Marking Veterans Day in the Classroom

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

FlagCurriki’s Veterans Day Collection will bring tears to your eyes as it celebrates the courage and self-sacrifice displayed by the men and women who have to defend the United States since its birth.

Start with this video from the History Channel on the origins of Veterans Day. 

Then show students this awe-inspiring tribute to America’s veterans (and we dare you not to cry).

Then try one or more of the following lessons and activities:

The Price of Freedom – Americans at War  
Americans have gone to war to win their independence, expand their national boundaries, define their freedoms, and defend their interests around the globe. This exhibition by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History examines how wars have shaped the nation’s history and transformed American society.

The Wall Inspires Letters to Veterans
Eve Bunting’s The Wall inspires students to write letters to veterans at local veterans’ hospitals.

Celebrating Veterans Day
While examining how the day is celebrated in the United States today, students write biographical poems about a soldier.

Unknown soldier tombWho Is the Unknown Soldier?
Learn about how Americans can honor those who have died serving their country, even when we don’t know their identities.

Our Flag
This site provides comprehensive information on the American Flag. Topics include the history of the Stars and Stripes, the Grand Union Flag, Historical Flags and the flag today.

Unit Plan: The Vietnam War- Perspectives
This project-based three-week unit explores the Vietnam war through a variety of different perspectives including present day citizens (oral history), veterans against the war (simulation), international political leaders from the past and present (simulation), and finally, the student’s own perspective.

After learning about this powerful, important day, please encourage your students to thank a Veteran today.


Kim JonesKim 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. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Teaching the Elections: One Week to Go!

Trump and CLintonBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

With U.S. Presidential Elections coming into the home stretch, many Americans are heaving a sigh of relief that one of the most acrimonious election seasons in memory is finally almost over.

But for teachers and homeschoolers, that means just one week remains to use active elections as an exciting real-time teaching tool for US history and social studies.

Curriki’s elections page includes a collection of helpful, interactive election teaching resources for kids of all ages. They include:

  • Mock Election, a three-day simulation lesson in which students explain the steps taken from party formation to national election.
  • Win the White House, in which students to manage their very own presidential campaign.
  • Electoral Process, a peek into the electoral process, from party primaries to the general election.
  • Poster PLanHow to Become President of the U.S. Poster Lesson Plan, in which students go from Constitutional qualifications for becoming President of the United States, through background research on a candidate, through campaign analysis, and finally participate in a mock election.
  • Scholastic Election, created by the expert editors of Scholastic News magazines, is designed to inform and engage kids in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Curriki also offers “Participation Presidential Elections in Government, a half-year course that aims to make students appreciate their voice in American politics. The course explores the foundations of Democracy, the American dream, social issues, and of course the presidential election.

You’ll also find links to the platforms for the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties and much, much more.

Other Election Resources

Election centralHere are some other election resources to use during this final week of the US Presidential campaign:

  • Because this campaigning cycle has been unusually contentious, Teaching Tolerance offers and promoting civility in times of conflict. The lesson plan Civil Discourse in the Classroom teaches students how to developed reasoned arguments from unsubstantiated claims. You’ll find more tips on its Election 2016 Resources page.
  • PBS Learning Media offers Election Central, a collection of election news, history, and ideas for facilitating classroom debates.

Share Your Successes!

What has been working best for you? Please share your most successful strategies on Curriki’s Facebook page and enter a drawing for an Amazon gift card!


Photo of Janet Pinto

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 Curriki.org.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

Trick or Treat! Sneak in Teaching With Halloween Fun

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

Happy HalloweenHalloween is a great time to bring fun into school, as well as at home. Kids of all ages are captivated by costume days, school parades, Trick or Treat Street-type community service events, and of course, candy galore.

But while your students will probably be hyped up on sugar for a few weeks, Halloween also presents some terrific opportunities for learning.

Start with a video history lesson about Halloween from the History Channel, which explains the origins of the elements of this odd holiday – masks, bonfires, jack-o-lanterns, witches, bonfires, cemeteries and begging for treats.

Then check out the other lessons and activities in Curriki’s Halloween Collection. They include:

  • Celebrate Halloween – Students research information on Halloween, create masks or costumes from a text they are reading, or write a narrative essay describing their best Halloween ever.
  • Halloween Story Starters – A list from Scholastic of Halloween Story Starters.
  • Halloween Logic Puzzles – students use a Halloween scenario to think logically.
  • Salem Witch TrialsLearn about the Salem Witch Trials, either in a history lesson or through an examination of Arthur Miller’s classic play The Crucible.

Last but not least, embrace the spookiness and spend some class time haunting your students by reading Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Raven. Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Trick or Treat!


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 Curriki.org.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

Amgen Foundation Donates $25K to Curriki

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

2000px-amgen-svgI am delighted to announce that Amgen Foundation, the primary philanthropic vehicle of the biotech leader Amgen, has pledged $25,000 to help Curriki further its mission to provide quality Open Educational Resources (OER) to students worldwide.

The Amgen Foundation’s generous grant will help Curriki offer even more innovative science education options to teachers and students. This kind of corporate support makes a huge difference in creating a community of learners who will be able to use their education to go out and have an impact on the world.

Eduardo Cetlin, president of Amgen Foundation, told us that he feels “Curriki is clearly making a difference for students and teachers across the globe. We are proud to support Curriki to strengthen access to quality science content for its growing community of learners.”

Curriki, a non-profit organization, hosts a free library of 83,000+ educator-vetted learning materials in all K-12 subject areas and in many formats—from individual lesson plans, instructional videos and units, to games and simulations. All content contributed by educators and select partners is available to others to use, adapt and share at no cost. In addition, Curriki curates resources into course-sequenced, standards-aligned units to enable educators to easily find materials.

Curriki recently released a new High School Physics Collection and launched a new array of custom services to give educators access to Curriki’s curriculum resources on their school’s own websites.

About Curriki

A 2016 SIIA CODiE Award finalist, Curriki’s mission is to eliminate the gap between those who have access to high-quality education and those who do not. Curriki’s online community of educators, learners and committed education experts works together to create quality materials that benefit teachers, parents and students globally. A Computerworld Honors Laureate for 2012, Curriki was selected as the 21st Century Achievement Award winner for Digital Access. With more than 485,000 members and 83,000+ learning assets, Curriki has reached more than 12 million users worldwide. Join today www.curriki.org.

About the Amgen Foundation

The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and to invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $250 million to local, regional and international nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. The Amgen Foundation brings the excitement of discovery to the scientists of tomorrow through several signature programs, including Amgen Scholars, Amgen Biotech Experience and Amgen Teach. For more information, visit www.amgeninspires.com.


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. Learn more at Curriki.org.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

Back to School for Homeschoolers

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

CrayonsHomeschoolers have a unique challenge when a new school year starts because there’s no change in environment – kids live and learn in the same place. So how do you get kids engaged in and focused on learning again?

Making the New Year Special

Love to Know has some suggestions that include making sure homeschool kids have new school clothes and school supplies. The homeschooling website then divides its suggestions by age group:

For Younger Kids

  • Name Your School – Younger children enjoy giving their homeschool year a unique identity, so spend some time together creating a school name and mascot.
  • Start a Memory Book – Create a memory book to keep track of your child’s progress – either one each year, or one that will last throughout your child’s academic journey.
  • Throw a Back to School Party – Throw a back to school party to ignite your child’s excitement for the new school year.
  • Hold a Scavenger Hunt – Hide school supplies and small treats around your house and send your children on a scavenger hunt to collect what they need for the new school year.

For Older Children

Ask older kids for ideas on how they want to mark the new school year. Some ideas might include:

  • Design a school T-shirt
  • Create a special work area
  • Take a back to school field trip

Read more.

homeschooledchildrencookingCreating Back to School Traditions

Simple Homeschool offers 10 back to school traditions to use each year, such as serving up a special breakfast, taking an annual photo, marking the child’s height to celebrate their growth and more.

All Things with a Purpose offers the creative idea of throwing a “Not Back to School Party” with friends and family celebrating the fact that you don’t have to go back to school.

Share Your Ideas!

What did you do this year to make the first day back to homeschool special? Share your ideas here!


Photo of Janet Pinto

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 Curriki.org.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

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: OurEverydayLife.com and VistaWide.com.)

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!


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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 Curriki.org.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

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 academy.oracle.com.


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: http://www.curriki.org/oer/Kindergarten-Literacy-Centers/)

  • 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

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, ConstitutionCenter.org, 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 www.curriki.org/blog/.