icurio 1.0 February Newsletter: Being President, Then and Now

Presidents’ Day Resources

The President of the United States has one of the most challenging jobs in the world. Has it always been that way? Did Washington and Lincoln experience difficult challenges during their time in office also?

There are many opportunities to use icurio’s resources to help your students understand the reasons why we honor Abraham Lincoln and George Washington on President’s Day each February. Students can also use icurio’s resources to learn important information about the Office of the President and the many duties of the men who have served in this role.

Elementary – Explore the Life of the President

Scholastic Magazine - What does the President Do?
Listen and Read: What Does the President Do?
  • Young Abraham Lincoln – Have your students discover what Abraham Lincoln’s early life was like in a resource from the National Park Service. Students learn about young Lincoln growing up, including how much he loved animals and the “blab school” that he attended.
  • What Does the President Do? – Do your students understand what the president does? Young students can listen and read as they learn what is involved in the job of the President of the United States. They can follow the president as he signs laws, meets with foreign leaders, and leads the armed forces.
  • Young George Washington’s Adventures -Students can experience the travels of 21-year-old George Washington as he delivers an important message to the French in 1753. Students choose the supplies and the people he takes on the journey, and travel with Washington as he encounters Native Americans, meets the French, and makes his dangerous journey home.

Middle – Historical Fiction, Interactive Timelines and Engaging Games

Discover George Washington
Discover George Washington
  • Historical Fiction: His First Dollar – This one-page historical fiction piece about Abraham Lincoln is a reading passage entitled “His First Dollar” and is used to develop comprehensive reading skills. The reading includes constructed-response questions that students should answer with text-based evidence.
  • Discover the Real George Washington – Encourage your students to discover the real George Washington by viewing this interactive timeline. Highlights include animated videos about his life, battle maps, and memories from his wife, Martha.
  • President for a Day – Do you or your students have what it takes to be president? With this fun interactive game, students can become president for a day and learn about the various daily activities of past presidents as they fill in their own day planner.



High – Bring the Presidents to Life with Primary Sources

A word fitly spoken
Interactive Timeline: A Word Fitly Spoken
  • A Word Fitly Spoken – Through the resource titled A Word Fitly Spoken, students experience an interactive timeline of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speeches on the Union, including his First Inaugural Address, Second Inaugural Address, and Gettysburg Address.
  • A Letter from George Washington – Students will encounter an actual letter from George Washington in this Smithsonian resource. The letter reveals Washington’s active involvement in shaping the nation during the period after the Revolutionary War.
  • Abraham Lincoln’s Crossroads – Detailed information about Lincoln’s life and political career is included in this interactive game from the National Constitution Center. Students learn about decisions Lincoln had to make by playing the game titled Abraham Lincoln’s Crossroads.
  • Executive Office of the President – Students can explore the site of the Executive Office of the President, discover the links to the many departments and people that are part of this Office, and who serve to advise the president, to enact his directives, and to communicate his message to the American public.

Find these resources and more in icurio with the keyword search: February Newsletter.

January 2015: Help Every Student Prepare for Spring Assessments

Targeted Resources and Support Tools to Help EVERY Student Succeed

Welcome to January! With the excitement of a new calendar year comes carefully planned preparation for the 2015 testing season. Many of us at Knovation are former educators, and we understand the challenges of implementing test preparation strategies based on your students’ individual needs within your daily lessons. To save time and ease your lesson planning frustration, use icurio’s refinement options and built-in literacy support tools to easily target resources to the areas where your students need the most help—reducing the stress of test preparation for everyone!

Use these tips to find the right resources to meet each student’s learning needs!

Narrow Results to Target Resources

icurio gives you the ability to personalize your web content by narrowing your results to find specific types of content. The Show and Personalize menu on the left side of your icurio content results page gives you choices to narrow your results by choosing any of the available options. Do you need learning games to give your students extra practice with fractions? What about a video in Spanish to help your ELL student understand the concepts?

The Narrow Results options make it easy to find the exact resources you need to meet the wide range of learning needs in your classroom.

Provide Literacy Support Tools

Support all students in increasing comprehension and building vocabulary with icurio’s Read Aloud and Dictionary/Translation functions. Students can access resources at their reading level or be challenged by higher complexity levels–an especially important feature for struggling readers, English language learners and students in need of intervention.

  • Read Aloud – Provides text-to-speech functions for all information on icurio pages, for text on web resources accessed from any Content Result, and for definitions accessed by using the Dictionary/Translation key. Simply highlight a passage of text using a mouse to hear the text read aloud through their computer speakers.
  • Dictionary/Translation – Simply click on a word on any web resource to read the definition or translate the word into other languages.

Save Resources in My Content for Specific Groups of Students

Do you have individual students or groups of students who need extra practice in particular areas as they are preparing for upcoming tests? You can easily create folders in My Content where you can save and organize extra practice resources for those students to use at school or home.

Explore the icurio Help section on My Content for more details about saving, organizing and sharing resources with students.

As test time approaches, help your students feel extra-prepared and confident with help from the hundreds of resources icurio offers on test preparation. Try a simple keyword search for test preparation.

December 2014: Understand and Celebrate Winter Across the Curriculum

Winter-Related Resources in the Core Subject Areas

The word “winter” creates different images for each of us. Some think of sledding, hot chocolate, and navigating snowy roads. Others remember gray skies, reading by the fire, or just being cold. Whether you love winter or really dislike everything about it, there are many opportunities to use icurio’s resources to help your students understand and celebrate the season with winter-related resources in the core subject areas.

Elementary – Exploring Seasons

  • Get Ready for Winter – This non-fiction reading passage and question set from ReadWorks introduces the topic of hibernation and explains what animals do to survive the winter. The resource includes a question set and answer key.
  • Math is Fun: The Seasons – Help your students discover the reason it gets cold in a resource about the seasons. The explanation includes a wonderful animation of the Earth’s tilt and rotation around the sun and how that affects the weather.
  • The Ice and Snow Book – Students will enjoy reading this eBook about fun activities that they can do in the winter. Audio is available so students can listen as they read along.

Middle – Solstice, Symmetry and a Snowy Evening, Oh My!

  • CK-12: Seasons – What is an Equinox? What is a Solstice? Students will extend their knowledge about the reason for the change in seasons by using an in-depth resource from CK-12.
  • Khan Academy: Snowflakes, Starflakes, and Swirlflakes – How about using paper snowflakes when discussing symmetry? This video from Khan Academy will help students understand the concept even better.
  • Wellington Avalanche – Sometimes winter can turn deadly. Students can read historical accounts of the worst avalanche in the history of the United States during the winter of 1910.
  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – This became one of the most beloved poems of American poet Robert Frost. Find information about the poet, student questions. And visit this PBS resource for a reading of the poem by Frost himself.

High – Winter Across the Subjects

  • Smithsonian Institute: Lakota Winter Counts – Have you or your students ever read about the Lakota Sioux winter counts? Learn what the winter counts contain and how different winter counts document the same events in this resource guide.
  • PBS Freedom: A History of US – Extreme winter conditions? It would be harder to get more extreme than the conditions faced by the patriots at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778. Use these resources to help students understand the extreme challenges that were faced by the people who were fighting for our independence.
  • How is Artificial Snow Made – Sometimes warm weather prevents snow from occurring where it needs to be. Enter the creation of artificial snow. The following chemistry video shows students how it’s done.
  • Science of the Winter Olympics – Ever wonder what kind of calculations go into the making of an Olympic athlete? This video resource will explain how math is used to help athletes in the winter Olympics get their gold!

Find these winter resources and more in icurio with the keyword search: December Newsletter.

November 2014: Introducing New Science Simulations from our Partner CK-12

New Resources from CK-12

Are you in need of a visual teaching strategy to teach the Doppler Effect? Maybe you need an applicable illustration demonstrating sound waves? Our friends at CK-12 have introduced 71 new interactive simulations, which aim to explain core concepts of physics to middle and high school students through daily real world experiences of the world around them.

These new resources are now available through icurio, adding to the collection of more than 3,000+ math and science resources from CK-12 already accessible through icurio.

What is CK-12?

CK-12 resources approach science and math concepts with multiple modalities for all learning types. These modalities include text, videos, images, reading, simulations, real world applications, activities, flashcards, study guides, assessments and more.

One of our subscribers shared these thoughts after using the new CK-12 simulations:

“[The CK-12 simulations are] engaging, interactive activities where students can carry out virtual experiments and collect data in the area of physical science. Each simulation is easy to reset and repeat, so crucial in the data-gathering process for students.”

How Can You Use the CK-12 Resources in Teaching and Learning?

Providing real-life examples, the simulations can be used in many cross-curricular experiences.

The Physics of Swimming

This example features an illustration of the actual physics behind the swimming stroke, the butterfly. This simulation can be used in a science setting and also in a physical education classroom. Providing the science behind a physical activity will offer the student the relevance of executing the stroke correctly. Click here to see the resource.

Sound Waves

The study of sound waves is not only for the science classroom. The instrumental music classroom can act as a scientific lab also. Providing the science behind producing sound waves can provide a technical, and visual, application to assist young performers to produce a rich tone. This simulation will actually slow down the sound wave vibrations so the student can observe music in motion. Click here to see the resource.

October 2014: Getting Girls Excited About STEM

Develop a Lesson that Gets Girls Excited About STEM Careers

If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone. We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

First Lady Michelle Obama,  September 26, 2011

Across the nation school districts are placing an emphasis on encouraging young women to study STEM-related subjects.  Knovation takes this responsibility seriously by supporting young women in seeking role models in STEM-related fields of study.

We’ve pulled together these icurio resources that you can mix and match depending on grade level. Create an engaging lesson on Women in STEM that will encourage the young ladies in your classrooms to become more interested in learning about science, technology, engineering and math. These resources provide everything you’ll need from an introduction to core instructional content to resources to support extended research on STEM careers.

Lesson Introduction Resources

The White House: Girls in STEM: A new Generation of Women in Science – Appropriate for: Elementary, Middle, High

This resource features young women scientists and engineers who wowed the President and the nation at the White House Science Fair. This short video shines a spotlight on these extraordinary young role models and their exciting projects. Go to The White House: Girls in STEM: A New Generation of Women in Science

Teaching Channel: STEM Education for Girls (Deeper Learning) – Appropriate for: Elementary, Middle, High

Witness a female student transform from a shy 9th grader to a confident senior, all the while embracing STEM education. This resource is a perfect opening activity to inspire and ignite passion for science. Go to Teaching Channel: STEM Education for Girls

Instructional Resources

Engineer Girl: Why Be an Engineer – Appropriate for: Elementary, Middle, High

The National Academy of Engineering promotes engineering as a career, especially to women and girls. This resource answers questions one may have about becoming an engineer. This interactive resource provides a platform for students to conduct research about the many engineering fields of study as well as provide real-life profiles of amazing engineers in the current work force. Go to Engineer Girl: Why Be an Engineer

Women in Science – Appropriate for: Middle, High

Women in Science, is a new interactive tool which presents the latest available data for countries at all stages of development. This resource allows you to explore and visualize gender gaps in the pipeline leading to a research career, from the decision to get a doctorate degree to the fields of research women pursue and the sectors in which they work. This resource is perfect for exploring the different facets of science career opportunities. Go to Women in Science

Resources for Extended Research

PBS Kids: SciGirls – Appropriate for: Elementary

This PBS resource provides a venue where girls can share information about science projects they have created. These projects are organized by science discipline and feature photos and descriptions about what the girls learned. This resource is geared towards elementary and middle school students. The site can easily be used as a catalyst to spark interest in the science fields. Go to PBS Kids: SciGirls

STEM Connector: 100 Women in STEM – Appropriate for: Middle, High

In celebration of women role models in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), STEMconnector™ unveils, in hard copy and online, its inaugural 100 Women Leaders in STEM publication. This resource includes 100 Women Leaders in STEM who share stories about their commitment to serving as mentors and sponsors of those who are next in the STEM jobs pipeline. This resource is an absolute must for researching current women leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Go to STEM Connector: 100 Women in STEM

Looking for More STEM Resources?

To find even more STEM resources to engage both the girls and boys in your classrooms, login to icurio and do a keyword search for STEM education or STEM resources.

September 2014: Remembering How 9/11 Shaped American History

Remembering How 9/11 Shaped American History


September 11, 2001 … the day that changed America forever.  Few events have changed our country in the way that the horrific timeline of that September morning did.  Because this topic can be difficult for students to study, teachers need quality resources to help them build meaningful lessons regarding this chapter in America’s history. The following resources from icurio can help teachers approach this task appropriately.

Introduction for a lesson on 9/11:

Associated Press:  September 11:  Ten Years Later: A Lasting Impact (Middle/High)

  • The first resource from this site, a video titled Video: Sept. 11, 2001 shows a timeline of events from 9/11 and the number of people who lost their lives. The video length is 1 minute 45 seconds, and it provides a great starting point for a lesson on 9/11.
  • The 14th resource, a video titled Video:  9/11 Generation, includes students explaining their thoughts about being called the “9/11 Generation”.  The length of the video is 1 minute 35 seconds, and it shows the emotion of other students related to this topic.

Core instructional piece for a lesson on 9/11:

  • 9/11 Memorial:  Teach + Learn (Elem/Middle/High). Teachers can use the variety of materials on this site to develop lessons or share with students.  The site includes a timeline for students, and information on rescue and recovery efforts that took place following 9/11. The National September 11 Memorial and Museum are also highlighted on this site.
  • One notable lesson involves an oral history project involving middle school students who interview friends and family about their memories of 9/11.

Academic practice for a lesson on 9/11:

  • Readworks:  Always Remember (Elem/Middle). This non-fiction reading comprehension passage discusses the events of September 11, 2001, and contains questions and a teacher’s guide. The resource could be used by teachers as the basis for classroom discussion or individually by students. Free registration is required to access the passage and question set.
  • Awesome Stories:  America Attacked:  9/11 (Middle/High). This learning module focuses on the events of September 11, 2001 within 12 chapters. This resource contains 12 brief digital chapters, along with photos and videos, and it could be used as part of a whole class lesson, divided up for small group work or used individually by students.  Free registration may be required to access some features of the site.


August 2014: Happy New School Year!

Happy New School Year!

Soon there will be the familiar sounds of students echoing through your halls. Are you READY? Never fear, icurio offers the best back to school digital resources for experienced teachers, first-year teachers and students

You can teach experienced teachers new tricks! Below are digital resources to assist you in drawing your very own seating chart, helpful hints concerning classroom discipline and strategies to set the right tone for a very rewarding and productive school year.

  • Class Set-Up tool is a new, easy-to-use, virtual layout tool that helps you design customized and effective classrooms to promote learning. Use this tool to rearrange and set-up mock classrooms, and map out virtual seating
  • Lesson Plan: 7 Great Activities for the First Day of School. Get to know your students – and help them get to know each other – by creating time capsules, playing a game of “guess who,” and more.

Every teacher remembers the first year of teaching — the nervous jitters, the anxiety of waiting for your first class to arrive and the exhausted (but rewarding) feeling at the end of most days!  Knovation understands that first-year teachers can be overwhelmed, so we have collected and organized an entire resource library dedicated specifically to guiding new teachers.

Two resource collections we recommend for daily teaching tips and inspiration are the Teaching Channel New Teacher Survival Guide and the Best Year Ever tip series by Bill Cecil.

  • New Teaching Survival Guide. The teacher survival guide video series is a collection of videos that focus on planning, differentiating instruction, and using technology in the classroom.
  • Best Year Ever! Top 100 Videos. The B.Y.E. Top 100 video series is a collection of free, upbeat videos (each under five minutes) that focus on classroom management, team building, and leadership.

The first day of school for students is a mixture of nervousness and excitement. The anticipation of seeing their friends and wondering who they are going to sit with at lunch is the top priority for most students. icurio has student survival guides to help alleviate these fears.

  • Teens: Back to School. Includes sections on First-Day Mania, Emotions, Making Your Way Through the Lunchroom, Having a Brain Brain?, Ahh-choo! What to Do? and Survival Tips.
  • What to Do if You Don’t Like School (for kids). Includes sections on Signs of School Stress, Why Do Some Kids Dislike School?, Finding Help and Feeling Better About School.

May 2014: 4C’s from icurio


Avoid the pitfalls of procrastination by enlisting the four C’s to proactively find, refresh, and reinvent your curriculum over the summer. icurio’s combination of rich content, curation tools and collaboration/connection opportunities, can take you from  prepping to prepared for back to school.

  • Use fresh learning opportunities to heat up last year’s curriculum
  • Find new ideas and new approaches to challenges presented by Common Core objectives
  • Provide opportunities for educators to connect to colleagues, students and parents with learning content


icurio’s learning resource library is continuously updated and maintained to deliver the best digital content, so teachers and students can activate learning by accessing educator-curated, standards-aligned digital resources for every subject and grade level, all in one place.

Did You Know? Before a resource is added to icurio’s resource library, it must be certified as Learning Ready through Knovation’s 127-point process (which includes includes evaluation by an educator for relevancy, accuracy, standards alignment and safety).

Have You Seen? In April 2014, we updated our content with new resources across all subject areas in icurio. Check it out here .


icurio is designed to support your effective curation of content with tools that allow you to quickly find the specific types of learning resources you need. This combined with the powerful My Content feature that allows you to collect and manage the content you have curated.

Did You Know? As an icurio user, you have access to your own personal My Content area where you can collect and manage learning resources. Students also have the ability to bring resources together for their work, such as research materials or project-related pieces.

Have You Seen? Check out the overview of the My Content tools here. Also, refresh your curation skills by learning more about ways you can narrow and focus your results here.


One of the challenges with learning resources is finding ways to share ideas and build resource collections collaboratively. icurio supports collaboration by helping educators take the resources they have curated or curriculum initiative collections they are building to areas where multiple groups and locations can access and/or modify them.

Did You Know? Many educators share resources directly with one student or a group of students using the Passcode Folder. The Passcode Folder is different than sharing resources on My School or My District Folders because only the users who have joined a Passcode Folder can access the resources collected there.

Have You Seen? Our overview of Passcode Folders explains how to create one and will help you as you build resources for your learners – check it out here. Being able to move and copy resources and folders are important functions of the My Content area, check out how they work here.


Educators create some pretty amazing resource collections – seeing how others have curated or constructed their units or lessons is a great place to get inspiration. Connecting with content that other educators have contributed can be accomplished with in the Curios tab in My Content.

Did You Know? The Curios tab also provides resources and ideas for organization, addressing Common Core objectives, professional learning and many other items to help you use icurio more effectively.

Have You Seen? The Curios tab. You should certainly take some time to explore this area. Simply click on the Curios tab in your My Content or click here and log in to icurio.

Review the Basics in icurio

In case you are curious about how icurio works and would like a refresher, you can watch the tutorial video, quickly find Content and activities to review the basics.

April 2014: Renew & Grow: Fresh Learning Opportunities for Special Learners

Renew and Grow: Fresh Learning Opportunities for Special Learners

Spring is a time to anticipate new life. Let icurio help you discover new life around learning for all of your learners. No matter what challenges learners are facing districts can continue to help students acheive results and mastery by using icurio’s powerful digital content and tools to provide different ways of learning. icurio can help in the following ways:

  • Renew engagement and the hope of knowing with learning opportunities that capture the hearts and minds of special learners.

    With resources in various types of media, students are able to access information in ways that are best suited to them.

    Some Learners on the Autism spectrum have a strong appetite for pattern and tracking movement.

    Renew & Grow: Refine your content results to include interactive media, video and/or learning games.

    Students are able to practice and review what they have learned in many different subject areas, with the depth of icurio content across the curriculum.

    Gifted learners can tend to be more engaged and motivated by (deeper exploration) of topics that are of interest to them

    Renew & Grow: Use cross-curricular searches to tie interests to learning objectives. For example, you can use the keyword phrase (Civil War children), and then use the learning aid refinement for Primary Source to find a diary of a young girl during the Civil War.

    Grow self-directedness to support learners’ ownership of their own learning.

    Group learners together to work on skill building sequences.

    Many learners struggle with having enough time and small enough learning opportunities to build mastery of a topic before it is no longer focus in the classroom.

  • Renew & Grow: Use My Content to build small group curriculum sets that students have access to in the classroom and at home for as long as they need them.

    Having a system that is designed to enhance educator curation of content, in combination with learning resources gives the learners structure and support they need.

    Many ADHD learners need to have learning barriers removed from their experience to help them focus on the learning moment.

    Renew & Grow: Use My Content to gather resources to address specific objectives, and add instructions to those resources in the folder structure.

    Tools that tailor resources to the needs of students and give learners control of how they consume and process information are very helpful and allow you to appropriately pace instruction.

    Students with Dyslexia are often frustrated by text, since they tend to focus first on decoding information rather than reading for meaning, or comprehension.

    Renew & Grow: Use Read Aloud to allow students to have the words on the screen, with options for them to control the speed, gender and volume , along with the privacy to have a passage read aloud to them as many times as they like.

Review the Basics in icurio

In case you are curious about how icurio works and would like a refresher, you can watch the tutorial video, quickly find Content and activities to review the basics.

March 2014: Poetry in Motion: Reconstructing Poetry to Engage Learners


April is National Poetry Month! Poetry can be a challenge for all learners, especially struggling readers, but icurio provides you access to rich imagery
and ideas that can inspire learners to develop literacy skills.

How can icurio help you create new meaning and different forms of engagement for learners through the use of poetry? icurio offers powerful collections and
literacy support tools that allow you to reinvent and reconstruct poetry for all learners …

  • Give learners support for the basic building blocks of poetry
  • Incorporate poetry into all subject areas
  • Reformat text to engage all types of learners
  • Help learners look at poetry through the lens of images
  • Use poetry in unexpected areas to increase student interest
  • Construct poetry in social and collaborative ways


We have created some reconstruction plans based on what students say about poetry – how will you reconstruct your approach to poetry for your learners?


Student: “I don’t know these words, they’re weird.”

Reconstruction Plan:
Give learners support for the basic building blocks of poetry, especially individual words and the context of the poem.

Dictionary and Translation Tool


Poetry Splatter

(Pick words to finish and construct poems)


Student: “I am so tired of math worksheets.”

Reconstruction Plan:
Incorporate poetry into all subject areas to make literacy skills connections and increase the variety of instruction.

Cross-Curricular Searching


Fibonacci Poetry

(Use number sequence to compose poems of the same number of syllables in the set)


Student: “I don’t get it – I can’t understand this stuff.”

Reconstruction Plan:
Reformat the text in poetry to overcome comprehension challenges.

Read Aloud Tool

Poetry Visualization
(Draw what you hear from the poem)


Student: “Poetry is just a bunch of random words.”

Reconstruction Plan:
Give visual learners the ability to look at poetry through the lens of images, to increase comprehension and success in writing poetry.

Image Search


Diamante Poem

(Write poetry around different shapes)


Student: “Learning about the rock cycle is soooo boring.”

Reconstruction Plan:
Use poetry to increase the students’ interest in learning in new ways.

Keyword Search + Refining by English Language Arts


Poetics of Hip Hop


Ricky the Rapping Rock Cycle

(Learn Science through rap music)


Student: “Why do I need to write poetry – it’s not like anyone is going to see it.”

Reconstruction Plan:
Have learners construct poetry in social and collaborative ways.

My Content Folders to share poem ideas and information


Dream Flag Project

(One poem, plus another, plus another – constructing and collaborating a poem)

Review the Basics in icurio

In case you are curious about how icurio works and would like a refresher, you can watch the tutorial video, quickly find Content and activities to review
the basics.