Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Honoring an American Hero

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By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—celebrated next Monday, Jan. 16, 2017—provides an inspiring opportunity to teach about justice and heroism.

Dr. King—an American hero who lived and died long before our students were born—is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. Although he died for his beliefs, his legacy lived on in a changed world.

The United States declared Dr. King’s birthday a federal holiday in 1986, but his commitment to civil rights through non-violent protest resonates even today, far beyond US shores. He has been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, among many others.

Here are a few of Curriki’s favorite resources for teaching a new generation about this great man:

Who Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream: equality for all people. This lesson looks at how one life can change the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Me: Identifying with a Hero
This lesson provides ideas for celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by encouraging students to explore the connections between Dr. King and themselves.

Martin Luther KingLiving the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness
Students participate in Dr. King’s dream by doing 100 acts of kindness.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Power of Nonviolence
This lesson introduces Middle School students to King’s philosophy of nonviolence, and to the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi that influenced King’s views.

Martin Luther King Day Teaching Resources
Science NetLinks and AAAS have developed a number of resources from the social and behavioral sciences that will help you celebrate the work and legacy of Dr. King in your classroom, from understanding stereotypes to skin color to social class.

Scholastic MLK Resources
Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent struggle for civil rights in the United States with biographies, memorable quotes, plays, printables and multimedia resources.


Janet PintoJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Marking Veterans Day in the Classroom

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

FlagCurriki’s Veterans Day Collection will bring tears to your eyes as it celebrates the courage and self-sacrifice displayed by the men and women who have to defend the United States since its birth.

Start with this video from the History Channel on the origins of Veterans Day. 

Then show students this awe-inspiring tribute to America’s veterans (and we dare you not to cry).

Then try one or more of the following lessons and activities:

The Price of Freedom – Americans at War  
Americans have gone to war to win their independence, expand their national boundaries, define their freedoms, and defend their interests around the globe. This exhibition by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History examines how wars have shaped the nation’s history and transformed American society.

The Wall Inspires Letters to Veterans
Eve Bunting’s The Wall inspires students to write letters to veterans at local veterans’ hospitals.

Celebrating Veterans Day
While examining how the day is celebrated in the United States today, students write biographical poems about a soldier.

Unknown soldier tombWho Is the Unknown Soldier?
Learn about how Americans can honor those who have died serving their country, even when we don’t know their identities.

Our Flag
This site provides comprehensive information on the American Flag. Topics include the history of the Stars and Stripes, the Grand Union Flag, Historical Flags and the flag today.

Unit Plan: The Vietnam War- Perspectives
This project-based three-week unit explores the Vietnam war through a variety of different perspectives including present day citizens (oral history), veterans against the war (simulation), international political leaders from the past and present (simulation), and finally, the student’s own perspective.

After learning about this powerful, important day, please encourage your students to thank a Veteran today.


Kim JonesKim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Teaching the Elections: One Week to Go!

Trump and CLintonBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

With U.S. Presidential Elections coming into the home stretch, many Americans are heaving a sigh of relief that one of the most acrimonious election seasons in memory is finally almost over.

But for teachers and homeschoolers, that means just one week remains to use active elections as an exciting real-time teaching tool for US history and social studies.

Curriki’s elections page includes a collection of helpful, interactive election teaching resources for kids of all ages. They include:

  • Mock Election, a three-day simulation lesson in which students explain the steps taken from party formation to national election.
  • Win the White House, in which students to manage their very own presidential campaign.
  • Electoral Process, a peek into the electoral process, from party primaries to the general election.
  • Poster PLanHow to Become President of the U.S. Poster Lesson Plan, in which students go from Constitutional qualifications for becoming President of the United States, through background research on a candidate, through campaign analysis, and finally participate in a mock election.
  • Scholastic Election, created by the expert editors of Scholastic News magazines, is designed to inform and engage kids in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Curriki also offers “Participation Presidential Elections in Government, a half-year course that aims to make students appreciate their voice in American politics. The course explores the foundations of Democracy, the American dream, social issues, and of course the presidential election.

You’ll also find links to the platforms for the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties and much, much more.

Other Election Resources

Election centralHere are some other election resources to use during this final week of the US Presidential campaign:

  • Because this campaigning cycle has been unusually contentious, Teaching Tolerance offers and promoting civility in times of conflict. The lesson plan Civil Discourse in the Classroom teaches students how to developed reasoned arguments from unsubstantiated claims. You’ll find more tips on its Election 2016 Resources page.
  • PBS Learning Media offers Election Central, a collection of election news, history, and ideas for facilitating classroom debates.

Share Your Successes!

What has been working best for you? Please share your most successful strategies on Curriki’s Facebook page and enter a drawing for an Amazon gift card!


Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

Curriki Joins Forces with the Constitution Center

constitution day logoBy Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

In anticipation of Constitution Day on Friday, Sept. 16 – and, of course, the upcoming presidential election – Curriki is delighted to announce a timely and exciting new partnership: the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia!

The Constitution Center may be physically located in the birthplace of our nation, but its website, ConstitutionCenter.org, reaches around the world as the only virtual place where people can come together to learn, debate and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history – the U.S. Constitution.

Curriki’s Constitution Center Collection

You can find the Constitution Center’s always relevant collection on the Curriki website, with fascinating units such as:

  • The 13th Amendment – examine the Primary Source,  the handwritten congressional copy of the amendment that banned slavery, signed by President Lincoln, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, and over 150 members of Congress, for a vibrant discussion guide on the abolition of slavery.
  • Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War – a lesson plan on this fascinating period n US history, featuring an online game featuring an animated Abe Lincoln
  • The Bill of Rights – a multi-faceted lesson that helps students learn about the rights and freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, translate the document into student-friendly language and make connections with real-life scenarios by playing Bill of Rights Bingo.
  • Students will also dive into the legacy of Martin Luther King, the history of Thanksgiving, the separation of powers and so much more.

Primary sources of some of the most fundamentally important historical material, including the Bill of Rights and the Articles of Confederation, are also offered in this special collection.

What is Constitution Day, Anyway?

Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the most influential document in American history, by the Founding Fathers on September 17, 1787.  Celebrating Constitution Day presents an awesome opportunity to inspire students to actively learn about the founding of the United States.

Find Curriki’s curriculum provided by the Constitution Center here.


Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMO

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Follow Curriki’s Blog at www.curriki.org/blog/.

Presidential Politics and the US Constitution

US ConstitutionBy Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

The moving speech delivered by Khizr Khan, father of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq in 2004, to the Democratic National Convention has many Americans wanting to refresh themselves on the U.S. Constitution.

Khan’s words remind us how important it is that all Americans read and understand the rights we all hold so dear.

Most of us don’t carry pocket-sized copies of the Constitution, but we do have access to the e-text on Curriki, courtesy of Curriki’s new partner, the Constitution Center. Now might be a good time to browse these words and share your thoughts with students and peers.


Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

Night and Elie Wiesel’s Legacy

Night by Elie Wiesel

Night by Elie Wiesel

By Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

The recent death of Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel at age 87 presents an opportunity for us to study and reflect upon the brutal genocide that killed six million Jews in the 1930s and 40s.

Wiesel, who lost his father, mother and a sister in the Holocaust, managed to survive the Auschwitz and Buchenwald death camps. After the war he moved to the United States, and at the age of 27 wrote his internationally acclaimed memoir Night.

The activist and author made Holocaust education his mission in life and became a voice for victims, eventually writing more than 50 books. His death leaves a huge void.

Wiesel’s Legacy

U.S. President Barack Obama called Wiesel “one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world.”

“By bearing witness, he revealed evil many avoided facing,” wrote Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “By never giving up, he made this world better.”

Learning Resources

I have created a collection of resources about Wiesel’s book Night, and urge teachers and parents to use these in explaining why Wiesel’s death still reverberates so strongly throughout the world today.


Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

 

 

Women’s History Month Resources

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Women’s History Month is celebrated in March in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. This year, the theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment”. You can find more about the celebration of, and history behind, National Women’s History Month in the U.S. here.

There are plenty of related resources on Curriki, appropriate across all grade levels. Some of the exemplary resources are available here, and here, and here. The last of these includes a number of free Kindle e-books on women’s rights and other topics.

Can you name these accomplished women from history, who exhibited character, courage and commitment?

 

 

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Hispanic Heritage Month

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki 

In the U.S., Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th. It honors the many contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the U.S. Many Hispanics have immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, Central America and Latin America. Just considering the government sector, Hispanics have served as Governors, in Congress, in the Cabinet and on the Supreme Court.

Why does the observance of Hispanic Heritage start in the middle of the month? Because the 15th of September is observed as the Independence Day for a number of countries in Central America. These include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. And the next day, September 16th, is Mexico’s Independence Day. Furthermore, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence 2 days and 5 days later than that, respectively.

Many cities, towns and states in the U.S. have Spanish names, since they were originally founded by Spanish colonialists. Among these are San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Albuquerque and San Antonio. California and Florida are two states with Spanish names.

In fact Curriki’s headquarters are in Cupertino, California (the same city in which Apple’s headquarters are found) and both the city and state are Spanish names. The Spanish named a creek which runs through the city after Saint Joseph of Cupertino (Copertino is a town in Italy, his birthplace). The name of the creek is now Stevens Creek, but the city, which was named much later, has adopted the original name of the creek.

Here are resources for Hispanic Heritage Month on Curriki:

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_CurrikisThematicCollections/HispanicHeritageLinks

There are a number of resources on Curriki in the Spanish language. But certainly not enough. We encourage Spanish speakers from around the world to see how you can contribute educational resources in the Spanish language to Curriki.

 

July Resources at Curriki

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

There are new featured resources highlighted at Curriki for the month of July, in math and science, and in social studies and English language arts. See these pages on the Curriki site covering the four subject areas:

ELA: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/english-language-arts-11/

SS: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/social-studies-10/

MATH: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/mathematics-10/

SCI: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/science-11/

 

Since Independence Day is next week in the U.S., we highlight U.S. history here. One of the curricula under the Social Studies category above is a high school level U.S. history curriculum.

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_nrocsocialstudies/APUSHistoryI_0

This curriculum covers all of the material outlined by the College Board as necessary to prepare students to pass the AP U.S. History exam.

Upon completion of this course students will:

  • Demonstrate comprehension of a broad body of historical knowledge.
  • Express ideas clearly in writing. Work with classmates to research an historical issue.
  • Interpret and apply data from original documents.
  • Identify underrepresented historical viewpoints.
  • Write to persuade with evidence.
  • Compare and contrast alternate interpretations of an historical figure, event, or trend.
  • Explain how an historical event connects to or causes a larger trend or theme.
  • Develop essay responses that include a clear, defensible thesis statement and supporting evidence.
  • Effectively argue a position on an historical issue.
  • Critique and respond to arguments made by others.
  • Raise and explore questions about policies, institutions, beliefs, and actions in an historical context.
  • Evaluate primary materials, such as historical documents, political cartoons, and first-person narratives.
  • Evaluate secondary materials, such as scholarly works or statistical analyses.
  • Assess the historical significance and cultural impact of key literary works (e.g. Common Sense, Uncle Tom’s Cabin).

Notice that this curriculum is built around critical thinking: comprehension, interpretation, expressing ideas clearly, persuasion, analysis, developing an argument with defensible support, critiquing and assessing documents, policies, beliefs, and cultural impact.

 

For those of you outside of the U.S., there is a great resource, Tour of the Universe, that we can all relate to. This is for use in middle school grades 6, 7, or 8 to meet astronomy and earth science standards; it has integration with mathematics, history, and technology subject areas.

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_mbeaton/ATouroftheUniverse

This semester of science focuses on a linear exploration of our universe. Students begin by exploring the history of astronomical thought, then move to our current understanding of the universe, including the structure of the solar system, and end with a study of our home planet, Earth.

Take a look at these 12 highlighted resource areas for July, there is sure to be one or more of interest in the list!

Khan Academy in the New World of Common Core Standards

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

An intern at Khan Academy recently asked for suggestions on a Reddit education site. There was some interesting discussion in response around the efficacy of Khan Academy videos and how these video resources relate to Common Core standards.

One commenter notes that it is harder to grade and check answers with this approach. Another points out that math and science topics are more objective, so potentially more amenable to the use of short video lessons than say, history. “Dr. Momentum” responds that even math and science still involve opinions.

Students need to be able to understand a logical argument, construct a logical argument and refute an incorrect argument. Students need to develop their own reasoning ability. And coherence and depth in teaching a subject, not just subject knowledge, are required from their teachers.

One commenter points out that the Common Core standards for math include Mathematical Practices as well as Mathematical Content. Indeed, Khan Academy is good for the procedural side of things, and in conveying content. Practice transmission, on the other hand, just doesn’t happen on its own, and it’s not enough to explain procedures. It’s about developing expertise in students – “reasoning ability, conceptual understanding and procedural fluency,” among other attributes.

 

Here are the 8 practices for Math, which you can find at http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Practice
MP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
MP2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
MP4: Model with mathematics.
MP5: Use appropriate tools strategically.
MP6: Attend to precision.
MP7: Look for and make use of structure.
MP8: Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Attention to how a student is thinking and attempting to reason is not something a video can do. Don’t get us wrong, we love the Khan videos, and there are many of them accessible from Curriki.

It’s about the connectedness. One can pick up a procedure or three, but until one has the ability to generalize then the subject matter is not really being understood sufficiently. While some students have an innate ability to do this, most will benefit from coaching and development and assistance in seeing the larger context.

The Curriki Algebra 1 course found here is designed to align with Common Core State Standards.