brook among tall trees in autumn forest
K-12, Teaching Tools

Happy September Resources!

If you asked me, “Would you rather… hot weather or cold?” I would usually say hot. But I am so ready for this hot weather to be gone after the record temps we’ve seen this summer! So I’m delighted that it is the first of September, and hoping that this new month stays out of the triple digits.

Of course, September brings a lot of other treats besides cooler weather in this part of the world. From Labor Day in the US to International Podcasting Day worldwide, there are lots of things to celebrate. I’ve curated as many resources as I can find to help you do that on my September Holidays and Celebrations Wakelet. In addition to Labor and Podcasting Days, there are: Sudoku Day, Dot Day, Day of Peace, and Rosh Hashanah. Of course, there’s a link to my Back to School Wakelet for those of you just beginning your year, as well. Though I’m positive those aren’t the only meaningful celebrations in September (I’m still looking for resources for International Chocolate Day), I think that’s a pretty good start! If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to comment. And, don’t forget that Donna Lasher has a comprehensive list of Holiday/Seasonal Activities here.

You can see all of my Wakelet collections here, and follow me for updates. In addition, if you sign up for my free newsletter, you’ll see my W.O.W. (Wakelet of the Week) featured in each edition, along with a recap of that week’s blog posts and some interesting resources that didn’t make it to the blog but I still thought you’d appreciate.

Happy September!

stationery surrounded by dried flowers
Photo by Boris Pavlikovsky on Pexels.com
group of classmates greeting each other
K-12, Teaching Tools

Free Resources for Community Building with Students

One of the frequently visited posts on this site is “SEL and Community Building with Slides.” Of course, as students return to school throughout this month and next, community building is key to starting the year right, and needs to be done throughout the year in order to strengthen connections. On Twitter recently, Dr. Catlin Tucker (@Catlin_Tucker) shared a Google Slides presentation of questions to use with students to start conversations. These are similar to the “Sign-Off Questions” shared by Ester Park (@MrsParkShine). I updated my SEL post with Dr. Tucker’s link, as well as another one from Joy Kirr (@JoyKirr) who commented in that same thread with a link to her page of “Question of the Day” suggestions. You can find these links, and more, on my Back to School Wakelet. Whenever people denigrate social media, I want to defend its value as I think about all of the incredible resources like these that are shared by generous, creative educators!

positive black woman talking to radio host
history, Independent Study, K-12, Research, Teaching Tools, Writing

International Podcast Day

So, I’m in the middle of curating resources for my September Holidays and Celebrations Wakelet collection (still working on it, but it is public if you want to take a look), and I found out that September 30th is International Podcast Day. Have I mentioned that I love podcasts, and that there are so many ways to leverage them for engagement in the classroom? I even wrote an article about “Podcast Pedagogy” last year for NEO. Whether you want to have students listen to podcasts (see my article for tons of suggestions, including Smash, Boom, Best) or create them, podcasts are a nice way to give students opportunities for more choice and creativity in their learning and assessments.

I discovered a couple of new resources since I wrote that article that I am adding to my September Wakelet, but I’ll also include here. First of all, I saw this nice idea for a podcast listening station from Stacy Brown (@21stStacy) on Twitter:

Also from Twitter, Chris Hitchcock (@CHitch94), shared this spreadsheet of podcasts that relate to history to use with secondary students.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate International Podcast Day, this page has good suggestions. I realize that it’s over a month away, but these are activities you definitely you want to plan ahead of time rather than the night before.

This page from Building Book Love has excellent recommendations for podcasts for both elementary and secondary. There are also links to some TPT pages the author has created for listening and responding to podcasts.

There are a few other links on my Wakelet if you want to delve deeper. If you haven’t tried using podcasts yet, I hope that you will take the leap because they are definitely a valuable educational resource that I think has been largely untapped so far!

Off on a Tangent training using Ethics Depth and Complexity Mat
K-12, Math, Teaching Tools

Off on a Tangent

I had a wonderful time yesterday working with NEISD GT on some math enrichment activities in a workshop I titled, “Off on a Tangent.” We mashed up a Slow Reveal Graph with Depth and Complexity mats and tried out the Connect, Extend Challenge Visible Thinking Routine with Splat. (The latter could have gone better, I think, with higher quality facilitation on my part. Definitely improving on that next time!) Even though they had just completed challenging working days, the teachers were receptive and enthusiastic as they explored the many resources I tried to curate just for them to either use with their students in GT or to recommend to classroom teachers for students craving new challenges.

I’m grateful for still having many opportunities to be involved in education despite “retiring” a couple of years ago. Thanks to all of you for allowing me to continue to be a part of this world whether it is by reading my blog posts (which admittedly often go off on a tangent), connecting with me on social media, or inviting me to present professional development. It’s an honor to regularly interact with and learn from so many rock-star educators!

3-12, Bloom's Taxonomy, Books, Language Arts, Teaching Tools

A Journey Through Lumio with Bloom’s Taxonomy

This post is sponsored by Lumio. All opinions are my own.

The best educational technology tools out there are: easy-to-use, engaging, empowering, and elastic. By “elastic” I mean that they have flexibility, which applies not only to the devices on which they can be used but the settings in which teachers would like to use them. Many programs out there, for example, can be great for checking student memory retention with multiple choice questions, but they won’t work for activities that address the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy such as, “Evaluate,” or “Create.” On the other extreme, you may have an educational technology tool that has an endless number of applications, but it’s incredibly time-consuming to learn how to use it – so it becomes another wasted resource. Lumio, however, separates itself from these polar opposites because it fulfills all four of the essential criteria.

You may recall my initial post, “5 Smart Ways to Engage Your Students with Lumio,” in which I described the versatility of this free digital learning tool suitable for any classroom with student devices. In that article, I wanted to give you an overview of some of Lumio’s features. Today, I’d like to do a deeper dive into Lumio by giving you some concrete examples of how it is: easy-to-use, engaging, empowering, and elastic. To do this, I’d like to demonstrate how simple it is to address any level of Bloom’s Taxonomy with Lumio.

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that you are a teacher who has just finished reading the novel, Tuck Everlasting, with your students.

Once you’ve finished reading the book, you want to get an up-to-date snapshot of how the students are doing when it comes to remembering the important story details, so you quickly whip up a Monster Quiz because you know it will give you good information and your students thrive on friendly competition.

Using Monster Quiz to “Remember” Tuck Everlasting details.

Following completion of the online quiz, you decide to gather even more information with another quick formative assessment so you can hit the “Understand” level of Bloom’s. You move to the next slide in your presentation, and students are greeted by a Sorting Activity with one container for Angus Tuck and one for The Man in the Yellow Suit. Students show both their understanding of the novel and these two main characters by dragging quotes you’ve selected to the correct options.

“Understand” Tuck Everlasting with the Sorting Activity from Lumio

After students reflect on how they did on these activities, you are ready to make a plan to continue reviewing with students who may need it, while others can advance through some of the higher levels of Blooms. They can work at their own pace either independently or in groups as they perform Lumio’s Matching Activity to apply what they know and have inferred about the characters. You assign them to match characters from the novel to how they would react in completely different 21st century situations. Which character would most likely spread fake news on social media? Who would be the first volunteer to start a colony on Mars? 

“Apply” what you learned from Tuck Everlasting with Lumio’s Sorting Activity

So far, these have all been activities where you might expect certain answers, and Lumio’s tools will check them for you and provide results. With the interest of introducing more rigor, you want to design some higher order thinking activities that are more open-ended. You decide to have students discuss and analyze in collaborative groups by providing them the Venn Diagram from Lumio’s set of graphic organizers to compare/contrast two of the characters. Though could be done on paper, having it in Lumio makes it easy to display responses to the whole class so they can debate the responses while using supporting evidence from the novel. You also have a digital record you can refer to later to look for misunderstandings or learning growth.

“Analyze” the characters of Tuck Everlasting with the Venn Diagram Template in Lumio’s library.

When you feel like students are prepared to advance to the Bloom’s Level, “Evaluate,” the Lumio Ranking Tool is perfect. One feature of this “elastic” tool is that you can select, “Don’t Check,” when setting up the activity, and you definitely expect and hope for different responses as you ask your students to rank the characters in Tuck Everlasting from the least to most courageous. This will generate enthusiastic discussions in your class as the students defend their choices with examples from the story. 

“Evaluate” the courage of the characters in Tuck Everlasting with Lumio’s Ranking Activity

Finally, your students are ready to create. You elect to give them several choices using the Tic-Tac-Toe Board Template in Lumio, including both physical and digital options. Ones that they could do within a self-paced Lumio activity might be: creating Black-Out Poetry with a PDF of a page from the novel you’ve uploaded, creating an advertisment the Man in the Yellow Suit might design for his magical water, or making a scrapbook page for one of the characters using images the students upload with Lumio’s safe-search tool.

“Create” with this Tic-Tac-Toe template from Lumio.

As you can see from these examples, Lumio is a robust collaborative learning tool product that allows both teachers and students to work at different levels. From designing the lesson to implementing it and revising as you go along, teachers can set themselves and their students up for success.

Want to begin using Lumio today? It’s free. Click here to get started!

map atlas south america
Games, K-12, Teaching Tools

Earth Day and Upcoming May Holidays

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, and I’ve added some new resources to my Earth Day Wakelet collection, including a link to some Lumio templates you may want to try. (Read my post on Lumio from last week if you’d like to learn more about this free tool.)

In addition, I’ve tried to get a jump on May, which has a dizzying number of observances and celebrations, from Eid Al Fitr to U.S. Memorial Day. Here is that Wakelet, and please let me know if you have a resource that I should add. You’ll find some of favorite Mother’s Day lessons in there as well as Teacher Appreciation and Star Wars Day (May the 4th).

With testing season here, you may want some brain breaks, so I just want to remind you that I have a Fun Stuff collection, Brainteasers and Puzzles, and Wordle Variations (to which I just added my new favorite, Hurdle)

To see my entire set of Wakelet collections, which are listed in alphabetical order, you can visit this page, and follow me for updates.

person holding world globe facing mountain
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com