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Writing a Legacy: Celebrating Black History Month

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How does a culture survive through the ages?  The written word’s impact on politics, faith, education, science, history, and more certainly demonstrates why it’s a critical component to sustaining any culture.  Black American poets, playrights, authors, composers, and philosophers contributed many works throughout American history, so we at Big Universe want to recognize some of those who, through their talents and words, captured the essence of their times and diversified the perspectives of African American culture.

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Xin Nian Kuai Le: Celebrating Chinese New Year

dragon-1621805_960_720.jpgThe phrase “Xin Nian Kuai Le”  is Happy New Year in Mandarin.  The new moon closest to the start of spring dictates the beginning of the year in their culture, and each year i)s combined with elements of the earth (gold, wood, water, fire, earth) with twelve animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig/boar).  This is the year of the fire rooster, and here at Big Universe, we want to give you some idea as to ways you can use to help in celebrating this popular time for so many people around the world.

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Activities for National Opposite Day

nrm3.jpgI love quirky holidays and celebrations! On January 25th, set your sights on a day filled with National Opposite Day activities. Research done by Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock (2001) have created discussions on the benefits of comparing and contrasting. This concept provides the basis for effective instruction. I have included fun activities to boost students reading and writing skills in the classroom for National Opposite Day while still meeting the demands of your standards.

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National Kid Inventors Day

Children-using-digital-tablet.jpgNational Kid Inventors Day is celebrated on January 17 each year. It honors the original kid inventor, Benjamin Franklin, who designed the first swim flippers at only twelve years old! National Kid Inventors Day exists to encourage creativity in our youngest members of society. As anyone knows, kids can come up with the darndest things! Of course, some of it may be outlandish, but children have a unique perspective of not being burdened down with the details that adults can’t help but acknowledge. The best thing about National Kid Inventors Day is that it can be celebrated school-wide. Inventions occur every day. From new building materials to applications, even the sky is no limit! Here are some ways to encourage your students’ creativity:

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Oxford’s Storytelling Schools

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 3.55.24 PM-1.pngThe digital phenomenon and technology has an extraordinary effect on people, but little research has been done in the field of educators that gives an implicit message so that students are able to communicate and relate to other human beings and not just their gadgets. Stories lead to learning, and according to the curators of the Storytelling Schools programme, “Storytelling is the ‘something’ I and others have all been looking for, for a long time. It’s good because it’s cross-cultural and it’s accessible; it’s about being human and it’s deep.” The tools we have acquired to enhance teaching are important, but what is even more valuable is teachers who provide literacy education in the classroom that gives each child personal power as we guide, motivate, entertain, educate, inspire and influence others through the artful use of story.

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More than a Dream: Using King’s Legacy to Foster Civil Responsibility In Students

non-violence-1158317_1920.jpgIn just a few days our nation will celebrate Martin Luther King Day, which recognizes the contributions that famed Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. made to advancing racial equality through non-violent means.  Since 1986, the third Monday in every January people take part in various activities–speeches, marches, community service projects, or visiting sites that highlight King’s life and legacy.  As educators seeking to create independent, conscious thinkers, how can we get them to use their words and knowledge to affect change in their schools?  As King wrote as a junior at Morehouse College, “…Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction” (as cited in The Seattle Times, n.d.).  I’ll share with you some ways to get your students and school to maximize the day’s significance.

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High Achieving Students

iStock_000016012136Small.jpgIf you are like me, you are in the middle of progress monitoring for your end of quarter comparisons. Do you have students that haven’t progressed at all? If you look closely, some of those students are your “bright” students. So what can you do to help those high achieving students to engage in your classroom?

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