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16 Absorbing Games to Combat Summer Brain Drain

There's undercover learning to be found in these great games.

Anything remotely school-related is a total summer break bummer! But that doesn't mean the learning has to stop. Summer is the perfect time for kids to discover that learning isn't limited to the classroom or the school year. There's undercover learning to be found in their favorite summer activities, especially playing games. This week we're highlighting 16 games that successfully combine playing with learning to boost skills while having fun. For kids who like to make stuff, Contraption Maker and LittleBigPlanet2 will get them solving puzzles while they create their own games and machines. History lovers will have fun with Sid Meier's Civilization V as they explore world civilizations and grow th....read more


3 Creative Ways to Teach Global Awareness

Use these activities to engage students with the global community.

You've heard it a million times: "Our students must be prepared to compete in today's global society." As if our students are expected to be sophisticated and savvy ambassadors, able to engage with and lead others on an international scale. Don't they realize our classes are short on time as is? There is so much we want our students to learn. How can I add concepts to the learning activities that aren’t directly related to the standards or our content area? While trying anything new takes time “behind the scenes” for teachers, prioritizing something we feel strongly about doesn't have to take tons of extra class time. Even with all the learning objectives we already have, there's room to he....read more


Common Sense Education Resources from ISTE 2015

Use this handy reference to access all the great tools and tips from Common Sense sessions at ISTE 2015.

Whew! What a trip! The Common Sense Education team just returned from a fabulous four days at the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia. It was great to connect with the thousands of educators who came by our booth, attended our sessions, and entertained us with their impressive karaoke skills. We were thrilled to catch up with long-time users of Common Sense resources as well as introduce our work to many more of you. In the Common Sense Education meeting rooms, we offered two full days of 15-minute lightning sessions. Common Sense team members and certified educators presented on a range of practical and engaging ways to use specific technology tools for learning as well as our latest and greatest digital citizenship offerings....read more


Sparkling Resources for 4th of July Learning

Celebrate the holiday with a fun, interactive history lesson.

BBQs and fireworks definitely make the 4th of July fun, but adding in some virtual time travel kicks it up a notch. After all, young, inquiring minds want to know: Why do we gather in red, white, and blue to watch colorful explosions in the sky? These fun apps, games, and websites will answer that question and more as they teach the story of the American Revolution and the United States' fight for independence.  For young kids, Ansel and Clair: Paul Revere's Ride is a charming app that gives kids a solid first look at the main characters and issues that led to the revolution. Older kids can turn to hip-hop songs by Flocabulary to hear the story of the American Revolution through rhymes....read more


From Legos to Maker Labs: Fun and Learning After School

After-school clubs offer both students and teachers the freedom to explore alternative approaches to learning.

For more than six hours each day, we aim to seize every teachable moment. Our schedules, carefully crafted and refined, often resemble a flight schedule at a busy airport: whole-class math lessons here, reading groups there, and one-on-one conferencing/counseling/cheerleading sessions squeezed in everywhere else. But we all know learning isn't confined to the school day. Extracurricular activities, from soccer to chess club, have been around as long as school itself. When I was young, few after-school activities appealed to me, so hosting an after-school club as a teacher didn't occur to me until a few years ago when I began to look at after-school learning through a new lens. Having started two after-school clubs in the past three ....read more


Is Your School "Future Ready"?

Join a growing network of school leaders committed to implementing personalized, digital learning.

This is the first 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. In November of 2014, President Obama challenged district superintendents to sign the Future Ready Pledge. By signing, school leaders committed to working with teachers, families, and community members to transition their districts to "personalized, digital learning." Since then, close to 2000 superintendents representing roughly three out of every 10 students in the United States have signed the pledge. A coalition, led by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the U.S. Departmen....read more


Apps, Games, and Websites for a Summer of Science

Check out these resources for mixing screen time with tree climbs.

Where can you make a cloud in a jar, engineer a robotic arm, plant your own terrarium, and build a pin-hole camera? Answer: science camp! At today's science camps, computers and technology undoubtedly play a huge role in the projects and adventures campers will experience. At the same time, no one wants kids sitting in front of a screen all summer -- losing their sense of wonder and discovery. Thankfully, there's a bunch of great tech out there that balances learning in front of a screen with hands-on activities outside in nature. So whether it's practicing music to learn physics or baking a cake to understand chemistry, you'll find a plethora of ideas ....read more


Getting Fit Made Me a Better Teacher

Training bodies -- and brains -- requires sustained effort.

I thought my legs might fall off. It was October 31, 2010, and I was 22 miles into the Marine Corps marathon in Washington, D.C. Turns out, you can’t just wake up one day and decide to go run a marathon. Who knew? In all seriousness, I trained for my 26.2 mile run. My legs and lungs were well-prepared, but my head … not so much. Until that moment, I never fully understood the amount of mental toughness that is required to power through when your body wants to quit.   There were 22,000 other runners that day, and I think we all learned a valuable lesson about the art of developing a sustained effort. Students today are used to instant gratification: movies on demand, instant messages, answers and information just a Googl....read more


Learning from Conflict: Discussing Controversial Issues in the Classroom

Help students have constructive discussions that represent differing perspectives.

When highly charged events happen in the world, it’s not always easy for classroom teachers to help their students make sense of things. But whether it’s raw emotions that surface during civil unrest or the human suffering associated with natural disasters, students benefit from constructive discussions about sensitive issues. In fact, research shows that discussing conflicts is good for students both cognitively and developmentally. This research holds that learning takes place under these conditions: Teachers give all students ample opportunity to explain various views through perspective-taking approaches, we make sure different points of view are listened to and then confronted, and we encourage controversy while str....read more


Webinar Spotlight: What's in Your Digital Citizenship Survival Kit?

Learn how one teacher uses household items as metaphors to illustrate key digital citizenship skills.

Looking for a new hook to start conversations about digital citizenship with your students? In this month's Digital Citizenship community webinar on edWeb, "What's in Your Digital Citizenship Survival Kit?," we welcomed presenter Craig Badura, K-12 integration specialist for Aurora Public Schools in Nebraska. Craig shared a "survival kit" he uses with students to kick off important conversations about safe and appropriate behavior online. Craig's digital citizenship survival kit is filled with inexpensive household items that can serve as metaphors for key aspects of digital citizenship. For example, a padlock represents password strength and online security, and a permanent marker....read more


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