Pine Lake Preparatory

Curriculum Connections K-12 ----- February 2015

Share the Love........Service Learning

Project for Awesome (9-12)

Engage students in video creation for a cause. Explore Project for Awesome, an annual YouTube charity event created by Hank and John Green. Use the project to teach elements of argument or just to do good work.

See the project:

See Classrooms for Awesome for examples of student projects:

(via Stenhouse Newslinks)

55 Environmental Service Learning Projects

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
—Oscar Wilde

Immerse students in an issue. Pair text with action. Download this list of "55 Environmental Service-Learning Projects." Add a column for suggested books, and let the inquiry begin:

(via Stenhouse Newslinks)

Teach Students How to Create a Letter-Writing Campaign

Rally the troops around a local issue and start a letter-writing campaign. From vocabulary to an introductory video, find teaching resources at Wonderopolis:

(via Stenhouse Newslinks)

Social Studies

Professional Development - Annenberg Learner

Advancing Excellent Teaching in American Schools

Annenberg Learner uses media and telecommunications to advance excellent teaching in American schools. This mandate is carried out chiefly by the funding and broad distribution of educational video programs with coordinated Web and print materials for the professional development of K-12 teachers. It is part ofThe Annenberg Foundation and advances the Foundation's goal of encouraging the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.

Annenberg Learner's multimedia resources help teachers increase their expertise in their fields and assist them in improving their teaching methods. Many programs are also intended for students in the classroom and viewers at home. All Annenberg Learner videos exemplify excellent teaching.

Annenberg Learner resources can be accessed for FREE at

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Professional Reading Recommendation: In Defense of Read Aloud

In Defense of Read-Aloud

Steven convinces us that reading aloud must be a cornerstone of every teaching day regardless of the age level, subject matter, or discipline we teach.
—Regie Routman

Should be on every teacher's must-read list.
—Jim Trelease

What do you say to someone who questions the value of reading aloud to your students? How can you use read-aloud to teach reading and writing skills? And how can you enhance your performance to leave your students engaged, transfixed, and begging for more?

Drawing on the latest research, Steven Layne provides a convincing argument for reading aloud every day across the grades, and gives teachers practical advice and specific strategies in his new book, In Defense of Read‑Aloud. You'll learn how to:

  • arrange the best seating plan;
  • select the best read-aloud;
  • prepare for and launch a new read-aloud;
  • plan for teachable moments; and
  • read with expression to maximize engagement.
Correspondence between teachers and noted authors Katherine Paterson, Lois Lowry, Nancy Werlin, Andrew Clements, and Ben Mikaelsen open each chapter, and the book is filled with reflections and book suggestions from teachers and prominent educators such as Brian Cambourne, Richard Allington, Debbie Diller, Doug Fisher, Kelly Gallagher, Linda Hoyt, and Donalyn Miller.

In Defense of Read‑Aloud will entertain, challenge, and inspire you to make the most of this essential literacy teaching practice. You can preview the entire book online now:

In Defense of Read-Aloud
Sustaining Best Practice
Steven Layne
Grades K-12 • 200 pp • $21.00

Professional Reading Recommendation: Energize Research Reading & Writing (4-8)

Fires in the Middle School Bathroom

Following on the heels of the bestselling Fires in the Bathroom, which brought the insights of high school students to teachers and parents, Kathleen Cushman now turns her attention to the crucial and challenging middle grades, joining forces with adolescent psychologist Laura Rogers.

As teachers, counselors, and parents cope with the roller coaster of early adolescence, too few stop to ask students what they think about these critical years. Here, middle school students in grades 5 through 8 across the country and from diverse ethnic backgrounds offer insights on what it takes to make classrooms more effective and how to forge stronger relationships between young adolescents and adults. Students tackle such critical topics as social, emotional, and academic pressures; classroom behavior; organization; and preparing for high school. Cushman and Rogers help readers hear and understand the vital messages about adolescent learning that come though in what these students say.

This invaluable resource provides a unique window into how middle school students think, feel, and learn, bringing their needs to the forefront of the conversation about education.

Literacy - Reading

365 Days of Young Adult Literature

See the titles below (& in readable form at the link below):

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Student Response

The Arts

Art PD - Excellence in Arts Education

The Art of Teaching the Arts examines how seven "principles of artful teaching" influence the curricular and instructional choices that high school arts teachers make. Each program in the workshop includes examples of teaching in dance, music, theater, and visual art.

This program begins with teachers sharing passionate insights about why they teach the arts to young people. Then short classroom segments illustrate how arts teachers meet the needs and imaginations of their students by using the seven principles:

  • Developing students as artists
  • Addressing the diverse needs of students
  • Choosing instructional approaches
  • Creating rich learning environments
  • Fostering genuine communication
  • Making the most of community resources
  • Nurturing independent thinkers

Subsequent programs will examine each principle in depth.


Middle School Math - Tools for Sense-making in Mathematics

From SERP (an excellent resource in Language Arts as well):

Teachers conducted “think-alouds” with students, and found that many students began to solve problems without understanding the situation described, or the question being asked. They looked for signals that would indicate whether to subtract, multiply, or perform some other operation. The question our group pursued was this: how can we shift the culture of the mathematics classroom away from answer-getting and toward sense-making? We are not suggesting that getting answers is a bad goal, but when it is the only goal, genuine learning is undermined.

We set out to identify relatively small shifts in practice that could create relatively big shifts in behavior and expanded to include fully designed diagnostic lessons.


Digital Einstein Direct Link:

Educational Superlatives, from Tech to Writing


Design Thinking, Deconstructed

The process, which is an approach to learning that includes considering real-world problems, research, analysis, building by hand, and lots of experimentation, is documented and shared among staff.

Link to Article:

Link to Infographic (pictured below):

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How to Engage Students in Engineering (K-6)

Applying problems to the real world through stories:

America's College Student Body

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Compiled by Deans of Students

Shelly Sims (K-5), Lauri Schatz (6-8), Lori Reuter (9-12)