"Kindness is the greatest floss..." from The Razor's Edge

When I was in college working at Muir's Drug Store on Michigan Avenue, I remember reading an article about a "rudeness syndrome" that was sweeping the country. Part of the problem, the author felt, was the younger generation's lack of concern for humanity and continual focus on self. I could not stop laughing when I read it! Interestingly though, as I shared the article with friends, family, and co-workers, they agreed with the author! That was in the seventies, and I am happy to report that forty some years later, a New York Times writer, Nicholas Kristof, believes that people are getting nicer. Well, it's about time, don't you think!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Favorite Sites for Educators

I can hardly keep up with all the fabulous sites appearing dedicated to education, educators, and curriculum. Some of my favorites, though, I bookmark because I just know that I will want to surf through their things when I get a chance. Most of what I include here are targeted for secondary educators--those working with students ages 11-18.

1. To start, I love the Livebinders site where binders are available for viewing and sharing. In addition to checking out others', you can create your own and either share or keep it for your use only. This site promises to save a LOT of people a LOT of time. Even with things like documents needed for gifted and talented identification and assessment, or your whole favorite unit's handouts, this site promises great dividends for those who can organize in order to ultimately save time. See the links to various topics on the Livebinder site for subject specific topics. Click on "featured binders" to see some excellent and sometimes HUGE binders with links at every page. Featured binders usually took a great deal of time and effort to create and the author(s) don't mind saving YOU time. Admin may want to examine Dean Mantz's binders on professional development.

2. Another helpful site for teachers as well as students is DROPBOX. This is a web area where a creator/writer can place things that will be retrievable from any computer in another location. Teaching teams can set up annual documents and reference them from home, from a professional development session, or from a remote computer in another building.

3. For curriculum ideas, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Ryan Gobles site entitled Making Curriculum Pop, or MC Pop. Each person will need to create a log in, but the materials and forum that awaits is unbelievable! Several sub-groups exist and dialogue is constantly emerging of interest to teachers. Ryan himself stirs up new articles and topics for members from time to time. If you teach, you simply MUST be a part of MC Pop!

4. The University of Texas maintains some open web sites (OWS). UT students have an easier time accessing these, however, by going to the university's site and scrolling all the way to the bottom, one can enter without a log in. These activities are mostly created by aspiring teachers, but some are very creative and make use of images for questioning as part of the assignment.

5. Prezi is similar to a PowerPoint, but more interactive. There are a number of Prezis already made as learning tools, OR anyone can create another one for a class project. Even book reviews could be created using this tool. Check here to learn more or to try one out.

6. The Association for School Curriculum and Development (ASCD) is full of good stuff to read with a group of people. A current article has to do with keeping staff development as a habit rather than a chore. Read that one here.

7. For sweet, short broadcasts on a variety of topics, check this out the teaching channel.

8. The hottest guy on Youtube is posting videos of math and science concepts! His name is
Salman Khan and you can find out more about him and see a sample of his work here. Great news for parents, homeschoolers, and students who want to really understand how some of these concepts work....

9. Gates Foundation work on the common core literacy standards is zooming ahead so that teachers will be prepared for 2014 student tests. Sign up and poke around at www.mygroupgenius.org .

10. Graduate fellowship applications are available from Phi Delta Kappa with a deadline of June first. Go to www.pdkintl.org/awards/graduate.htm.

11. When it comes to DISCIPLINE and the unbelievable effects of compassion on kids in schools, you need to sit back and read this article from top to bottom:  Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, tries new approach to school discipline — suspensions drop 8

12. This is a new, attractive, funky site for ELL and ESOL ideas that I found recently. There are almost too many links!  Warning: You could get lost for days...

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