Curriki: 3 Tips to Get Started

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

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Earlier this week, I was talking to my neighbor, who is a high school English teacher. While she’s aware of Curriki (and follows us on Facebook  and subscribes to our newsletter ), she wasn’t really sure how to use Curriki.  So here are a few tips to get started:

1) Chances are, you’re looking for K-12 resources. If you’re interested in a specific subject or grade level, the easiest way is to start with the Search function that you’ll find on the homepage of www.curriki.org.

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Click on the magnifying glass icon to use Advanced Search (much easier to find things!). As an example (see below), in the “search term” box, I typed in “persuasive essay”  and selected “grades 9-10.” Hit return and I got the following results. The first resource contributed by Sarah Lorntson looks interesting to me since it’s rated “3-Exemplary” and has several member comments.

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2) Browse resources that have been reviewed by members or rated by Curriki. Use the Advanced Search to find resources that are Top-Rated by Curriki or Top Rated by Members.  I often combine this search with a special filter that only shows new resources or those that have been recently updated:

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I like the ability to filter my searches because it’s helpful to read the reviews by other teachers.  For example, here is what members have to say about the Fish Mummy resource.

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3) Join a group. There are more than 700 groups!  Or, you can start your own.  Connect with fellow educators to exchange ideas, best practices, and curricula. Simply choose a group and check out hot topics, helpful resources, etc.

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I’ll continue this series with additional ways you can engage with Curriki.  Let me know if there are particular topics you’d like me to cover.

Finally, please pass this along to a friend so they can benefit from the thousands of FREE K-12 learning resources available on Curriki.  Thank you!

WISE Books: Third Book to be Published in 2014

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

WISE is the World Innovation Summit for Education, established 4 years ago by the Qatar Foundation, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheika Moza bint Nasser. WISE works to build the future of education through innovation on the basis of “creative thinking, debate and purposeful action.” The WISE web site is here:  http://www.wise-qatar.org/

 

WISE has produced two books to date, and a third is in development, for release during 2014. The books are designed to support and inspire innovation and best practices for 21st century education. The WISE Books are research-intensive, based on travel to a significant number of countries in order to examine educational initiatives, projects, and best practices around the world.

The third book in the series “will focus on the link between technology and learning and will investigate how the connected society is transforming learning.” We are all familiar with the rapid adoption of digital technology, and the increasing opportunities for collaboration and connectivity, eliminating barriers due to geography and also between disciplines.

This next book will be written by Graham Brown-Martin, who is the Founder of Education Design Labs. His blog is at http://learning-reimagined.com/ and will report on his travels to meet with educators and schools in Ghana, Lebanon, China, Singapore, Brazil, Jordan, Dubai, the U.K., India, Russia and the U.S. in support of the book’s development. Award-winning photographer Newsha Tavakolian will illustrate the book. Mr. Brown-Martin has an extensive career in the education technology and entertainment software industries, which places him in an ideal position to understand the best ways to engage children with technology for project-based learning, gamification in education, and other digital learning technologies.

You can find a very interesting interview with Mr. Brown-Martin regarding his views around 21st century education and his plans for the book here on the WISE web site: http://www.wise-qatar.org/technology-education. He wonders why “We continue to use technology to reinforce 19th century teaching practice.”

Curriki is here to help change that, to support the use of 21st century technology and 21st century practice in support of better learning outcomes and the rapidly evolving needs of students for an education relevant to our post-modern world.

I have been very pleased to attend WISE’s annual summits on behalf of Curriki. My report from last year’s event, themed “Collaborating for Change” is here: http://currikiblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/wise-2012-in-qatar-was-a-great-inspiration/.

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Kim Jones (3rd from left) with colleagues from Mauritius, Canada and Malaysia

We at Curriki are looking forward to seeing the third book from WISE when it is released next year, and we encourage you to visit the WISE web site links above.

What Will the Classroom of the Future Look Like?

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

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Let me rephrase that: Will there even be “classrooms” in the future?  Twenty years from now, learning may no longer be defined by time and place.

Imagine a school where students of all ages gather together to do coursework or to work on a project, interacting with teachers or “peer gurus” only when needed…a school where students are grouped not by grade level, but by level of knowledge of a particular subject, so that each group can have their individualized learning “playlists.” No desks. No textbooks. No bells signaling the end of a period. 

How far away is the new classroom?         

Here’s a nifty infographic from KnowledgeWorks on A Glimpse into the Future of Learning that shows some exciting possibilities. 

Personalization

At Curriki, we believe strongly in personalized learning so that students are able to learn at their own pace – whether it’s at an introductory level or an accelerated level. The curriculum should be tailored to the student, not the other way around! That’s the beauty of open educational resources (OERs). Digital technologies allow us to personalize the learning experience so that students can learn at their own pace and have instant access to the latest information. And the best part is that all of Curriki’s 50,000+ online learning assets – from worksheets and videos, to lesson plans and games – are free to educators, students and parents everywhere. And many OERs have already been mapped to standards—both Common Core and state standards.

Your Predictions?

Tell us what you think the classroom of the future looks like.

[polldaddy poll=7300950]

Help shape the future of education and join Curriki today for access to thousands of free K-12 resources.

Featured Teacher Sam Stier’s Recommendations

samstierName: Sam Stier
Role: Curricula developer and teacher trainer
School: Learning with Nature
City, State: Missoula, Montana
Number of years teaching: 11

How I use Curriki: I use Curriki to see how others approach teaching a topic, and just to explore what teaching resources are readily available. The breadth, depth, and quality of the materials available are exceptional. Peer review really matters! The search function of the database is also terrific.

Here are some of my favorite Curriki resources:
* Contagion Lab – How Diseases Spread
* A curriculum unit to introduce engineering to junior high school students
* Fish Mummy Overview
* Play Together, Learn Together
* Inquiries with Acids and Bases

Here is a resource that I’ve contributed to Curriki:
* Concrete without Quarries: a sustainable chemistry lab inspired by nature

See Jemma Heliker’s Favorite Classroom Resources

???????????????????????????????Name: Jemma Heliker
Role: Middle and High School Language Arts Teacher
School: Mastery Charter, Shoemaker Campus
City, State: Philadelphia, PA
Number of years teaching: 5

How I use Curriki: The resources on Curriki cover every possible subject and area. As a busy teacher, I appreciate the teacher reviews to guide me to outstanding resources. Curriki has definitely improved many of my lessons and units.

Here are some of my favorite Curriki resources:
* MEET ME AT THE CORNER, Virtual Field Trips for Kids
* Middle School Grammar Unit by Robert Lucas
* Writing How – To Resources by Andrea Chen
* Literature Collection by Shmoop

Here are some resources that I’ve contributed to Curriki:
* The Secret Life of Bees Novel Unit
* The Kite Runner Novel Unit

Meet Featured Teacher Nate Merrill!

natemerrillName: Nate Merrill
Role: Middle School Social Studies teacher, Technology Integration Specialist
School: Long Trail School
City, State: Dorset, VT
Number of years teaching: 16
Twitter Handle: @Nate_Merrill

How I use Curriki: Curriki is a great site for me to find resources to enhance my teaching repertoire. I enjoy looking for new lessons and sharing my own. I can quickly find inspirational instructional ideas and then adapt them to my needs. Curriki is a great site for new and veteran teachers.

Here are some of my favorite Curriki resources:
* Podcast Collection
* The Constitution
* How do we Progress
* Oceans Alive!
* Political TV Advertisement Project

Here are some resources that I’ve contributed to Curriki:
* Why Use Twitter
* How to Use Twitter

Meet Featured Teacher Andrea Chen!

andreachenName: Andrea Chen
Role: former high school English teacher, current Executive Director at Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation
School: New Orleans Charter for Science and Math High School
City, State: New Orleans, LA
Number of years teaching: 3 in classroom; currently teaching entrepreneurship (among other things) to start-up organizations addressing social and environmental challenges
Twitter: My current organization is @gopropeller

How I use Curriki: When I was a classroom teacher, I used Curriki to find lesson plans and activities for books that I was teaching or wanted to teach in my own classroom. I am no longer in the classroom, but I had posted many of my resources and units on Curriki. It is a wonderful feeling to know that other English teachers around the country have found the resources I created five years ago helpful. It makes me want to go back and create more resources for the community, even though I am no longer teaching English literature!

Here is one of my favorite Curriki resources:
Women in Literature

Here are some resources that I’ve contributed to Curriki:
* Invisible Man Reading Guide, Vocabulary, and Assessments
* Short Story Unit
* Drama Unit: Waiting for Godot
* Literary Analysis Essay Outline Graphic Organizer
* Catcher in the Rye Unit Guide

Meet Featured Teacher Sarah Lorntson!

LorntsonName: Sarah Lorntson
Role: High School English Teacher
School: Mahtomedi High School
City, State: Mahtomedi, MN
Number of years teaching: 11
Twitter: @slorntson

How I use Curriki: Curriki is my go-to resource when I have new material to teach or want to try something different with my curriculum. I can find premade, high-quality lessons and activities that I can use right away or tailor to my students’ needs. I also love sharing my resources because I am sympathetic to the needs of new teachers (or experienced teachers with new challenges). It’s a way for me to give back to help other educators in the same way that other people have helped me to become more successful in my own classroom.

Here are some of my favorite Curriki resources:
* Avoiding Plagiarism by Christine Mytko
* American Literature an entire course by Emily Boyle
* Research Paper Assignment by Rachel Wiener

Here are some resources that I’ve contributed to Curriki:
* English 10 (entire course)
* Socratic Seminars
* Political TV Advertisement Project
* Jane Eyre Unit

MOOCs for High School

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are one major result of the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement. They have been around a few years, but really took off with major visibility and growth last year. The best known MOOC organizations are edX, Coursera, and Udacity.

These are all organizations founded by universities or growing out of universities, and they are focused on undergraduate-level courses.

What about extending MOOCs to the high school level? A CalTech MOOC on machine learning, targeted at the undergraduate level,  attracted roughly 10,000 high school level students out of the 100,000 who signed up. Clearly there is interest coming from high school students!

Brown University may be the first to have created a MOOC for the high school level, with the preparation of an overview course on engineering under development. The course is designed to expose students to the possibilities available to them in engineering majors and careers. A blog from the New York Times discusses this new MOOC for high school students.
http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/brown-university-creates-a-mooc-for-high-school-students/

There are at least a dozen courses delivered by M.I.T.’s Open Courseware program (the original basis of edX) that have been addressed to high school students and not only in math, science and engineering disciplines (including astrophysics, calculus and audio electronics). There are also courses in the humanities as well. Online resources including videos of lectures and other course materials for these are available at:
http://ocw.mit.edu/high-school/courses/

There’s even a Spanish language MOOC resource currently linked from Curriki which could be useful for advanced Spanish language learners in high school.

What do you think, do you see this as a possibility in your own community or district? Do you know of other high school level MOOCs currently available or under development?

Top 10 Learning Resources on Curriki

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Are you curious what learning resources other teachers are using? Here’s a list of the top ten most downloaded resources on Curriki this month. I encourage you to check them out – they’re free to use as-is, share or modify to suit your classroom needs.  Let me know which one is your favorite!

  1. Geography Learning Pursuit – for grades 6-8; provides students a self-guided unit to learn the five themes of geography.
  2. Catcher in the Rye Unit Plan – for grades 9-12; eight week language arts unit play dealing with J.D. Salinger’s work, Catcher in the Rye.
  3. Systems of Equations Baseball – for grades 6-10; review game for systems of equations (and gets the students up and moving too!).
  4. Politics and Political Parties: Lesson Plans – for grades 3-8; lesson plans to help students differentiate between political parties and why the party system is functioning in our country.
  5. Writing Matters – for grades 3-8; gives teachers powerful new ways to improve student outcomes in writing, utilizing 21st century resources to prepare them for success in school and beyond.
  6. Athabasca University ESL Course – for all levels; help students to effectively learn the English language.
  7. Math T.V./ Math Playground – for grades 3-8; interactive math tool developed by classroom teachers to help students learn how to solve multistep word problems.
  8. Geometry Bingo – for grades 5-6; this bingo game involving visuals helps students learn and identify key vocabulary for geometry.
  9. Math Pre-k – Math Game Time – for pre-K; fun math games, worksheets and videos.
  10. Prepare for the Science Fair – for grades 3-8; here’s a fun way to get ready for the science fair!

Please share this with a friend or colleague! Thank you.