Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Honoring an American Hero

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By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—celebrated next Monday, Jan. 16, 2017—provides an inspiring opportunity to teach about justice and heroism.

Dr. King—an American hero who lived and died long before our students were born—is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. Although he died for his beliefs, his legacy lived on in a changed world.

The United States declared Dr. King’s birthday a federal holiday in 1986, but his commitment to civil rights through non-violent protest resonates even today, far beyond US shores. He has been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, among many others.

Here are a few of Curriki’s favorite resources for teaching a new generation about this great man:

Who Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream: equality for all people. This lesson looks at how one life can change the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Me: Identifying with a Hero
This lesson provides ideas for celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by encouraging students to explore the connections between Dr. King and themselves.

Martin Luther KingLiving the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness
Students participate in Dr. King’s dream by doing 100 acts of kindness.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Power of Nonviolence
This lesson introduces Middle School students to King’s philosophy of nonviolence, and to the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi that influenced King’s views.

Martin Luther King Day Teaching Resources
Science NetLinks and AAAS have developed a number of resources from the social and behavioral sciences that will help you celebrate the work and legacy of Dr. King in your classroom, from understanding stereotypes to skin color to social class.

Scholastic MLK Resources
Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent struggle for civil rights in the United States with biographies, memorable quotes, plays, printables and multimedia resources.


Janet PintoJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Curriki … Thanks for Being a Teacher’s Best Friend

By Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member

The holiday season and the end of 2016 is a perfect time for reflecting on all things we are thankful for. We are reminded of those who are there for us all year, whom we call best friends. For many teachers, students, homeschoolers, parents, and education professionals around the world, Curriki has been a best friend – a constant, valuable resource to lean on.

If you haven’t discovered it yet, I’d like to share how Curriki strives to be a teacher’s best friend!

Trustworthy Instructional Resources

Teacher and studentsCurriki hosts an open-source library of instructional resources that you can rely on. Curriculum units, lesson plans, worksheets, graphic organizers, videos, simulations, reference materials and more are plentiful. They cover grade levels K-12 and higher education. Subject areas span from the arts and core subjects like math, science, language arts, and social studies, to career and technical education and foreign languages. Educators from around the world are constantly uploading new resources to share, plus, many resources come from esteemed educational partners and sponsors such as Khan Academy, the National Constitution Center and Oracle Academy.

“Read Your Mind” Search Results

Best friends know what you are thinking and what you need. With Curriki, you can search by keyword, subject, grade level or instructional material type to get relevant resources you can use in the classroom or your homeschool.

Generously FREE Open Resources

Money is never an issue with your best friend. Curriki offers a library of over 83,000 instructional resources that are completely free. It is free to become a member and no charge to view, download, and share resources. The library of resources is constantly evolving.  In addition, Curriki has curated collections specifically designed to align with standards and high-need content areas.

Community Ready To Listen, Dialogue, Collaborate

In addition to a vast resource library, Curriki consists of a community of nearly 500,000 members from around the entire globe, sharing instructional materials with each other and collaborating in groups. You can connect with colleagues within your own schools, community or across the world.

Help Whenever You Need It

Curriki is quicker than a phone call away. Scrambling for a supplemental resource to help differentiate instruction or address a content need? Pull up Curriki on your phone, tablet, computer or anywhere you have internet access! Why reinvent the wheel when someone else is willing to share?

Keeps You Organized

We’ve all needed our best friend to keep our heads on straight. Curriki isn’t just a place where you can search for materials. — you can also save and organize resources in your own personal library and even share it with colleagues!

Encourages You to Help Others

By being a member of Curriki and sharing resources, you help global education for all. Many educators around the world don’t have the time and resources as you do. Likewise, you may benefit from the shared resources of others. The education profession is a juggling act. Curriki offers the chance to leverage the playing field and collaborate so we can maximize our time and accomplish all that we can for our students.

Join the Community

For more information on becoming a Curriki partner, please email Partners@curriki.org or visit Curriki.org.


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

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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.

Learning Through the Summer Olympics 2016

By Guest Blogger and Curriki Member Lani deGuia

Rio Olympics logoFrom August 5-21, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad are bringing all eyes in excitement on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More than 11,000 athletes representing 206 countries are vying for medals in 28 Olympic sports.  It’s an opportunity to witness the world’s greatest athletes compete in the spirit of excellence, peace and respect. It’s also a chance for children to explore the wide variety of themes and topics of the Olympics that they are passionate about. There are many ways to get kids engaged and excited as they tune in during the next few weeks. Here are several great resources to help!

For the Youngest Olympic Fans

Did your child ask you about the Olympic flame during last Friday’s opening ceremony? Does the Olympic flame ever go out? Does the Olympic Flame Ever Go Out? is a Wonderopolis activity exploring the history and meaning behind the lighting of the Olympic flame for the Olympic Games.

Need activities to provide understanding of the underlying themes of the Olympics? The Summer Olympics Start Today! is a collection of lesson resources from ReadWriteThink exploring how the Olympics are meant to “better the world through sport practiced in a spirit of peace, excellence, friendship and respect.” It features activities on poetry, designing stamps, flags, and even making cookies that represent the Olympic rings!

For More Independent Learners

Olympic podiumLooking for opportunities to teach about this year’s host nation? Destination Rio:  Rhythm and Diversity offers a visitors’ guide and exhibition exploring the culture, people,and traditions of Rio de Janeiro.

If your child has many questions and interests about the Olympics, the following resources offer a great starting point:

  • 2016 Olympic Games:  Rio de Janeiro is a collection of educational resources from TeacherVision that help students learn about past and present Olympic games, Olympic symbols and traditions, Brazilian history, and more. They also provide fun worksheets on alphabetical order, Olympic symbols and traditions as well as resources on past political issues and scandals of the Olympics.
  • Reaching for Olympic Glory is a collection of Olympics and sports-themed lessons, tools, videos and more, including topics such as buoyancy, sprinting, reaction time and the science behind a variety of sports.

Perhaps you have an older child whose interests lie in economics. $16 Billion to Host the Summer Olympics:  Is it Worth It? is an EconoEd lesson where students can explore the financial impact, demands, benefits, and deficits on Brazil for hosting the summer Olympics games.

For Teachers

This school year is a great time to incorporate the Olympics into instruction. Do you teach math? Olympics 2008:  Distance and Time, Scatter Plot Charts asks students to create a scatter plot chart that maps out the relationship between distance and time for men in the various Olympic sports. Although the lesson is based on the 2008 Olympics, students can populate this year’s results and compare!  Proportional Reasoning:  On Your Mark is a mathalicious lesson analyzing whether or not Usain Bolt would be just as successful if Olympic sprinters had to run distances based on their heights.

Looking for a way to integrate the Olympics into your language arts class? The New Olympic Sport:  A Research Project and Persuasive Presentation  is a 10th grade language arts activity where students research Olympic sports and develop a persuasive proposal to nominate a new sport as an Olympic event.

From poetry and sports to economics and politics, there are multiple opportunities to expand learning through the Olympics. Make it a gold-medal-winning  learning experience!


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

Open Source Textbook Study: Students Save Substantial Sums

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By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

A study from Student PIRGS (Student Public Interest Research Groups) across the nation has found that college and university students could save over $1000 per year if all textbooks were provided open source materials.

The report is based on pilot programs at 5 different university campuses, and is available here. It notes that “According to the College Board, the average undergraduate student should budget between $1,200 and $1,300 for textbooks and supplies each year. That’s as much as 40% of tuition at a two-year community college and 13% at a four-year public institution.” The report notes that the college textbook market is artificial, since there is no direct consumer – producer link, as indicated in the figure below. A handful of academic publishers dominate the traditional textbook market.

Open textbooks are high quality, faculty-written and peer-reviewed materials. They are available online and for electronic distribution in .pdf or other formats. The cost to students for open source materials is minimal.

The findings are based on 21,697 students enrolled in OER courses at Kansas State University, the University of Maryland, the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), the University of Minnesota, and Tacoma Community College. The aggregate results indicate that students could save on average about $128 per course. Extrapolated to an academic year this is over $1000 per student per year. If all the 11 million full-time undergraduates in the U.S. were using only open textbooks, the aggregate savings would be well over $1 billion per year.

As the growth of open textbooks spreads at the university level, we at Curriki expect increasing activity in the K-12 space as well. State and local authorities could save substantial amounts from their education budgets by moving to open textbooks. Curriki is a repository for a wide variety of open source educational materials, including full courses and textbooks. We’d like to call your attention to several high school level mathematics courses:

Curriki Algebra 1 – http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_kathyduhl/Algebra1?bc=&viewer=info

Curriki Geometry – http://www.currikigeometry.org

Curriki Calculus – http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_CurrikiCalculusCollection/CurrikiCalculusIntegralCalculus?bc=&viewer=info

There are also many full textbook resources on Curriki. A search for high school math level textbooks alone reveals over 200 resources. We encourage you to search at Curriki for core or supplementary textbook resources that you can use in your classroom!

OECD Report: Education at a Glance 2014

KimJonesimage  By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

 

The OECD report “Education at a Glance 2014” was released on 9 September 2014.

EducationataGlance2014The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has 34 member countries, and they included data from 10 additional countries in this report. The report looks at educational attainment and impact on economic and employment results in 44 countries across Europe, North and South America, Africa and the Asia / Pacific region.

Key findings include:

  • The economic divide between tertiary-educated (college or university-educated) individuals and those with less education is growing.
  • The level of unemployment is 3 times lower among those with a tertiary education (5% vs. 14%)
  • Those with tertiary-level educations earn twice as much as the average of those with less education.

education-at-a-glance-2014-key-findings-1-638

“Education can lift people out of poverty and social exclusion, but to do so we need to break the link between social background and educational opportunity,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “The biggest threat to inclusive growth is the risk that social mobility could grind to a halt. Increasing access to education for everyone and continuing to improve people’s skills will be essential to long-term prosperity and a more cohesive society.

A press release from the OECD with a high-level overview of the key findings is at: http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/educational-mobility-starts-to-slow-in-industrialised-world-says-oecd.htm

A 55 slide summary of many of the key results is available at: http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/OECDEDU/education-at-a-glance-2014-key-findings

You can access the full 568 page report at: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-glance-2014_eag-2014-en

Curriki_Free OER 100x400-Æ

Curriki shares the objectives of increased access to education and improving work-related skills for people across the world. Curriki helps to spread educational opportunity to children in all countries by providing over 50,000 free and open K-12 educational resources at www.curriki.org/welcome.

Encouraging Girls in STEM subjects

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

While girls show a lot of interest in science during elementary school, the interest often fades in the later grades. Around 2/3 of girls in the U.S. at the fourth grade level express an interest in science and/or math subjects.

U.S. Census Bureau statistics indicate that about 24% of the jobs in STEM (science, technology and math) fields are currently occupied by women. The gender imbalance is particularly notable in the physical sciences and in engineering fields, while women are better represented in the life sciences.

In computer science there is a very large imbalance, and yet this is a field where many jobs go begging today – there are hundreds of thousands of software development jobs in the U.S. in this field which are unfilled at present.

Verizon has developed a wonderful “Inspire Her Mind” commercial –
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP3cyRRAfX0&w=560&h=315]

The message of the commercial is – don’t discourage girls from “getting their hands dirty” with science or engineering projects. Rather, encourage their curiosity and their interest in these fields.

Curriki contains a wealth of resources in STEM subjects, even full courses in math including algebra and geometry. And of course developing math strengths is key to pursuing majors and careers in science and technology fields.

Here’s information on one project to address the gender gap in software development – it is a global effort to teach 1 million girls to write computer code and develop applications.

http://www.cnet.com/news/girl-geek-academy-wants-to-teach-one-million-girls-to-code/

As CNET reports: “A new initiative aims to teach women how to create apps and launch their own startups, with the aim to reach one million people by 2025”. There has been progress in certain areas. For example, the number of women involved in the gaming industry, one of the largest for new software development opportunities, has increased from 11% to 22% in recent years.

Here’s an article about Women Who Code UK founder and software engineer Sheree Atcheson, who is just 23 years old.
Sheree Atcheson, Software Engineer and @WomenWhoCode UK Founder

Curriki also has resources to help girls, and boys, learn to code, including the Oracle Academy courses for Java, one of today’s most important programming languages.

Curriki’s purpose is to broaden educational opportunity in K-12 for students in all countries, including supporting greater participation by girls in the various STEM fields. These fields are so critical to future job opportunities for students and to the progress of humanity around the world, whether through the life sciences, physical sciences, or engineering.

Education Across the Globe

Kim JonesBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

The infographic in this post has some very interesting information on education and literacy around the globe. It was produced by Tutoring Expert in Canada.

A few facts: there are 1.4 billion students on earth, fully 20% of the world’s population. There are 65 million educators around the world. This is approximately equal to the population of France. Developed countries typically spend about 10 to 15% of their total government budgets on education.

Around 800 million adults across the globe are illiterate. Three nations each have over 1 million girls not in school: Nigeria, Pakistan, and Ethiopia. Only 12% of women in Afghanistan are able to read. Around 31 million girls of primary school age around the world are not in school.

In India, 88% of boys are able to read, but only 74% of girls. Clearly one of the challenges is increasing literacy for all, and especially, educational access for girls. On the other hand, in the Philippines, there are many more girls in school than boys.

In the U.S., only 32% of students are considered proficient in math. Children in Finland have the world’s highest scores in math and science, despite not starting school until age 6 or 7.

Despite the problems that remain, 1 in 3 young people are now expected to receive a college or university degree. Education is key to job opportunities, and to one’s standard of living, health, and social position. Most societies and parents around the world care deeply about their children’s future, for both boys and girls, and thus for their educational development. They invest considerable resources in their children’s education. But there are also serious shortcomings that must be addressed.

Curriki, as a not-for-profit foundation, is fully dedicated to improving education access and educational outcomes around the world. Over 50,000 Curriki educational resources are freely available to anyone with Internet access. These resources are also open source, in order to allow customization as needed. To date, 10 million unique users have visited the Curriki web site.

Take a careful look at the infographic, and see what other interesting factoids you are able to discover. The variation of school attendance hours between countries is fascinating!

Curriki Annual Survey for 2014

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Last month, Curriki completed our annual global survey of the 400,000 strong Curriki member community and of our followers on Twitter and Facebook. We have a very diverse set of users, from dozens of countries around the world. Nearly 4000 of you responded to the survey, and we thank you for your time. The largest number of responses came from the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan and South Africa, but many countries were represented.

We asked about age and gender. Almost half of the respondents are between the ages of 35 and 54, and the remainder are equally divided between those who are age 55 and above and those who are younger than 35. Regarding gender, 5/8 of the respondents are female and 3/8 are male.

Role

Role

This first pie chart shows the distribution of responses to the question: What is your role? Teachers, educators, administrators, parents, students and other categories were represented. Just over half of the respondents are teachers. After teachers, educators, students and parents were the most represented roles.

Affiliation

Affiliation

We also asked about affiliation. This second pie chart shows the responses to that question, indicating nearly half of the members who replied are working in public school districts. The next most populated categories are those at private schools and home schoolers.

Primary Reason to use Curriki

Primary Reason to use Curriki

The third chart (a bar chart) shows the responses to the question: What is the primary reason you visit the Curriki site? Some respondents provided more than one reason, so the total exceeded 100%. The top 3 are:

  1. Find resources for students to use
  2. Find teaching resources (e.g. lesson plans)
  3. As a source of new ideas

Other major reasons were to find resources for their own children, to connect with others in the education community and to contribute resources to Curriki.

We also asked about usage of Curriki groups (there are almost 800 groups at present). One out of 8 respondents participates in one or more of these groups. If you are not a group member, you may want to check these out – there is sure to be one of interest to you. Or you could start your own group around your favorite topic!

Thanks again to all those who participated in the survey!

 

The Changing Role of Teaching

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Vision K-20 is an initiative of the Software and Information Industry Association in the U.S. It works to promote best use of technology in support of education.

“Vision K-20 is the belief that to better prepare our nation’s students, every K-20 educational institution should effectively utilize modern technologies to:

  • Personalize learning to increase student engagement and achievement
  • Document and track student performance
  • Maximize teaching and administrative effectiveness
  • Provide equity and access to new learning opportunities
  • Empower collaborative learning communities
  • Build student proficiencies in 21st century skills”

Each year they survey educators regarding technology in the classroom. The 2013 survey include responses from K-12 educators (75% of the responses) and from higher education professionals (25%). The survey results indicated the level of technology integration in K-12 is currently at a rather low level and that, based on the responses, it should be much higher. The educators answering the survey view technology integration as being of high importance. The survey also indicated that 46% of school districts allow mobile devices in the classroom, generally with restrictions placed on usage.

You can find related resources on their site here, http://www.siia.net/visionk20/resources.asp, including resources for Digital Learning Day.

A recent blog by Amanda Fairbanks at edweek.org  is titled “Digital Trends Shifting the Role of Teachers”. It reports on experiences with technology integration from several teachers in the U.S.

One of these, Chris Merkert, was science teacher of the year for 2012 in Suffolk County, New York, and is a leader in “flipped teaching”.

“Mr. Merkert has altered his teaching style—spending less time holding court at the front of the room and more time crisscrossing the classroom to answer questions and provide individual, targeted feedback. And rather than rely on outdated textbooks to drive the bulk of his instruction, he now writes his own curriculum.” He says, “I’m more enthused and involved than I’ve ever been.”

Tip: If you’re going to write your own curriculum, be sure to check out the over 50,000 free and open resources at welcome.curriki.org.

Ms. Rose Ann Throckmorton is a 4th grade teacher in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She reports that since the implementation of a digital learning approach in her classroom, student engagement has increased and the amount of material that can be covered has increased as well. “Twenty-first century classrooms are coming whether we want them to or not,” says Ms. Throckmorton.

The technology is not an end in itself, rather it supports a shift in pedagogy from teacher-centered to more personalized student-centered learning. Resources on Curriki are especially intended to support this student-centered learning modality.

A third teacher, Tom Whitby, is a retired English teacher with more than 30 years of classroom experience.

“If I limited my students to the content in my own head, I would be doing them a huge disservice,” he said. “Students are no longer empty vessels, where it’s our job to fill them with the knowledge that we have. We don’t have all the facts. Our role is changing every day.”

Take a look at the Curriki site to see what you can incorporate into your classroom activities in support of digital and student-centered learning.