Forefathers' Day is on December 22. The holiday commemorates the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on December 21, 1620. Check out this resource to learn more about the original signatories of the Mayflower Compact.
Browser extension helpful for annotation and research organization
Pros: No end to the educational applications if your students do a lot of work on the web.
Cons: Regularly times out; users can only annotate text (not images, video).
Bottom Line: A solid -- with room to grow -- annotation and research tool; serious users will need to pay for premium.
On December 15th the United States celebrates our Bill of Rights. This brief animated video summarizes the first ten amendments to the Constitution.
Teachers' text reminders give students -- and parents -- a reason to check their phones
Pros: With over 70 languages and options to share files and links, it’s easy to keep students and parents informed and involved.
Cons: Without mindful use it could be more enabling than empowering; families in varying parts of the digital divide may have unequal access.
Bottom Line: Well-designed, highly effective messaging tool has the potential to keep students and families connected with their schools.
It's time to celebrate Letters! Letter Writing Day is December 7th. Join the Smithsonian National Postal Museum to explore the place of letter writing in American history, revealing through the words of its people, the nature of American life and documenting the country’s uniquely American identity. Examine information and photocopies of letters from Early America, Revolutionary War, Western Expansion, Civil War, Immigrants and social issues, World War I, the Great Migration and Depression, World War II, and the Twentieth Century, as well as, letter writing as art, and the future of letter writing in America.
A troll-free zone for student discussion and debate
Pros: Fosters thoughtful discussion and debate. Can be used to discuss any question big or small.
Cons: Slightly complicated interface. Students might rely on it too much for future essays.
Bottom Line: This is a valuable platform for students to learn about social and political issues while practicing digital citizenship and argumentation.
On November 28th we celebrate the Red Planet - Mars. Let's visit Mars virtually, plot the course, send the coordinates to activate the rover, and see if you can make it to your destination to win the game. An interactive game that provides live video feed from Mars.
Boundless, flexible tools promote instructional, independent reading
Pros: Great teacher tools track progress with great visuals in real time; built-in texts make for especially easy use.
Cons: Quizzes may take the joy out of independent reading, especially for struggling readers.
Bottom Line: A stellar literacy platform for assessing student reading levels and promoting further reading.
Celebrating Evolution Day on the 24th of November? Learn more about Charles Darwin's trip to the Galapagos Islands in this video documentary then use scientific inquiry to answer questions posed by the three levels of study about ecosystems and biodiversity from the American Museum of Natural History.
Freckle is a practice website (and app) that addresses skills and concepts for Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.
Target standards-based skills with dynamic practice and assessments
Pros: Interactive student assessments are tightly aligned with CCSS, and the teacher dashboard is very easy to use.
Cons: Filters may restrict student access to some content, and the basic version contains some limits on the ability to assign content and practice skills.
Bottom Line: Rich with content-aligned assessments, activities, printable worksheets, and progress analytics, this valuable resource promotes skills mastery through practice.
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Valerie Bourbour is a certified educator and past Co-Director of The Academy of Ormond Beach. Ms. Bourbour has experience in online learning platforms and aims for student success.