It’s been a crazy two months of school. I am feeling it, how about you? No matter how organized we try to be, things get out of hand and we are forever trying to catch up. I must apologize to you all; we’ve been absent far too long from our blog. We are sorry.
Today, I want to get right back into the swing of things. I recently read an article on Chris Bosh (NBA player for the Miami Heat) writing about why coding is an important skill students need to learn. I had written about this back in March of this year, Coding: An Essential Skill. In that post, I included a great video and a link on how to incorporate coding into the elementary classroom. Chris Bosh is in that video too, but he now has written an essay for WIRED magazine. This is a wonderful way to peak the interest of our students. A popular NBA player known by many, leading the way to make students understand the world around them! Take a look and let us know what you think.
Now, we’ve created a PowerPoint presentation for our science journals! Still the same great content, but in an easy to display presentation. Depending on your preference, you may either want to print out our original science journal prompts to create booklets for your students or you may want to display the PowerPoint presentation and have students write their journals in their notebooks or type them out. Either way it’s a great way to get your students writing, reflecting, researching, and communicating during your science classes!
Sometimes it feels that no matter how well I try to organize lessons, units, and long range plans, there never appears to be enough hours in the school day to cover all the curriculum expectations! One of the best strategies that I have learned as a teacher is to take a cross-curricular approach when planning activities, lessons, and units. A great way to cover many English Language Arts expectations is by integrating writing into the content areas; in this case, journal writing can be integrated into the science classroom.
We’ve created a student science journal with 52 prompts to help you integrate writing in your science classes. The journal prompts are organized by week, so the entire 2013-2014 academic year is already planned out for you! Each journal is labeled with the corresponding week of the year, provides a prompt and space for student responses. You can either photocopy the entire bundle for your students at the beginning of the year and work through it each week or photocopy individual weeks as you progress through the year!
The writing prompts alternate between historical events, creative responses, opinion pieces, persuasive arguments, national awareness themes, and science process skills. A blank journal page is included for you to add your own ideas as needed.
We have updated the dates on the journal pages to correspond with the 2013-2014 academic year. We also changed the order of a couple of journal topics to correspond with changes in dates (e.g. the full moon in October is earlier this year).
Hello readers! We have a special guest post by Albert Roberts that we thought you might like! Our students are always on social media, so why not use social media in the classroom for educational purposes? Read on to find out how!
What are some of the ways in which we can make use of social media in the classroom? When used properly, social media can allow us to engage students with topical discussions, while getting a perspective on issues like bias and how to use different sources. One way in which we might try to use social media in productive ways for lesson planning is to look at social media trending tools that allow you to put together a lot of different responses to a subject.
Perhaps the main challenge for using social media with Middle Schoolers and other age ranges is that they’re usually already familiar with social networks, but don’t always know how to use them as part of their assignments; there’s often just too much content to sift through. Which makes social trending sites like socialmention.com so useful, as they provide a search engine where you can bring together all the times that keywords are mentioned on different social networks.
For example, run a search on World War II, and you get Twitter messages linking to recent news stories about memorials and veterans; you can also find Pinterest links to World War II books, and Twitter and other social network links to photographs. You can take a similar approach to searches on Barack Obama, or on controversial debates (although you may want to be careful not to end up with offensive material). What you have, then, is a lot of content that can be filtered and turned into examples that can be shown to students.
Bringing all the content you can find on social media together into something tangible and relevant can engage students. Social network trend searches can make older subjects more relevant, or can put current debates into a real-world context; this kind of access to debates can then be combined with other uses of social media for students, from carrying out Twitter polls to writing blogs and posting class photos.
If you’re putting together lesson plans, selecting sources from a social media trend search can lead to a series of questions and projects for students. Some areas that you might focus on include:
Debating Bias – show students examples of how a topic they’re looking at in class is being debated – what are the key arguments that are coming out, and do they reinforce or contradict what they might already know?
Relevance – discuss with your students why some social media sources are more useful than others: why is a well-researched blog better than someone making their case on Twitter? Similarly, question how far we can trust commentators’ reliability, and what sources they use to back up their arguments.
At the same time, social media trend searches can be discussed more directly with students as a way for them to carry out work in their own time. Look at what results they would receive if they searched on keywords when in class, and why what they find could be seen as useful or not for assignments.
Social media trends can be an excellent way to identify relevant and topical debates beyond your usual sources, and can make students more aware of how they can improve their knowledge online. However, a big part of using these resources should be about instructing students on bias, and how far they can trust different sources.
Author Bio:Albert Roberts is a teacher in the UK and loves thinking of ways to improve student engagement via social media and technology. He would love to see more inspirational teachers signing up for English teacher jobs in London and improve engagement with this vital subject. He’s an advocate of sharing information amongst teacher communities.
As per my previous post Media Literacy Fundamentals: Key Concepts, I am outlining one of the lessons I prepared for my students. In this lesson, students learn about how media has its own unique form to get your attention. Students are exposed to the persuasive techniques used in advertising to reach a target audience. Through an understanding of these techniques students start becoming aware of the messages found within media. With this understanding, students critically think and question the world around them and the messages they are being bombarded with continuously.
We have been hard at work once again. Today’s post provides our latest science unit for Gr. 4 Science. Our past units have had great success and have been inspired once more to keep creating complete units that address the … Continue reading →