All About the Supreme Court

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

U.S. Supreme Court Building (Source:Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Supreme Court Building (Source:Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court is sparking a lively debate. It comes after Republicans refused to consider then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the seat vacated by when Antonin Scalia passed away February 2016.

But all this news about the Supreme Court provides a great opportunity for social studies teachers and homeschoolers to really dive into teaching their students about the Judicial Branch of the Federal Government. Fortunately, Curriki has a comprehensive collection of resources that support teaching and learning about the US Supreme Court.

In Crash Course: Supreme Court, PBS offers a fun video that helps us understand how a case makes it to the Supreme Court.

You’ll also find on this page:

(Source:Wikimedia Commons)

(Source:Wikimedia Commons)

In Supreme Court Activity, students do a simulation of a Supreme Court deliberation that introduces them to the difficult role of the courts balancing individual rights and public safety when national security is threatened.

Supreme Court Cases delves into the significance and outcomes of major Supreme Court cases and how they affect society.

The Challenge of Selecting an Ideal Supreme Court Nominee Government helps us understand the challenge a president faces in finding a judge to nominate who will be attractive enough to both parties to be confirmed.

Supreme Court Nominations teaches the fundamentals of Supreme Court Justice nominations and helps students understand the politics behind the nominations; challenges students to cut through the politics and compare nominees’ judicial philosophies.

The Supreme Court’s Role in American Society helps students understand the history and role of the Supreme Court, particularly in light of famous court rulings and the make-up of the court.


Photo of 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!

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.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

Inauguration and Protest

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

Iniguration

Source – Wikimedia Commons

Last Friday, we saw departing President Barack Obama hand the leadership baton to Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America, in a solemn ceremony in Washington, D.C., that has been repeated many times since George Washington’s inauguration.

The next day, millions of people marched in Washington and across the country (and the world) in non-violent protest of the Trump presidency and to declare their support for the rights of women, LGBT persons, immigrants and Muslims.

The timing of the two events presents a unique opportunity for educators and homeschoolers to examine both the role of the presidency, including inaugurations through history, and that of non-violent protest in eliciting change.

Inauguration

The inauguration of the President of the United States is a ceremony that marks the commencement of a new four-year term of a president. It happens at the western front of US Capitol on Jan. 20. The oath is usually administered by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the new president and vice president officially take office at noon.

Women's March on Denver (Photo by Hammster Media)

Women’s March on Denver (Photo by Hammster Media)

Curriki offers several resources that explain presidential inaugurations.

The Role of the President

Curriki offers a curated collection of lessons and activities that help students grasp the complex responsibilities and roles of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government.

  • The President’s Job helps students review the role of the presidency by using objects, images and documents.
  • Defining the Presidency helps students learn about the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the election of our first president, George Washington.

Civil Protest

  • The Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration – as well as 386 sister marches held in other cities across America – invites us to take a look at the historical role of nonviolent protest on government action.
  • The mission of the march, according to the Women’s March on Washington website, was: “In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore.

“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”

For educators and homeschoolers, the women’s marches present an opportunity to teach about democracy’s basic principles. The grassroots protests can ignite interesting debate in the classroom, as well as a lesson in the history and effectiveness of non-violent protest.

  • The President’s Roles and Responsibilities: Communicating with the President, a collection of two lessons from EDSITEment, encourages students to consider the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy.
  • Protest Signs examines protest signs as a powerful and important way for people to express their feelings, as children compare 2 protest signs from the civil rights movement and then create their own expressive poster. It is included in an OurStory module entitled Students Sit for Civil Rights, by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Photo of 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!

 

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)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Honoring an American Hero

mlk3

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

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—celebrated next Monday, Jan. 16, 2017—provides an inspiring opportunity to teach about justice and heroism.

Dr. King—an American hero who lived and died long before our students were born—is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. Although he died for his beliefs, his legacy lived on in a changed world.

The United States declared Dr. King’s birthday a federal holiday in 1986, but his commitment to civil rights through non-violent protest resonates even today, far beyond US shores. He has been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, among many others.

Here are a few of Curriki’s favorite resources for teaching a new generation about this great man:

Who Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream: equality for all people. This lesson looks at how one life can change the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Me: Identifying with a Hero
This lesson provides ideas for celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by encouraging students to explore the connections between Dr. King and themselves.

Martin Luther KingLiving the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness
Students participate in Dr. King’s dream by doing 100 acts of kindness.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Power of Nonviolence
This lesson introduces Middle School students to King’s philosophy of nonviolence, and to the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi that influenced King’s views.

Martin Luther King Day Teaching Resources
Science NetLinks and AAAS have developed a number of resources from the social and behavioral sciences that will help you celebrate the work and legacy of Dr. King in your classroom, from understanding stereotypes to skin color to social class.

Scholastic MLK Resources
Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent struggle for civil rights in the United States with biographies, memorable quotes, plays, printables and multimedia resources.


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!

Curriki … Thanks for Being a Teacher’s Best Friend

By Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member

The holiday season and the end of 2016 is a perfect time for reflecting on all things we are thankful for. We are reminded of those who are there for us all year, whom we call best friends. For many teachers, students, homeschoolers, parents, and education professionals around the world, Curriki has been a best friend – a constant, valuable resource to lean on.

If you haven’t discovered it yet, I’d like to share how Curriki strives to be a teacher’s best friend!

Trustworthy Instructional Resources

Teacher and studentsCurriki hosts an open-source library of instructional resources that you can rely on. Curriculum units, lesson plans, worksheets, graphic organizers, videos, simulations, reference materials and more are plentiful. They cover grade levels K-12 and higher education. Subject areas span from the arts and core subjects like math, science, language arts, and social studies, to career and technical education and foreign languages. Educators from around the world are constantly uploading new resources to share, plus, many resources come from esteemed educational partners and sponsors such as Khan Academy, the National Constitution Center and Oracle Academy.

“Read Your Mind” Search Results

Best friends know what you are thinking and what you need. With Curriki, you can search by keyword, subject, grade level or instructional material type to get relevant resources you can use in the classroom or your homeschool.

Generously FREE Open Resources

Money is never an issue with your best friend. Curriki offers a library of over 83,000 instructional resources that are completely free. It is free to become a member and no charge to view, download, and share resources. The library of resources is constantly evolving.  In addition, Curriki has curated collections specifically designed to align with standards and high-need content areas.

Community Ready To Listen, Dialogue, Collaborate

In addition to a vast resource library, Curriki consists of a community of nearly 500,000 members from around the entire globe, sharing instructional materials with each other and collaborating in groups. You can connect with colleagues within your own schools, community or across the world.

Help Whenever You Need It

Curriki is quicker than a phone call away. Scrambling for a supplemental resource to help differentiate instruction or address a content need? Pull up Curriki on your phone, tablet, computer or anywhere you have internet access! Why reinvent the wheel when someone else is willing to share?

Keeps You Organized

We’ve all needed our best friend to keep our heads on straight. Curriki isn’t just a place where you can search for materials. — you can also save and organize resources in your own personal library and even share it with colleagues!

Encourages You to Help Others

By being a member of Curriki and sharing resources, you help global education for all. Many educators around the world don’t have the time and resources as you do. Likewise, you may benefit from the shared resources of others. The education profession is a juggling act. Curriki offers the chance to leverage the playing field and collaborate so we can maximize our time and accomplish all that we can for our students.

Join the Community

For more information on becoming a Curriki partner, please email Partners@curriki.org or visit Curriki.org.


LaniLani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

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!

Curriki Wins an Owler Award – a Top Trending Company!

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Owler awardCurriki is delighted to announce that we have won an Owler Award – Hot in Cupertino!

Owler is a web and mobile Internet publisher of business information worldwide.  It helps business professionals from every field gauge how they stack up against their competitors, track their partners, keep abreast of what’s going in their fields and stay up on trends.

Each year, Owler recognizes the top trending companies in cities around the world. It sifted through over 15 million companies on their platform to find the most award-worthy businesses, and Curriki is proud to be one of the 4,500 award winners across the 600 most popular cities on Owler.

Recipients were chosen based on several different metrics, including their number of followers on Owler, insights collected from the community, social media followers, and blog posts.

“We’ve sorted through database of millions of contributions from our community and landed on the top trending companies from around the world,” said Jim Fowler, CEO at Owler. “Being Hot In 2016 is an accomplishment to be proud of.”

Because Cupertino is a high-tech hotbed, to win the award in this competitive community is especially rich!

See Curriki’s company profile on Owler.


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!

15 Thanksgiving Activities That Integrate STEM

Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member

turkey yumIt’s November! That means this month is full of all things Thanksgiving.

The history of the first Thanksgiving meal with Native Americans, turkey crafts, and daydreaming of all of the delicious food usually top the month’s festivities.

However, this holiday can also be a great opportunity to make learning STEM concepts in math, science, technology, and design thinking incredibly fun and engaging. Here are several activities that are perfect for integrating into your classroom or homeschooling curriculum. Most involve easy-to-find materials in the household, so they are also budget-friendly!

Turkeys Involve Math?

Pattern Block Turkeys
Mrs. T’s First Grade Class takes the traditional turkey craft to the next level by using pattern blocks to create “math-friendly” turkeys.

Candy corn athCandy Corn Counting
No Time For Flash Cards has a great counting activity for young learners. Use candy corn for basic counting or to illustrate math sentences.

Thanksgiving Math and Science Activities 
Little Giraffes Teaching Ideas offers several Thanksgiving-themed math and science activities, including making food graphs from Thanksgiving foods, and popcorn or cranberry patterns.

Candy Sorting Mats
Making Learning Fun has templates for candy sorting mats for all occasions, including a turkey for Thanksgiving. Using skittles or other candies, kids can sort, count, and then eat their work!

Thanksgiving Budgeting
What the Teacher Wants offers a Thanksgiving math activity to teach kids about budgeting. Using circulars and newspaper ads for Thanksgiving, students will plan and budget for a Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving Tallying and Graphing Charts
Having a large Thanksgiving get-together? Loving 2 Learn offers fun printable tallying and graphing charts to find out what is the most and least popular pie, vegetable, and pumpkin treat of the season.

Let’s Talk Turkey: The Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner
Calculate the cost to put out that lavish spread.

The Science of Thanksgiving

How Long Do Leftovers Last?
Wonderopolis helps teach kids about refrigeration, bacteria growth and temperature by exploring how long all the parts of a Thanksgiving meal keep in the refrigerator.

dancing corn activityDancing Corn Thanksgiving Science Activity
Little Bins for Little Hands has an activity where kids can explore density, physical properties and chemical reactions with corn kernels, baking soda and vinegar.

Make Homemade Butter Thanksgiving Edible Science
Teach children about states of matter and food science by making butter from heavy cream. Then use the end product to butter rolls on Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Science Experiments
Turn ordinary pumpkins into science marvels! Kids make pumpkin slime, volcanos, car tunnels and more.

Candy Corn Catapults
Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls offers a hands-on activity in physics. Using common household items, catapults can be made with pencils, popsicle sticks, clothespins, and more to learn about trajectory, tension and force.

Study Seeds With Popcorn
Steve Spangler Science shows how you can observe seedlings and germination from popcorn.

Light Up Thanksgiving Turkey Circuit Craft 
Left Brain Craft Brain offers  a fun craft to teach children how to make a simple electrical circuit and a cute turkey at the same time.

Competition and Design

Thanksgiving STEM Challenges leftovers
Incorporate competition, design thinking, and math and science skills in these STEM challenge activities from Plans for a Better Tomorrow. Challenges include making a Mayflower boat and pumpkin catapults, and present Pilgrim building design dilemmas.

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving-themed STEM activity? Please share! We hope your November is full of lots of learning!


LaniLani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!