What it is:DOGO News is a great place for kids to learn about current events, read non-fiction articles, and access customized content that you curate. DOGO features thousands of news articles and new original content added daily, this is the leading online source of current events for students, teachers, and schools! DOGO Teachers allows you to create a special page for your students. Each article lists the Common Core Standards it meets, and the grade levels it is appropriate for.
How to integrate DOGO News in your classroom:DOGO News is a fantastic resource for you (and students) to find, read, and interact with non-fiction news articles in your classroom. The site is very easy for kids to navigate. The homepage includes the most up-to-date content, but students also have the option to read articles based on a passion they have (science, social studies, world events, environment, fun, video, or sports) or to search for a specific topic. DOGO is obviously an easy go-to for current events and non-fiction reading and for research in the inquiry classroom.
Our students love to read an article as a class and then search for biases. If there aren’t any obvious biases, they talk about ways the topic might be written about with bias. This generally leads to really great class discussions and bunny trials of questions and research. DOGO is a great place for this activity to start.
DOGO also has a Books and Movies where kids can read reviews written by other kids for books and movies. Students can join DOGO to add their own book and movie reviews.
Tips: Teachers- you can sign up for two different kinds of accounts on DOGO. The free account lets you create your own DOGO class page and add your own assignments. There is also a paid account option that includes some additional features that would be ideal if you use Google Classroom and would like to access ready-made assignments on DOGO.
2018 is almost here. What decisions are you making today that will amplify what is possible in 2018?
Every year I choose a word. An intention for the year. Something to remind me of my greatest hopes and purposes for the year. Do you do that, too?
The word that leapt out to me for 2018 is FLOURISH.
FLOURISH: 1. to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment. 2. a bold or extravagant gesture or action.
Don’t you just love that? To grow vigorously…especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.
Anastasis Academy has become “a particularly favorable environment” and now for some intention: to flourish!
Flourish reminds me that I have more. More to contribute to the changing landscape of education. More to give to the students whose lives we impact with our important work. But flourishing is bigger. Flourishing is extravagant. It’s vigorous. It’s more.
I could not be more thrilled to announce the 4th annual 5Sigma Education Conference and the INCREDIBLE line up that we have. 5Sigma will help you consider how you can push beyond current constraints and truly see what is possible in education. It’s an invitation to flourish.
The real power of 5Sigma is in helping you see what is possible and then connecting you to other incredible educators who are doing important work. We’ll provide the favorable environment, your job is to flourish.
If you’re ready to transform your classroom (or school) in meaningful and important ways, we’d like to help you do that.
What will it take to flourish in 2018? It’s not going to happen by doing the same things in 2017. Join us in February and bring on the flourishing! We can’t wait to meet you!
***If you want to bring a group to 5Sigma, contact me and I’ll see how I can help you out.
**** Comment below with your word of 2018 to be entered for a free registration to 5Sigma EduCon!
What it is:Magik Play sent me a Starter Kit to review, and boy am I glad they did! The Magik Play is a beautiful blend of digital and physical. Students download an app on their iPad and use wooden blocks that interact with the iPad screen to build structures that interact with the illustrations on the app. Students get different puzzle challenges on the screen. They build with the “magic” blocks to match the puzzle and help the characters on screen with their buildings. The puzzles get increasingly difficult to complete throughout the game. Magik Play is recommended for 2-6years old, but I think it is more appropriate for 3-7 years old. I had my nephew (2yrs) try out Magik Play and while he enjoyed it, some of the puzzle challenges required two hands to build the structure. He also struggled to keep the blocks far enough away when he wasn’t building so that they didn’t interact with the iPad and mess up the “magic.” I think in another year, this wouldn’t be a problem for him.
I have seen a lot of companies try to mix physical and digital play, but had yet to see anyone do it really well. Magik Play has definitely found the sweet spot! It is seriously so cool. I opened this set up and immediately started playing myself. I couldn’t stop, I played EVERY level on every app! I love the way that the app involves students in a story where they are helping the main character do things by building structures. When the structure is successfully built, the character interacts with the structure to complete a task. Magik Play is like the most fun kind of puzzle! There are three apps that come with the Magik Play blocks: Hidden Shape, Dino Blocks, and Runaway. Hidden Shape is a great introduction for kids to use the Magik Play Blocks, Dino Blocks and Runaway get increasingly complex puzzles and building.
How to integrate Magik Play into the classroom:Magik Play is a great addition to the primary aged classroom. Not only does it promote problem solving, pattern recognition, and some engineering thinking, it also develops fine motor skills. In the classroom Magik Play would make a great math center. Regular play would increase pattern recognition, problem solving, and fine motor skills. Students could also work in small groups of 3-4 and take turns completing every other puzzle challenge. For very young students partners would be great so they can help balance the blocks of some of the more complex puzzles.
As an extension activity, students could write a story about the characters in the Magik Play apps. Who are they? Why are they trying to escape? What happens next? This could be a fun journaling or free write activity to think through character development, setting, and conflict/resolution.
Tips: The Magik Play starter set would make an excellent gift ($57.99) to your classroom, or gift to the 3-7 year olds in your life. My nephew loves his set!
What it is:Be Internet Awesome is a fantastic new way to help your students make the most of the Internet by being prepared to make wise decisions as they navigate and interact online. Be Internet Awesome helps teach students the basics of digital citizenship and safety online. This outstanding collection from Google includes: Interland, an online adventure that puts digital safety lessons into hands-on practice with four games; the Be Internet Awesome Curriculum, that will help you teach online safety; the Be Internet Awesome Pledge, to help connect parents and encourage continuity between home and school.
How to integrate Be Internet Awesome into the classroom: With Be Internet Awesome, Google gives you a complete set of tools to empower you to encourage digital citizenship and safety online. There are lessons and curriculum you can download, games for students to play, and a pledge for students to take home so that parents are on the same page.
At the core of Be Internet Awesome is the Code:
Share with Care- teaching students the importance of communicating responsibly.
Don’t Fall for Fake- teaching students how to discern real from fake online.
Secure Your Secrets- teaching students how to protect and safeguard personal information online.
It’s Cool to Be Kind- teaching students how the Internet can act as an amplifier, and they have the power to create positive impact for others.
When in Doubt, Talk It Out- teaching students how to seek out a trusted adult when they come across something questionable.
Interland is such a beautifully designed game with important lessons about how to mindfully use the Internet. I love the way the lessons learned in the games can transfer seamlessly to real-life as well. Students can play individually in a one to one setting or as a class with a projector-connected computer. Stop to reflect as you play. If students are playing individually, you might have them reflect in writing and come back together to share reflections as a class.
Tips: The Be Internet Awesome Curriculum meets ISTE standards for students and ISTE standards for teachers. Under the Resource link, you’ll also find a lesson poster, certificates and badges, a Google for Education Teacher Training Course, the ability to share Interland directly to Google Classroom, great resources for parents, and an Internaut Papercraft Activity.
What it is: I adore the DragonBox math apps! I was first introduced to DragonBox through their Algebra app. The app takes away all math anxiety by teaching algebraic concepts without numbers or algorithms. It is genius! You can read my review of that app here. DragonBox Numbers is for kids who are new to numbers, counting, addition, and subtraction. DragonBox BIG Numbers is the next level app of Dragon Box Numbers. As they play, children learn about how big numbers work, and how to perform long addition and subtraction. In DragonBox Elements, students will secretly learn geometry. By playing 100+ puzzles, kids will gain a deep understanding of the logic of geometry. As they play, students will actually be recreating the mathematical proofs that define geometry. What I love about the DragonBox suite of math games is that they are unlike any other math apps. You won’t find mindless repetitions and quizzes of math facts, instead, these games help teach students how to think like mathematicians. This is learning math through exploration.
How to integrate Dragon Box math apps into your classroom: The DragonBox math apps take advantage of a student’s innate curiosity through play and exploration of math concepts. Each game engages students through exploration, reflection, and application. If you have a 1:1 iPad classroom, use these apps daily! Students can play a game, and then come together as a class to reflect and write down the rules they have learned in that “chapter.” Then, take an equation from the game and solve it on paper. See if students can connect the cards and rules of the game to the equations on paper. Solve the equations using strategies and rules from the game.
In a one or two device classroom, play DragonBox as a class by connecting your device to a projector. Explore the rules together and let students take turns being in charge of a chapter. Review rules and make connections as a class. Set up DragonBox as a math center that students can visit in a rotation where one center is interacting with the game, the next is an opportunity to record rules learned and reflect, and the last is application of the rules to an equation.
Be sure to check out the DragonBox for educators where you can download teachers guides and printable resources for each game in the DragonBox math suite. You’ll also find a great “rules” guide for the algebra and geometry games.
These are seriously my favorite math apps of all time! They encourage kids who can think and apply like mathematicians rather than kids who simply memorize a formula. DragonBox creates a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and number relationships.
Tips: While the DragonBox suite of math apps aren’t free, you can purchase them at a deep discount for educational institutions and bulk purchases. Teachers, you can get access for free to make sure that the apps are right before committing to a purchase for your students. You can also purchase apps in bundles.
What it is:Starting with Soil is a free app from the Whole Kids Foundation that teaches the importance of healthy soil and lets kids discover the harmonious roles that plants, animals, and people play in keeping it healthy. This high-quality, interactive app lets kids explore the life in soil through lots of interactive experiences. They can use a compost wheel to learn about which things can be composted; learn about pollinators and their role in the food we eat; explore fungi, bacteria, protozoa, algae, and nemotodes with a built-in microscope; and learn how long it takes to make an inch of healthy soil with an interactive timeline. Kids can also plant digital seeds, make it rain, and build their own digital compost pile.
How to integrate the Starting with Soil App in your classroom:The Starting with Soil app is a fantastic interactive experience that will help your students learn about how nature creates organic soil, the role that animals and cover crops play in organic farming, how different plants can thrive together, the importance of pollinators, and how compost is made and its part in growing healthy food. This free app can be used as a provocation for an inquiry unit about soil, in your science classroom, or during discussions about ecosystems or nutrition.
My favorite part of this app is the way it let’s kids explore soil. Rather than telling them why healthy soil is important, it reveals its importance through discovery, exploration, and play.
Follow-up learning by giving students the opportunity to put that new understanding to work. Have students design pollinator hotels for your school yard or garden, start a composting bin, or start a school garden. Check out the Whole Kids Foundation site for fantastic resources, ideas, and grant opportunities.
Tips: Starting with Soil is available on the App Store and Google Play.
What it is: Today I was working on our inquiry block framework for the 2017/2018 school year and, as often happens with inquiry, fell down a wonderful rabbit hole that led me to this site. Mathigon is a fantastic *newish* math site (it’s still being built and added to) that brings textbooks to life. I know you’ve probably seen this claim before, but this is unlike the other online interactive textbooks I’ve seen. It’s more…alive. It’s like a personalized tutor, combined with story, and exploration. Really, textbook is the wrong word, because this is something totally new. A chat bot tutor makes Mathigon like having an additional team of teachers in the room, ready to answer questions and support your learners in real time. Real life application and narrative is part of the Mathigon DNA. This means that beyond learning the “rules” of math, learners are actually invited to engage the concepts, play with them, explore them in context, and find out what other concepts they are linked to. Rather than a linear approach, Mathigon lets students explore math in a more organic way through interest, linked ideas/concepts, and in a ‘down the rabbit hole’ approach. There are very few math sites that I’ve come across that truly support an inquiry approach to learning math, Mathigon is one such site.
How to integrate Mathigon into your classroom: There are several ways to use Mathigon. Students can get a personalized math curriculum that adapts to them and offers recommendations based on what they are interested in and their understanding of different concepts. They can begin from several places: exploring the applications of math in every day life, the link between math and origami, Eureka Magazine (published by Cambridge University), through problems and puzzles, through fractal fiction, or through courses for grades 6-college.
The Treasure Hunt is a complete PDF Kit that can be downloaded and printed out. Split your students into teams and send them on an epic math treasure hunt through your school (available in primary and secondary levels) where each of the clues leads them to another.
Fractal fiction is particularly cool because it lets students explore mathematical concepts through interactive narrative of popular films including Alice in Wonderland, Oceans 11, and Harry Potter (the latter two are coming soon). You really have to go experience these to really understand the brilliance of how Mathigon has combined story with math exploration. From the site: “The key to successful teaching is captivating storytelling – through real life applications, curious examples, historic background, or even fictional characters. These interactive slideshows combine an engaging narrative with beautiful graphics – explaining mathematical ideas in the context of popular stories and movies. They can be watched individually or be presented in classrooms.”
I cannot say enough about how impressed I am with the vastness of what this site brings to the classroom. Even if you don’t have the capacity for each of your students to have an account with Mathigon, the site can be easily adapted for the one computer classroom (as a center activity). Much of the content could also be explored as a whole class with a projector-connected computer.
Tips: I’ve found that really well done content for grades 6-12 (and beyond) in math to be severely lacking. This is a welcome addition to the math teachers tool box of resources!
What it is:Check 123 is a new video encyclopedia site for kids. All videos are validated and ranked by Check123 professionals, are 1-3 minutes in length, and a curated on just about any subject you can think of. Broad topics covered on Check123 include: history, sports, politics, food, performing arts, economics, earth, nature, tech, philosophy, music, cars, pets, human body, arts, geography, religion, psychology, TV, gaming, science, literature, fashion, media, and space.
How to integrate Check 123 into your classroom: Check123 is a great place for students to begin their research. These videos are between 1 and 3 minutes each, keeping students engaged in a topic and giving them bite-size information. I like that the videos are so well curated, it keeps search results on topic rather than the endless dig for quality content that can happen in a YouTube search. Check123 videos are also wonderful as provocations for further inquiry. The short format gives students just enough information to whet their appetites and encourage additional questioning. Check123 is a great one to keep bookmarked on classroom and library computers for quick reference.
Video is the preferred learning method of 90% of our students at Anastasis, when they do a search, they usually begin on a video site. With Check123, they are sure to get some quality results back to kick start their learning and research.
Meet Check123 - Video Encyclopedia in 1, 2 & 3 minutes!! - YouTube
What it is:Making & Science is an initiative by Google aimed at showing students that anyone can be a maker or a scientist. Using the featured Science Journal app (Android and Chromebook only), students can measure light, sound, and more. They can also use the app to record observations, organize data, and add observational notes. Making & Science has partnered with Exploratorium for some fantastic activities that will have students exploring the world as a makers and scientist in no time. Students will explore light, sound, motion, graphs, conductivity, and much more through activities powered by the Science Journal app.
How to integrate Making & Science with Google in your classroom: The Science Journal app makes any Android phone or Chromebook computer into a scientific tool that students can use to collect data on light, sound, and motion. The activities included encourage students to explore the world as scientists and makers. The activities are simple enough for any classroom, and lead the students through understanding how the world around them works. They are a great kick-off to more in-depth studies of light, sound, and motion and teach students how to use the sensors on their phone and computer to collect data. Most activities take 15-30 minutes, so would be the perfect length for groups of students to visit as a center if you have a few devices for students to use. I love the way each activity thoroughly introduces a concept, and equips students with the tools and understanding for further experimentation and investigation. The activities included are wonderful, but after students have a basic understanding, encourage them to come up with their own investigations of light, sound, and motion.
Students could use the Exploritorium Activities as guides for creating their own investigations and activities to share with the class.
Tips: While the activities reference the Science Journal app for data collection, if you have access to other types of devices you can still use these activities! Just download a light, sound, and motion sensor app and your students can complete any of the activities on the Maker & Science site.
What it is:Get Qurious is a company who’s goal is to keep kids curious, creative, and expressive by combining technology and play. The Get Qurious Maker Box is packed full of interactive play opportunities. In this box, the story of the Three Little Pigs comes to life in ways like never before with interactive games, puzzles, and activities that encourage creativity and discovery. Students can scan physical play pieces with the Get Qurious app and the play pieces come magically to life. In the box students will find story cards, masks, a puzzle, and a sticker book. Each piece comes to life when scanned in the app. The story cards help students sequence the story, and bring the story of the 3 Little Pigs into animated life. When students put on the masks, they become part of the story through augmented reality, students can tap the microphone button to record themselves as they re-inact the story. The puzzle building activity lets students build their own house. The pieces of the puzzle can be scanned to bring the house to life in 3D. The reusable stickers in the sticker book let kids create their own version of the Three Little Pigs.
How to integrate Get Qurious Maker Box into the classroom: The Get Qurious set brings the story of the Three Little Pigs alive in new and fun ways. I particularly like the way students are encouraged to think about story sequence, how they can remix the story to highlight a different point of view and characters, and the way they can become part of the story. This set is a wonderful way to bring the joy of reading to life. Students can interact with the familiar story as a center activity, or as a take-home kit. If you teach in the primary classroom, Get Qurious could be a great kit to send home with students throughout the year. A lot of times, parents may not have time to, or simply don’t, read with their children at home. The Get Qurious kit is engaging enough that you won’t have to “convince” your students to go home and read. The kit encourages exploration and discovery and combined with the app, leads students through the familiar story in new ways. For your struggling or reluctant readers, the Get Qurious app really shines because it offers immediate reading support as they scan story cards in the app. Students can record their reaction to the story, or expand on the story to tell it from a different point of view. They can also practice re-mixing the story using the re-usable sticker book and app.
While I love the intent behind Get Qurious, a few cautions: 1) It is called the Get Qurious Maker Box. The name is a bit of a misnomer, it definitely isn’t what you think of when you think of the Maker Movement. While it does blend technology and play, I wouldn’t call it a Maker Box. If you are looking for resources for your Maker Space, this isn’t it. This kit is better billed as a blended learning play kit. 2) The recommended ages are 4-9 years old. I think it appeals more to the 3-7 age range. This is best for prek through second grade classes.
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Get Qurious was generous enough to send me a kit to explore for this blog post. Thanks Get Qurious!
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