Category Archives: Sharing the Good

A Huge Thank You for Helping Unlock the Teacher Blog Reach 50,000 Plus Post Reads

A very special thank you to all of our faithful supporters who have encouraged us and helped this blog surpass 50,000 posts read since 2012.

Since I took a position as an elementary principal, our posts have been random as I acclimated to the new role. However, I am working on a new academic eBook book for summer publishing, and the Unlock the Teacher team is currently sending out proposals on a resource book for early childhood parents and teachers.

The goal of this blog is to share the good in education for the betterment of our future…our children.

This blog has seen parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, publishers and a few Department of Education and government leaders comment and support its efforts. Thank you for your support.

Here is to another great year…cheers!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise

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Filed under Blogs that Inspire Us, Curriculum Resources, Educational Resources, Inspiration, Our Statistics, Promoting Literacy, Recommended Learning Blogs, Sharing the Good, Sharing the Good in Education

An Innovative Program for Helping Students Succeed…Sharing the Good in Education

Given that Unlock the Teacher LLC was founded on the principal of sharing the good in education, we look for this good where ever we go.  In the grocery store, at Starbuck’s, the local library and most importantly at the schools we are blessed to work in.

We wanted to share a wonderful educational program we are following and hope that it might plant a seed for another school looking to add a resource room to their school.

St. Regis Educare – An Innovative Program for Helping Students Succeed

St. Regis Educare (SRE) is a newly created program serving the students of St. Regis Catholic Elementary and Academy, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The SRE program is staffed by three certified teachers who are dedicated to supporting the varied needs of St. Regis students. Based on the premise that each student has unique gifts and talents, with different learning styles and academic abilities, SRE supports teachers in providing differentiated instruction within and outside the classroom. In keeping with the St. Regis mission: Respect, Educate, Give, Inspire, and Support, SRE is dedicated to respecting individual students’ needs and supporting and inspiring them to reach their fullest academic potential.

The service provided in this program is more than a library of resources for teachers and parents. It is more than a place where students can come for help with their homework. It is a professionally staffed center for learning, where students attend workshops, join literature circles, compete in Math competitions, and follow academic plans designed specifically to meet their individual needs.

SRE Services

St. Regis Educare provides three different types of assistance/enrichment for students. They work with individuals and small groups needing assistance or enrichment in academic subject areas. They  provide workshops to help students with concepts such as grammar or study skills, and  work with individuals and small groups on specific skills such as comprehension strategies or counting money. In order to make the concepts they are enhancing engaging, they  integrate technology, and utilize manipulatives, hands-on activities, and use modeling to help students achieve their goals.

With all this, they also provide the following benefits for teachers: assessments, which they will design and/or administer upon request; a central repository for teacher resources and reference books; and documented processes and forms to make using our services less complicated. To help bridge the ever widening need between parent and school, they provide a central repository for parent resources, and are in the process of planning workshops for parents, so they can learn new ways to help their children succeed in school.

Development of the Program

This school year, St. Regis Educare has evolved from an idea and an empty office, into a focal point of learning for students in need of assistance or enrichment, as well as a central location for student, teacher, and parent resources.

Some highlights include:

  • A room that is now both inviting and functional for assisting students
  • Resource materials, games, technology, and manipulatives that are arranged by subject matter on labeled shelves for easy access
  • Documented processes and forms that are based on research of best practices and collaboration with professionals both in and outside the school
  • An extensive list of services designed to meet the varied needs of our students

As of this writing, at least one student or group from every grade, is being serviced by SRE, and they have had an abundance of positive comments from students, parents, and teachers who are grateful for the expertise and supportive of this team’s efforts. It is too soon in the development of the program to provide concrete results; however, I plan to monitor this program’s progress …stay tuned!

If your school or community is doing something great to help students, teachers or parents, please share.  It is in the collaborative model that we all rise to the level in which we have the potential to be.

May we all continue to seek knowledge in all things~

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Filed under Educational Resources, Sharing the Good, Sharing the Good in Education

Science, Social Studies and Brain Building Sites to Enhance Classroom Instruction

The sites below were given by a 3rd grade teacher at St. Regis Catholic School, when asked what were some sites she utilized in the classroom to enhance instruction.  These sites are user-friendly, age appropriate for a variety of ages and can be used at home too!  Please enjoy and if you have a favorite site that you use within your classroom or at home, please share…together we can make a difference!
Science Links
EARTH SCIENCE
Interactive Weather Maker
Earth’s Physical Features Games
Water Cycle Animation
EPA: Water Cycle Interactive Learning Experience
EPA: Tour a Drinking Water Treatment Plant
LIFE SCIENCE
Kid’s Health: How the Body Works Videos and More!
Ed Heads: Simple Machine Interactive Learning Experience
SPACE / TECHNOLOGY SCIENCE
As the Earth Turns: Causes of Day and Night: Interactive Learning Experience
Earth in Motion: Causes of Seasons: Interactive Learning Experience
Earth’s Revolution Around the Sun and Seasons Interactive Animation
NASA Kids’ Club
Night Sky Observer: Moon Page
Moon Phases Interactive Learning Experience
Star Hopping Guide with Animations: Finding Constellations
Kid Astronomy: Facts about Planets, Moons, and other Objects in Space
Current News and Information on Viewing the Night Sky
Social Studies Links
Information on Michigan’s Native American Tribes
Jamestown Interactive Online Adventure
National Geographic for Kids: On the Trail of Captain John Smith Online Adventure
Information on the Civil War
Interactive Civil War Battle Map
Economics: Lemonade Stand Game
Economics: Coffee Shop Game
Brain Builder Links
Logic Puzzles to Play Online or Print Out!
Educational Videos, Lessons, and Games: Covering all Subject Areas: Grades K-12
Kids Konnect: A Safe Internet Gateway for Kids
Sports Illustrated for Kids
Cool Games for Kids: Searchable by Grade K-8
Games covering a Wide Variety of Subject Areas
May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,
Denise

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Filed under Science and Social Studies Websites for Kids, Sharing the Good, Student or Industry

Making Science Fun with Science Competitions that Promote “Out-of-the-Box” Thinking

Science is FUN!

It is almost January, and educators and parents start the “Science Fair” discussion with children and students.  This year, there are some cool science contests out there and Google Science tops my list.

Regardless if Science was your thing or not, if asked, we all could probably pull forward one science fair memory from the recesses of our minds. Volcano eruptions, eye ball blinks, inertia, plant growth with various musical tunes you name it, science fair time can be an exciting time of discovery or a mad dash to finish a deadline imposed by the ominous science teacher.

The Important Role of the Science Teacher
Given the teacher and they way material is presented, science can be fun! The world of science can open many doors for children. Doors to worlds that can increase awareness of saving our planet, living a healthy life, or even saving a life one day, by creating a cancer-saving cure…imagine. Many children in this country have limitations on travel and are limited to specific environments and economic resources. However, science is that one area where it is “cool” to recycle, utilize imagination and create! Memories of utilizing paper towel and toilet roll holders to demonstrate magnetic pull, keeps bubbling up to remind me that in science, the sky is the limit on creativity and ingenuity.

Science Fair Contests

*Google Science Fair 2012

  1. Children must be 13-18 years old
  2. Individual or groups allowed; groups can consist of two or three teams only
  3. Children “Scientists” must create a Google account and submit a Sign-Up form online
  4. Once confirmation is given, plan, execute and cite results, remembering to follow directions given and complete all sections outlined on the Google Section Submission Site
  5. A two minute video or 20 page slide presentation giving an overview of project are required to enter contest…entries are due by April 4th with submission form

This is a great contest that can allow educators to collaborate from various schools to come together with “Science Teams”, churches and or youth groups to utilize science as a way to spark the imagination of our children and enhancing team building while instilling (hopefully) a love of science.

*International Online Science Contest

The International Online Science Contest website has a wealth of resources for teachers and parents. This site offers a variety of science contest that run all year. Students can visit this site to view other science projects and read judging tips to get an overall appreciation for the “Science Fair” process. Parents can visit site to read and download a Parent Guide that provides step-by-step instructions, parent testimonials and defines the roles of parents throughout the “Science Fair” process. This is a one-stop shop for learning all about Science Fairs and a great resource for classroom teachers as well.

Science Buddies

Science Buddies website is an all encompassing site that provides its reader with a list of various science competitions. Competitions are broken down by grade levels, format, eligibility and if teams are allowed. This is a great site for young people who might be interested at ages eight or nine in science and can watch some “advanced” science fair project videos on various projects to plant a seed for the future. For schools who do not have a “gifted” or advanced science program, this might be the site for you.

“Out of the Box” Teaching

A school, with a very creative, “out of the box” science teacher, could utilize the contest found here or at any of the mentioned websites, and take students who demonstrate an aptitude for science to the next level. Teachers who are looking to collaborate or parents who want to take more of an active role in this process can find science community blogs as well at http://www.sciencebuddies.org to glean insight and support throughout the Science Fair process or to even supplement or increase the love of science in the life of a child.

Science Fair Project Ideas

Happy creating and for additional science fair project ideas, check out the following sites to ignite the imagination:

Imagine if we could ignite the imagination, plant a love of learning for science via writing, creating, utilizing music, labs, nature and utilize all the other multiple intelligences, there is nothing we could not accomplish or overcome.

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Educational Websites to Utilize While Shopping for Children this Christmas

The holidays are quickly upon us and I have received emails asking for educational gift recommendations.  The following sites I feel are user friendly for parents and provide items that are educational and fun for children of multiple ages.  The sites were chosen because I feel after reading and researching more about theses companies, that they themselves help play a positive role in educate as a whole because it is the right thing to do.  When we come together for the common good for the right reasons, amazing things can happen and at Unlock the Teacher, we are all about sharing the good!

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ~One of my favorite publishers!

Bio:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Group

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group encompasses three award-winning imprints as well as the HMH franchise line and the Graphia and Sandpiper paperback lines. Houghton Mifflin introduced its first list of books for young readers in 1937 and has published such luminaries as H. A. and Margret Rey, Virginia Lee Burton, Bill Peet, Holling C. Holling, Scott O’Dell, and James Marshall; its contemporary authors and illustrators include Chris Van Allsburg, Lois Lowry, Steve Jenkins, Joyce Sidman, Brian Lies, Sy Montgomery, and Allen Say. Houghton Mifflin is also home to some of the best-loved children’s book characters: Curious George, Lyle the Crocodile, George and Martha, Martha of  Martha Speaks,  and Tacky the Penguin.

Clarion Books became an imprint of Houghton Mifflin in 1979. Clarion’s award-winning authors include David Wiesner, Linda Sue Park, Paul Galdone, Russell Freedman, Karen Cushman, Katherine Paterson, and Gary Schmidt.

Harcourt Children’s Books, known for classics such as  The Hundred Dresses  and  The Little Prince,  features notable authors and illustrators such as Avi, Janell Cannon, Lois Ehlert, Mem Fox, Gerald McDermott, Han Nolan, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel, and Don and Audrey Wood.

I recommend that readers young and old check out this online educational store.  Notice the authors listed in their bio…amazing! This is a great resource for schools, teacher and parents.  Regardless if you are shopping to put a gift under the Christmas tree or enhance the classroom or school library, this is a great resource tool!

Scholastic

Bio: Read everyday. Lead a better life.

I recommend this site and this company.  It is cost effective and one can shop and know that most if not all products will enhance a child’s education.  I also like the way this company helps schools…I am a HUGE fan of this practice and Unlock the Teacher believes in giving back to the community too!

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio~The Independent Guide to Social Media

Bio:  Educator, parent & kid testing goes into each product considered for an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award. We don’t accept ads or charge “review fees” from manufacturers or publishers, so you know you’re always getting independent opinions. We have awards for the best toys, books, videos, and audio for kids.

I encourage readers to check out their book and toy recommendations.

Oceanhouse Media

Bio:  Oceanhouse Media, Inc. is a leading publisher of more than 270 apps for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android and NOOK Color devices. The company’s mantra is “Creativity with Purpose,” developing apps that uplift, educate and inspire.

I recommend that readers check out their amazing book apps!  My children own many…they are educational, affordable and fun! A great 21st century tool for the parent.

Veggie Tales

Bio:  Big Idea Entertainment is a leading studio and producer of children’s and family programming, characters and brands. Big Idea’s best-selling series VeggieTales® is the #1 animated home video series in the US with moms of pre-schoolers*.  Since 1993, VeggieTales® has sold 54+ million videos, 13 million books and more than 7 million CDs.  VeggieTales® and Big Idea’s property, 3-2-1 Penguins!®, enjoyed four seasons as top-rated series on NBC Saturday mornings, Telemundo and ION TV via the qubo® children’s programming block.  The studio’s two theatrical releases, Jonah-A VeggieTales Movie® (2002), and Universal Pictures’ and Big Idea’s The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything®-A VeggieTales Movie® (2008), are distinguished among the most successful faith-based films of all time. Big Idea also maintains an extensive presence in publishing, licensing and live entertainment arenas.

I am a huge fan of this company, their vision and their products.  They have a range of products for children from pre-K to teenager.  I also like their education online games that they offer for children too.  If you haven’t taken a look at them or their products, I encourage readers to do so.

Discovery Channel

I recommend this site because…the learning toys at this site are amazing!  The prices are a little higher than one might find in a local reatailer, but the learning potential is high. The goal would be to try to find a toy that your child or student might be able to utilize for a few years to make the purchase a true investment.

These are some of my favorite sites to shop and explore for new educational discoveries.  Please share your favorite places to shop this holiday and I will post them here so we can all benefit from positive collaboration.

Post comments or recommendations here or email comments or recommendations to me at denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com …no spam please!

Have a super day!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Filed under Educational Toys, Educational Toys and Online Stores, Educational Websites and Resources, Sharing the Good

Unlock the Teacher LLC Would Like to Wish Everyone a Joy-Filled Holiday Weekend

Unlock the Teacher LLC Trademarked Logo

Given that we are less than a year old as a company, we have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  We are working with a handful of schools in the area of aligning the Common Core State Standards into school’s curriculum for K-8 and curriculum mapping.  Our ePublishing Workshops for students/teachers and adults has been quite successful and we are thrilled to have helped many students begin to build a college fund, and to assist many take their first step towards their dream of writing.

We are immensely thankful for the outpouring of support we have received via social media (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) from educators and writers from all over the world; your words of encouragement on a weekly basis, puts wind beneath our wings and allows us to sail further into our dreams…thank you is just not adequate to express our gratitude.  As we begin to send out our proposal for our 1st book in the Unlock the Teacher series to agents and publishers, it is your kind words that fuel our fire and helps remind us that we are on the right track.

We are thankful to Changez Salon for our relationship we have built-in representing them in the world of social media, website development and management and the lessons that we learn by watching them give back SO much to the community…from helping cancer patients through the loss of hair process, raising funds for various charities like Gilda’s Club and Breast Cancer Awareness, sponsoring the arts in the community via Eisenhower Dance Ensemble and their current promotion, “Hair that Cares” where they are collecting can foods for those in need this winter. They are definitely beacons of light to many!

To all the parents and teachers who have purchased our academic eBooks at Barnes and Noble.com, we thank you for ALL your support!

We believe that if we continue to try to make a difference, that we will be fruitful for our efforts.  Thank you for showing us that good does beget good!

Lastly, we are trying for 10,000 views of our blog before our one year anniversary as an educational company.  We are almost there, thank you for sharing what we do and helping us continue to go into schools, work with students, parents and teachers and for helping us continue to make a difference in the life of our children, our future!

Happy Thanksgiving!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise and the entire Unlock the Teacher Team

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6th Grade Teacher Makes Science Fun with Cell Process Cartoons

Who said science wasn’t fun?
While in a school today (St. Mary School Royal Oak, Michigan), I stopped to look at these fabulous displays of creativity.  Not only was this hallway display colorful and creative, it was educational and funny!
 
 A simple, yet effective and creative way to teach the process of a cell.Students after reviewing lesson with their teacher Mrs. Lapenta, they were given the rubric for a “Cell Process Cycle Cartoon”.  Students had to incorporate the vocabulary given and create a cartoon strip displaying the process reviewed in class. Thinking “Outside of the Box” can take learning to new and exciting places for you and your students.
 
We would love to share your classroom Best Practices with our readers. Please email me at denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com a brief synopsis of lesson and a jpg or two.  It is in this collaborative process, that we all grow as educators…as parents…as a society!  Good ideas are meant to be shared.  We try to share them as often as we can!
 

"Outside of the Box" teaching is good for all stakeholders in the learning process!

 

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,
Denise
 
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Filed under Best Practices from Awesome Educators, Science, Sharing the Good