Curriculum Spotlight: Newsela

My first master teacher just introduced me to Newsela which she uses all the time with her fifth-grade class. It is a free site that cultivates news articles for students to read. The best part, each article is available at a variety of reading levels so you can differentiate for your students without any heavy lifting. Some articles are also provided in Spanish, which can be a great resource for ELL students or even Spanish classes. 1

Curriculum Spotlight: Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is a great resource for Differentiated Instruction information and mainstream reading instruction. They have pages on classroom strategies, a professional development course, articles about how to tackle specific challenges and the information of why these challenges arise, fluency, comprehension, content area literacy, dyslexia, ELL, Phonics…just to name a few.

Digital Citizenship Resource: Digital Law

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As we discuss Digital Law, I think one of the biggest topics is Copyrights. Creative Commons is a copyright license designed for the digital age to promote sharing. “Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world. We unlock the full potential of the internet to drive a new era of development, growth and productivity”(Creative Commons, n.d.).

They have a few different types of licenses based on what you are willing to allow to be done with your work. By default, the page loads with the most open version of the rights as they are encouraging people to be creatively open with their work but there are more limited options if they suit your needs better.

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If you are considering using a Creative Commons license for the first time, I urge you to take the time to read the license itself first. They are not revokable


Creative Commons. (n.d.). What we do. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from 

Digital Citizenship Resource

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Common Sense Education might just be my favorite digital citizenship resource. They offer a free Digitial Citizenship Curriculum split by age: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12. (Additionally, they offer a premium service for professional development but that is really targeted at the school level.) They have a whole set of unit lesson plans all ready for you to use in your classroom but if you want to check into a specific topic that is an option as well. So dive in and start teaching yourself, your students and others about digital citizenship today.

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Curriculum Spotlight-QuiverVision


What is it? QuiverVision site provides pages that you can download, print and color. Then using your device you can bring that drawing to life in an interactive 3D model. QuiverVision has three different divisions the education division which is a one-time flat rate buy-in, the fashion division which is free and the general division with a mix of free and paid content. You download black and white line pages, color them and use the app on your Apple, Amazon or Google device you can bring to life a 3D interactive model of your drawing. The education division generates interactive lessons and quizzes whereas the other divisions are more focused on fun like games and see their fashion drawings come to life on the catwalk.

How to use it? I would use these in lessons for my students. I can admit, Biology was the second hardest subject for me in all of my educational journeys I wonder if I had had something so engaging to learn about cells in elementary school, would it have been better? I think it would have been better. I think students seeing their own work develop into this amazing learning tool would create greater buy-in to the lesson.


My Thoughts? I know that coloring has value for students in developing their pencil grip, strengthening their hand muscles but not every kid enjoys coloring. This app would be a great motivator to really do their best job coloring. I love giving students the chance to create and engage with their work in ways that they never expected and this app certainly covers that idea. I can see myself keeping up with them as the company expands the educational side and trying to integrate them at least once a month if possible. This would also be a fun Friday activity, have the fun freebie coloring sheets available and let students color and then interact with their works.

Curriculum Spotlight- Sketch Nation

Sketch Nation

What is it? Sketch Nation is an inspiring free resource that lets you create your own game. What kind of game do you want to create: action, adventure or puzzle? Action games can be side running, up jumping, side flying, up scrolling or traffic style. Adventure games can be platformer, arena or lander style. Puzzle games can be match two or three styles. How in-depth do you want to be in your game creation: simple, advanced or expert? Simple is a great introduction for anyone and ideal for younger artists. Advanced and expert give more control over the final product. You select the graphics style that fits your game best. You can draw or upload your own artwork for backgrounds, characters, scenery, and objects. Games can be kept private or made available online.

How to use it? I would use this to create games for my students to play and have my students create their own games. I can see having students create a game as a retelling of a story like if you give a mouse a cookie, create a game to that teaches about an aspect of a historical period or create a math game for independent review of a concept. I would keep links to all our classes games on our class webpage, so students could find them to play again.

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My Thoughts? So I might be in love already. Seriously, I had about two minutes of playtime with this site before my elementary student peeked over my shoulder and started vibrating in excitement. So we created our first mini-game right then. I fully see myself digging into available games and creating more, both for my own kid and my future students.

Digital Citizanship: Digital Access

We as teachers need to understand, teach our students about and participate in Digital Citizenship. So what is Digital Citizenship? I am going to cover the nine elements of Digital Citizenship over the next several posts.

Digital Access is “full electronic participation in society” (Ribble, 2011). Not everyone in the world has the same opportunities when it comes to technology, some have no access or limited access so we need to figure out how to provide more access or additional resources to balance the playing field. Currently, technology is a type of privilege. We need to work towards equal digital rights, providing and expanding access to technology is a major goal of digital citizenship. To become productive citizens, we need to be committed to making sure that no one is denied digital access. Digital exclusion makes it difficult to grow as a society increasingly using these tools.


Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools. ISTE. Retrieved December 3, 2017, from