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A Special Letter From Santa in 2018 … Why Teachers Must Be Magic!

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Welcome to a very magical entry for 2018… one that has been a traditional post each holiday season. (For those following my 150 Resource STEM Series it will follow my holiday posts). It is a time of year that I wish to express my gratitude to those wonderful educators that have welcomed me at their schools, webinars, and conferences and also join me at this blog and on twitter throughout the year. I would like to share with all of you a very special letter I found under my Christmas Tree  many Christmas Eves ago. I have made it a practice to put it away, until just a few weeks before Christmas each year, with the idea of sharing it with educators across the world! Please take a moment to read this very special letter from Santa! He takes a moment to describe the magic that you as an educator make happen every day! While you are at it, I would appreciate that you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog  and follow me on Twitter at (mjgormans).  Also, please take just a moment to share this letter by providing a retweet, and feel to copy and distribute (please give the reference).  In this way, you can help spread the magic!  My next seasonal post is… PBL at the North Pole.  May your holidays be filled with magic! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Inquiry, Computational Thinking, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  My calendar is filling.

FETC 2019 – How does Orlando in January sound for an educational conference? I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Check out this link to see these sessionsDo you want to save some cash? Use Promo Code TW19 & Save an extra 10% *There could be an expiration date on code

A Special Letter From Santa … Why Teachers Must Be Magic! …. by  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com) ….Twitter (mjgormans)

Dear Teachers,

I have been meaning to write this letter for a long time! It is a letter that I feel is long overdue and with the elves getting all ready for my long ride, I finally found the time! I have been watching teachers for many years and I am amazed at the work they do. I have come to a conclusion that the teaching profession, like my own, must be filled with bits of  magic! Please let me provide ten statements of evidence for my belief.

1.  I travel the world one night of the year visiting all the boys and girls of the world. The teaching profession works with every boy and girl all year long. This equates to each teacher fulfilling educational needs for 30 – 200 children each and every school day. Seems like magic to me!

2. I deliver presents to all the boys and girls. From my Toy Repair Shop statistics, I find many of these gifts are broken or no longer garner a child’s interest within months!  Yet teachers find inner gifts in every child. Teachers nurture these inner gifts  until they develop into true presents that will last a lifetime.  These kinds of gifts sure seem like magic to me!

3. I keep my naughty and nice list for every child. Some people believe this job is pretty amazing! Yet when I look at the teaching profession, teachers provide a constant evaluation of all their students! Their list covers all the aspects of developing and learning which they report to children’s parents and to the children themselves! This evaluation is based on a wide variety of observations, data, and student performance.  Teachers will then use this list to help improve each and every student! Wow, keeping track of every student’s ability and prescribing ways to be successful must really be magic!

4. I leave presents to students who are on the nice list and who believe in me. Teachers work with all children because they believe in every student. Teachers continue to do so, even when students stop believing in the educational system’s ability to help them achieve.  That type of persistence has got to be magic!

5. I have operated my workshop using the same technology for hundreds of years and it has worked for me. Then again, I work with children when they are asleep, delivering presents in my own way. Teachers work with children when they are awake and they have spent time learning how to engage children using googles, blogs, phlogs, glogs, prezis, and all these other words I really don’t know! Being able to teach, transform, and accommodate for this new digital generation must really be magic!

6. I have made it a practice to leave coal behind for children who do not make my good list! It seems every year the same children always get the coal. Teachers refuse to leave coal, in fact, they are working hard at leaving no child behind. To work towards a goal of leaving no child behind is a true act of magic!

7. I read the news and I am always so thankful to read all the nice articles about my work. It really does provide me with motivation to keep up my vocation. I read news articles about the education profession and it seems that most articles are unsupportive. Yet, teachers keep working hard at providing success for their students! These teachers must be operating on a little bit of magic!

8. I have thousands of elves, of course, the reindeer, and the  community of the entire North Pole to assist me. Teachers work every day, many times by themselves, as they provide new opportunities for their students! Carrying that load alone must be much heavier than my bag of toys. It must really be magic!

9. I receive many a thank you and millions of pictures of happy faces as children open their presents each year. Teachers don’t always get a thank you, or may never see the present get eventually opened. When they do, appreciation may come from decades later!  A thank you that appears after many years must be the result of pure magic!

10. I discovered a light in Rudolph brightens up a dark, foggy, or snowy night so that I can deliver joy to all the children across the world. Teachers provide the light that brightens our world in both the darkest night and brightest day! It is the light of learning and knowledge!  The ability to keep that light burning  bright  must take a quite a bit of magic!

You see, I have found that magic does not come easily! It is made possible only by those who work hard and keep believing, and seek what they know is possible! As you can see, there must be a great deal of magic in the education profession! Please continue to keep this magic alive and know that you are all on my good list! After all, I had to learn all that I do from somewhere! So from across the years, I know I have many teachers to thank!   Last, to all teachers across the world… I really do believe in you!

Thanks for all the magic,

Santa

I hope you enjoyed this very special message from Santa. Please take a moment to share this letter with other educators across the world. It will truly help bring out the magic in our profession! Please accept my present to you,  which is another year of postings by subscribing  and following me on Twitter (mjgormans). Think about contacting me (Booking Infoto see how I might fit into your conference or school PD plans. (mjgormans@gmail.com)! Again, take a moment to share this blog and even give it a re-tweet so that other educators can experience the magic.  Next post… PBL at the North Pole  (subscribe now) ! May you find the peace, joy, blessing, and magic of this very special season… and to all a good night! – Mike Gorman  (21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

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Part 2: Over 150 STEM Resources for PBL and Authentic Learning… Technology

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Welcome to number two in a series of four posts bringing you over 150 amazing resources for STEM education. I hope you enjoyed  my thoughts of  STEM being a Verb  a few posts back, along with the 40 resources geared toward STEM Science in the last post. In this series of posts my goal is to provide you with practical resources in each of the STEM areas. This post is dedicated to Technology. Before investigating these resources,  please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way …So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Inquiry, Computational Thinking, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  My calendar is filling.

FETC 2019 – How does Orlando in January sound for an educational conference? I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Check out this link to see these sessionsDo you want to save some cash? Use Promo Code TW19 & Save an extra 10% *There could be an expiration date on code.

Technology – STEM Resources

Since there are a gold mine of resources below I will keep my comments short. While STEM incorporates so many disciplines, I thought you might enjoy looking at some the best sites I could find in the area of Technology. As you look through over 34 possibilities be sure to take some notes. It really is OK to get lost in one or two and leave the rest for later.  Please take a moment to share this post with fellow educators with a tweet. Enjoy your journey and please let me know others I should add.

  • Code – Educators interested in computer programming need to visit this site dedicated to expanding participation in computer science. The vision of CODE is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer programming. STEM educators will discover ways to integrate core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.
  • TEDed – Check out these wonderful lessons that really allow students to view the ideas behind future technology.
  • Scratch –  With Scratch, kids can program their own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively . All of this is possible while essential skills for life in the 21st century are facilitated. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.
  • Computer Science Unplugged – CS Unplugged is a wonderful collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around. The activities introduce students to underlying STEM concepts such as binary numbers, algorithms, and data compression, separated from the distractions and technical details we usually see with computers.
  • Tynker – Along with great programming opportunities, the Hour of Code activities are designed to teach students computational thinking and the basics of computer programming. Students solve each puzzle by programming visual code blocks to achieve a goal.
  • TED Talks – Great talks that will give some wonderful technology ideas for both teachers and students.
  • NASA Robotic Lesson Plans – Some wonderful lesson ideas that cover all grade levels to engage students.
  • Accelerator Nation – It is time for you to bring aerodynamics to life in your STEM Classroom. You and your students can  dive into hands-on aerodynamics experiments and dynamic STEM activities that support core science lessons in force, momentum, and speed. Along with the main link…  check out this special area for teachers
  • National STEM Video Game Challenge – You and your students will enjoy this site inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.  The National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.
  • Tech Museum of Innovation – Check out these challenges available from an amazing museum. While you are at the site check out all the other possible resources that might just work for your classroom.
  • Tech Rockets –  Students ages 10 to 18 can create a Tech Rocket account and gain access to amazing tech courses. These include Python, iOS, Java, Minecraft, 3D printing. Each course contains lessons, support materials, and interactive challenges. Students can even gain points and badges along the way.
  • NASA Kids Club –  Students take part in some amazing technology based missions as they engage in various missions. This is a place where students learn and enjoy as they possibly even blaze through space.
  • Center for Game Science – Discover this unique site that has created games focused on the importance of scientific discovery, discovering optimal learning pathways for STEM education, cognitive skill training , and unique games that explore collective over individual intelligence.
  • Smithsonian Science and Technology – Make sure you take the time to look at these lesson plans that emphasize the idea of science and technology through culture and history. You will find great ideas!
  • Makezine – This might be a great place to start. I recommend checking out the projects area just to begin to get some ideas. While many of the projects are prescribed, you may wish to find some ways to open up ideas for thinking outside the box and providing for innovation. Explore the different areas including science, electronics, art, and design. How might something you discover allow your students to Make something that will connect to learning?
  • Instructables – Here you will find ideas to make so many things that could Make a great connection to learning. When first opening the program give the Search Engine a try. Put in keywords of some possible learning ideas. It might be planets, insects, civil war, or nutrition. You can even filter the results using multiple categories.  Give it a try… you will be amazed at what you find and what your students might Make!
  • The Exploratorium Tinkering Studio – Tinkering is at the very heart of formative learning, allowing for iterations that encourage revision and reflection.  Kids develop an understanding of how to learn from failure and setbacks in order to experience eventual success. The Tinkering Studio is primarily an R&D laboratory on the floor of the Exploratorium, but whenever possible they try to share their projects, activities and developing ideas following an “open source” model. Learn how you too can enjoy their activities in your classroom while allowing your kids to Tinker and Make!
  • The Exploratorium Tinkerer Collection – Speaking of Tinkering, you may wish to introduce your students to some amazing Tinkerers and the occupations that surround them. Perhaps this could be part of a Makers’ Unit of Study that focuses on College and Career Readiness and 21st Century Skills. It might be fun to see what your students can Make of it!
  • DIY – Do It Yourself is a platform for students to discover skills and share what they make and do with each other and the global community. You can explore skill-based learning and introduce collaboration into your classroom – during homeroom, Genius Hour, after school, and even regular classes. Discover ways to blend the DIY Skills platform into the core curriculum, or let students explore new subjects while practicing skills and Making.
  • HowToons – Take a moment and see what happens when you take a comic book artist, an inventor, and a toy designer and have them work together.  It seems you end up with HowToons, a place of engaging content that teaches kids how to build things, combining instructions with storytelling.  You will discover that Howtoons has a foundation of science and engineering education, inspiring creativity through art and imagination. Take a look at the library and get set to Make!
  • Science Toy Maker – This really is a site for people who like to roll up their sleeves and make science toys and projects. As the author states, “You won’t find slick, well-designed web pages here–more like the digital equivalent of a messy workshop. If you tinker around, though, you’ll find some good stuff.” Science Toy Maker is a resource for inspired kids and their teachers to really Make something out of it!
  • Global Cardboard Challenge – This is a project from the Imagination Foundation inspired from Caine’s Arcade. It is a great way to inspire kids with mostly cardboard. It is amazing and exciting to see cardboard innovation at its finest. In fact, how might your students think outside the box and Make!
  • Maker Camp – Here is an opportunity for students to join other young inventors and artists from around the world on Google+ to make awesome projects, go on epic virtual “field trips,” and meet the world’s coolest Makers. You will find that Maker Camp inspires kids ages 13-18 to embrace their inner maker, get their hands dirty, fix some things, break some things, and have a lot of fun doing it. Everything is archived so all lessons and projects will be available at Maker Camp even after the summer so you and your students can Make all year long.
  • Makey Makey – OK… it is not free but is also pretty amazing at less than fifty dollars a kit. Take a moment to explore this  invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touch pads and combine them with the internet. It’s really is a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in-between. It comes ready to use out of the box with everything you see above: MaKey MaKey, Alligator Clips, USB Cable. Four students can work with one kit. Make sure you look at the project possibilities on the website. It is here that you just might see curricular connections
  • High Low Tech – This site from MIT Media Lab really does have some tech for everyone. HLT’s work integrates high and low technological materials, processes, and cultures. Their primary aim is to engage diverse audiences in designing and building their own technologies. It is their belief that the future of technology will be largely determined by end-users who will design, build, and hack their own devices. Furthermore, their goal is to inspire, shape, support, and study these communities. Take a look at these projects that explore the intersection of computation, physical materials, manufacturing processes, traditional crafts, and design
  • Squishy Circuits – What kids don’t want to Make something with play dough… now add circuits and they have an even greater Making opportunity. Squishy circuits are a project from the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas.  The goal of the project is to design tools and activities which allow kids of all ages to create circuits and explore electronics using play dough. Be sure to check out the Ted Talk, White House Maker Faire, and the Ready to Use Kits. As with any circuit activity… read any precautions.
  • How Stuff Works – As students make they may want to learn more and even have further questions, this is a great place to get information and explanations when Making. You are bound to find some curricular connections.
  • The Kids Should See This – Be sure to visit this amazing wonder-filled resource site. You will find ideas for making along with some great learning opportunities.
  • Activity Village – Not everything in the 21st century has to be digital. How about allowing students to create games in the non-digital world, like using cardboard and markers? Think of the learning standards their games could connect to.
  • Sphero – Not only is this robotic ball a lot of fun, be sure to check out the included SPK Lab. The SPRK Lightning Lab app is your student’s hub to create, contribute and learn with Sphero Robots. The visual block-based building interface makes learning the basic principles of programming approachable and fun. Browse through activities, keep track of your class and collaborate with users around the world.
  • Ozobot – Using these unique little robots presents an innovative way to teach subjects like programming, math, and science in classrooms, after-school clubs or at home. See kids become engaged and inspired when topics come alive with the help of Ozobot. Check out the site for awesome resources and lessons.
  • Edutopia Makers Area – Take a moment to discuss, watch,and  browse through amazing topics and possibilities. Discover how educators are harnessing the energy of the maker movement to inspire student exploration across the STEM subjects.
  • Chibitronics – Discover an interactive kit designed to introduce students to the world of paper circuits. Inside each Kit is everything students will need to set up simple LEDs, switches, and sensors with only a bit of knowledge on how electricity works and a little ingenuity! With these kits, no soldering or sewing is required, simply peel each LED sticker and place them in specific areas designated in the included guide sketchbook and watch each creation glow.
  • Ignite My Future –  Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Discovery Education are proud to bring you Ignite My Future In School. This dynamic training and thought leadership will drive TCS’s mission of changing the landscape of computer science education with the goal of reaching 1M students over 5 years
  • Twine – Welcome to a site that combines interactive technology with language arts. Twine is an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories.

Thanks for joining me on this wonderful journey of the 21st century (and even before that) learning. Join me in future weeks as together we continue to explore several more posts devoted to the Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, technology integration, web resources, and digital literacy.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also remember to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. Keep up the amazing work,  have a great week.  Welcome to the Future! – Mike Gorman

FETC 2019 – How does Orlando in January sound for an educational conference? I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Check out this link to see these sessionsDo you want to save some cash? Use Promo Code TW19 & Save an extra 10%

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Inquiry, Computational Thinking, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  My calendar is filling.

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Part 1: Over 150 STEM Resources for PBL and Authentic Learning… Science

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Welcome to another STEM related  series of four posts bringing you over 150 amazing resources. I hope you enjoyed  my thoughts of  STEM being a Verb in the last post. In this series of posts my goal is to provide you with practical resources in each of the STEM areas. This post is dedicated to Science. Before investigating these resources,  please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Inquiry, Computational Thinking, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  My calendar is filling.

FETC 2019 – How does Orlando in January sound for an educational conference? I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Check out this link to see these sessionsDo you want to save some cash? Use Promo Code TW19 & Save an extra 10% *There could be an expiration date on code.

Science – STEM Resources

Since there are a gold mine of resources below I will keep my comments short. While STEM incorporates Science and so much more I thought you might enjoy looking at some the best sites I could find in the area of Science. As you look through over 40 possibilities be sure to take some notes. It really is OK to get lost in one or two and leave the rest for later.  Please take a moment to share this post with fellow educators with a tweet. Enjoy your journey and please let me know others I should add.

  • Science Net Links – A premiere site for STEM resources. What a wonderful place for educators to find quality teaching tools, interactive, podcasts, and hands-on activities, and best of all… it’s free!
  • Arkive – Explore this amazing online encyclopedia of life. It will engage your students while fitting into any project.
  • Frontiers Science For Kids – Not only are these articles for kids… they are written by kids. Perhaps your students could be the next contributor.
  • National Science Foundation – Check out this diverse collection of lessons and web resources for classroom teachers. Materials are arranged by subject area to help teachers quickly find resources in any interest area.
  • Journey North –  It started with the Monarch Butterfly and is now so much more. Track migration and seasons with students across the country.
  • Globe – Program is an international science and education program that provides students and the public worldwide with the opportunity to participate in data collection and the scientific process, and contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the Earth system and global environment.
  • PHet – These are interactive simulations from the University of Colorado in Boulder. They include a large selection of simulations in biology, earth science, physics, chemistry, and math. On a Teacher Page, you can browse for teacher created activities that go with a simulation. Best of all, you can download simulations to a local computer if you do not wish to rely on an internet connection.
  • Learning Reviews Science – More than 500 free interactive science websites and apps. Kids and high school students can choose from games, lessons, experiments and projects. They include topics in earth sciences, animal, human and plant biology, astronomy, and high school physics — even computer science and engineering.
  • NSDL – The National Science Digital Library has some outstanding resources that include numerous links to some great STEM programs and organizations.
  • Understanding Science… How Science Really Works – Discover this assembly of resources to help educators increase student understanding of nature and the process of science. There is a collection of wonderful lesson plans, teaching tips, and pedagogical strategies You can also visit a Teacher’s Lounge or explore the all-level resources. It is fun to discover how science really works.
  • New York Hall of Science – Wonderful site presents 450 exhibits, demonstrations, workshops and participatory activities that explain science, technology, engineering, and math.
  • CK12 – Starting with their amazing free digital books is really just a start. Continue to explore all of the simulations, formative assessments, and lessons.
  • Nova Science Education – NOVA is the most-watched prime time science series on American television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly.
  • MIT and Khan Science – Khan has so much more than Math, in fact… visit this Science site that includes resources with Khan Partner MIT K-12. Here you will find great lessons involving Physics, Natural Science, Resources, and Measurement. This is an area that may just help you flip your STEM classroom
  • Smithsonian Science Education Center – This website of the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), the only unit at the Smithsonian Institution that is solely dedicated to formal preK-12 science education reform.
  • California Academy of Science –  The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life on Earth.
  • Science News For Kids – Wonderful collection of the latest news written for kids that will fit into any project.
  • Science Friday – Covering the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies, Science Friday is the source for entertaining and educational stories about science, technology, and other cool stuff.
  • HHMI BioInteractive – It really is through innovative science education programs that HHMI seeks to strengthen education in biology,and related sciences from elementary school to graduate studies and beyond. Educators will find a wealth of information and resources including sources from Biology, Chemistry, Physiology, and even 3D Printing. There is something for just about any STEM classroom  that is ready to engage students.
  • Project Noah – Visit tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere.
  • Click To Science –The basic foundation of Click2Science is their 20 Skills to Make STEM Click. These are skills they claim are necessary to implement science effectively in an out-of-school time settings. Click2Science really is an indispensable resource for staff working directly with youth and for coaches and trainers working with staff. It also a resource that classroom teachers may just want to get some STEM ideas from.
  • National Geographic For Kids – Nat Geo Kids inspires young adventurers to explore the world through award-winning magazines, books, apps, games, toys, videos, events, and this website.
  • Nova Labs – Discover this site that provides real labs, real data, and you. You will feel the engagement.
  • Learn Genetics –  Visit this site from the University of Utah. You will find that there is more then genetics here.
  • MIT K12 – This site was built around a simple idea: K12 educators and MIT should be working together to make movies for K12 students. Educators submit ideas for experiments or demonstrations they would like to see an MIT student perform and explain in a short video. MIT students can then “check out” these assignments or they can come up with their own ideas and check them out themselves. The result is an amazing K12 STEM video online to be used in the classroom.
  • Concord Consortium – You can bring out the inner scientist in all your students with our scientifically accurate models and activities. Search at the site or head over to their NGSS Pathfinder!
  • NASA Wavelength – Now is the time for you to explore NASA Wavelength, an initiative dedicated  to providing education a digital collection of Earth and space science resources for educators of all levels.  The incredible resources at Nasa Wave Length were developed through funding of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD). You will find that all the resources have undergone a rigorous peer-review process.
  • The Big History Project – Discover this world of history so full of science information. It is multimedia at its best!
  • NSTA – I cannot leave out the amazing resources at the National Science Teachers Association. I especially like their resource page and their amazing Feebies Page.
  • Institute of Physics – Check out this amazing resource page that will provide many ideas on physics.
  • National Geographic Explorer – Bring National Geographic to your classroom through lesson plans, maps, and reference resources.
  • SAS Curriculum Pathways Science – Check out these amazing lessons, inter-actives, and assessments that are free and engaging.
  • OER Commons Science – Check out this great resource that connects to hundreds of other amazing free resources. Check out all the science areas.
  • Science Snacks –  Are your students hungry for fresh, exciting science activities based in amazing phenomena? Science Snacks are hands-on, teacher-tested, and use cheap, available materials. They are sure to satisfy your students’ curiosity without ever getting full.
  • Scientix – Visit a page that  promotes and supports a Europe-wide collaboration among STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teachers, education researchers, policymakers and other STEM education professionals. Make sure you explore this resource page.
  • Science Journal for Kids – Your students will enjoy these Cutting edge peer-reviewed
    science research adapted for students.
  • Big Picture Science – Browse over 1,200 resources by filtering for topic, education level or type. If you’re looking for something specific, you can use the search field at the top of the page.
  • Smithsonian Tween Review – Check out this e-magazine resource filled with amazing science based articles for tweens and teens. You will also find resources and lessons. Best of all the same article can be transformed by grade level or lexile.
  • PBS Learning Media – While this link goes to videos in all areas, be sure to open up the Science link to dig deeper in science only subjects.
  • Learning Reviews 100 Science Fair Projects – Help your students kick-start their science fair project with one of these great options!  Here is your connection to some of the best free project plans available.
  • Science Hub – Here are hundreds of free detailed plans for projects for elementary, middle and high school students. The plans are sorted by discipline – astronomy and space, chemistry, engineering and architecture, physics, technology, and earth, life sciences, physical sciences, and… well, “other” for no clear fit.
  • PTA Web Cams – If you cannot be there then go there virtually. Science is about observation. What type of observation activity can be part of your science class. Check out these possibilities.

Thanks for joining me on this wonderful journey of the 21st century (and even before that) learning. Join me in future weeks as together we continue to explore several more posts devoted to the Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, technology integration, web resources, and digital literacy.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also remember to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. Keep up the amazing work,  have a great week.  Welcome to the Future! – Mike Gorman

FETC 2019 – How does Orlando in January sound for an educational conference? I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Check out this link to see these sessionsDo you want to save some cash? Use Promo Code TW19 & Save an extra 10%

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Inquiry, Computational Thinking, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  My calendar is filling.

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STEM across Curriculum…. Ten Ideas to Transform STEM from Nouns to Verbs… and Facts to Thinking

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Welcome to another STEM related post. I hope you enjoyed  the 35 STEAM Ideas in the last post. There are a lot of ideas floating around in regards to STEM education. As I reflect on my observation of STEM practice in my travels across the country I have become more convinced that STEM is a verb, and not just a set of nouns. In fact, STEM action is something all content areas can embrace as they engage students in authentic learning. Before investigating this idea further,  please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Inquiry, Computational Thinking, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  My calendar is filling.

FETC 2019 – How does Orlando in January sound for an educational conference? I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Check out this link to see these sessionsDo you want to save some cash? Use Promo Code TW19 & Save an extra 10%

STEM across Curriculum…. Ten Ideas to Transform STEM from Nouns to Verbs… and Facts to Thinking

“We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts.”  – John Dewey

Let’s take a moment and investigate the STEM acronym, after-all it is being used quite a bit across the United States and the world. Often we hear the content areas; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math as being the basis of STEM. While this is a wonderful collection of nouns that can be used to put together a cross-curricular, transdisciplinary, or project based learning unit of study; it seems to leave out many of the other disciplines through this content definition. By focusing just on these four areas we are losing the powerful and authentic learning opportunities that STEM thinking can bring to the classroom.  In fact, we are also leaving some of the most important teachers from other subject areas  out of the equation, or the limited definition does not make them feel a part of an exciting possibility!  Perhaps that is why we see schools and districts adopting STEAM (infuse the arts), and STREAM (add on some Reading. As we see these new models perhaps we should turn it into STREAMIE (include everyone), from there we can go to STREAMIER and STREAMIEST! Better yet, how about STREAMING… wow… it’s a verb! While the idea could make everyone smile, let’s take a look at what STEM might and could actually look like if we facilitated and promoted and all-inclusive subject area model.

I have often stated that one could look at STEM as the content and PBL as the process, but even in this mode of thinking, it seems to leave out important content. Perhaps it is important to think of STEM as a verb and not a noun.  What if all disciplines viewed STEM as a thinking process?  This is what many true STEM leaders have been promoting. Yet many programs and initiatives focus on STEM as a noun. It could be due to the many logos we see promoting the four disciplines. John Dewey stated:

“We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts.”  

Think beyond the STEM content nouns and facts, contemplate the skills and thought process it takes to work within a STEM content area. Consider the skills that must be learned for an eventual career, or multiple careers. The action found in the STEM process allow students to practice and develop the ability to problem solve, authentically learn, think in critical ways, invent, produce, persevere, collaborate, empathize, and design.  In doing so, the nouns of STEM work with the important acts of doing and thought. This STEM style thinking opens up a whole new world of possibilities to facts! The facts in the curriculum become real and understandable, opening up a world of real learning to students.

With this mind, it is possible to include all subject areas including language arts, social studies, the fine arts, the practical arts, foreign language, business, plus so much more! Every subject should own STEM thinking! In fact, this style of metacognition becomes even more important as teachers begin to infuse grit and rigor into their lesson plans. Activities that incorporate such thinking build a strong and necessary foundation for project-based learning and transdisciplinary learning. In fact, I ran across a Discovery Education statement that suggested STEM as “Students and Teachers Energizing Minds”.  Wow, verbs that allow students to do can be powerful! All of us have to step out of the STEM nouns and find a way to bring the verbs of STEM to every student!

The Ten Ideas to Transform STEM Thinking from Noun to Verbs and Facts to Thinking

  1. Think of STEM as a verb, not a noun. What are the skills that make up that STEM-based occupation? It can be seen that these skills not only include the Four C’s, but also components of each C.
  2. Create a clear vision and mission for STEM in the school or district. Make sure this definition is understood by everyone including those educators that may not think of themselves as STEM.
  3. Incorporate STEM thinking into lessons in all content areas. This STEM thinking includes the ability to problem solve, authentically learn, think in critical ways, invent, produce, persevere, collaborate, empathize, and design.
  4. Emphasize the skills that are needed in those future careers, not the career itself. While it is beneficial to learn about different careers, it is important to note that these will change and students may go through multiple careers. Many of the important skills will remain the same.
  5. Integrate digital technology in STEM when appropriate, and it is able to amplify the standard. An example might be to teach with real protractors before using a digital protractor.
  6. Incorporate PBL (Project Based Learning) and/or Transdisciplinary Learning with STEM thinking.  These methods can provide the process for student ownership, engagement, and authenticity.
  7. Look outside of the classroom to incorporate STEM as an authentic learning experience. Use the community, country, and world to allow students to contribute  while allowing them to see  real world connections to content and skills being taught.
  8. Intentionally facilitate and assess not just content, but also the STEM (21st century and beyond) skills. Find, or build rubrics, that address the 21st-century skills which include the 4 C’s of Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. Understand that each of these C;s includes indicators and subsets that can be assessed. An example might be that  empathy is a part of collaboration or active listening is part of communication.
  9. Make sure that students are doing. This doing must include not only hands-on activities but also important metacognition. Students must not only do, but also think about what they are doing (which should be connected to the standards). It is only when students do… and then think, that real learning takes place.
  10. Go beyond STEM activities and making. Build a STEM culture that builds inquiry, is supported by authenticity, promotes rigor, and allows for student self-regulation and  ownership of learning. Always keep the necessary curricular standards and skills at the forefront of STEM. As you examine those standards you will note they also containing those important verbs.

Thanks for joining me on this wonderful journey of the 21st century (and even before that) learning. Join me in future weeks as together we continue to explore several more posts devoted to the Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, technology integration, web resources, and digital literacy.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also remember to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. Keep up the amazing work,  have a great week.  Welcome to the Future! – Mike Gorman

FETC 2019 – How does Orlando in January sound for an educational conference? I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Check out this link to see these sessionsDo you want to save some cash? Use Promo Code TW19 & Save an extra 10%

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Inquiry, Computational Thinking, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  My calendar is filling.

 

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35 Resources for the STEAM Classroom… Putting the Arts in STEM

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Welcome to a post that recognizes that the Arts must be in STEM! This brings in the important 21st century skills!  Take some time to enjoy this wonderful journey of STEAM Resources.  First, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Inquiry, Computational Thinking, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  My calendar is filling.

FETC 2019 – How does Orlando in January sound for an educational conference? I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Check out this link to see these sessions. Do you want to save some cash? Use Promo Code TW19 & Save an extra 10%

35 Resources for the STEAM Classroom… Putting the Arts in STEM by Michael Gorman at https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

It actually is quite obvious that the Arts should be included in STEM education. The idea of STEAM brings out the skills of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication that are so important in the work place. A look at the works of Leonardo da Vinci will attest to this! The very first time I heard the idea of integrating the Arts into STEM education was while watching a keynote made by Daniel Pink at the NECC  Conference in Washington DC… yes prior to ISTE Conferences!  Pink presented strong evidence that educators must include right brain lessons in addition to the inclusion of historical left brain activities. A reading of his book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future, is a must for any educator, especially those interested in STEM education. It is evident that inserting the A (Arts) in STEM and creating STEAM allows for true innovation, and it is innovation that will allow students to be successful in a flat world. Bringing the Arts to STEM allows students to remember the creative juices that come with the smell of a Crayola Crayon, the engagement of Tinker Toys, and the creation and remixing of that first Easy Bake Oven. It is the STEAM that allows students to not just be technology consumers, but technology creators! Proper infusion of the Arts will create a STEAM culture that engages and promotes intrinsic learning. In the space below I have included some sites that may just allow educators to integrate the Arts, allowing STEM to become STEAM! While there is a lot of talk on STEAM Education, it can be difficult to find a lot of material. I hope you enjoy what I have gathered and please let me know what I should include in an update post. Time to go full STEAM ahead!

The 35 Resources

  • NPR Where Science Meets Art – Some exceptional Podcasts integrating Science and Art. Many of these titles will allow for student reflection and questions as they begin to see how the Arts and Science can be integrated.
  • Arts Edge – A fantastic resource from the Kennedy Center hosting numerous lessons that integrate Art into the curriculum.You will discover a focus  on ways to support innovative teaching with the arts, and meet changing trends in education and to accommodate the ever-evolving impact of technology in our lives. This amazing collection of free digital resources—including lesson plans, audio stories, video clips, and interactive online modules—has been streamlined for easier browsing and upgraded to leverage best practices in educational media and multimedia-supported
  • BabbleDabbleDo –  This is a site that allows students to explore and engage with their right brain. This is important in our tech saturated world. This site provides that creative angle that puts kids in that out of the box mode while exploring concepts in science, math, and engineering.  The site proclaims that the best part of creating is the process.And I truly I believe that EVERYONE IS CREATIVE.
  • STEM to STEAM -The STEM to STEAM initiative, championed by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), is supported by teachers, researchers, policy makers, students, and business people from RISD and beyond.
  • Why Scientific Innovation Needs The Arts – Explore this wonderful article from the Guardian that explains the connection between science and the arts. Great read to support STEAM thinking in any educational setting.
  • OER Commons – Take a look at these results from a search I did for  STEAM based activities. There are some powerful lessons that bring the arts into the classroom. Since it is OER (Open Education Resources) it is free.
  • Teach Hub Technology and STEAM – Take a look at these possibilities for connecting standards, technology integration, and STEAM.
  • Edutopia STEAM Resources – One of the finest education sites brings STEAM to the forefront. Enjoy this engaging journey.  You will discover information, examples, and tools related to incorporating aspects of the arts, design, and the humanities into STEM-based school activities.
  • Odyssey of the Mind – This  international educational program provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems.
  • Lemon Lime Adventures 50 STEAM Projects and Activities – Take some time to look through the various links on this page. You are bound to find some great possibilities that will fit your standards.
  • Autodesk Digital Steam Workshop – Digital STEAM projects are designed by Autodesk’s network of expert educators, designers and student alumni as exciting complements to core Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Art (STEAM) curriculum. Each project aligns with common core and national standards and delivers measurable learning while using free software.
  • Education Closet – This site supports teachers, leaders and artists using arts integration and STEAM education through world-class, comprehensive professional development and resources.
  • National Gallery of Art  – You will find organized into thematic units, each grade-level-specific lesson plan focuses on a single work of art and can be executed within one to two class periods. These lessons meet the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Visual Arts curriculum standards
  • Exploratorium – Take a look at the entire site, but especially explore the Art related material.  In fact this link brings you to the Tinkering STudio. You will find lessons that allow you to connect with other subject areas including the STEM disciplines. You will get a new definition of exploring through the Exploratorium,
  • The Art Institute of Chicago – Explore these wonderful lessons that cover Science and the Arts. It just might have you and your students look at Art in a whole different way. Best of all you will discover some STEAM possibilities.
  • Lesson Plans and resources for Art Integration – This Edutopia Article has a rich assortment of lessons and resources to integrate Art into curricular areas including Math, Science, and Design. A great read that will lead to some wonderful opportunities.
  • CIESE Online – CIESE  (Center for Innovation and Science Education) sponsors and designs interdisciplinary projects that teachers throughout the world can use to enhance their curriculum through compelling use of the Internet.  Each project has a brief description and links to the National Science Standards and NCTM math standards it supports
  • Masterpieces to Math – A wonderful article that focuses on how to incorporate art in math. Learn how to use Art to teach fractions, decimals, and percent equivalents. You will look at Math in a whole new STEAMie way.
  • Space School Musical – Your students will enjoy joining teenager Hannah on a trip through the solar system in this ultra-cool edu-tainment “hip-hopera” that uses song and dance to introduce the planets, moons, asteroids and more. Educators can download the lyrics for students to learn and perform the routines for themselves or just play the videos in class. There are also links provided for more in-depth activities.
  • Cardboard Challenge – Not everything needs high tech and expensive resources. A lot can be done with a cardboard box and a lot of imagination. Check out this amazing challenge from the Imagine Foundation. Take a moment to watch the video. You and your students will want to be involved with this amazing low tech, high engagement possibility.
  • KinderArt – Discover Fine Art lessons as they apply to all different subject areas. Lessons are searchable by grade and subject. Some great ideas to integrate with.
  • Share Space Foundation – The ShareSpace Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring children’s passions for science, technology, engineering, arts and math by providing innovative, interactive educational tools to educators across the country.  ShareSpace has reached more than 250,000 children across the globe through strategic partnerships and the engaging Giant Mars Map™.
  • Scratch –  With Scratch, kids can program their own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively . All of this is possible while essential skills for life in the 21st century are facilitated. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.
  • Teacher Vision Art and Math –Students will enjoy participating in math class with our art activities for teachers of any grade level, from elementary to high school.  You will find opportunities to mix numbers with creativity and art activities that your students will love. There are lessons for creating counting books, crafts that encourage measuring, geometry printables to color, sculpting activities, and much more!  Introduce new concepts or reinforce topics your students have already learned.
  • Eurekus – This is a site with STEAM powered discovery. Discover the many free lessons that bring the left brain world alive in the the right brain.
  • Left Brain Craft Brain – Discover this blog with great activities and possibilities to engage the whole brain in the engineering process. It is a self-proclaimed mega monster of STEAM posts.  You will find some of the coolest science, technology, engineering, art and math projects from some of the most creative bloggers out there.
  • What is STEAM ? – This is an amazing resource site from the Education Closet. here you will find some great lessons that are aligned to the standards of STEM and Art curriculum. Be sure to read the blogs, links, news, and research. Be sure to check out all the possibilities on this site by clicking the menu. You will even find a STEAM-based magazine.
  • The Stanford Design School – Get ready for some innovative lessons that include the design process. You will find an abundance of material and resources to bring innovation to your STEAM program.
  • National Association For Music Education – Take some time at this site. Explore the curriculum along with awesome teacher resources. This is a great site that might tune up some of that important STEAM education.
  • STEAM Art Lessons – Take a look at these wonderful STEAM based art lessons from an amazing elementary Art teacher. There are some wonderful ideas for bringing the curriculum together.
  • How To Smile – This is an amazing collecting of some of the best educational materials, learning activities, tools, and services. They are all designed especially for those who teach school-aged kids in activity-based settings. This site is sponsored by a group of science museums dedicated to bringing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) out of the academic cloister and into the wider world. This is a great place to Make STEM happen!
  • New York Times Lesson Plans – I include this because you will find a collection of amazing lessons that cross all areas. Best of all, they bring the creativity and innovation into these lessons which is the foundation for the arts.
  • Art in Action – Take a look at these mini Art lessons that allow students to get in that right brain frame of mind.
  • PBS STEM Collection – PBS Learning Media has great resources. Check them all out. This link brings you to the STEM Collection.
  • Project Pals – A great article that looks at STEM/STEAM possibilities in the world of PBL for all grade levels.

FETC 2019 – How does Orlando in January sound for an educational conference? I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Check out this link to see these sessions. Do you want to save some cash? Use Promo Code TW19 & Save an extra 10%

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. While 2018 is just about full, it might be time to begin thinking about next January and 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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A World of PBL… 25 Authentic Resources To Connect Students Beyond The Classroom

 

connectWelcome to a post that has taken some time and research to put together for you. I believe that connecting our students to the world is so important. The internet provides many possibilities. In this post I want to introduce you to 25 of of them. Take some time to enjoy this wonderful journey.  First, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Inquiry, Computational Thinking, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  My calendar is filling. Also, take a moment to check out FETC 2019 in Orlando, Florida this January. I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Join Me!

A World of PBL… 25 Authentic Resources To Connect Students Beyond The Classroom

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” ― John Dewey

Learning must be authentic and meaningful in order for the content to really be understood and usable. While there are several education models that promote this idea, it is a necessity in a well-planned Project Based Learning (PBL) Unit. While memorizing and reciting facts may actually give some positive results on a test, it demonstrates only the lowest levels of learning as represented at the bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy. PBL provides students that authentic learning experience that allows for real world applications, immediate purpose, student relevancy, and an audience beyond their classroom walls. The idea of authenticity is amplified when connections are provided!

Why are these connections important? Knowledge does not thrive in isolation. In fact, content knowledge is only useful to students when applied to concepts found outside the classroom. For students, PBL allows for connections that provide important links from their knowledge acquisition to their real world experiences.  Sometimes these connections allow student to use areas of past knowledge to understand and construct new knowledge… many times the role of a PBL Launch or Entry Event. Equally important are connections to future career and college possibilities.  Let’s not forget how valuable connecting with experts and institutions can be. Of course, collaborating with other students on a meaningful topic across the district, town, state, country, and world can have a great impact on learning.

While teachers have always found a way to make connections for students, the internet provides a wonderful and exciting opportunity. There are numerous organizations and sites that can help make this happen for you and your students.  I wish to share with you some that I have discovered. Please enjoy your journey through these. I am certain you will get excited as you explore new ideas and possibilities. At the same time, we must remember to connect to the content standards while facilitating and assessing 21st century skills. Last, always be sure to check your district AUP and administration before putting students online in this way. You may need to get parent permission.  I also see a need to provide students appropriate lessons on proper digital citizenship. Whether it is a short lesson, or a PBL unit connecting beyond the classroom walls, connecting with the real world will provide an authenticity that makes learning come alive!

The 25 Resources

  • Roots and Shoots – Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) global youth-led community action program, comprised of thousands of young people as they connect knowledge and service with the real world.
  • ePals – Another wonderful site allowing students to collaborate across the globe. Check out the amazing possibilities. It provides ways for teachers to connect with other teachers and decide on projects their students can do together.
  • Pen Pals School – Are you interested in implementing more project based learning in your class this year? Check out Pen Pals School. Whether your students design robots with PenPals in Asia, write poetry with PenPals in Europe, or create environmental solutions with PenPals in Africa. Keep in mind there may be a cost to this service.
  • Taking it Global – Visit one of the world’s leading networks of young people learning about, engaging with, and working towards authentic solutions to world challenges. TakingITGlobal is one of the world’s leading networks of young people as they collaborate and learn with each other.
  • The Globe Program – Take a look at this organization that inspires to promote the teaching and learning of science, enhance environmental literacy and stewardship, and promote scientific discovery.
  • iEarn – Join interactive curriculum-based groups where students are creating, researching, sharing opinions and becoming global citizen. This is a wonderful program with years of experience behind it. There may be a small cost.
  • Edutopia Resources for Building Community Partnerships – Learn how schools can benefit from the support and expertise of local businesses, organizations, and individuals, and discover strategies for fostering successful business and community partnerships
  • Empatico – Empatico empowers teachers and students to explore the world through experiences that spark curiosity, kindness, and empathy. We combine live video with activities designed to foster meaningful connections among students ages 7-11.
  • Global School Net – Explore a site that combines education and technology to strengthen communities and benefit humanity. You will discover support brain-friendly learning and improve academic performance through content-driven collaboration.
  • Skype in the Classroom – You will enjoy this free community that offers live transformative educational experiences for students including Virtual Field Trips, talks from Guest Speakers, classroom to classroom connections, and live collaboration projects.
  • Dream Makers – This is an organization that focuses on providing consistent exposure to career opportunities and dynamic professionals.
  • Virtual Field Trip Data Base – This is a spreadsheet that I discovered filled with over 300 virtual field trip possibilities from multiple sites. Discover something that connects to your curriculum.
  • Global Learners Project – The Project includes several topics and activity suggestions to create engaging and interactive class to class connections. Each topic includes at least one activity that requires little to no prep, while other activities take students deeper into learning. Use this for ideas, you will still have to find a school to connect with.
  • Worldvuze – Take some time to explore this map-based question and answer education platform where elementary and secondary students around the world can learn directly from each other!
  • The Global Read Aloud – The project was created in 2010 and had a simple goal in mind; one book to connect the world. From its humble beginnings, the GRA has grown to make a truly global connection with more than 4,000,000 students having participated. This is a project that usually starts in October.
  • Projects By Jen – This a wonderful site that has been successfully encouraging teachers since 1999 to use online projects in their PreK-6 classrooms.
  • Flat Connections – Flat connected learning is where all learners have freedom to communicate across borders rather than up or down – with no hierarchy. There may be a small cost for portions.
  • Teachers’ Guide To Global Projects – This organization id made possible through the support of the Longview Foundation, iEARN-USA has compiled an online Teachers’ Guide to Global, Collaborative Teaching and Learning.
  • Online Collaboration Curricula –  Explore this awesome collection of ideas that students can collaborate on using the internet. You may need to find that partner classroom.
  • Art In All Of Us – The objective of the AiA Pen Pal Program is to promote creative and artistic communication among children worldwide. They have setup a network of schools around the world, through which schools are paired and exchange informative artworks on their own country and culture.
  • Journey North – Now in its 25th year, Journey North is one of North America’s premiere citizen science projects for children and the general public. The project has broad participation, with over 60,000 registered sites in the US, Canada, and Mexico — including families, teachers, schools, nature centers, professional scientists and novices.
  • The Global Math Challenge – Global Math Challenge (GMC) is a worldwide math competition held online and hosted by Sony Global Education, Inc. Great brainteasers in this contest will excite & fascinate math lovers both young and old. Enjoy competing with math fans all over the world.
  • QUADBlogging – QuadBlogging was born in 2011 and since its conception, over 500,000 students from over 65 countries have taken part. The concept is simple, once signed up, you will be allocated a Quad containing 4 classes including yours. Each Quad will have a Quad Co-ordinator attached to it. Once contact is made between the four teachers
  • Kids Go Global – Green Fairs, theatre about global issues, water audits, wetland protection and lots more. Share your projects with others. See what the rest of the world is doing. There may be some cost to some projects.
  • Biblionasium – Explore this site that is the fun, reading-focused social network for kids in elementary and middle school. The site emphasis is to connect kids in an encouraging community of friends, family and their educators, Biblionasium excites, engages and encourages a love of the written word. Kids can log their reading, play games, complete reading challenges and earn rewards. Requires parents to sign children up.

Thanks for joining me on this wonderful journey of connection possibilities for the classroom!  Join me in future weeks as together we continue to explore several more posts devoted to the Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, PBL, STEM, technology integration, web resources, makers, computational thinking, and digital literacy.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also remember to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. Keep up the amazing work,  have a great week, and a enjoy this wonderful new school year. Welcome to the Future! – Mike Gorman

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100’s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Dates are going fast, with time up to and including December just about filled,  and I am  taking 2019 dates.

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Ten Inspiring Lessons From An Almost Analog Native … Back To School 2018

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It is back to school time 2018 for many of us in the United States and beyond… welcome to the future! I dedicate this post to all of you wonderful educators . It is my hope that as many educators as possible read this post as they begin a new year journey… I hope you share and make this happen!  (Via school emails and retweet to your friends). Please enjoy this reflective journey and send to others what I hope to be a teaching inspiration.  I wish all of you the very best as you enter a new school year! I hope you enjoy this timeless lesson… one that really does have a place in 21st century education. It is a reminder that teaching truly is an amazing art. Let’s all keep up the wonderful painting.  Please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Inquiry, Computational Thinking, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  My calendar is filling. Also, take a moment to check out FETC 2019 in Orlando, Florida this January. I will be providing workshops and featured sessions on STEM, PBL, Inquiry, Maker Space, and Computational Thinking! Join Me!

10 Inspiring Lessons From An Almost Analog Native – Mike Gorman ((https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

It was a normal first day back to school. The building was still quiet and still. I could sense there was an air of extreme excitement and anticipation in the air. I sat at my desk and pondered the reality of a new year wondering about the new faces I would greet.  I already knew that all too soon I would be waving good bye to another group I had come to know so well. It is amazing what the short period of a school year brings to both educators and students.  Suddenly awakened from what was either my deep reflection or possibly a type of relaxing nap that only the whisperings of being another year older can bring, a panicked voice was heard at my classroom door.

He was a brand new teacher dressed as one who just might enlighten the downtown business club, yet he stood with the glazed eyes of a student still waiting for that moment of enlightenment. I had seen it all before, perhaps even in the reflection of a distant mirror over thirty-seven years ago. He was summoning me to his room, not that I regarded it as his room… at least not yet. You see, I had great respect for the educator who had been a part of the four walls that this soon to be teacher was leading me to. As he led me through the doorway of his new headquarters for dissemination of information I couldn’t help but notice a peculiar feeling of past warmth that was missing. There was a indescribable void, covering a large aura which had been in place for nearly fifty years.

As he motioned for me to look at the archaic blackboard behind the new, still packaged, and not yet plugged in interactive whiteboard I couldn’t help but smile. There, still written with chalk that  had the smell of fresh dust, were the words “A Message from an Almost Analog Native”.  Then I heard the young teacher’s voice asking how he might  get rid of the words. He pleaded that, after all, he saw no button to push to dissolve the print. I smiled and walked to the board and picked up the eraser. I cleverly planned to display to this obviously digital native, one of this school’s first such inductees, the magic of an eraser. I even had my strategy for providing a professional development moment on the use of chalk. After all, improper use of chalk can lead to an annoying screech that will send most students diving under their desks. As I held up the eraser I walked to the board and began to perform the ancient teacher ritual of erasing a black… not green,board. Amazingly, it did not work out the way I had planned. As I observed the pupils of this brand new teacher’e eyes grow large, I turned to the board and took a step back in awe. Not only were the words not disappearing… but new words were beginning to appear underneath. It was now quite obvious that we were both extremely engaged in the lesson that was about to begin. I have recorded for you the amazing script that came before my eyes that very day.

The Ten Lessons

Welcome to your new classroom. I am sure you are going to explain and teach in a way that I might never understand. You see, I come from a day of filmstrip projectors that beeped, ditto paper that left my fingers blue and the students enjoying the scent, bells that really did ring out a mechanical melody, 16 millimeter films that, if in color, amazed the kids. In fact, if these films were shown backwards it provided bonus entertainment. In recent years I have heard words that are so strange to me. These words include foreign terms such as twitter, blog, wiki, Skype, web 2.0, clickers, and interactive whiteboards. I have heard all this talk about 21st century skills and I am not even sure if I can tell you what they are. So there you have it. I am not one of those digital natives, nor am I a digital immigrant! I may not even be an analog native or immigrant. So, even though I do not know all the new terms, I thought that I might give you a list of ten items I feel just might ensure success no matter what century it is.

  1.  You come to school to serve your students. Put them at the center of their learning. Find great books, integrate fascinating projects, and include engaging resources.  As you do this, always remember that students must be at the center of their learning.
  2.  As you teach you will come upon some amazing tools. My very first full sized erasable blackboard was wonderful and I was amazed by the pull down map. I remember the very first time I used colored chalk and our very first classroom set of encyclopedias. Imagine having almost all the knowledge of the world in your classroom. Please remember that tools are only as effective as those who use them. You will be introduced to amazing new tools. Make sure these tools become the servants and not the masters of your teaching.
  3. Realize that every student is truly gifted. It may be that your job is to find that special gift and make the student aware of it. Each gift is different and will ultimately lead that student to an interest and vocation that they find great pleasure in while contributing to society. They may even come back some day and thank you for revealing that gift to them.
  4. Learning does not just happen in the classroom. Open your students to the world by introducing them to experts, authors, cultures, and multiple disciplines. Teach them to become lifetime learners who will embrace learning beyond the classroom and beyond their school experience. It seems this world is ever changing and, in order to keep up with things, they may need to someday be their own teacher.
  5. Allow your students the experience of searching for success. This involves allowing multiple attempts, occasional failure, and eventual triumph. Learning does not always need to be graded, but must always be guided. Remember, it is not always the destination, but in most instances… the journey. Allow your students those journeys with multiple opportunities and outcomes.
  6. Encourage cooperation, teamwork, and healthy competition. Teach your students that the thoughts and contributions of many can be so much more powerful than just the contribution of one. Emphasize true discussion and listening, and allow for discourse. The ability to work, plan, and play together has been, and always will be, an important skill.
  7. Promote thinking that is outside what many might consider the box. Allow your students to have their own ideas, play with possibilities, and invent what doesn’t exist. Not everything in life can come from your textbook. Remember, what we believe as facts today could change in twenty-five to fifty years. It seems that information probably doubles every hundred years. I suppose that might even speed up a bit as time goes on.
  8. It seems that all of us learn best by doing. Allow your students to not just hear it or read about it. Provide them with real life experiences and allow then to do it. Guide them as they are doing so they are learning relevant content and gaining new skills. Give them some say in what they are doing.
  9. Remember your humanness. Always have a sense of humor and be yourself. Remember that teaching is a people business. Enjoy the laughter, the stories, the victories, the accomplishment, and the small (but really big) moments that can only happen in a real live classroom. Some say that someday robots or some kind of two way wireless radio will take over education. I truly think this will never happen because teachers will always show that the human element is essential. A smile from a real person sure beats that of a  robot or a distant person on a wireless radio covered in distant sounds of static.
  10. Always remember that you teach children… not subjects such as science, history, arithmetic, ciphering, citizenship, reading, English, and shop. You see, it is the teaching of children that convinced me to get into this amazing business… and it is the reason that most great teachers have a hard time giving up a classroom like this.

Please take good care of this classroom. It never was mine, only one that I was allowed not just to educate children in, but so much more. It was a classroom in which I was allowed to perpetuate a culture of learning for almost fifty years. You see, not all of these ideas were mine. I found them on an old slate lying in a back closet when I first entered this room. I was so happy I had a pencil in hand, because no faster had I made my copy than the words on the slate disappeared. I think I may have made a few changes. I know I will have a chance in my retirement to read about some of these new tools and even learn about these 21st century skills. It will probably give me a chance to think about what I might have done to make learning in my classroom even better. When I find out… I might even send you a message. Until then, please take care of this old classroom and, more importantly, take even more care with those children who will enter tomorrow and thereafter. I know you will perpetuate the culture of learning that has permeated these four walls for more years than even those I taught.

You know… there wasn’t much to say. I looked at the new kid who seemed even more ready to teach. His eyes appeared already a few years older. As we both stood there we saw the old blackboard magically erase and turn a clean dark shade of black. I picked up the eraser that I had dropped during this unusual encounter and handed it over to the new guy. He opened the closet door and threw it in. I heard a gentle thump as it landed on something that may have been a slate. Together, we both unpacked and plugged in his new interactive whiteboard. He carefully positioned it so he could still see a portion of that old blackboard from his desk. We both knew why. As I walked out of the room that day I couldn’t help but think about the history that just might occur in that old classroom in the next fifty years. But, I had plans to make and students to get ready for as I was incorporating many of those new 21st century skills I had been reading about all summer. I was so excited about providing so many new opportunities for my students. After all, this is a new era for new techniques and strategies and yes… some that have always been a art of learning.

Thanks for joining me on this wonderful journey of 21st century (and even before that) learning. Join me in future weeks as together we continue to explore several more posts devoted to the Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, PBL, STEM, technology integration, web resources, makers, computational thinking, and digital literacy.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also remember to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. Keep up the amazing work,  have a great week, and a enjoy this wonderful new school year. Welcome to the Future! – Mike Gorman

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100’s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Dates are going fast, with time up to and including December just about filled,  and I am  taking 2019 dates.

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