Monday, April 24, 2017

TED Talk Units (How and why I created TED Talk units for my Alt-Ed students)

This school year I have been using workbooks and interactive notebooks more than I ever have before. I can't believe it took me so long to utilize these types of resources in my classroom. As an Alt-Ed teacher, I often have eight or more courses I am either teaching or monitoring throughout the day.  Keeping everything organized can sometimes be a challenge. Workbooks and interactive notebooks are a prefect remedy to organizational "issues."

Another challenge I face is providing engaging, meaningful, and interesting lessons for students for multiple courses (sometimes going on simultaneously) in my classroom. The past few years I've infused TED-Ed, TED Talks, Khan Academy, podcasts (especially NPR and WPR) and Crash Course videos (in multiple content areas) in virtually all subject areas. My students love them. They are engaging, high-quality resources that my Alt-Ed students both enjoy and learn a tremendous amount from! (I've had former students write me years after graduation to "confess" their addiction to TED Talks and National Public Radio/Wisconsin Public Radio- and "blame" me for it!)

Although Khan Academy and TED-Ed already have high-quality courses, units, and individual lessons ready to go for students, Crash Courses and TED do not. I've been developing lessons for both the past few years. I've developed quite a few TED lessons focusing on the topics of race, gender, mental health, and education and have recently started putting them together in "units." This month I finished two TED Talk Units (one focusing on Education and the other on Mental Health). I anticipate using these units with my Independent Study students as well incorporating them into my Life Skills and English courses.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

This month our high school GSA is planning several events the last week of April to raise awareness of the issue of sexual assault. In addition, the GSA will be selling teal ribbons over both lunch periods the last week of April to raise money for Hope House.

One event the GSA is planning is Denim Day on April 26th. We are working on posters for the event and our members plan to participate in the nation-wide event on the 26th. We also plan to sell ribbons that day to raise money for Hope House.

We just finished two bulletin boards (one for the math wing and the other for my classroom). The purpose of both bulletin boards is to raise awareness of the issue and encourage involvement (speaking out, supporting victims, etc.) among staff and students. Both bulletin boards are interactive. The bulletin board in the math wing has 27 cards which open up to display additional information for those interested in learning more about the topic. The front of each card is different. Some cards are quiz questions about sexual assault. Other cards contain information about resources for individuals in need of help. Some organizations included in some of our cards are RAINN, Crisis Text Line, No More, and National Sexual Assault Resource Center. Many of the cards have QR codes which link to websites listed above.

Our members are also compiling a list of facts, statistics, and quotes pertaining to sexual assault that we plan to include in the morning announcements this month.  We're in the process of sharing information and ideas via google docs.