In this interview from Chalkbeat, a Colorado teacher explains how she uses video game design as a way to address problem solving and mathematical critical thinking. Especially in this era when math should be one conduit to enhance our students' problem solving and critical thinking skills, it's definitely worth considering what lessons we might be able to take back to our own math classrooms.
NPR's education portal has a great article today about the things happening inside a child's brain when reading/being read a picture book. This article looks at new research which shows there is a "Goldilocks" zone for cognitive activity when they engage with the narrative and illustrations of picture books. There are important implications in this article for how we approach text with our youngest students and children, and the need for text-rich instructional environments.
Recently, a representative from Cypress Education reached out to introduce a new social media platform for teachers that they would like more teachers to test. The platform is currently in beta testing and is looking for participants to try out the platform and provide feedback. Please see the following information from Cypress and contact Dr. Andrew Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in connecting about Cypress.
"1. What pain points are we solving for teachers?
Before building our product, we talked to teachers in Boston and led focus groups and market research nationally to deeply understand the root of teachers' pain points to ensure we are solving teachers' most significant needs. Cypress uses machine learning to support K-12 teachers, who are siloed in classrooms throughout the day and spend on aggregate 43 million hours a week searching online for resources and $2 billion a year out-of-pocket. We do this by helping teachers find what they are looking for efficiently by providing a support network and delivering quality, tailored content. Cypress supports teachers through every step of their career by helping them grow their teaching practice while saving teacher's time and money. At the core of our vision is building a product that is teacher driven, teacher developed, and teacher serving.
2. How do we do this?
Cypress has built a secure online platform exclusively for K-12 educators that enables teachers to collaborate efficiently and share knowledge. We use machine learning to learn about each teacher's unique needs to deliver personalized, quality resources, alongside data-driven insights into themselves and teaching practice. Ultimately, we want to be the destination for K-12 educators to collaborate, grow, and succeed. K-12 educators use Cypress' trusted platform to:
3. What do we mean by using machine learning to help teachers?
We can look at how our teachers are interacting with the platform:
4. Where are we in this process and what are we looking for?
We started working on Cypress five months ago and are currently in invite-only, private Beta. We are focused on a select cohort of amazing educators in New England, so we can deliver a quality experience to educators. Given we are in the position where we can do things that do not scale, we can tailor the content and support we provide specifically to each school or beta teacher's individual needs. And ultimately, we'll systematize and automate that approach with our algorithms. We are looking to partner with select Archdiocesan collaborative communities as well as seeking individual teachers within the community to beta test our platform this summer (end of May through end of August). Ideally, these teachers are already spending time looking for resources or are earlier on in their teaching careers and could benefit from the collaborative, educator network, teacher resources, and career support offered."
For all teachers of literature and reading, PBS is preparing a series called The Great American Read that will give us a sense of the books that Americans young and old love. There are a lot of great, reading-oriented images that you can peruse with your class on the website. You can also participate in the series by having your class vote for their favorite books from the list starting May 22. This is a great way to encourage independent and in-depth reading of great works.
April is National Poetry Month: how are you taking time in the classroom this month to celebrate? Livia Ramos, dedicated member of the CSO team, has compiled the following resources to help teachers embrace the spirit of this great educational celebration. Check this link that collects a wide range of ideas for multiple different grade levels from NCTE. Check this link for resources that are great for young readers as well as good explainers for teachers about the importance of poetry in the classroom. Check this link for interviews with poets and recommendations on poetry books to use in the classroom. And finally, check this link for information from the NEA about how best to adapt classroom activities to embrace poetry in Grades K-5.
Since the release of Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si in 2015, many schools and classrooms have started to work together to think about what it would look like to integrate his themes on caring for our environment in the classroom. With the spring beginning, I thought I'd post these resources for student challenges, classroom lesson plans, and other stories that have involved the use of Laudato Si in schools. If your school does specific work related to this encyclical, we'd love to hear it! Send me an e-mail at email@example.com!
We've all been suffering through these March Nor'easters and tonight/tomorrow are preparing for what the Boston Globe and others have dubbed the "Four'easter." But why not take these weather crises and turn them into opportunities in your science classes? Have your students answer the question: Why have these storms been happening this year? Find a way to create a science lab for your students that has them explore weather and climate patterns, collect data about average snow fall and compare them year-to-year, or have them write informed letters to other children in the school about why these nor'easters have been happening. Pull on resources to help guide students' exploration. For example: here's a detailed explainer that contains several links to help explore the phenomenon of this recent climate pattern. If you end up doing a lesson on the nor'easters, don't forget to tweet @csoboston or @RCABAndrew!
Have your students expressed an interest in the new movie Black Panther? Not only is the movie a great action movie, but there are many curriculum connections to be made particularly at the middle levels for World History, Geography, Social Studies, Economics, and Literature. A teacher from the Chicago Public Schools (Tess Raser) created this set of lesson plans and activities for middle school students to go along with a viewing of Black Panther. If you have students who have been engaged in the themes and topics brought up in the movie, I highly encourage you to look at and adapt these resources for your use. Here's an article in EdWeek about Raser's plans and the importance of connecting cultural moments to our students' lives and the daily experience of the classroom.
What does it take to provide an equitable, just, and moral education to all of our children? One of the ways we can do so as educators is to work toward closing the opportunity gaps present for our students. In this recent article in Phi Delta Kappan, several high schools that have had success with closing opportunity gaps. What are they doing? Two somewhat straightforward things: "broadening and enriching learning opportunities (in particular, enrolling all students in challenging courses) and creating and maintaining a healthy school culture (including the use of discipline approaches that resist the trend of pushing students out of school)." These are things we want all of our Catholic schools to be doing, not just because it will make our schools high quality but because it is the morally right thing to do for our students, our children, our communities. Check out the Schools of Opportunity site described in the article for more information on successful schools engaged in these practices.
Finding resources for high quality early childhood classrooms can be challenging. Recently, the Boston Public Schools has implemented changes in the way they approach early childhood, focusing on student learning needs and developmentally appropriate experiences. The change was covered locally on WBUR and picked up by NPR nationally. Here is a link to the BPS site that contains lots of information about how you might think of implementing high quality, learning-forward early childhood classrooms.
News and Resources
On this page, you will see short blurbs about interesting news articles or shareable resources for your consumption. Submit ideas for posts to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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