Authentic Project Ideas – My Bucket List
The Educational Journey
by Eleanor K. Smith
1M ago
So if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a total geek. The Future Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk has been a stop on my bucket list for a long time. Yep, according to Star Trek lore, Captain Kirk will be born in Riverside, Iowa on March 22, 2228. The entire town is devoted to this. Banners, markers, and a museum so bad it is fantastic!  While most students aren’t thinking about a “bucket list,” they can be thinking about places they would like to visit and why? This would be a great authentic geography lesson including research (reading), note taking (writing), math (distance to travel ..read more
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Authentic Project Ideas – Routes in the Sky
The Educational Journey
by Eleanor K. Smith
1M ago
Sitting at the airport watching planes.  So many possible authentic projects with planes. During the holiday season, I heard that the military air routes were opened for commercial traffic to help keep planes on time.  I didn’t realize we had different “routes” in the air.  Sorta like freeways in the sky! This would be a neat topic for older students to explore.  Actually, two choices; routes in the sky and how to improve air travel.  Actually, tons of authentic topics!  For younger students, perhaps creating routes for planes to travel on maps.  Stories abo ..read more
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Authentic Project Ideas – Dams
The Educational Journey
by Eleanor K. Smith
2M ago
This is a dam in Iowa. When my husband showed me this picture I didn’t even realize at first that it was a dam. Very attractively done, in my opinion. This got us talking about the pros and cons of dams. Dams prevent many problems, but they also cause many problems. Authentic Learning – These ideas can be used at any grade level. With younger students there will be more group produced work. Read: Gather and read information from several sources. (Good authentic lessons don’t rely on just one source…Why not?) Write: Take notes about what you are reading. Math: How many dams are in our country ..read more
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Authentic Project Ideas-Sandhills
The Educational Journey
by Eleanor K. Smith
2M ago
We recently returned from an amazing trip out west. We saw so many amazing and spectacular sights. The view above got us talking. (Even after 5,000 miles together in our car we were still speaking! The view just opened up a new topic.) The above photo is of the Sandhills in Nebraska. It is a view we have seen often, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina! We did not expect to see Sand Dunes in landlocked Nebraska. They were covered in prairie grasses, but you could see plenty of sand under the grass. Authentic project ideas – Explain how the sand got there. What can the land be used for? We saw ..read more
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A New Year
The Educational Journey
by Eleanor K. Smith
3M ago
I have decided to start the new year with an adaption of my favorite story. Many times, during my teaching career, I gifted a copy of this adaption, and a starfish necklace, to teachers I worked with, to remind them why we we do what we do. A young boy was walking on the beach, he paused every so often, to pick up an object and throw it into the ocean. A man was watching the young boy. The boy came closer and the man said, “May I ask what you are doing?” The young boy replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the water by t ..read more
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Tex the Explorer and The Jared Box Project Wins Three Awards
The Educational Journey
by Eleanor K. Smith
4M ago
Tex the Explorer and The Jared Box Project has won three book awards! 2023 Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient 2023 indieBRAG® Medallion Winner 2023 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Winner Eyen and I are so proud of this book and so honored that we were asked to help tell the story of The Jared Box Project. Tex the Explorer and The Jared Box Project has been donated to The Jared Box Project by Ellie, Eyen, and Tex, and is available on Amazon ..read more
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Teaching Authentically at the Holidays
The Educational Journey
by Eleanor K. Smith
4M ago
This is the time of year when I always come back to my favorite family holiday story. I have told it many times, but feel it is worthy of repeating. As a preteen in South Florida (note the Florida themed Christmas Tree in the photo above) my great-grandfather gave me Avon face powder for a holiday gift. Needless to say, I was disappointed by this gift. Instead of lecturing me about being ungrateful, or exchanging the powder for a different gift, my mother agreed that this was not a great gift for a girl my age. She suggested that perhaps there was a young woman somewhere that might not be get ..read more
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The Gift of Authentic Learning
The Educational Journey
by Eleanor K. Smith
5M ago
On a recent road trip, we ended up spending the night in Wilson, Kansas. This city is the Czech Capital of Kansas and has the largest Czech Egg in the world! There were also many other smaller, gorgeous eggs around the town. If you have ever visited Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, it reminded me of that town, except there were Groundhogs all over Punxsutawney, and Eggs all over Wilson. So much of authentic learning is paying attention to what is around you. Add a dose of curiosity and a cell phone to do some research, and an overnight stop becomes a lesson in Czech and Slovak folk art, culture, a ..read more
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Authentic Project Ideas – A Lonely Time of Year
The Educational Journey
by Eleanor K. Smith
6M ago
I look at this photo and I see art.  I scrapbook, and use a lot of photos to make cards as well.  This would be a beautiful fall card.  As we go into fall, not only does football season start (do I hear my husband cheering/groaning), but people also start to think about the holiday season.  This is a time of year that older people, especially those in nursing homes, may be feeling shut in and lonely.  A great authentic project would be to think of ways to let these people know that someone out there cares.  So, maybe this photo could be printed and used to make c ..read more
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Authentic Project Ideas – Sorting Apples?
The Educational Journey
by Eleanor K. Smith
6M ago
I am not exactly sure what this machine is doing.  I can think of several things it might be doing.  I can also think of ways to make it do what I think it is doing better – punctuation lesson – add punctuation to this sentence so you don’t have to read it three times for it to make sense! So, maybe a driving question is, “What is happening in this picture?”  An authentic project might be to improve the machine in this picture.  Or maybe, write a story about what took place in this room.  A factual story about what the machine does, a fictional story about people who ..read more
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