Category Archives: education

New Tools for Teachers (for Salamander Sky and beyond)


I had the lovely opportunity to present to an inspiring, passionate group of educators and children’s book authors yesterday morning at the amazing Bear Pond Books. They came out to my workshop called Picture Books and Project Based Learning. It focused on how teachers can use picture books as a launching pad for engaging, exciting project based learning experiences with their students.

For the workshop and beyond, I created two new resources. One, is an Educator’s Guide to Project Based Learning. This resource details the science themes and the Next Generation Science Standards that can be met from the concepts presented in Salamander Sky, and a discussion guide with activities for pre-reading, during reading, and post reading, as well as additional media that can support learning.

For those teachers focused on project based learning, I created this website that features each stage of project based learning with ideas for how Salamander Sky can guide and inspire these projects. There are so many ways students can share their learning, tell a science story, and create original works that benefit the community and world.

Please feel free to be in touch with questions, ideas, or to share what you are up to with students!

 

Project Based Learning with The Order of the Trees

I’m excited to share something I’ve wanted to make for a long time. As a former teacher, and current professional development coordinator, I spend a lot of time researching and planning project based learning experiences with teachers. I wanted to create something that could be used as a guide for a project based learning unit based on my middle grade novel, The Order of the Trees, published by Green Writers Press in 2015. 

This website is a working draft of those plans. It can be used while reading the book with students either aloud or in small groups, or it can be used after the book has been read as a culminating, immersive, integrated project.

It is my hope that I can add a student work page to the sites and feature student projects. Please share any work, feedback on the plans, questions or ideas with me! We are in this together. Also, I would be happy to Skype into your classroom to discuss projects with students, or answer their emails.

I hope you find this useful! Weebly is an easy website builder that teachers and students can use to create media rich, beautiful sites pretty quickly. I think that each project having an online home like this could provide a bridge to at home learning and a great way for families to stay connected to project work.  Google sites are also a good tool for this. Often, it helps teachers and students to have an online home for projects. Teachers can easily share curated links and resources this way.

Please let me know if you have any questions, ideas for this unit, or any thoughts about this tool.

“Love is like a tree, it grows of its own accord, it puts down deep roots into our whole being.”
— Victor Hugo

 

Begin with Bravery, Meaningful Work and Self Care

This weekend teachers and students are anxious. The new school year for many begins Monday. Floating in teachers’ minds: What will the class be like? Will my colleagues, new parents,  and the administration be supportive?  Endless to-do lists float in mid air behind your eyelids as you try to fall asleep. The work is never ending, and the school year hangs in the air like a floating question mark.

Stop the barrage of thoughts. You are ready, and you know what to do. Please read this poem for teachers, and know:

The time for sacred work is here.
It matters. You matter.
We lift each other up.
Walk on, tribe.
Go, live love.
The world needs you.

We at the Tarrant Institute for Innovation  Education see the incredible work you do, and we want to celebrate it.  We’ve launched a campaign called #everydaycourage to showcase the ways you and your colleagues show up for students, each other, and our communities. We hope that you will share your photos, tweets, comments and ideas about your colleagues showing everyday courage (use the hashtag #everydaycourage so we can see them!). Here are a few moments of #everydaycourage I have been inspired by in recent days.

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