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At the beginning of the 21st century, the definition of digital equity revolved around the provision of a digital device to every student. Usually, that meant desktop computers, iPads, and laptops, either in small groups or 1:1. As digital equity discussions matured and hyperbole became reality, educators found that those loudly-touted digital devices often became paperweights. The reasons were varied (teacher training, infrastructure, and professional support to name a few), but one of the most prominent was money. Good intentions to give all students access to the world’s knowledge were derailed by the cost of the websites and webtools that made that happen. Turns out — and not really a surprise — the cost of the digital devices was minor compared to the cost of the websites and webtools required to meet goals.
There is one bright spot in this story: Online books. Thanks to the efforts of many devoted professionals and the financial support of more, there are a wide variety of free/inexpensive sources for books that students can use for classroom activities as well as pleasure.
Here are eight sites that offer free books for kids to adults:
- 10 Classroom Management Tips You Don’t Want to Miss
- 11 Classroom Blogging Tips You Don’t Want to Miss
- OneNote–the all-in-one digital notetaking, classroom app for educators
- Need Tech Next Year? Start Here
- Is the Socratic Method Right for Your Class?
- How the Frayer Model Helps Thousands Learn Vocabulary
- 3 Important Books for Kids
- Need a New Job? Here’s What You Do
- 6 Tech Activities for Your Summer School Program
- 15 Skills Teachers Can Learn this Summer and Use in Next Year’s Classroom
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 20 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 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. Read Jacqui’s tech thriller series, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days.
Here are the most-read posts for the month of May:
- Why Blended Learning Fits Your Class, 3 Issues to Think About, and 5 Easy Ways to Begin
- 9 Must-have Tools for Ed Conferences
- ORIGO Stepping Stones 2.0–A Versatile, Easy-to-Use Math Program
- 19 Ways Students Keep Learning Fresh Over the Summer
- Studying for Finals: 5 Collaborative Online Methods to Try in Your Classroom
- 2 Webtools You Can Learn This Summer to Differentiate Lesson Plans
- Can an AI Save the World?
- How Great is MS Office Mix
Teachers have known for decades that ‘summer learning loss’ is a reality. Studies vary on how much knowledge students lose during the summer months–some say up to two months of reading and math skills–and results are heavily-dependent upon demographics, but the loss is real.
To prevent this, teachers try approaches such as summer book reports, but students complain they intrude on their summer time. When teachers make it optional, many don’t participate. The disconnect they’re seeing is that students consider these activities as ‘school’ rather than ‘life’. They haven’t bought into the reality that they are life-long learners, that learning is not something to be turned on in the schoolhouse and off on the playyard.
This summer, show students how learning is fun, worthy, and part of their world whether they’re at a friend’s house or the water park. Here are nineteen suggestions students will enjoy:
- Youngers: Take a picture of making change at the store. Share it in a teacher-provided summer activity folder (this should be quick to use, maybe through Google Drive if students have access to that). Kids will love having a valid reason to use Mom’s smartphone camera.
- Any age: Take a picture of tessellations found in nature (like a beehive or a pineapple). Kids will be amazed at how many they find and will enjoy using the camera phone. Once kids have collected several, upload them to a program like Shadow Puppets where they can record audio notes over the picture and share with friends.
- Any age: Pit your math and technology skills against your child’s in an online math-based car race game like Grand Prix Multiplication. They’ll know more about using the program and will probably win–even if you do the math faster. You might even have siblings compete.
- Grades 2-5: Set up a summer lemonade stand. Kids learn to measure ingredients, make change, listen to potential customers, and problem-solve. If you can’t put one up on your street, use a virtual lemonade stand.
- Any age: If your child wants to go somewhere, have them find the location, the best route, participation details, and other relevant information. Use free online resources like Google Maps and learn skills that will be relevant to class field trips they’ll take next year.
Memorial Day (May 29, 2017) is the time we remember all of those soldiers (and anyone in the Armed Forces) who gave their lives in the defense of American freedom. In war and peace, they made the ultimate sacrifice, and because of them we are privileged to live the American Dream.
Once a year, we honor them, their sacrifice, and those they left behind. Here are some activities to help students understand the import of this day:
- Folding the American flag
- In Flanders Field--poem
- Memorial Day Messages, Speeches, Oaths, Poems, Anthems, and images
- Memorial Day Poems
- Memorial Day Poetry–poems
- Memorial Day Prayer
- Memorial Day puzzle I
- Memorial Day Puzzle II
- Memorial Day DigitPuzzle
- Memorial Day Quiz
- Memorial Day Word Search
- Primary source recollections of War
- Quotes about Memorial Day/Wars
- Remember our Warriors
- Who you are remembering–Americans killed in action
- Teacher Appreciation Week is May 1st-5th
- How You Can Make Homework Easier for Students
- Summer Tech Camp–Everything You Need
- 21 Great Websites and Apps for Earth Day
- A new resource guide from Kiddom: Standards-based Grading for ELA and Social Studies
- Understanding By Design — What’s That Even Mean?
- Visit My New Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Store!
- 27 Websites for Poetry Month
- 8 Websites For Financial Literacy Month
- Summer Professional Development from Ask a Tech Teacher
- Breathing earth– the environment
- Breathing Earth YouTube Video–of CO2 use, population changes, and more
- Conservation Game
- Earth Day—NASA Ocean Currents
- Earth Day Printables
- Eco-friendly house
- Ecotourism Simulation–for grades 4 and above
- Footprint calculator
- History of Earth Day–lots of reading
- My Garbology
- Starfall — Every Day is Earth Day
- Storyboard That! Earth Day lesson plans
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