Author - Lisa Nowakowski

Is it October already?

Ferris wheel and other carnival rides moving in a blur

When my podcasting partner, Lisa Nowakowski, aka NowaTechie, and I saw the application to become Social Media Champs for CUE last April, we were excited by the possibility of expanding our audience and getting to share what we do with a wider group of educators. We were also eager to exchange ideas and resources with other CUE members. When we got the call that we had been chosen to be Social Media Champs, we were over the moon.

The past six months have been a whirlwind. We were busy, that’s for sure. On top of our teaching/coaching duties, every week we posted an episode of the TLC Ninja podcast and an article to the OnCUE blog. Was it a lot of work? You bet. But it was worth it. We got the chance to write about tools and techniques we know and love for the CUE community, and we got to explore others we were curious about.

Working with the CUE team was an awesome experience and we loved every minute of it. Are we sad our six month gig is coming to end? Of course. But we are happy that someone else will get to take the reins and enjoy what we got to experience. Applications are open until Oct. 31 at http://blog.cue.org/smc/. Apply to be the next Social Media Champ. Take the risk. You’ll be glad you did.

As this is our last post for the OnCUE blog, Lisa and I would like to take a moment to say thank you to CUE for this opportunity. It’s been a blast!

CommonLit For All

CommonLit provides high quality, research-based, Common Core aligned literacy resources for grades three through twelve. And did we mention it’s all free? The materials are created for teachers by teachers and adhere to the highest of standards. This rich resource is a hidden gem.

Along with the free material, CommonLit integrates with Google Classroom for easy assigning and management. Each text has lessons that are easy to follow and track students’ progress via the online dashboard. Inside the dashboard, teachers can view the results of assignments. These assignments are broken down by question, along with the correlating standard, individual results, and class average.

When assigning content, teachers can view by grade level, genre, literary device, theme, units, and books. Searches will lead to a variety of article choices in which to choose from. Searching by unit or book will yield articles that can be used together. In units, teachers can choose from author studies or subjects. These units come with several articles and lessons that blend together. Need to pair a short text article to enhance the learning of the novel your class is reading? No problem! CommonLit has articles that complement several classic novels.

When students work online, accessibility features are available. They are given the opportunity to highlight, look up words in a dictionary, translate words as needed, and have text-to-speech capabilities. These features help students through the guided questions, where they have multiple opportunities to demonstrate understanding, and the assessment questions.

Teachers are given a variety of resources to accompany the assignment. Teachers can view, discuss, or assign paired texts or related media. Parents also have the opportunity to stay connected with their child’s learning through Parent Guide, which teachers can share with families. This resource can be shared with parents by the teacher. It informs parents of the learning and ways to be involved; through asking questions and viewing videos that relate to the topic.

Argument Writing in Social Studies

Read.Inquire.Write is a researched-based Social Studies curriculum from the University of Michigan School of Education. The FREE, downloadable lessons were created for middle school students and focus on argumentative writing through various sources. There are three strands: interpretations, critiques, and counterarguments.

The lessons have a standard progression. All materials are provided including PowerPoints, rubrics, and student samples. Read.Inquire.Write has resources to fit the needs of all your students; whether they need support in reading or are English Language Learners.

Diversity in Education

Many teachers are looking to bring in equity and diversity in their classrooms. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is helping teachers meet their needs. The ADL supports teachers by providing free resources to bring diversity into the classroom.

Their education section is full of information. They have everything including lesson plans, books, strategies for the classroom, webinars, trainings and more. The tools and strategies section has something for every classroom; whether you teach Kinder, 12th-grade or anything in between.  This resource can guide you through books, holidays, movies, and current social issues. Table Talk: Family Connections is a valuable resource for families to help them navigate the current events and news of the day. Classroom Conversations help teachers navigate news and social and emotional development of children. They have dedicated an entire section to Bullying/Cyberbullying. In here, there are resources for teachers, parents, and students. As an added bonus the resources are available in English and Spanish.

Makin’ and Creatin’

Are you looking to start a MakerSpace at your school or in your classroom? Do you need resources and guidance to get started? Or maybe you have a MakerSpace and are looking for ideas on how to make it better. The folks at MakerSpace for Education have you covered.

MakerSpace for Education offers online professional development resources whether you are just beginning or looking to ‘up your game’. This site goes through the different frameworks of MakerSpace including constructionism, the maker movement, design thinking, and media literacy.

A wealth of information can be found under the Materials of MakerSpace tab. This is where you can find a list of possible tools to be used in a MakerSpace. They have listed both tech tools and non-tech tools. As they say, “There is something for everyone.” This helpful resource breaks down the tools for beginning to advanced users. In addition, the site gives helpful hints and lesson ideas.

This amazing resource continues to grow. Users are encouraged to share their lesson ideas. There is so much information on the site, you could fall down a rabbit hole of fascination. Happy creating!

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