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Scholastic’s The First Thanksgiving

What it is: Scholastic has amazing resources all year long but the interactive on The First Thanksgiving is topnotch!  Students learn about how the Pilgrims reached America, and what daily life was before the First Thanksgiving.  Students can take a tour of the Mayflower, take the virtual journey to America, compare and contrast modern life with when the Pilgrims lived (housing, clothes, food, chores, school, games), and the Thanksgiving feast.  There is a great slideshow and play a webquest feature where kids can learn more about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag and the famous harvest feast.  The site includes audio for every page and activity.  This is great for younger students. How to integrate Scholastic’s The First Thanksgiving into the classroom: The First Thanksgiving is a collection of great activities for students to learn about Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims.  Students can use this site independently as young as first grade because of the audio features on The First Thanksgiving.  The site can be used as a center activity that a few students can explore together, independently in the computer lab setting, or as a whole class with a projector or interactive whiteboard.  The webquest at the end of the activity checks for student understanding with a quiz.  Increase students participation further with some The First Thanksgiving bonus features and extras.  Print out a Thanksgiving Readers theater, door signs, a fact hunt, a vocabulary quiz, and some letters from historical figures.  There are also research and historical fiction journals that students can continue learning with.  These range from a Plymoth Colony research starter to Our America: Colonial period. Tips: Check out Scholastic’s Teaching resources for The First Thanksgiving as well as the literature connections that are available. Leave a comment and share how you are using The First Thanksgiving  in your classroom.

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NBC Learn: Science behind the news

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 08-05-2013

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What it is:
NBC Learn has some fantastic free resources for teachers and students.  One of these freebies is called Science Behind the News.  In partnership with the National Science Foundation, NBC explores the science, technology and engineering found in current events.  Here, you will find a collection of videos that introduce students to the science found in the world around them and current events.  Students can learn about everything from quantum computing, to predictive policing, to crowdsourcing and weather phenomenon.  Each video is around 5 minutes long and are well produced.

How to integrate NBC Learn into the classroom:  I am a HUGE fan of embedded learning.  Learning that is in context just makes sense.  The learning is richer because students are able to make real connections to the foundational understandings that they already have.  In addition, this type of learning gives them an idea of how the learning that happens in the classroom is connected to life.  With Science Behind the News, students are able to see connections to the world right now.  These clips encourage students to be curious about the world around them, and to dig into the bigger “why” of how things work.  I like the thinking that is encouraged here.  It is really modelling curiosity beyond just passively listening to a news story.

These clips are a wonderful way to kick off a new science unit, as a resource during inquiry, or for students and classes just to explore.  Students can use these clips as a starting point for further research, a “spark” for more learning.  Each student could choose a different video to watch and then conduct some research to learn more.  Where else is the science used?  How has our thinking about a topic changed over time as we have learned more about it?  What math is involved?  Help your students to see that subjects don’t happen in isolation in real life.  Science is connected with social studies, math, literacy, history, sports, art, economics, discovery, etc.  Can they find the overlaps in learning?

Tips:  NBC Learn has other outstanding resources including: science in golf, science in hockey, science in football, chemistry now, fishing the dream, sinking the titanic, science of the winter Olympics, science of the summer Olympics, writers speak to kids and science in innovation.  Check them all out!

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Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  NBC Learn in your classroom.

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