Kīlauea Volcano Erupts

UPDATE, 5/24/18, 8:12am HST

Source: Kīlauea Volcano Erupts

This is great site for teachers to keep up to date on the Volcano. Also great resource to use when teaching about plate tectonics and volcanoes. I especially like the maps.


Developing a Growth Mindset in Teachers and Staff | Edutopia

Source: Developing a Growth Mindset in Teachers and Staff | Edutopia

Reflection is the big one I think. Right now that is what I’m doing, its called the end of the year.

Oculus Go Review: Standalone VR Priced for the Masses

Nearly seven months after its announcement back in October 2017, Oculus Go, the company’s first standalone VR headset, is finally here. The company’s thesis is that this affordably priced unit, which doesn’t rely on a docked smartphone, will make for a more seamless mobile VR experience. But does it go above and beyond Gear VR? […]

Source: Oculus Go Review: Standalone VR Priced for the Masses

Think about this, phone costs at least a hundred and a good VR headset costs about 50.00, so for 50.00 more you could have both.  I think this might be a viable option. But I would wait to let them get the kinks out first. Future Purchase?? Maybe.

Sunspots Vanishing Faster than Expected

Space Weather Archive

May 1, 2018: Sunspots are becoming scarce. Very scarce. So far in 2018 the sun has been blank almost 60% of the time, with whole weeks going by without sunspots. Today’s sun, shown here in an image from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, is typical of the featureless solar disk:


The fact that sunspots are vanishing comes as no surprise. Forecasters have been saying for years that this would happen as the current solar cycle (“solar cycle 24”) comes to an end. The surprise is how fast.

“Solar cycle 24 is declining more quickly than forecast,” announced NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center on April 26th. This plot shows observed sunspot numbers in blue vs. the official forecast in red:


“The smoothed, predicted sunspot number for April-May 2018 is about 15,” says NOAA. “However, the actual monthly values have been [significantly] lower.”

“Official” forecasts of the solar cycle come from NOAA’s Solar…

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Infiniscope Advisory Group

So I began a new opportunity this year, I joined an advisory board. Not something I thought I would be interested in or want to do. But I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I applied and was accepted on the Infiniscope Advisory board. Infiniscope is a project created by ASU and part of the NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.  The website is host to a number of interactive lessons that are being beta tested. Since being picked to be on the board I had the opportunity to test a lesson from the website; Celestial Jukebox. I thought it was really great how it used sound/music to help understand Kepler Laws. Students used music to try and figure out the patterns exhibited by planets in different orbits. It’s really cool way of explaining Kepler Laws, plus it addresses NGSS 3D learning. The Teacher’s Lesson guide does a good job of guiding you through the lesson.

I’m impressed by the other lessons that appear on the website. The opportunity to be a part of this advisory board has opened up new opportunities to learn about new lessons and also learn more about NGSS 3D learning. We recently reviewed  a lesson with the NGSS rubric. I’ve never used the rubric before so this was a new experience for me. The rubric addresses the 3 Dimensional learning of the Next Generation standards. The EQulP Rubric lists various criteria that review a lesson.

The purpose of the rubric and review process is to: (1) review existing lessons and units to determine what revisions are needed; (2) provide constructive criterion-based feedback and suggestions for improvement to developers; (3) identify examples/models for teachers’ use within and across states; and (4) to inform the development of new lessons, units, and other instructional materials. 

We used this to review a lesson that is being Beta tested on the Infiniscope website. I learned a lot through the process, it started to get me thinking about my lessons and how they would stand up to this scrutiny.  It’s a good guide to use when creating a lesson if your district or state has adopted the NGSS.

If your interested in the lessons on the Infinscope feel free to use the link in this post to get to the website. Check out the information below about the research they are doing to find other topics for interactive lessons.

The Infiniscope Digital Teaching Network is seeking your help! Infiniscope is based out of Arizona State University and funded by NASA. Infiniscope specializes in creating digital learning experiences around NASA data and visualizations that are tightly aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and are built for all audiences. We are inviting you, to share your personal experience with simulations you have used with your audiences (in and out of the classroom) or ones you wish you could find to reach students struggling with the content you are trying to communicate. 


Your participation in this study will involve the completion of a Qualtrics survey using the provided link below. This survey will take approximately 5-10 minutes. By completing the questionnaire, you will be entered in a drawing to win one of four Amazon gift cards. Survey closes April 30th and winners will be named May 1st.


If you would like to participate, please click the link below to take the survey. The survey will be available until April 30, 2018 at https://asu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9NZQUnMGIHa6ARL


Thank you so much for your willingness to assist us with this important area of research!



29 of the Best Flipped Classroom Apps for Elementary School Teachers – The Tech Edvocate

Spread the loveAt last count, there were over 80,000 educational apps available to teachers. There are apps for everything: literacy, STEM, productivity, audiovisual, etc. There are apps which improve accessibility for students with different learning challenges, i.e. text to voice, voice to text, etc. While many of these may be a dream come true for educators, the dizzying array of choices is also a nightmare. Teachers just don’t have time to filter through thousands of apps to find the one that works best for the needs of their students. To help, we started to create curated lists of the best […]

Source: 29 of the Best Flipped Classroom Apps for Elementary School Teachers – The Tech Edvocate

If your an elementary school teacher looking few a few apps, this is a great resource. If your a middle or high school teacher, there are some that would work for you.

One Week Into a Phone Free Classroom

This could be an awesome idea to use in class

Pernille Ripp

We went phone free in our classroom five days ago.  Five days of no phones allowed.  Five days of fewer distractions.  Five days of being conscious of when we pull out a device, and when we purposely put it away.  Over spring break, I had sent the following email to students and parents letting them know of the decision, worried about the top-down approach I was taking with this decision.  And yet, I felt like we had to try something new and now was the time for the change.

I hope your spring break has been nice!  Just a heads up that we will be going phone free for most of the 4th quarter in both literacy studies and informational studies in our classroom, as well as independent reading.  Students will be asked to leave their phones in their lockers on in a basket on our shelf as they enter the…

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Your Top 10 Genius Hour Questions Answered | Cult of Pedagogy

We hear the charge for more student-directed, inquiry-based learning, but it can seem like a load of pie-in-the-sky hooey without instructions for how to do it.

Source: Your Top 10 Genius Hour Questions Answered | Cult of Pedagogy

Interested in doing this project find out what its about. I do a modified version depending on my classes. We just finished our brainstorming. Now they are starting their research and creating their websites. Some really cool ideas came out of the brainstorming. Using websites as their final presentation, is new this year for me. Slowly I’m moving towards the type of Genius Hour that is more creative. We will see how it works this year. So far the websites are looking good and some students are really getting into their project.

Of course the problem with this project is the students have a hard time finding a topic. Sometimes they just get stuck! Meaning they have a hard time brainstorming or finding a topic within the STEAM realm. I know that you should be letting them do things outside that topic, but this is where I modify. Trying to get them to choose something they can do an experiment or create something can be the most difficult part. But this year I think it was a little easier. I had some students come up with some great ideas. One student is painting different planets, creating their own planets. Its within the STEAM umbrella, I had no problem with this. They have to research planets and physics to create their planets. Cool right? I think so.

Again think about doing the project it can be real fun for the students. They can really learn from the project and they get a choice (somewhat in my case). This podcast is awesome, it addresses a lot of questions. Especially those that deal with structure and grading. I think many people hesitate to do Genius hour because of this. Give it a try!

Using a Wonder Week to Spark Student Inquiry – John Spencer

My friend George Couros once said, “If students leave school less curious than when they have started, we have failed them.” I tend to agree. I’ve never heard of a cosmologist who says, “I’m done

Source: Using a Wonder Week to Spark Student Inquiry – John Spencer

This would be a great idea for an area that students are having a hard time understanding . There are some good ideas to help teachers start an inquiry unit.

Sustainable Smartphone

Source: Sustainable Smartphone

This challenge looks really good for an environmental/engineering project. It would be a great start to Genius Hour. I’m wondering if I should point this out to some of my kids who are having problems with finding a topic for our Genius Hour this year. I like how it is using technology that the students use in everyday life.  You might say ugh smartphones, but I think this is a good way to show the impact of smartphones on the environment to our students. I have to give credit to Mrs. Chen who did this for her National Geographic Certification Capstone. The project has fours parts to it.  Hope this idea can work in your class.

Your challenge has four parts:

  • First. explore the social, economic, and environmental impacts of smartphone raw materials mining, manufacturing, and disposal and identify impacts that could be addressed by new smartphone materials and technology.

  • Second, evaluate new materials and technology that could mitigate the impacts that you identified.

  • Third, use design thinking to identify the component(s) of the mobile phone that could be made more sustainable with a change in materials.

  • Fourth, present your design research proposal.