STEM: resources

I have been investigating resources for supporting the curriculum next year. We will be embracing the STEM ideas in a more structured way for the first time although other schools have been onboard for a long time. There are  a myriad of rich resources and approaches that other schools and organisations have shared by schools. The sites I find that meet our needs are being added to my Blendspace lesson on STEM resources. Although I like the STEAM idea that incorporates creativity (through the Arts addition), I am keen to get all our teachers on the same wavelength with STEM. There are still some who are not sure about why we are making this push. The following infographic (although from the US) gives us some ideas about why we need to get kids excited about science and maths.

Why STEM Matters
Image source: www.topeducationdegrees.org

Digital literacy: Better Googling. Parent sessions

Recently we ran some Digital literacy session for parents. They were run over three evening and were hour-long session designed to give parents an idea about the tips we give to their sons. The second session was entitled “Better Googling” and explained about how to use the standard Google search more effectively to get the most useful results. This following was a slide presentation I prepared. We always try to make the sessions hands-on and encourage participants to play. There are so many things we could cover but we keep it to an hour because, at the end of the day, we believe this is an optimum length for everyone to concentrate and enjoy the sessions.

Although we used live internet connections, copies of Powerpoint slides given as handouts work well with parents as they like to write down notes.

Useful links

Free Technology for Teachers: 5 Tools to Organize and Cite Research Sources Richard Byrne offers a description of some of the tools (with links) that may help students organize and cite their research sources.
Online Tools and Resources That Support Academic Honesty | Getting Smart “This post offer an annotated list of 10 edtech tools that can help promote academic honesty. They offer an easy way to fit doing the right into daily routines and improving the quality of educational efforts especially with research.”
Writing guide – EasyBib Blog Whilst there is no single, ‘correct’ way to write a research paper, there are certain guidelines that can assist the writer. This is a writing guide that cna be used as a framework depending on what the task is..
Favorite Portals for Pedagogical Planning (and a new curation tool) — @joycevalenza NeverEndingSearch  Joyce Valenza examines some interesting pedagogical portals that educators should have a look at if they are seeking some inspiration for engaging learners in meaningful conversations and a few new activities.
Libraries of the future are going to change in some unexpected ways | Business Insider An article that discusses some fascinating ideas about what libraries might become – their services and whatresources they curate
The growing need for developing (the right) STEM skills – Skills and Work An interesting discussion around what STEM skills and abilities are important and should be taught to students.
School Libraries: Are They Relevant in the Age of Google? “There are some great opportunities for the new school library. The idea of libraries as learning commons has gotten considerable national traction, and some successful models have been born”
Leverage Library Orientations to Reach Students AND Teachers “As a teacher librarian you are always learning about new ideas, skills, and ways of doing things that can enhance learning, engagement, and/or efficiency for students and teachers alike. But, it’s frequently a challenge finding the opportunities to share all we want to with either group. One way to expose both students and teachers to new concepts and skills simultaneously, thus getting double mileage from the time, is to introduce them during library orientations.
Study Skills Handbook by ELES Assisting my students develop good study techniques including improving memory, revision techniques, active reading and listening.
Free Clip Art and Public Domain Images Incredible art department. Many links to aide range of resources
Coding, Literacy and the 21st Century – Read Write RespondAn interesting discussion about the place of coding in education. “In the end, maybe coding is the 21st writing firm of writing? Like poetry, maybe every student should write code. One thing that is certain, coding as a topic of discussion provides more questions than answers. So what about you? “

How to Organize a Paper: Ten Ways to Write the Perfect Document – The Visual Communication Guy: Design, Writing, and Teaching Resources All in One Place! Whatever your purpose for writing, the way you organize your paper is critical to the way in which it will be received. To organize a paper, you much be conscious of what your goal is, what your audience will interpret your message to be, how you’ll build to your main point, and how you’ll leave the appropriate lasting impression.

This graphic doesn’t cover all the ways to organize a paper, but it covers ten of the most common.”
Is Listening to an Audio book “Cheating?” – Daniel Willingham “Learning to read is certainly important, no one is saying that it isn’t, but in some cases, listening to the story can encourage students to read more, something high school English teacher Michael Godsey discovered using podcast audio with transcripts. “
Digital Licence This the site of the eSmart Digital Licence. It is a comprehensive online cyber safety resources. It teaches school aged children critical digital skills and promotes discussion about online safety between young people and their parents, carers and teachers.
Google now lets you explore U.S. National Parks via 360-degree virtual tours | TechCrunch This offers a wonderful to gain some understanding of these amazing places.
The 7 C’s of Minecraft: Education Edition – LearningBlocksEdu One educator discusses “How would I do Minecraft Education Edition?” He takes a look at what might happen if there was “a blank canvas to work on and a bottomless pit of resources”. The ideas are laid out under 7 headings: “The 7 C’s” that are at the very core of his vision of Minecraft in Education. These are: Curriculum; Curriculum; Collaboration; Community; Communication; Control; Coding. There are ideas here that could lead to some interesting discussions.

Useful links

Educational Postcard: ”Grades are not t by Ken Whytock, on Flickr
Educational Postcard: ”Grades are not t” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by  Ken Whytock 

A Handy Collection of Some of The Best EdTech Tools for Teachers and Educators ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “The aim of this multi-purpose collection is to provide teachers with a handy resource where they can access some of the best educational tools to leverage in their instruction. This list is a work-in progress and we will be adding more to it in the next coming days.”
New Code Club Python Projects! | The Code Club Blog The Code Club has updated. New developements explained and new projects. “The projects cover key skills such as sequencing, variables, selection, repetition, as well as lists, dictionaries, functions and files. The projects also focus on data, both using open data sets (in the ‘Where is the Space Station?’ project), as well as data that can be collected and analysed by the children themselves (such as in the ‘Popular Pets’ project).”
4 Apps to Foster Parent-Teacher Communication | EdTech Magazine There are many apps, ranging from Facebook-like social formats to simple SMS reminders, that can provide safe messaging options and communication tools to help create a stronger relationship between teachers and parents. 4 apps are discussed here.
Personalized Learning: Enabling Student Voice and Choice Through Projects | Edutopia “Six tips to bring personalized learning projects into your classroom and build student engagement. “
What Happens to Behavior When You Incorporate Student Choice? – John Spencer ” Is student choice is a privilege or a fundamental right? One teachers reflection about his journey. “I was afraid of student choice. I knew it could work with a typical classroom. But what about a hard class? What about a group where I am regularly missing 4-5 students a week for suspensions around playground fighting, graffiti, and drug possession? I was scared that autonomy would lead to anarchy. I was also proud and even a little arrogant. I had a positive reputation in my district and suddenly I was struggling. I didn’t want to be found out. I felt powerless and so I tried to micromanage….It’s something that all students need. But more importantly, it is something that works. It can feel risky to empower a student who misbehaves. However, it is worth the risk. I’ve learned that so many students, labeled for years as being the “bad kids” do amazing things when they feel empowered to own their learning.”
Top 10 Apps to help improve the lives of Autism spectrum children “The number of apps being developed for autism spectrum children has soared due to the high demand for such tools. Here are ten that are highly recommended.
How do I learn more about different SharePoint topics? | Sharegate Links to almost anythig about using Sharepoint
Google Apps update alerts: Add images to questions and answers in Google Forms “Google Forms makes it easy to create, distribute, and analyze surveys. Starting today, you can craft even more effective forms by inserting images into survey questions or adding images as multiple choice or checkbox options in Forms on the web.”
Cool Ideas to get started with Office 365 in your classroom “Anytime, anywhere access to resources and tools for learning is an essential element for today’s online learning environments. Thanks to the cloud (and some clever technical engineers) digital tools are enabling seamless connections between teachers and learners and transforming the what, when, how and where we work. In this post, one teacher shares some of the productivity elements of Office 365 classroom that he has made use of “
18 Digital Tools and Strategies That Support Students’ Reading and Writing | MindShift | KQED News “From a presentation to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference on an array of digital reading and writing tools teachers and students in her district find most helpful. Littleton’s Instructional Technology Specialist, Dana Levesque, started compiling resources on a site that both teachers and students can access to find the tools that fit their needs. The important thing is for kids to begin to think metacognitively about what they need to succeed in school and to advocate for what works. Not every student will use the same tools, but there are lots of powerful ones that could be the slight boost a student needs to feel successful.”

Newsela rolls out Library to help students read beyond the news | TechCrunch Newsela, the exceptional reading site offering the same article written for different reading levels (see The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels”) has unveiled a new “Library” feature offering similar “levels” of primary source documents. Access is free to all Newsela resources, though you have to register on the site. A fee is required, though, in order to use advanced features like a virtual classroom.

Free Technology for Teachers: TurboNote – Take & Share Notes While Watching Videos TurboNote is a useful Chrome extension that enables you to take notes while watching a video in the same web browser window. Unlike some similar extensions, TurboNote isn’t limited to working with YouTube videos. TurboNote can be used on Vimeo, Netflix, and Facebook videos.
Venn Diagram Templates to Download or Modify Online “There are some Venn diagram templates/examples available for you in the Creately diagramming community. You can download them for free or modify then online using our diagram software. New templates are added frequently, so be sure to check back often.”
15 of the Best Open Source Image Sites on the Web A useful annotated list of sites to obtain and use images fairly.

Useful links

Finding an Authentic Goal for Your PBL Classroom | Edutopia “PBL is focused on helping solve the problems around us. e-NABLE has definitely tapped into something, but it doesn’t need to be the charity that you focus your classroom on.Teachers have a role to play in helping students ask the questions to discover what those needs are. This process of inquiry should be the initial part of any PBL unit”
Welcome to Quick Rubric – Free, Fast, and Easy to Use!  A tool that helps you create and print assessment rubrics. You can customize point values, definitions of good performance, rows and columns, then print the rubrics for distribution. The site also offers tips for writing a strong rubric. Also privacy note: Quick Rubric collects personal information from educators who create accounts. Students do not need to create accounts.
Photos For Class – The quick and safe way to find and cite images for class! A search engine for Creative-Commons-licensed photos for students to use in class or on their homework. Students can download and repurpose any photo they find, and the images come with appropriate attributions. The search also filters out inappropriate images.
WeAreTeachers – Get Lesson Plans – Teacher Grants – Teaching Resources and More This site offers a lot of free, printable lessons, PD resources, decorations, lists and blog posts, along with info on grants and contests. Subjects range from financial literacy to social emotional learning.
101 Educators to Follow on Twitter | @TeacherToolkit This is a list of educators who use Twitter to share their ideas and expertise with others. “They are not teachers, but educators in various sectors and countries, curated from those whom the author has been interacting with online for up to 8 years; some people they have met and have developed professional relationships with.
[3874] 7 Tips for Teachers Who Have No Interest in Coding A podcast that is useful to listen to as it offers ideas and tips for teachers and it is not too long. “Though many teachers have no interest in coding, demand for the subject is growing rapidly. Increasingly, teachers are being asked to teach elements of coding in their content areas. Our guest offers some simple tips to help teachers get on board.”
Reflective Practice- Are you Doing it? | An Ethical Island “Reflective practice occurs when teachers step back and evaluate the learning environment. The teacher looks at himself or herself. They ask, “How can this be better?” They identify what went right or wrong. It occurs both during the learning events and after.”
Instead of Handouts – Google Keep – Teacher Tech A Google option that allows you an easy way to go paperless.
Math Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt – Teacher Tech “A fun way for students to learn math vocabulary is to ask them to go on a vocabulary scavenger hunt. Students go out on campus and take pictures that represent the “math in the wild.”” It could be adapted for use across many learning areas
My Lesson Plan Template – Teacher Tech “I teach pre-service teachers. Part of my class is their first lesson plan ever. Unlike most of the lessons my students experienced as K12 students, their lesson plans need to include Common Core standards, SAMR model, students using technology, Digital Citizenship and identifying DOK levels. The lesson plan template I provide the students is really long, I would not expect them to fill it out more than this one time. The idea is to get them thinking about elements of a lesson plan that they possibly would not naturally include since they do not have any experience with lesson planning.”
To-Do List Competition: Level UP – Teacher Tech “A Google spreadsheet to keep track of all the assignments due during the semester. Each person who voluntarily wanted to participate created a column for themselves to check off when they have completed a task. This was helpful, but after adding a gamification element to the to-do list it really got fun. “
Why a Brochure? – Teacher Tech Links to template but many ideas for better student creation listed
CS Teaching Tips: A project funded by the NSF (Grant # 1339404) 10 posters with Teaching Tips for teaching Computer Science focussing on a number of areas including reducing bias, assessment, seeking help, pair programming, scratch and more. ach is linked to the tip sheet and helpful video.

Useful Links

From concept to classroom – STEM research | Teacher | ACER  “While the need for STEM-related expertise in the workforce is growing, the number of students choosing STEM subjects at secondary and tertiary level in Australia is stagnating. Although decisions about future pathways are made later on in a student’s school career, teachers in the primary years have an important role to play.A new review offers practical ideas for primary STEM teaching. “Translating STEM education research into practice” also looks at useful programs for teachers and frameworks for curriculum integration.” linked article

How to Take Digital Citizenship Schoolwide During the 2016 17 School Year | EdSurge News Students need to learn Digital Citizenship skills. There are some suggestions here about how to approach a program for instruction.
Make an infographic – Lucidchart “Infographics have recently seen a huge uptick in popularity. They combine the visual appeal of images and diagrams with the educational qualities of facts and figures. You can make an infographic in any medium—by hand, with specialized software, or online. If you’re looking for an intuitive canvas for designing infographics, try Lucidchart!”
Top 5 Apps for Coding – Top 5 edtech Children in schools are no longer passive consumers of technology. They are creators of content, using building blocks of code to design their own games, their own apps and tackle big issues. There are many different ways to use iPad to generate content and explore coding. So three authors share their top 5 apps for coding. They suggest iPad versions
NAPLAN ‘meaningless’ as a test of creative writing skill, says 65-Storey Treehouse author Andy Griffiths – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Two of Australia’s best-selling children’s book authors Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton question the value of the NAPLAN testing. They wonder why attributes such as creativity are not considered. They doubt the NAPLAN testing can offer any offer valuable insights into kids’ reading and writing skills. They also make a final statement about the importance and value of teacher librarians.
Instructional Fluency: 10 Activities with Google Slides Ideas for putting together slides to work in new ways. Even by having students do it. There ae some ideas here on how to use Google Slides beyond the traditional use.

Building Community With Attendance Questions | Edutopia “Taking attendance is usually a five-minute task at the start of a class period, but it can sometimes take much longer. On rare occasions, taking attendance can take up an entire class period.”

One way a teacher has changed the idea about how to take a class roll. The discussion makes it sound easy but students would need to get used to it. It also offers a way to reflect on the learning that each has been happening in the class and no technology is needed.
Student-Led Conferences: Resources for Educators | Edutopia “Student-led meeting formats that engage students in the process. These student-led conferences between teachers and parents can provide powerful opportunities for students to advocate for their own learning.”
5 Ways Teachers Can Encourage Deeper Learning With Personal Devices | EdSurge News “To ban or not to ban, that is always the question when it comes to personal devices in the classroom. But rather than fight this uphill battle (Generation Alpha is forecasted to be more technological than any previous), let’s figure out how to leverage these little machines. If used intentionally, mobile devices can be an express pass to exploring beyond the walls of our schools. While pushing students to learn outside our classrooms is a step in the right direction, how do we ensure that these experiences lead to deeper learning? Here are 5 ways to get to curate that practice by making your class a BYOD zone.”
Hacking Design Thinking For Education Part 3: Design Thinking In School – Edwords Blog – BAM! Radio Network 9 Places You Can Learn How to Code (for Free) | Inc.com “Coding isn’t just for the supergeeks anymore–getting a little code under your belt is an incredibly valuable skill for marketers and any other members of a business team.” Annotated list and links
Internet Sacred Text Archive Home This is the largest archive of free books on religion and spirituality on the internet. You can find information about mythology, religion, folklore, alchemy, parapsychology, and much more.
How to Take Digital Citizenship Schoolwide During the 2016 17 School Year | EdSurge News Ideas about how to implement digital citizenship start with the why – “Since our students are using technology to play, learn, and communicate while at home and at school, they should be learning how to use that technology responsibly. Full integration of digital citizenship (or DigCit) curriculum into every class and every content area—at every grade level—should be the goal to meet this need.”
Assessment – Events in Instruction- Event #8 | An Ethical Island Infographic: “Students have performed something to demonstrate understand but how do you assess that performance? Was the assessment of the performance reliable and valid? There are 27 tips here to reliably and validly assess the performance.
14 Bloom’s Taxonomy Posters For Teachers “Bloom’s Taxonomy is a useful tool for assessment design. In this post they look at better use of Bloom’s taxonomy in the classroom. During research for the post it became interesting how many variations there were of the original work. Included in this post are some of the many charts they found – some that only show aesthetic changes compared to others, most are concept maps of sorts–with graphic design that signifies extended function (power verbs), detail (clear explanations), or features of some sort (Bloom’s Taxonomy tasks by level).”
ASCD Express 9.21 – Alternatives to Traditional Homework An instrumental music teacher discusses some ideas about “homework.” . “Practice is essential to a student’s success although it is true that some students can get by on pure talent alone, this is rare and unreliable. The benefits of putting in the time to learn include getting to know what works and what doesn’t, benefitting from perseverance, and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Traditionally, the instructor teaches the lesson and then gives students practice exercises to complete later as homework.” She offers some alternatives to this traditional approach outlined in the post.”
http://tep.uoregon.edu/pdf/assessment/Ways_to_Assess_Student_Learning_During_Class.pdf A document that discusses 5 different ways to assess student learning during class.
Top 16 Tech Tools to Try in 2016 – edutechchick “Edtech continues to evolve and grow, with new players entering the ring all the time. It can be hard to keep up with, particularly when so many of the tools may accomplish the same end goal.” Some suggestions here that are worth looking at to see if they meet your needs.
Computer Science Goes Beyond Coding | EdSurge News “Computer science is about solving problems using computers and coding (or programming) is about implementing these solutions. Computer scientists can be like architects who design the house—but do not have to build it.”
What’s the Difference Between Coding and Computational Thinking? | EdSurge News A useful explanation. “What is Computational Thinking (CT), and how does it differ from Coding and Computer Science, especially when it comes to classroom practice and instruction?”
Life of an Educator: 10 questions every teacher should ask themselves: #edchat #ntchat An interesting list of questions that ae simple but effective as teachers reflection tool .
Education Update:Syllabus-ted: Preparing Students for the Rigors of College Reading:Flipping Math to Engage Curiosity “Flipping math instruction saves class time for what matters: engaging, enriching projects that foster student learning, and more important, students’ desire to learn” Tips on how to go about fostering the curiosity of students.
3 Top Tips to Make Writing Exciting When You Teach Writing ‘Vicki Davis with Cynthia Alvarado discuss getting your students to enjoy writing can be challenging. In this segment, we look at how we can make writing more relevant and engaging to students. Learning writing can be exciting! Kids can love writing. Now, students can easily join writing communities. After joining, students find that commenting on another student’s writing can be fun. Teacher-librarian, Cynthia Alvarado, shows us how to make writing exciting for kids. Additionally, she’ll also teach us her tips and tricks for coaching kids to level up writing.”
Free Technology for Teachers: Teach Your Monster to Read Teach Your Monster to Read is a great series of online games designed to help students improve the speed and accuracy with which they recognize letters and sounds. The website gets its name from the friendly monster avatars that students help learn to read through the course of the games.
Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Wearables for Learning! Oh My! – Teacher Reboot Camp “Students can experience new cultures, history, and understand the world in better ways with virtual reality, augmented reality, and wearables. Teachers are using these technologies to send learners on virtual field trips or getting students to keep track of their steps, cardio, and health with fitness bands. These technologies help engage learners by providing sensory learning and sparking curiosity and imagination. For your next classes, go beyond getting students to read and learn only from worksheets and books. Integrate virtual reality, augmented reality, or wearables to create meaningful learning experiments for students. This post has a slide presentation (free to download) followed by bookmarks filled with activities and resources.”
Titles for Great Library and Classroom Bulletin Boards and Displays “Ideas for creating displays in libraries and classrooms. It’s important to create a stimulating and inviting space for user, and draw attention to available media and people resources, showing that libraries are not merely a luxury, but a true necessity. Displays are important for teaching, creating a stimulating environment for students and staff, encouraging great student work, and raising self-esteem by displaying student-created items.”

Photos for Class: Helping students find images

Another lesson assisting Year 7 students with their research and trying to get them to find and properly  attribute the images they want to use in their final presentation. They understand about copyright and creative commons but many are always looking for the quickest/easiest way to find something. We have had a few teaching moments about fair use of the internet resources using Google advanced search, CCsearch , Flickr advanced search or Flickr Storm, MorgueFileStockVault.net, and Photl.com (Free options may soon be available) etc. letting the boys explore the options. I have also used a nice little tool ImageCodr.org to attach Flickr images to my online resources and shown the boys how easy it is to use. Lately I have been showing the boys Photos for class. I read about it at the end of last year and it offers that easy access to appropriate images. This means that the students can spend their time creating rather than finding.

Photos for class

This is a search engine that searches the Flickr site for photographs that have Creative Commons licenses so students can use in class or on their homework. Once you have found images you like you can visit the Flickr original or download and reuse.

Photos for class2

When downloaded, the images come with appropriate attributions. This saves the boys from having to add this information themselves and so saves them time and makes it very easy, making it more likely that the information is included.

Photos for class3

Also useful is that the search filters out inappropriate images. If there is something that you have an issue with you can report it.

There is a guide about how they filter and how the citations  are organised.

The Photos For Class site “makes it as easy as possible to properly attribute photos, especially for printed or presented materials so that there is no worry about plagiarism or stolen work.”

When you click download a watermarked image is automatically generated. It contains the following:

  • Name of the author
  • Name of the photograph
  • A link to the original photo
  • The name and type of license along with a link to read it