Growing up, flipping through family photo albums, and asking questions about each picture was part of my childhood. As I got older, I could retell the stories to visiting relatives and friends as if I were part of each event including details such as what each person said, why they were laughing or crying, even the smell of the food, flowers, or person (as applicable, of course!).
Earth Day is on April 22 and this year’s theme is "Restore Our Earth" which emphasizes natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking to help restore the world’s ecosystems. Since its inception in 1970, the intent of Earth Day is to care about the natural world through proactive preservation measures and actions. Clearly there is more work to do but there are fun and easy activities to start with in the classroom. Here are seven of our favorite, and fun, Earth Day activities:
Eons ago, when I was in elementary school, we did a unit on fossils and their importance on understanding how prehistoric plants and animals lived. I was fascinated and for a brief moment in 4th grade, I wanted to be a paleontologist. I would stare at all of the pictures of the different fossils and dream about going on a true-blue dig and discover something cool like a fossil from a mammoth or saber tooth tiger. Of course, I never did become a paleontologist instead choosing to teach because that feeling of excitement when I learned something new was one I wanted all young learners to experience. But I do wonder if my teacher had the technology to make different fossils for closer study maybe I would have chosen the paleontology path.
In February, we celebrate all of the 45 presidents we have had for the past 200+ years. It’s a great time to integrate technology, trivia, and our standards while increasing student learning about our leaders. There are interesting and funny stories to be told about each of the presidents, and each one has made decisions that defined our country.
Here are some ideas for getting students engaged and interested in American history through Presidents’ Day activities.
With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day occurring today, along with Black History Month approaching in February, now is a great time to teach your students about Dr. King. A leader in the civil rights movement, Dr. King inspired his followers with his nonviolent approach to activism. Most of us have heard his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, but there is so much more about Dr. King for you to teach your students.
When we incorporated 1:1 devices in our school, there was one issue that came up quickly that I wasn’t expecting: students using their device as an MP3 player. For those youngsters who don’t know what that is, it’s an old-fashioned music playing device—much like the CD players, tape decks, and 8-track players from yesteryear.
I guess I didn’t see a Chromebook as being the same as the types of devices students typically use to listen to music. I’m not sure why I had this blind spot, but I quickly realized that students would read books, work on math problems, and even talk to friends with their ear buds in. Why does it matter? There are a few reasons to me why this was both potentially positive and negative.
Gobble gobble! There is so much to be thankful for this time of year as we get ready to gather around the table with our family and friends. But until the big day rolls around, there’s still plenty of learning to be done! Here is our collection of themed content to help you keep students engaged all month long:
The perfect witch’s brew is full of different elements: an eye of newt, a feather from an eagle, a drop of raven tears—there is a mix of just about everything! A great lesson plan is kind of the same way. There is a dash of engagement, at teaspoon of technology, and a heaping cup of cognitive thinking to make the perfect education “stew.”
In order to harness that excitement of the Halloween season and increase engagement with our students, teachers should consider developing themed lessons around fun Halloween ideas. Teachers should also consider how they can integrate technology to make the lesson even more fun. Finally, using a theme and technology is great, but high-level thinking makes lessons the best they can be.
We all know that uneasy feeling of sitting in front of a blank white screen trying to decide where to begin when it comes to designing and creating an interactive lesson. You can feel it just thinking about it, right? We also know how tough it can be to look at lesson after lesson on the web or an IWB website trying to decide if a lesson is good and whether or not it will be engaging for your students.
Interactive whiteboards give us an opportunity to excite our students about learning through multi-sensory, hands-on interaction with content, so we want to be sure that the lessons that we create and use for instruction are high-quality and engaging. Here are some design components that will help you create and/or choose lessons that achieve positive learning outcomes with your students.