Here is a TEDx video that explains how the culture of the classroom can change student performance. Students learn what they live; in other words, students learn from the way they are treated in the classroom. If we give them respect, they feel respected. If we trust them, they feel responsible. If we as teachers can improve the culture in the classroom so students feel trusted and respected it goes a long way in engaging them. Studies say that it just takes one teacher who connects with a student out of all twelve years of schooling to make a difference, but many kids graduate (or dropout) without having even one teacher who they connected with. Suggestion: Let’s help kids get engaged by using T.R.I.C.K which stands for trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness in the classroom.
by esther wojcicki
This post is written by Greg Linden, my former student who is has been doing some amazing work with technology. He just launched CODE MONSTER and I thought all teachers should see this. It is a great way to introduce programming even if you know little about it yourself. Here is his blog post.
Code Monster from Crunchzilla helps parents teach a little programming to their kids.
A lot of parents want their kids to learn a little about programming. But, if you are a parent, there seem to be only two choices out there, either have your kids slog through all the syntax and pain of tutorials and textbooks made for adults, or have them learn a visual programming language made for kids that can’t be used for anything else.
Code Monster is an unusual blend of a tutorial and a game. It is not a tutorial or a lesson plan, but it does walk kids through many experiments with a real, useful programming language. It is not a game, but many of the children who have playtested it have found it fun, addictive, and exciting.
Code Monster came out of my interest in online education, especially math and computer science education. I am convinced that, when this generation of children grows up, algorithmic thinking, large scale data analysis, and programming will be a major force multiplier for people working in many fields. People who have these tools will have the power to find breakthroughs in medicine, biology, economics, and many other areas; these tools will let them do things no others have done. I hope Code Monster can be a small piece of many more girls and boys becoming interested in computational thinking.
Please try Code Monster. It’s free and it’s fun. If you have kids (especially ages 9-14) , please have them try it. If you know people who have kids (or adults who are young at heart and might want to dabble in programming), please tell them about it (and share on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter too). I’d love to get the word out about it, and it’s all for a good cause, it’s teaching kids to program. Finally, if you have any suggestions or find it useful for your kids, please post a comment here or e-mail Greg Linden at firstname.lastname@example.org, he’d enjoy knowing how you like it and how he can make it better.
BY Esther Wojcicki
If we want to know what voters are really thinking about the issues facing the presidential candidates, ask the kids. They always tell it like it is.
Check out this new website where kids can learn how to interview community members about election issues and post them to YouTube.
This competition called Engage2012.org is for students in K-12 and is run by the non-profit Media Arts Institute to encourage kids to make two-minute interview videos about one or more of these six issues facing the country and post them to YouTube, and then fill out this online application.
- Voter Turnout
- Jobs and the Economy
- Education Reform
- Health Care
- Energy and the Environment
The hidden agenda here is that it also gives students an opportunity to get involved in democracy while also practicing their 21st century media skills. There are also prizes up to $1,000 for the winning videos as well as national recognition on YouTube and ABC News.
Students can use cameras or smart phones to make these videos and there are instructional videos onlinejust to help learn how to make a video using either a camera or your smart phone. Here are some resources for students and teachers. Videos can be up to two minutes long but shorter videos are also welcome
This exceptional opportunity is made possible through the cooperation of some major companies and foundations including YouTube, the ABC News digital division, The Newseum, The Poynter Institute, The Harnisch Foundation, Adobe, Baruch College of The City University of New York, the Student Press Law Center, the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, Creative Commons., andHarvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
Students who may not want to make a video but still want to be involved can help organize their peers who want to make videos. These student organizers can sign up to be Student Ambassadors as part of the project’s Student Ambassadors Program. There is even a competition for them.
The 10 Ambassadors from around the country who motivate the most students from their schools and community organizations to participate in the challenge may each receive an award worth up to $500 in value.
The Engage in Democracy 2012 Student Journalism Challenge was founded in the spring of 2012 by leaders and educators from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, the Media Arts Institute, Baruch College and the Alliance for Excellent Education. The project will be administered by educators from the University of Oregon, Baruch College, the Media Arts Institute and by student leaders from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.
The competition is coordinated by non-profit project supported by the Media Arts Institute.
The project’s primary goals are to motivate K-12 students to participate in the democratic process, include student voices in national discussions surrounding election topics and encourage curiosity, exploration and creativity in both children and adults throughout the nation.
Now kids have a chance to get involved. The competition will close at midnight on Nov. 5, 2012. Winners will be announced on Dec. 21, 2012.
A new writing support for students just appeared in the last couple of days that I thought many teachers would find helpful. Here is the link to it http://www.shmoop.com/essay-lab/
It is the kind of support that you as a teacher can feel comfortable sending student to because it well done and can actually help them with their writing. Would be interested in knowing what other teachers think! Please comment.
By Esther Wojcicki
We’ve heard of them, but most people have no idea what it really means. They only know that some texts are harder to understand than others.
Now Google has come up with something revolutionary that will help all of us, but especially teachers.
Google searches now allow users to choose reading level of the results of a search. Amazing. This is a great help for all users.
There are three level to choose among: basic, intermediate and advanced. The difference between the levels is based on two criteria: vocabulary, sentence structure. Complex sentence structure correlates strongly with sentence length. Idea complexity arises from the vocabulary. The more advanced level has longer, more complicated sentences and more difficult vocabulary, while the intermediate level is just one step down in terms of difficulty, and the basic level is the easiest level to read.
There are complex ideas presented at all levels; however, there are more advanced results for complex topics and more basic results for easier topics. When searching for global warming, for example, results are available at all three reading levels; however, only nine percent of the global warming sites are at the basic level, 17% are at the intermediate level and 72% are at the advanced level.
Generally speaking, more complex topics will result in fewer basic websites. Basic documents can give a surprisingly good introduction to complex topics, so don’t write them off.
Another example is a search on Einstein’ theory of relativity, only two percent of the search results returned were at the basic level while 91% are at the advanced level.
The reverse is true for Mickey Mouse! It’s not surprising that fifty-five percent of the results returned are basic and only two percent are advanced. If you click on each level, you will see the results change right there on the page. It is fun to do.
So how do you do a reading level search? After typing in a query on Google.com, look at the column of tools on the left side of the search results and you will see “All Results.”
At the bottom of that column, click on “More Search Tools.” Then you will see a list of tools and in the middle under Dictionary, you will see “Reading Level.”
After you click on Reading Level you will see at the top of the page, three reading level choices: basic, intermediate and advanced with the percentages right next to the levels. The percentages indicate how many results are in each reading level, and you can simply click on the level to display the results that you want.
Filtering results by reading level is a whole new new search experience. It’s great for educators, parents, and anyone wanting a choice of reading levels.
Also on HuffingtonPost
How do we make schools more relevant to students? Teach them the skills they need in the real world, with tools they use every day. That’s exactly what Esther Wojcicki, a teacher of English and journalism at Palo Alto High School, is attempting to do with the recent launch of the website21STCenturyLit. I interviewed Esther about the site, and how she hopes it will serve as a useful tool for both students and educators.
- How do you describe the mission for 21STcenturylit?
The mission of 21STcenturylit.org is three fold: it is to teach students how to be intelligent consumers of digital media, to teach students how to be skillful creators of digital media, and to teach students how to search intelligently. We are living in an age when digital media and new digital tools are revolutionizing the world. Schools need to help student learn these skills, not block and censor the Internet.
To continue reading, go to this website
By Dr. B, posted by Esther Wojcicki
In coping with grading, it’s important for graduate students and young professors to know that they are not alone and that this process takes time. Not everyone goes through every stage or processes the reality of grading in this order, but everyone experiences some version of at least two of these steps.
See the rest of the post by clicking on this link
Google has some exciting new resources to help math teacher make their curriculum more relevant to today’s world. It is called Computational Thinking and can be used in all levels of high school math including biology.
Here is the link to the new resources. It also has a place for math teachers to share resources!
TeachersCount and Tonic present a new series of educator interviews, and we’re coming out swinging with a teacher who’d like nothing more than to kill the dreaded book report.
Esther Wojcicki is the kind of teacher that helps her students to think in an analytical, critical and ultimately journalistic fashion. In her classroom, style and content play second fiddle to evaluating information in a truly discursive manner — an invaluable method in any walk of life, not just writing. She currently teaches journalism and advises the school newspaper, The Campanile, at Palo Alto High School in California.
For rest of story go to www.tonic.com
American students’ lack of knowledge about the world is unsettling.
According to surveys by National Geographic and Asia Society, young Americans are next to last in their knowledge of geography and current affairs compared to peers in eight other countries, and the overwhelming majority of college-bound seniors cannot find Afghanistan, Iraq or Israel on a world map.
Less than one half of today’s high school students study a foreign language, and while a million study French, a language spoken by some 80 million worldwide, less than 75,000 study Chinese, a language spoken by some 1.3 billion. Minority students especially have little access to global topics taught in “higher performing” schools, ranging from languages and economics to exchanges, arts and cultural activities.