Ten Creative Ways Students Can Have a Better Summer Break | Edudemic

I have read that students (especially low-income students with no access to books and enriching materials or activities) come back in September with a significant loss of skills. Not that I think we should get rid of summer break (I like summer). And I am a big proponent of letting my kids have unstructured time, though I know this might be unpopular – most students I talk to seem to have every minute of their break planned ahead of time, from going away to camp to family vacations.

Until they decide that all they want to do is watch TV all summer. The Summer Reading Challenge is my own personal way of getting students excited about keeping up their reading over the summer. However, this article gives some other ideas as to how we can motivate students (and our own children) to take control of their own learning and start exploring the world!

School breaks are an exciting time for students. With (usually) no homework and lots of free time, they’re pretty much the ultimate kid fantasy.

Source: www.edudemic.com

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Pearson board cuts 18 librarians in elementary schools

I am going to pause from my usual tips and news about the Tech world to talk about the recent news from the Lester B. Pearson School Board concerning the cutting of 18 elementary librarian jobs. Of course, being a librarian, I am a tad biased about the news. But I still have to bemoan the short-sightedness of this measure.

Here is a quote from the article:

“A librarian is not just someone who sits behind a desk, shushing people. A librarian organizes the books, makes sure the books are appropriate, teaches the children how to research, teaches them about important things such as plagiarism and copyright.” -Suann Stein-Day, Board Chairman

Well…yes… but, librarians actually do much more.


Having a librarian in your school means that students can have access to books outside of library hours (though I am not sure that was the case in all elementary schools, as I think many of the LBPS shared librarians?) But if done, right, there should be a librarian who is accessible to students during recess and lunch as well as after school. The presence of a  librarian in a school provides support to not only the students but the teachers. They are essential and passionate pushers of books. They get to know the kids and know which books will work for their audience. They are fearless promoters of reading.

Other literacies

In this digital age, it is even more important that our students learn how to use the equipment at their disposal. A lot of talk has been given to the idea of Digital natives, this generation who have never known a world without the internet. But that does not mean they know how to use it efficiently., Sure, they are great at posting stuff to Snapchat and instagram. But ask them something simple such as double spacing lines in an essay or how to evaluate a website and they are lost. Librarians are invaluable in teaching not only information literacy, but more and more, the different aspects of Digital citizenship, from knowing how to plug in effective search terms in Google to the mindful use of social media.

Librarians make the Space

Any school librarian will tell you that they not only provide necessary research support to staff and students, they also add value to the school with the various clubs and projects they lead. One of the librarians who is losing her job, Kathy Conroy, was instrumental in the highly successful Battle of the Books event our school has competed in for the last two years. Her dedication, commitment and passion, spending way more time than she was paid for to organize this amazing event, was awe-inspiring. And this is just one little thing she does during her day.

Most importantly, the librarian creates a safe space where those students who feel that they don’t fit in, who are shy and awkward and live inside their heads, can come and hang out. Whether they are using the computers or sinking in a corner with the newest paranormal romance, the librarian ensures their space is inclusive, inviting, safe and encouraging.

I think it is short-sighted to cut the spaces and resources in our education system where the student can finally take control of their own learning, where they can explore books and resources and information on their own, supported along the way by the librarian. If we want our students to graduate with a modicum of critical thinking, with empathy for their fellows, with an idea of who they are and what they are interested in, cutting libraries and librarians is the exact opposite way to go.

“How can you have a library without a librarian?” said Lester B. Pearson School Board chairman Suanne Stein-Day. “That’s a question I’d like to ask the education minister, François Blais.” Stein-Da…

Source: montrealgazette.com

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Google Released A New App Called Google Photos ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Whoah. Ok. Just downloaded this app. Stay tuned for a rAPPido Review next week… but so far, it offers way more functionality than the built-in photo app: I built a quick collection and it automatically turned my photos into a movie, offering me soundtracks and export options. It is free but as always, I wonder what the privacy policy is…

Can’t wait to play around with it!

Source: www.educatorstechnology.com

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How (and Why) To Use Student Blogs | Edudemic

Here is a very succinct and thorough guide to setting up students blogs in the classroom, from what platform to use to privacy settings to discussing with your students what they need to think about to make a good blog. If you were thinking of trying out a student blogging project for next year this would be a good place to start!

Blogging doesn’t just mean putting diary entries out on the web for the world to see. It can be a way to learn more about yourself and any other subject.

Source: www.edudemic.com

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What Schools Must Learn From LA’s iPad Debacle | WIRED

It is interesting to see that even the large districts are dealing with the same problems. It sounds like LA had less of an issue with the iPads but with the use of the Pearson curriculum on the iPads:

But the abundance of expensive hardware wasn’t the central problem in LA. It was Pearson’s curriculum that proved most troublesome. In her memo, Bernadette Lucas, the initiative’s director, wrote that less than 5 percent of students had consistent access to the content due to technical issues, and that some students had no access at all for months. As of March, all but two schools had stopped using the Pearson curriculum entirely.

CEC platform anyone? It seems that it is less the actual hardware but the poorly designed and rushed software that is the biggest impediment right now…

The questions the district are just now asking themselves, “What will students learn? How will students learn? What resources will be needed? How will it work?” are good questions. I would argue that they not only need to be asked before a roll out, but perennially.

If one of the country’s largest school districts and the world’s largest tech company can’t make tech in the classroom work, can anyone?

Source: www.wired.com

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Beyond the Screen: Osmo for the iPad 

Although a little young for our students, I still can’t help being impressed by the technology and the incorporation of paper and pencil skills with the iPad. I wonder if OSMO will make a more advanced geometry segment for their app?I know their would be a market for it at the school… Yet the drawing aspect of this app could be used for all ages.

And how cool is it that they could check it out of their library? Hmmm…ideas, ideas, ideas.

We checked this iPad accessory out at our local library. The company describes their product as “a kid’s technology system that brings the physical and digital worlds together.” The kit comes with …

Source: readingbyexample.com

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Teachers Using Trello: How To Foster Genius In The Classroom

This is a different take on the post about “innovation day” I posted yesterday: genius hour. I have to admit though, it reminds me a lot of my kids’ alternative elementary school, where they would always have a few periods a week to work on a personal project.

I also like the use of Trello, which has been on my radar ever since Melanie showed me her attempts to use it with the Yearbook team (they were a little resistant, but I wonder if it is because our seniors are one of the last classes to not all have iPads…) In Fact, now that I think about it, Trell might be a good tool to use for the Integrative Project class!

See how one 5th grade teacher is working on Genius Hour with his students, with a little help from Trello.

Source: blog.trello.com

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What Schools Can Learn from Google About Nurturing Creativity | Edudemic

I have been seeing this article kick around for a few days now and have had a hard time clicking on it as it references yet again the monolith that is Google and using it as an example for schools, which I think is problematic at best, terrifying at worst.

But…yes. There are some interesting ideas that have come out of the big G. Like the idea of 20% of employee’s time being devoted to personal projects (that align with Google’s business goals of course.)

The article below gives the case for implanting an “Innovation Day” at the school once a term where students work on a project of their own choosing (that aligns with the school’s chosen theme of course).

The first thing that came to mind was a way to launch our Makerspace, or at least a way to introduce the tools and resources available at the school outside of the context of the rigid curriculum demands.

What do you think? Let me know!

Google participates in a practice called Innovation Time Off, in which employees can work on projects so long as they align with Google’s mission and goals.

Source: www.edudemic.com

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6 Videos To Use In Your Social Justice Lessons | Edudemic

Although mostly America-centric, some of these videos would be good starting points for many discussions. For example, the one about increasing (or ongoing?) race discrimination in American schools could be paired with the unit on the Civil Rights movement. Or Spike Lee’s short documentary about amazing 13-year-old female athlete Mo’ne Davis could be used in Phys Ed as a way to inspire students but also begin a discussion on gender equality (or not) in sports.

Any other ideas?

Check it out and let me know!

Weaving stories of social justice—especially those that show why we need to keep fighting for equality—into lessons keeps students asking questions.

Source: www.edudemic.com

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