Thursday, December 8, 2016

ISTE Standard: Global Collaborator

Standard: Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

I think this is one of the best technology standards because it fits so well with our mission and especially the social aspects of this year's theme verse. It can be difficult for students, especially younger ones, to comprehend the larger world outside of their social bubble. We protect them on field trips and corral them into neat lines with established patterns. The big world can be a scary place, but it is also filled with amazing people who daily act as the hands and feet of God. As Christian school educators, global collaboration easily takes on a missional element.

In this article from 2015, ISTE Connects gives seven tips for starting a global collaboration project:
  • ​Find your passion and purpose. If you're excited about the project, you are better prepared to overcome obstacles. 
  • Pick your focus. Select a unit that you truly love and will put your best effort into it. 
  • Check in with your students. Kids need to feel secure enough to engage with people they just met. Community must exist inside the classroom before they can connect with outsiders. 
  • You gotta believe. Your passion will excite others to give their best effort. 
  • Find your people. Use people you know who will come alongside and help you out. 
  • Dream a little. Don't be afraid to take risks and try something different. 
  • Let go. When problems happen (and they will), don't become overwhelmed but turn it into another teaching moment. 
Ideas for global collaboration projects:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

BIT: Bumper Sticker Discussion Starters

November seems to be Social Studies emphasis month as we go from the election to Thanksgiving. One way teachers can prompt Biblical integration discussion is to use bumper stickers.

Photo by Nyenyec
Do you agree or disagree with the bumper sticker:
  • ​​He who dies with the most toys wins.
  • Well behaved women seldom make history.
  • Life sucks, then you die.
  • It's a dog eat dog world.
  • Celebrate diversity.
Feel free to modify these or use an image from the Internet to prompt the discussion. Of course the goal is to bring students to a place where they can defend their position with Scriptural support.

To take it further, have students explore how these ideas have influenced history. They should then be able to draw conclusions about how ideas can shape or change our actions and give historical examples such as the flight of the pilgrims or the Scopes trial or even biblical revivals and reformations.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Discerning Truth Through Research

Imagine researching through thousands of scrolls at the library of Alexandria or the task Noah had in preserving antediluvian records on the ark! Learning to collect, organize and retrieve information is a life skill.

In the book Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages, Alex Wright explores how mankind has always tried to organize and make sense of an increasing volume of information. Our world is inundated with information, but that is not an excuse for students to lazily select the first bit of info they find. 

The leaders of the next generation do not need to be smart (full of knowledge), instead they must be wise (able to discern truth). I heard a college professor commenting on the Robin William's movie, Dead Poets Society that the main character taught his students how to think, but he didn't give them something to think about. Don't be afraid to use the Bible and religious texts as source materials in every research project.

Our students should be busy researching because they are looking for solutions to real problems in their lives. In fact, they already do this as demonstrated in this video from Extra Credit, as teachers we need to cultivate that skill so students can apply it to other areas.



ISTE Standard: Knowledge Constructor
Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.
  • plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits. 
  • evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
  • curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
  • build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
How to Cite the Bible in MLA Format
According to Purdue OWL​, italicize “The Bible” and follow it with the version you are using. Remember that your in-text (parenthetical citation) should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). (See Citing the Bible at In-Text Citations: The Basics.)
The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.
The Bible. The New Oxford Annotated Version, 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2001.
The New Jerusalem Bible. Edited by Susan Jones, Doubleday, 1985.

BIT: Discussion Starters

Biblical integration is demonstrating how a unit of study (not an individual lesson plan) reveals the character or nature of God, Creation, Mankind, Moral Order or Purpose.

For example, a unit on weights and measures leads nicely into a discussion of the need for standard units of measure and allows teachers to distinguish between ideas of fair, right and justice. But while these ideas are important, remember to define them through God's Word (Romans 3:10 & 23, 7:12, etc).

When my family recently visited Yellowstone National Park, my son was upset at the evolution messages in the displays. I reminded him that the geologic and ecological evidences were there for everyone to observe, but we interpret the general revelation of nature in unison with the Bible.

For more resources on writing biblical integration discussion starters, visit http://bible.biblicalintegration.com/discussion-starters/ 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Little Tidbit: Starfall

By using Starfall.com students can up their reading levels by practicing sight words, phonics, as well as listening, and reading different kinds of books.

Name of Website or App: Starfall.com

Grade Level: PreK through 2nd

Content Area: Reading and Math

Digital Literacy Idea or Standard Cited
Empowered Learner
Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.

Brief Description: This website offers math practice, as well as reading practice. Students can work on math facts for their grade level, as well as phonics and reading. Starfall offers different genres of books students can listen to while following along. While students learn to read, there are different games they can play that will build certain skills such as sight words or long sounds.

Reinforces Digital Literacy: This reinforces digital literacy because students can explore a website, and they take an active role in choosing what they learn about. The teacher does not stand over the student and tell them what activities to do, the student gets to choose.

Teachers in the Classroom: Teachers can offer Starfall as a center activity on either a computer or an iPad.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

How to Open iBooks

Pushing iBooks resources onto teacher iPads is a great way to share large volumes of information.

Our teachers tend to use email for most of their communication. While this works just fine, sometimes large files can get lost in the mix. By pushing eBooks to the teacher iPads I can make the information available without cluttering their mailbox.

Of course, I had to make an easy info graphic to remind teachers how to access their iBooks which will be sent through email :D

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Video: Power Up Parent Communication

Parent/teacher communication
is not 1960s rocket science. 
Common Sense Media just released the following video with three great tips for improving parent communication. I try to notify parents every Monday through email, but sometimes wonder how effective my communication is.

I've toyed with Remind and was reintroduced to the app at the ICE Conference last week. I am also dusting off my class Google sites and adding announcements to keep everyone informed.

After watching the video, I plan to explore ways of combining the Google site feed with a push service such as Remind. This way information can be created and archived in a central location but parents and students will still receive mobile notification.