Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Feeding Our Minds and Bodies

Produce for Kids (PFK) is a great resource for helping parents and kids understand the benefits of good nutrition and regular exercise. PBS KIDS partners with PFK to spread the word, and so I wanted to forward the information on to you.

You can find PFK at There is a collection of links providing ideas for addressing nutrition and exercise in your classroom as well as some great kid-friendly recipes.
Another great place to find resources about kids and food is at PBS Parents. Go here to see all they have to offer.

These are both great resources and I encourage you to take a look and pass them on.

Literacy Celebration

Thanks for a great day. I think next year it will be an even bigger turnout. Carol

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Power Up! Grades 6-8 Science

This tool, created by Science NetLinks, challenges students to think about the positive and negative consequences of various types of power. The site provides students with a specific monetary budget, which they can use to purchase power plants for their city. As students choose their types of power, they learn how much power the plant provides, how much it costs, and the effect it could have on the environment. While this page links to the overview of the tool for grades 6-8, you can access reviews for additional grades and benchmarks using the navigation tools at the top of the overview.
Check it out:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

15 year olds

I was reading the PBS Media Infusion blog this a.m. because the headline caught my eye... Meeting the Needs of Adolescent Learners with Media and Technology. I wondered how many secondary teachers reading that headline bristled. These days it seems Adolescent Learners = Intuitive Media and Technology. It is second nature to them. It is an extra 2 or 3 steps for most of us.

Let's see... a 15 year old... born in 1993 right? Am I doing the math correctly? It is 2008 last time I checked :) but those who know me well know how math challenged I am. So... in 1993 I was teaching special education and still doing IEPs on NCR paper... remember that stuff? You would practically break a hand trying to press hard enough to write 6 copies at once. I would take my students to the Apple IIE lab - the old computers - to play things like Oregon Trail - on Fridays for a break. The TV/VCR carts were coveted by the coaches headed off to games. The Mac Classics were reserved for the school newspaper and yearbook classes. We still had a card catalog in the library. But... these guys... these 15 year olds were still babies.

Fast forward 5 years to kindergarten - these kids had parents who were probably just starting to use email for work and the internet to get tips and tricks on parenting. I think it was in 1998 I was working on my 2nd yearbook with a class of students and it was all digital EXCEPT for the photos - that technology was still too expensive. Barney was all the rage though with these kids headed to school for the first time, right?

Fast forward 5 more years and these kids are now 4th graders - 2003. The internet is everywhere. Teachers are streaming video segments maybe if they have access to projectors and even better might get a chance to touch a SmartBoard. These are the kids going home to watch Spongebob and Nick. They play with PS2s. They probably can help their parents with their cell phones - but cell phones are probably mostly still in the high school... not yet made it to the "latch-key kids". Isn't 2003 still pre-iPod boom.

2008. 15 years old. Headphones in ears. Backpacks designed to sport MP3 players with a headphone hole. Texting has its own grammatical structure. Digital photography is everywhere and anywhere. Digital video is anywhere and everywhere too. So look around your classroom... what items do you have in your teaching that are part of this revolution that occurred while we were busy standing at the copy machine and worrying about highly qualified paperwork. In our effort to make sure everything is standards based and working to help students pass standardized tests, technology quadrupled its stronghold.

So what are you doing to make sure - not only is your curriculum rigorous... but is it relevant? Do these 15 year olds wake up in the morning and get excited about what you have to say and share with them? Do you know the latest abbreviations to interpret the notes in class? Do you ever allow your students to use the computers they carry around in their pockets (aka cell phones) as calculators and collaborative tools? Do you let anyone else touch the computer in your classroom besides you? If you need help knowing how to find relevant digital content, you might go to a sight like or and ask a 15 year old to help you search, download, and even stream video or "play" with flash interactives. Better yet, have them assist you in posting a comment to this blog, or help you set up a class blog... and encourage the discussion beyond the walls of your classroom.

We have one chance to get these kids ready for the real world. The media is all around them. It is all around all of us. Isn't it up to us to help them interpret it appropriately and provide them with the proper filters to understand credible sources? Isn't it up to us to show them we are learning along with them and they have something they can teach us as well?

© FNO Press, 2004

Copyright Policy: While the copyright for this cartoon by Jerry King belongs to From Now On, readers may distribute and republish provided they reproduce the credit with a link to Jerry's Web site and to From Now On

Monday, October 20, 2008

Teaching That Makes Sense

Another teacher at my site discovered a wonderful website with posters, downloadables, lesson plans and more. The focus of the website is primarily reading and writing, but there is a wealth of information that can be used by teachers of all subject areas.

Web address:


Help Design New PBS Online Video Player

If you have yet to visit PBS Teachers, NOW is the perfect time! PBS Teachers offers a collection of Web 2.0 tools now for you to collaborate with other educators from across the globe, along with ways for you to tag and collect the great teaching resources you find. Create a free account for PBS Teachers Connect and get in on the fun.

ALSO! How often are you asked for your input? Look for the discussion How do you use online video to enhance learning? and offer your thoughts! I know you are all super experienced users of Discoverystreaming. Please share your ideas directly on the PBS Teachers Connect sight and continue the discussion!

Would you like to help PBS Teachers build a new online video player that meets the needs of educators and students? Please get involved by letting us know how you use online video to enhance learning. How do you find online video? How do you plan for lessons that include online video? How do you share the video with your students? What features and functionalities would the ideal video player have?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Social Studies "Think Critically to be Creative"

Building a sod house? It's not as easy as it seems! In this interactive activity, taken from the OurStory series produced by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will attempt to build a sod house by making choices regarding the construction of their house. Too many wrong answers and the house will collapse! This engaging and lighthearted activity will help students understand the challenges settlers faced while trying to survive on the open prairie. OurStory is a series of modules designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of objects from the Museum's vast collections, quality children's literature, and engaging hands-on activities. Ideal for afterschool use, OurStory resources will allow students to think critically, to be creative, and to achieve academic standards both in and out of the classroom.
Here is the interactive web site:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

great websites to share

Good afternoon from still warm and sunny Arizona. :)
Just wanted to make sure everyone knows about these two wonderful websites:

This is a bilingual site for families and educators who are helping children become successful readers. Tons of downloadable info' in both Spanish and English.

Here's where the website's name comes from:
The name "ColorĂ­n Colorado" comes from a playful phrase that is often said at the end of stories in Spanish-speaking countries. There's no literal translation, but the phrase is similar to "…and that's the end of the story!" or "…and they lived happily ever after."

This site is another reading site with an emphasis on best practices for struggling readers.

Who do you know?

In-home care providers provide love and nurturing to our youngest Arizona children. No matter what grade you teach, I would bet you know someone who takes care of children under age 5 in their own home.

ASSET-Eight has extended the deadline for the In-Home Caregiver Recognition Awards to Wednesday, October 15 - 5 pm. Please think about who means a lot in your community by serving families with young children.

Find more information online at the ASSET Early Childhood website. We look forward to hearing from you!.