American Folklore: Paul Bunyan

He’s a lumberjack and he’s ok…celebrate Lumberjack Day (7/28) by learning more about one of our most beloved folk heroes, Paul Bunyan. First popularized in 1910 by newspapermen and logging companies across the country, this larger-than-life character is a symbol of might, the willingness to work hard and overcome obstacles. Enjoy some of the tall tales about Paul Bunyan and his trusty blue Ox Babe and you will see why this hero embodies the frontier spirit and is loved by many.

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South Africa: The Day the Apartheid Ended

Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day (7/18) with this lesson and background information on apartheid in South Africa. The students will attempt to put themselves in the shoes of South Africans suffering under Apartheid and not allowed to vote. It utilizes the book The Day Gogo Went to Vote: South Africa, April 1994 by Elinor Batezat Sisulu which is about a respected grandmother finally being allowed to vote in South Africa as a jumping off point for the lesson. Read the background information on apartheid and Mandela and click the link at the bottom for the lesson plan.

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Science Friday: Cooking for Geeks

This episode of the Science Friday radio show focuses of Cooking for Geeks. Embrace Your Geekness Day is 7/13, so are you a geek? What is a geek? According to the guest of the show Jeff Potter, a software engineer and author of “Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food,”a geek is someone who is curious about the details of how things work. This audio presentation discusses new technical equipment for cooking like the benefits of copper bowls. He discusses flavor combinations like a recipe for a watermelon and feta salad producing the salty/sweet combination. Food chemistry such as the difference between baking soda and baking powder and the impact of temperature on foods such as for cooking meat, why brownies are cooked at a lower temperature than cookies, and how to cooking with sugar. Tune in to “Embrace your geekiness” and learn to cook healthy, tasty foods.

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TED Ed: Why Do We Have to Wear Sunscreen?

Everybody loves a sunny day, but in the height of summer it’s easy to get overheated, dehydrated, and sun burnt. National “Stay Out Of The Sun Day” (7/3) is about taking a day away from the sun and finding some nice, relaxing shade. But what if there is no shade to be found? This Ted Ed lesson gets into the complex nitty gritty of sun safety. Find out how the wrinkle-causing UVA rays and burn-inducing UVBs can pose a serious risk to your health (and good looks). So what can you do? Kevin P. Boyd makes the case to slap on some physical or chemical SPF daily.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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