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The power of the #PLN: Paying it Forward

The network that educators have created through social media is seriously incredible! I’m often asked by non-educators how they can build such a supportive presence with social media. My answer: I’m not really sure, this PLN network works because it is full of caring, amazing educators who have decided to support each other in all kinds of awesome ways. We share each other’s work, we offer support, we meet up to have a drink together, we help each other when we are ready to give up. It truly is remarkable! A few years ago, our friend Beth Still wanted to demonstrate the power of social networks and PLNs while also assisting a “newbie” in attending ISTE. The ISTE Newbie Project was born! Beth asked people in her network to consider contributing a small amount of money ($10, $25) to help pay for the travel, registration, and hotel costs for someone to attend the international conference for the first time. Each year, over $2000 was raised to cover the costs for that year’s newbie. The beauty of this project, however, was that many people contributed relatively small amounts. Because our networks are growing, it was easy for an individual to only donate $10 or so, yet the project could be fully funded. This was that power of networking that Beth wanted to illustrate! As we look forward to the 5Sigma Education Conference in the next few weeks, we’ve heard from a few who planned to join us, but whose districts won’t pay for travel. We thought back to the Newbie Project and wondered if we could provide travel funds for someone to join us at 5Sigma. Eric Johnson, aka “yourkidsteacher,” is a teacher from South Bend, Indiana whom we asked to join us at 5Sigma and share his new project, erasemeanness.org. Eric has been a huge supporter of our work, and we have been really looking forward to him joining us for our inaugural conference. Eric’s district was not able to provide his travel funds, however, and he shared that he would not be able to come to 5Sigma. When we remembered the “crowd-sourcing” that happened with the ISTE Newbie Project, we thought we should consider doing something similar.  Here is the part where you come in, valued PLN member! The 5Sigma Pay it Forward Travel Fund is the same model as described for the Newbie Project. If only 50 people decide to donate $10 after reading and sharing this idea, Eric’s flight will be fully funded. We have two weeks to raise $500. The networking value depends upon how many people see this project and choose to donate a small amount… and then SHARE with others. Let’s demonstrate the power of networks and, together, we can do something really great for an amazing educator. Please share out the Pay it Forward #5sigma project. Please consider donating $10 to help a fellow educator *donate through paypal at the bottom of this page*. The great thing about paying it forward- it generally comes back ten-fold. Thank you for your support!

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ESA Kids

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 02-04-2010

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What it is: The European Space Agency (ESA) has a great website for kids.  ESA Kids has fabulous, kid friendly information about the Universe (the story of the Universe, the sun, the planets and moons, the galaxies, comets and meteors), Life in Space (astronauts, space stations, life in space, exploration, are we alone?), Lift Off (launchers, orbits, mission control, spacecraft, new ways to space), Useful Space (TV and phone, know where you are, space spin-offs, weather, health), and Earth (climate change, natural disasters, protecting nature, water world).  This site is absolutely packed full of information and awesome images.  Students can “work in a lab” where they can build papercraft globes and spacecraft, try reading space maps, and learn fun space facts.  Students will also enjoy the space themed games and puzzles, online coloring book, quizzes, and downloads.  Each month, a new story about space is added to the News section, keeping students up to date about what is happening in space exploration.  

How to integrate ESA Kids into the classroom: When I am hunting for space related websites, I usually begin with NASA.  ESA Kids is being added to my must visit places for all things space.  The site is organized well, very kid friendly, and has fun activities that students can take part in.  Use ESA Kids for space research, when learning about the weather, climate change, and natural disasters.  After students have some background knowledge about space and space exploration, have them visit the Lab and choose a papercraft spacecraft to print and build.  Students can write a story about their spacecraft, including facts that they learned on the ESA Kids website.  They may even write a fictional story about their visit to space that includes factual elements that they learned in the Life in Space section.    Be sure to visit the Useful Space tab, I think students will be surprised at how many common items are linked to space and space exploration.

Tips: Be sure to visit this site often, the news is updated every month with current space events.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using ESA Kids in your classroom.

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