DonorsChoose: Transforming Our Classroom Into a Literacy Cafe

At Knovation, we’re committed to helping educators and learners succeed. DonorsChoose is a great way we can lend our support!

This quarter, Knovation has selected a student-inspired DonorsChoose request from East Lyme High School in Connecticut.  This young man’s proactive enthusiasm for creatively designing a better learning environment is definitely about doing something good for kids — something we Knov8rs do everyday!

Here’s the story:   Mrs. R. is an English teacher at East Lyme High School.  She is committed to providing personal attention to her students.  Her daily classes consist of up to six students per period, fostering both individualized and small-group classwork for optimal learning.  Her classroom is small and cramped with older technology and furniture that makes interaction difficult.

Jason, an 11th grade student, approached Mrs. R. with an idea to turn the space from a small, cramped room into a ‘literacy cafe’ with a vibe likened to a popular coffeehouse where countertops and barstools or small tables and arm chairs, along with state-of-the-art technology like Chromebooks/laptops would both open up and mobilize the space, allowing for greater opportunities for creativity and learning.  With Mrs. R.’s encouragement, Jason designed the floor plan, and Mrs. R. was sold (and so are we)!   Transforming the classroom into a more inviting space encourages self-paced learning, greater access to online programs and both one-to-one and group coaching opportunities. Portable devices allow students to move freely from individual projects to group learning situations. They can read, research topics and complete individualized practice using one device without interruption from other students. Students can also easily work collaboratively by reconfiguring the seating arrangement and sharing devices.

Mrs. R. supports Jason’s vision because she recognizes that some students at the high school level have struggled their entire educational career to read and/or write. It takes the right environment to keep them engaged and motivated to overcome  obstacles for achievement.  A more casual, inviting and supportive environment like Jason’s proposed East Lyme’s Literacy Cafe, is exactly what students need to feel empowered to experience success!

Jason hopes, when fully funded, the completed projected will help more students like him to feel comfortable asking for support they need to be successful.  He wants East Lyme’s Literacy Cafe to become the model for other schools to see how an engaging environment can help teenagers like him learn best.  We applaud Mrs. R. for giving Jason the encouragement to develop the idea.   We applaud Jason for his creativity and tenacity to see this project through as it can positively affect at least 40 more fellow students per year. We encourage you to donate to the cause.  This project must be fully funded by Thursday, August 3, 2017.   

“The East Lyme High School experience prepares students academically, emotionally and socially to be positive forces in the world and to live responsible, purposeful and healthy lives.”

East Lyme High School is a four-year, comprehensive public high school offering curricular and co-curricular programs to approximately 1,300 students.  Offering an extensive range of courses in college and career preparation, East Lyme partners with Connecticut College, the University of Connecticut and Three Rivers Community College.  They also provide students the opportunity to learn through the Virtual High School program. They have been recognized by US News and World Report as one of the Best High Schools in the United States with a 98% graduation rate, as well as by the Washington Post as one of America’s Most Challenging High Schools.

Knovation is committed to curating, contextualizing, tagging, aligning and maintaining OER for learning through our applications, netTrekker and icurio. Through strategic partnerships with other organizations in the K-12 space, we also integrate our Content Collection with learning management systems, assessment solutions, and learning object repositories. Together we’re meeting the diverse needs of students and teachers around the globe.

Learn more about Knovation, and follow us on Facebook , Twitter and YouTube

The Star Spangled Banner – The Flag that Inspired the National Anthem

Celebrate Flag Day on June 14th by discovering the history of the flag that was the inspiration for our national anthem. Take the interactive quiz and test your knowledge of the American flag by earning stars and a certificate showing off your skills. Also highlighted is information about the War of 1812 and the “Key” players in the creation of the national anthem.

See more at http://amhistory.si.edu/starspangledbanner/default.aspx.

Awesome Stories: Landing on D-Day – Survivors Recall the Battle

The anniversary of D-Day is June 6th. Understand the events of that day from an entirely different perspective – that of African-American veterans telling of their experiences during and after the invasion on Normandy Beach June 6, 1944. This video clip [2:11] from History Channel’s “A Distant Shore: African Americans of D-Day” highlights how the soldiers were amazed they were able to accomplish their mission despite the formidable German defenses.

See more at https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Landing-on-D-day-Survivors-Recall-the-Battle.

World No Tobacco Day is 5/31 – Learn more about the effects of Tobacco

Do you know about ALL the negative health effects tobacco has on your body? To draw attention to these negative effects, World No Tobacco Day (5/31) was established to encourage people to abstain from tobacco consumption for a day. This site contains a game that tests your knowledge of tobaccos’ harmful ingredients, health costs, financial costs, side effects, and more. By playing this game, students will learn why abstaining from tobacco is an important decision they can make for their health. They will also see how abstaining from tobacco is not only an important decision for their health but also their financial health.

See more at http://www.tigweb.org/tiged/games/tobacco.html

Celebrate our Armed Forces this week: Chance Discoveries – Kevlar

Armed Forces Day is May 20th and we want to look at an invention that has save many soldiers’ lives – Kevlar.
Have you ever wondered if all mistakes in science end up in the garbage? Find out about one important mistake in this video, part of a series on “Chance Discoveries” in chemistry. Hear how veteran NBC News war correspondent Richard Engel tells the story of lab work done in 1965 by DuPont chemist Stephanie Kwolek that unexpectedly produced Kevlar, a lightweight fiber five times stronger than steel. Kevlar fibers can be spun into anti-ballistic, shrapnel-resistant material for protective body armor worn by police forces, military troops and those in combat zones, including Engel himself.

See more at https://science360.gov/obj/video/ff988118-72a9-404c-b3dd-b0a065239655

Celebrate Nurses this week: Diary of a Civil War Nurse

National Nurses week is May 6th to 12th so to help us celebrate nurses, we are looking back at experiences of a Civil War nurse.
This interactive exhibition makes use of personal letters and diaries to document the life and experiences of Civil War nurse Amanda Akin. Get a first-hand account of a nurse’s job through the eyes of Amanda Akin who was serving as a nurse at Armory Square Hospital in Washington, D.C.. Site includes both journal entries and letters she wrote home to her sister to give you a full picture of her job. Learn how the nurses’ role has changed over the years. Site not only includes her writings but also pictures to fully explore the nurses’ job during the Civil War.

See more at http://americanhistory.si.edu/documentsgallery/exhibitions/nursing_1.html

Celebrate Space this week: Astronaut Video – Water in Space

Celebrate Intergalactic Star Wars Day (5/4) and National Astronaut Day (5/5) this week with some space science.
In the weightlessness of space things tend to behave a little differently. Water is a good example as you’ll see on board the International Space Station. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield soaks a washcloth with water and shows what happens when he tries to wring it out. How does water behave in space? How does it move? Where does it travel? Discover how the phenomenon of surface tension behaves in a zero-gravity environment. What happens here will amaze even the most scientific thinkers.

See more at http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/videos/astronauts/waterinspace.html

TedEd: Why Shakespeare Loved Iambic Pentameter

Dive into prose that makes Shakespeare come alive today. Even though Shakespeare gets a bad rap in high schools for his complex plots and antiquated language, a quick peek into the rhythm of his words reveals a poet deeply rooted in the way people spoke in his time- and still speak today. Why do Shakespeare’s words have such staying power? David T. Freeman and Gregory Taylor use this Ted Ed talk to uncover the power of iambic pentameter. After the video, students can take an eight question quiz over the concepts in the talk, and then participate in a guided discussion about Shakespearean elements and poetry verse.

See more at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-shakespeare-loved-iambic-pentameter-david-t-freeman-and-gregory-taylor