Promote Worldwide Reading on International Literacy Day

Literacy Day posyterBy Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member

Did you know that 1 in 5 people in the world can’t read?

It’s true – the World Literacy Foundation says close to 20% of the world’s population is illiterate. Literacy skills are essential for lifelong learning, and can help elevate global education and progress for the future.

On Sept. 8, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrates the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day. The day will be marked by a two-day conference in Paris on Sept. 8 and 9 where experts in the field, private business, learners, and educators will meet to discuss the progress of promoting literacy as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

But worldwide, schools, communities, and organizations are also encouraged to help spread awareness and increase accessibility to education in developing nations.

How can you help?

There are many opportunities for teachers, homeschoolers, parents and students to get involved in promoting literacy.

Put Up a Poster – UNESCO provides a downloadable poster to celebrate the 50th anniversary and spread awareness around your classroom and school.

Join the Campaign – The World Literacy Foundation is hosting a 2016 International Literacy Day campaign themed “The Sky’s The Limit”  If you register your school by Sept. 7, the Foundation will provide materials to help your school run a school community fundraising campaign toward global literacy.

BooksPromote Literacy Within your Classroom and School – Start the movement for strengthening reading and writing skills by participating literacy activities right in your classroom and school.  Here are some ideas from the Curriki community: http://www.curriki.org/oer/Kindergarten-Literacy-Centers/)

  • Do your students need a reference card for themselves or posted in the classroom?  Here’s a Reading Strategies Poster that covers the eight reading strategies and offers phrase starters to get students started on creating meaning from text.
  • Karen Fasimpaur offers collections of fiction and nonfiction decodable reading passages for early readers that include PDFs, PowerPoint presentations and interactive Voicethreads for students to record themselves reading.
  • Anna Batchelder offers this collection on Literacy Resources for Early Childhood Educators filled with reading lists, early readers suggestions, and activities reading comprehension.
  • ReadWriteThink offers ideas for your class to celebrate International Literacy Day, including a class read-a-thon, creating a cross-grade reading buddy program, or making original books to share with community members.
  • Wonderopolis can help get students start thinking about literacy with activities on the different ways to read and exploring why we read from left to right.
  • Literacy Tips for Parents offers strategies for parents and families to promote a literate household.
  • Teach Kindergarten or early primary grades?  Here are ideas for creating literacy centers in your classroom .

How do you plan on celebrating International Literacy Day?

Share your ideas! Don’t forget to follow along on social media (#LiteracyDay and #50ILD) with your students and children to find out the latest on events and activities!


Lani

Lani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology.

Curriki Joins Forces with the Constitution Center

constitution day logoBy Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

In anticipation of Constitution Day on Friday, Sept. 16 – and, of course, the upcoming presidential election – Curriki is delighted to announce a timely and exciting new partnership: the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia!

The Constitution Center may be physically located in the birthplace of our nation, but its website, ConstitutionCenter.org, reaches around the world as the only virtual place where people can come together to learn, debate and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history – the U.S. Constitution.

Curriki’s Constitution Center Collection

You can find the Constitution Center’s always relevant collection on the Curriki website, with fascinating units such as:

  • The 13th Amendment – examine the Primary Source,  the handwritten congressional copy of the amendment that banned slavery, signed by President Lincoln, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, and over 150 members of Congress, for a vibrant discussion guide on the abolition of slavery.
  • Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War – a lesson plan on this fascinating period n US history, featuring an online game featuring an animated Abe Lincoln
  • The Bill of Rights – a multi-faceted lesson that helps students learn about the rights and freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, translate the document into student-friendly language and make connections with real-life scenarios by playing Bill of Rights Bingo.
  • Students will also dive into the legacy of Martin Luther King, the history of Thanksgiving, the separation of powers and so much more.

Primary sources of some of the most fundamentally important historical material, including the Bill of Rights and the Articles of Confederation, are also offered in this special collection.

What is Constitution Day, Anyway?

Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the most influential document in American history, by the Founding Fathers on September 17, 1787.  Celebrating Constitution Day presents an awesome opportunity to inspire students to actively learn about the founding of the United States.

Find Curriki’s curriculum provided by the Constitution Center here.


Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMO

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Follow Curriki’s Blog at www.curriki.org/blog/.

Computational Thinking: Part 2 – Additional Resources from the CSTA

Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki.By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

In a blog titled “Computational Thinking: Free Professional Development Resources” posted last month, we discussed the concept of computational thinking, its definition and the benefits of teaching computational thinking to students. In essence, Computational Thinking (CT) means solving problems and designing systems by drawing on concepts developed in the field of computer  science. Importantly, CT can be used to solve problems in any subject area.

The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) have created a Computational Thinking Task Force and have produced materials to support computational thinking in K-12 education.

CSTA_logo

You can find their operational definition of CT hereYou can download their document “Computational Thinking Teacher Resources” here. These illustrate CT methods in conjunction with material for other subject areas.  And their Leadership Toolkit for CT is located here.

 CT-TeacherResources-2ed-Cover

Free professional development training

And from Curriki, the Open Educational Resources Library and Community, we offer a self-paced professional development course for K-12 teachers interested in learning how to infuse Computational Thinking into their classes. The course was developed with support from AT&T.

• The CT professional development course is free and available on the Curriki website: www.curriki.org/oer/Computational-Thinking-Resources.

• The course has been created primarily for teachers at the middle school and high school levels, all K-12 educators will benefit from taking the course.

• Any teacher can take the course, including homeschool teachers.

• The self-paced online course provides teachers with a comprehension of CT and with the tools they need to get started right away.

• The course provides flexible professional development opportunities for educators who can work at their own pace and time frame.

• Teachers will examine the components of CT and explore how to introduce CT skills to their students.

• The concepts of CT may be applied to current curricula, project-based learning (PBL) projects, and STEM classes.

• CT can be used to solve problems in any area or field.

• Problem solving through CT is such a critically important skill it is directly or indirectly addressed by several sets of educational standards including:

o Computer Science Teachers Association K-12 Computer Science Standards

o Next Generation Science Standards

  AT&T generously funded the development of this course.

We encourage you to take benefit of this free professional development course in Computational Thinking from Curriki

Oracle Academy Expands in India

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Oracle CEO Safra Catz

Reblogged in part from https://www.oracle.com/in/corporate/pressrelease/oracle-expands-commitment-in-india-20160212.html, which discusses Oracle’s expanded commitment in India, including Oracle Academy Expansion; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDagd9cMCD4

Oracle CEO Safra Catz met with Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi (12 February 2016) and announced three major investments that support the country’s global digital leadership. Catz unveiled a massive, state-of-the-art campus centered in Bengaluru, 9 incubation centers throughout India, and an initiative to train more than half a million students each year to develop computer science skills.

“Oracle has been in India for over 25 years and during that time we’ve grown our investments tremendously,” said Catz. “In fact, India now represents our second largest employee base outside of the United States, with nearly 40,000 current employees and an additional 2,000 current job openings. We are investing over $400 million USD in Bengaluru, opening 9 incubation centers, and training half a million students each year during this expansion phase to support India’s tremendous growth. We ‘Make in India’ for the rest of the world.”

“I’m particularly excited about the incubation centers which will house substantial software and technology capabilities, tools, and training to help launch new technology startups built utilizing Java and the Oracle platform,” said Catz.

“Increasing diversity and creating opportunities for women in technology starts with investing in STEM and computer science education for girls,” said Catz. “Student learning and training has been a focus at Oracle for more than 20 years, and we are expanding our curriculum to include girls-only programs.”

Nine Incubation Centers

To contribute to India’s “Start-up India” and “Make in India” initiatives, Oracle is opening nine incubation centers throughout the country. These centers will support entrepreneurship and development of innovative start-ups by providing software, tools, and training to new software and technology companies utilizing Java and the Oracle platform. These centers will be located in Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Noida, Pune, Trivandrum and Vijayawada.

Oracle Academy Expansion

In support of the prime minister’s “Digital India” and “Skill India” programs, Oracle Academy plans to engage with local schools and universities to train more than half a million students throughout India in computer science each year.

Oracle Academy currently partners with more than 1,700 educational institutions in India, to advance computer science education and drive knowledge, innovation, skills development, and diversity in technology fields. Through these collaborations, more than 3,000 India-based teachers were trained in Java and database last year alone. With today’s announcement, Oracle Academy aims to expand its partnerships to another 1,000 institutions in India, with a goal of reaching 500,000 students annually.

Worldwide, Oracle Academy trains more than 2.6 million students in 106 countries. In the past fiscal year, the program delivered nearly US $3.3 billion in resources globally to help prepare students for life and work in today’s modern technology-driven economy.

Computational Thinking: Free Professional Development Resources

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Curriki has developed, with support from AT&T, a free professional development course in Computational Thinking.

In a 2006 article, entitled Computational Thinking, Jeanette Wing argued that “computational thinking …represents a universally applicable attitude and skill set everyone, not just computer scientists, would be eager to learn and use.. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability.”

While learning to code is popular right now, the thinking skills behind developing code are also critically essential for careers that don’t involve writing code. Computational Thinking is a set of skills and a process that can lead to a much better understanding of computing.

Computational Thinking defined

Computational Thinking (CT) involves some familiar concepts, such as problem decomposition, data representation, and modeling. CT can, but does not necessarily involve computers. When applied to computer science and coding, CT enables you to work out exactly what to tell the computer to get it to do what you want it to.
It means thinking logically, algorithmically and with the ability to apply mathematical concepts. And it means understanding concepts of scale and abstraction.

Benefits of Computational Thinking

If students are to develop a deeper conceptual understanding of how technology actually works, we should teach principles and theory, and how technology can be used to solve problems. CT means solving problems and designing systems in a way that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science.

CT is learning to think in ways which allow us to solve problems more effectively, and when appropriate, to use computers to help us do so. CT is important because it:

• Provides a framework to develop critical thinking across different fields

• Incorporates both creativity and efficiency into problem solving

• Allows students to interact with content-specific models and simulations (e.g., ecosystems, epidemics, molecular dynamics) to support learning and research

• Leads to IT fluency as opposed to IT literacy—moving students beyond being users of tools and information to becoming creators of tools and information (21st century skills)

• Develops job skills that lead to greater income

• Helps non-computer science people learn how to take advantage of the power of, and understand the limitations of, computers

• Applies to all subject areas—and allows students to advance

• Doesn’t require changing curricula or new technologies

A skill set in problem solving using Computational Thinking opens doors for anyone in any area. Curriki is making computer science education possible for all students regardless of zip code and empowering them will skills that will be critical to the jobs of today and tomorrow.

 

Free professional development training

Curriki is providing free professional development training in Computational Thinking for middle and high school teachers, with support from AT&T.

“We want to help all students develops the skills to succeed in school and the careers of the future. Ensuring educators have the resources and tools they need to teach those skills is a critical step in making this happen,” said Nicole Anderson, assistant vice president of Social Innovation at AT&T.

Curriki, the Open Educational Resources Library and Community, is offering a self-paced professional development course for K-12 teachers interested in learning how to infuse Computational Thinking (CT) into their classes.

• The CT professional development course is free and available on the Curriki website: www.curriki.org/oer/Computational-Thinking-Resources

• Created primarily for teachers at the middle school and high school levels, all K-12 educators will benefit from taking the course.

• Any teacher can take the course, including homeschool teachers.

• The self-paced online course provides teachers with a comprehension of CT and with the tools they need to get started right away.

• This self-paced course provides flexible professional development opportunities for educators who can work at their own pace and time frame.

• Teachers will examine the components of CT and explore how to introduce CT skills to their students.

• The concepts of CT may be applied to current curriculum, project-based learning (PBL) projects, and STEM classes.

• CT can be used to solve problems in any area or field.

• Problem solving through CT is such a critically important skill it is directly or indirectly addressed by several sets of educational standards including:

o Computer Science Teachers Association K-12 Computer Science Standards

o Next Generation Science Standards

•  AT&T generously funded the development of this course.

We encourage you to take benefit of this free professional development course in Computational Thinking from Curriki.

7 Tips that will make You a Guru in Open Educational Resources

Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki.By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

A more flexible and adaptable and even personalized approach to teaching is now available, by incorporating Open Educational Resources (OER) in the classroom. Curriki is a leader in providing K-12 OER to anyone, anywhere, at no cost.

Here are 7 tips for using OER. Use any 3 of these and you will already be a Guru of OER!

1. Use OER to supplement textbooks in those areas that are weak or have limited coverage. Benefit: stronger syllabus

2. Use OER as a source for, and/or to enhance, homework assignments. Benefit: better assignments

3. Use OER for a classroom project or for some portion of a project. Benefit: improved projects

4. Modify OER to your requirements and reshare with the global education community. Benefit: content adapted to your need and you help others

5. Assign OER content to help students who are struggling with a topic, or conversely those who want to explore a topic in further detail. Benefit: personalized learning

6. Use OER as a full course (if you are not mandated otherwise), or as a supplementary unit in a course. Benefit: free standards-aligned full courses

7. Search on Curriki for the best resources to meet your requirements. Benefit: choice of tens of thousands of resources means a high likelihood of finding an applicable resource

Curriki has tens of thousands of OER classified and searchable by subject area, type of resource, format, standards-alignment, ratings and recommendations and more. Employ some of these free resources in your classroom this month!

See us Live: FETC Orlando and TCEA Austin

KimJonesimageKim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Come see us present at one of two upcoming conferences during the next few weeks. FETC2016 will be held in Orlando in the middle of this month, and Curriki is presenting on standards-aligned math courses during the afternoon of the 14th of January. And on February 1st, we are presenting on OER for STEM at the TCEA 2016 conference to be held in Austin this year, Feb. 1-5.

 

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FETC agenda

Curated, Standards-Aligned Courses for the High School Math Teacher (CS099)

Thursday, January 14, 2016, 3:20-4:00 p.m. – OCCC – South 330 B

Focus Area: Instructional Design

Topic Area: Online and Blended Learning

Curriculum Area: Mathematics

Audience: Educators

Level: High School (9-12)

 

Description:

Curriki is a nonprofit K-12 global community for teachers, students, and parents to create, share, and find free learning resources that enable true personalized learning. This year, Curriki mounted a project of curating entire courses in the high school math curriculum aligned to the CCSS-M, including: Pre-algebra, Algebra 1 and Geometry. You will learn to enhance your effectiveness in and out of the classroom through the use of Curriki Curated Courses. You’ll see how HS Math teachers can integrate these resources to promote high academic performance for their students. .

Skill Level: Intermediate

Presenters:

Allen Wolmer

AWolmerPrincipal Consultant, Technology Based Educational Support

Al Wolmer consults in the area of using technology to enhance and support high school math teachers. A SMART Certified Trainer for Notebook and Math Tools, Mr. Wolmer recently retired as Head of the Math Department at Atlanta Jewish Academy. In addition, he is an AP Calculus Reader for the College Board and an AP Calculus Consultant for the National Math & Science Initiative. Mr. Wolmer also works with numerous clients in the field of online publishing in math education, including texts, assessments, and online courses.

Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMOChief Academic Officer, Curriki

Janet Pinto is the Chief Academic Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Curriki a nonprofit K-12 global community for teachers, students, and parents to create, share, and find free learning resources that enable true personalized learning.

 

 

 

 

tcea16

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re an educational technology enthusiast, we hope you’re planning to attend the TCEA 2016 conference in Austin this year, Feb. 1-5. This conference brings educators together to explore best practices for engaging students, increasing productivity, and innovating teaching and learning through the use of technology.

TCEA Agenda

Please stop by our session on Monday morning, Feb. 1 (10:00am – 10:50am), which is part of the STEM Academy track.

Curriki CEO Kim Jones will present The Case for a Complete OER STEM Library:

The two most powerful forces that have transformed the education world in recent decades have been the emphasis on STEM education and the Open Educational Resources (OER) revolution. These two innovations have permeated the education community and are shepherding in a digital age that is today transforming education in every corner of life. In this session, you will hear what Curriki.org is doing to drive the development of OERs for STEM educators and the many ways you can lead the way in your own schools and communities.

Participants will:

* Discover why OERs are the best tools you’ll ever find to personalize learning for your students.

* Understand how Curriki is curating the global OER library for STEM educators to download and use in their classrooms.

* Find out how OERs empower districts to adapt the materials to their own community needs.

* Understand the role OERs play in helping meet the demand for high quality STEM content in K-12 education.

Please stop by and say hello if you come to Orlando or Austin. We look forward to seeing you at #FECT16 and/or #TCEA16!

Time Saving Classroom Tips to Engage Your Students

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, CurrikiPhoto of Janet Pinto

As we close out the year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our good fortunes, and extend a heartfelt thank you to you, our global Curriki community! In 2015, we were thrilled to provide you with a more personalized and easy-to-use learning experience.

If you haven’t visited Curriki in a while, I highly encourage you to explore the NEW and IMPROVED Curriki website: www.curriki.org Here’s a sampling of how parents, teachers and students are using Curriki to enhance learning.

“Curriki makes it easy for me to choose the topic, plan the lesson, design the activities, and prepare materials. In some cases, I use exactly the same materials and lesson plan found in Curriki.” – Shyamkumar S.

See our Curated Content, which includes collections of Math, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and other subjects for various grade levels.

Curated-Content

 

“Never before has Biology been so accessible to students, as with the current use of digital media and through independent research. Curriki has helped me achieve my goals with my students by giving them excellent visuals and resources to explore!” – Caryn O.

Lots of great biology resources on Curriki, including Zombie Plague (students identify what’s causing a deadly outbreak) and MIT OpenCourseWare AP Biology.

 

“I’m now a home school mom. We never buy textbooks. We love Khan Academy and of course all the great educational material to be gained via PBS.org, TedTalks, etc.” – Barb O.

Find Khan Academy Geometry videos, or explore TED Talks for professional development, such as Teaching Math to Teachers (how to teach mathematics in the 21st Century).

With the newly designed Curriki site, finding K-12 teaching and learning resources is easier than ever with mobile views and upgraded search capability. Please forward this post to a friend and encourage them to join Curriki so they can share, download or customize the thousands of free K-12 resources available to everyone.

Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season!

The Case for a Complete OER STEM Library (#TCEA16)

tcea date

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

If you’re an educational technology enthusiast, I hope you’re planning to attend the TCEA 2016 conference in Austin this year, Feb. 1-5. This conference brings educators together to explore best practices for engaging students, increasing productivity, and innovating teaching and learning through the use of technology.

tcea16

Please stop by our session on Monday, Feb. 1 (10:00am – 10:50am), which is part of the STEM Academy track. Curriki CEO Kim Jones will present The Case for a Complete OER STEM Library:

Kim Jones, Curriki CEO

Kim Jones, Curriki CEO

The two most powerful forces that have transformed the education world in recent decades have been the emphasis on STEM education and the Open Educational Resources (OER) revolution. These two innovations have permeated the education community and are shepherding in a digital age that is today transforming education in every corner of life.

In this session, you will hear what Curriki.org, is doing to drive the development of OERs for STEM educators and the many ways you can lead the way in your own schools and communities.

Participants will:

  • Discover why OERs are the best tools you’ll ever find to personalize learning for your students.
  • Understand how Curriki is curating the global OER library for STEM educators to download and use in their classrooms.
  • Find out how OERs empower districts to adapt the materials to their own community needs.
  • Understand the role OERs play in helping meet the demand for high quality STEM content in K-12 education.
  • And more.

Please stop by and say hello! We look forward to seeing you at #TCEA16!

Social Studies: Creating Informed Citizens of the World

 

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki Photo of Janet Pinto

Next year’s presidential election is already on most of our minds, and is likely on the minds of our students as well. Though these students won’t vote until they turn 18, it’s never too early to educate them on the current and historical events that impact their world.

This is a great time to remember why we want our students to have a strong social studies education. Learning about history, geography, religion, and civics allows students to understand and interpret current world events from a place of knowledge. Being informed about society as students creates empowered, thoughtful adult citizens.

A study released earlier this year revealed that American students’ social studies knowledge has stagnated. The National Assessment of Educational Progress found that only 18 percent of students scored at or above proficiency in US History. Educational leaders are rightly concerned about what this means for America’s future.

“How do we, as a nation, maintain our status in the world if future generations of Americans do not understand our nation’s history, world geography or civics principles or practices?”

– Michelle Herczog, president of the National Council for the Social Studies. (via EducationNews.org)

At Curriki, we offer a large selection of social studies courses. We’ve chosen a few to feature this month for elementary, middle, and high school students. These selections span a wide range of topics—everything from current events to historical ones. One thing they all have in common? They are sure to excite students and are bound to foster lively classroom discussion.

These courses are all free to access, and we’d love to hear how you use them in your classrooms!

Elementary and Middle School Courses

High School Courses

  • Political Parties – Students will examine the differences between the Democratic and Republican parties by looking at the viewpoints of each party in relation to current controversial issues.
  • Anne Frank – This collection contains a complete set of resources for teaching Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, including 22 daily lesson plans with discussion points and connections to a social studies curriculum on World War II.
  • China’s Great Leap into the 21st Century  – Lesson plans for all grade levels with timely information about China’s tremendous economic growth, contentious social and political issues, and China’s foreign policy.
  • Oil in Society – Resources that illustrate the history, science and events surrounding the extraction, use and politics of petroleum.
  • Bill of Rights and the Media’s Influence on Public Opinion – A high school course that investigates the way media affects people’s opinions on politics and current events.

Do you have a favorite lesson or resource that promotes Social Studies? If so, please share it below!