Virtual Electronic Field Trips
by National Hall of Fame teacher Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Thing back to your school days and the chances are that besides a lost love it was a field trip that you recall vividly. Whether that class visit was to a museum, park, or historical place the learning and enjoyment standout. Today, with modern electronics, budgeting concerns, lawsuit avoidance, curriculum standards, and high value testing results, field trips are a rarity, if not extinct.

Sad, yes, but what is even more disheartening is the fact that students won’t have the opportunity to go somewhere that they could later in life share with their family. Even when a grant has been secured to help pay for the transportation and entrance costs you need to impose on other teachers to have that student miss their class. A small favor to ask, but nonetheless a day of learning missed for that subject area.

There is also the time consuming of tasks of trolling for parents to supervise, arranging the time for buses to arrive, medications, making sure no child is without an emergency number, and that the students understand the time schedule. There may be need for substitute plans and it is recommended that you take a picture of the group on the day of the trip so that if one is missing he or she is easier to identify by officials. This is a lot to ask from a teacher and certainly not a requirement for their position.

But all the above are practical matters. What is missing is the spontaneous learning opportunity across curriculum areas and the diversity of learning opportunities. For example, before the students get on the bus they must calculate the mileage, make an estimate of the miles per hour, study a map to see what other significant places are along the road, and study a layout of the facility noting where they are to report, restrooms, and other places they need to know. The combines both geography and math and map reading. Add to that mix the directions the bus will travel and estimated time of arrival and you have a great learning experience before the trip begins. Having the students make their own note taking book using inexpensive note pads and self-made marbled paper using printers ink and library or book binding tape and you have an art lesson. Using technology, students can even use global positioning information to track the trip and note the various streets taken to make them more aware of the importance of knowing where they are when traveling.

There is always the value of debriefing once the trip is finished and having the students share a study guide for the trip about such items as types of occupations noted, most unusual fact, names of docents, and a list of items observed and the addresses of those who need thank you notes and, perhaps, art work.

The learning that can be linked to a field trip makes if memorable, but just as importantly, enables them to learn on their own, something that electronic field trips to do not currently offer. It is not that electronic field trips are bad, far from it, what better way to visit places far behind the immediate area. What they lack is the spirit of adventure, the learning with friends on their own, to learn from others and, above all, the excitement to actually tell their family about and share the learning and motivate a future excursion.

Fortunately, when I was attending school legal matters were not the main concern. Learning was. We stood in the back of a truck on the way to a historical park, walked miles across town to visit a museum, went to a zoo and were simply told to report back at a certain time, not to mention trips to airfields, ships, museums, and significant buildings. The fact that I can recall these and don’ t remember the teacher’s name is not an indictment of the school system, but a reflection that perhaps we need to rethink what I call “seated learning” as the only way to inculcate facts.

Due to legal and financial constraints perhaps it is time to take a longer look at electronic or Internet field trips.

First, to make this lesson as real life as possible it would be good to have a map of the location, and, if it is a building or park, a map of that as well. In this way the student has a sense of where the images are coming from. Furthermore, if it is a location, such as a museum, the students can be given math problems on time and distance to help them understand the expenses of such travel. This also ties in with Common Core questions as well.

Before the trip is taken the students should read about the place, be prepared to compare it to others, and be given time to write what they might learn or would like to learn. These can be used at the end of the lesson as the bases for a compare and contrast essay. Obviously, the lesson also ties in with technology and science lessons as well.

The students need to take notes on the field trip including the webpage and what was shown. I would recommend that the trip take place during class time to keep the group on task and eliminate students going off-topic.

The teacher needs to review the site first, make an agenda of what is going to be shown and in what order, and create a list of questions for the students to answer as the lesson progresses.

It should be remembered that field trips may not be the same as once thought. There are now field trips that show how to make bread, ride a horse, and more. So be selective and make sure they meet your objectives.

Virtual Field Trips
Ten of the Best Virtual Field Trips
http://www.eschoolnews.com/2013/04/07/ten-of-the-best-virtual-field-trips/

Huge List of Electronic Field Trips
http://www.bsu.edu/eft/home2/31digest.php

http://www.pitt.edu/~poole/VirtualFieldTrips.html

Apps for field trips from Edutopia
Rather limited, but varied.
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ipad-apps-virtual-field-trips-monica-burns

Holiday Lessons
by Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/h/alan-haskvitz.html

It is difficult at best to keep students on task with the weather, holiday expectations, and even family trips diluting their concentration. As such, it is probably best to use teachable moments to help take those interests and prepare lessons that enable them to relate it to the Common Core expectations. It is also a great time of year to stress cultural differences and to use art and music to add depth to lessons.

A very important message that needs to be respected and that is the fact that public schools must be aware that celebrating a holiday MUST follow certain rules. The very best site for this is
http://archive.adl.org/religion_ps_2004/teaching.html

A nice sampling of lessons that cover a variety of subject areas and are of high interest
This includes having students taking part in giving activities, too.
http://www.educationworld.com/holidays/archives/december.shtml

A huge collection of lessons for all holidays and special days. Well worth checking.
http://www.mrdonn.org/holidays.html

ESL holiday lessons
http://www.eslholidaylessons.com/

Physical Education Lessons based on holidays
http://www.pecentral.org/lessonideas/searchresults.asp?category=59

December lessons
Covers major holidays.
http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/sites/sites013.shtml
And
http://www.educationworld.com/holidays/archives/december.shtml

Free printables for most holidays
http://www.schoolfamily.com/print-and-use-tools/category/76-holiday-worksheets

NEA
Lesson plans for major December holidays.
http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/december-holidays-k-5.html

Lesson plans by month and it includes weather related links
http://lessonplanspage.com/seasonalthemes-htm/#DEC

Cultural awareness lesson plans
For older students
http://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-elementary-school/57301-teach-multiculturalism-and-diversity-during-the-holidays/

Christmas Around the World
Easy to follow and enables students to get a look at how this holiday is celebrated in various countries. A great art lesson can be developed from these lessons.
http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/

Holiday songs
Fun and the students could even be encouraged to make their own
http://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/celebrating-holiday-traditions-with-song/

Songs for teaching the holidays
You don’t have to buy the songs, the lyrics are listed.
http://www.songsforteaching.com/holidays.htm

The story of Saint Nicholas
A high interest, easy to read story that includes links to related sources. Great for Common Core practice. This site has excellent, high interest stories that can motivate students.
http://awesomestories.com/flicks/santa-claus

Learning styles and Differentiated Assignments
by Hall of Fame teacher Alan Haskvitz
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/h/alan-haskvitz.html

There is no shortage of research on how people learn. Indeed, people have become rich just developing theories about this important element of learning. However, in a classroom packed with students it is often difficult to provide enough alternative types of assignments to reach everyone. Thus this feature is best used to help educate the students to learn about themselves and how they learn. An excellent feature to use at the beginning of a learning term. Be advised that some of this material is complex and so a critical eye is needed when selecting that information most appropriate for various grade levels. Of note, the greater use of technology can make it much easier to adjust assignments accordingly.

Once you have reviewed the various aspects of differentiated learning you may want to sample Awesome Stories https://www.awesomestories.com/ where can find a variety of ways to teach a lesson using the resources there. For example, take a look at the variety listed here: https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/For-Teachers-Awesome-Stories-101 These ideas can be used to reach every level of student and motivate them while meeting Common Core goals.

Printout identifying eight learning styles
This could be printed out and placed in the classroom to help students learn how to learn.

Howard Gardner’s Types of Intelligences
Gives examples of how to relate to different styles of learning
http://www.tecweb.org/styles/gardner.html

This site is designed for students to explore their own learning style
http://homeworktips.about.com/od/learningstyles/ss/multiple.htm

Sideshow providing information on how to apply differentiated learning and various styles
http://www.slideshare.net/search/slideshow?searchfrom=header&q=differentiated+learning.

Learning Styles, Multiple Intelligences, and Differentiated Instruction
Links to these topics and self-tests.
http://www.cteresource.org/featured/differentiated_instruction.html

Homework tips for different learning styles
The information is at the bottom of this site.
http://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/826-what-is-your-childs-learning-style

Knowledge of Student Characteristics
The first part of this article provides information that provides some interesting data that can help teachers with assignments including what time of day and right and left brain differences.
http://www.intime.uni.edu/model/teacher/teac1summary.html
Using Felder’s Index of Learning Styles
A sideshow explaining this theory. An excellent overview that provides teachers with insights into various methods to reach students.

Moodle
A Moodle about Moodle
This is a tool that teachers can use to individualize lessons and provide more direct feedback. It fits into the various types of learning styles feature by making it easier for teachers to provide differentiated learning opportunities.
http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Teaching_with_Moodle

Flipping
by National Hall of Fame teacher Alan Haskvitz
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/h/alan-haskvitz.html

Flipping a classroom has come to mean a method in which a teacher assigns technology related assignments for homework so that more depth can be added to the lesson when the student returns to the classroom. This can be done in several ways, but the most common appears to be an online video. In that way less classroom time is taken with lecture and more with using the data to extend learning opportunities. It is also called blended learning and reverse instruction. I have used a version of this since the late 1990s using bookmark sites. Indeed, one of my lessons revolved around having the students created their own lessons using videos for other students to use in a structured format.

It has proven to be of value, but many problems must be solved first such as what to do with students without access to technology, students who don’t do the work and students who have done the homework, but did not take adequate notes. The sites below can provide good examples of how it is done and the good and needs improvement of the method.

I also strongly recommend Awesome Stories as it provides exceptional lesson plans, videos, and stories that students can use at home. The material is high interest. It is your best bet when starting to use a flipped format.
http://www.awesomestories.com

A variety of links are provided.
http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/how-the-flipped-classroom-is-radically-transforming-learning-536.php

An excellent visual presentation from a teacher about the benefits.
http://prezi.com/-vbtn0xnnyzx/my-flipped-classroom/

A professional learning community for teachers using screencasting in education.
http://flippedclassroom.org/

Pros and Cons
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-pro-and-con-mary-beth-hertz

A series of videos of classrooms using the flipped method
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-flipped-classroom

Flipping must be done right
Some warnings and suggestions
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-frydenberg/the-flipped-classroom-its_b_2300988.html

An article dealing with the use of the flipped classroom methods.
Provides some insights into some techniques that can be done with the videos.
http://educationnext.org/files/ednext_20121_BTucker.pdf

A visual explanation of what the flipped classroom is about
Some statistics are provided on its value, but no source is given as well as the level of students involved. This resource is best used as an easy to follow example of how to set one up.
http://www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/

You Tube Videos about Flipped Classrooms
http://tinyurl.com/np2bvmv

Math Games and Math Apps
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/h/alan-haskvitz.html
Math is difficult for many students and thus the need for games to help learn the subject can be of great benefit and provide needed remediation and practice. I have also listed some sites that offer apps that may be of value. However, there may be a small charge for a few of them.

One of the very best sites.
It also includes a Common Core Navigation. Best on the web.
http://learnzillion.com/lessons

Math Playground
A diverse selection of interactive games mainly at the elementary level.
http://www.mathplayground.com/games.html
Cool Math
Includes pre-Algebra games.
http://www.coolmath4kids.com/

A large link site
A wide variety of games for all grade levels
http://www.mathgametime.com/blog/2012/08/top-math-game-websites-for-kids/

A Plus Math
Flash care maker and homework helper sections.
http://www.aplusmath.com/

Illuminations
Lots of graph makers and more. For all grade levels.
http://illuminations.nctm.org/ActivitySearch.aspx

Listing of math games by age levels
http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/834589/game-sites-your-kids-will-love-but-actually-help-them-with-math

Hot math
For older students. Includes algebra
Consider not downloading the sound feature.
http://hotmath.com/games.html

Elementary and middle school
Many variations, but most are best related to remedial work and practice. Includes converting to metric and fractions.
http://mrnussbaum.com/mathgames/

Math iPad Apps
Most are free
http://www.teachthought.com/apps-2/12-of-the-best-math-ipad-apps-of-2012/
And

http://www.mathsinsider.com/16-cool-ipad-math-apps-that-your-child-might-actually-love/

Common Core math apps
http://mathcommoncoreresources.wikispaces.com/iPad+Math+Apps

Android math apps
Mainly for younger students
http://www.androidauthority.com/best-android-apps-learning-math-mathematics-number-games-81571/

Android algebra app
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shanefulmer.algebratutor&hl=en

21 Common Core-Aligned Math Apps For High School Students
Check for pricing. Some are free.
http://www.teachthought.com/apps-2/21-common-core-aligned-math-apps-for-high-school-students-from-edshelf/

Classroom seating arrangements
by Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame
Most teachers continue to seat students in rows with all seats facing the front. However, if the seats are moveable, feel free to try a variety of arrangements for different purposes. For example, moving the seats can make it easier for groups to meet.
Some teachers have tables, which are more cumbersome, but also can be moved for a variety of classroom projects. Of course, electric outlets, computer terminals, screens, and fire exits are all considerations.
Remember, it is also critical to adhere to the local fire codes on flammable material limits for covering walls. In most places only 20 percent of the walls and none of the ceilings or doors, can be covered. I recommend you update a small bulletin board weekly to keep it topical. Consider asking the students to create teams to add their own bulletin board weekly. The bottom line is that effective seating arrangements improve student learning.
For ideas and inspiration, check out the following sites:
Ask.com Classroom Photos

Autism Classroom Set-up Tips
http://www.nationalautismresourcesblog.com/2012/08/14/autism-classroom-setup-tips/

Class Set-up Tool
http://teacher.scholastic.com/tools/class_setup/
This site allows you to arrange the room in a variety of ways using an architecture-type application.

Classroom Beautiful:  Do It Yourself
http://www.nea.org/tools/17573.htm
NEA collection — nice to have these types of resources

Classroom Set-up
http://teacherstryscience.org/ts/classroom-setup
This video on setting up classrooms advocates spending time considering the lay-out and its impact on learning — excellent.

Creating a Positive Classroom Environment

A slide presentation

Room Setup
http://www.theschoolsupplyaddict.com/room-setup.html
A large selection of primary classroom set-ups

Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Classroom:  Classroom Structure

http://theautismhelper.com/steps-setting-stellar-autism-classroom-classroom-structure/

Tons of ideas, including printouts, from Google.
http://tinyurl.com/o8wmbr5

Various Classroom Set-ups
http://tinyurl.com/nlmxnzm
Hundreds of photos of classrooms from Google images, but mainly elementary

Resources for Teaching about the Holocaust and Hate
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

Recently a Southern California school had the students do a research project on whether the Holocaust really happened. (http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2014/05/06/holocaust-denial-exercise-for-students-in-california-high-school-backfires)

The backlash was considerable and deservedly so. Not only one was the premise beyond common sense, it would mean that the students would be using the Internet and other sources that could be very misleading and, essentially, propaganda. (The Southern Poverty Law Center has a lengthy list of such sites. )

The problem that emerges is that most students don’t know quality site from a propaganda sites. And it is possible that they may have to register or give their email address to sites that pander to hate. As such, it is critical that an educator review all the sites and other sources first.

To this end, here are some excellent sites that provide information about the Holocaust. I use these sites to not only teach the students the evils of hate, but to show them what happens when they don’t stand-up to evil using Nazi Germany as an example. A recent poll indicated that nearly ten percent of American had never heard of the Holocaust and that clearly indicates the importance of George Santayana’s quote, “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.”

I have also added an excellent unit on diaries should you want to take the Diary of Anne Frank and relate it to other such works.

The exhibits here are a must watch for all students. The many lessons that can be learned are invaluable in building better, more active citizens. There are videos here as well. Be aware that the material here may need to be reviewed to see if it is appropriate for younger students.
http://www.ushmm.org/

Jewish Virtual Library
Primary resources for older students
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/holo.html

Teaching plans for various subjects based on the Holocaust
http://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/activity/middlesc.htm

Here is a site that lists hate groups and more
Southern Poverty Law Center
An excellent resource worth spending time with
http://www.splcenter.org/

Lesson plans
Lots of good ideas that fit with Common Core objectives
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson187.shtml

Remembrance Days
http://www.ushmm.org/remember/days-of-remembrance

My unit on Anne Frank and her diary
An excellent unit of study that incorporates other diaries, history, and much more to make this subject more meaningful to students and adults.
https://carfamily.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/diary-of-anne-frank-the-best-unit-of-study-on-diaries/