From Slavery to the White House: Celebrate Black History Month with Curriki

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Source - Public domain (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2008661312/)

Source – Public domain (www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2008661312/)

Licence CC-BY-SA by Karen Fasimpaur

Black History Month, held each February in the United States, celebrates the contributions of African Americans to United States history. Curriki offers a treasure trove of vetted resources to help teachers and homeschoolers introduce their students to the central role African Americans have played in U.S. history – from slavery to the Oval Office.

History.com Resources

One of the best Black History Month resources in the Curriki Library is History.com. A couple of our favorites include:

  • Black History Milestones
    History.com’s discussion of Black History Milestones explores milestones and events that shaped African-American history, including the Civil War, the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, and the election of the first black president, Barack Obama.
  • Black History Facts
    Did you know that Madam CJ Walker was America’s first self-made woman to become a millionaire? Or that George Washington Carver was able to derive nearly 300 products from peanuts? Get the story of the creation of the NAACP, famous firsts in African American history, and more in History.com’s discussion of Black History Facts.
  • America at the End of the Civil War
    The America at the End of the Civil War unit by Nassau BOCES uses a PowerPoint presentation and music to reflect the culture of America after the Civil War, including the war’s aftermath and the Jim Crow Laws.

Black History on Video

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks (public domain)

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks has been called “the first lady of civil rights” because she refused to give up her seat in the colored section of a bus to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Her courageous act of defiance and the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the Civil Rights Movement.

Curriki’s Rosa Parks Introductory Lesson for kids in grades 4-6 introduces Rosa Parks using a Language Arts lesson plan.

In an activity from Read Write Think, students make believe that the year is 1955 and they just heard about Parks’ arrest, and write newspaper editorials about segregation.

Famous African Americans on Video

Curriki’s Black History Month collection includes a number of opportunities to introduce prominent African Americans through video:

  • Rosa Parks
    History.com offers videos about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott and more.
  • Frederick Douglass
    Frederick Douglass was an African American slave who became a social reformer and abolitionist. This cartoon biography makes learning his story fun.
  • George Washington Carver
    Journey into to the life of George Washington Carver, who was born into slavery but overcame his surroundings to use plant biology and his ideas to help the world.
  • Harriett Tubman
    This Harriet Tubman mini-biography teaches about the Underground Railroad and the Civil War.
  • Sojourner Truth
    Sojourner Truth was an escaped slave who became an abolitionist and women’s rights activist.

More Black History Month VideosObama poster

  • The Civil Rights Movement
    The Civil Rights Movement helped change the United States of America, and Brown vs. Board of Education stopped segregation in schools. Welcome to FresBerg’s educational videos deliver watchable lessons.
  • 14th Amendment
    The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ordered states to stop discriminating against blacks. This educational video tells the story.

Other Resources

  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
    The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library system, is a national research library devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the history and experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world. The website features online access to digitized images, texts, manuscripts, and archival finding aids – great for students researching any topics having to do with African-American history.
  • National Geographic
    Celebrate the achievements of African Americans past and present during Black History Month. This collection of resources from National Geographic includes profiles of prominent figures such as President Barack Obama and lesser-known war heroine Mary Seacole. Try an interactive exercise to witness the challenges slaves faced attempting to escape North. Explore hands-on activities, maps, and more that will give students of all backgrounds new perspectives on this important part of American culture.

See all of Curriki’s Black History Month resources.


KimJonesimageKim 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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STORYWORLD Joins the Curriki Toolbox

STORYWORLD logoBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Learning a language is hard. Teaching a language can be even harder!

Research in language acquisition indicates that reading is one of the most effective ways to learn a new language. The more students read, the faster they learn. However, for the narrative to be meaningful, 90% of the words have to be comprehensible. That challenges teachers and parents
to find appropriate texts to match each learner’s language level.

Meet Curriki’s newest partner, STORYWORLD

STORYWORLD solves all this. STORYWORLD translates every word of every book with a simple click. Click once to hear the word pronounced, click again to hear and read the translation in the home language. No dictionary needed! Students can also switch the entire page to read and listen to the story in their home language for deeper understanding. This feature helps single-language parents support bilingual learners.

All these unique features unlock the story for virtually any student at any level.

storyworld-illustrationSTORYWORLD makes reading easy and natural. Learners acquire language naturally, listening to each story supported with visual clues. So, language becomes the vehicle for learning, not the end in itself. Narration by native speakers helps learners become familiar with the natural rhythm and sound of the language.

STORYWORLD Truly Makes Learning Fun

Students play the games at the end of each story, winning points while engaging in activities that reinforce core vocabulary and comprehension. At the end of each book read, every word or phrase that was clicked is saved in a personalized vocabulary list so the learner can review his or her own challenging vocabulary.

STORYWORLD’s Lexile® leveled library covers more than 1000 words and phrases, all presented with fun stories and colorful images. Subjects cover animals, body, celebrations, colors, counting, daily life, family, food, friends, locations, morals, school, transit, travel, and weather, so there’s something for everyone.

With STORYWORLD’s unique built-in one-on-one support, kids can easily teach themselves a new language in their zone of proximal development, that space between what they know and what they need to know, where learning happens most naturally.

Research has proven that students using STORYWORLD’s interactive bilingual books are able to learn independently in formal and informal learning settings.

STORYWORLD Aids Brain Development

And…STORYWORLD supports brain development! Learning a second language benefits children in multiple ways. Children who grow up learning multiple languages have enhanced brain development, show greater empathy for other cultures, and enjoy career opportunities in life.

Teachers, parents, join the growing STORYWORLD community.


Janet PintoJanet 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!

(Images provided by STORYWORLD)

Kids Distracted? Use the Holidays to Make Teaching Fun!

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

The run-up to the December holidays presents a huge challenge to keeping kids engaged and learning.  Kids are so distracted by visions of sugarplums, menorahs and the prospect of getting gifts! You will find that Curriki’s website offers a wide variety of holiday activities that give teachers and homeschoolers the opportunity to use the distractions to teach. Here are a few ideas:

Christmas

Grinch Grow Your HeartDr. Seuss Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes this Season offers fantastic printables and activities, from “The Grinch Grow Your Heart Game” to Seussian word searches  to “The Official Good Deed Tracker Book.” Join Cindy-Lou Who for a fun holiday ride!

Christmas Tale is a free app for both iOS and Android that includes a Christmas Countdown Clock, Christmas Piano musical tree-decorating activity, Christmas Wish List, jigsaw puzzles, Paint-a-Picture, a Counting Game, Memory Match and more!

Hanukkah (Chanukah)

Through Curriki’s Hanukkah collection, kids can learn about the Jewish festival of lights through stories, videos, songs, cooking and more, hurtling through Hanukkah traditions with a step-by-step guide to everything from arranging the menorah to unique holiday customs.

Kkwanzaa-slidewanzaa

Did you know that Kwanzaa was started by a teacher? Kwanzaa was introduced in the mid-1960s — during the US Civil Rights Movement – by Maulana Karenga, Ph.D., chair and professor of African-American Studies at the California State University at Long Beach, in an effort to pull the African-American community together in pride and unity. The reflective nature of Kwanzaa is based on ideas borrowed from an ancient African Swahili seven-day-long harvest celebration.

In Curriki’s lessons, children discuss those seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.  You might want to start with a Sesame Street video!

Winter Solstice

Children on a globeThe Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, marking the moment the sun shines at its most southern point, directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. It’s a major pagan festival, with rituals of rebirth having been celebrated for thousands of years, and it’s a fascinating scientific phenomenon. This year, the solstice will occur on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Check out Curriki’s many resources!

Holidays Around the World

Younger children (K-1) can learn about winter holidays around the world with OER on Curriki’s website, traveling from Mexico (by re-enacting a traditional posadas party,) to Sweden (by role-playing Santa Lucia Day),  to Africa (by eating homemade Kinaras on self-made woven placemats for a harvest celebration), to  Israel (by making dreidels and latkes for Hanukkah), to the United States (by decorating a Christmas tree, making cards and caroling).

Christmas Around the World Webquest and Holiday Customs Around the World transport older students to many countries so they can experience their cultures and their unique holiday celebrations.

Enjoy Curriki’s whole Winter Holidays Learning Collection!

 


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 Curriki.org.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

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.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

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!