Author Archives: Jacqui
Humanities Teachers, Rejoice!
English Language Arts and social studies standards are often tangled webs of both skills and content, not so easily separated. This guide clears common misconception and offers best practices.
Standards-based grading (SBG) is a paradigm shift for teachers accustomed to traditional curriculum frameworks, but that transition can be more extreme for ELA and social studies. While conventional STEM courses are planned around sequential, discrete standards targeting easily-isolated skills, language arts and social studies standards are often tangled webs of both skills and content, not so easily separated.
This inherent challenge further amplifies common misconceptions about standards-based (or competency-based) grading. This guide clears those misconceptions and offers best practices for language arts and social studies teachers seeking to adopt the standards-based grading practice and mindset.
Download our Standards-Based Grading guide
This summer, Ask a Tech Teacher is holding five Summer Learning classes:
- Tech-infused Teacher (Certificate edition for CEUs or grad class for college credit)
- Tech-infused Class
- Teach Writing with Tech
- 20 Webtools in 20 Days (and the Structured Learning curriculum edition)
- the Differentiated Teacher
Most award Certificates at completion, for CEUs. The Differentiated Teacher and Tech-infused Teacher can be taken for college credit. The following three tools are part of what you learn in Teach Writing with Tech:
Created by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, Understanding by Design (UbD) is a lesson planning approach that visualizes the end result (what students should understand) to better select learning activities (the path that will get students there). Tens of thousands of educators use it for unit and course planning; hundreds of districts and schools use it as the basis for their curricula. Look at who has adopted UbD:
- the College Board, to guide the revision of its Advanced Placement (AP) subject matter courses and for the development of its courses AP Seminar and AP Research
- the framework for the national curriculum in the Philippines and Puerto Rico
- the state of Massachusetts, for its Race to the Top federal grant program to create more than one hundred exemplary units and associated classroom videos
- the Next Generation Arts Standards
Additionally, the two largest textbook publishers, Pearson and McGraw-Hill, use the UbD framework in many of their textbooks and programs, similar to this example from Pearson’s biology curriculum.
Textbook publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, now offers an education resource website called HMH Marketplace. This is for teachers by teachers, giving educators an attractive, easy-to-maneuver online site where they can find exactly the right lesson plans, rubrics, activities, classroom decor, and more for their unique classroom needs. It’s free to sign up, carefully managed (they went through all of my products in detail before posting them–which I appreciate), with a wide variety of products you can browse by grade, subject, or category.
I invite you to visit my store, Ask a Tech Teacher. Browse through to see what I have available:
…and then visit the hundreds of other teacher stores with their thousands of resources
Products are all digital and auto-downloaded.
Any problems with my store–feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If that image above is too hard to read, here are some of the product pages:[gallery type="slideshow" ids="55853,55852,55851"]
Jacqui Murray has been teaching for 35 years, technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.
One of the hottest topics in schools and an area of greatest need is STEM resources. Earth Networks has developed creative and compelling STEM curricula on a variety of weather topics. Any school with a weather unit or an onsite weather station will appreciate this site. I asked them to drop in and explain their education programs to the AATT community:
Why Teach STEM?
In the world of education, only a few things remain constant. The weather is not one of them. But people’s desire to learn and understand the factors that shape weather, and the desire to accurately predict it, certainly is a constant. Nearly every business in every industry is profoundly affected by the weather, and knowing how to read and understand the data that is presented to business leaders via WeatherSTEM platforms and weather data visualization software is invaluable. Making weather a part of your student’s curriculum will invariably help them throughout their lives, regardless of the paths they choose.
Here are some websites your students will love:
- Easter color-me (for Kindergarten/first grade)
- Easter Color Me to print or import to drawing program
- Easter games II
- Easter games III
- Easter games IV
- Easter poems and songs (to play online)
- Easter Puppies–video
- Easter puzzles and games
- Easter songs for kids
- Easter story--the Easter Egg–video
- Easter Word hunt (Starfall)
Here are four sites that work well with iPads:
- Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
- Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
- Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
- Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
- Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
- Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
- Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry
All across the nation, school, teachers, students, libraries, and families celebrate by reading, writing, and sharing poetry. Here are fifteen websites that do all that and more. Share them with students on a class link page like the class internet start page, Symbaloo, or another method you’ve chosen to share groups of websites with students:
From ReadWriteThink–students learn about acrostic poetry and how to write it
When kids read that America’s $18 trillion+ debt is accepted by many experts as ‘business as usual’, I wonder how that news will affect their future personal finance decisions. Do they understand the consequences of unbalanced budgets? The quandary of infinite wants vs. finite dollars? Or do they think money grows on some fiscal tree that always blooms? The good news is: Half of the nation’s schools require a financial literacy course. The bad new is: Only half require a financial literacy course.
If your school doesn’t teach a course about personal economics, there are many online sites that address the topic as mini-lessons. Some are narrative; others games. Here are eight I like. See if one suits you:
Banzai is a personal finance curriculum that teaches high school and middle school students how to prioritize spending decisions through real-life scenarios and choose-your-own adventure (kind of) role playing. Students start the course with a pre-test to determine a baseline for their financial literacy. They then engage in 32 life-based interactive scenarios covering everything from balancing a budget to adjusting for unexpected bills like car trouble or health problems. Once they’ve completed these exercises, they pretend that they have just graduated from high school, have a job, and must save $2,000 to start college. They are constantly tempted to mis-spend their limited income and then must face the consequences of those actions, basing decisions on what they learned in the 32 scenarios. Along the way, students juggle rent, gas, groceries, taxes, car payments, and life’s ever-present emergencies. At the end, they take a post-test to measure improvement in their financial literacy.
Sign up for Summer PD; get a friend in for free
Tech-infused Class (sequel to Tech-infused Teacher)
- What to do when Computers are Down?
- How to Run a Parent Class
- How to Teach STEM Every Day
- 7 Tips to Differentiate with Tech
- Always Know Which Virtual Speakers Are Available for Your Classes
- How to Incorporate Mindfulness into Your Class
- 12 Tips on Hard-to-teach Classes
- Summer Professional Development from Ask a Tech Teacher
I do have Summer Learning courses available online. If you sign up before April 15th, you get to bring a friend for free!