I love Rock the Lab, an incredible resource from @learnmoorestuff. She has recently updated her Hour of Code page, and the layout is awesome. It includes links to the basic computer science lessons for each grade level, the activities that have been especially developed for Hour of Code, an Hour of Code Hyperdoc, and a link to the newest Flipgrid Explorer series, which is all about coding!
Be sure to get involved with the 2017 Hour of Code, which is happening next week from December 4-8. This has been one of my favorite annual events, and I’ve seen incredible student learning ever since my classes started participating the very first year. Trust me, you don’t have to be knowledgeable about programming to facilitate a great Hour of Code experience!
Leslie Fisher (@LeslieFisher) tweeted out this link to Weekly Map yesterday. The concept is similar to the “What’s Going on in this Graph?” feature that appears in the New York Times the second Tuesday of every month – except, of course, that this a weekly challenge. Each Monday brings a new map, and a hint is given each weekday including Friday. A link is also provided on Friday to the answer.
So far, the site has archived 65 Weekly Maps, and they are labeled with difficulty ratings. This is a great way for students to practice deductive reasoning and geography skills, as well as vocabulary. (I had no idea what a choropleth map was until I looked at this site.) The “Lessons” part of the site is under construction, so maybe if we give them lots of love that will happen faster!
Empatico is a new site that is being developed to match students with other classrooms around the world. Because the site is beta testing, you will need to give them your contact information in order to gain early access (expected launch in September, 2017). It is designed for students 8-10 years old, and includes two types of activities: “Sparks” – short activities meant to last 3-5 hours, and “Fires” – experiences that last 2-3 weeks. You can see some examples of activities on this page. I’m already excited about the “Ways We Play” activity, in which students share the different ways they entertain themselves with a class from another part of the world. I am always looking for opportunities for my students to connect globally (see our Valentine Project from earlier this year and my Skype resource post), and Empatico looks like a promising free resource that we can utilize!
The Curiosity Workshop is a website founded by Mia Nicklin, who began to write daily “curiosities” for her son when she observed that his school experiences did not seem to be stimulating his interest in learning. Among the staff and contributors, The Curiosity Workshop also has a teacher advisory board and a student one that includes children between 8 and 12 years old.
Somewhat of an online magazine for children, The Curiosity Workshop is certain to motivate readers to learn more with its amazing pictures and kid “bite-sized” information . It does not yet have the substantive number of resources that you can find on sites like Wonderopolis, but it does have an interesting “hook.” With parent permission, students can register for the “Read for Good” program, which allows participants to collect online “stamps” as they correctly answer questions about each of the posts. With a mere 50 stamps, they can choose a charity to which to donate, such as saving elephants or providing soccer balls to impoverished communities.
This site has a lot of potential, and I hope that it will expand over time. In the meantime, share it with students and parents if you are interested in nourishing curiosity and the world at the same time.
Google has just released a new, free curriculum designed to teach digital citizenship and online safety. The program, called, “Be Internet Awesome,” consists of 5 parts:
Share with Care – Be internet smart
Don’t fall for Fake – Be internet alert
Secure Your Secrets – Be internet strong
It’s Cool to Be Kind – Be internet kind
When in Doubt, Talk it Out – Be internet brave
The curriculum is downloadable, and is aligned with ISTE standards. There is also a video game for kids to play that supports the lessons.
I haven’t had the chance to explore all of the resources, but it is becoming more and more urgent that our students receive education in this area at an early age. The internet and social media are parts of our culture that are not going to go away, and it is our job to prepare our students to use these tools safely and effectively.
First of all, I should tell you that I firmly believe that children should have “unstructured” time to play. This is when creativity bursts onto the scene, right at the brink of boredom. However, I also think children should get the opportunity to learn more about things that interest them, and camps can fulfill this need. Camps of all kinds are often offered during school breaks, from horseback riding to surfing. But some can be expensive or inconveniently far. So, here are some free, online camps designed for kids that you may want to try instead.
Camp Wonderopolis 2017 – Wonderopolis, the fabulous resource that provides kid-friendly answers to all kinds of questions, offers an annual online summer camp. This year’s theme is, “Build Your Own Wonderocity!” and it begins on June 12, 2017. You can register for the camp here.
Camp GoNoodle – When you create a free account with GoNoodle, you can access their free camp during the month of July, which will offer 5 new adventures every Monday of that month. Get more information here.
Summer Math Challenge – Register for this free service to get weekly e-mails from 6/19/17 – 7/28/17 that will give parents ideas for math activities to maintain or improve skills over the summer based on grade level standards. Find out more here
Leland Melvin is a former football player. He also happens to be a retired astronaut. (The two careers happened in that order.) Steamography has joined with Leland Melvin to create a site that tells his story as the first in what they plan to be a series of “ographies” about people who have lived STEAM-driven lives. You can learn more about Steamography’s mission here.
I can’t think of anything that might be more interesting to children than a football player turned astronaut – except a football player turned astronaut who loves dogs. Fortunately, Leland Melvin fits that description, as you can see from the cover of his recently published book, Chasing Space. (There is also a Young Reader’s Edition of this book.)
On Steamography’s Leland Melvin page, your students will be greeted with fun comic-like graphics, short videos from Melvin on such topics as, “What it’s like to spend Thanksgiving in space,” and eight STEAM activities.
If this site is an indication of the future Steamographies that will be featured, then I am looking forward to this being an incredible resources for my students to inspire and motivate them to learn more about STEAM careers.