Tuesday Tips

Info Updates, Twitter, Grants and More!

NEW SCECH information :)

*NEW* SCECH Credits for Mentoring New Teachers

MANS is happy to announce that educators who serve as mentors may earn up to 25 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) per semester as of September 2014. SCECHs are awarded for a placement period of a full semester of an academic year. A mentor teacher must prepare and submit to the building principal and/or district's superintendent an evaluation of the mentoring process. Verification must be submitted to the SCECH Coordinator no later than 30 days following the end date of the activity. A maximum of 75 SCECHs in this activity in a five-year renewal period can be used toward certificate renewal. Only 25 SCECHs per semester are awarded.

For more information and to request application forms, please contact Angelia Salas at asalas@m-a-n-s.org

SCECHs for School Committees

Are you hosting school improvement meetings, accreditation or curriculum committees, and/or PLCs? If so, consider offering your SCECHs for participation. As your designated SCECH sponsor, we can help you provide your staff members with credits for committee work, professional development, and accreditation site visits. Please note that the MDE changed SCECH rules for school committees and accreditation visits in the fall. Please contact Angelia Salas to request the new forms.

School Choice (From Education Week)

“How Parents Experience Public School Choice”
Parents in different cities face different hurdles
to finding and choosing a school, according to the
second in a series of reports from the University
of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public
Surveying 4,000 public school parents in eight
“high-choice” cities—Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver,
Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia,
and the District of Columbia—the CRPE found that
overall, parents use two to three different resources
to research schools, but school visits are far and
away the most popular method of research. Parents
of children with special needs, parents with
less education, and parents of minority students
have the most difficulty finding the right school,
but nearly half of all parents said they had no other
good option aside from their child’s current school.
In Cleveland, parents are 68 percent more likely to
name transportation as a barrier to school choice
than are their counterparts in New Orleans, where
charter schools are required to provide transportation.

Use of eLearning on Snow Days Raises Concern over Web Access

| DIGITAL EDUCATION | Kentucky and Pennsylvania are among the
states creating opportunities for districts to deliver online instruction
to students who are homebound because of inclement weather, but
some observers are concerned about the plans.
The Associated Press reports that Kentucky’s plan to let 13 districts
replace snow days with a setup in which students receive instruction
at home, mostly via the Internet, has “caused a new set of challenges.”
“Some students don’t have computers or home Internet access,”
the story says, and “districts that opt to use the home-school option
would lose state transportation dollars and federal money for free and
reduced lunches.”
Kentucky also ranks 46th out of 50 states on the availability of
high-speed Internet, says the article, creating potential barriers for
some students, especially those living in poor and rural districts.
In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, the Sentinel, a news organization for
Cumberland County, reports that connectivity is also a major concern.
Despite the challenges, it’s likely that both states—and others—will
continue their push to leverage technology to reduce the amount of
instructional time lost to bad weather. –BENJAMIN HEROLD

Treat Yourself to These Amazing Apps

While TCEA normally emphasizes apps for educational purposes, we also recognize the value that apps can add to our personal lives. So over the holiday break, try out a few of these free apps and see if they make your life a little easier.

Do you have a lot of old photos, perhaps in albums or maybe just scattered around? Digitize them quickly and easily with the Android or iOS app Heirloom. Simply take a picture of a photo and the app does the cropping and color correcting automatically. You can even leave photos in their albums so you don't risk damaging or losing them. Once the photo is done, you can upload it to Facebook, Twitter, or other social sites, or upload it to Heirloom's own social network. There is no limit to how many photos you may upload there.

Out shopping over the holidays? Use the app Tagwhat on Android or iOS to look up information about a business just by pointing your camera at it. You can see comments and reviews from other people, along with its website, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and other social sites. It will even show you special deals and coupons for that business.

How many hours of your life have you spent on hold waiting for customer service? The FastCustomer app for Android and iOS will solve that problem for you. Once you call customer service, it waits on hold for you. When the customer service agent picks up, FastCustomer rings you so you can talk to them.

Looking for a new game to replace Candy Crush? Try True or False: Quiz Battle for Android or iOS. This fun game has thousands of entertaining questions across 15 categories for you and your friends.

And finally, in case you're worried Santa might pass you by this year, use the NORAD Tracks Santa app to make sure he visits your house. It's available for both Android and iOS.

Online dictionary on any device

One tool needed by all students is a good dictionary/thesaurus. Memidex is a free, online dictionary that works on any device. Results are returned from a number of sources with definitions, audio pronunciation, and word etymology. What makes it great for education is that it contains a filtering system that will black out inappropriate results as they are returned.

Grants | Free Resources

FREE Service Learning Books for Download!

Author Cathryn Berger Kaye is known for writing her influential book, The Complete Guide to Service Learning, and after many requests from teachers, she wrote four more service learning guides that can be used with students. These four books are: A Kid's Guide to Hunger and Homelessness, A Kid's Guide to Help Others Read and Succeed, A Kid's Guide to Protecting and Caring for Animals, and A Kid's Guide to Climate Change and Global Warming. Kaye chose these four themes so they can inspire and engage students all over the world. In each book, students will learn the service learning process, have a wide range of experiences to gain knowledge, read about what others are doing around the world, and construct their own plans for action.

For more information about the author, the books, and the free downloads, click here.

USA Today Education Grant Request

USA TODAY Education is pleased to announce that newspaper program grants are available at NO COST to K12 educators in a classroom setting, for a limited time. Receive complimentary access to the E-Newspaper of USA TODAY for your classroom through the end of the school year. Utilize USA TODAY complex texts to engage and prepare students to be successful with Common Core State Standards.

To apply to receive this free service for the whole school year, click here. The deadline is rolling. If you have any questions, contact education@usatoday.com.

W. K. Kellogg Foundation Educated Kids Grant

The Kellogg Foundation seeks opportunities to invest in early child development, reading proficiency, high school graduation, and meaningful employment. The foundation partners with organizations working on early childhood education that have a commitment to whole child development, educational advocacy, family literacy, innovative educational practices, policy reform, and lifelong learning. Awards range from $10,000 to $500,000.

The foundation does not have any submission deadlines. Grant applications are accepted throughout the year.

For more details about this fund and how to apply, click here.

For the W.K. Kellogg Foundation website, click here.

Toshiba America Grant Program for 6-12 Science and Math Educators

The Toshiba America Foundation's Grant Program for 6-12 Science and Math Educators seeks to provide funding to science and mathematics teachers in public or private (nonprofit) schools who are passionate about making the subject matters more engaging for their students and improving their learning.

Grades 6 through 12 applications are accepted year-round. Requests for grants of more than $5,000 are due August 1 and February 1, annually.

For more details and to apply for this grant, click here.

Dart Foundation Education Grants

The Dart Foundation awards grants for youth education programs, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This private family foundation also provides grants to support projects and programs in health, community services, and journalism, with a specific focus on accurate coverage of science and the environment.

Grant requests of up to $5,000 are accepted year-round. Grant requests of over $5,000 are due March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15, annually.

For more information about this opportunity, click here.

Top Tweets

Here are some top tweets from great individuals or organizations the past two weeks. Check out the resources they offer and consider following them on Twitter for more excellent educational content.

EdSurg (@EdSurge) - "Using AudioBoom in the Classroom to Improve Reading Fluency bit.ly/16mlL4u"

John Spencer (@edrethink) - "Totally dig this #writingidea As you get ready to leave, you hear a book call out for help... bit.ly/1wMs3WK

Pernille Ripp (@pernilleripp) - "Our epic nonfiction writing project wp.me/p3Lwy8-HJ"

Take writing to a whole new level

Storybird Studio is a wonderful website that works with any device and allows students to create amazing stories, poetry, and books. Free to educators, Storybird even encourages students to comment on each other's work online in a private and safe environment. It is a tremendous tool for all phases of the writing process.

Google Trends

Want to see what everyone else around the world is interested in? The Google Trends tool uses real-time data to show what people have searched for since 2005. You can track the results over time, see how the item tracked in different parts of the world, and learn about related searches.

Trends is a good tool for students to use for basic data analysis. They can add up to five of their own search terms and ask Trends to compare them.

Twitter Chats

Interested in free professional development on a topic of your choice? Then consider joining a Twitter chat. A Twitter chat happens when a group of educators "meet" online at a designated time to discuss a set subject. There may be just a few educators online or hundreds. What matters is the opportunity to share ideas and resources with others who, like you, are focusing on student achievement every day.

To get the most out of a Twitter chat, you should use a free tool like Tweetdeck or Tweetchat to follow the posts. Then just enter the hashtag of the chat (more on that below) and you're all set.

If you are new to Twitter and only want to "lurk" for a while, then that's fine and you won't even need a Twitter account. But eventually you will want to have your own Twitter login so that you can share your expertise with others.

Each chat is categorized with its own hashtag, which is how you'll be able to follow all of the posts related to that topic. Here are a few great educational tags to follow. All times listed below are Eastern.

  • #edchat - Held on Tuesdays from noon to 1:00 and 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • #edtechchat - Held on Mondays from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m.and focusing on educational technology
  • #tlap - Inspired by the book Teach Like a Pirate, this chat attracts creative educators who want to improve their professional practice. It happens on Mondays at 9:00 p.m.
  • #sschat - Join this group of social studies teachers on Mondays from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • #engchat - English teachers can share ideas on Mondays from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • #kinderchat - Early childhood educators chat at 9:00 p.m.

If none of these chats struck your fancy, you can find many, many more in this document. Get connected today!