Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Thanksgiving Fun

Looking for some educational resources centered around Thanksgiving?  Check out the following options:

Wizer Worksheets

The First Thanksgiving by Haley Throneburg - Respond to questions as you explore the Mayflower, daily life comparisons between the Pilgrims & Wampanoag, and the first Thanksgiving feast.
(5th grade - 10 questions)

Thanksgiving in a Box: Converting Measurements by Amanda Heflin - 5th graders will need their math skills to answer the Thanksgiving meal conversion questions on this worksheet.
(5th grade - 8 questions)


Thanksgiving Crossword Puzzle - answers are on the bottom of the sheet

The Pilgrims - Short reading passage with important facts about the pilgrims.  The passage ends with a couple reflection questions for student writing or group discussion.

The First Thanksgiving - A readers theater script with six parts

Plymouth Colony - This short reading passage focuses the establishing of the first town and the Mayflower Compact.  When students have finished reading the passage, they are challenged to write their own compact.

Native American Advocates - Students will learn about some Native American advocates in this short reading passage.  They conclude with three short thought-provoking questions related to the article contents.

15 Printables for Turkey Day - Printables include math sheets, word search, rebus story and more.  You do need to create a free account to download any of these files.


Bet You Didn't Know:  Thanksgiving - Learn about Thanksgiving traditions they were not part of the first Thanksgiving  (Recommended for 5th-12th grade; length - 3 mins)

History of Thanksgiving - Learn more about the history of Thanksgiving including the start of the Thanksgiving Day parade.  (Recommended for 6th-12th grade; length - 4 mins)

The First Thanksgiving by Little Fox - Learn about the first settlers. (Recommended for K-3rd grade; length - 5 mins)

Charlie Brown Mayflower Voyagers - Learn about the pilgrims and the Mayflower with Charlie Brown and the gang.  (Recommended for 1st-3rd grade; length - 24 mins)

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving -  The classic Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special. (Recommended for all ages; length - 25 mins)

The Great Turkey Race - Listen to this great picture book Steve Metzger and discover what being a Thanksgiving turkey means to the turkeys.  (Length - 7 mins)


The First Thanksgiving by Scholastic - Includes videos, virtual tours, slideshows and teacher's guides for grades PK-2, 3-5 & 6-8.

8 Quick Ideas for the Week Before Thanksgiving - Provides craft and project ideas that you can do with students of all ages.

Thanksgiving Ideas for the Classroom - A collection of classroom lessons, quizzes, activities, games and more for grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

Thanksgiving Word Search & Give Thanks Word Search- Word searches great for any age

Your Teacher Is Thankful For You - Free printable certificates you can give your students expressing why you are thankful for them.

Free Thanksgiving Printables - This collection includes count & color, thankful list, color by number, coloring page, and write the letter.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Why should I be a connected educator?

Book cover image
At EdCamp KS in Dodge City this summer, I won a copy of Matt Miller's book Ditch That Textbook.  Little did I know that my good friends Dyane and Micah would be teaching an online course over this exact book!  So, here I am working through their online course, Ditch That Textbook, in an effort to increase my graduate credits.  Each week we have been challenged to explore and respond to various thoughts and ideas presented in Matt's book.  I feel like this week was a curve ball as Dyane posted our weekly challenge...Create a project addressing the question, "Why be a connected educator?"  When I first started thinking about this question my mind instantly went in the direction of how one becomes a connected educator and where I'm lacking as a connected educator, so I had to put on the brakes and back-track my thinking to the actual question of why someone would want to be a connected educator.

As I think about the reasoning behind being a connected educator, I'm drawn back to my first teaching job.  I was fresh out of college taking a high school English position at a school that serviced the juvenile correctional facility just outside of town.  Most of the students were boys ranging from age 13 to 21.  There was no textbook, no curriculum, and no scope and sequence.  I had to figure out what the students needed most in the area of their English education.  Wow!  What a task for a young twenty-something novice teacher!  I felt like I had been shipwrecked on an island with limited resources and told to survive - Oh, and don't forget to take care of these kids too.  Sure there were other teachers at the school, but they had their own content and classes to worry about.  Sadly, there was no Twitter, Facebook or even Pinterest to help me out.  I truly felt on my own.  This is probably the first key reason for an individual to become a connected educator.  Even though you may work in a building with other colleagues, you still might feel like you are on your own island just trying to survive.  Being a connected educator is like throwing a line out to someone else on their island and drawing you both together so you are not alone.

Once you start connecting with other educators, you open a treasure trove full of new ideas and resources.  You also gain inspiration and encouragement that helps you carry on throughout the school year.  As you continue to connect and develop relationships with other educators, you become more open about sharing yourself with others - your thoughts, ideas, resources, and encouragement.  You may even find yourself in a new situation which allows you to collaborate with another teacher not even in your school district.  In Matt's chapter entitled Be a Connected Educator, he relates meeting and collaborating with his friend and colleague Paula.  They happened to connect through Twitter and ended up collaborating on a presentation that they presented together at an educational technology conference.  As I was reading his story, I was drawn into my own collaboration experience.  I had transitioned from teaching English to being the high school librarian at the same school and again found myself needing to connect with educators in the library field.  I made two connections through an awesome online library challenge called 23 Things Kansas.  It was geared to helping school librarians learn about and embrace technology.  Through this experience, I met Gwen Bartlett and Heather Braum.  We decide to collaborate on a presentation for the Kansas Libary and School Librarian conference.  Like Matt's experience, we had never met in person, but we were able to connect online through our common interests and passions as educators.

No Man is an Island
While I love the idea of connecting for the sake of exchanging ideas and collaborating with other educators, I think one of the most surprising reasons to become a connected educator is to challenge your mindset and perspective.  That's right, it's important to be connected educator so other's can push your buttons, in a positive way, though.  When we stay isolated on our island, we stop growing.  We have nothing challenging our thoughts and ideas.  That is not to say that our thoughts and ideas are wrong, but they can become dated, stagnant and ineffective.  I have always considered myself open-minded when it comes to new ideas and trends in education.  When I first heard someone mention project-based learning (PBL), I thought, "Yes!  Finally, there is someone else who sees the value in projects over exams."  Then I learned what PBL really looked like in the classroom and I had to take a step back to re-evaluate.  Had I not been a connected educator, I might not have even heard about PBL or what it really meant.  I also wouldn't have been challenged to evaluate my thoughts and opinions on project-based learning.  Recently, my challenge area has come in the form of the schools where students choose what they are going to learn.  It seems to be a spin-off of the Genius Hour concept.  If I were not a connected educator, not only would my knowledge and understanding be limited, but I wouldn't be challenged to think more about what these types of schools have to offer students.  I would solely be thinking about how schools like this are hurting students because they are not gaining an educational foundation in reading, writing, and math.  Does it mean that I will always agree with these challenging ideas and thoughts?  No, but it is good for me to be challenged so I can grow as an educator.

What about you?  Are you a connected educator or is it time to kick yourself off the island?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Website Wednesday

Providing teachers with an interactive and easy-to-deliver vocabulary development application (put
out by the makers of BoomWriter).

This post on Edutopia provides practical classroom strategies to reinforce student autonomy, competence, relatedness, and relevance.

Educators are using Tackk in a wide variety of ways in the classroom. From daily announcements to
creating digital portfolios, the possibilities are endless. The ability to comment publically and privately allows for collaboration between teachers, students, or even with other classes.

Google Earth Tour of the Lincoln Assassination
The tour focuses on the last days of President Lincoln and his killer, the famed actor John Wilkes Booth.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Website Wednesday

Think "fantasy football for social studies, literacy standards, and world news. Great way to get students engaged in learning!

ePals is an ideal way to collaborate with other classrooms around the world. You can set-up communication through Skype or emails between students. Teachers can search for a class to connect with by age range, language and regions.
Geared toward middle and high school age students. Great way for students and teachers to learn about the world they live in.

Canva is a tool that makes design simple for everyone. Canva gives you everything you need to easily turn ideas into stunning designs. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations,
Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so much more.

Canva EDU Lesson Plans on Pinterest
Collection of lesson plans for using the tool Canva with students.
tags: canva technology lesson plans lesson

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Website Wednesday

This blog post focuses on completing Word Work on the iPad with elementary students. Thanks to Kayla Long for sharing this link!

Science Experiments For Kids | The Quirkles
Quirkles is the Science/reading book series that comes with 2 experiments to do at the end. They can be taught in any order so teachers could read the book or books that go along with the letters while they introduce them. Thanks to Renae Hukill for sharing this resource.

This site is loaded with articles, resources and book recommendations geared toward the 4-8 grade educator. Topics are wide and varying.

"Classrooms can Skype with a Yellowstone National Park ranger to learn more about geology (geysers, hot springs, volcanoes), ecology (fire; wildlife--bears, bison, elk, wolves, and more), or cultural history (Native American, world's 1st national park, tourism). Students can interview a park ranger or try to guess which park the ranger works in."