Blog

New Year, New Look for Our Scope and Sequence

Discover how our digital citizenship offerings work together to support your teaching.

You might have noticed the new look and feel for our Digital Citizenship curriculum interactive Scope & Sequence. Don’t worry -- we haven’t changed the number or order of the lessons. We simply refreshed the look to better show how all our offerings work together to support you in incorporating digital citizenship into your teaching. Right at the top of the page, you’ll find a PDF of our Curriculum Overview and a chart of our K-12 lessons. Print and share these with your team or school administrator, then you’re ready to roll! Let’s say you’re a 6th grade teacher, just click on the 6-8 tab: Get Trained: First, if you’re new to Common Sense, take....read more


Gear Up Your Year with Our Teacher Toolkit

September is here! Many teachers are already off to the races, and many others are still gearing up. Wherever you are in the process, this week we're highlighting the best "gear" for your new year: our "Teacher Toolkit." This list will equip you with the most useful apps and websites for managing lesson plans, making seating charts, setting up parent-teacher communication, and more. From multifunctional tools like Evernote and Twitter to more classroom-specific tools like Schoology and Edmodo, you can mix and match to meet your tech needs and ensure you'll hit the ground running this year. Check Out Our Full Teacher Toolkit Here ....read more


Tech Specialists Can Teach Reading, Too

How I used technology to engage and enrich close reading with a small group.

I don’t teach reading to kids on a daily basis like I did as a classroom teacher, so when I was gearing up to tutor a small group of fifth-graders after school in preparation for the upcoming state assessments, I was slightly intimidated -- and excited -- by the task before me. The big question was how I, a technology specialist, could use my knowledge of digital tools to help my group perform better on the reading portion of the test. A colleague suggested I focus on non-fiction texts, so I explored the current best practices being used. Close reading kept popping up, and it appealed to me. I’d used it all through college to understand complex reading assignments and didn’t even know I was doing it! All I knew was....read more


Teaching the #CharlestonSyllabus

Help students think deeply and critically about racism in the U.S.

When nine worshipers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, West Virginia, were murdered on June 17, 2015, social media news feeds quickly filled with opinionated posts about the impacts, meaning, and historical precedents surrounding the event.  And though some of the articles about the Charleston shooting certainly came from questionable sources created for Facebook and Twitter sensationalism, social media also offered us opportunities to engage in deep discussions, learn about historical context, and develop informed opinions about the causes of this horrific tragedy. A crowdsourced compilation of resources and readings, the #CharlestonSyllabus can be a powerful teaching tool for helping middle and....read more


Announcing Digital Citizenship on Nearpod!

Our award-winning curriculum gets paired with an award-winning platform.

Peter Hale, #TeenWolf, once said, "Perfect combinations are rare in an imperfect world." And although that may be true, there are those rare times in history when certain things come together and nothing short of magic happens. For food lovers, it's the perfect combination of peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips, or Oreo cookies and cold milk. And when an award-winning curriculum gets paired with an award-winning platform, well, you guessed it -- it's magic. Today we're thrilled to announce the perfect combination for your classroom: Common Sense Education and Nearpod have partnered to offer educators the chance to harness the full potential of technology for learning.  Our partnership with Nearpod....read more


13 Apps and Websites for Improving Parent-Teacher Communication

Phone calls, emails, and overbooked parent-teacher conferences are some of the more familiar ways to connect with parents. But these options aren't always the most productive. The apps and websites featured this week offer instant, practical, and simple ways to keep parents updated and students engaged in their learning. So this year, do you want to: Discuss topics and spur collaboration with parents and students? Check out Collaborize Classroom. See a visual timeline of your students' progress that you can share with parents? Give ClassDojo a try. Reach parents quickly and securely, while engaging your students, too? Head to Remind or ClassDojo Messenger. Create a classroo....read more


5 Strategies for Teaching Close Reading with Tech

Use these tips and tools to get kids to dive deep into a text.

When we think of close reading, we imagine students wrangling a set of colored highlighters, books stuffed with sticky notes, and text margins filled with hand-scrawled observations and questions. While these methods are essential for close reading, they can be a hassle to manage. Surely technology can offer us an easier way! If we focus on the methods and purposes for close reading, we can more easily see how digital tools might streamline -- or even enhance -- the close reading process. When we’re doing a close read, we're not just focusing on the main idea but diving deeper into the text and peeling back the layers to develop a greater understanding. Keep in mind, this doesn’t come natural....read more


How "Hard Fun" Promotes Passionate Learning

Want to create gritty, impassioned, self-reliant learners? Get behind learning games.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” -- Samuel Beckett A few years ago, Kurt Squire recalled sitting in his high school history class as a young student, listening as a teacher quizzed the class on Spanish colonialization. In a Ferris Bueller moment, the teacher asked if someone -- anyone! -- knew what kinds of ships each European nation had. Squire raised his hand, and as if channeling the textbook, said the Spanish had galleons to carry gold. "The French mostly had barques. The Dutch, fluyts. The English, merchantmen. If you saw a pinnace, that was French, Dutch, maybe even a pirate." Squire explained that the Dutch "were mostly traders. They didn’t have much....read more


12 Tested and Trusted Classroom Management Tools

Teachers know that teaching students is only one of the many responsibilities of being an educator. From lesson planning  and grading to classroom management and assessment to just staying on schedule, it's a lot to juggle. Thankfully, there are some great tech tools to help manage some of these tasks and take away a bit of the stress. These top-rated classroom management apps and websites will help to: Boost student participation (ClassCharts, StickPick) Track and manage behavior (ClassDojo) Monitor noise levels (SilentLight, TooNoisy Pro) Keep kids on task (Time Timer) Encourage collaboration (Groupmaker) Organize workflow (Skaffl, Showbie) With these apps and w....read more


7 Tips for Moving Students to a Growth Mindset

Try these strategies to promote risk-taking and perseverance.

Some students come into school believing that they're either smart or not. That kind of thinking is a fixed mindset. They see failure as the end of the road rather than recognizing its learning value. To "fail" does not mean being unsuccessful. FAIL is simply our “First Attempt In Learning.” Three years ago, I was introduced to Carol Dweck and her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. That book altered my outlook on both my teaching and parenting. It helped me change my own mindset on things that I thought were difficult or talents I thought I didn't have, like drawing, painting, and even writing. By tackling these challenging activities myself and changing the words I use with my ....read more


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