12.12.2013

You Might Be A Geeky Teacher if You Love Teaching Your Students to Code! #HourofCode



Kindergarten coding on iPads and Computers.!
 This week marks the hour of code!  We decided to join this movement and give every student in our school the opportunity to try an hour of computer programming.  It has been an amazing journey.  The kids took to the coding with ease and are ready to take on more difficult challenges.  Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science.
Originally conceived by the Computing in the Core coalition, Code.org is producing CSEdWeek for the first time this year, held in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).


We identified the coding exercises we wanted each grade to participate in from the Hour of Code website.   Hour of Code K-8 Activities and Apps document   We added these sites to our school Diigo account so that students can access the links from anywhere.  




This is my favorite day so far this year!
Students finished their hour of code and I gave the 4th and 5th graders a challenge to try the Holiday Card with Scratch Coding Activity and email me the completed card.  If the card had all the parts asked for in the tutorials, the student would earn a candybar and a green star.  I think I should have purchased stock in a candy company because I may exhaust my Christmas fund purchasing candy bars!  


We sent this letter out to parents and posted it on our school website to announce the week!  
DID YOU KNOW:
  • Software jobs out number students 3-to-1? The gap is 1 million jobs over the next 10 years and these are some of the highest paying jobs out there.
  • 90% of schools in the US do not teach computer science.
  • In many countries, computer science is required. (China, Vietnam, Estonia. Soon UK, Australia.
  • The basics can be learned by anybody beginning in elementary school and even as young as kindergarten. 
    Programming literacy is going to be key to your child’s future. Hulstrom will be part of a massive global Hour of Code campaign to prepare students for the 21st century during Computer Science Education Week next week Dec 9-15. Every student K-8 at Hulstrom will participate at school. Here are a few ways you can help support Computer Science literacy at home as well. 
21st Century Learners Coding Angry Birds!
1. Sit down with child, have he/she show you a coding activity  he/she learned at school. 

2. See the Hour of Code K-8 Activities and Apps document and 5 minute video http://youtu.be/nKIu9yen5nc
For additional information visit  code.org or watch one of these short videos.1 minute preview http://youtu.be/qYZF6oIZtfc

What a wonderful idea and an amazing experience for our students.  Thank you Hour of Code!  

11.22.2013

You May Be a Geeky Teacher if You Can’t Use a Map and Photo Without a Bit of Technology



As a teacher, primary sources play a critical role in the classroom and maps and photographs can give a great sense of place to a student. By taking the learning one step forward, we can explore what it means to be a digital citizen as well. 

So as a geek, I cannot handle using just a map alone without using it to connect students across the globe or for that matter placing them in their own backyard to explore, investigate, and learn. 

If you haven’t learned about the resources below before take a look again. They have been highlighted on this blog and in other places before but they are important to revisit if you want to bring some inquiry in the classroom setting. 

Have you tried having students explore a map using QR codes? 
Print out a series of QR codes and place them on a resource to liknk students out to basic information to support their research and investigations. OR better yet, have students analyze a map and create their own QR codes with investigative questions to place on the map for other students to look at. 

A Great Map Rsource: www.loc.gov
A super QR code creater:http://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/

Have you taken students to a map in past and present? 
Take a look at how places change over time by investigating a place. Better yet get the students in the field to find their own changes in THEIR environment.

Find a historic map at www.loc.gov
Explore the map in Google Maps: https://maps.google.com/
See the Then and NOW: http://www.projectrephoto.com/

Have you explored the building of a historic site and placed it in the context of place? 



Explore the amazing photographs and plans of historic sites around the country in the Library of Congress Building America Collections : http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/

Have students examine the maps and architectural drawings associated with a place and evaluate the HOW and WHY of the construction and placement of buildings in relationship to the economy, agriculture, history, and geography.



Have you thought about taking a virtual road trip? 
Take your students on a collaborative journey using flat classroom, google lit trips or map pins on Google. In Flat Classroom, join students from across the world to discover places and history that are important to them. Collaboration and connections are easy and amazing in their outcomes! 

Flat Classroom Project( Flat Connections) http://www.flatconnections.com/

Have you thought about having students document an event or series of events in history? 

Using a great new tool have students document their journey to a place with maps, documents, narrative, and other data. OR have students document their research on a particular topic.


See how one geeky teacher librarian put this in her classroom ...


Have you thoughts about digitally marking up a primary source to see what students learn? 

Use some of the tools below to edit and change primary sources in a flash to promote inquiry in your students learning. 




Have you thought about having your students present a journey through another lens? 

Try having your students explore a place (historic or in the present) through the lens of a set of primary sources.


Example: 




We will be adding to this list --- but for now -- take one tool and try it out and see how your students harness the power of technology in the classroom. 

The Power Researching PLACE in the Classroom: Resources for Learning About Historic Landmarks



The Importance of Place in the Classroom: Local, State and Global Understandings by Using Online Resources for Research

Place in the classroom can encompass many things, and cross-curricular ideas can easily emerge using simple technology tools in conjunction with a connection to a place in our world. For educators and students alike, place can be a hard thing to define yet it plays a role in almost all content areas depending on the lens we employ as teacher or student.  

Think about moving your students up the ladder of critical thinking by concentrating on all levels of Depths of Knowledge or Blooms  Taxonomy using key questions. How about asking your students to consider:

What role does this historic site have in the shaping of local, state, or national history?

How does this place play a role in the transfer of of goods and services across the region?

How is this place illuminated in the stories and literature written about this region?

How did the architects and engineers consider the environment when designing the building which is now here? 

How can we preserve this place for future generations?  (or maybe open the debate of if it should be preserved at all?)

Research Resources for Learning About Historic Places

This is by far not an exhaustive list of resources but it gives some simple ideas on how to bring the study of place to your students through simple analyzation strategies and project-based learning.

Local and State History:

Explore your local historic sites and community resources. These small museums are often much more flexible in their learning resources and many offer the chance to get hands-on experiences with primary sources. In Colorado we have several resources available to explore historic sites and use in research:


COMPASS:
You can explore historic sites which played a role in these decisions by researching them in the COMPASS system.(http://www.historycolorado.org/oahp/compass) By requesting free educator access to this historic preservation database, teachers can find little known information on landmarks, access photos and deep background on historic sites through the national register nomination forms that is often not available elsewhere

State and National Landmarks Listing: 
Local, State, and National Landmarks in Colorado: Local, State, and National Historic Landmarks exist across the state of Colorado in our communities. Many are unknown to students. Share with students the local landmarks in your area and what makes them important to your community. (Resources to find your local landmarks can be found at: http://www.historycolorado.org/oahp/listed-properties) Consider including the story of one of the landmarks in your local area in your history studies by having students research and explore the places which surround them or that they are interested in across the state.

For other states consider using... 

Check out the National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places Website and Teaching Page: 
http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/

Another option is to have younger students check out the Web Ranger Program. You can find and explore our well known and smaller parks and historic sites online:

Look for regional consortiums. One of the best places to start is your state tourism department, (or one in another state you are studying). Check out your state office of historic preservation or your state landmarks program. 
Regional museums and local historic sites work together to make history come alive. Some nice examples include:  

National Underground Railroad Trail: 

Local List of Lincoln Sites: 

Civil War Trust: 


National Resources:

Teaching with Primary Sources- The Library of Congress ( Check out maps, photos, and Building America Collections! ) 

The National Park Service

The National Archives
The White House Historical Association

The National Trust for Historic Preservation

Global Resources:

Flat Classroom Project: 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Visualizing Cultures



10.20.2013

Flat Classroom Handshakes Via Jigsaw Planet



I am in the middle of one of my favorite units of the year with my 5th graders!  The Flat Classroom, Week in the Life Project.  My students are placed in teams with 8 other students who live all around the world.  These teams collaborate on a topic and create a multimedia presentation together online about their topic.  It is amazing to see them brainstorm at different times of the day and then come together to create something meaningful with people you have only met online.  We start the project by meeting online and introducing our classes.  Then the students are assigned to groups and they get to introduce themselves.  As the teacher, I am assigned to oversee 4 groups in the project.  We used Jigsaw Planet and Voki to introduce ourselves.  Other classes used fotobabble, wordle, animoto and other web 2.0 tools.  Here are a few samples!

preview6 pieceTerracotta Teacher

10.15.2013

Commonsense Media Digital Passport as License for Internet Use at School

The mission statement at our school includes the words 21st Century Learning.  We have had many rich discussions with staff members and students about what this phrase and words mean, and how 21st Century Learning "looks" at our school.  We are a K-8 school environment, and educators collaborate and vertically plan instruction. This instruction then  builds and scaffolds in a meaningful way throughout a student's 9 grade journey, and then onward as they transition to high school.  Our school collectively employs carefully evaluated web 2.0 tools, online websites, and databases to drive instruction while providing assessment mechanisms which begin in kindergarten.  

In 3rd grade, students are given a Google Apps account, complete with gmail.  As educators we feel that it is important for our students to be educated about how to handle themselves in the global web environment before "handing them the keys" to their own information highways. As adults we understood that this Google access provides the transportation for them to access, explore, evaluate, and use digital resources.  

In our planning, our team decided that it is critical that they understand that they create and leave a collective, and more importantly and individual digital footprint in cyberspace. This footprint has definite impact, and can also have benefits and consequences.  We know that they also need to understand that this footprint follows them throughout their lives. Additionally, just as in the non-digital world, they would have to make decisions, they would encounter bullies, and they may encounter an online predator. We stress to our students that safety is a priority and finally, as unfortunate as it may be, we want them to know how to deal with inappropriate content. 



As a team we feel strongly that we are better off teaching our kids about how to protect and conduct themselves online rather than worry so much about how many filters and firewalls we can create.  After all, the real world only has so many filters and our kids seem to figure out how to climb over many firewalls in a short amount of time and with record flexibility and ingenuity.  

We then launched into research mode and started looking to resources to help us prepare our students for their new learning adventures online.  The light bulb went on in our heads when at a technology conference we were introduces to Common Sense Media's Digital Passport. From that point forward our walk became a run and we integrated it seamlessly into our lessons and technology learning for our students. 



 

At first, we only used it with our 5th graders and mistakenly thought that 3rd and 4th graders were perhaps to young for these conversations about cyber-bullying and cell phone etiquette.  Well that was one big fail. BIG. We quickly changed our minds after polling and listening to the students themselves. (We should have polled them in the first place!)  Over half of the kids in our 3rd grade classes have cell phones, and after one 3rd grader shared that she was currently  in counseling  over a cyber-bullying issue, we knew that we had to address these issues at a much younger age. We stopped, reflected, and hit rewind.  Currently we share technology resources in our building and require both students and teachers to complete training in order to check out the laptop carts. No exceptions are allowed.  They earn a laptop cart license and are then able to sign up for, and use, this resource.  That exact same philosophy drove us to the collective decision to require that all 3rd graders earn their Digital Passport before they were given their Google Apps logins.  It has made all the difference!  Our students are smarter, more aware, and more thoughtful about their use of technology after completing this fun and educational training. It has been a win-win situation for students and teachers, and an added benefit in the engagement of parents in this training as well.

The Digital Passport is engaging, fun and students know when they have conquered a module when they receive a badge.  For any online technology lover, geek, or student, badges are just plain great!  But their are added benefits as a teacher.  I can easily track their progress and even ask some of the students to re-do a module if their score wasn't quite high enough, or if they have missed key ideas.  The developers of the Digital Passport have also created  lesson starters which provide an instructional foundation  to help me lead wonderful conversations about each of the modules.  For example, today we talked about privacy and sharing information online.  The lesson asks for kids to write a secret on a slip of paper and to then try to erase it.  We talked about how it isn't quite erased and just like the secret can still be deciphered. Just like this traditionally written secret, an online message can be  traced even when erased, and becomes part of your personal digital footprint.  We constantly refer to writing on the internet as writing with pen. This writing can be a permanent primary source linked to the message of who you are as an individual, and can shape a person's view of who you are. We have to be thoughtful about what we want to be remembered for in the future! The Digital Passport makes the lessons come alive for the students who then get to reinforce their learning with a short video of a real student just like them who has experience with these issues. Finally, a game makes them connect the content "dots" and provides them with a safe place to make decisions online. 

Once the students have completed their digital passport, we give them their gmail login and begin to collaborate in google docs, gmail, blogs and other web 2.0 tools with common language. More importantly though, this common language then develops into a clear  understanding of expectations while providing safe and thoughtful strategies about what to do when they encounter specific situations online. As an added bonus, our 4th-8th grade teachers know that their students have had this training and can then spend their time building on these concepts and moving ahead at light-speed with their instruction that includes the internet and web 2.0 tools.   

Common Sense Media's Digital Passport is just that - a passport to the wide open world of digital resources and tools on the web, mixed with a healthy dose of learning, safety, and fun. This tool continues to be a powerful resource for our students and is now a rich, required part of our 21st Century Learning Instruction. Thank you Commonsense Media for this wonderful resource and for making internet safety and strategies as simple as everyday common sense!!

10.02.2013

He Started His Homework Early...Sort Of.






Do you ever have those days? You know the ones where there are three million things going on and you think you have all but two million figured out, and then two hours before bed just when you get home after a late day at work and a child says I have homework. 


Here was our conversation .....

Mom: When is it due?

Kiddo: Tomorrow. A "How to Project for Geography." Don't worry Mom-- the big part is due next week. I just need to have part of it done. Food and a country-- I chose Italy.

(Mom stalls and thinks of the other million things between now and Tuesday that need to be accomplished and pictures of rolling meatballs and spaghetti sauce in the kitchen as a kiddo cooks. Uh Oh)

Mom: What?  (Insert grimace, groan, and a few choice thoughts here playng in the geeky brain) Why didn't you say something?

Kiddo : Well only part of it is due tomorrow - the start of my presentation -- the food part. I remembered the paper though...and I brought it home.

(Kiddo fishes it out of the backpack crumpled with brief instructions and some scribbled notes by said kiddo.)

Mom: Well hallelujah on remembering that! Have you done your research? Are the websites RADCAB'ed? ( www.radcab.com) What do you have to present? How do you have to present it? What supplies do you need? ETC ETC ETC...

Kiddo: Don't worry Mom... I got you covered. I have it all planned out....but I don't want to do just a powerpoint.We have to do that but I thought I could add extra junk. I want to make a timeline and a movie too.

Mom: Any idea how you plan on doing that? ( Visions of 21st century tools are dancing in her head )

Kiddo: Well I can take pictures and use Animoto. That is easy and you don't have to write much and it looks professional and Mom-- they have Italian music on it too which is a BONUS!

(Groan. UGH. Mom thinks that this comment is the antithesis of what he should be thinking and writing. She is about to assign an additional essay, but then realizes he has to have a powerpoint too with extended writing pieces, and then reminds herself not to mention any other tools like Prezi or this could be an all-nighter and frustration will abound and this is HIS project. Besides he is excited about it even though it is an hour before bed.)

Mom: What do you plan on making?

Kiddo: Gelato. I thought about doing German pretzels but then we would have to make 93 of them and I don't want to bake all of those and with a broken arm I can't fold them right. SOOOO I will just give everyone a spoon and we can share the gelato. But it can't have nuts and we can use the strawberries you bought.

Mom: (Thinking there goes that lunch treat and breakfast addition-- bring on the strawberry gelato-- and at least he had the foresight to not make 93 pretzels while he is 1/2 casted on his right arm.)

Gelato made, pictures taken, Animoto created by one handed typing, happy boy, late bedtime, project started, gelato in the freezer. Just don't ask what the kitchen looks like. Oh ... and they better have a freezer at school.

And here are the results (On mom's account for safety reasons) and I'd share some Gelato but I'm eating some for breakfast.

Gelato Homework Adventure.



9.27.2013

You Might Be a Geeky Teacher if You've Been Having Conversations about Education Reform


I am on my annual girls weekend with four friends who raised our kids together and help each other survive!  We go somewhere different in the Colorado Mountains every fall.  This year we are in Carbondale, halfway between Glenwood Springs and Aspen.  I  opened up the Sopris Sun Newspaper today and found an article on a fascinating conversation they are having in Carbondale.  They are organizing Our Children, Our Schools (OCOS) events throughout the community to have conversations around dreaming and envisioning new schools.  They  have a website and even give the community some homework videos to watch before they come to the meetings.

Much of their conversation revolves around Sir Ken Robinson's contention that we are anaesthetizing our children and the example of what is happening in Finland.   "There is a country where students start school at a later age...spend less time in school per day... have barely any homework...are rarely tested " So begins a video showcasing Finland the country whose education system consistently ranks at the top of the world by almost every measure.

Among the many contrasts between schools in Finland and the US is their approach to the teaching profession.  Whereas U.S. teachers today must comply with an onslaught of accountability measures, Finland's teachers are trusted to work as professionals.  "If people are trusted then they want to be worth that trust."  In Finland, "people perform better when they are trusted....They are not controlled."
Roaring Forks Schools are inviting people to "Think outside the box, explore what's possible and participate actively in the district's visioning process."  Check out their website for more information!  Kuddos Roaring Forks!  We should all be having these community events!  http://www.carbondaleconversation.org/

9.19.2013

You Might Be a Geeky Teacher if Your Classroom or School is Going BYOD or 1:1





Our school has started down the yellow brick road toward BYOD.  We have found some interesting resources along the way and are working to have engaging training with our staff and convincing conversations with our parents.  We started with a flipped classroom model and sent information in the form of a Google Presentation to our staff before a whole staff vote about whether or not we should go BYOD.  This helped our staff to have time to review resources, think about pros and cons and to be ready to ask questions and finally to vote!  It is important to use professional development and meeting times to model good instruction and transformative practices.  Have you thought about flipping your professional development or faculty meetings?  

We created a student use agreement and had district IT and the Legal department finalize it.  We want to have parents and students take ownership of the security and set up of their devices to make sure that they stay up-to-date and ready for school.  Liability, insurance and security issues are addressed in this agreement.  We voted as a staff and the majority voted to move forward.  We are now working to design professional development and convince our parents that this is the best move for our kids.  We sent out a survey asking for information from our parents.   Our next steps involve informing out parents and then presenting at a PTA meeting.  We are going to flip our presentation to PTA by sending out this presentation before the meeting and then demonstrating a lesson at the PTA meeting using devices that parents bring to the meeting.  One of the most convincing stories about how BYOD looks in and transforms a classroom comes from my home state of Idaho.  CBS showed a documentary entitled TEACH that included a class in Kuna, Idaho that received a grant to convert the classroom to a BYOD and work with KHAN Academy.  The teacher was reluctant but as the year went on, she realized that this model transformed her teaching.  She was worried about being replaced but found that this teaching style is how teaching should look.  Take a look at her story.  


9.12.2013

You Might Be a Geeky Teacher if You Have Used Gaming in Your Classroom

I've had several requests and experiences around gaming in education this week. 1.  The first was reviewing 50+ video submissions from students applying to be a PBS Super School News Anchor or Reporter.  One student submitted a video story about Mine Craft.  I have to admit that I am surprised at how many kids play and work in this 2 dimensional world for hours at a time and beg to code and build here when they have free time.  Check out this news story! 



2. The second occurred as I was considering that all I needed to know about the future of education may be learned from science fiction! We are starting a One Book Four Grades program at my school around Ender's Game which will culminate in attending the movie in November with a compare and contrast follow up!  Consider this section of Ender's Game (published in 1985) and the vision of tablet computing:
Personal Tablet Computing – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985) 
"Ender doodled on his desk, drawing contour maps of mountainous islands and then telling his desk to display them in three dimensions from every angle...
The bell rang. Everyone signed off their desks or hurriedly typed in reminders to themselves. Some were dumping lessons or data into their computers at home. A few gathered at the printers... Ender spread his hands over the keyboard near the edge of the desk and wondered what it would feel like to have hands as large as a grown-up's... Of course, they had bigger keyboards - but how could their thick fingers draw a fine line, the way Ender could..."
Game-Based Learning – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)
Consider the Battle School from Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. Through rigorous game-based simulations, students in Card’s world learned standard curricula as well as military strategy.  Schools around the world are starting to pay attention to video games and how they can be effective tools for teaching. 

3.  Gamification came up several times today, once with a student who is applying for a specialized high school program and wants help submitting an application that includes information about gaming in education and then some of my own research and attendance on a gaming webinar.  What questions come to your mind as you watch these slides?  Can we use gaming to engage our students in the classroom?   

WoWinSchool: How to Use WoW and MMORPGs to Engage Students - GSummit 2013 from Lucas Gillispie

Listen to this TED talk about the short history of gamification beginning with Where in the World is Carmen San Diego (1987 - can you believe it?)    



I am interested now in joining this 3-D classroom and training for teachers where I can even earn badges! I am considering the possibilities of this for my classroom.  
 Here is more information on their site! 3D Game Lab 








9.06.2013

George Washington and the Constitution: Digital Resources from the Library of Congress and National Archives

LIbrary of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/96523313/

It's that time-- Constitution Day is around the corner! We were excited to receive a George Washington portrait as part of an amazing portrait program at Mount Vernon, and are launching school activities in honor of his role in the early American republic.  As part of our search for great activities and primary sources we stopped first at two of the premier resources for historical documents: the Library of Congress and the National Archives. So in honor of the Constitution and our first president, here are some really neat resources to use in the classroom for Constitution Day, parked in one spot for easy reference! Have fun...

You can find out about the portrait program here: 
http://www.mountvernon.org/educational-resources/teachers-students/george-washington-portrait-program

And all the cool primary source lessons here:


Primary Source Resources from the Library of Congress and National Archives


Constitution Day Resources from the Library of Congress
Outstanding collection of resources from our national library. A wealth of ideas and primary sources to engage students in inquiry in the classroom. One of the first go-to spots for teachers for great activities and resources!

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress: Timeline
A timeline of the George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress with embedded primary sources.

Constitution Day Activities Blog from the Library of Congress
Recent Library of Congress Blog on Constitution Day Resources from the Library of Congress.

Free Speech and the Constitution: Library of Congress Resources on You Tube
Check out this resource in honor of Constitution Day on the Library of Congress YouTube channel (And there are some other neat ones there too!)

Washington’s Annotated First Draft of the Constitution: National Archives
Zoomable annotated draft (by Washington) of the Constitution

Signers of the Constitution: National Archives Activity
Great photo analysis activity using a well-known painting in the National Archives Collection

Comprehensive Overview of the Constitution: National Archives Charters of Freedom Online Resource
Excellent reference for an overview of the Constitutional Convention

Questions and Answers on the Constitution from the National Archives
Ever have an unanswered question on the Constitution? Our National Archives probably has the answer!
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_q_and_a.html


Behind the Scenes Video of Important Treasures of the National Archives
This is a great curator hosted video highlighting treasures of the National Archives (Be sure to explore other treasures of the National Archives on their You Tube Channel!)

9.05.2013

You May Be a Geeky Teacher If… You Are Also a Junior Ranger And Use This Program in Your Classroom!




Do you love your national parks? Are you drawn to the beauty and history they hold within their boundaries? So are we! 

Your national parks are one of the best teaching tools available for learning inside and outside the classroom, and over the next several months Two Geeky Teachers will dive into some of the many print and digital resources that are available from the National Park Service through this blog. To launch this discovery series we start with the Junior Ranger Program (which evidenced by the photo below is not just for students anymore!) We have been involved with them from coast to coast and in between!

Accessing the Junior Ranger program is easy peasy, and you can  find information about your national parks and those that offer the Junior Ranger program right here: http://www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.cfm. Although NOTHING can truly replace being in your national park to experience the actual environment and history of the place, accessing the WebRanger program can help students explore wider themes in our national parks online and is a cinch to access through this link: http://www.nps.gov/webrangers/

If you are lucky enough to visit a park you can get these patches and badges!

Or you can complete some programs online and still receive a Junior Ranger pin via mail or a Web Ranger patch.

Here are five ways you can use the Junior Ranger program in the classroom along with some highlights from the program included in the links below. Regardless of being in a park—teachers will find the information contained in the Junior Ranger program books a huge score for teaching history, science, geography, and other subjects.  We love our national parks…we are betting your students will too. Here we go… Ready? Enjoy!

Five Ways to Use the Junior Ranger Program in the Classroom


5) Engage students in using the Junior Ranger program as a means to research an important location, which holds information on a topic of study and could have been a turning point in the course of American History.

Did You Know About the Junior Ranger Program At: Fort Sumter National Monument?

Tech Connection: Use a technology tool such as SpicyNodes (www.spicynodes.org) to help students organize their research around an essential question(s).

4) Use the Junior Ranger program to research a historical figure and bring to light little known information on that person, or sites that are unknown or out of the limelight, which could give more information about his/her life.

Did You Know About the Junior Ranger Program At: Abraham Lincoln Birthplace?  http://www.nps.gov/abli/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm

Tech Connection: Use the information from the Junior Ranger Program to create a Blabberize (www.blabberize.com) biography of young Abe Lincoln

3) Use the Junior Ranger Program as a means to explore literature and place in their humanities studies! The National Park Service has many locations that highlight significant authors and their works. Broaden your social studies content to humanities content by including literature and written works in your online or personal quest for understanding America.

Did You Know About the Junior Ranger Program At: The Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site? http://www.nps.gov/edal/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm

Tech Connection: Use the information from the Junior Ranger Program to create a found poetry poster presentation in Glogster (http://edu.glogster.com/)

2) Use the Junior Ranger Program to explore science and the environment, and create an appreciation for our natural landscapes. Connect social studies and science together through an educational lesson on a scientist.

Did You Know About the Junior Ranger Program At: The Thomas Edison National Historic Site?  http://www.nps.gov/edis/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm

Tech Connection: Use the information from the Junior Ranger Program and connect it to primary sources from your national library, the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress houses Edison films and recordings, drawings, and papers from the famous scientist. Use clips from an Edison film to create a presentation on a famous event or person in iMovie to share with your class.


1) Encourage students and their families to get outdoors and explore their world together. Learning together, sharing together, and enjoying our National Parks can be a family event! You are never too old to be a Junior Ranger, and you can always start early too even if it is just wearing a “flat hat” and knowing that our park rangers are pretty special! It is these  rangers that help make our National Parks a special place to visit. In honor of our First National Park we will embarrass the geeks in our house with a picture of their very first Junior Ranger badge at Old Faithful Lodge/Visitors Center in Yellowstone (And yes this is the same kiddo in the picture at Mount Rainier below. Imagine that-- 12 years of Junior Rangers and 35 patches and pins later...) :



Did You Know About the Junior Ranger Program At: Yellowstone National Park


Tech Connection: Use the information from the Junior Ranger program to help differentiate content in the classroom setting though activities at different levels of complexity. Use a tool such as Animoto (http://animoto.com/) or Prezi (http://prezi.com/)
 to have students create a collaborative presentation on what they have learned to share with an authentic audience. 


And to prove that we have used them from coast to coast heres the photo evidence as our geeks would call it!


Fort Clatsop- Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
Fort Clatsop- Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
Ellis Island National Historic Park
Yellowstone National Park
Minuteman National Historical Park
Mount Rainier National Park
Yellowstone National Park