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New! Professional Growth Features on Graphite

At this year’s ISTE conference, we launched three new features in Graphite’s Teacher Center: What’s New pages, Teaching with Tech, and Graphite Community. These new resources join our existing suite of videos, monthly webinars, teacher-submitted Lesson Flows, and our Graphite Certification program. Let’s take a look at how our new resources can help you advance your practice. What’s New Want to know what the latest and greatest resources on Graphite are? Check out our What’s New pages. There you’ll find hand-picked resources from our editorial team as well as trending Top Picks lists, reviews, and Lesson Flows from fellow teachers. Right now we have pages for ELA and Math, but there are more....read more


Motivate Young Writers with These 15 Community-Driven Tools

No matter which way you slice it, students are more engaged when the "real world" is the focus of their learning. Getting kids to write for an authentic audience is one of the best ways to make this connection. To get them started, websites like Youth Voices and Tween Tribune provide vibrant online communities to make meaningful connections with fellow young writers. Kids can also get some direct experience in critiquing and receiving feedback with TeenInk and LitPick. For those especially interested in real-world topics and current events, The Learning Network and KQED: Do Now are chock full of activities and prompts to get kids reacting and writing. With any of these tool....read more


5 Comic Strip Activities for Writing on the First Day of School

Are you looking for a fun way to get kids writing from the very start of the school year? Getting your students to write meaningful responses isn't always easy. Writing, and the many layers of the writing process -- thinking of an idea, writing it down, fixing spelling and adding punctuation, using voice to make it interesting, and making sure it is written in a logical order -- can be difficult or intimidating, especially for students who struggle with writing. Creating stories with comic strips can be a great solution! It's fun and motivating. It allows students to use voice and creativity in their writing. And the layout of comic strips is a useful tool to help students plan a beginning, middle, and end to their story. These five....read more


Webinar Spotlight: Do's and Don'ts of Integrating Tech in Schools

Learn valuable tips on implementing a technology plan and incorporating digital citizenship.

Have you faced challenges in bringing 21st-century tools into your school? Are your students prepared for an increasingly digital world? In our June webinar, Jeff Downing, an elementary computer specialist in California's Fremont Unified School District, shared valuable lessons he learned as he implemented a technology plan at his school site, including some "do's" and "don'ts" learned from incorporating digital citizenship throughout the curriculum. Webinar Highlights 16:35 -- "Do lower the barrier to use. What I try to do at the beginning of every year is train [students] on the technology they're going to be using in the classroom for a full month before we even use that technology....read more


Graphite Boards: Share Great Graphite Resources with Your Colleagues

A new design makes it even easier to save, organize, and share great content.

Are you the go-to person in your school or district for edtech recommendations? Our newly revamped Boards feature will make it easier to collect the best stuff you find on Graphite, and to share it with your colleagues and networks. We recently updated the entire site with a more polished, user-friendly theme. This gave us a great opportunity to rethink several of Graphite's signature features, including Graphite Boards. Now, when you find cool resources on Graphite -- from reviews to blog posts to Top Picks lists and beyond -- you can click "Save Page." This will store that resource in your profile. You can later curate that into a Board -- think a Pinterest board but for Graphite resources -- or you can click....read more


Webinar Spotlight: Are You Ready for BYOD?

This webinar offers excellent tips on BYOD for teachers, administrators, librarians, and other technology specialists.

Are you interested in implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program in your classroom or school? In our June webinar, Rachelle Wooten, a digital learning specialist at Fort Bend Independent School District in Texas and a Graphite certified educator, provided a primer on BYOD, including digital tool recommendations, classroom management tips, lesson planning, teaching tips, and more.  Rachelle, who oversaw the BYOD training in her district, developed her own model: R.E.A.D.I.E.E (Research, Explore, Access, Develop, Inform, Execute, and Evaluate) for BYOD. Whether you already have a BYOD initiative or want to start one, this webinar offers excellent tips for teachers, administrators, librarians, and other tec....read more


20 Fun Creation Tools for a Summer of Making

Learn by doing with these creativity-boosting apps, games, and websites.

Know any kids who light up at the thought of taking apart electronics, building an app, or making their own video game? Summer is the perfect time to focus on creating, rather than consuming. Naturally curious kids can take risks freely, learn from mistakes, and solve problems -- without the pressure of deadlines or grades. Making use of tutorials and how-to guides, kids can easily create cool stuff with these nifty apps, games, and websites. Try out Scratch or Minecraft for open-ended, limitless digital creation geared toward younger makers. Kids a little older can dive into Gamestar Mechanic or LittleBigPlanet 2, two captivating game-making platforms that will expand their minds and involve them in a vibrant community of....read more


4 Quick and Easy Steps for Spring Cleaning (in the Summer!)

Find inspiration and set goals for the coming school year.

Summer, for teachers, is an opportunity to hop off the hamster wheel and spend some time relaxing. It's also a great time to do some "spring cleaning." I’ve never been one to find cleaning my house particularly inspiring, but a summertime cleanup of both my actual and virtual teaching and working spaces does more than just leave me with a clean space in which to begin my fall planning. I’ve discovered the sorting and reviewing process helps me to identify what needs attention, improving, or refreshing, and to set some concrete goals for the coming school year.  1. Purge The place I like to start is with my files, both digital and -- though I have a lot fewer than I used to -- pape....read more


It’s About the Learning, Not the Technology … Until It Breaks

This is the second in a series of posts that examine how schools and districts are planning for and implementing digital learning efforts. We are also hosting monthly webinars to dig deeper. The first two webinars are archived and available here. Providing technical support for a large fleet of devices that travel between school and home is no simple task. Management and support of technology is a lot like managing and caring for people. When people break (i.e., get sick), a doctor can see symptoms, but only extrapolate from those symptoms the cause. Technology is much the same. We can’t always say why things don’t work, but we know the symptoms. We can troubleshoot (i.e., poke, prod, run some tests, and even ask our computer....read more


Make the Most of Mindfulness with these 9 Apps

Increased mindfulness can enhance a wide range of social and emotional skills for kids of any age. These best-of-the-best apps will introduce kids to meditation exercises, physical activities, and calming strategies as they build emotional intelligence. For young kids, the songs and activities in Daniel Tiger's Grr-ific Feelings will help them recognize, understand, and express their emotions. Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame teaches them strategies to calm down and overcome their frustrations. Older kids will like IF...The Emotional IQ Game, which promotes wise decision-making and respect for others through fun, adventure-based gameplay. High school teens facing stresses like high....read more


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