Kids Distracted? Use the Holidays to Make Teaching Fun!

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

The run-up to the December holidays presents a huge challenge to keeping kids engaged and learning.  Kids are so distracted by visions of sugarplums, menorahs and the prospect of getting gifts! You will find that Curriki’s website offers a wide variety of holiday activities that give teachers and homeschoolers the opportunity to use the distractions to teach. Here are a few ideas:

Christmas

Grinch Grow Your HeartDr. Seuss Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes this Season offers fantastic printables and activities, from “The Grinch Grow Your Heart Game” to Seussian word searches  to “The Official Good Deed Tracker Book.” Join Cindy-Lou Who for a fun holiday ride!

Christmas Tale is a free app for both iOS and Android that includes a Christmas Countdown Clock, Christmas Piano musical tree-decorating activity, Christmas Wish List, jigsaw puzzles, Paint-a-Picture, a Counting Game, Memory Match and more!

Hanukkah (Chanukah)

Through Curriki’s Hanukkah collection, kids can learn about the Jewish festival of lights through stories, videos, songs, cooking and more, hurtling through Hanukkah traditions with a step-by-step guide to everything from arranging the menorah to unique holiday customs.

Kkwanzaa-slidewanzaa

Did you know that Kwanzaa was started by a teacher? Kwanzaa was introduced in the mid-1960s — during the US Civil Rights Movement – by Maulana Karenga, Ph.D., chair and professor of African-American Studies at the California State University at Long Beach, in an effort to pull the African-American community together in pride and unity. The reflective nature of Kwanzaa is based on ideas borrowed from an ancient African Swahili seven-day-long harvest celebration.

In Curriki’s lessons, children discuss those seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.  You might want to start with a Sesame Street video!

Winter Solstice

Children on a globeThe Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, marking the moment the sun shines at its most southern point, directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. It’s a major pagan festival, with rituals of rebirth having been celebrated for thousands of years, and it’s a fascinating scientific phenomenon. This year, the solstice will occur on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Check out Curriki’s many resources!

Holidays Around the World

Younger children (K-1) can learn about winter holidays around the world with OER on Curriki’s website, traveling from Mexico (by re-enacting a traditional posadas party,) to Sweden (by role-playing Santa Lucia Day),  to Africa (by eating homemade Kinaras on self-made woven placemats for a harvest celebration), to  Israel (by making dreidels and latkes for Hanukkah), to the United States (by decorating a Christmas tree, making cards and caroling).

Christmas Around the World Webquest and Holiday Customs Around the World transport older students to many countries so they can experience their cultures and their unique holiday celebrations.

Enjoy Curriki’s whole Winter Holidays Learning Collection!

 


Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMOJanet 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 Wins an Owler Award – a Top Trending Company!

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Owler awardCurriki is delighted to announce that we have won an Owler Award – Hot in Cupertino!

Owler is a web and mobile Internet publisher of business information worldwide.  It helps business professionals from every field gauge how they stack up against their competitors, track their partners, keep abreast of what’s going in their fields and stay up on trends.

Each year, Owler recognizes the top trending companies in cities around the world. It sifted through over 15 million companies on their platform to find the most award-worthy businesses, and Curriki is proud to be one of the 4,500 award winners across the 600 most popular cities on Owler.

Recipients were chosen based on several different metrics, including their number of followers on Owler, insights collected from the community, social media followers, and blog posts.

“We’ve sorted through database of millions of contributions from our community and landed on the top trending companies from around the world,” said Jim Fowler, CEO at Owler. “Being Hot In 2016 is an accomplishment to be proud of.”

Because Cupertino is a high-tech hotbed, to win the award in this competitive community is especially rich!

See Curriki’s company profile on Owler.


Kim JonesKim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Oracle Academy Gives Training Scholarships to Teachers

Oracle Academy logoBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

We often take teachers and the work they do for our children for granted. But the fact is that teachers work hard and are under-compensated, and it’s important to recognize and appreciate their effort.

To that end, Oracle Academy launched a program this year to grant scholarships to first-time attendees of the annual Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) conference. It’s one of the world’s best professional development opportunities for CS teachers and would-be teachers, offering three days of useful learning that can be taken directly into the classroom.

But many teachers have no professional development funds to tap for events such as this, and must fund them from their own pockets. So this year, Oracle Academy launched a scholarship program — which gives teachers $1,000 each to offset conference registration, travel and hotel expenses.

TeacherCSTA received more than 300 applications for only 20 available scholarships.

Wage Gap for Teachers

The scholarships are so sought after and so appreciated because the teacher wage gap in the United States is growing. A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute found that female teachers in 1960 earned 14.7% more than women in other comparable positions – but today teachers across all genders earn 17% less than others in comparable jobs.

According to the study, the average teacher’s weekly pay actually went down $30 (adjusted for inflation) between 1996 and 2015, and experienced teachers have suffered greater pay deterioration than new teachers.

So take a moment to stop and thank a teacher. They deserve it!


Kim JonesKim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Marking Veterans Day in the Classroom

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

FlagCurriki’s Veterans Day Collection will bring tears to your eyes as it celebrates the courage and self-sacrifice displayed by the men and women who have to defend the United States since its birth.

Start with this video from the History Channel on the origins of Veterans Day. 

Then show students this awe-inspiring tribute to America’s veterans (and we dare you not to cry).

Then try one or more of the following lessons and activities:

The Price of Freedom – Americans at War  
Americans have gone to war to win their independence, expand their national boundaries, define their freedoms, and defend their interests around the globe. This exhibition by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History examines how wars have shaped the nation’s history and transformed American society.

The Wall Inspires Letters to Veterans
Eve Bunting’s The Wall inspires students to write letters to veterans at local veterans’ hospitals.

Celebrating Veterans Day
While examining how the day is celebrated in the United States today, students write biographical poems about a soldier.

Unknown soldier tombWho Is the Unknown Soldier?
Learn about how Americans can honor those who have died serving their country, even when we don’t know their identities.

Our Flag
This site provides comprehensive information on the American Flag. Topics include the history of the Stars and Stripes, the Grand Union Flag, Historical Flags and the flag today.

Unit Plan: The Vietnam War- Perspectives
This project-based three-week unit explores the Vietnam war through a variety of different perspectives including present day citizens (oral history), veterans against the war (simulation), international political leaders from the past and present (simulation), and finally, the student’s own perspective.

After learning about this powerful, important day, please encourage your students to thank a Veteran today.


Kim JonesKim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Teaching the Elections: One Week to Go!

Trump and CLintonBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

With U.S. Presidential Elections coming into the home stretch, many Americans are heaving a sigh of relief that one of the most acrimonious election seasons in memory is finally almost over.

But for teachers and homeschoolers, that means just one week remains to use active elections as an exciting real-time teaching tool for US history and social studies.

Curriki’s elections page includes a collection of helpful, interactive election teaching resources for kids of all ages. They include:

  • Mock Election, a three-day simulation lesson in which students explain the steps taken from party formation to national election.
  • Win the White House, in which students to manage their very own presidential campaign.
  • Electoral Process, a peek into the electoral process, from party primaries to the general election.
  • Poster PLanHow to Become President of the U.S. Poster Lesson Plan, in which students go from Constitutional qualifications for becoming President of the United States, through background research on a candidate, through campaign analysis, and finally participate in a mock election.
  • Scholastic Election, created by the expert editors of Scholastic News magazines, is designed to inform and engage kids in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Curriki also offers “Participation Presidential Elections in Government, a half-year course that aims to make students appreciate their voice in American politics. The course explores the foundations of Democracy, the American dream, social issues, and of course the presidential election.

You’ll also find links to the platforms for the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties and much, much more.

Other Election Resources

Election centralHere are some other election resources to use during this final week of the US Presidential campaign:

  • Because this campaigning cycle has been unusually contentious, Teaching Tolerance offers and promoting civility in times of conflict. The lesson plan Civil Discourse in the Classroom teaches students how to developed reasoned arguments from unsubstantiated claims. You’ll find more tips on its Election 2016 Resources page.
  • PBS Learning Media offers Election Central, a collection of election news, history, and ideas for facilitating classroom debates.

Share Your Successes!

What has been working best for you? Please share your most successful strategies on Curriki’s Facebook page and enter a drawing for an Amazon gift card!


Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto

Janet 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.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

Trick or Treat! Sneak in Teaching With Halloween Fun

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

Happy HalloweenHalloween is a great time to bring fun into school, as well as at home. Kids of all ages are captivated by costume days, school parades, Trick or Treat Street-type community service events, and of course, candy galore.

But while your students will probably be hyped up on sugar for a few weeks, Halloween also presents some terrific opportunities for learning.

Start with a video history lesson about Halloween from the History Channel, which explains the origins of the elements of this odd holiday – masks, bonfires, jack-o-lanterns, witches, bonfires, cemeteries and begging for treats.

Then check out the other lessons and activities in Curriki’s Halloween Collection. They include:

  • Celebrate Halloween – Students research information on Halloween, create masks or costumes from a text they are reading, or write a narrative essay describing their best Halloween ever.
  • Halloween Story Starters – A list from Scholastic of Halloween Story Starters.
  • Halloween Logic Puzzles – students use a Halloween scenario to think logically.
  • Salem Witch TrialsLearn about the Salem Witch Trials, either in a history lesson or through an examination of Arthur Miller’s classic play The Crucible.

Last but not least, embrace the spookiness and spend some class time haunting your students by reading Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Raven. Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Trick or Treat!


Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet 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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Habla Español? Curriki que sirve ahora

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Curriki' Spanish website

Curriki’s Spanish website

In response to growing interest in Open Educational Resources by educators, parents and student who speak Spanish, Curriki has created a Spanish-language version of its website.

The new, BETA Spanish-language Curriki site recently went live, and you can access it by simply clicking on the “Español” link on the upper right of the Curriki.org homepage, or by going directly to www.curriki.org/es/.  You’ll discover a collection of hundreds of Spanish-language OER resources in   language arts, mathematicsscience,  social studies and history and even more in English: writing, computer science, engineering!

It’s a great start, but Curriki needs to expand the library with more Spanish-language resources. We are encouraging educators and homeschoolers who teach in Spanish to upload your curricula and share what works for you.

At its heart, Curriki is about ensuring that all children—no matter where they come from, where they live or what language they speak—receive a world-class education, which means access to the Curriki OER Library is critical to their success as students. Offering Spanish-language curricula through Curriki is a good step toward providing teachers, schools and parents the support they need to reach every child and for students to access resources in their native language.

How You Can Contribute

  1. Become a Volunteer Translator!Currently, there are 377 resources written in Spanish in the Library, and we are asking the Curriki community to lend their services to help translate its more than 84,000 teaching and learning resources from English to Spanish. If you are fluent in English and Spanish and familiar with education resources, or you can refer someone to us, please contact jpinto@curriki.org
  2. Contribute Your Spanish Teaching and Learning Materials!Educators are encouraged to contribute their lessons, videos, activities, assessments, ebooks, curriculum, units, worksheets, and more to the Curriki Library. Contributors must first join Curriki (it is free) and login to the site.

Please check out the site and send us feedback.  

We also have a survey we would love for you to take,  here


Por Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

En respuesta por crecer el interés en Recursos Abiertos de Educación por los maestros, padres y estudiantes que hablan español, Curriki ha creado una versión de lenguaje en español de su sitio web.

La nueva versión BETA del sitio Curriki en lenguaje español acaba de abrirse para todos, y para entrar simplemente de un click en el link de “Español” en la esquina derecha del sitio Curriki.org en la página de inicio, o yendo directo a www.curriki.org/es/. Encontrará una colección de miles de recursos OER en lenguaje español en artes del lenguaje, matemáticas, ciencia, estudios sociales e historia, y ¡de igual manera en inglés: escritura, ciencia de la computadora e ingeniería!

Es un gran comienzo, pero Curruki necesita expandir su biblioteca con más recursos en lenguaje español. Estamos retando a los papas que dan escuela en casa que enseñan en español para que suban más recursos en español que nos sirvan como recurso para ellos.

Curriki quiere asegurarse que todos los niños de donde quiera que vengan, en donde quiera que vivan o en que lenguaje hablen, reciban una educación mundial adecuada, eso significa que tengan acceso a la librería de Curriki OER es crítico para el éxito de los estudiantes. Ofrecer este tipo de recursos en lenguaje español es un gran paso para proveer a todos los maestros, escuelas y padres que necesiten de este soporte para criar y enseñar a sus hijos o estudiantes en su lenguaje nativo.

¿Cómo puedo contribuir?

  1. ¡Conviértete en un traductor voluntario!: Actualmente, hay 377 recursos escritos en español en la biblioteca, y estamos preguntando a la comunidad de Curriki para pedir su ayuda y traducir sus más de 84,000 recursos para enseñar y aprender del inglés al español. Si usted puede traducir de inglés a español o sabe de alguien que lo pueda hacer, háganoslo saber, por favor. Contáctenos al correo jpinto@curriki.org
  2. ¡Puede contribuir con sus materiales de enseñanza y aprendizaje de lenguaje español!: Estamos invitando a los educadores para que contribuyan con sus lecciones, videos, actividades, asentamientos, libros en línea, currículums, unidades, hojas de trabajo y más en la biblioteca de Curriki. Los contribuyentes primero se tienen que unir al sitio Curriki (es gratis) y entrar al sitio.

Por favor, cheque el sitio y envíenos un mensaje de vuelta:

http://curriki.org/es/acercade-curriki/contact-us/.

¡De igual manera tenemos recursos que le podrían ayudar aquí!:

https://www.recursomono.com/r/EspanolCurriki


Kim JonesKim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Amgen Foundation Donates $25K to Curriki

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

2000px-amgen-svgI am delighted to announce that Amgen Foundation, the primary philanthropic vehicle of the biotech leader Amgen, has pledged $25,000 to help Curriki further its mission to provide quality Open Educational Resources (OER) to students worldwide.

The Amgen Foundation’s generous grant will help Curriki offer even more innovative science education options to teachers and students. This kind of corporate support makes a huge difference in creating a community of learners who will be able to use their education to go out and have an impact on the world.

Eduardo Cetlin, president of Amgen Foundation, told us that he feels “Curriki is clearly making a difference for students and teachers across the globe. We are proud to support Curriki to strengthen access to quality science content for its growing community of learners.”

Curriki, a non-profit organization, hosts a free library of 83,000+ educator-vetted learning materials in all K-12 subject areas and in many formats—from individual lesson plans, instructional videos and units, to games and simulations. All content contributed by educators and select partners is available to others to use, adapt and share at no cost. In addition, Curriki curates resources into course-sequenced, standards-aligned units to enable educators to easily find materials.

Curriki recently released a new High School Physics Collection and launched a new array of custom services to give educators access to Curriki’s curriculum resources on their school’s own websites.

About Curriki

A 2016 SIIA CODiE Award finalist, Curriki’s mission is to eliminate the gap between those who have access to high-quality education and those who do not. Curriki’s online community of educators, learners and committed education experts works together to create quality materials that benefit teachers, parents and students globally. A Computerworld Honors Laureate for 2012, Curriki was selected as the 21st Century Achievement Award winner for Digital Access. With more than 485,000 members and 83,000+ learning assets, Curriki has reached more than 12 million users worldwide. Join today www.curriki.org.

About the Amgen Foundation

The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and to invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $250 million to local, regional and international nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. The Amgen Foundation brings the excitement of discovery to the scientists of tomorrow through several signature programs, including Amgen Scholars, Amgen Biotech Experience and Amgen Teach. For more information, visit www.amgeninspires.com.


Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki.Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

Open Educational Resources:  A Powerful Means for Educational Equity

By Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member

OER logoEducation provides families and communities the opportunity to thrive. However, educational systems and curricula differ across communities, states and even nations. These inequities can prevent many children from having adequate opportunities to learn.

According to the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, almost one-third of the U.S. population is living in poverty. Coupled with additional barriers such as under-resourced schools, societal and cultural expectations, teacher shortages, illiteracy and lack of access, gaps in education are severely challenging to address. As a consequence, generations of young people are slipping through the cracks and their potential for contributing to society is diminished or lost. The impact of inequality is even heavier on gender and minorities. We simply cannot sit back and wait, perhaps for decades, for these inequities to be resolved.

OER to the Rescue!

With the exponential growth of technology and the Internet, Open Educational Resources (OER) give communities around the world the ability to meet their educational needs. UNESCO coined the term “OER” in 2002, describing it as teaching, learning and research resources in the public domain or with license that permits free use and re-purposing.

Curriki seeks to fill in instruction gaps by providing a free global OER platform for educators, parents, and students to access and share courses, curriculum, textbooks, videos, assessments, lesson plans, simulations and a multitude of other teaching and learning resources.

Computer learningHere are some ways that OERs can foster educational equity:

  • Access to Free Quality Resources. OER resources exist in the public domain or are released with intellectual property licensing that allows the public to use them for free for educational and personal purposes.  Therefore, anyone can access these resources, use them in their classrooms and disseminate among staff and educational peers.
  • Ease of Accessibility. OERs are readily available wherever there is internet access, via computers, laptops, mobile devices and cell phones. This can happen at school, at home, or even at a library, restaurant, or even a mall where public Wi-fi is available. Public domain and permissible content can be downloaded onto USB drives and continue to be shared.
  • Provide Personalized Learning Experiences. Differentiated instruction to meet individual needs of students is a cornerstone of effective teaching. In addition to the unique qualities and interests of every student, legislation requires the customization of instruction to meet the needs or defined groups such as gifted and talented and special needs students.
    OERs allow educators, homeschooling educators, parents, and students to search for topics and complementary teaching materials. Imagine being able to find engaging videos, simulations, units, and activities targeting unique interests ranging from NASCAR to Harry Potter and the Hunger Games.
  • Curated collections of resources also help provide targeted materials at all levels. Curriki offers standards-aligned collections on Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Physics, Computational Thinking and more.
  • Fostering a Diversified Curriculum. Effective education is no longer viewed as a “sage on stage” scenario where teachers lecture and students rely on textbooks for learning. But challenges for adequate curriculum development and limited planning time make it difficult to meet the needs for 21st century learning. The Framework for 21st Century Learning emphasizes creativity and innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration. Research and investigation are the prime vehicles for learning, and OERs hone in on this with valuable resources on problem-based learning, flipped classrooms, technology integration and inquiry.
  • Collaboration on Successful Practices. Curriki’s large repository of high-quality materials — shared by educators, parents and students — can be linked or uploaded to share around the world. Teachers have shared their personally developed units, lesson plans, videos and more to create an abundance of classroom-tested instructional materials.  Curriki makes it easy to find these resources by keyword searches, subjects, grade level, resource type (unit, lesson plan, video, assessment, etc.), and even by standard (Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards).

In addition, Curriki’s platform allows its community of users to rate and review each resource. Teachers, parents and students can also create their own groups, public or private, and participate in forums on a variety of topics to advance collaboration.

Education for All

Educators, parents, and students don’t have to be restricted from limited resources, geography or their current learning environment. The global community is working through OERs to help provide quality education for all. Curriki is proud to be a prime facilitator of this educational progress!


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

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