Tag Archives: CCSS

Green Light Learning Tools is the Featured Provider on the HMH Marketplace for July!

HMH Marketplace

Exciting news for Green Light Learning Tools: We’ve been named the Featured Provider on the HMH Marketplace for July. Hop on over to browse a selection of our products, from our iPad apps to our ever-popular Toolkit of Reading. (Bonus: The Toolkit lessons are Common Core aligned!)

While you’re there, check out some of the great summer resources available! Check back later in the summer for more great activities for back to school. Find something you love? Tell us about it in the comments or on Twitter.

The Best Free Resource You Aren’t Using

by Hope Morley

If you think about the Library of Congress at all, perhaps you imagine a giant library with stacks of books going up to the ceiling, or maybe you think it’s merely dusty old congressional records. While both of those things are true, their website is also a great resource for teachers. And best of all, it’s free!

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-jpd-02457

Teahouse at Koishikawa | Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-jpd-02457

Spend a little time exploring the homepage. The Prints & Photographs division has millions of digital images that are easy to search and download. The Civil War photographs and Farm Security Administration collections are particularly worth exploring. Some of the collections may surprise you. Did you know the LOC has an excellent collection of Japanese art prints?

The Film division contains many early motion pictures, including from Thomas Edison’s studio, which make a great study of technology and inventions. Show students this 1894 video of boxing cats to prove that cat videos were popular long before YouTube!

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-fsa-8b29516

Migrant Mother | Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-fsa-8b29516

Though some of the sites are a little old and not very pretty, LOC’s Digital Collections (formerly the American Memory series) is full of curated content ripe for the picking. Looking for documents from the Constitutional Convention? Historical sheet music? Videos of the Spanish-American War, including Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders? A history of the American conservation movement? A web archive of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City? You may find things you didn’t know would be fascinating, like a history of Dolly Parton and early country music.

Some content comes from other sources, such as universities and local historical societies, which extends the reach of the site. They have whole collections of African American history, women’s history, technology, and more. Don’t let the old-fashioned look of some of the pages scare you off!

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppprs-00626

First Flight | Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppprs-00626

For teacher-focused materials, head over to their teacher page. This site contains lesson plans, presentations, and student activities. Lesson plans include recommended grade levels and many have Common Core correlations. You’ll also find tips for using primary sources in the classroom and some professional development lessons.

What are your favorite resources from LOC? Tell us in the comments!

Hope bioHope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT

Resources for Integrating Multimedia into your Classroom

by Erin Dye

Multimedia is a huge part of the Common Core. Two of the standards (RL.7 and RI.7, in most grades) explicitly call for analyzing multimedia, and other standards can be enhanced by the addition of high-quality multimedia. What do we mean when we say multimedia? It doesn’t only mean videos. It can be images, video, music, graphs, and interactives like infographics.

Unfortunately, the Internet is full of mediocre multimedia that isn’t worth analyzing. To find quality multimedia, check out trusted institutions that are known for high-quality content, such as museums or PBS Kids. Or start with our list below!

Literature

  • iBooks: While the best content is paid, keep on eye on the free section. If you are interested in a paid book, try a sample before you buy to make sure it has multimedia.
  • Google Play/Google Books: As with iBooks, most of the best content is paid. But many public domain children’s books include the original illustrations and the content is available without an Apple device.
  • Met Museum: The illustrated story “Marduk, King of the Gods” is great for younger kids. It features audio, sound effects, and pictures.
  • Storyline Online: One of my favorites is this collection of videos of celebrities (Betty White, James Earl Jones, many more) reading famous picture books.
  • Reading Rainbow: This subscription-based app for iPad and Kindle Fire is an extension of the classic TV show. A classroom edition is coming for fall 2015.
  • Library of Congress: A great, free collection of classic public domain books presented in a nice viewer
  • Edsitement Websites: This list of recommended websites from the National Endowment for the Arts includes many great interactives. Filter by subject for best results.

Informational

  • National Archives: Part of the DocsTeach collection, this site is a great resource for videos, plus virtual Google Maps tours on HistoryPin.
  • PBS Learning Media: Great repository for videos (such as a science series with Curious George) and interactive stories (includes some fiction for younger kids too).
  • Met Museum: This interactive Vincent van Gogh bio with images, maps, and more is great for a cross-curricular study of art and history.
  • Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: A fun interactive website about aerodynamics
  • MinuteEarth: Looking for great science videos? Try these short and informational earth science videos
  • FiveThirtyEight: This site applies statistics to everything from politics to sports to movies. Use it for engaging graphs and analysis for older students.
  • Teaching History: Need a site for history or social students? Check out these oh-so-helpful reviews of history sites.
  • Google Cultural Institute: Just explore this one. You’ll love it.

What sites are we missing? Add them in the comments below!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAErin Dye is Manager of Consulting Services for Green Light Professional Development and a Google Certified Educator. She has extensive experience creating digital materials for interactive whiteboards and iPads. She writes about technology integration and GLPD’s work in local schools.

Writing for an Authentic Audience: How to Get and Apply Great Feedback

by Amber Wilson

writing for an authentic audience

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Whether or not your curriculum is aligned with the Common Core, you know that good writing is well suited to its purpose and its audience. Likewise, you know that giving, receiving, and responding to feedback is an essential skill inside and out of the classroom. How can you incorporate these real-world practices in your pedagogy?

An authentic audience helps your students . . .

Write for a reason: To inform, to persuade, or to entertain. We often focus on teaching readers how to differentiate between text types, but writing assignments are sometimes less specific. Good writers are able to identify the traits of the writing modes, choose the best mode for the occasion, and create texts that are clearly and obviously persuasive, informative, or entertaining.

Get motivated: As discussed here and here, students are truly motivated by writing for real people.

Write to learn: Engaging fully with content (in all subject areas) requires a certain degree of processing. Encourage students to write before, during, and after projects and learning goals. In addition, your students will probably find that during the course of a unit or project, writing in multiple modes and for multiple audiences helps them process and connect information, leading to fuller engagement and deeper understanding.

Publish! One way is to have a class blog. See this previous post to learn more about getting started. You could also check out an alternate way to publish student writing, like pen.io.

Get feedback: Get on Twitter and tell the world that your kids have something to say. Use the #comments4kids hashtag and start the ball rolling. Then take the next step and guide students to read, understand, and respond to comments. For instance, ask students to perform self-assessment, then compare their assessments to feedback they received in comments. Or, encourage students to take feedback from comments into consideration as they revise and draft their writing.

Want to take it to the next level? Post about a book review and tag the book’s author, or post about a science project and tag a scientist!

Give feedback: Have student writers experience both sides of interacting with an authentic audience. Your students are probably already familiar with trading papers and giving feedback in class. You may also have worked with pen pals, or some other form of long distance communication. Get the best of both worlds by having your kids engage in a conversation about someone else’s published writing. Use #comments4kids to find student writing on a topic that your class is also writing, and invite your class to leave comments.

 

Let us know how you’re using online publishing and writing for an authentic audience in your class! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or leave us a comment below.

 AmberAmber Wilson is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development.

5 Great Sites for Student-Friendly Informational Texts

by Helen Beyne

sites for informational texts

You already know that one main mission of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative is to help students comprehend a wide variety of informational texts—nonfiction texts that inform readers about a topic. But with the vast amount of information available online, you might not know where to go to find appropriate informational texts for your students. The five websites described below are a great place to start.

1. Time for Kids
(primary, elementary, and middle school)

The articles on Time for Kids have been created specifically for students in grades K–6, introducing them to “high-quality nonfiction writing to build reading and critical thinking skills.” Topics include national and world news, science, and health. The articles address high-interest subjects, and many have appealing text features—such as “Are We Alone?,” which ponders the existence of alien life. (Note: Access to the site’s special features requires a subscription, but the full text of many articles can be accessed for free.)

2. Newsela
(elementary, middle, and high school)

Newsela presents daily news articles from a number of well-known media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press. You can choose from topics including war and peace, science, law, health, arts, and sports. Articles are CCSS-aligned and are written at five Lexile levels, allowing students with varying levels of reading proficiency to analyze the same content in class. The free version includes student quizzes and one-click assignment of articles to class; a professional version (Newsela Pro) is available for a fee.

3. The Library of Congress
(middle and high school)

The Library of Congress (LOC) is one of the definitive online resources for primary-source documents. Oh, and it’s all free! Browse the site by topic to find materials on a range of different subjects, including American and world history; science, technology, and business; news, journalism, and advertising; and much more. A blog on the site describes how to use the LOC’s primary sources to address the CCSS; it also features teacher tools and a primary-source analysis tool for students. Also check out this article, which explains why primary sources are integral to the CCSS.

4. The National Archives
(middle and high school)

Another excellent place to access primary sources is the National Archives. This independent agency of the U.S. federal government has an entire Teachers’ Resources section devoted to helping educators use primary sources in the classroom. Use the online DocsTeach tool to find thousands of primary sources from different historical eras, including the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Great Depression and World War II, the postwar United States, and contemporary America. Find and create activities to “bring history alive for your students.”

5. The New York Times Learning Network
(middle and high school)

Need to find an engaging way to help students understand what’s going on in the world? Then check out The Learning Network blog from the New York Times. This resource features weekly lesson plans that use the newspaper’s content to teach current events. All content from The Learning Network, including any Times articles that are linked to, is free. To get started with The Learning Network, begin by reading How to Use Our Blog This School Year.

Have any thoughts on the sites above? Are there other favorite informational-text sites you’d like to share? Leave a comment below, or find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Helen bioHelen Beyne is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development. She has years of experience in creating innovative curriculum materials in reading, ESL, science, and social studies. She writes about IWBs and free online resources for teachers.