Posts Tagged 'blog for teachers'

Inspiring Guys to Read!

When I was working as a product manager for FreeReading, one of the questions I consistently heard from educators and researchers at literacy conferences and in the classroom is, “Where can I find books that appeal to teenage boys, especially books for striving teenage male readers?” Having just discovered Guys Read a couple of days ago, I wish I could go back and revisit those old conversations and point the people I spoke with to the Guys Read Virtual Vault of Good Books.

As the Guys Read website points out:

Research shows that boys are having trouble reading, and that boys are getting worse at reading. No one is quite sure why. Some of the reasons are biological.  Some of the reasons are sociological. But the good news is that research also shows that boys will read — if they are given reading that interests them… This is the place to come if you’re looking for something to get a guy reading. We’ve collected recommendations from teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers, parents, and guys themselves.  These are the books that guys have said they like.

Finally! The site we’ve all been asking for!

When you visit Guys Read, make sure to check out:

If I had to give one recommendation to Guys Read, I would request longer book reviews and a section of the site devoted to notes from guys in the field including book reviews and summaries written by male readers so that guys (and gals) would have a better sense of what each recommended read is about.

Regardless, this is a fabulous resource that is a must-bookmark for guys and literacy enthusiasts alike! Thanks to author and Brooklyn resident Jon Scieszka for starting Guys Read. This site is most certainly filling a huge need!

From a former Brooklynite who now lives in Dubai,

Anna

@bon_education

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Transforming Learning with Innovative Uses of Technology

Transformation

This morning I read, “The Digital Promise: Transforming Learning with Innovative Uses of Technology” by Jeanne Wellings and Michael H. Levine–a white paper that I highly recommend reading if you are looking for rationale to support the integration of technology and edtech PD within your school.

To summarize, the article points out that when technology is skillfully integrated into school curricula, the benefits are many:

  • Technology supports student achievement. (ISTE 2008)
  • Technology builds 21st century skills. (ISTE 2008)
  • Technology engages students in learning and content creation. (America’s Digital Schools, 2006)
  • Technology increases access to education, virtual communities, and expertise. (ISTE 2008)
  • Technology fosters inclusion. (Apple Inc. 2009)
  • Technology helps prevent dropouts. (Smink & Reimer, 2005)
  • Technology facilitates differentiated instruction. (Apple Inc. 2009)
  • Technology empowers learning and research in critical STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields. (CEO Forum, 2001)
  • Technology strengthens career and technical education. (Apple Inc. 2009)

And, if that is not enough to make you want to brush up your school technology plan, think about this and ask yourself how comfortable you are with media:

A Kaiser Family Foundation study, “Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year Olds,” confirms the immersion of American children in contemporary media. The average child spends over six and a half hours per day engaged with various types of media,  television, movies, music, electronic games, and computers. Over one week this equates to a full-time job with a few hours of overtime (Rideout, Roberts, and Foehr, 2005).

Wow! To find specific examples of resources and innovative things you can do as an educator to promote student learning via creative and engaging uses of technology, check out the blue call-out boxes throughout the report!

For more practical and easy-to-read research on the impact of technology and digital media on children’s learning, visit the Joan Ganz Conney Center. You won’t be disappointed!

Anna

@bon_education

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Internet Copyright: Be in the Know!

I just posted the blog entry below on the Curriki blog and suspect that the LIP community will find it of use as well. To see the original post, click here.

Recently on Twitter, I posted a link to “Copyright and Open Content: What do you know?”—a lesson by Curriki member Karen Fasimpaur. Not only did the link get RTed seemingly hundreds of times, but it also got a record number of clicks indicating that Internet Copyright is a topic of interest to members of the Curriki and edutweeter community alike.

As I am sure many of you have discovered in the past few years, being able to mix and mash digital content in new and interesting ways is a definite requisite of the 21st Century. So, before you or your students post another report, blog or multimedia presentation online, make sure you know the answers to the following questions:

1) If you have drawn a picture, written a song, or taken a photo, you own the copyright (even if you don’t put a © symbol on it).

  • True or false?

2) What do you have to do legally to use a copyrighted work in something you’re going to post to the Internet?

  • Copy and paste it.
  • Cite the source.
  • Get the creator’s permission.
  • Nothing

3) You can use any picture on the Internet legally in something you’re going to publish.

  • True or false?

4) How long does copyright last?

  • 10 years
  • 50 years
  • the life of the creator
  • the life of the creator + 70 years

5) You can’t legally use anything copyrighted without contacting the creator and getting permission.

  • True or false?

Check your answers here and check out Karen’s fabulously useful lesson on how to teach students about copyrights and open content here (assessment included!). Make sure to download this one-page overview of open licenses for future reference as well!

When it comes to Internet Copyright, it only takes a few minutes to learn your rights and responsibilities. Start learning now! And when you finish going through this lesson, click on over to the Creative Commons website to find a license for your next digital masterpiece!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Karen’s lesson is licensed under the Creative Commons Attributions 3.0 license.

Thanks Karen!

Anna

@bon_education

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Ideas for Before/During/After Reading!

I Love to Read“I Love to Read” Image by Carlos Porto

I recently came across a fabulous article by Jim Burke on Reading Rockets titled, “103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading“. Given that I am about to lead several workshops on reading and digital literacy for parents at the Magrudy’s Education Resource Center, Jim’s article will surely be on my recommended reading list for moms and dads.

Upon clicking the above link, you will notice Jim’s article was originally written in 1998. While that might seem like ions ago to some, rest assured, the recommendations are still 100% relevant. That said, I thought it would be useful to create a supplement to Jim’s article that includes a few ideas on how recent software and web applications can be used to get kids excited and thinking about what they read Before/During/After a book!

Take a look at the ideas below and feel free to add your own in the comments section of this post!

Postcard: Write to a friend, the author, or to a character about this book.”

  • Select one student to be a character in the book you are reading and to write a blog post from that character’s point of view. Other students can then submit questions and ideas to the character via the comments section of the post. To learn how to set up a blog for this project, click here.

Mapmaker: Draw a map of the book’s setting.”

  • Have students create a Google Lit Trip–using Google Earth to document and map the settings within the book at hand. To learn how to use this tool, click here.

Trailer: Movie previews always offer a quick sequence of the best moments that make us want to watch it – storyboard or narrate the scenes for your trailer. Focus on verbs.”

  • Create a movie trailer in the form of a digital story using tools like VoiceThread or iMovie. For tips on how to get started, click here.

Collage: Create an individual or class collage around themes or characters in the book.”

  • Use Wordle to create a digital word collage around key themes, characters or vocabulary in the book.

Draw! Translate chapters into storyboards and cartoons; draw the most important scene in the chapter and explain its importance and action.”

Dear Diary: Keep a diary as if you were a character in the story. Write down events that happen during the story and reflect on how they affected the character and why.”

  • Have students create delightfully illustrated diary entries using the online collaborative storytelling tool Storybird.

Haiku/Limerick: Create one about a character.”

  • Use Twitter to share poems with parents and classmates.

Notes and Quotes: Draw a line down the middle of the page. On one side write down important quotes, on the other comment on and analyze the quotes.”

  • Create a collaborative “wiki-style” notes and quotes page using Google’s collaborative document tools. Feel free to host online book discussions using the live chat functions within the collaborative document applications.

Of course there is nothing wrong with a good ol’ fashion book review assignment, but why not share the reviews with other kids around the world? Check out the Spaghetti Book Club: Book Reviews By Kids For Kids.

Happy Reading!

Anna

Twitter: @bon_education

Website: Bon Education

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In American a Kid Drops Out of High School Every 9 Seconds…

Imagine if they didn’t.

And so goes the opening statement of the above documentary. I have to wonder what the dropout statistics are for India, Sri Lanka, the UAE…

Visit the homepage of the above documentary and you’ll learn:

This is the compelling question behind award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio’s newest project Ten9Eight, a thought provoking film which tells the inspirational stories of several inner city teens (of differing race, religion and ethnicity) from Harlem to Compton and all points in between, as they compete in an annual business plan competition run by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

I hope this film makes it out of the States and to other countries that face the challenge of high dropouts, keeping schools relevant and keeping the classroom inspiring! As President Obama recently stated:

I am calling on our nation’s governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving & critical thinking, entrepreneurship and creativity.

To see where Ten9Eight is showing this fall, click here.

Just imagine…

Anna

@bon_education

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UAE Educators Speak Out!

Bon Education

Recently I asked Bon Digital Learning Academy graduates and educators across the UAE what their favorite education technology tools and websites are. See what they had to say below:

1) Maram, Grade 9 English teacher, Nad Al Hamr School, Dubai, UAE

  • Reading A-Z: “I like it because it supplies me with a lot of different kinds of leveled books, short stories, vocabulary, grammar, phonics and lesson plans. I let my students read stories related to the themes I teach and I use the worksheets and quizzes supplied on the website.”

2) Kim, Teacher Development Specialist, Shamsa Bint Majid Preparatory and Secondary School, Umm Al Quwain, UAE

  • LearnEnglishKids (British Council): “I can easily find stories from this site for middle school students.  The stories are of different levels and cater to differentiation, which is really important since all our classes are of mixed abilities. These stories are animated and teachers can pause at any point to allow students to interact through questioning.  Moreover, students can read and hear the words being read at the same time. I normally use stories from here as a launching pad to teach new vocabulary items,grammar, LSRW skills and also visual literacy… The story on Eid Al Fitr … has a task where student can write about their favourite day and post their writing online.”

3) Rob, Instructional Leadership Coordinator, Al Deya Middle School, Umm Al Quwain, UAE.

  • “My popular choice is, of course TEDtalks–a primo site with amazing material for teachers to listen to and learn from.  Much of it is far too difficult for our students (but perhaps the translations might help too.) I also like utilizing YouTube for material to take into class.  but we have to be careful, especially here with selection of ‘appropriate’ materials…As Chair of TESOL.org’s Social Responsibility Interest Section, I frequently post websites for my colleagues on our elist.  Two recently posted sites include Amazing Women Rock and ePals Team Earth.

4) Asma, Special Education Consultant, Dubai, UAE

  • The International Reading Association and Read Write Think: “Both sites are loaded with information on how to promote, support and encourage literacy and reading across age groups.  They provide evidence-based practical tools for parents & teachers, lesson plans, and many more resources that are sure to be very helpful at home and in the classroom!”

5) Kevin, Grade 4 Primary Years Teacher/Education Consultant, GEMS World Academy/KDSL

  • MyMaths.co.uk: “Mymaths provides educators and students with online mathematics games, tasks, and homework. I have used the variety of online lessons and games during math workshop to engage my learners and as a source of differentiation where students selected mymaths.co.uk for their learning contracts.”

6) Robin, Ph.D., Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Zayed University

  • TeacherTube: “This site has a variety of features, from lesson plans to videos of classrooms at work.  I find the videos particularly helpful in letting student teachers see particular strategies in practice before they try them in their practicum classroom. The sight also includes a variety of podcasts.  Teachers can also contribute their own materials to share with educators around the globe.”

What are your favorite education websites? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section of this post! And, thanks to the educators above for sharing their favorite education websites with the Literacy is Priceless/Bon Education community!

Sincerely,

Anna

Founder, Bon Education (home of the Bon Digital Learning Academy)

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Finding and Adding High Quality LEGAL Images to Your Blog or Website

NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 14: Nelly Furtado reads a book to a group of children during the Jumpstart Read for The Record 2009 launch event at the Borough of Manhattan Community College on September 14, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Jumpstart)


Today while reviewing the WordPress.com blog for the latest and greatest updates, I came across a post titled, “Free Access to Premium Images“… Wow! What a find!

Finding free high quality legal images for blog posts and websites can be a challenge, especially if you live in a part of the world where websites like Flickr are many times not available. That is why I often rely on my own images, free stock photos or WikiMedia Commons for images to spice up my writing and online blog reports.

Thanks to an update on the WordPress.com blog, I now have another source to rely on for high quality free and legal photos: PicApp. As the site About page states:

We have over 20 million premium images, editorial and creative, covering any imaginable category—from news, sports, to celebrity, travel fashion and more.

Our content partners include Getty Images, Corbis, Splash News, Pacific Coast News, Newscom, Image Source and more. We support the largest blog platforms: WordPress, Blogger, TypePad and more.

Eager to see what PicApp has to offer, this morning I created an account (which took only 10 seconds!) and started exploring for pictures of my favorite actors, topics and more. A quick search for “reading” revealed loads of photos of famous and not-so-famous people doing what we know is so important to do–reading!

Next time you are need of images that are legal to post on your blog/website, stop by PicApp! To see how to use site, watch the video below! To learn what you can and cannot do with the images, click here.

Anna

Twitter: @bon_education

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