Category: Lesson plans

How to incorporate podcasting into your curriculum this school year

How to incorporate podcasting into your curriculum this school year

School is almost back in session and educators are busy working on curriculum for the upcoming school year that will challenge students, improve their communication skills and provide a platform to express their thoughts and interests. If you haven’t created a podcasting unit before, there are plenty of platforms that will help you get started with low or no start-up costs.

My son and I started The Middle School Mind podcast last fall as a way to give him a platform  to express his, sometimes random, 6th grade thoughts. We had so much fun making the podcast that we’ve created a tutorial to encourage students to plan, produce and publish their own podcasts and hope educators will incorporate podcasts into their curriculum.

Why podcasting?

According to a recent survey published by Kids Listen, an organization of advocates for high-quality audio content for children, nearly two-thirds of the respondents have been listening to podcasts for more than one year.

Respondents cited that podcasts are fun and offer entertainment value while some offer educational value through current events, history or science and nature-themed shows as primary reasons for listening to podcasts. Many families like podcasts as a way to keep kids engaged and off screens and something the entire family can listen to in the car.

Meet The Middle School Mind

We started The Middle School Mind because we also love listening to podcasts. We started the show when my son started 6th grade and wanted his own YouTube or Twitch channel to stream video games like Minecraft and Fortnite.

My wife and I had strong reservations with him posting online content that would include his name or image. People can be cruel on the internet and online message boards and comments sections can be places that are detrimental to a middle schooler’s ego and view of self-worth.

We go by Father and Son on our show to maintain a level of anonymity and privacy. This allows my son to speak freely and openly on the show without fear of being judged, identified or bullied online. During our first season, we covered a wide variety of topics ranging from school resource officers, video games and even a two part episode where we interviewed middle school teachers (who also happen to be close family members).

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25 Websites for Lesson Planning

Here are a few of the popular resources teachers are using for lesson planning:

Organize/Create lesson plans

  1. Alma–create standards-based lessons and gradebook, with analytics
  2. BlendSpace–blend a variety of digital materials into one canvas for students
  3. CK-12 — and differentiate for student learning styles
  4. Educreations
  5. Explain Everything–screencasting, interactive whiteboard
  6. GoConQR–create and manage planners
  7. Kiddom
  8. LearnZillion
  9. Nearpod–access lessons from mobile device or desktop
  10. PearDeck
  11. Planbook–simple lesson planning that can be shared, expanded with attached files; yearly fee
  12. Show Me
  13. Standards Planner–drag-drop resources to customized schedule (free or fee)
  14. Sutori
  15. TEDEd-create lesson plans using TED talks and/or YouTube
  16. TES–create digital lesson plans quickly

Get Lesson Plans

  1. 110 lesson plans by topic, tool, and grade
  2. AKC–animal-themed lesson plans for grades 6-8
  3. CyArk–geography-based lesson plans
  4. Free lesson plans on many topics
  5. Google Education—lesson plans, more
  6. Hello Ruby–lesson plans on technology
  7. Inexpensive lesson plans on popular topics
  8. TEDEd--great for flipped classrooms
  9. World Wildlife Federation activities

For updates to list or more, check the Ask a Tech Teacher resource pages for ‘Lesson Planning’.

What’s your favorite place to get help on lesson planning? Share it in the comments below.

–Image credit Deposit Photo

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Tech Ed Resources–Lesson Plans

I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m taking a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are from members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, from tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Lesson Plans

There are lots of bundles of lesson plans available–by theme, by software, by topic, by standard. Let me review a few:

Who needs this

These are for the teacher who knows what they want to teach, but needs ideas on how to integrate tech. They are well-suited to classroom teachers as well as tech specialists.

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Looking for Summer Activities? Try These

Earlier this week, we posted activities for a summer school student program. Now, we’ll focus on you–what do you want to accomplish with your summer? I’ve collected the most popular AATT articles on how to spend your education time this summer. Pick the ones that suit your purposes:

6 Must-reads for This Summer–2020 edition

Summer for me is nonstop reading — in an easy chair, under a tree, lying on the lawn, petting my dog. Nothing distracts me when I’m in the reading zone. What I do worry about is running out of books so this year, I spent the last few months stalking efriends to find out what they recommend to kickstart the 2020-21 school year. And it paid off. I got a list of books that promise to help teachers do their job better, faster, and more effectively but there are too many. Since I covered a mixture of books in a past article, many on pedagogy, this time, I decided to concentrate on content that could facilely move from my reading chair into the classroom.

I came up with six. See what you think:

10 Books You’ll Want to Read This Summer–2019 edition

Summer is a great time to reset your personal pedagogy to an education-friendly mindset and catch up on what’s been changing in the ed world while you were teaching eight ten hours a day. My Twitter friends, folks like @mrhowardedu and @Coachadamspe, gave me great suggestions on books to read that I want to share with you…

5 Apps to learn this summer

Summer has a reputation for being nonstop relaxation, never-ending play, and a time when students stay as far from “learning” as they can get. For educators, those long empty weeks result in a phenomenon known as “Summer Slide” — where students start the next academic year behind where they ended the last.

“…on average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning…” (Brookings)

This doesn’t have to happen. Think about what students don’t like about school. Often, it revolves around repetitive schedules, assigned grades, and/or being forced to take subjects they don’t enjoy. In summer, we can meet students where they want to learn with topics they like by offering a menu of ungraded activities that are self-paced, exciting, energizing, and nothing like school learning. We talk about life-long learners (see my article on life-long learners). This summer, model it by offering educational activities students will choose over watching TV, playing video games, or whatever else they fall into when there’s nothing to do.

Here are favorites that my students love…

Help Students Select the Right Summer School

Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Alex Briggs, has an interesting take on summer school, why you should start thinking about it now–in the Fall–and how to do that. I think you’ll find this interesting.

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6 Tech Activities for Your Summer School Program

With the growing interest in tech comes a call for summer school programs that supersize student enthusiasm for technology. If you’ve been tasked (or voluntold) to run this activity, here are six activities that will tech-infuse participants:

Debate

Working in groups, students research opposite sides of an issue, then debate it in front of class. They tie arguments to class reading, general knowledge as well as evidence from research. They take evidence-based questions and look for information that will convince them which side is right. This is an exercise as much for presenters as audience, and is graded on reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

Debates help students grasp critical thinking and presentation skills, including:

  • abstract thinkingsummer school
  • analytical thinking
  • citizenship/ethics/etiquette
  • clarity
  • critical thinking
  • distinguishing fact from opinion
  • establishing/defending point of view
  • identifying bias
  • language usage
  • organization
  • perspective-taking
  • persuasion
  • public speaking
  • teamwork
  • thinking on their feet—if evidence is refuted, students must ‘get back into game’
  • using research authentically

Basics

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Google Earth Lesson Plans

Tech Learning recently shared an excellent lesson plan by Dr. Stephanie Smith Budhai that incorporates the amazing Google Earth into learning. Here’s the beginning:

The 3D interactive online exploration platform Google Earth provides a pathway to endless learning adventures around the globe. For an overview of Google Earth and a breakdown of its unique features, check out How to Use Google Earth for Teaching

Below, is a sample Google Earth lesson plan geared toward elementary and middle school that is focused on teaching geography. It is important to note that while geography is a natural fit for leveraging Google Earth, other content areas and Google Earth tips and tricks for teaching can be used. 

Click for the complete lesson plan.

For more lesson plans using Google Earth, check out our resources:

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Ready To Go Back To School? 7 Fun Lesson Ideas To Start The New Year

Every teacher knows the struggle of getting a class full of children to cooperate the first few weeks back after the long Christmas vacation break. If you’re looking to avoid going hoarse from shouting at distracted kids all day then you need an organized plan of action that will keep you and your pupils entertained whilst learning. This article is aimed at teaching children in the 4th and 5th grade so if that’s you, read on for our top lesson ideas to keep everyone happy, entertained, and ready to learn!

  1. Start With Your Resolutions

Before you pile straight back into hardcore learning (aka the boring bits!) give your kids a chance to settle in with a mindfulness session where they can write down their resolutions and wants for the year. You can have this session be as creative as you like. They could decorate their objectives, frame them or even add them to a jar. If you pick the latter, why not end the year by reading out everyone’s resolutions and seeing how far everyone has come?

  1. Use Some Fun Worksheets

Rather than having your kids write pages of English and history right off the back, ease them back in with educational worksheets. There are a ton of great teacher resource center websites where you can download sheets for virtually every subject on the planet. Why not pick a fun subject such as foreign languages that can relate to their Christmas break? You can pick three countries that some of your children may have visited over the holiday season and work on sheets based on the languages of each country.

  1. Plan A Horrible Histories Lesson

Most children love blood and gore, so incorporate these themes into your history lessons. Focus on the Roman Empire, which was full of deathly battles they can learn about, or you can teach them about the early origins of the toilets. Romans are a great subject as they invented many things that we still use in the modern-day. You could even have the kids re-enact famous Roman gods and goddesses or have them paint their ultimate roman feast.

  1. Class Presentations

Let the children write and present what they did to celebrate Christmas to the rest of the class, or how others celebrate. If you can, set this task before the holidays begin as a homework task. You can ask them to pick one fact or tradition about Christmas and ask them to research it in depth. Bonus points to the child who explores a tradition and teaches the class some facts that even you don’t know!

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Subscriber Special: Donate to my blog–free MLK Lesson Plans

Every month, subscribers to our newsletter get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching.

January

This month: If you donate to my blog drive, I’ll send you FREE: 

The 18-page two-lesson plan bundle to teach about Martin Luther King (click for more information) in preparation for MLK Day January 17, 2022. Lesson plans include:

        • an Event Chain of Dr. King’s impact on American history
        • interpreting his words with a visual organizer

Donate using the feed below or the button in our sidebar. Add a note that you’d like the MLK lesson plans. If you need to reach us, email us at askatechteacher at gmail dot com.

We’re close to our goal, but not there yet. To those who have donated–Thank You! I sang your praises from the roof of our building and sent a special appreciation prayer your way. Any amount you can contribute–$5… $10… using the PayPal Donate button below or in the sidebar, would be appreciated.

Here’s the one-time donation button, or you can find it in the sidebar:

Here’s the button for a monthly donation–the price of a cup of coffee and a donut:

Comment


BTW, we’re always open to sponsors, too. We love sponsors!  If you’re an edtech company interested in helping spread Ask a Tech Teacher resources to everyone, contact us at askatechteacher@gmail.com. We can add you to the sidebar, review your product, or another sponsor sort of activity.

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Making a Family Story Video For A School Project

Working on a school project could be fun if you’re making it together with your kid. If they need to create footage to tell a story of your family. One of our Ask a Tech Teacher crew has some tips on how to make it properly

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What Is A Family Story Video?

A family story video is a moving picture that illustrates the complete history of all your ancestors up till your generation. Many schools require their students to sit down with their parents, talk about their ancestral history, and put it all together in a video. It can be an amazing experience for homeschooling parents and their children to talk about their family and what events led them to where they are now.

How To Make A Family Story Video With Your Child?

Making a video with the kid can be tricky, and since it is a school project, you must make sure that you give your 100 percent! Here is a step by step guide that can help you make a spectacular family story video:

Gather Information

Our lives are extremely fast-paced and busy; we might not know our family really well and, therefore, might not have the required information to give our children. This is why we need to conduct a great deal of research and look for relevant information to your lineage. A good place to start research is ‘Google’. Google might have the information even your adults might not.

You can type the name of your great-grandparents and see what pops up on the internet. If there has been a notable person in your family, there may be several articles in their name, and you can use them in your family video.

Make sure to save whatever information you find so that you can use it later. Make notes as you go, as it will help you keep track of the information.

Get the Geographical Location

Your ancestors might have lived in different places over time. You might not originally belong to the place you live in right now. Therefore, keep track of where your ancestors came from and your original homeland. Your adults might have some information they can share, so consider asking them about their origins, and then you can locate them on Google Earth. This will help your child visualize the areas and learn about your origin a little better.

Connect With Your Extended Family

Connecting with your family and learning their history is an enriching experience for every child. Reach out to your extended family members and inquire about the whereabouts of your adults. This will help you connect with the older family members, helping you gather as much information as you need. You can even ask them for pictures and videos of themselves or their parents who fall in your lineage.

Record Interviews, Gather Pictures, and Find Videos

Another method of data collection is recording interviews. Your child, with your help, can come up with a list of questions they should ask, and then you can connect them with your elders to ask them. You can use applications such as Flip to record and save these interviews. Involving your children in these activities will increase their knowledge of technology and help them learn how to use different software.

Now that you have all the material you need to add to your video, it is time for you to piece it together. To do that, you will need the help of specific tools.

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