Category Archives: for Teachers

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From the TRC: NoveList Plus

It’s Thursday, and a new edition of From the TRC is published to highlight another service or resource Joyner Library’s Teaching Resources Center has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. This week, it’s NoveList Plus.

This week’s post builds on a previous post we wrote about TeachingBooks.net. While TeachingBooks.net focuses on bringing the author to your students so students can experience how their favorite authors create and read their own works, NoveList Plus can help educators match readers with the right books to expand students’ literary world beyond the familiar.

NoveList_PlusNoveList Plus bills itself as a comprehensive online readers’ advisory (RA) tool used to search hundreds of thousands of popular fiction and nonfiction titles, which includes categories such as author read-alikes, book lists, and book discussion guides. It includes genre outlines and online training materials for librarians to familiarize staff with appeal factors, the RA interview, and other aspects of readers’ advisory.

Sounds like a resource for school librarians, right? Of course it is, but my experience as a teacher and school librarian has taught me that students won’t always turn to their librarian for book recommendations. Students will reach out to the teacher they feel most comfortable with for reading advice.  At the high school where I worked in Arizona, the English Department and I constructed and continuously updated a bulletin board highlighting the most recent books the staff had read. Students paid attention to which staff member’s interests matched their own, and turned to them for recommendations. I think it is a safe bet to say the English Department used NoveList Plus more than I did!

The teachers I’ve worked with loved the fact that NoveList Plus includes Lexile measures, book reviews, and lists the awards a book has won. Take a look at  “The Crossover”  which was awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal.

Here are other tools and resources NoveList Plus offers educators at all levels:

  • Professional Toolbox
  • Read-alikes
    • Love an author, but have already read all of their books? Finished a series and disappointed there aren’t more to read? Each book and author in NoveList Plus is paired with other books and authors that are similar to your favorites. Here is an example from George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and Sherman Alexie’s author page.
  • Genre Overviews
    • Keeping Up…Genres covers “core genre essentials, links to key awards, lots of lists and on-point articles to help readers find the perfect genre match.”

NoveList Plus also offers a robust Support Center complete with an archive of training sessions, tutorials and additional materials such as “Help Sheets” and PowerPoint presentations to help you maximize NoveList’s resources.  Finally, watch their “News and Events” page for professional development webinars, press releases and new product demonstrations.

Until next time…Dan Z. in the TRC

Click here to view the archive of all From the TRC posts.

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Epsilon Sigma Alpha

ESA Scholarships Available for Special Education Majors

The North Carolina Council of Epsilon Sigma Alpha Scholarship Board will continue to offer their Scholarship for students and teachers who are pursuing a degree or certification in Special Education in 2015.

The scholarship has been available since 1956 and is targeted to individuals training for work with exceptional children and has ranged from $500 to $2,500 per year. Current North Carolina teachers seeking additional training are also eligible. Applications must be post marked by April 1, 2015 and awards will be made by May 2, 2015.

Applicants should note the agreement to teacher in the North Carolina Public School System for a minimum of 1 year. Copies of both applications are available for downloading on the North Carolina Council of Epsilon Sigma Alpha website.

Rubric

Week 8 – Blackboard Rubrics – 3/2/15

As educators, particularly as educators teaching future educators, we understand the value of feedback when grading assignments. In fact, perhaps there is even more value in the feedback than in the actual grading. This is why so much time is spent meticulously going through a submitted paper marking and putting comments in the margins, all to help the student better understand where he/she went off the mark. Students certainly appreciate the extra time that is taken and learn from this information, but wouldn’t it be nice if Blackboard could give us a little help with this? Perhaps by showing the students what criteria an assignment will be graded based on and then allowing us to use those criteria to grade the assignment and add comments and deduct points directly based on those criteria? Well, we are all in luck, because it does!

Blackboard has provided a Rubric tool that allows the instructor to create rubric for any gradable item in Blackboard that they can choose to let the student see before an item is submitted, and then once submitted, the instructor can just check the boxes as to the level of competency for each category and add comments as necessary that the student can review. Pretty nice. The rubrics can be used in conjunction with the new inline grading system that allows the instructor to mark and comment on a submitted paper directly in Blackboard, again giving better feedback to the students that is easier for the instructor to give.  The following video will demonstrate how to set up rubrics in your Blackboard class:

A rubric can be used for multiple assignments in a class, but cannot be edited once it has been used. So, for example, you can set up a Discussion Board Rubric once, and then use it as a standard for all of the Discussion Boards without having to recreate it. Want to try one out without going through the trouble? Blackboard is compiling some shared Rubrics where you can download some rubrics that have been contributed by other educators and import them into your course at http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Learn/Products/Blackboard-Learn/Features/Sharing-Rubrics.aspx Once you get the hang of it, perhaps you may want to share one of the rubrics you have created there. To use one of the rubrics that are listed there, just download the rubric, then in your course, go to Course Tools, choose Rubrics and Import. It will then appear as one of your rubrics and you can then use it as you would any other rubric.

If you haven’t used Blackboard Rubrics before, I encourage you to take at least one of your assignments this semester and try it out. If you need help setting it up, I’m happy to help answer any questions, but in the long run, I think you will find it will help save you a lot of time, and your students will benefit much more from the assignments that use them.

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.

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From the TRC: TeachingBooks.net

It’s Thursday, and a new edition of From the TRC is published to highlight another service or resource the Teaching Resources Center in Joyner Library has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. This week, it’s TeachingBooks.net.

Short of inviting an author to speak on campus it can be difficult for children and young adults to feel a connection to or the relevancy of an author’s work. It can be even more difficult to gain insight on the process of creating a book or illustration. This is where a resource like TeachingBooks.net comes in. TeachingBooks.net provides educators an opportunity to add a multimedia dimension to their lessons and their students’ reading experiences.

TeachingBooks-net_logoTeachingBooks.net is more than just a database of books, authors, and illustrators. It is an invaluable resource teachers can use as to supplement existing lesson plans or look for ideas to craft new ones. Users can search by book title, author or illustrator from the front page, or simply browse the collection of meet the author videos and resources by grade level or subject area.

To find strategies for integrating books and resources into specific curricular areas, see the Curricular Uses page. Looking for foreign-language resources?  TeachingBooks.net has resources in Spanish, French, Chinese, Ojibwe, Hmong, Russian and others. Book guides and lesson plans aligned to the ELA Common Core standards are available as well as booklists put together by the North Carolina School Library Media Association, and the North Carolina Children’s Book Award. Additional booklists from other states and those categorized by theme or book series are also at the ready.

Here are a few links to some of the TRC’s favorite authors:

Be sure to check out TeachingBooks.net’s free monthly webinar series.  Upcoming webinars will cover “Culturally Relevant Materials” and “How TeachingBooks is Used in Schools/Districts”. In addition, their on demand video tutorials cover topics such as text complexity and creating your own custom reading list.

Believe it or not, all this is the tip of the iceberg as to what TeachingBooks.net has to offer. If you don’t believe me, maybe you should check them out yourself on their blog, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or by signing up for their newsletter.

Until next time…Dan Z. in the TRC

asynchronous

Week 7 – Collaboration in Blackboard – 2/23/15

This week’s blog is a continuation of the discussion last week on collaboration tools. As discussed previously, it can be difficult to build the same kind of community in an online class as typically occurs naturally in a traditional, seated course. The collaboration tools that are either provided in Blackboard or are available by third parties, can help provide the tools necessary to make this community easier to build.

Last week, we discussed some synchronous tools that are available to faculty to use. As a reminder, synchronous tools, are tools that require everyone to be online at the same time. There will be an online follow-up professional development session coming soon for faculty to learn more about Saba Meeting. Please keep an eye on the COE PD page for details. Now, without further adieu, asynchronous tools!

Asynchronous Tools

Asynchronous tools are tools that do not require collaborators to be online at the same time. This blog could represent an asynchronous activity if you, the readers, decided to later participate by commenting below and contributing to the article. In fact there is a Blog tool in Blackboard, but its purpose is a bit different. One thing to note before starting is all of the asynchronous tools that will be mentioned here are native to Blackboard and can be set as gradable items. Each can also be set to grade with a Blackboard rubric (discussed in Week 8).

Blog - Essentially a blog is a shared online diary for use in a class. It can be used by an instructor to let students know what was or will be done in class to save the instructor from answering individual questions repeatedly. It can open up online discussions about related topics or a place to provide evidence of class participation. It is organized strictly by date. Blogs can be set up for each individual student or by course. Blogs are much less formal than discussion boards, which will be discussed later.

Discussion Board – Even a Blackboard newbie has probably heard of the discussion board. It is the most commonly used method of communicating in an online course. Essentially the instructor creates a discussion topic and the students then respond and discuss the topic. They are organized hierarchically with forums, threads, and replies. Discussion boards are easily collapsed, expanded and searched. Users can subscribe to a forum or thread to receive an email each time someone contributes to it. One of the newer features is students can be required to participate before they are able to see other student entries.

Journal – A journal does a bit less to build communication with the class, but potentially more with the instructor, as it provides a personal writing space for self-reflection and private communication with the instructor. It can be used to reflect on personal growth, assignments, personal experiences, etc. Be advised that if you choose “Permit Course Users to View Journal” in the settings all class participants will be able to see each others journals, removing the privacy feature, essentially creating a non-commentable blog.

Wiki – A wiki is a collaborative space where students can view, contribute and edit content. It can be used if students are collaborating on a paper, study guide, etc. The biggest difference between a wiki and any of the other tools is that everyone essentially works in the same space. What this means is there is one text box and each student can contribute, but the particular contribution of one student over another is not necessarily identified, besides look at the history.  Multiple pages can be created to make essentially a website for a project.

So that pretty much does it for the collaboration tools within Blackboard that are designed to potentially work with the entire class or groups. In addition to these tools, you can also divide your class up into groups and then assign group projects. When groups are created, there is another world that opens up for students in Blackboard that provides a place for Group assignments, file exchange, discussions, tasks, and more.

In addition to the tools we’ve looked at this week and last there are lots of third party tools that are also available that may meet your needs, and new ones become available every day. In face Google provides a wide range of free tools that are certainly worth looking into.

Once you start looking at the possibilities, you’ll find there really are ways to do the things you’ve been doing in your traditional classes all these years. It might take a bit of time and training to master it, as it has in your classroom, but once you do, you and your students will be quite satisfied with the results.

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.

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From the TRC: Award Winning Author, Duncun Tonatiuh

It’s Thursday, and another edition of From the TRC is published to highlight another service or resource the Teaching Resources Center in Joyner Library has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. This week, it’s a reminder that award winning author Duncan Tonatiuh will be visiting campus this Saturday, February 21st.

Duncan Tonatiuh

Duncan Tonatiuh

This event is free and open to the public.

Duncan Tonatiuh
“Contemporary Codex: Using the Past to Address the Present”
Saturday, February 21, 2015
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Joyner East, Room 201

The TRC is sponsoring a presentation featuring award-winning children’s author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tyou) as he discusses how ancient art of the Americas influences his artwork. In addition, Mr. Tonatiuh will share how he looks at the past to address issues that affect children today, especially Latino children. Immigration and segregation are two crucial issues addressed in his works.

Born in Mexico City and raised in San Miguel de Allende, Duncan Tonatiuh graduated from Parsons The New School for Design and Eugene Lang College in New York City. His children’s books have won Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book AwardsPura Belpré Awards, and the Orbis Pictus Award.

Award-winning book, Separate is Never Equal

Award-winning book, Separate is Never Equal

Mr. Tonatiuh’s books will be available for purchase in the lobby of Joyner Library from 10:00am – 4:30pm, and he will be autographing books in the same location from 10:30am – 1:00pm and 3:30pm – 4:30pm.

His latest work, Separate is Never Equal, was named an Honor Book by the Pura Belpré Illustrator Awards and received the same award from the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal and the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children. This book, along with his other works, are available in the TRC.

You can learn more about Duncan Tonatiuh and his books on his official website, www.duncantonatiuh.com, and access interviews with and book readings by the author on TeachingBooks.net. Tonatiuh

 

Dr. Robin Hamilton

LEED Alumna and Current Principal has Article Published

2014 LEED Graduate Dr. Robin Hamilton had an article published on February 16, 2015 in ASCD Express entitled, “Transformative Kindergarten Transition Practices.” The article discusses the impact the transition into kindergarten can make on their future academic and social success. It also discusses different transition practices that are currently used.

Dr. Hamilton is currently the principal at Parsley Elementary School in Wilmington, NC, where some of the practices are being used. In 2014, Dr. Hamilton was the recipient of LEED’s 2014 Glatthorn Distinguished Dissertation award.

Synchronous Communication

Week 6 – Collaboration in Blackboard – 2/16/15

In a traditional classroom collaboration is natural, it doesn’t need to be planned or forced. In an online environment, it is quite different, since on the way to submitting an assignment it is, shall we say, highly unlikely, that one student will run into another and they will get into a deep conversation regarding the week’s topic. Hard to believe I know.

With that being said, as educators, we know that students learn best through interaction, so how can we provide this interaction in an online class. Let’s look as some options. This week we will be looking at synchronous tools, and next week we will look at asynchronous tools. There are of course many more tools than I will be able to mention here, so if there is a particular synchronous tool that you use, please feel free to add it in the comments at the bottom of the article this week. If there is an asynchronous tool you love, please add it next week. Any of these options can be done either with the entire class, or with the class divided into smaller groups, depending on what is more manageable for a chosen activity.

Synchronous Tools

Synchronous tools are tools that require everyone to be online at the same time. If synchronous tools are to be used, it is advised that students be made aware of this at the very beginning of the semester, if not earlier, as many students chose to take online courses because they cannot meet at a certain time due to other classes or life circumstances. It is also advised that if assigned after the semester begins, students should be given a few choices for times that work in their schedules.

Chat - Participants have an online discussion by typing short, text-based messages in Blackboard. Sort of like a real-time discussion board.  A great option for online office hours because they can be recorded and viewed later.

Virtual Classroom – A more robust version of the Chat, as it includes the test box for chatting, but also includes a Virtual Whiteboard to display course materials, websites and for drawing.

Saba Meeting – A tool provided by for faculty by ECU that takes the Virtual Classroom to the next level. With Saba Meeting, communication can be done either by chat or by microphone, and can also take advantage of live video streams. In addition to the “old fashion” whiteboard and presentations, a presenter can also share his desktop to demonstrate a program or browse the web. During a meeting, surveys can be given and breakout rooms can be set. Meetings can be recorded, but will be deleted unless requested each semester to be kept. Saba meeting is a great solution, but it can be rather technical, and sometimes students can have a hard time getting in, as typically Java needs to be updated/installed. Following the User Guide will usually help with the install process.

Second Life – If you are ready to take your students to a whole new way of learning, then Second Life is the way to go. I will warn you that there is a learning curve. In Second Life, you have an avatar and you can literally have the students sit in class, go on field trips, visit your office, the possibilities are endless. ECU even has a campus and its own Pirate Ship there. The more creative you are, the more you can make of it. In the past, I have seen a faculty member teaching Shakespeare require her students come to “class” dressed in Elizabethan garb and the students loved it. There are a lot of interesting, educational things that have been built that could possibly serve as great field trips: a Holocaust Museum, The Mayo Clinic, a Renaissance Gallery, New York City, Paris, even the RMS Titanic just to name a few.

So those are some synchronous ways you can encourage collaboration in your online class. A couple work directly in Blackboard and a couple can be linked in Blackboard and then taken outside. Are there others perhaps that you use synchronously? Use the comment area below to contribute what you use.

Next week we will talk about Asynchronous Tools that you can use in your classes to help encourage collaboration. Remember that any of these tools/activities can certainly be used in your seated classes as well to enhance collaboration amongst your students.

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.

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From the TRC: Ronnie Barnes African-American Resource Collection

It’s Thursday, and another edition of From the TRC is published to highlight another service or resource the Teaching Resources Center in Joyner Library has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. This week, it’s the Ronnie Barnes African-American Resource Collection.

Granted, it is Black History Month and that may be one reason why the Ronnie Barnes African-American Resource Collection is the subject of this week’s post. But, honestly, the main reason is to call attention to this valuable, yet underused resource in the Teaching Resources Center.

Allow me to back that statement up with numbers. So far this school year the Ronnie Barnes Collection has accounted for less than one (1) percent of the books circulated in the TRC. If that doesn’t sound small enough I’ll dig a little deeper into the statistics. Since July 2014, the TRC has accounted for 47%, on average, of Joyner Library’s monthly total circulation of books. What does that mean? Well, out of the 20,460 books that have been checked out from the TRC since July only 161 (0.7%) have come from the Ronnie Barnes Collection. Here’s why the collection is worth checking out any time of year:

Ronnie Barnes

Ronnie Barnes, ECU Class of ’75

Ronnie Barnes, an eastern North Carolina native, was the first graduate of ECU’s Sports Medicine program in 1975 and is the Senior Vice President of Medical Services and Head Athletic Trainer for the New York Giants of the National Football League. In 2002, he endowed a fund to develop and maintain a collection of materials written or illustrated by African-Americans, or about the African-American experience.

The children’s collection includes:

  • Coretta Scott King Award books
  • Caldecott Award books about African-Americans or by African-American authors or illustrators.
  • Newbery Award books about African-Americans or by African-American authors or illustrators.
  • Biographies of African-Americans for K12 students

Additionally, the adult collection contains all genres, from scholarly books  to general fiction. The adult collection is highlighted on an annual rotating basis. At the end of each year, these materials rotate out of the Ronnie Barnes Collection into Joyner Library’s general stacks.  The call numbers in the Ronnie Barnes Collection begin with “Barnes.”

For more resources to use in the classroom for Black History month click on these TRC and Joyner Library resources:

Not sure how to put these resources to use? Here are some lesson plan ideas for Black History Month from the National Education Association, Education World, Scholastic, Smithsonian Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, AfricanAmericanHistoryMonth.gov, African-American History Through the Arts, and PBS.

Until next time. – Dan Z. in the TRC