Summer Happenings and Updates

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Greetings on this Summer Solstice! While you are enjoying your summer vacations and activities, August is creeping toward us at pretty good rate. I can’t believe it’s already late June. Since I have returned from a long leave of absence, the pace has quickened with some terrific workshop activities.

I hit the ground running on June 3-4th in Campton for a Wolfe Co. Schools teacher’s conference. It was a fun two days of workshops about PBS LearningMedia, Discovery Education, Scale City, and Mission US. Later in June, I worked with students participating in the 4-H Senior Conference. Each year, KET offers a track in which the student traverse over to the Network Center, spending two mornings learning about and producing videos. Jeff Gray documented this event in a superb MediaWorks blog post. The videos can be viewed from there and from our School Video Project site. The students were so well-behaved, and as you can see from their productions, demonstrated some talent!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of working with social studies teachers from across the state at EKU for the Southeastern Educational Cooperative’s Teaching American History Summit. Education Consultant Clabe Slone successfully organized a valuable professional development opportunity, and it was a lot of fun. The teachers were fabulous and interactive, which made my sessions fly by with ease and excitement. I was totally energized after having left the event, and sincerely thank Mr. Slone for his dedication to and continued diligence in providing high-quality PD opportunities for Kentucky’s social studies teachers. To follow up, I created a review of the social studies resources covered, and others I didn’t get the chance to explore with the group, in a smore interactive flyer. Amy Grant introduced me to smore.com, and I have found it to be a very valuable, free tool.

July, too, is packed with activities such as the KET MultiMedia PD Days, The Summer Refresher, and the Kentucky History Education Conference. Then, school workshops begin as August comes into our lives once again to start a whole new school year.

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Some KET updates that I believe you will definitely want to check out are PBS LearningMedia’s Inspiring Middle School Literacy collection of self-paced, cross-curricular lesson plans. These are designed to sharpen the literacy skills of 5-8th grade students with interesting topics and fun writing, reading, listening exercises and interactives throughout the modules. I am most impressed with these, and spent many hours completing some of the lessons. It was a good practice marathon. I highly encourage you to delve in sometime over the summer and begin using these resources when you and your students gather in the fall.

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Other new, exciting, interactive KET resources for science instruction include Kentucky’s Natural Heritage and Think Garden. Kentucky’s Natural Heritage: An Interactive Guide to Biodiversity for grades 4-12, explores Kentucky’s natural diversity of life that is “so rich and complex that reality challenges the imagination. Fascinating and spectacular plants and animals such as the rainbow darter, golden mouse, cobra clubtail, three-birds orchid, and tiger salamander aren’t found in the Amazon; they live among us in the remarkably rich prairies, rivers, and forests of Kentucky, along with thousands of other species.”

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Think Garden, grades 3-5, is for those of you who are thinking about or already are gardening with your students. Fall is the time to start preparing beds, and you can use this resource to help your students understand why it is so necessary and what is involved in the process. It’s also a useful resource for those who are gardening at home. These 19 video segments help “teach elementary students about the art and science of growing food, with an emphasis on biological and environmental concepts. It also addresses topics related to nutrition and economics.” This project was something I have been wanting to produce for a long time, and it is finally a reality. We will be adding more resources, interactives, and hopefully expanding the targeted grade levels as time allows. What’s great about gardening is that it is never finished. There is always something to learn about gardening as new challenges await and, sometimes, stump us. This was one of my favorite projects during 2012-2013.

There are many more updates that I could share in this post, but I believe it is quite lengthy as it is. So, I will be back with more updates as the summer wears on.

Enjoy your summer!

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