Tag Archives: instruction

Around the World with 80 Schools

Skype can be a powerful classroom tool for collaboration and research.

Are you using Skype in your classroom yet?

Or, are you thinking about using Skype but don’t know exactly where to start?

No matter your level of competence with Skype, Around the World with 80 Schools is an easy-to-navigate site with a great concept for using this Web 2.0 tool with your students.  The idea is simple:  Connect your students to 80 other classrooms around the world.  There is no time limit.  It may take you a few weeks or a few years, but the idea is to get globally connected!


Around the World with 80 Schools provides everything you need to know to start using Skype in your classroom today!

Silvia Tolisano, the site creator, doesn’t stop there.  She provides step by step information for setting up Skype, pre-conference call question writing guides, and many other resources to help you get started.  Her videos also provide insight into how students can use 21st century media and digital literacy skills to engage with content, each other, and the world outside the walls of their classroom.

I can’t imagine a better resource for ideas about how to use Skype effectively with students.  Whether you are a novice or an expert at using Skype, Tolisano’s resources can support your classroom instruction. From instructional videos to examples of Skype lessons, this site provides a great place to start or continue to use Skype.  Check out her grade-level, content-area, and concept groups on the Groups page.

Around the World with 80 Schools also provides a space where you can create your own class blog and collaborate with other users with similar classrooms and interests.  Everything you need is in one place, so, what are you waiting for?

Look for me on Skype:  waterlovers3  🙂  I look forward to talking with you!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

You Can’t Help But Agree! Heidi Hayes Jacobs Paints a Compelling Picture of 21st Century Learning

Heidi Hayes Jacobs shares her vision of what we need to do to ensure students are ready to meet the demands of our ever-changing world.

There’s no denying that when it comes curriculum, Heidi Hayes Jacobs’ work reigns supreme.  Her research and insight have guided curriculum leaders, administrators, and teachers for decades.   Even as we continue to redefine what it means to be college and career ready in this brave new world, Jacobs remains in the forefront of research, change, and groundbreaking realizations to improve the quality of curriculum and instruction.

Currently,  Dr. Jacobs serves at the Executive Director of the Curriculum Mapping Institute and President of Curriculum Designers, Inc.   She has served as an education consultant to schools both in the United States and across the world on issues and practices affecting classroom instruction.  Her specialties include: curriculum mapping, dynamic instruction, and 21st century strategic planning.  As we continue to prepare our selves and our students for the implementation of new Common Core State Standards and North Carolina Essential Standards, Jacob’s expertise sheds a light on our logical and imperative next steps..

In this TED Talks session, Heidi Hayes Jacobs reveals the why and how we must change our 21st century classroom to prepare our students to be college and career ready.  She shares her latest blog post Preparing Students for 1982 –  Time Traveling through Testing and points out that the new Common Core State Standards provide educators “an opportunity to modernize curriculum.”  She focuses on the importance of informational text, understanding and implementing media and 21st century skills, and using the digital and virtual tools at our disposal to motivate and inspire today’s students.

Jacobs asks us to rethink our decisions regarding student grouping, scheduling, space, and structure.  Her ideas are novel and clear, and I found myself nodding and agreeing with Jacobs as I was drawn deeper into her vision of what education should and must look like to reflect the norms, tools, and workplace that exists today.

Click on the MLC icon on Baker's website to access his resources. Bookmark his site at http://www.frankwbaker.com

Jacobs encourages educators to take a look at the work of Frank Baker.  In his ASCD webinar from February 2011, Baker defines media and visual literacy.  He makes some important points regarding the difference between being media savvy and media literate.  His presentation provides some clarity and direction for teachers.  Baker’s website provides an incredible variety of great media literacy resources.

This webinar is packed full of information, examples, and techniques students need to learn to be media literate.  Baker discusses advertisement, industry, images, and real-world examples to provide insight on the educator’s role in preparing students to look beyond the literal meaning in media messages.  With a focus on critical thinking, Baker provides a good foundation for teachers as they begin to think more about how to incorporate media literacy in their classrooms.

Click on the image to access Frank Baker's ASCD webinar.

At about the 33 minute mark of this video, Baker shares one teacher’s use of VoiceThread to support media literacy in her classroom by using a Nike ad as a medium to solicit students’ thoughts on what “less gravity” means.  This example of how to use this Web 2.0 tool to encourage critical thinking may help us rethink our modes and methods of instructional design.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Thinking Outside the Instructional Box: The Flipped Classroom

We have all heard that our  21st century students need hands-on, interactive experiences.  Teachers today are being asked to teach in ways that they were not taught  — with technology that is brand new and often unfamiliar. How exciting…..and scary…all at the same time.

One controversial method of building in more hands-on class time is called the Flipped Classroom Model.  The major difference in this model and traditional instruction is that teachers videotape lectures they would generally provide in class, and students access them online as homework.  This trend, although not new, is gaining popularity with teachers who are thinking outside the box to find ways to preserve instructional time for students to explore, collaborate, create, build, and experience the curriculum.

Check out Aaron Sams’ classroom as he explains why he flipped his classroom. Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann were early adopters of the flipped classroom. Both Sams and Bergmann currently teach in Woodland Park High School in Colorado.  They are writing a book about the Flipped Class.

Learn more about Aaron and Jonathan’s philosophies and how their flipped classrooms came to be by clicking here.

Still interested?

Read the latest article here from Ed Week about the flipped classroom:  Lectures are Homework in Schools Taking Khan Academy Lead

Want to learn more about The Flipped Classroom?  Click here!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized