Scholastic’s Math@Work

Two words: Tim. Gunn. If that isn’t enough to entice you to watch this video on how math is used in fashion design, I don’t know what will.

Math@Work is Scholastic’s brand new video series on how math is used every day, in different situations, by normal people. The above video is just a clip from the series debut episode. In addition ┬áto the video episode, the site also features lesson plans that are aligned with the Common Core standards.

FYI: I don’t advise showing the above clip in class. The suggested video thumbnails that appear at the end are a bit… racy. You’re much better off going directly to the Math@Work site and viewing from there. They have their own video player (not YouTube) that is completely school-appropriate. I wanted to embed their video, but sadly WordPress wouldn’t let me.



BiblioNasium is a reading community for students and their teachers. If you’ve ever used Goodreads or Shelfari, you know how great it is to keep track of books you’ve read, books you want to read, and keep up with what others are reading. BiblioNasium offers the same experience, only in a safe community just for you and your students. It’s pretty simple to use: you create an account for yourself, and then you can create a class, complete with accounts for each student.

Teachers can create lists of recommended and required books, and they can recommend books to a specific student. Students can, in turn, keep track of what they’re reading using a reading log, and recommend books to their friends. There is even a place where parents can log in and view what their kids are reading. The best part is that, while this is a social community, students can only communicate with their teacher, and (with parental permission) with other students in their class.

I love the idea of allowing students to review and recommend books to each other; my own Goodreads and Shelfari accounts have helped me find some great books that I might not have otherwise read. The site is in beta, however, which means it’s still in a testing phase. Sometimes, the pages hang and take a while to load. Some of the functionality is not intuitive, and it may take time to figure out how to do certain things. However, it’s a work in progress, and will only get better. Signing up is free, and they don’t spam you with emails, so make yourself (and your class!) an account and see what you think!

Trapped! Punctuation!

This fun game from BBC Bitesize is a great way to practice punctuation. More than a simple flash game, Trapped! actually has a plot, and characters; each punctuation mark you place correctly helps to save you from the Tower. If you have a little extra time at the end of English, and want to have your students enjoy some Halloween-themed punctuation fun, give it a try. It’s appropriate for all ages, though the punctuation knowledge required is at least 2nd grade level.

All Things Titanic

I am fascinated by the Titanic disaster, and as we approach the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the unsinkable ship, all kinds of fantastic resources are popping up to further fan the flames of my curiosity. I don’t know if any of you are planning on covering this piece of history in your classes, but if you are, I’ve found some really sensational resources.

“1300 Passengers Are Rescued At Sea From The Sinking Liner Titanic, Wrecked In A Night Collision With An Iceberg.”

This was the headline of the Milwaukee Daily News on April 15th, 1912. Imagine the shock when the news came out that it was, in fact, more than 1300 killed on that fateful night. The History Buffs newspaper archive is an incredible repository containing scanned photos of newspapers from important historic events, including a few from April 15th and 16th, 1912. What a powerful discussion on information, misinformation, and journalism you could spark by showing these newspapers to your class! You’d think that major newspapers would no longer be making such enormous errors, but even now, in this age of instant news, reports are being published that are completely wrong. Remember when the Daily Mail’s website published a report that Amanda Knox’s murder conviction appeal had been denied?

Titanic: The Final Word With James Cameron

James Cameron has put together a brand new documentary, titled Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron, that pieces together the latest scientific research on the sinking of the Titanic. This National Geographic documentary includes a stunning computer simulation of the sequence of events that led Titanic to the ocean floor. It’s pretty incredible.

Titanic: The Unsinkable Ship

Finally, if you’re looking for a comprehensive overview of the Titanic (how it was built, who was on it, a timeline of events, and even some interactives), Britannica has you covered. Their site on Titanic links together all the information available in the encyclopedia, including pictures, into one-stop-shopping for all of your Titanic needs.

Of course, if you’re looking for more, Mr. Goodwin and I have put together a display in the library, complete with fiction, non-fiction, and magazines on all things Titanic.

African American History and Heritage

As you may know, February is Black History Month. Hopefully, you’re finding ways to incorporate the accomplishments of African-Americans into your lessons, but if you need some help, check out the African American History and Heritage site. This site is currently School Library Journal’s site of the week– talk about just-in-time resources!

It may not be pretty, but it’s chock full of great resources: biographies, links to books and videos, and a Teacher Toolkit. The Toolkit contains links, lesson plans, and more, and is organized by discipline.

It’s pretty hard to navigate, and is so full of resources that it may be confusing, but if you’re willing to go exploring, you can find cool resources like the African American Inventors database.

Math Pickle

As a school, we put a lot of focus on problem-based learning, especially in the math and sciences. Well, Math Pickle takes this concept and runs with it! Created for kindergarten and up, Math Pickle presents elegant, interesting math problems that require developmentally-appropriate math skills to solve. Each problem is presented in video form, with actual students working on them. Along with showing the problem videos, teachers can download excellent worksheets for practice.

Students will view each problem as more of a puzzle to solve, and will become actively engaged with the material. I gave this one a try, and found myself wanting more:

Many Eyes

Take a dull data set, and turn it into an eye-catching, easy-to-understand, and manipulatable visualization. Many Eyes is a very cool tool to turn numbers and words into pictures of all kinds– graphs, trees, word clouds, phrase nets, and even world maps. You can use the existing visualizations and data sets, or upload your own data set (in the form of words or numbers) and select how you’d like to see it.

Many Eyes is useful in the classroom to show relationships between concepts, and relative sizes of facts and figures. You can make it as simple (words from a page of text) or as complicated (a set of statistics) as you want.

In order to see the visualizations, make sure that you allow Java applications.