Category: Holidays

Happy Independence Day!

It’s America’s birthday and I’m celebrating. My Army Staff Sergeant son is still in Japan–Okinawa. My Navy LT CDR daughter’s still in the DC area in the next of her long line of Navy jobs. They do not leave her in one position for long! I thank both of them and all those soldiers who fought for America’s uncertain future so long ago.

God be with all of us.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDkP2WaEYFE&w=560&h=349] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUDs-8SxfUE&w=425&h=349]

 

I was going to replace this next one but it’s been viewed by

29 million people!

I couldn’t find a better celebratory song.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q65KZIqay4E&w=425&h=349]

 

#2 with 14.7 million viewers:

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ds3MvMUdNk]

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memorial day

Happy Memorial Day

I’m taking the day to honor our all soldiers on America’s Memorial Day. Without their sacrifice, where would we be? I tried to keep the videos to three and failed miserably. Once I got started watching, I got lost.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omd9_FJnerY] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoNj8qsptjA] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07-RnI8W4xY] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT5u2xVEO5M]

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teacher appreciation week

Teacher Appreciation Week–Gifts for the Tech Teacher

Teacher Appreciation Week: The First Full Week of May

teacher appreciation weekThere’s always been something mystically cerebral about people in technical professions like engineering, science, and mathematics. They talk animatedly about plate tectonics, debate the structure of atoms, even smile at the mention of calculus. The teaching profession has our own version of these nerdy individuals, called technology teachers. In your district, you may refer to them as IT specialists, Coordinators for Instructional Technology, Technology Facilitators, Curriculum Specialists, or something else that infers big brains, quick minds, and the ability to talk to digital devices. School lore probably says they can drop a pin through a straw without touching the sides.

When I started teaching K-8 technology, people like me were stuffed into a corner of the building where all other teachers could avoid us unless they had a computer emergency, pretending that what we did was for “some other educator in an alternate dimension”. Simply talking to us often made a colleague feel like a rock, only dumber. When my fellow teachers did seek me out — always to ask for help and rarely to request training — they’d come to my room, laptop in hand, and follow the noise of my fingers flying across the keyboard. It always amazed them I could make eye contact and say “Hi!” without stopping or slowing my typing.

That reticence to ask for help or request training changed about a decade ago when technology swept across the academic landscape like a firestorm:

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Classroom Activities for Earth Day

earth dayApril 22nd is Earth Day, a day when (historically) more than 1 billion people in 192 countries put the Earth’s health ahead of convenience, habits, and cultural norms. It’s a day when teachers of all kinds encourage an understanding of how mankind’s actions affect the planet we call home. This is a time to learn how the ingrained habits of a throw-away society imperil our future. On Earth Day, we as cohabitants of this great planet evaluate how changes in our actions can improve the environment.

There are a wide variety of websites to help you in this endeavor, from analyzing what you’re doing that threatens the Earth to finding alternatives. Here are some of my favorites:

Earth Day Webquest

Online; Grades 5-12

In this Earth Day webquest, student teams vie for $1 million in funding from the fictional nonprofit, Help Our World (HOW) Foundation. Each team builds a case to address the particular environmental concern they consider to be the most critical by researching, building a convincing argument, and then presenting it to their audience. Presentations are voted on my fellow students to determine who will be awarded the grant.

The webquest includes everything you need for this activity including a list of materials required, student assignments, step-by-step and day-to-day instructions, worksheets, lots of Earth Day resources, reflections, and national standards addressed.  This is a deep dive into a particular environmental concern encouraging students to investigate, support their opinions with evidence, and then share their passion with classmates.

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18+ Easter Websites and Apps

Many Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. To non-Christians (or non-traditional Christians), that event signifies a rebirth of spring that is filled with joy and gifts — and chocolate! Overall, it is America’s most-popular holiday with Christmas a close second. The date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox. This year, it’s April 4, 2020.

Here’s a good mixture of games, lesson plans, stories, and songs that can be blended into many academic subjects (for updates on this Easter-themed list of websites, click here):

18+ Interactive Easter websites

Preschool-2

This website includes a colorful collection of Easter (and Spring) games and information that is visual and enticing to youngers. Games are Easter Math, Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Egg Dress-up, Easter Word hunt, complete-the-sentence, and more. Also, viewers will find websites about the history of Easter around the world.

ABCYa Easter Egg Hunt

Preschool-Kindergarten

Like all of ABCYa’s games and activities, Easter Egg Hunt is a colorful and intuitive educational game for young children.  It is easy-to-understand, playful, with favorite Easter symbols and energetic music that will engage children. The five Easter-themed games are easy-to-understand (no directions required) with a countdown clock to motivate activity. Nicely, it also aligns gameplay with the national standards met.

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Celebrate Pi Day with all things 3.14

Two math celebrations are coming up this month:

Pi Day

World Maths Day

Pi Day

Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 since 3, 1, and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form.

Daniel Tammet, a high-functioning autistic savant, holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes.

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100th Day of School — Make it about Learning

Before becoming a teacher, I didn’t understand why the 100th day of school was a big deal. At first, I thought it had to do with finding something exciting about the dreariness of post-Christmas January but when I counted school days from Labor Day to the hundred-day mark (skipping weekends, two weeks at Christmas and a week at Thanksgiving), that put me in the second week of February. Some colleagues say the 100th Day is a rich teachable moment that revolves around math. One efriend told me it occurs about the time when most kindergarten curricula cover how to count to 100. Others tell me it’s simply a milestone, important to young children and passe to olders.

How to celebrate

Turns out, the reason doesn’t really matter because celebrating isn’t a problem with kids. They love parties. So I decided to accommodate the 100th Day fever by wrapping it in learning. Here are thirteen activities I like that blend learning into a celebration of the 100th Day of School:

Geography

As a class, come up with two locations in each state, to total 100. One will be oriented around geography and one around history (such as “Kansas became a state January 29, 1861”). Include a brief description and a picture and then share the collection with parents and schoolmates in the class newsletter or another vehicle.

History

Research what happened the hundredth year of your home country’s existence.  What was the country like a hundred years ago? What caused it to change? Who was president? What has been invented since then? Divide the class into groups so the project can be completed in one class period. Then, have everyone copy their information to a digital magazine (like you can create in Canva or Adobe) and share it with everyone.

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Subscriber Special: 2 Free Martin Luther King Day Lesson Plans

Subscriber Special

Until January 18th:

Free Martin Luther King Day Lesson Plans

Two lesson plans to prepare for Martin Luther King Day in January: 1) Students research events leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King’s impact on American history and share them with an Event Chain organized visually, including pictures and thought bubbles. 2) Students interpret the words of Dr. Martin Luther King in their own words in a visual organizer. Great project that gets students thinking about the impact of words on history.
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Designed for grades 4-7, it’s aligned with Common Core and ISTE Standards.
 MLK--His words cover
What’s included in each lesson plan:
  • brief summary of the project
  • Essential Question
  • Big Idea
  • Common Core and ISTE alignment
  • materials required
  • teacher prep required
  • step-by-step instructions
  • extensions to dig deeper into the subject
  • assessment strategies
  • sample grading rubric
  • sample project
  • resources

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Public Domain Day and Happy New Year!

Every year, January 1st, is Public Domain Day. This is an observance of when copyrights expire and works enter into the public domain–free for all to use. According to Duke Law Center for the Study of the Public Domain, here are some of the newly-available artistic works you might like a/o January 1, 2021:

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
  • Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time
  • Franz Kafka, The Trial (in German)
  • Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy
  • Sinclair Lewis, Arrowsmith
  • Agatha Christie, The Secret of Chimneys
  • Aldous Huxley, Those Barren Leaves
  • W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil
  • Edith Wharton, The Writing of Fiction
  • Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto, A Daughter of the Samurai

–Comments are closed but feel free to contact me via Twitter (@askatechteacher). (more…)