The start to a new year always brings reflections of the past year...and even years before that.
Over the past few weeks, I have been going through my journals from the past 5 years. So much of what has guided my thinking - personally and professionally - is written on those pages. Thoughts inspired by books I have read, talks and presentations I have watched, and the interactions of those closest to me.
So, in an effort to find inspiration and strength for the coming year, and (maybe) to let my guard down a bit, I will be sharing some (imperfect) snippets here.
Anyway, here it is:
Join me on Friday, May 1st in my online community, Fishbowl Hub, as I host a quick 20-minute conversation for K12 teachers with Lisa LaBracio, Animation Director, Filmmaker, and Educator as she discusses ways for students to create animation for storytelling, and as a way for students to show what they know about any topic using everyday materials found at home or in nature.
Fishbowl Hub is an online community for the K12 crowd that hosts a space for conversations, the sharing of ideas and resources, and bite-size PD events (20 minutes or less) for K12 teachers. Are you connected to K12 education? Join this free educator community at community.fishbowlhub.com.
The sole purpose of this post is to share a few outstanding opportunities that have come across my screen lately. Seriously...if you are a K12 teacher, school administrator, or connected in any way to K12 education - here are some great opportunities.
1. Crowdsourcing with By The People at Library of Congress: Become a virtual volunteer at the Library of Congress! Okay, I tried this one and (in my opinion) it is an outstanding way to engage students with documents housed in the United States Library of Congress - all the while, contributing as a volunteer from afar. The By The People initiative from the Library of Congress invites everyone "to transcribe, review, and tag digitized images of manuscripts and typed materials from the Library’s collections." This means that your students will be given a document from the Library of Congress collections, and they will help to transcribe that document in the digital module provided by the Library of Congress; thus, helping to make the Library of Congress collections more accessible to everyone! The best part is that students can work at their own pace, individually or calloboratively, at any time of day and in any time zone to evaluate and analyze documents - all while learning content and volunteering for a great cause!
2. Last year, I showcased a series of ready-to-go digital field trip opportunities. Well, I have one more to add! The Smithsonian and the National Museum of Natural History will kick off 2020 with a series of Science How? live video webcasts on February 6th. These free, interactive, live video webcasts "take questions from your students while introducing them to science concepts and practices through the lens of Smithsonian research and experts." For the complete 2020 schedule, along with more information - visit the distance learning website HERE!
3. Host an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact at your school with this awesome ARISS initiative. According to the program website, "A scheduled ARISS contact is a voice-only communication via Amateur Radio between the International Space Station (ISS) crew and classrooms and communities. ARISS contacts allow education audiences to learn firsthand from astronauts what it is like to work and live in space." For more information and application instructions, go to THIS LINK! The application window opens on February 1, 2020.
First off, happy #NationalPoetryMonth! Looking for an easy way for students to create their own poetry this month? Try newspaper blackout poetry! Every year, I give students a theme or topic and have them create blackout poetry from old newspaper articles! I am always amazed at the work students produce when writing poetry this way. The fact that students can only choose the words on the page in front of them helps to narrow down the options and make the task of creating poetry easier - after all, rather than having to choose from a dictionary of endless words, students must only borrow from the words in the article to create their own poetry. Trust me, you will be in awe of the poetry that is produced!
Materials needed for blackout poetry:
Remember to share your work using #NewspaperBlackoutPoetry #PitchThisEDU and #NationalPoetryMonth on Twitter!
For students who are inspired to do more blackout poetry, provide an opportunity for them to participate in the New York Times Spring Poetry Contest for Teenagers!
For more inspiration (for you...the teacher), check out these books by Austin Kleon!
Inspire a love of learning beyond the walls of your classroom
Over the past couple of years, I have tried to set an engaging tone to my classroom by focusing each day on a separate activity; while, continuing to teach the skills and content outlined in my curriculum. So, days like #MysteryMonday, #TravelingTuesday, and so on have kept me accountable to students to provide engagement each day - in one way or another.
Recently, I came across #MakerMonday and some terrific resources by John Spencer - creator of the Maker Monday Challenge - check it out! This would be a great way to creatively engage students at the start of each week.
For additional inspiration (and to get into the "maker mindset") - read Nicholas Provenzano's "The Maker Mentality."
So, what about #TravelingTuesday?
As a teacher in a rural district in northeastern New York state, I have assigned myself the purpose of inspiring students to love learning by offering them opportunities to connect to people, places, and ideas well beyond the walls of my classroom. Over the past five years, we have participated in round-table discussions with students in Ethiopia, consulted with professionals at the World Food Programme and MIT Media Center's Open Agriculture Initiative, traveled virtually to NASA Kennedy Space Center and several National Parks across the United States. #TravelingTuesday gives us an opportunity each week to 'travel' to a new place, talk to different people, and come in contact with new out-of-the-box ideas. So, since this blog is about sharing resources...here are some ready-to-go options for your #TravelingTuesday!
As always, if you know of other #TravelingTuesday resources, please share with me @jenhesseltine @PitchThisEDU on Twitter, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will update the blog!
Look around you. Chances are, you live and work in a place surrounded by learning opportunities. Where does your food come from in your community? What does the infrastructure of your city, town, or village look like? Whether you live in a city, suburban area, or rural region - there are opportunities to teach your students about agriculture, infrastructure, and more. In preparing our students for future challenges, we need not look any further than our own backyard. What local learning opportunities surround you? With whom can you partner in your local community? How might you connect solutions to local challenges with solutions to global challenges? For an outstanding example of place-based education, check out Teton Science Schools and this article from Getting Smart. Finally, check out the December edition of the #PitchThisEDU (mini) Newsletter - with 3 opportunities related to place-based education. For more information, read David Sobel's - Place-Based Education!
If there is one email that I wait for every week, it is the NASA Express (STEM Connection) newsletter that is packed with awesome opportunities! This week's newsletter highlights some great contests that would be applicable to the K12 crowd. Teachers take note of Earth Science Week (October 14-20, 2018). The American Geosciences Institute organizes this week long event, including contests that you could absolutely host in a K12 classroom environment. The theme of Earth Science Week 2018 is "Earth as Inspiration" with photography, visual arts, essay, and video contests that express such earth-related themes as, "Inspired by Earth" and "Earth Expressions." Check out the contests on the Earth Science Week website and start making plans for the upcoming school year!
Should you want (and have time) to dabble in some education-related opportunities over the summer months, here are some opportunities that have come up recently:
We are educators. We tend to be modest. We aren't worthy of a grant. Nothing special going on here! Nope.
Guess what? You are doing great things. You are engaging kids in content. You are teaching them how to create their own content. You are teaching them how to be kind, knowledgeable human beings. You are helping to raise an entire generation! You are worthy. Someone is going to win that grant award...why not you and your students?
So, I realize that a school year is ending. But, a new one is going to begin before your grade book even has time to cool. A new school year...a fresh start. In the process of your end-of-year reflection, what is one project, lesson, special event or activity that could use some extra funding? Think about it. There is money out there...and the money will be awarded for a school project, somewhere.
Keep an eye on @PitchThisEDU on Twitter for weekly posts highlighting grant opportunities with upcoming deadlines. If you need encouragement, help, or a bit of a push in the right direction - reach out to me...I have written a few EDU pitches and am happy to help - email@example.com.
Upcoming Opportunities for your Classroom or School!
2018 Sol Hirsch National Weather Association Foundation Grant - Mini-grants available "to help improve the education of K-12 students in meteorology & related sciences." Applications due by May 3, 2018.
Chef Ann Foundation - Fruit & veggie grants for schools! Mini-grant due by May 4, 2018.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics - A grant to enhance student learning in math through the use of innovative tools & technologies. Due by May 4, 2018.
The Scholastic News Kids Press Corp - Applications are open for the Scholastic News Kids Press Corp - a team of student journalists ages 10-14. Applications due by May 31, 2018.
Crayola & Champion Creatively Alive Children Grant- Receive $2,500 and Crayola products valued at $1,000. Submit application by June 22, 2018 (early bird applications submitted by June 4th will receive a Classpack product by Crayola).
About the Author
Love all things related to learning. All classroom content is being 'played out' - in real life - every day in our communities. How might we harness that reality? This year...2022...sharing snippets from my journal entries over the past 5 years, as well as projects I am working on now.
-Jen Hesseltine (@jenhesseltine)