31 Days of Posting – This Time all about Discovery Education

This time of year is great for looking back and planning for the future. Today, I have again pledged to post for 31 days, this time I will be writing about Discovery Education. Last year I started my retirement by pledging to write for 30 days. I don’t think I made it, but I did get out lots of posts last year. maybe I will make it this year.

I have decided to focus on Discovery Education. Why?  First, I received a #Deanie from Dean Shareski, a wonderful educator and a great supporter of teachers. I was pretty happy to get some recognition from Dean, I have a great deal of respect for his writing and his opinions.

Recognition is always great. It is a terrific motivator. When I read Dean’s tweet, I realized I really needed to step up my game on my Discovery Education blog – a site I had started to promote the great resources available for students and teachers.

The second thing that has me posting today is some of the work I am doing for Discovery Education. Discovery is currently revamping some of their Science Techbook material to get ready for state-wide adoption of the Techbook next March.

This is something that ministry people in Ontario should consider. Discovery will actually go back into their own material and modify it to fit the curriculum expectations of a state (or province) that adopts their material. They can do this quickly because they have a whole host of writers and editors that work with them on a regular basis.

The Techbook series, includes three separate editions, one each for Science, Math and Social Studies. In each Techbook there is a huge collection of excellent digital material. As in earlier blogs, I need to upload material to my blog as people who are not subscribed to Discovery Education can’t access all of the digital content.

Here is a screenshot of a grade 6-8 Earth Science lesson on fossils.

On the right-hand side, you will notice a text button. Many of the Science Techbook lessons are now available in a variety of reading levels. This material can be directly assigned to students with a simple link. All material is divided up into sections starting with Engage and moving on to Elaborate with STEM plus a Model Lesson this all follows the 5E Inquiry Learning model.

The Model Lesson is quite detailed and would be a great assist to a teacher. As we don’t usually have science or math specialists in elementary school these model lessons would be an invaluable assist as teachers prepare to teach new science and math concepts. I have uploaded the Teacher Preparation section of this lesson to Google Drive so you can get an idea of the material included.

The Model Lesson also has a section that shows the alignment between lesson content and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common Core.
These are American curriculum standards, however, if this material was adopted by the province of Ontario, the material would be adapted to comply with Ontario Science Curriculum. That is one of the great selling points of Discovery Education material. It can be quickly and accurately adapted to fit new jurisdictions if adopted.

All this may sound like a huge sales pitch, but I am doing this on my own. I believe in the way Discovery education does things because their content is excellent and they really believe in teachers. I support them because they expend so much creative energy bringing educators together.

So, off we go again. Let’s see if I can get closer to 31 posts this time. There is certainly enough to write about!

Trust and other things…Blog Post #2

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This is the first day of 2017 and I am ready to get on a roll for my 31 posts.  I wrote earlier that I planned to do 31 posts in 31 days.

This wasn’t my idea – my wife suggested it.  It’s a great idea.

We woke up today after a wonderful New Year’s Eve of tramping through the snow to gather with hundreds of other Ottawa folk to watch fireworks on Parliament Hill and simply wander around in the snowy wonder of a beautiful winter’s night. We met people, waited for free buses and loved the freedom of a wonderful night shared with so many people.

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Already, there are so many things to write about!  This morning, I read about a great project my friend Dean Shareski has started – the #Deanie Awards.

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What a wonderful way to start the year – recognizing people who are doing interesting things.  The first #Deanie recipient  posted the photo on trust at the top of today’s blog post.

I don’t know this person, but I watched him do a great singing presentation at an Ignite Talk.  Of course, I followed him and found this great retweet on trust. “Principals, your teachers must first trust in you before trusting in the change itself.”  The original tweet is from Nathan Lang, Ed. D. @nalang1, so I followed him too.

I am getting a little far from my original post idea on trust – I am sure I will get back to it – I really do see trust as the essential ingredient for anyone who aspires to be an effective principal.  Trust empowers, trust brings out the best in people, trust creates community.  yup, got to write more on this later.

For now, I want to celebrate a wonderful New Year’s Eve with my wonderful partner Heather, the #Deanie Awards and the wonderful gift of being open to making new connections on the first day of a hopeful new year!

More hope to come!