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Boy’s Life Comic Creator

What it is: Boy’s Life Magazine is a great place to reach those boys in your class that are reluctant readers or writers.  On the Boy’s Life site, you will find a Comic Creator where students can create a comic strip.  The Comic Creator is easy to use, offering enough tools for...

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Wait-don’t you get summer off? (A job that doesn’t feel like a job)

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, General, inspiration, professional development, Teacher Resources | Posted on 17-06-2014

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Being an educator is a FULL time job. Nights, weekends, and everything in between seems to be fair game. It isn’t always assigned work. Education is more than a career, it is a worldview. You see everything through the eyes of an educator and are constantly dreaming of how that non-educational thing you saw could relate to something you are doing in the classroom. It’s the sparks of…maybe-THAT-would-work, that occur in the shower. Not to mention the dreams! We’ve been on summer break for 3 weeks and every single night I’ve dreamt about school or students.

This is just one of the reasons that educators find it laughable when someone mentions how nice it must be to get out of work in the afternoon and have summers off. None of those things have ever happened. They are a rarity. Ask my husband about what a summer off looks like! “Seriously, you work more hours during the summer than the school year.” I love the summer time. I love that it makes my schedule more flexible, makes it possible to use the bathroom whenever I want (teachers understand the luxury of this!), go to the grocery store in the middle of the day when they put out the fresh produce and you don’t have to pick through the left over sad and bruised produce.  I love that I can sit and dream up curriculum and lesson plans at Starbucks and come home to read a new edubook in the sunshine. Happy!

I’ve never felt the need to get an additional summer time job. I appreciate the flexible days and I need the time to breathe. This year that changed. I found something that allows me to be flexible, own my own business, and make some great extra money on the side. The best part is that when the school year kicks back into gear, I don’t have to give it up and it still makes mail money (that’s the money that just shows up in your PayPal account, it’s pretty much the best kind of money!) You can do this, too! But first, a story.

There is something about being in your 30s that flips a switch. You’ve finally nailed your skin-care routine and things are mostly balanced and easy. Just when you think you’ve finally got the skin figured out, 30 comes along and is like, “don’t you think a few little wrinkles would make us look distinguished? Sun Spots, you come too!” This is particularly annoying because 30 also insists on trying to hold on to youth and includes breakouts the likes of which haven’t been seen since 13. I mean really?! The emergence of sun spots, wrinkles, WITH breakouts. Not fair at all. I think I could have handled any one of these issues, but throw in all 3 and I have NO idea how to deal. The sun spots creeping in are supremely frustrating, because I’m the queen of dutifully applying sunscreen as part of my daily routine since the age of 10. I mean sun spots? I did all the right things to keep those puppies from ever existing.

I have always been a sucker for the newest miracle cream in drugstores and magazines. Sort of a, “Well, she looks amazing, this must be the fountain of youth!” I’m kind of a beauty store product junkie. “This time, this will be the one! I think as I pour over the directions of exactly how to use it (because heaven forbid I put the cream on wrong and THAT is the reason it doesn’t work). I’ve found a few standbys over the years, but I wouldn’t say that they did a great job of living up to their promises. They are more like that old robe that you keep around because it’s kind of comfortable and has just always been fine.

I started a school 4 years ago, about this time of year. I’m one of those dreaded millennials, the one who doesn’t really fit Gen-X or millennial neatly, and believes they can totally change the world, and wonders why everyone else is just sitting around doing what has always been done. Cut to 4 years later and INTO my 30s and suddenly it makes sense why not everyone is trailblazing like there’s no tomorrow: it’s hard. It sucks every ounce of time and energy. The shiny veneer of changing the world starts to wear off when ANOTHER email pings in (a good day is less than 900…email is from the devil). Then you start to wonder if the fatigue you see in your face isn’t really about 30, maybe it is all the other stuff aging me. I definitely blame email.

Then I found it (or rather, it found me), the miracle answer that takes care of all three of 30′s “gifts” and gives me back the manageable skin of 25. A teacher friend of mine has been telling me about Rodan and Fields for years. I paid little attention until her Facebook feed started filling up with before and after pictures of people I actually knew. Holy smokes!! Dramatic differences. They looked rested. I was half convinced that they had somehow found an extra 8 hours in the day to get a good night sleep. Then I started seeing the posts about matching her teaching income as a consultant. Then I started seeing Rodan and Fields products pop up in the beauty magazines I flipped through while getting my hair done. These weren’t ads, but beauty editors touting R+F products as the favorite. My friend and I met up for coffee so that I could beg her to be our long-term sub solution. I hadn’t seen her in person since I started Anastasis Academy, and was excited to catch up. She looks AMAZING. She was always stunning but her skin looked younger than it did the last time I saw her. Glowy, gorgeous, and makeup free. As I was leaving, she handed me a little pack of goodies to try. Rodan+Fields Summer job!

SOLD. The pack of goodies turned out to be the Micro Dermabrasion Paste which polishes skin with a sugar-salt scrub with vitamins C and E, a “magic” blue pill (Redefine) night serum, and a “magic” grey pill (Redefine) lip serum. Holy smokes, my face hasn’t felt like that since I was 2 or 3 years old! Honestly, the results were immediate in the way that my skin looked and felt. Some of my glowy came back. The next day I messaged my friend and told her that I needed to order this miracle to have on hand. She graciously gave me the link to purchase but followed with a, “you know, if you are a consultant you get 25% off.”

I run a school. I honestly have NO extra minutes in my life to add anything else. Initially, I told her no. I do not have time for one more thing and I assumed that being a consultant meant that I had to sell a minimum each month for the discount or had to carry product. My assumption was wrong. There is no minimum monthly orders, there is no product to carry. To become a consultant, you purchase the product you are already planning on purchasing and fill out the form to be a consultant. There was no catch. Honestly, you can start a business for as little as $45 (depending on what products you want to order). I’ve been enjoying my vastly improved, evened out skin, and have the added bonus of 25% off for two months now. These skincare products are designed by two of the most respected dermatologists in the country with a legacy of delivering on what they promise. Using these products is about as close as you can get to visiting a dermatologist without an appointment. It truly can change your skin (and even comes with a 60 day money back guarantee…always a good bet).

R+F skin selfie

Selfies are awkward, and this one is no exception! But you will notice the even skin happening.

The thing about good products is that you tend to talk about them. Obviously, I’m someone who naturally shares the things I find and love (this whole blog is based on that premise!) When people ask if I’ve gotten extra sleep, I tell them about Rodan and Fields. When people ask what I use, or lament about a skin care problem they are having, I naturally want to share my find. The bonus, if they try it, I get that mail money I mentioned above. You know what kind of email I don’t mind? The kind that pings in and tells me that money has been transferred to my PayPal account.

The unexpected bonus that came with being a Rodan and Fields consultant: I get access to a whole library packed full of business advice, brand equity, marketing ideas, business presentations, templates, training, etc. Because my worldview is education, I think about how I could apply some of these tools to my school. How could this kind of communication better help me communicate with parents? How could I use this idea to build a lesson in finances? How could I use a similar method to help students set and meet goals? I had no idea that this would be such a treasure trove of new approaches to teaching/learning! A happy bonus.

My friend started her Rodan and Fields business just a few years ago. In that time she has matched and surpassed her teaching income, she has travelled the country on business trips, and she has earned a Lexus. It is inspiring! Her goal at the time was to raise a little extra spending money for her growing family. She has met that goal and then some! My goal began very simply: prolong the even-tempered skin of my 20s. After being on the “inside” and seeing success stories of my friends and new friends, my new goal is to help other educators make some mail money and to use my own mail money to help fund projects that I am wildly passionate about (The Learning Genome Project). It doesn’t feel like extra work because I only talk about R+F as it naturally comes up in conversation. I buy what I need (it lasts way longer than the beauty store brands that I had been using), and don’t think about it until I have time or want to put energy into it. I’m not punished when I’m swamped with school and can’t think about it, and I have an incredible support system of others when I want to put energy into it.

So, if you are looking for a summer job (that doesn’t feel anything like a job), want to keep your skin looking and feeling amazing, and want to start something now that could impact the rest of your year: Rodan and Fields is worth a serious look.

Perfect Summer Job for Teachers!

If you are interested in learning more about the product, click here for  your free consultation to find out what products are best for your skin. 

Start your own business with R+F

If you are interested in learning more about starting your own business, leave contact information in the comments below, or you can email me directly through my contact form. Currently this opportunity is only available to those in the US and Canada. (Sorry my overseas friends…soon!)

I get paid to wash my face and talk about it! R+F

If you have questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.

Happy Summer!

 

 

Student Freelance: connecting talented students with employers for freelance work

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, collaboration, Middle/High School, Subject, Teacher Resources, Web2.0 | Posted on 27-06-2013

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Student Freelance via iLearn Technology

What it is:  Student Freelance aims to connect talented American educated students (sorry, for now this is US only) with employers who want to utilize those talents.  Students get an opportunity to put their talents and passions to work while earning money, gaining experience, and making connections with others in their fields of interest.  Employers win because they get a cost-effective solution and the opportunity to scale up.  The added benefit is the apprenticeship opportunity that exists here.

How to integrate Student Freelance into the classroom: If your students are anything like ours, they are wildly talented and passionate.  They continue to amaze me with the ways that they push themselves to learn in areas of passion.  I’ve had several students ask if I could connect them with someone at Google or Pixar so they can start putting their skills to work. :)  While I don’t always have that ability, I can now point them to Student Freelance.  This offers students the ability to share their skills and passions with the world, while becoming contributing citizens now.  It is also a great opportunity for your students to begin building up an authentic work-experience portfolio while they are still in school as learners.

Jobs are listed by areas of skill expertise and passion.  The opportunity can be a freelance job on location, or in some cases, a freelance job that they can complete from anywhere in the US by connecting online.

I’m looking through all of the freelance offerings of students and wondering…could schools utilize these students as a sort of adjunct teacher/mentor for students at their own school?  This could be a cool way to support students and make valuable connections.

Tips:  Spread the word to local businesses that Student Freelance is an option!  I’m not sure most business owners would know to look here.  It is a great mission to support!

Are you using Student Freelance?  Share your experience in the comments below!

TED-Ed: Lessons (videos) worth sharing

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Evaluate, History, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, TED Talk Tuesdays, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 26-04-2012

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What it is: I have long been a TED talk fan, so much so that I started a lunch group at my previous school called TED Talk Tuesdays where teachers could gather over lunch, watch TED Talks and discuss it’s implication on education.  TED has a brand new education site that I am excited about.  TED-ed is a collection of educational video lessons that have been animated.  These lessons can be used as a supplement in any classroom.  Each video on the TED-ed site has an associated lesson, a Quick Quiz with multiple choice comprehension questions, Think which asks questions to help students think more critically about what they have watched, and Dig Deeper which helps students to explore the topic further.  In addition to the videos, TED-ed gives educators the ability to “flip” videos.  You can use, tweak, or completely re-do any lesson that is featured on TED-Ed, or even create lessons from scratch based on any video from YouTube.  You can re-title a lesson to fit your classroom, add context, questions and follow-up suggestions, and create a custom URL for your video lesson.  You can even track your student’s progress to see who has viewed the assigned video, the number of questions they attempted, the answers they provided, and the answers they got correct.

How to integrate TED-Ed into the classroom:  TED-Ed is a fantastic new resource for the classroom.  The videos can be used for flip teaching.  Flip teaching changes up the classroom model.  Normally students come to school to get instruction and do their practice work at home as homework.  In a flipped teaching model, the instruction is watched at home as “homework” and the practice happens in the classroom where students can receive teacher support.  This means that the focus in the classroom is on higher-order thinking and learning skills instead of on instruction.  How novel. :) Student can come to class ready for deeper inquiry, critical thinking, discussion with classmates, collaboration and get more personalized attention from the teacher.  You maximize classroom time by “going home” with the students.

Video is a great medium for learning because it allows students to learn at their own pace and gives them the ability to replay as many times as they need to.  Visuals are always useful when learning something new, video is a great medium because of the way that it helps enhance understanding through the use of visuals. 

Videos are searchable by those that have been featured, those that are part of a series or by subject.  Students can learn about the arts, business/economics, design/engineering/technology, health, literature/language, math, psychology, science/technology, and social studies.  The library will continue to grow as teachers flip the videos and TED-ed adds content from educators around the world.

The videos are great in a flipped classroom model but can also be used within the classroom.  Videos can be watched and discussed as a whole-class or put on classroom computers as a learning center.  When I taught second grade, I made sure that I had time individually with my students each week.  In the mornings, my students worked on groups with “tub work” to make this time possible with individual students.  These videos would make a great “second teacher” in a blended learning classroom where students could continue their learning while you work with students individually. 

Tips: Remember, if you don’t find a video that meets your classroom needs, you can always flip any video you find on YouTube!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using TED-ed in  your classroom!

Sophia: learning made social

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, collaboration, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, professional development, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 18-03-2011

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What it is: Sophia is a site that I have been playing around with for the past few months in their invitation only, beta space.  Now that the beta has been released to everyone, I’m excited to share it!  Sophia is a platform that connects teachers, learners, experts, and parents. This is an academic community that supports and enriches the traditional classroom.  Sophia is a social network of sorts that connects everyone in meaningful ways so that knowledge, help, instruction, standards-aligned content, and experts are available for learners everywhere.  As an educator, Sophia will help you to share your knowledge and make it available to anyone, anywhere.  Sophia can help students by offering them support in areas of weakness, opportunities for deeper learning, and the ability to follow areas of interest that aren’t being met in the classroom.   Currently the Sophia subjects include the arts, business, English/language arts, learning strategies, mathematics, science, and social studies.  Each of those subject contain several sub categories as well.  Packets of learning can contain text documents, slide shows, videos, and useful links.  In addition the packets are rated by users as to how academically sound the resource is.  Individual users of Sophia get scores based on how well they contribute to the community.

How to integrate Sophia into the classroom: As a teacher, Sophia can be used to supplement instruction, for blended learning opportunities, for “flip” learning (remember that Fisch flip I mentioned earlier in the week?), and for private personal learning networks (PLN).  Students can use Sophia for additional classroom support, homework help, to participate in study groups, and to help others in their learning.  Use Sophia to facilitate study groups between students, to create an online learning community for your team to create and share resources, and to create groups that include other classrooms for collaborative learning opportunities.

Tips: Sophia is best for middle, high school, and college right now.  I hope that they will scale this down for elementary students as well!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Sophia in your classroom!

 

On Demand Learning: Classroom Optional (Khan Academy and Academic Earth)

Posted by admin | Posted in Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials | Posted on 16-03-2011

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What it is: Tonight I was talking education with a fun group that is helping me think through my school design.  As we were talking one of the participants mentioned Khan Academy…some of the teachers in attendance had never heard of it.  I sometimes forget that not everything is common knowledge and even if it is common knowledge to most, there are still those who can benefit from the mention!  Khan Academy was started by Salman Khan quite by accident.  He tutored his cousins in math and when he moved away from them, they still requested support.  Sal began making algebra videos and uploading them to YouTube for his family, it has grown to over 2,100 videos and 100 self-paced math, science, and history exercises for students.  The library is extensive and comprehensive including algebra, arithmetic, banking and money, biology, brain teasers, calculus, California standards algebra, geometry, chemistry, cosmology and astronomy, credit crisis, current economics, developmental math, differential equations, finance, history, linear algebra, organic chemistry, Paulson bailout, physics, pre-algebra, pre-calculus, probability, statistics, trigonometry, valuation and investing, venture capital, and capital markets.  It is a pretty impressive collection!  I really like these videos because they provide students with on-demand learning and present the learning in a way that appeals to the visual and auditory learner.  The experience is so much richer than a textbook can offer. It is like having your own personal tutor.

Academic Earth is another extensive video library that lets students (and adults) take video courses from the worlds top scholars all in one place…for free!  The mission of Academic Earth is to give everyone access to a world class education.  Subjects covered by Academic Earth include art, architecture, astronomy, biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, education, electrical engineering, engineering, entrepreneurship, environmental studies, history, international relations, law, literature, mathematics, media studies, medicine and health care, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religious studies, test prep, and writing.  Students have access to the learning happening at Berkley, Columbia, Harvard, Khan Academy, Maryland, Michigan, MIT, Norwich, NYU, Princeton, Stanford, UCLA, UNSW, USC, and Yale.  Did I mention all of that learning is free?  I know, amazing!

How to integrate Khan Academy and Academic Earth into the classroom: Both Khan Academy and Academic Earth provide students with opportunities for on-demand learning in their areas of interest or their areas of weakness.  Students can use these resources to support the learning happening in the classroom and to fill any gaps that students may have in their learning.  Video is a powerful medium because it appeals to a wide range of learners and makes it easy to pause, rewind, review, and share that learning.

Khan Academy would be a great tool to use for the “Fisch Flip” where the homework is to watch the lesson on video and class time is spent on working through the problems together.  Let that sink in…makes more sense doesn’t it? Students get support where they need it most, in the follow through and practice of the learning.

Academic Earth provides students with the opportunity of pursuing their passions, getting a feel for what type of study they would like to pursue in a university, and support learning.

Do you have students that could use additional challenge and are constantly searching for more learning? Set up an extended learning center in your classroom where students who need that challenge can self direct and extend their learning by using Khan Academy or Academic Earth.

Tips: Khan Academy is a great resource to pass on to families, parents are often looking for ways to supplement and support the learning happening in the classroom.  Math in particular is a challenge as many parents did not feel successful enough in higher math themselves to help their children.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Khan Academy and Academic Earth in your classroom!

SPILL! Virtual Team Challenge

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Character Education, collaboration, Download, Evaluate, Math, Middle/High School, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 19-01-2011

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What it is: Registration is now open for the Spring 2011 SPILL Virtual Team Challenge for North America.  The Virtual Team Challenge is a real-time, multi-user business simulation that is played over the course of several weeks by high school students in North America.  As a team, students will take on business tasks and challenges that simulate real-world experiences of professional services employees. Each student participant will fill one of the several roles offered on a simulated professional services team and compete against other high school teams to clean up an oil spill in the river of New York City.  When the challenge is complete, Deloitte will make a real donation to the United Way on behalf of the winning team.  Registration is open now and the competition takes place from February 14, 2011 to April 1, 2011.

How to integrate SPILL! Virtual Team Challenge into the classroom: The SPILL Virtual Team Challenge is an engaging, hands-on approach and competition to learn about business, math, and economics. Get your classroom involved in this great learning opportunity and challenge by registering your school, entering students’ names and assigning them roles and teams for the game, downloading the free game and installing it on the school computers, and playing through the tutorial. On February 14 the official competition and game launches. Students can play at their own pace to finish the three game tasks by April 1, 2011.  This is one game that is packed full of learning, provides a realistic experience, acts as a team building exercise, and has the great outcome of providing a donation to the United Way.

Tips: You can learn more about the game platform and Deloitte by visiting the Virtual Team Challenge website.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using SPILL! Virtual Team Challenge in your classroom.

Rags to Riches

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Fun & Games, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Websites | Posted on 05-07-2010

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What it is: Rags to Riches takes Lemonade Tycoon to a whole new level with simulated business.  In Rags to Riches, students are working to make their band a success.  Students play the part of a new band going on tour with a few new songs.  As they play the Rags to Riches game simulation, students must make decisions about what the band should do.  They have to decide which cities are best for them to play in, what venues to play, how much money to spend on publicity and how much to charge for tickets.  Students start out with $100 and must make wise decisions to continue in the simulation.  When they run out of money, the game ends and they must start again.

How to integrate Rags to Riches into the classroom: If you teach students like mine, breaking out Lemonade Tycoon in the classroom is met by cheers from some and with eye rolls by others who are “way too cool” for a lemonade stand.  For those students, Rags to Riches is in order.  The premise of the game is the same, but instead of selling lemonade, students are working to take their band to super star status.  This is a great game for teaching students about business, economics, and money.  This game is really best played in a computer lab setting where each student has access to their own computer, but if you don’t have that luxury, it could also be played as a class with an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  If you are playing as a class, give each student a roll in the band and set up rules together about how business decisions will be made.  After the simulation, come together as a class and talk about what decisions had the best outcomes and which led to downfalls.

Tips: Don’t hit your back button while you are in the simulation or your game will start over.  This is an important tip to pass on to students!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Rags to Riches in your classroom.

Hot Shot Business

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 25-06-2010

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What it is: The Disney website has a lot of engaging and fun content for kids, unfortunately, not all of it is educational.  Hot Shot Business is one of the better Disney games I have seen for the classroom.  It teaches kids about business and entrepreneurship through a fun simulation game.  Students are introduced to the idea of entrepreneurship and franchising by their virtual business hosts, Kate and Jack.  Kate and Jack offer advice and recommendations throughout the game.  The decisions that students will make throughout the game will have consequences that extend beyond profits and losses alone.  They will have to deal with environmental factors, as well as finding ways to provide jobs for members of the community.    Students can choose to start a pet spa, a candy factory, a comic shop, custom skateboard shop, professional landscaping, or a magic shop.  Kids are sure to find a business that they are interested in!  The entire game is narrated which is great for all levels of readers.  As students play the game, they will be exposed to the nuts and bolts of running their own business, they will have to make decisions about how to respond to market trends, how to respond to customer preferences, how to respond to fast breaking news reports that may affect their business,  and how to respond to ethical dilemmas.  Students even have access to a Hot Shot Business kit where they can download and print out business cards and fliers.

How to integrate Hot Shot Business into the classroom: Hot Shot Business was designed to meet national standards in both language arts and math, making it fit easily into any curriculum.  The ideal setup for Hot Shot Business is a few days in the computer lab for a 1-to-1 setting where each student can work individually on setting up their own store.  Game play could extend for several days depending on the unit that you are teaching.  The Disney site has some excellent lesson plans and suggestions for implementation, I highly recommend them.  I like the idea of connecting with entrepreneurs in the community during this unit so that as students are working through the game, they can get advice and recommendations from those who do it every day.

If you can’t make it happen in a computer lab setting over several days, choose a business to start as a class and make decisions as a team.  You can do this using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  In this scenario, students will have to discuss their decisions and reason with each other to decide on a course of action.

Hot Shot Business is a really well designed game, it would be a great addition for the 3rd-6th grade classroom.  I suspect that it ties into several of the curricula already being used in schools, I know that Treasures (MacMillan McGraw Hill) has units that it fits nicely into.  This is great hands on learning, a definite step up from Lemonade Stand. :)

Tips: This is a really great site, but I must warn you that it eats up the bandwidth!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Hot Shot Business in your classroom.