events for the classroom

What it is: DOGO News is a great place for kids to learn about current events, read non-fiction articles, and access customized content that you curate. DOGO features thousands of news articles and new original content added daily, this is the leading online source of current events for students, teachers, and schools! DOGO Teachers allows you to create a special page for your students. Each article lists the Common Core Standards it meets, and the grade levels it is appropriate for.

How to integrate DOGO News in your classroom: DOGO News is a fantastic resource for you (and students) to find, read, and interact with non-fiction news articles in your classroom. The site is very easy for kids to navigate. The homepage includes the most up-to-date content, but students also have the option to read articles based on a passion they have (science, social studies, world events, environment, fun, video, or sports) or to search for a specific topic. DOGO is obviously an easy go-to for current events and non-fiction reading and for research in the inquiry classroom.

Our students love to read an article as a class and then search for biases. If there aren’t any obvious biases, they talk about ways the topic might be written about with bias. This generally leads to really great class discussions and bunny trials of questions and research. DOGO is a great place for this activity to start.

DOGO also has a Books and Movies where kids can read reviews written by other kids for books and movies. Students can join DOGO to add their own book and movie reviews.

Tips: Teachers- you can sign up for two different kinds of accounts on DOGO. The free account lets you create your own DOGO class page and add your own assignments. There is also a paid account option that includes some additional features that would be ideal if you use Google Classroom and would like to access ready-made assignments on DOGO.

We’ll provide the environment, your job is to flourish… Join us in February!

Flourish at the 5Sigma Education Conference

2018 is almost here. What decisions are you making today that will amplify what is possible in 2018?

Every year I choose a word. An intention for the year. Something to remind me of my greatest hopes and purposes for the year. Do you do that, too?

The word that leapt out to me for 2018 is FLOURISH.

FLOURISH: 1. to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment. 2. a bold or extravagant gesture or action.

Don’t you just love that? To grow vigorously…especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.

Anastasis Academy has become “a particularly favorable environment” and now for some intention: to flourish!

Flourish reminds me that I have more. More to contribute to the changing landscape of education. More to give to the students whose lives we impact with our important work. But flourishing is bigger. Flourishing is extravagant. It’s vigorous. It’s more.

I could not be more thrilled to announce the 4th annual 5Sigma Education Conference and the INCREDIBLE line up that we have. 5Sigma will help you consider how you can push beyond current constraints and truly see what is possible in education. It’s an invitation to flourish.

The real power of 5Sigma is in helping you see what is possible and then connecting you to other incredible educators who are doing important work. We’ll provide the favorable environment, your job is to flourish.

If you’re ready to transform your classroom (or school) in meaningful and important ways, we’d like to help you do that.

What will it take to flourish in 2018? It’s not going to happen by doing the same things in 2017. Join us in February and bring on the flourishing! We can’t wait to meet you!

 

***If you want to bring a group to 5Sigma, contact me and I’ll see how I can help you out.

**** Comment below with your word of 2018 to be entered for a free registration to 5Sigma EduCon!

Be Internet Awesome: Tools to teach online safety

Be Internet Awesome: internet safety game

 

What it is: Be Internet Awesome is a fantastic new way to help your students make the most of the Internet by being prepared to make wise decisions as they navigate and interact online. Be Internet Awesome helps teach students the basics of digital citizenship and safety online. This outstanding collection from Google includes: Interland, an online adventure that puts digital safety lessons into hands-on practice with four games; the Be Internet Awesome Curriculum, that will help you teach online safety; the Be Internet Awesome Pledge, to help connect parents and encourage continuity between home and school.

How to integrate Be Internet Awesome into the classroom: With Be Internet Awesome, Google gives you a complete set of tools to empower you to encourage digital citizenship and safety online. There are lessons and curriculum you can download, games for students to play, and a pledge for students to take home so that parents are on the same page.

At the core of Be Internet Awesome is the Code:

  • Share with Care- teaching students the importance of communicating responsibly.
  • Don’t Fall for Fake- teaching students how to discern real from fake online.
  • Secure Your Secrets- teaching students how to protect and safeguard personal information online.
  • It’s Cool to Be Kind- teaching students how the Internet can act as an amplifier, and they have the power to create positive impact for others.
  • When in Doubt, Talk It Out- teaching students how to seek out a trusted adult when they come across something questionable.

Interland is such a beautifully designed game with important lessons about how to mindfully use the Internet. I love the way the lessons learned in the games can transfer seamlessly to real-life as well. Students can play individually in a one to one setting or as a class with a projector-connected computer. Stop to reflect as you play. If students are playing individually, you might have them reflect in writing and come back together to share reflections as a class.

Tips: The Be Internet Awesome Curriculum meets ISTE standards for students and ISTE standards for teachers. Under the Resource link, you’ll also find a lesson poster, certificates and badges, a Google for Education Teacher Training Course, the ability to share Interland directly to Google Classroom, great resources for parents, and an Internaut Papercraft Activity.

DragonBox Math Apps: Teaching students to think like mathematicians

DragonBox Math Apps: Teaching studentst to think like a mathematician

What it is: I adore the DragonBox math apps! I was first introduced to DragonBox through their Algebra app. The app takes away all math anxiety by teaching algebraic concepts without numbers or algorithms. It is genius! You can read my review of that app here. DragonBox Numbers is for kids who are new to numbers, counting, addition, and subtraction. DragonBox BIG Numbers is the next level app of Dragon Box Numbers. As they play, children learn about how big numbers work, and how to perform long addition and subtraction. In DragonBox Elements, students will secretly learn geometry. By playing 100+ puzzles, kids will gain a deep understanding of the logic of geometry. As they play, students will actually be recreating the mathematical proofs that define geometry. What I love about the DragonBox suite of math games is that they are unlike any other math apps. You won’t find mindless repetitions and quizzes of math facts, instead, these games help teach students how to think like mathematicians. This is learning math through exploration.

How to integrate Dragon Box math apps into your classroom: The DragonBox math apps take advantage of a student’s innate curiosity through play and exploration of math concepts. Each game engages students through exploration, reflection, and application.  If you have a 1:1 iPad classroom, use these apps daily! Students can play a game, and then come together as a class to reflect and write down the rules they have learned in that “chapter.” Then, take an equation from the game and solve it on paper. See if students can connect the cards and rules of the game to the equations on paper. Solve the equations using strategies and rules from the game.

In a one or two device classroom, play DragonBox as a class by connecting your device to a projector. Explore the rules together and let students take turns being in charge of a chapter. Review rules and make connections as a class. Set up DragonBox as a math center that students can visit in a rotation where one center is interacting with the game, the next is an opportunity to record rules learned and reflect, and the last is application of the rules to an equation.

Be sure to check out the DragonBox for educators where you can download teachers guides and printable resources for each game in the DragonBox math suite. You’ll also find a great “rules” guide for the algebra and geometry games.

These are seriously my favorite math apps of all time! They encourage kids who can think and apply like mathematicians rather than kids who simply memorize a formula. DragonBox creates a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and number relationships.

Tips: While the DragonBox suite of math apps aren’t free, you can purchase them at a deep discount for educational institutions and bulk purchases. Teachers, you can get access for free to make sure that the apps are right before committing to a purchase for your students. You can also purchase apps in bundles.

Starting with Soil: Organic Exploration App

Organic Exploration Starting with Soil App

What it is: Starting with Soil is a free app from the Whole Kids Foundation that teaches the importance of healthy soil and lets kids discover the harmonious roles that plants, animals, and people play in keeping it healthy. This high-quality, interactive app lets kids explore the life in soil through lots of interactive experiences. They can use a compost wheel to learn about which things can be composted; learn about pollinators and their role in the food we eat; explore fungi, bacteria, protozoa, algae, and nemotodes with a built-in microscope; and learn how long it takes to make an inch of healthy soil with an interactive timeline. Kids can also plant digital seeds, make it rain, and build their own digital compost pile.

How to integrate the Starting with Soil App in your classroom: The Starting with Soil app is a fantastic interactive experience that will help your students learn about how nature creates organic soil, the role that animals and cover crops play in organic farming, how different plants can thrive together, the importance of pollinators, and how compost is made and its part in growing healthy food. This free app can be used as a provocation for an inquiry unit about soil, in your science classroom, or during discussions about ecosystems or nutrition.

My favorite part of this app is the way it let’s kids explore soil. Rather than telling them why healthy soil is important, it reveals its importance through discovery, exploration, and play.

Follow-up learning by giving students the opportunity to put that new understanding to work. Have students design pollinator hotels for your school yard or garden, start a composting bin, or start a school garden. Check out the Whole Kids Foundation site for fantastic resources, ideas, and grant opportunities.

Tips: Starting with Soil is available on the App Store and Google Play.

Mathigon: engage, play, and explore math

Mathigon explore, engage, play with math

What it is: Today I was working on our inquiry block framework for the 2017/2018 school year and, as often happens with inquiry, fell down a wonderful rabbit hole that led me to this site. Mathigon is a fantastic *newish* math site (it’s still being built and added to) that brings textbooks to life. I know you’ve probably seen this claim before, but this is unlike the other online interactive textbooks I’ve seen. It’s more…alive. It’s like a personalized tutor, combined with story, and exploration. Really, textbook is the wrong word, because this is something totally new. A chat bot tutor makes Mathigon like having an additional team of teachers in the room, ready to answer questions and support your learners in real time. Real life application and narrative is part of the Mathigon DNA. This means that beyond learning the “rules” of math, learners are actually invited to engage the concepts, play with them, explore them in context, and find out what other concepts they are linked to. Rather than a linear approach, Mathigon lets students explore math in a more organic way through interest, linked ideas/concepts, and in a ‘down the rabbit hole’ approach. There are very few math sites that I’ve come across that truly support an inquiry approach to learning math, Mathigon is one such site.

How to integrate Mathigon into your classroom:  There are several ways to use Mathigon. Students can get a personalized math curriculum that adapts to them and offers recommendations based on what they are interested in and their understanding of different concepts. They can begin from several places: exploring the applications of math in every day life, the link between math and origami, Eureka Magazine (published by Cambridge University), through problems and puzzles, through fractal fiction, or through courses for grades 6-college.

The Treasure Hunt is a complete PDF Kit that can be downloaded and printed out. Split your students into teams and send them on an epic math treasure hunt through your school (available in primary and secondary levels) where each of the clues leads them to another.

Fractal fiction is particularly cool because it lets students explore mathematical concepts through interactive narrative of popular films including Alice in Wonderland, Oceans 11, and Harry Potter (the latter two are coming soon). You really have to go experience these to really understand the brilliance of how Mathigon has combined story with math exploration.  From the site: “The key to successful teaching is captivating storytelling – through real life applications, curious examples, historic background, or even fictional characters. These interactive slideshows combine an engaging narrative with beautiful graphics – explaining mathematical ideas in the context of popular stories and movies. They can be watched individually or be presented in classrooms.”

I cannot say enough about how impressed I am with the vastness of what this site brings to the classroom. Even if you don’t have the capacity for each of your students to have an account with Mathigon, the site can be easily adapted for the one computer classroom (as a center activity). Much of the content could also be explored as a whole class with a projector-connected computer.

Tips: I’ve found that really well done content for grades 6-12 (and beyond) in math to be severely lacking. This is a welcome addition to the math teachers tool box of resources!

Check123: Video Encyclopedia

 

What it is: Check 123 is a new video encyclopedia site for kids. All videos are validated and ranked by Check123 professionals, are 1-3 minutes in length, and a curated on just about any subject you can think of.  Broad topics covered on Check123 include: history, sports, politics, food, performing arts, economics, earth, nature, tech, philosophy, music, cars, pets, human body, arts, geography, religion, psychology, TV, gaming, science, literature, fashion, media, and space.

How to integrate Check 123 into your classroom: Check123 is a great place for students to begin their research. These videos are between 1 and 3 minutes each, keeping students engaged in a topic and giving them bite-size information. I like that the videos are so well curated, it keeps search results on topic rather than the endless dig for quality content that can happen in a YouTube  search. Check123 videos are also wonderful as provocations for further inquiry. The short format gives students just enough information to whet their appetites and encourage additional questioning. Check123 is a great one to keep bookmarked on classroom and library computers for quick reference.

Video is the preferred learning method of 90% of our students at Anastasis, when they do a search, they usually begin on a video site. With Check123, they are sure to get some quality results back to kick start their learning and research.

Tips: Check123 is free for teachers!

Making & Science with Google

Making & science with Google

What it is: Making & Science is an initiative by Google aimed at showing students that anyone can be a maker or a scientist. Using the featured Science Journal app (Android and Chromebook only), students can measure light, sound, and more. They can also use the app to record observations, organize data, and add observational notes. Making & Science has partnered with Exploratorium for some fantastic activities that will have students exploring the world as a makers and scientist in no time. Students will explore light, sound, motion, graphs, conductivity, and much more through activities powered by the Science Journal app.

How to integrate Making & Science with Google in your classroom: The Science Journal app makes any Android phone or Chromebook computer into a scientific tool that students can use to collect data on light, sound, and motion. The activities included encourage students to explore the world as scientists and makers. The activities are simple enough for any classroom, and lead the students through understanding how the world around them works. They are a great kick-off to more in-depth studies of light, sound, and motion and teach students how to use the sensors on their phone and computer to collect data.  Most activities take 15-30 minutes, so would be the perfect length for groups of students to visit as a center if you have a few devices for students to use. I love the way each activity thoroughly introduces a concept, and equips students with the tools and understanding for further experimentation and investigation. The activities included are wonderful, but after students have a basic understanding, encourage them to come up with their own investigations of light, sound, and motion.

Students could use the Exploritorium Activities as guides for creating their own investigations and activities to share with the class.

Don’t miss out on the Making and Science YouTube channel, and recommended podcasts. They are AWESOME!

Tips: While the activities reference the Science Journal app for data collection, if you have access to other types of devices you can still use these activities! Just download a light, sound, and motion sensor app and your students can complete any of the activities on the Maker & Science site.

Photomath: Scan math problems for immediate step-by-step instructions

Photomath app: Scan math problems for immediate step-by-step instructions (with handwriting recognition!)

What it is: Photomath is an app available on the App Store and Google Play. With Photomath, students can scan a math problem and learn how to solve it with step by step instructions and an answer. The app includes a photo calculator (take a photo of a math problem, it gets solved in an instant), handwriting recognition, step-by-step instructions, and a smart calculator. For added features, Photomath+ includes complete step-by-step instructions, colorful explanations of the math, and extra math knowledge.

How to integrate Photomath into the classroom: On the surface, the Photomath app might look like the ultimate way for students to “cheat” their learning. After all, they can snap a picture of any math problem, get step-by-step “show your work” instructions, and the answer in an instant. When I look at Photomath, I see each device with the app as another teacher in the classroom. When students get stuck, or need to check their work/understanding, not only do they have access to the answer, but also to the process. They can see exactly where a mistake has been made, and even get an explanation about why the process is what it is. It also changes the math class from being procedures-based, and empowers teachers and students to engage math from a problem-based, practical aspect. Since students have help with the procedure of how to solve a problem, they can engage math as a mathematician, identifying the problem that needs to be solved, using number sense to understand the problem, and with Photomath ensuring that the procedure they apply has been solved correctly. It definitely could change the goal of your math class, rather than just finding the answer, assignments may become more practical application in nature.

Consider using Photomath as a check-in station where students can go through their own work and identify where they may need support. The app offers immediate step-by-step guidance, when students don’t understand the guidance, you know instantly that more teaching is needed.

Tips: If your school has homework, this would be a great app to recommend to parents! When they get stumped, the app can be a sanity saver.

 

The Letter Project: Spreading good to girls through handwritten letters

The Letter Project: Spreading good to girls through handwritten letters

The last week has been heartbreaking to watch unfold. My heart aches over the fear, the divisiveness, the “us” vs. “them” mentality. The stripping away of humanity. As an educator I know that when we take away all of the labels that we use to categorize each other, when we look each other in the eye and listen to each other’s stories, we find out that we are all human after all. When I feel despair over the state of how we treat others, I look for ways to combat that. I look for those doing the hard work of caring for others. The Letter Project is one such organization spreading good.

 

What it is: The Letter Project has one primary objective: to teach women and girls that they are enough. They are driven by the belief that we flourish by supporting each other, and seeing the good in each other first. How do they do this? by writing letters to girls and women around the world who need a little bit of extra encouragement.

How to encourage girls/women with The Letter Project: If you know a girl or young woman who is going through a tough time or needs some extra encouragement/confidence, you can request letters through the Letter Project. She’ll receive a bundle of letters from women around the US who want to build her up and support with words of encouragement.

Wondering what is considered a “tough time”? It could be girls having trouble finding friends at school, feeling lonely or sad, experiencing family turmoil, having trouble with how they look, feeling anxious/nervous. Really, the topics can be limitless. The letters are meant to encourage and show these girls (ages 6 to 20) that they are not alone. To request letters, just fill out a short survey about the girl you are requesting for. In about 4 weeks, the girl will receive 10 to 15 handwritten letters from women across the US.

We all know those girls who could use extra TLC. Maybe they are dealing with body-image issues, maybe a divorce in the family, perhaps they are nervous about moving on to [middle school/high school/college]. Maybe they are overwhelmed with school, or believing lies about themselves. The Letter Project is for these girls, all of them!

I love the heart behind this organization, empowering women and girls to believe in themselves. To remind them that they aren’t alone, we are all in this together!

Tips: The Letter Project is a Christian organization, although they will write to any girl (Christian or not). If you are requesting letters for one of your students, you might specify that the letters be faith-background neutral. If you are requesting letters for a student, please get permission from a parent/guardian first.

You can help: You can support the good work of The Letter Project by partnering with them to write letters, or through monetary donations that go toward stamps, envelopes, and stationary.