Friday, July 13, 2018

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 7/13/18

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels:  E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Crossword Puzzles – create your own crossword puzzles (L:G; SA:A)

How Milk Becomes Cheese – “Ever wonder how milk becomes cheese? We asked about the science and the microbes that go into this tasty food. This week on Reactions, we visit St. James Cheese Company in New Orleans to learn all about the chemistry of your favorite dairy product.” (L:G; SA:S)

Google Virtual Tour – Create your own virtual tour (L:G; SA:A)

Alphabet Organizer – “Engage students and build phonemic awareness by using Alphabet Organizer in the classroom. Students create an alphabet book or alphabet chart with words for each letter of the alphabet. Or choose just one word per letter and upload an image to help early readers make a visual connection between the word and the beginning letter.” (L:E; SA:LA)

Animal Enquiry – “The Animal Inquiry interactive is a versatile tool that can enhance student inquiry in research at the elementary level. The graphic organizer invites students to explore four facets of animals [basic facts, animal babies, interaction with others, and habitats (shown at left)]; the possibilities for extensions or adaptations, moreover, make this a a nice complement with inquiry-based projects. The follow-up writing prompts can be used to organize research questions as well as to record findings. After completing individual sections or the entire organizer, students have the ability to print out their final versions for feedback and assessment.”  (L:E; SA:S)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Project Based Learning Made Simple – Book Review

I recently read Project Based Learning Made Simple by April Smith that was graciously sent to me by Ulysses Press to review. I am not being paid for this review.

I am a huge fan of Project Based Learning! I love every aspect of it and I truly believe that is the best way for students to learn. Yet, it is hard to talk many teachers into leaving the traditional way of teaching to give this a try. The world is a different place than when we were taught in the traditional way and when we first learned to teach in a traditional way. Project Based Learning makes learning relevant to the students and gives them real-world experiences.

In the first chapter, the basics of project-based learning are discussed. But my favorite part is chapter 2 which really gives the nuts and bolts of teaching project-based learning. It is well explained and gives a “recipe” for setting up project-based learning in a classroom.

I believe this is a great way of teaching but involves a lot of planning on the front end of the lessons. Then it is fun to facilitate student learning throughout the rest of the lesson. Since everything including assessment is planned in advance, it makes grading progress very easy. Many teachers talk about how much work is involved in this kind of teaching, but I don’t think it is any more time than the time involved overall in traditional teaching methods.

The rest of the book gives great suggestions and processes for 100 different projects. The chapters are broken into sections for  Science and Stem, Math and Financial Literacy, English Language Arts, Social Studies,

The last chapter covers wrapping up the end of the project. This is what brings all the work on the project together. Wrapping up is what helps students retain the skills that they have learned.

I have to say I love this book! It is great for someone who wants to do project-based learning in the classroom but doesn’t know where to start. I highly recommend this book and it would be a great addition to every teacher’s library as well as in a school professional library.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Protesting Against History

I understand that there were upsetting times in our history. There are many that upset some and not others. There are some things that people don’t even realize are offensive to others.

As a Chinese-American, there are so many offensive things towards Asians that happened throughout history but isn’t recognized by many.  My grandfather worked on the railroad when the railroad was getting established. The Chinese Exclusion Act was a terrible time for my ancestors. But I don’t want railroad history to change just because my ancestors were treated terribly!

I disagree with getting rid of historical monuments, documents, or anything historical just because someone is offended. I’m sure that everyone might find a reason to find anything and everything offensive to them!

We can’t erase history. We shouldn’t change the way history is taught by omitting events because we are doing a major disservice to our children. By learning history, we learn not to make the same mistakes.

Slavery is offensive! We had leaders in our early history that were slave owners. I don’t think we should wipe them away and pretend they didn’t exist. Even today, the people that we think are great leaders may be seen as offensive to future generations. How can we even think about manipulating history this way?  

Some people find the idea of the holocaust offensive. I’m not saying they are right, but I am saying it is wrong not to teach our children about it. It was a horrible tragic event in our history and it is important for our children to know about it so we don’t let it happen again.

The US Civil War was a tragic time in our history, but it happened. By wiping away evidence of civil war leaders, we are trying to change the way our children are learning history. How can they learn from other’s mistakes?

I believe if people find some place or something offensive, don’t go there. If I find a restaurant owner has beliefs that differ than my own values, I won’t support the business. If I don’t like a monument, then I won’t pay money to go there!

But I don’t believe that just because some people don’t want something that others do, they have the right to keep those that want it from having it. If it is not doing physical harm or is not illegal, then those that don’t want it need to just avoid it and leave everyone else alone!

I’m sure this post will offend some readers. I’m sorry if you are offended but this is the way I feel. Just as you have a right to the way you feel, so do I. I feel that history manipulation is very wrong.