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Edible Schoolyard Project and Truck Farms

What it is:  There are some things that I think should be essential to every school experience.  Some place where kids can sink their hands down into the earth and have a part in growing something is one of those essentials.  Edible Schoolyard is an incredible site with a goal to bring children into a positive relationship with food by connecting it with nature and culture.  The great part: good health is the outcome.  The Edible Schoolyard Project shares a food curriculum for schools around the world to put into practice.  I share their dream of making an “edible education” as part of the core of every school in the country.  I love that Edible Schoolyard wants to provide every student with a free nutritious lunch and interactive experiences in the classroom, kitchen and garden…transforming the health and values of every child. So…what exactly does the Edible Schoolyard project do? Maps the grassroots efforts of edible education programs around the United States. Gathers and shares lessons and best practices of school gardens, kitchens, and lunch programs. Documents 15 years of Edible Schoolyards. Trains educators at the Edible Schoolyard Academy. How to integrate Edible Schoolyard Project into the classroom:  The Edible Schoolyard Project has some excellent lessons, tips, guidance, and encouragement for starting an Edible Schoolyard Project at your own school.  The great thing about the resource collection on Edible Schoolyard Project is that it has been created by educators.  The lesson plans aren’t just focused on food, they are all tied in to a variety of disciplines…you know, like it happens in real life. There is something so human and important about growing food.  It is something that we have separated ourselves from and as a result, we are happy to stuff ourselves with a combination of chemicals and additives.  I have taught students who truly didn’t know that potatoes grew.  Seriously. At Anastasis, we are working to start our own Edible Schoolyard Project.  Our challenge: we lease space from a church. There is no little piece of land that we can call our own.  We don’t let anything stop us at Anastasis, we just have to be more creative.  In the past few weeks our students have been composting in 56 2-liter bottles.  It can be stinky…but the kids are learning so much about decomposition!  My next plan for our own little edible school yard project: Truck Farm.  I learned about Truck Farms from a way cool little restaurant here in Colorado called Beatrice and Woodsley.  They take advantage of Truck Farms for some of their produce.  Brilliant idea.  A truck farm is an old pick up truck whose bed has been retrofitted as a container garden.  The result: fresh produce that is mobile.  SO great for a school that puts everything on wheels!  While it isn’t exactly like getting your hands into a plot of land, students will be able to have their own little kitchen garden that they can grow. ****As a side note, if anyone has an old pickup they would like to donate to Anastasis or help funding this project, please let me know! Tips:  Explore the Movement is a section on the Edible Schoolyard Project where those in the US can find others in their state to network with. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Edible Schoolyard Project in  your classroom!

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14 Online Interactive Advent Calendars

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Create, Foreign Language, Fun & Games, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 30-11-2010

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It is December again, which means the beginning of Advent.  Advent calendars are a fun way to reveal information and “surprises” for your students to look forward to each day in December leading up to Christmas.  This year I thought I would make an advent calendar of my own using Wix.  I created a Web 2.0 advent calendar by choosing 25 of my favorite web 2.0 tools for the classroom.  Each day you can check out a new one.  (I’ll let you in on a secret, you can cheat and look at them all by clicking on the bird to get back to the calendar page…shh don’t tell anyone!)  You and your students can create your own custom advent calendar like I did using Wix.  Students can create an advent calendar of pictures of their school work, trivia for their parents, special audio notes, or anything they are learning.  To create your own Wix advent calendar, choose a template, add shapes to the template to create your calendar pieces, add 25 pages to the site, add links to those pages.  You could also create an advent calendar of your own using Glogster.  Create a customized advent calendar for your students with fun surprises, quotes, video clips, sound bites, etc.  It can be related to the learning they are doing in your classroom, suggestions of books to read,  or reveal special rewards like extra computer time, time playing a favorite game, time for reading, etc.  Be creative!

Woodlands Jr has a great online advent calendar every year that tests students knowledge about Christmas around the world.  The Woodlands Jr. 2010 advent calendar is now up and ready for viewing! This is a fun way for students to test their knowledge and learn about the ways that Christmas is celebrated all around the world.  As an extension, plot the places around the world that they are learning about on a world map.

BBC Radio has a fabulous Bach advent calendar. Each day your students can listen to a story about Bach or music.

The National Museum of Liverpool has an advent calendar that reveals a piece of art from the museum each day.

The Dirt Dirt advent calendar is purely fun, each day click on a number and an animation will be added to the tree.

For those of us who are app inclined, you can download a free app for your iDevice every day from Appvent Calendar.

Below you will find my interactive advent calendar finds from last year.  You are bound to find one that is a perfect fit for your class!

What it is: It is December!  This means the beginning of Advent along with the anticipation and excitement that it brings.  The Internet is full of interactive advent calendars that you can use in your classroom to teach about how the Christmas season is celebrated all around the world.  These advent calendars reveal fun facts, interactive activities, and stories.

Santa’s House Advent Calendar- This advent calendar tells a fun story.  Each day reveals another secret about what goes on inside Santa’s home on the 24 days leading up to Christmas.  In each picture, there is a little mouse hiding.  When students click on his ears, he jumps out.

Picture 1

Christmas Around the World Advent Calendar- Each day students click on the date to reveal a fun fact about how countries around the world celebrate Christmas.  The facts are accompanied by great illustrations and pictures.  This site shows up very small inside my Internet browser (Firefox).  To remedy this problem, click on “view” in your menu bar and choose “zoom”.  You may need to zoom in several times.

Picture 2

Christmas Mice Advent Calendar- This calendar tells the story about a mouse family who celebrates Christmas.  Each day a little more of the story is revealed.  Each picture includes some animation.

Picture 3

Santa’s Advent Calendar- On this advent calendar, each day reveals a new song or activity for students to complete. There are some fun Christmas themed mysteries to solve, stories to read, and activities to work through.

Picture 4French Carols Advent Calendar-  This is a French advent calendar.  Each day contains a new French Christmas carol sung by children.  This advent calendar would be a fun one to include in a study of Christmas around the world.

Picture 5

Christmas Around the World Advent Calendar Quiz-  This advent calendar tests students knowledge about how other cultures celebrate Christmas.  Each day students are asked a question and given hints to help them answer.  When the answer is revealed, students can click on links to learn more about the Christmas celebrations in that country.  This site also includes great activities and teaching resources for Christmas.

Picture 6

Christmas Advent Calendar- Follow the adventures of Zac the elf as he tries to find a Christmas present for Santa.  Each day a little more of the story is revealed.

Picture 7

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar-  This advent calendar has fun little games and activities to play each day.  The games and activities are quick and easy to complete, building mouse and keyboard skills.  This advent calendar would be a good one for the classroom computers as a center activity.

Picture 8

How to integrate Interactive Advent Calendars into the classroom: The season of Advent is always filled with eagerness and expectancy. Build some of that anticipation into your school day by allowing students to unlock a new secret on the advent calendar each day.  Use these advent calendars with the whole class on an interactive whiteboard or projector, or set them up as a quick center activity that students can visit.  Use the advent calendars that reveal a story to practice looking for foreshadowing clues, using context clues to guess what will happen next, or as story starters for students own stories.  The Christmas around the world advent calendars are wonderful for teaching students some of the history of Christmas and the way that other cultures celebrate the familiar holiday.

Tips: Each of these advent calendars has some fun goodies and hidden surprises, find the one that best fits your classroom needs.

Leave a comment and share how you are using Interactive Advent Calendars  in your classroom.

Comments (11)

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, ktenkely, Heather Mason, lmockford, Tracy Poelzer and others. Tracy Poelzer said: RT @ShellTerrell: 14 Online Interactive Advent Calendars http://bit.ly/f1ry7R by @ktenkely #edtech [...]

Awesome resources. I love your Web 2.0 Advent Calendar! I’m sharing it with my teachers because it’s so fun. Thanks for all of the great sharing you do.

I love your Web 2.0 advent calendar. What a great way to share tools with educators. I also hadn’t heard of Wix.com- very impressive. Thanks for your dedication to educational technology.

Great resources, thanks for sharing! I’m involved in a different kind of online advent calendar using a blog to publish a different type of resource each day, see http://www.librarycraft.com/festive24things

It’s designed for anyone to join in as a bit of fun and to introduce people to new tools they may not have heard of, by using the festive theme. I can see how this could easily be applied to a classroom setting also, and the great thing with blogging software like WordPress is that you can schedule posts in advance (similarly you could do a smaller scale version by simply scheduling 24 tweets with links to resources).

We hope people will join us in our festive adventure through web tools, please feel free to subscribe to the blog or follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/festive24things

Jo, thanks so much for sharing your resource of the day, what fun!

Thank you Karen. Yes, Wix is a wonderful way to build a flash website that looks impressive in no time.

Thanks for passing it on Tiffany!

[...] point out that a lot of the inspiration (and material) for this series of posts has come from the iLearn Technology blog.  Enjoy (and show any little kids you’ve got hanging around, they’ll love [...]

[...] gem from the iLearn Technology blog and again one that would have been perfect when my kids were [...]

I’ve enjoyed our blog very much. Thanks for all the great ideas.
Jeannie
retired educator
founder, educational nonprofit

Thanks for all the great tips!
I came across this online advent calendar of the public Czech TV; it has a nice educative ideas – comics on Baby Jesus, info on Christmas related music and paintings, educative games…. http://advent.ceskatelevize.cz/

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