The 3 Little Pigs Remixed
Have fun while your students meet the Common Core E/LA standard for discerning ‘theme’ in fiction. Just have them do some remix with the Three Little Pigs and produce variant endings. Other activities build plots from themes, create quick plays from original stories, and more. Watch as teachers describe the unfolding lesson in this Teaching Channel video. Worksheets and handouts included. Since June 2011, the nonprofit Teaching Channel has produced hundreds of free videos about good teaching practice, all presented by teachers themselves.
What Every Middle School Teacher Needs to Know About Reading Tests saves valuable time and helps you empower your students without sacrificing high-quality instruction. You'll get strategies and activities for mastering test items across all of the commonly assessed reading standards. Preview the entire book.
PBL the Muppet Way
Teacher Michael K. Milton recently noticed that the plot of the 2011 movie, The Muppets, mirrors the processes of Project Based Learning. In this @deeplearning blog post, Milton analyzes the PBL-like steps the Muppet gang pursues to save Muppet Productions. Clever and informative. In addition to the movie clip included in the post, find more at Disney’s website for the The Muppets.
Build Projects with Science Buddies
Science Buddies wants K-12 students to enjoy challenging science projects. The free site offers students the Ask an Expert Forum and the Topic Selection Wizard. Teachers will find thoroughly developed guides, enrichment tools, and rubrics. Science Buddies is a nonprofit supported largely through the foundations of tech, energy, and child-oriented companies. For Earth Day, the site's staffers have selected favorite projects, including wiping out ‘vampire’ computer peripherals and modeling the global conveyer belt (ocean currents) in a loaf dish.
Parent Guide: 21st C Learning
To help more parents acclimate to new trends in teaching and learning, Edutopia has released A Parent’s Guide to 21st Century Learning, available as a PDF to registered users (no cost). After a quick overview of collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking, the guide offers grade leveled resources parents can use at home and within the school community. For teachers, try Edutopia’s 2011 Home-to-School Connections Guide. Teacher Larry Ferlazzo, whose ideas on parent engagement are included in the guide, recently hosted a discussion on ‘Ways to Build Trust Between Parents & Teachers’ at his EdWeek blog, Classroom Q&A.
Finding a few minutes to tackle ‘a Google a Day’ (aGaD) can give your students a fun way to practice internet search skills. In a Voices from the Learning Revolution post, middle school NBCT Marsha Ratzel outlines her recently acquired Google a Day strategies, which also help students identify credible sources. ELSEWHERE: In wake of news that the Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer appear in print, the NYT Learning Network has posted lesson ideas for improving students' use of Google, Wikipedia, and Times Topics pages. AND: A recent article in Educational Leadership looks at ways to help students evaluate the quality of resources, including infographics, in terms of expertise, accuracy, and more. There's also a checklist for judging Wikipedia articles.
Brain Science Changes Education
Digital Kits Save Time
In a recent Tempered Radical post, sixth grade teacher Bill Ferriter shows how to use Google Docs to create digital image kits for student projects, including storytelling. A huge advantage of providing the kits online is that kids can spend more time understanding ideas and less hunting for images. Ferriter also notes that image searches from within Google Docs will limit results to Creative Commons images licensed for reuse and modification. Ferriter’s how-to screen shots should get you off to a swift start as you create your own digital kits. And don't miss his follow-up post with more details about how he uses the kits.
See History in the Making
Historical film clips can catch the flavor of the period and show Very Important Personages in action. The clips can also catch students’ attention in a hurry. To help teachers make the most effective use of these authentic glimpses into the past, teachinghistory.org offers K-12 lesson plans, strategies to boost learning, and a PDF ("Archives of Historic Footage") describing many clip sources. There's much more at the USDOE-supported site. You might start with the Quick Links pages for elementary and middle school.
MiddleWeb's Quick Links
Didn't find quite what you need? Here's a quick look at some other resources of interest.
• Scholastic blogger Addie Albano answers general education teachers’ questions on IEPs.
• Angry Birds have invaded Space, thanks to NASA and Rovio. The mission: understand microgravity .
• Teens and teachers can find great spring/summer reading in YALSA’s Best of the Best Reading Challenge.
• The Statistical Abstract of the US has survived abandonment by the Census Bureau, thanks to for-profit companies.
• 4th grade teacher Patti Grayson is using Edmodo, the secure social network for students & teachers, in some creative ways that can work in other grades too.
• Find Antarctic icebergs, weather, penguins and survival tips - in lessons and links - at Countdown to 2041.