The Value of a Foreign Language – C’est Formidable!

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

European langaugesEuropean Day of Languages is this month, a timely reminder of the immeasurable value of foreign language study in education and in life.

The first day  – or rather, year – celebrating language diversity was European Year of Languages 2001. Organized by the Council of Europe and the European Union, it involved millions of people across 45 countries in activities that celebrated linguistic diversity in Europe and promoted language learning.

After that inaugural celebration, the Council of Europe declared a European Day of Languages to be celebrated each Sept. 26. The EDL website has a host of fun activities, quizzes, trivia and more to celebrate foreign language study.

In the United States, language learning is less of a priority. Less than 10 percent of Americans are bilingual, while well over half of Europeans speak two languages fluently, according to the California State University, Fullerton.

Benefits of Learning Languages

Hello bonjourSpeaking a foreign language has countless benefits for personal development. Here are just a few:

  • It increases understanding of other cultures.
  • It encourages lifelong learning.
  • It improves employment potential, since many businesses are marketing their products and services in other countries. A second language is now becoming a crucial element for an increasing spectrum of careers.
  • It helps businesses compete in a global economy, by giving them a better understanding of the cultures with which they are dealing.
  • It improves chances of entry into college or graduate school, as most colleges and universities require a minimum of two years of high school foreign language instruction for admission.
  • It helps you better appreciate international literature, music, art and film.
  • It makes travel easier and more enjoyable.
  • For college students, it expands study abroad options.
  • It increases your potential pool of friends.

(Sources: and

The list goes on and on. The College Board has even found that students who have taken 4-5 years of a foreign language have higher verbal scores on the SAT.

Children who excel at a foreign language at a young age usually have better musical skills, according to a study conducted by professors at the University of Turku, Finland.

Teaching young children how to speak a second language is good for their minds, report two Cornell linguistic researchers. They say learning a second language does not cause language confusion, language delay or cognitive deficit, as feared, but rather makes it easier for them to maintain attention and be ready for school.

Convinced Yet?

Visit the European Day of Languages website. Take the languages quiz, learn some trivia, try some activities and find out why languages are important.

Curriki Language Resources

Au revoir. Adios. Auf Wiedersehen. Arrivederci. Good bye!

Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at

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Why Is It Important For Students to Learn to Code?

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Sept2016-Why CodingDid you know that students with coding skills make 33% more than those who don’t? And 7 million job openings in 2015 were in occupations that value coding skills – a full 20% of “career track” jobs.

If you have ever wondered why computer science is so important, a recent study commissioned by Oracle Academy provides clear answers. The study, conducted by Burning Glass Technologies, a job market analytics research company, found that across industries, computer science skills translate to added value and earning power.

The report — Beyond Point and Click: The Expanding Demand for Coding Skills — analyzes the market and highlights the magnitude of employer demand for coding skills and the range of opportunities that learning to code can open for students.
Data was culled from 26 million U.S. online job postings collected in 2015 and analyzed to determine the specific jobs and skills that employers are seeking.

Oracle Academy logoKey findings include:

  • Coding skills are in high demand, and not just for programmers, but across five major job categories:
    • Information Technology (IT) workers
    • Data Analysts
    • Artists and Designers
    • Engineers
    • Scientists
  • Coding jobs pay $22,000 per year more than jobs that don’t — $84,000 vs. $62,000 annually.
  • Coding skills pave the way for progression to high-income positions. Half of jobs in the top income quartile (more than $57,000 per year) are in occupations that require coding skills from applicants.
  • Coding jobs are growing faster than the job market, led by programming jobs, 50% faster than the market overall.

Read the full report.

Curriki’s partner Oracle Academy advances computer science education globally to drive knowledge, innovation, skills development, and diversity in technology fields. Learn more at

Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki.Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world.

Promote Worldwide Reading on International Literacy Day

Literacy Day posyterBy Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member

Did you know that 1 in 5 people in the world can’t read?

It’s true – the World Literacy Foundation says close to 20% of the world’s population is illiterate. Literacy skills are essential for lifelong learning, and can help elevate global education and progress for the future.

On Sept. 8, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrates the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day. The day will be marked by a two-day conference in Paris on Sept. 8 and 9 where experts in the field, private business, learners, and educators will meet to discuss the progress of promoting literacy as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

But worldwide, schools, communities, and organizations are also encouraged to help spread awareness and increase accessibility to education in developing nations.

How can you help?

There are many opportunities for teachers, homeschoolers, parents and students to get involved in promoting literacy.

Put Up a Poster – UNESCO provides a downloadable poster to celebrate the 50th anniversary and spread awareness around your classroom and school.

Join the Campaign – The World Literacy Foundation is hosting a 2016 International Literacy Day campaign themed “The Sky’s The Limit”  If you register your school by Sept. 7, the Foundation will provide materials to help your school run a school community fundraising campaign toward global literacy.

BooksPromote Literacy Within your Classroom and School – Start the movement for strengthening reading and writing skills by participating literacy activities right in your classroom and school.  Here are some ideas from the Curriki community:

  • Do your students need a reference card for themselves or posted in the classroom?  Here’s a Reading Strategies Poster that covers the eight reading strategies and offers phrase starters to get students started on creating meaning from text.
  • Karen Fasimpaur offers collections of fiction and nonfiction decodable reading passages for early readers that include PDFs, PowerPoint presentations and interactive Voicethreads for students to record themselves reading.
  • Anna Batchelder offers this collection on Literacy Resources for Early Childhood Educators filled with reading lists, early readers suggestions, and activities reading comprehension.
  • ReadWriteThink offers ideas for your class to celebrate International Literacy Day, including a class read-a-thon, creating a cross-grade reading buddy program, or making original books to share with community members.
  • Wonderopolis can help get students start thinking about literacy with activities on the different ways to read and exploring why we read from left to right.
  • Literacy Tips for Parents offers strategies for parents and families to promote a literate household.
  • Teach Kindergarten or early primary grades?  Here are ideas for creating literacy centers in your classroom .

How do you plan on celebrating International Literacy Day?

Share your ideas! Don’t forget to follow along on social media (#LiteracyDay and #50ILD) with your students and children to find out the latest on events and activities!


Lani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology.

Curriki Joins Forces with the Constitution Center

constitution day logoBy Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

In anticipation of Constitution Day on Friday, Sept. 16 – and, of course, the upcoming presidential election – Curriki is delighted to announce a timely and exciting new partnership: the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia!

The Constitution Center may be physically located in the birthplace of our nation, but its website,, reaches around the world as the only virtual place where people can come together to learn, debate and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history – the U.S. Constitution.

Curriki’s Constitution Center Collection

You can find the Constitution Center’s always relevant collection on the Curriki website, with fascinating units such as:

  • The 13th Amendment – examine the Primary Source,  the handwritten congressional copy of the amendment that banned slavery, signed by President Lincoln, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, and over 150 members of Congress, for a vibrant discussion guide on the abolition of slavery.
  • Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War – a lesson plan on this fascinating period n US history, featuring an online game featuring an animated Abe Lincoln
  • The Bill of Rights – a multi-faceted lesson that helps students learn about the rights and freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, translate the document into student-friendly language and make connections with real-life scenarios by playing Bill of Rights Bingo.
  • Students will also dive into the legacy of Martin Luther King, the history of Thanksgiving, the separation of powers and so much more.

Primary sources of some of the most fundamentally important historical material, including the Bill of Rights and the Articles of Confederation, are also offered in this special collection.

What is Constitution Day, Anyway?

Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the most influential document in American history, by the Founding Fathers on September 17, 1787.  Celebrating Constitution Day presents an awesome opportunity to inspire students to actively learn about the founding of the United States.

Find Curriki’s curriculum provided by the Constitution Center here.

Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMO

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Follow Curriki’s Blog at

Back to School Tips for Parents


By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Whether you have already returned to school or that fateful First Day is coming soon, back-to-school can be an extremely stressful time for both parents and kids. It doesn’t seem to matter if your children are going into 1st grade or 12th — having to wake up early and juggle homework, school activities, social events and sometimes jobs … buying school supplies and paying fees … hitting Back-to-School Nights and helping kids organize … the start of a new school year is always a daunting challenge!

How you navigate this transition can make a huge difference in how the entire year goes for your child. Why stumble along hoping for the best when you can be proactive and give you child tools for success from the get-go?

On the last night of summer, we here at Curriki suggest you hold a family dinner to celebrate the end of summer and look ahead to the vast potential of the upcoming year. Make pizza together, and then go around the table sharing what you hope to achieve this school year – make the basketball team, get all As, make new friends, try out for the school play, or perhaps (parents) get involved the PTA! If you visualize it, you’re already on your way to achieving it!

Curriki is delighted to provide all kinds of resources in the classroom or at home, but we wanted to make sure children walk into the classroom rejuvenated from summer and ready to learn. So here are a few resources to help keep parents and kids adjust to the transition and thrive in the months ahead:

Tips for Kids and Parents

  • has a list of 101 Back-to-School Tips for Kids and Parents to help you and your children start the new school year right. Here are a few:
  • Carve out some fun time with kids before the school year ramps up
  • Start reading habits a couple weeks before the new year
  • Start going to bed earlier and setting alarms to wake up earlier a week or so before
  • Figure out an organizational system before you walk back in the school door
  • Create an after-school schedule that allows time for snack, relaxation, play and study.

The list also includes tips for making the year go smoothly, including:

  • Create a family calendar that tracks everyone’s activities and commitments.
    Teach your kids to prioritize their assignments by making to-do lists with deadlines.
  • Give your kids a short break after each assignment they finish.
  • Arrange playdates with two or three of your kids’ friends to rebuild existing social ties.

Read the rest of the list here.

Teacher-Approved Strategies’s list of teacher-approved strategies for easing the anxiety of the back-to-school transition include:

  • If it’s a new school, tour the school in advance if possible.
  • Make an effort to attend Back-to-School Night to meet their children’s teachers.
  • Refresh kids’ friendships in advance by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.
  • Find more tips from

Special Needs Strategies

Every special needs child is different and has unique needs and challenges. With sensory issues, difficulty with emotional regulation, the need for routine, problems adjusting to change, intellectual or communications issues,  you’ll want to make some extra efforts to make daunting the transition easier, including:

  • If attending a new school, try to schedule a visit before the first day. Meet the principal, counselors and teachers if possible.
  • Discuss and plan the changes in your child’s daily routine that will happen once school starts.
  • Talk to your child about exciting new classes, activities and events that they can participate in.
  • Review your child’s current IEP, and with older students, explain the services and accommodations it includes.
  • Set up a system to keep track of your child’s special education documentation  (You’ll find some ideas here)
  • Start a communication log to keep track of phone calls, emails, notes home and more.

You’ll find scores of other ideas for helping special needs students adjust to the new school year from these resources:

I’d love to hear your strategies on how you helped your child adjust to the transition from summer to the new school year. Please post your comments here on the Curriki blog!

Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMOJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at

Back to School Time for Teachers

By Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

back to school boardDepending on where you live, back-to-school is either here or coming up very soon. But no matter which it is, August is the time to start thinking about the upcoming school year and forming your strategy for making the most of it.

Fall beckons as a fresh start for both teachers and students. A clean slate. A new classroom full of students to inform and inspire. It’s a huge responsibility. How will you do it?

Back to School Checklist

I found a terrific Back-to-School Checklist for Educators at Its tips include:

  • Putting relationships first
  • Being patient, especially during the transition from summer to school year
  • Creating a solid foundation for the year, and then
  • Writing the story of the rest of the year, realizing there will be a new cast of characters and challenges to explore. “Be inspired by the story you are writing!” it says.

Planning the Year

teacher and has a Back-to-School Planning Guide for teachers that includes tips for organizing your classroom, planning your year, accessing online activities (such as those Curriki offers), and creating a caring, emotionally safe classroom.

Breaking the Ice

But before you can start learning, you need to spend a little time getting your students to feel comfortable in the classroom. Here are a few icebreakers that rock, from Cult of Pedagogy.

Find more back-to-school resources for school leaders at

Share Your Ideas

What has worked for you? What are your favorite resources for getting the school year off to a strong start? Please share them here!

Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at

Happy Anniversary,!

By Robert Greenawalt
Chief Technology Officer, Curriki

Curriki-logoHappy one-year anniversary to Curriki’s new website! We relaunched on Aug. 2, 2015, hoping to create a friendlier, mobile-friendly, more navigable and more useful site for our users.

Your response has been truly amazing!

Over the past 12 months, Curriki has seen nearly 3 million educational resource page views – more than double the number we had in the previous year, meaning more people are benefitting from our mission to eliminate the Education Divide between the haves and have-nots in the U.S. and worldwide.

However, not only has the response been positive from our primary users, but Curriki was also recognized as a finalist for a 2016 CODiE Award in the category of Best Source for Reference or Education Resource.

Curriki is really excited that our efforts to respond to the needs of teachers, homeschoolers, educators and students to offer the high-quality curriculum on an improved, easy-to-use platform has borne fruit.

Can We Get Even Better?

We would like to hear what you like about the new Curriki website and how you use our educational resources. Keep visiting, and stay tuned for future developments – we have a few coming improvements up our sleeves.

Bob Greenawalt -Curriki CTO Bob Greenawalt, Curriki’s Chief Technology Officer, has spent his 20+ year technology career in a wide variety of application development and management positions, including a substantial amount of focused on education. 

Learning Through the Summer Olympics 2016

By Guest Blogger and Curriki Member Lani deGuia

Rio Olympics logoFrom August 5-21, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad are bringing all eyes in excitement on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More than 11,000 athletes representing 206 countries are vying for medals in 28 Olympic sports.  It’s an opportunity to witness the world’s greatest athletes compete in the spirit of excellence, peace and respect. It’s also a chance for children to explore the wide variety of themes and topics of the Olympics that they are passionate about. There are many ways to get kids engaged and excited as they tune in during the next few weeks. Here are several great resources to help!

For the Youngest Olympic Fans

Did your child ask you about the Olympic flame during last Friday’s opening ceremony? Does the Olympic flame ever go out? Does the Olympic Flame Ever Go Out? is a Wonderopolis activity exploring the history and meaning behind the lighting of the Olympic flame for the Olympic Games.

Need activities to provide understanding of the underlying themes of the Olympics? The Summer Olympics Start Today! is a collection of lesson resources from ReadWriteThink exploring how the Olympics are meant to “better the world through sport practiced in a spirit of peace, excellence, friendship and respect.” It features activities on poetry, designing stamps, flags, and even making cookies that represent the Olympic rings!

For More Independent Learners

Olympic podiumLooking for opportunities to teach about this year’s host nation? Destination Rio:  Rhythm and Diversity offers a visitors’ guide and exhibition exploring the culture, people,and traditions of Rio de Janeiro.

If your child has many questions and interests about the Olympics, the following resources offer a great starting point:

  • 2016 Olympic Games:  Rio de Janeiro is a collection of educational resources from TeacherVision that help students learn about past and present Olympic games, Olympic symbols and traditions, Brazilian history, and more. They also provide fun worksheets on alphabetical order, Olympic symbols and traditions as well as resources on past political issues and scandals of the Olympics.
  • Reaching for Olympic Glory is a collection of Olympics and sports-themed lessons, tools, videos and more, including topics such as buoyancy, sprinting, reaction time and the science behind a variety of sports.

Perhaps you have an older child whose interests lie in economics. $16 Billion to Host the Summer Olympics:  Is it Worth It? is an EconoEd lesson where students can explore the financial impact, demands, benefits, and deficits on Brazil for hosting the summer Olympics games.

For Teachers

This school year is a great time to incorporate the Olympics into instruction. Do you teach math? Olympics 2008:  Distance and Time, Scatter Plot Charts asks students to create a scatter plot chart that maps out the relationship between distance and time for men in the various Olympic sports. Although the lesson is based on the 2008 Olympics, students can populate this year’s results and compare!  Proportional Reasoning:  On Your Mark is a mathalicious lesson analyzing whether or not Usain Bolt would be just as successful if Olympic sprinters had to run distances based on their heights.

Looking for a way to integrate the Olympics into your language arts class? The New Olympic Sport:  A Research Project and Persuasive Presentation  is a 10th grade language arts activity where students research Olympic sports and develop a persuasive proposal to nominate a new sport as an Olympic event.

From poetry and sports to economics and politics, there are multiple opportunities to expand learning through the Olympics. Make it a gold-medal-winning  learning experience!

Lani Lani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology.

Getting Your Kids to Think Learning is Play

By Guest Blogger and Curriki Member Lani deGuia

Sick ScienceSummer is a time for fun, relaxation and freedom from schedules and homework. However, there is no reason why learning has to stop! Learning can be incorporated into summer days by mimicking play and entertainment. When your child is having fun, they may not realize they are exploring concepts or reviewing skills they need for the upcoming school year.  Here are a few ways you can help your child equate “play time” with academic learning.

Relate to What They are Interested In

Does your child love kitchen science or blow-your-mind science demonstrations? This Sick Science! Video collection explores fun science experiments such as making an ice tray battery or a homemade projector.

Have a younger child who loves all things science and nature?  Check out this collection of K-2 student-facing activities  covering topics such as the alphabet, solids, liquids, and gases, and microfinancing.

For the budding mathematician, there are plenty of online games where your child can explore their favorite math concepts.  Math Game Time and Math Playground provide K-12 interactive experiences for students to play quick games and brightly visual games.  Have a middle schooler who loves math?  Check out this Middle School Online Math Games collection.

Magic School BusPerhaps your child is analytical or appreciates a good puzzle? Guess My Button tests your child’s application of deductive reasoning from their understanding of patterns and relationships.

If your child has a variety of interests across all subject areas, check out this full collection of Brain Pop videos. Brain Pop offers fun and educational animated shorts that teach specific academic concepts. Most videos are accompanied by supplemental resources for learning including quizzes and more.  For example, in this collection of Social Studies Brain Pop videos, your child can explore topics such as the Civil War, money/economics, and even pirates!

Find Activities That are Like Games They Already Love

Most know the fun arcade game as Pac-Man in search for power pellets to evade ghosts, but this version can help your child practice math!  Check out Math Pac Man!

A twist on a childhood favorite, Mad Libs, Wacky Web Tales helps your child be part of creating hysterical stories by practicing nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.

Favorite TV shows are a great place to look for additional learning activities and games.  The Magic School Bus offers games to supplement their shows, including topics such as weather, habitats and space.

Med MystSimulate an Adventure

Investigation and simulation are perfect for older children who enjoy engaging in more involved gaming.

MedMyst is a web adventure that includes five different missions to teach children about infectious diseases and pathogens. Charles Darwin’s Game of Survivall  is an online game from Discovery where your child can explore natural selection by seeing if their species can survive a million years. The Build It Yourself Satellite Game from NASA  will allow your child to engineer their own satellite, apply their knowledge of wavelengths, instruments, and optics, as well as launch it and view real mission data!

So what are you waiting for? Find a topic your child is passionate about and get them playing!

Lani loggerLani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology.

Presidential Politics and the US Constitution

US ConstitutionBy Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

The moving speech delivered by Khizr Khan, father of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq in 2004, to the Democratic National Convention has many Americans wanting to refresh themselves on the U.S. Constitution.

Khan’s words remind us how important it is that all Americans read and understand the rights we all hold so dear.

Most of us don’t carry pocket-sized copies of the Constitution, but we do have access to the e-text on Curriki, courtesy of Curriki’s new partner, the Constitution Center. Now might be a good time to browse these words and share your thoughts with students and peers.

Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at