I am still glued to the media outlets as the crisis in Japan unfolds. An earthquake, a tsunami, the nuclear meltdown threats, and the many losses Japan is enduring. I started to create a folder for our Global Portfolio on all three of these topics – earthquakes, nuclear power, and tsunamis to help with current lessons on these topics, but alas – I couldn’t.
Not becuase we don’t have the resources. I found many great interactive sites that explained earthquakes and tsunamis. I found a wonderful website from the UK Science Museum about how nuclear power plants generate electricity. Many videos, articles on the topics. I even found results for Japanese culture to understand this nation.
And I just got word that even more resources were added. Our content editors are careful at finding websites from trustworthy sources, such as PBS, NASA, and USGS, and careful not to include sites that allow comments. (Comments can really detract from a great resource with ugliness – which is a great shame.) To find these resources, click on the high school tab and the keywords are: Honshu Japan earthquake 2011, Japan earthquake and tsunami 2011, Japanese earthquake and tsunami 2011, Tohoku earthquake. There are some also found in elementary and middle school, just not as many.
I turned to the Current Events Widget – one of my favorites drill down widgets. There I was able to find great links to trustworthy news sources. I liked that. The news was not in my face, scaring me with a nuclear meltdown as I’m trying to work with my students. Instead, I could could find the articles I wanted them to read, and possibly use to create their own newspaper or blog entry.
My problem was, what should be the end result? Should I include a project that the students are going to work on? Or is it just a folder with some great links? I could come up with many project ideas using cartoon sites, Glogster EDU, Kerpoof, Wixie, and even LetterPOP. My problem was that none of them felt right. At least to me.
netTrekker definitely has the resources you need to teach current events. Our content editors work hard to find reliable, trustworthy sites on hot topics, and get them added to netTrekker in a timely manner. As I work on creating this global folder that has the links to these very topics, I wonder, what do your lesson plans look like? Should I just make it a folder of resources and not worry on a complete lesson?
“Doing more with less.” This statement, unfortunately, has become far too familiar to many in education today. The budget crisis facing schools around the country has been all over the news both in the education “world” and in the national news. It’s difficult to hear about the stories of districts facing classrooms with 40+ students per teacher, of 4-day school weeks, and of drastic cuts in teachers and other instructional staff. And although I’ve never been in the classroom as an educator, I grew up with two parents who were teachers and have children who will soon be heading into the public school system, so I find it even more difficult to consider the impact these budget issues might have on our students’ education, both in the near and distant future.
But in the midst of all the negative news about the budget crisis, there are also some positive stories surfacing about how some districts and schools are facing these difficult challenges in innovative ways. Sometimes the problems of having to do more with less can force us to take a step back and consider how we might do things differently. Districts and schools are finding new ways to help teachers collaborate and share teaching resources and best practices, new models for delivering professional development using just-in-time and online options, new ways to offer students robust course options by providing more online courses, and many are considering moving from printed textbooks and curriculum resources to engaging digital content.
At netTrekker, we want to help you get through these difficult times and have a positive impact on your students’ education. With a commitment to improving education through innovation and technology and to providing equitable access to digital resources for every learner. . . netTrekker can help you as you explore options for doing more with less.
“Recent budget cuts have reduced our teacher librarian support at the middle level, so we’re training classroom teachers to use all of netTrekker’s tools. As everyone tries to do more with less, netTrekker will help us organize Internet resources, differentiate instruction, and address the language needs and reading levels of our diverse student population.”
Director of Instructional Technology and Library Services
Adams 12 Five Star Schools, CO