Saturday, December 5, 2020

Educational Links 12/6/2020

Report Offers Clearest Picture Yet Of Pandemic's Impact On Student Learning

Definition of Autism

How to Organize Students Remotely

Report: Mental health support a top teacher retention priority

Early data on learning loss show big drop in math, but not reading skills

30 Of The Best Google Classroom Tools For Teachers

The 10 Most Significant Education Studies of 2020

We reviewed hundreds of educational studies in 2020 and then highlighted 10 of the most significant—covering topics from virtual learning to the reading wars and the decline of standardized tests.


Go Tell It On The Mountain

Go Tell It On The Mountain: Go Tell It on the Mountain by Diana WolvertonIrvine, CA   Kirk Franklin & Famil...

Creating a Class for Digital Citizenship

Creating a Class for Digital Citizenship: What Is Cyberbullying Teaching Students about Their Digital Foo...

Educational Links 12/5/2020


The Benefits of Cultivating Curiosity in Kids

An argument for giving kids open-book tests during the pandemic (and after)


30 Of The Best Google Classroom Tools For Teachers

Combatting the Challenges of the Concurrent Classroom with the Station Rotation Model

Shifting Teaching From What They Might Become To Who They Are Today

The Spatially Gifted—Our Future Architects and Engineers—Are Being Overlooked

Friday, December 4, 2020

I Don't Need Material Things, 0r Santa Ain't Got N...

I Don't Need Material Things, 0r Santa Ain't Got N...: Kirk Franklin - Jesus Is The Reason For The Season Jesus Is The Reason For The S...

Know Thy Students

Know Thy Students: A stud...

Praying Hands

Praying Hands: Praying Hands by Albrecht Duer, 1508 Dürer worked for 13 months on the final painting, determined to make it so sound and beautiful &qu...

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Educational Links 12/4/2020

Despite Safety Assurances, School Reopenings Are Taking a Serious Toll on Teachers

Pandemic’s spread in California upends plans for return to school in January — or beyond

Report Offers Clearest Picture Yet Of Pandemic's Impact On Student Learning

A New Way to Think About Work-Life Balance

A school leader shares how he came to understand that work-life balance looks different for different people—and there’s no need to feel guilty about that.

The Beatles - Good King Wenceslas (1963)--Betty Grable. Too

The Beatles - Good King Wenceslas (1963)--Betty Gr...: The Beatles - Good King Wenceslas (1963)

Liberal Arts--Bah, Humbug?

Liberal Arts--Bah, Humbug?: May I also suggest A Christmas Carol--with Patrick Stewart, Jim Carrey, the Muppets and Michael Caine, Mickey Mouse--or my favorite, Geo...

So Differentiate Already!

So Differentiate Already!: Differentiated Instruction Build lessons, develop teaching materials, and vary your approach so that all students, regardless of where...

Shepherds, Why This Jubilee?

Shepherds, Why This Jubilee?: This is a very ancient hymn originally from France--a hint of Latin in the chorus-- the language of the Christian church long before and ...

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Educational Links 12/3/2020

Study: Children with ADHD More Likely to Bully — and to Be Bullied

Three G Suite/ Google Workspaces Updates to Note

An Updated Guide To Questioning In The Classroom

Student Wellbeing

 How to Be an Antiracist Educator: An Interview With Ibram X. Kendi

ISTE 2020: How ed tech coaches are supporting students, teachers in remote learning

Using Microsoft Teams in a Hybrid Classroom

Strategies that foster student collaboration and a sense of community if your district is using Teams as the go-to tech platform for online learning.

Upbeat Educational Outlooks

Upbeat Educational Outlooks: What Believing in the Possibilities Can Do For Learning and Teaching

The Jackson 5 'Up On The Housetop'

The Jackson 5 'Up On The Housetop': The Jackson 5 - Up On The House Top (1970)

Christmas Short Stories


The Gift of the Magi

WCCO's Christmas classic, The Gift Of The Magi, with Dave Moore 12/?/1983 

 Christmas Day in the Morning 


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Educational Links 12/2/2020

Music Is Magic: 9 Hacks to “Beat” ADHD Symptoms

How schools are navigating meal logistics during pandemic

Pandemic’s spread in California casts dark cloud over return to school in January — or beyond

The TeachThought Podcast Ep. 225 Trauma-Proofing Our Schools

Three Ways to Create Online Forms to Collect Samples of Your Students' Work

Thanks to Teachers, Learning Loss This Year Was Not As Bad As Projected, NWEA Finds

4 Criteria for Effective Directions

Directions that are observable, timed, clear, and concise can help ensure student compliance.

Empowering Kids to Kindness

Empowering Kids to Kindness: Teaching Kindness: More Than a Random Act   Why Teaching ...

What Child Is This? (in the snow)

What Child is This - Lindsey Stirling

Monday, November 30, 2020

Educational Links 12/1/2020

Ways to Increase Family Engagement

Editor’s Choice: 50+ Of The Best Educational Toys & Gifts For 2020 [Updated]

Universal Design for Learning (UDL): A teacher’s guide

The Pandemic Will Leave More Students Unprepared For College. Developmental Education Must Help.

Less siloed, more inclusive: Changes to special education teacher preparation expected to have big impact on schools

 Fall assessments to gauge 'COVID slide' may be skewed. Can school districts use them?

5 Ways to Help Students Transfer Their Learning to New Situations

As students gain content knowledge, their next step should be applying it to new problems and across academic disciplines.

Teachable Moment: Hanukkah

MzTeachuh: Teachable Moment: Hanukkah: Hanukkah begins on Sunday, December 22, at sundown.  What Is Hanukkah? All About the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah (Chanukkah)   ht...

Cheesy Jokes and Serious Thoughts for Christmas

What has four legs, a red nose and flies?   Rudolf the Red-Nosed Roadkill.

What is Frosty's favorite dinner?

Spaghetti and snowballs.

                                          Where doe Santa keep his red suit?   
 In his Santa Clauset.

 Knock, knock.

Who's there?


Earl who?

Earl I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.

                                                     Why does Santa use reindeer to pull his sleigh?

                                Because the elephants kept crashing through the roof.

What is the best Christmas carol in the Twilight movies?

I'm Dreaming of a Bite Christmas.

What has a red suit, a white beard and rows of razor sharp teeth? Santa Jaws.

What would you call your wedding anniversary if it was December 25th?

A Marry Christmas.

Who had a beard, webbed feet and wrote "A Christmas Carol?"

Charles Duckens.

What do you call being caught in a chimney with a fat man?

Santa Claustrophobia.

 What happened when the family cat swallowed some tinsel?

He needed a tinselectomy.

Knock, knock.

Who's there?


Anna who?

Anna partridge in a pear tree.

Question: Why was Santa's little helper depressed?
Because he had low elf esteem.

What is Santa's favorite American state?

Question: What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
Answer: Frostbite.

Where does Christmas come before Thanksgiving?
In the dictionary. 

This is for English teachers. 
Q: What do you call Santa's Helpers?
A: Subordinate Clauses

What is the snowman’s breakfast?
Answer: Frosted flakes!

How do snowmen greet each other?
 : Ice to meet you!

You just had to know eventually I would get to the funny cat pics.

Now for the serious talk. Christmas is a full on holiday--it smells good (catch that scent from the cinnamon pine cones?), looks sparkly and cute (lights up again), feels cozy  (snuggly blankets in front of the fire with hot cocoa or wassail), tastes yummy (yeah, bite the head off that gingerbread man!), sounds great (all types of music singing cheer and closeness and holiday, etc.) It is entertaining with endless gifts,  movies and music and fun.

Except for that annoying bell the Salvation Army persists in ringing at the front of stores. That is so annoying to be bugged to give to the less fortunate. The homeless, or impaired, or orphaned--is that my business? 

Shouldn't we have a right not to have them bug us? Isn't that the separation of church and state? I don't need all that Jesus stuff at this holiday, like giving to the poor, or kindness to strangers if I don't wish to. Peace and forgiveness. That's my business. Condemnation for behavior that's nobody's business but mine. And I shouldn't have to be reminded on a public street. At school Jesus and all that radical Christian stuff has been eradicated. When can I finally have a secular holiday?

Well, first of all the very word holiday is rooted from holyday.  A day to meditate on the spiritual side of life. Christmas means Christ worship in the old days. He is still memorialized as the greatest teacher who ever lived, the proclaimer of brotherhood, kindness and conscience. All the major religions admire him. Why is he considered so irritating to some Americans?

He was an all or nothing sort of person. You were with him or not. He was who he said he was or not. No in between. Forgiveness, purity, mercy. Very, very hard precepts. It is hard to hang with Jesus. Its all or nothing with Christ.

Students in public schools who profess Christianity are in danger of having their civil rights violated by some administrators and staff who find the message of Christ to be very irritating--not only those horrendous ten commandments, but that part about not lusting or lying  and giving to the poor and such. These leaders will nail kids for even saying, 'Merry Christmas.' 

Not much holiday spirit there. Or tolerance. I've observed it first hand towards kids and staff. I was told even playing Handel's Messiah was against the separation of church and state. So, I chose to play it anyway, thinking you have to take a stand sometimes. Might as well be Handel. No problems arose. No lawsuits.

It is our obligation as a democracy to extend tolerance to all. Even the annoying, I-Am-The-Only-Way Jesus, and his followers.

Teachable Moment: Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"

Charles Dickens is remembered as the greatest creator of literary characters after Shakespeare. He is also a hero of the Victorian Era, being the conscience of the British Empire and exposing the neglect and abuse of the poor in the burgeoning Industrial Age.

He himself suffered as a child when his father was put into a debtor's prison. But from a young man he wrote numerous popular stories marketed in the United States and the UK, and these have continued to evolve into film, theatre, mini-series and are still enthusiastically enjoyed by generation after generation.

Dickens' novel make characters dynamically real. It is hard to deny knowing Pip or David Copperfield or Oliver Twist personally after reading the novels.

"A Christmas Carol" film, 1984
Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit
He also wrote short stories, and "A Christmas Carol" is one now celebrated in every possible creative venue. My personal favorite is the film (1984) of the same title with George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge. David Warner, as Bob Cratchit, brings tears to my eyes every year. The script is very compelling. You can show it at a public school because it is not openly a Christian film (Jesus is never mentioned by name), plus there are enough spirits, time travel, etc., that makes it a fantasy.

I've shown it to students of all demographics and they really appreciated it. They felt for Tiny Tim, and were shocked by Ignorance and Want. The kids are relieved Scrooge changes his way and avoids the lonely tragedy of a selfish life. The older students have compared and contrasted two different film versions.

Please consider reading the short story aloud. Dickens can pull the reader into a setting almost miraculously. As Ebenezer Scrooge walks through the streets of London to his home, just to see Marley's face on his door knocker--that is one of the best descriptive passages for mood and tone I have ever read.

How long it would take to list all the various renditions of "A Christmas Carol"? Wow, a couple of days. I do also like "The Muppets' Christmas Carol" with Michael Caine, "Scrooged" with Bill Murray, and Patrick Stewart as Scrooge in the TNT presentation of "A Christmas Carol."

So many Christmas Carols, so little holiday season.

Excellent Christmas Short Story by Pearl S. Buck

This is a very short, very special short story by Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck. It is an internal narrative of a man and his revelation many years earlier on a cold, cold, early Christmas morning.

 We are empowered by love that validates our existence, creates the knowledge we are unique and valuable. We are of import and assigned an exclusive mission in life because of love. We are not expendable; we are loved. 

Please enjoy this story with a secondary-aged kids, maybe your own middle-schooler or teen. It's good for them to realize they are loved, too, even if they can't milk the cows to reciprocate.

Here is a bio of Pearl S. Buck and the complete text of the story. It transcends  demographics.  

Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck and the Importance of a Father’s Love