Biography Award Certificates, Part 2: Black History/Women’s History Months

Black History and Women's History Biography Award Certificates

In my previous blog post, I talked about combining technology with biography award certificates. The new Core Content State Standards (CCSS) emphasize reading and writing informational (nonfiction) texts. As veteran teachers, we were exposing our students to nonfiction texts and writing for many years. The standards just confirm what we have always known: children need to be exposed to all forms of writing as readers and writers. 

One of my favorite projects was the United States Presidents Recognition Awards. Another project that I enjoyed was my African American History and Women’s History Awards.

My biography certificates for African American (Black) History and Women’s History months are a great opportunity to combine social studies, history, language, and technology. I had my students research the accomplishments of famous African Americans and American women during February and March.

They used their information to create an award certificate, which highlighted the person’s achievements and their impact on American society, culture, and history.

The package includes twelve award templates that can be opened in Microsoft 97/2003 and Word 2010. There is also a 13-page teacher companion with student handouts and rubrics.

Although I did this activity during February and March, it could easily be adapted to use throughout the school year. These award certificates allow you to integrate language arts, social studies, and technology into one activity. My students loved creating their certificates. 

First Published January 15, 2015

Favorite Winter Project: Biography Award Certificates, Part 1

Black History and Women's History Biography Award Certificates

When I taught third through fifth grade, I enjoyed integrating technology into our classroom projects and assignments. I had more time to teach the curriculum and to include special projects. Both of my schools had, at least, five computers in each classroom. My current school had a laptop cart with 30 computers to share in the grade level. There were two biography projects that I loved using in my classroom. Both projects combined technology (Microsoft Word Templates) and research.

One project I used in February was a biography award to commemorate President’s Day.

Continue reading Favorite Winter Project: Biography Award Certificates, Part 1

Literacy Comes Alive with

black chalkboard with white chalk writing that says Cool Classroom Ideas on Twitter

My students ❤️ to build sentences & watch the sentences come to life…

I saw this video on my Twitter feed the other day, and I was amazed. The letters and words were actually coming to life on the screen! This activity is from AliveStudiosK12, and it’s called Letters Alive Plus. It combines literacy learning with the latest technology.
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5 Reasons OpenEd Is Your New Classroom Resource

Young girls standing next to brick wall with graffiti that says, "Keep Learning."

Why should teachers care about Open Education Resources?

Current education technology articles say open education resources (OERs) are one of the trends teachers should focus on this year. So what are OERs and why should it matter to classroom teachers? 

The World of OER

OERs are educational materials on the Internet that are created by teachers, education professionals, and authors worldwide. This content is free and created for use in the classroom. All content is protected under open licences like Creative Commons. However, the content can be revised, reused, remixed, and redistributed. This allows educators to change the resources for personalized learning

OERs include resources like textbooks, lesson plans, courses, activities, and collections. Some popular OER websites are MIT OpenCourseware, Khan Academy, and Project Gutenberg Homepage Homepage

Why You Need OpenEd

OpenEd is one of the top OER sites available to teachers at all grade levels. It is a valuable tool for creating assessments. Here are the 5 reasons you need to include OpenEd as part of your lesson planning:

Reason #1: It is free! There are quite a few free education websites on the Internet. However, after using some of the resources on those sites, you may be asked to pay. On OpenEd, you get over 700,000 resources for free. You can choose to subscribe to the Premium plan. However, there are plenty enough resources to choose from using the free subscription. Resource Library Resource Library
Reason #2: It has the largest K-12 Educational Resource Library. Seeing is believing! I was skeptical at first about their library. Once I signed up for an OpenEd account, I was impressed. There is a huge amount of lesson plans, assessments, homework, quizzes, games, and videos for kindergarten through twelfth-grade. What impressed me the most was the variety of resources for the primary grades especially in science. 

All of the resources are aligned to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Once you set up a class and roster, then you can use this library to create assessments and assignments.

Reason #3: It is easy to create assessments and homework. The tools for creating assessments, lesson plans, and homework are easy to follow. The video tutorials are also very helpful. You can write your own questions or choose from the Recommend Questions or Find Questions search options. The question format is already determined for these two options. However, you can choose the format when you make your own questions. The assessments are done online. Their structure is based on current standardized assessments such as PARCC and SBAC

Reason #4: Students can use the resources on any type of device. Access to OERs depends on the availability of devices. This is a huge part of OpenEd’s appeal. Students can take the assessments, view videos, and play games on tablets, laptops, or desktops. They can take it through the OpenEd site or by using their free app. The app, Common Core Quest, is available for Apple, Android, and Chrome Karma Points Karma Points
Reason #5: You can earn points towards a Premium Subscription. OpenEd’s Premium Subscription is $9.99 per classroom per month. This subscription gives you access to additional resources created by educational publishers. You can also earn Karma Points towards a free subscription for up to five months. All you have to do is create and publish content for your students and other educators to use. Once your students start using the assessments and homework, you will also earn points. 

Intrigued? Stop by, explore the resources, and create interactive materials for your classroom. 


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Quick Guide: Education Website

Game with grandmothers racing in wheelchairs

Do you spend your hours searching for a quality education website to integrate into your classroom curriculum?

Most educators know about BrainPop, Raz-Kids, Reading A to Z, and Discovery Education (formerly United Streaming) education websites. You may not know about! is an awesome education website full of interactive games that you can integrate easily into your curriculum. The website includes math games (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) in addition to games for English, Science, and a section for tests and quizzes. I have used this education website for whole class lessons and as computer centers. You can also have your students play these games on the IPad or Google Play using  browser apps that support Flash such as Photon Flash Browser for Kids or Puffin Web Browser.

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