shutter Weebly for Education in 2022. This will happen on August 1, 2022. If you’re using Weebly for Education right now, you have plenty of time to plan for what you’ll use as a replacement (I recommend Edublogs or Google Sites).
Weebly for Education hasn’t had any updates in a few years so it’s not surprising that it is being closed down. I always liked the service and found it to be a good way for teachers to build their own websites. More importantly, it provided a good way for students to create their own websites that teachers could actively monitor. But all good things come to an end. Thanks for the good service for all the years, Weebly for Education.
Now that Weebly for Education is closing and Google has officially excluded Blogger from Google Workspace for Education (for those under 18), the only good blogging option for students that I can recommend now is Edublogs unless you want to go the route of self-hosting. And if you were using Weebly for Education for digital portfolios I’d recommend taking a look at Google Sites, Spaces, or Seesaw.
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Today’s Document from the National Archives was “Nurse wearing a mask as protection against influenza. September 13, 1918.” As is often the case with items in the daily feed there was a link to additional information about the image. In this case the additional information was a National Archives collection of images and documents about the influenza epidemic of 1918.
The Influenza Epidemic collection on the National Archives includes ten documents and six images including the one that I included in this blog post. As I looked through the images and documents I couldn’t help but think of similarities between today’s current pandemic situation and that of 103 years ago.
Applications for Education
As I read the documents (they’re all short) and viewed the images in The Influenza Epidemic I started to think of questions that I would ask students to think about while they reviewed the artifacts. Here’s a short list of those questions:
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collection of resources for teaching students about logical fallacies and cognitive biases. Since then TED-Ed published another good video to add to that collection. The video is Can You Outsmart the Slippery Slope Fallacy?
Can You Outsmart the Slippery Slope Fallacy? centers around the Vietnam War and makes an analogy between the slippery slope fallacy and the domino theory as it was applied to the idea of stopping the spread of communism. Overall, the video does a decent job of explaining the concept of the slippery slope fallacy and how it is or can be used by politicians. My one criticism of the video is that the end of it shows a map that makes it appear as though communism went away on its own in many countries rather than explain how it happened.
Applications for Education
After watching this video I would have history students try to identify other examples of slippery slope arguments used throughout history. In other settings I’d ask students to try to think of examples from their own lives of slippery slope arguments being used to justify an action or decision.
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The Way of a Ship and it follows the journey of Benjamin Lundy as he sails around Cape Horn in 1885 in one of the last square-rigged commercial sailing boats.
The Way of a Ship is full of interesting facts about life on a four mast sailing vessel in the late 19th Century. It’s also full of information about navigational practices used by captains to try to maintain a course and not run aground. And early in the book there’s a great explanation of why sailing vessels were used for transporting coal around the world when steam-powered ships were already in service. As I read through those explanations I couldn’t help but think of a list of questions based on the book, and 19th Century sailing in general, that could be brought into a mathematics class. In no particular order I’ve listed those questions below.
All of these questions have multiple possible answers. The point is to get students thinking about how mathematics was used in commercial sailing and is still used in sailing today. It’s also fun for history teachers (as I was for years) to bring some mathematics in a history lesson.
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Like a lot of teachers, one of my biggest challenges last year was building a sense of community in my classroom. Without having more than half of my students in my physical classroom for more than a few days before we went back to online or hybrid instruction, it was hard for students to get to know each other. That said, there was one thing that helped build community more than any other. That was having students work together to solve challenges. At times I did that through game play and other times through completing troubleshooting challenges.
Breakout games, specifically Breakout EDU games, provide fun challenges for students to solve together. In solving those challenges together students begin to learn about each other and a sense of community and collaboration begins to build.
What is Breakout EDU?
Breakout EDU is a platform for finding and playing collaborative problem-solving games. There are Breakout EDU games that can be played in-person and games that can be played online.
Breakout EDU started as a service that offered kits of physical lock boxes that students would unlock by solving challenges. Those are still offered by Breakout EDU and you can find them on the Breakout EDU website by searching for games that have the “Kit” label.
Today, Breakout EDU also offers digital games. These are the games that you’ll want to try if you don’t have a physical Breakout EDU kit and or you’re searching for games your students can play online. You’ll find those games by selecting the “Digital” label when browsing through the games available on Breakout EDU. Take a look at my short video here to learn how to find Breakout EDU games for your students to play.
Whether your students play online or in-person versions of Breakout EDU they’ll have to use their best logical reasoning skills to solve the challenge of the game. All games start with a story or a premise for a series of challenges. The challenges are to unlock the locks (physical or digital) by cracking a code to find the numerical combination and or word that unlocks the locks. You should try to crack the codes yourself before assigning the games to your students. But if you need a little help, Breakout EDU does provide answer sheets for you to consult.
How to Use Breakout EDU
Breakout EDU’s digital games can be distributed to your students through an online classroom. You can create a Breakout EDU online classroom by importing your Google Classroom roster or by manually making a list of student names. Either way, students will have a class code to enter to join your classroom and they don’t need email addresses in order to play the digital Breakout EDU games.
Five Fun Breakout EDU Games for Team Building
Breakout EDU has an entire category of games designed for team building. Within that category you’ll find forty games designed for online play by elementary school, middle school, and high school students. Here are my picks for digital Breakout EDU games for team building.
Breakout the Zoom is a digital game that can be played by elementary, middle, and high school students. The premise of this game is that students are stuck in Zoomland where they can neither get into nor out of a Zoom meeting. Students have to figure out the solutions to scenarios to get the Zoom meeting working again.
Raiders of the Lost Locker will strike feelings of nostalgia into any teacher who grew up watching movies in the 1980’s. In this game designed for middle school and high school students players try to open student lockers that have been stuck shut for 60 years. After the game use the discussion questions to get your students thinking and talking about what they think school was like for their grandparents or great-grandparents.
Mission Nutrition is a digital Breakout EDU game for elementary school and middle school students. Solving the challenges of the game reinforces concepts about creating healthy, balanced meals. I like this game because it puts a fun spin on a topic that some students might otherwise find kind of boring.
Breakout the Beat is another digital Breakout EDU game that might stir some feelings of nostalgia in you as you assign the game to your students. In this game for elementary and middle school students they have to find the clues hidden in a teacher’s collection of “oldies” music to unlock some modern dance tunes. You could have your students play this game as is or you could copy and modify it to include some “oldies” of your own (young teachers, even the music you listened to in high school is “old” to your students today).
Spidey Goes to Class is made for early elementary school students to try their hand at playing Breakout EDU. In this game students work together to help “Spidey” unlock the things that he needs to put in his backpack for school.
Register for Breakout EDU Today!
You can try out all of these Breakout EDU games and hundreds more when you register for a free account. During the first two weeks you can try all of the games. After that you can access them all with a subscription to Breakout EDU.
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fifteen tools for creating mind maps and flowcharts. Padlet was one of the tools that I mentioned in that list. Since then Padlet’s user interface was updated. The update makes it even easier than before to create a mind map or flowchart in Padlet. In this new video I demonstrate how it works.
Applications for Education
Padlet’s canvas format (demonstrated in video above) and capacity for inclusion of videos, text, hyperlinks, images, and audio recordings make it a great tool for students to use to show connections between resources that they’ve found in the course of conducting online research. It’s also a good tool for simply creating text notes that are connected around a central idea.
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‘Genius’ is a rare title often reserved for adults who have accomplished something extraordinary, like making discoveries after decades of research in their field. But we shortchange ourselves by reserving genius to a select few, according to Gholdy Muhammad, a professor, teacher-trainer and author of the best-selling book, “Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy.”
“Genius means how are our students intellectually creative, smart, what can they do that is special, intuitive, innovative,” she said.
She said we have more to gain by starting earlier and seeing genius as the brilliance that can be developed in each person. There are many examples of prominent people who got their start in childhood, often when a caring adult, such as a teacher, identified that spark and helped the child reach their potential. After all, those adults who we consider genius got their start somewhere in childhood. For instance, long before Jennifer Doudna won the Nobel prize for her CRISPR gene editing research, she was a high school student who didn’t even see herself as a scientist. She told the Washington Post she didn’t think about becoming a scientist until one person saw the brilliance in her: 10th grade chemistry teacher Jeannette Wong.
But not everyone gets a Jeanette Wong at the front of their class. And it’s not that teachers can’t see potential. As a teacher-trainer, Gholdy Muhammad noticed a gap between how teachers saw the brilliance in their own children vs. what they saw in the students they taught.
“[Teachers] would say things like, ‘they’re confrontational, defiant,’” said Muhammad, describing what teachers she trained in professional development sessions would say to her about their students. “Teachers would tell me this in high schools where you have to test to get into the high school; you had to test at a college level.”
“And then I would ask them to tell me about their own sons and daughters and magically it became a positive. But that positivity did not carry over, particularly to Black children and Latinx children.”
Cultivating a genius isn’t just about introducing someone to a set of facts or skills and believing in them. Muhammad distilled what matters into the five tenets of the Historically Responsive Literacy framework: identity, skills, intellectualism, criticality and joy.
[aside postID=’mindshift_57137′ label=’How Historically Responsive Literacy Can Make Learning More Relevant to Students’, heroLink=’‘]
Take a listen to this episode of the MindShift Podcast to learn more about how the five tenets of historically responsive literacy work together to inspire and engage students. Or you can read more about it here.
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Constitution Day Lesson Plans from C-SPAN Classroom
C-SPAN Classroom offers free lesson plans and Bell Ringers (discussion prompts) that were either designed for Constitution Day or can be used to meet the requirements of Constitution Day. All of the lesson plans incorporate short video clips addressing topics like enumerated and implied powers of Congress, interpretation of the Constitution, and checks and balances. You can find all of the lesson plans and additional resources in this Google Doc.
Constitution Hall Pass
The National Constitution Center offers an online program called the Constitution Hall Pass. The Constitution Hall Pass is a series of videos mostly featuring scholars discussing elements of the Constitution and issues relating to it. There are also a few “discussion starter” videos that are intended to get students thinking about how the Constitution can have a direct impact on their lives. I know from experience that this Freedom of Expression video and accompanying questions will get high school students talking.
The Constitution Center’s website features the U.S. Constitution divided into easily searchable sections. From the main page you can select and jump to a specific article or amendment. What I really like about the site is that you can choose an issue like privacy, civil rights, or health care and see how those issues are connected to the Constitution.
DocsTeach is a National Archives website that all middle school and high school U.S. History teachers should have in their bookmarks. DocsTeach lets you build online activities based upon curated collections of primary source documents. DocsTeach also provides some pre-made activities that you can give to your students. DocsTeach has twenty pre-made Constitution Day activities that you can use today. An additional 166 documents and artifacts about the Constitution can be found through a quick search on DocsTeach.
TED-Ed offers a bunch of lessons that are appropriate for Constitution Day. Those lessons are linked below.
The Making of the American Constitution.
Why is the US Constitution So Hard to Amend?
Why Wasn’t the Bill of Rights Originally Included in the US Constitution?
How is Power Divided in the US Government?
A 3-Minute Guide to the Bill of Rights
How do Executive Orders Work?
What You Might Not Know About the Declaration of Independence
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Search Strategies Students Need to Know.
The updated version of this webinar includes new handouts for you and your students. These include templates for formulating lessons to teach search strategies and templates for students to follow when conducting online research.
Other highlights of the webinar include alternatives to Google search (and why students should try them), how to build your own school-safe search engine (great for K-5 teachers), and tools and tips for helping students organize their research findings.
This is a live webinar and there will be time for Q&A. The webinar will be recorded for those who register in advance but cannot attend the live session. Register here!
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Practical Ed Tech Newsletter I featured five podcasting tips for students and teachers. One of those tips was to “clap and pause.” That tip is demonstrated in the short video that is embedded below.
Editing an audio recording is much easier if you make a loud clap before a brief pause and then begin speaking. The same is true if you need to pause while recording. That clap will be easy to hear and will be easy to see in audio editing tools. In audio editing tools like Audacity and GarageBand that clap and pause will be identified by a big visual spike followed by a steep drop. You won’t need to listen through the whole recording to find the places you need to edit because you’ll see them in the audio editor.
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