Celebrate World Teachers’ Day and Enter to Win!

Join us as we celebrate World Teachers Day by writing an eBook about your favorite teacher. We will select and profile the best eBooks on our newsletter and Leaderboard, and select one teacher to sponsor at an upcoming conference.

How to Win & Celebrate World Teachers’ Day!

  • Go to GeniusPlaza.com or download our Genius Plaza app.
  • Create an eBook about a teacher who made a big impact in your life.  
  1. What made them a great teacher?
  2. What do/did you like the most about him/her?
  3. What was the best activity you did or lesson you learned from them?
  • Submissions close on Friday, October 6th.
  • Winners will be announced the week of October 16.
  • If you have questions, email me at monica@geniusplaza.com

You can use our new Genius Plaza app!

As we continue our mission to ignite the genius in every child, we are excited to unveil our new Genius Plaza app. You can access thousands of free education resources in English and Spanish for math, language arts, and science. Plus, you can create your own content. You can find videos, eBooks, virtual reality content, printables, exercises, and vocabulary sets. Join a global classroom and access re-teachings by teachers, students, and parents for grades PreK to 12th. Download the free app on Amazon, iOS, and Google Play.

Genius Plaza App
The best part? You can now create your own content! Yes, teachers can upload their lessons and have students create content to reteach what they have learned, bringing the #studentvoice to life.

Join us in saying THANK YOU to the countless of teachers who inspire us.
World Teachers' Day


Teaching Kindergarten – Sight Words

I remember the beginning of the school year.  I would be so excited, decorating and preparing lessons plans.  I would also be anxious to meet students and parents.  

Teaching Kindergarten

Kindergarten is probably my favorite grade.  I absolutely love to read, and I would read to my students with such excitement.  To watch their eyes following every word I said was the best.  

We as educators are working on teaching our students sight words through the months of the kindergarten year.  There are many different fun, traditional ways: using colored letters, rainbow writing, matching, and more.

Now I am a mom of a kindergartener, and I am enjoying every minute of it, especially watching her learn to read.  She is so excited about school and her homework assignments.  She loves counting and writing.

Classrooms are changing every year.  Technology has proven to be a useful tool, so we are seeing more technology incorporated into lessons.  Students today can practice math and reading skills using games and online resources.

Sight words

sight words

The other night, my kindergartener came home with her sight word list.  We were practicing writing the words.  I decided to show her the video on geniusplaza.com sight word: the.  We watched it a few times, then my little one took a piece of a paper and wrote the word “the.”

Reteaching

reteaching

She decided she wanted to create a video to teach the sight word “the”: practicing the sight word: the.  She had so much fun, she created a total of three videos that day.  The next day while reading her homework assignments, she told me, “Mommy, look, that says ‘the.’”  

By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.  

Seeing my daughter create the videos and have so much fun with it reminds me of a saying I read: By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.  Students learn differently, and inviting them to teach helps them enhance their skills.

Gamification

gamification

Our next step is to create a game using Fish Diet, where she will create a game for all the sight words she has learned.  Using technology can help engage all learners.  I invite you to visit www.geniusplaza.com to explore and create resources.


Matemáticas en high school

Importancia de las Matemáticas

Las matemáticas son una de las asignaturas menos populares entre nuestros hijos. Es cierto que hay algunos niños que no presentan demasiados problemas a la hora de su aprendizaje, pero por regla general suele ser una de esas materias que les cuesta más asimilar. Tanto maestros como padres les hemos escuchado infinidad de veces decir: “Pero esto, ¿para qué sirve?, ¡esto no lo uso nunca!”. Obviamente se equivocan, ya que las matemáticas están ocultas en nuestro día a día. Sin ellas no tendríamos cosas como Internet, los celulares, los ordenadores…, pero ellos no lo saben aún.

A medida que avanzan los grados en su etapa académica la dificultad va subiendo, y por lo tanto tienen que esforzarse más para poder superar esta materia. En High School los estudiantes tienen que asimilar de una manera más profunda los conceptos que ya aprendieron anteriormente, y adquirir otros nuevos. La organización de esta esta etapa es diferente a la de cursos anteriores, donde eran una serie de conceptos organizados  por grados. Aquí la organización cambia, y se estructura en una serie bloques fundamentales, que son álgebra, cálculo, geometría, funciones, probabilidad…

Cómo Ayudar a los Estudiantes

¿Qué podemos hacer nosotros como padres para ayudar a nuestros hijos en esta nueva etapa? Lo primero de todo es animarles a que sigan adelante, a que se les quite ese miedo que tienen muchas veces a nuevos conceptos, nuevas metodologías; eso debería de ser retante para ellos, y así se lo debemos presentar, como una oportunidad de superación personal. Si en algún punto de su aprendizaje en esta etapa encuentra una piedra en el camino debemos animarle a que pregunte a su maestro en clase, que resuelva sus dudas y se esfuerce por practicar aquellos conceptos que se le dan peor.

Métodos de Refuerzo

Nosotros también podemos ayudarle en casa, pero muchas veces por falta de tiempo o porque las matemáticas no son nuestro fuerte, no podemos hacerlo. En esos casos, y cuando ya veamos que no es suficiente con las consultas al maestro y su esfuerzo, podemos recurrir a un apoyo extra con clases de refuerzo fuera de la escuela.

 reenseñanza

Hay muchos métodos de refuerzo en estos casos, pero sin lugar a dudas lo más efectivo es la reenseñanza. Cuando un niño aprende un concepto y es capaz de reenseñárselo a otro es cuando la magia fluye; ve que está ayudando y colaborando con sus amigos mejorando sus habilidades, en este caso matemáticas, y eso le hace sentirse genial consigo mismo y con su grupo de amigos y compañeros de escuela. Sobre todo en esos grados altos donde se complican los conceptos que aprenden, la reenseñanza funciona como nunca. Yo comencé a aplicar este método con mi hija mayor, que comenzó en High School el curso pasado. Me di cuenta de que, aunque siempre se le habían dado bien las matemáticas, ese curso sin embargo la notaba sin ánimo en esta asignatura, y sus calificaciones cayeron en picado. Fue entonces cuando establecimos una rutina que resultó muy satisfactoria: semanalmente ella me tenía que explicar a través de un video casero, que ella misma tomaba con su celular, el concepto que esa semana aprendieron en la clase. Cuando le sugerí utilizar su celular para estudiar los conceptos aprendidos se sorprendió mucho, yo siempre estoy muy pendiente de que se exceda en la utilización de su celular, pero sabía que esto iba a resultar, y así fue. Todas las semanas repasábamos un concepto nuevo. Le gustó tanto que en alguno de estos videos involucró a sus amigos de clase para que la ayudasen a cumplir con el objetivo.

Les aconsejo a todos los padres que necesitan ayudar a sus hijos en alguna materia de la escuela que apliquen este método. Ahora lo pueden hacer si cabe más divertido para ellos, porque con la plataforma de Genius Plaza (www.geniusplaza.com) todo es mucho más sencillo. La cocreación y reenseñanza son mucho más fáciles con esta plataforma educativa que yo misma he comenzado a usar con mi hija este curso.  Aquí les comparto este ejemplo: https://www.geniusplaza.com/es/resources?type=video&id=15217

Las matemáticas en High School pueden ser más complicadas, pero con nuestra ayuda, su esfuerzo y la utilización de los recursos y herramientas de Genius Plaza, el camino hacia la meta será coser y cantar.

 


A Letter for Christopher – Teaching My 3rd Grader About Kindness

 

As parents, we want the very best for our kids. However, as the world becomes more connected, desensitized, and seemingly more harsh, my aspirations list for my kids becomes shorter and increasingly simplified. As my son started third grade, I wanted to remind him what’s really important and what things our family values and deems successful. I also wanted to remind him we are always in his corner.

Teaching my 3rd Grader About Kindness

Dear Christopher,

You are about to start 3rd grade. I can’t believe how fast you are growing and how proud you make me. The word looks a bit different now than when I was in school, but so many things remain the same. I know you will face similar situations. There will be times when you will be nervous, uncomfortable, and scared and that’s okay. In these moments is when we are being molded into the person we are growing up to be. Sometimes we will have success and other times we will be a big failure. Both of these outcomes make us grow. These are never wasted moments.

I remember when I was in 3rd grade.There was this boy in our class. He was different than everyone else. He looked differently, dressed differently, and he talked differently. Everyone, including me, pretended for a long time that he wasn’t there. He didn’t come from where we did. He didn’t talk like we did. As silly as it sounds, I think we all felt that if we talked to him, we would become “different” just like he was. I knew he was sad. I wished that he would do something so that he would be included and popular. But instead, I watched him get teased and bullied. I stood by and did nothing, all the while waiting for someone to step in and do something. I still think about that kid today. I wonder what it would be like to be surrounded by people who pretended you weren’t there. Or worse, knew you were there but made you wish you weren’t. I was a bully. I may not have teased him or said cruel words, but I stood by and did nothing and that is being a bully, too.

As you enter a new school year, I want you to do something for me. I want you to start noticing your surroundings. I want you to pretend you are a classmate who is looking at you. How do they see you? Is Christopher the kid who always says “hello” to all his classmates, or does he go straight to his seat without a word? Does he help a friend if they drop something on the floor, or does he just walk on by? Does Christopher invite a kid to play if he notices he is by himself on the playground, or does he ignore him completely? Is Christopher a bully?

Every year as you get older, the kids and adults that surround you are going to be different than you. They are going to talk differently, dress differently, their families may look different than yours, they may have different beliefs than yours. Maybe these kids will be bullied. Sometimes people are scared of what they don’t understand, and rather than try to find out, they are mean and try to make others feel alone. Many times those that feel alone lose their voice. They don’t know how to stand up for themselves, and feel scared to defend themselves and their differences. Be their voice when they lose theirs, because sometimes another voice helping them is all they need to realize they don’t need to change, and are perfect the way they are. Differences are not a threat to you, but quite the opposite. How awesome is it to be surrounded by so many new experiences and so much diversity…the amount you can learn from each other is far greater than if you were surrounded with others who are just like you. Ask questions, listen to their stories, and be respectful of their differences.

I know you may not think it is ‘cool’ to do all these things. But I will tell you what is cool…a kid who is kind to everyone. Your dad and I don’t care if you are the smartest kid, the best athlete, the class clown, but we most certainly care that you are ALWAYS KIND. This is non-negotiable. If I had to choose between you getting a 100% on your math test or inviting a classmate to play because he was playing alone, I would choose being kind to the classmate EVERY SINGLE TIME. I promise if you focus on being kind, you will be successful.

I will continue to ask you “how did you help someone today?” when you come home from school. I will call you when you are an adult and ask you this as well, so don’t ever break the habit. In this world, we need each other and we belong to each other. Your heart grows bigger and stronger when you choose kindness and compassion over hatred and ignorance.

My beautiful son. I know you will do great things, and all great things starts with kindness.

I love you.

Love,

Mom

 


¿Cómo celebrar con nuestros hijos la herencia hispana?

Por: Gianny Liranzo de MadresConectadas.com

En la celebración del Mes de la Herencia Hispana me he puesto a pensar en formas de motivar a que nuestros hijos se sientan orgullosos de su cultura y la de su familia. Claro que, muchas ideas como hablar sobre la comida, la música, las canciones, la artesanía y hasta los colores vinieron a mi cabeza.

Seguro que compartir historias, literatura y hasta los cuentos de camino, son formas maravillosas de impregnar a nuestros niños de sus raíces. Me parece romántico mostrarles aspectos de la cultura de donde vienen.  Realmente creo que es un acto de amor: el amor que sentimos por lo nuestro y que quisiéramos que ellos también experimentaran.

Sin embargo, a veces se hace un poco cuesta arriba.  Ya los niños están muy involucrados en ambientes donde no se sienten tan cómodos expresando su orgullo cultural.

Vivimos en tiempos donde muchas personas prefieren no exponerse, y mucho menos a sus hijos, a ser blanco de burlas, críticas o violencia y, lamentablemente, en muchos lugares es un peligro latente.

 

¿Cómo mantener el orgullo por nuestra herencia hispana viva en los niños?

Creo que un aspecto clave es enseñarles lo que como individuos hemos logrado para el bien común.

Mostrándoles personajes modelo en la historia y en la actualidad que han triunfado, que han hecho camino, que han luchado contra adversidades mayores que las que existen ahora y han hecho la diferencia.

Lo tenemos a la mano.  Vamos a buscar en internet historias de hispanos que han sido sobresalientes en los campos de la medicina, el periodismo, la ciencia, la ingeniería, la tecnología, la educación, las artes.

Vamos a llenar horas de lectura con estas biografías, con estas historias que empoderan, con estas líneas de vida que seguro tendrán mucho en común con nuestros hijos y situaciones que hayan vivido o que podrían vivir. Historias de éxito que cuentan una trayectoria de lucha y de determinación.

Modelos de estudiantes meritorios, de jóvenes emprendedores e inventores que hoy en día están mostrando que en la diversidad está la riqueza de una nación.

Inspirarlos es la clave

Motivarlos, enseñarles que sí se puede y que ellos sí pueden cambiar las estadísticas, que ellos sí pueden salirse del estereotipo.

Ayudarles con ejemplos claros que ellos sí pueden poner su persona, su preparación y su cultura como sello distintivo en los lugares de mayor influencia en la sociedad.

Para mí no hay mejor regalo en medio de la celebración del Mes de la Herencia Hispana que inspirar.  Inspiremos a nuestros hijos.


Writing in the Age of Devices

The Internet and texting are here to stay, and this means that people are writing in a variety of formats and for a variety of different websites and apps. Each mode of Internet writing has its own standards and conventions that fall in different places on the casual/formal scale. Is instruction in formal writing even relevant anymore? Yes, more than ever.

How Technology Has Changed Communication

Texting and e-mailing are extremely prevalent today, and 40% of millennials prefer texting to e-mailing or talking. This means people are writing a lot, and the younger someone is, the more likely they are to prefer electronic communication to in-person conversations.

The Perils of Written Messages

It’s easy to miscommunicate (or be misinterpreted, depending on how you look at it) in a written message of any kind. You’re missing a lot of the context and subtle hints that tone and nonverbal communication can give. With any type of writing, it’s important to know what it is that you want to say and how best to say it. No one thinks about having an introduction, thesis, or conclusion when writing an e-mail. But even a text message is a composition, and a text or an e-mail is a reflection of writing ability.

miscommunciation

Writing as the Future of Communication

If texting and e-mailing continue to dominate the way we interact, then writing is the future of communication. Many people fear that the social skills of younger generations will be stunted by their use of electronics. To combat this, I believe that an emphasis on writing skills is needed. Thirty years ago, the average student communicated almost exclusively verbally with their peers; today, writing is one of the primary ways we exchange ideas and feelings.

Using Technology to Reteach

Genius Plaza has a number of online resources that teach fundamental reading skills and writing concepts. We encourage students to reteach lessons they’ve learned and create their own eBooks, games, videos, and other online materials. Giving students an accessible means to create their own education materials makes the Genius Plaza platform a true peer-to-peer education tool. Every resource on the platform also has a section where students can reflect, ask questions, and discuss what they learned. We want to make education a more collaborative and social experience by giving students the skills and tools they need to write more effectively.

reteach


Teachers coming together in a time of need – guest post by Brianne Walterhouse

We have been following and sharing updates about the great effort by Hurricane Harvey Teachers in Need (who have now also created Hurricane Irma Teachers in Need) and the leadership of these inspiring teachers wanting to help others impacted by the recent storms. We decided to reach out to Brianne Walterhouse, who has been at the forefront of this effort with other teachers to share how this came about. We are grateful that in the middle of organizing this initiative, she took the time to write this piece.

Teachers for Teachers

by Brianne Walterhouse

Instagram: @hooorayforteaching  and Twitter: @HoooRayforTeach

I have had many people over the past couple of weeks ask me why I would take on the task of helping get teachers adopted in Texas when I have so much going on at home.  It’s the beginning of a new school year and there has been a TON going on in my personal life.  So they always say, “Why would you add this to your plate?”  The answer is simple.  It’s who I am.  It’s second nature.  It’s how I was raised.  In 1991, I lost my home in the Oakland Hills Firestorm.  I remember the days after the fire even now.  Going down to our church hall to pick out a new backpack, supplies, and clothing that had been donated.  I saw for the first time what it meant to really come together in a time of need. Every year since then, our family has adopted a family for Christmas.

Teaching Kindness and Service

As an adult, and a teacher, I teach my students what kindness and service is about.  Whether it’s collecting toys for our local fire department, or doing drives for local fire victims, I want my students to see that they are making a difference.  

Teachers Coming Together

When I heard about the devastation that Hurricane Harvey caused to the Houston area, I knew immediately that I needed to do something.  I reached out on Instagram and with three other AMAZING teachers, got an adoption list going.  Kristi Stanfa from Hooray for Third Grade and Allie McMillen from Third Grade Parade and I worked through Instagram Messenger to come up with a plan.  With the help of Kori Markussen from True Tales of a Teacher , we were able to create a Facebook Group that gave both people in need of support and those wanting to support a central place to gather.  Even now, we have new members joining and we are still getting classrooms adopted.  We have had 289 teachers in need and I know there will be more!

Much Work to Be Done

We aren’t done, either.  Hurricane Irma has taken a beating on Florida and the Caribbean.  I know we will continue to come together and support classrooms, teachers, and their students through this difficult time!  It has been amazing to see what our teacher community has done, and my heart is so full to see us come together to help those in need!

 

 


Weekly news recap – Friday, September 15

This week, we continue to focus on the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and now of Irma, too.  According to a story from the Wall Street Journal, Florida schools are still struggling.

 

We also continue to monitor DACA, with many new headlines this week, including a potential extension to the deadline, and this poll showing that most people support Dreamers.  

Some other headlines that caught our eye – the story from IBM regarding Watson, this story on bilingual education, and this piece our Chief Academic Officer shared regarding the eight essential digital literacy skills that students need.  Speaking of IBM, we found this piece fascinating, about how Watson was front and center at the U.S. Open.

We also loved seeing some positive stories and profiles in the news – including this story about the Columbia student who reunited with the teacher who turned his life around, and this heartwarming story about a beautiful friendship.  We now have new #friendshipgoals.

 

On our end, the team at Genius Plaza unveiled free teaching resources focused on Hispanic Heritage Month, which starts today.  You can read more on our blog from earlier this week.  In addition, we unveiled the Learning Champion profile on beloved Hispanic television legend, Don Francisco.  You can watch the video here in English and in Spanish.

 

We are continuing to share free teaching resources; two popular ones are this game on place value, this video from legendary TV Host Don Francisco and this Johnny Appleseed video, because it’s all about apples!

 

Finally, we loved reading “Diversifying The Technology Ecosystem With The Kapor Center’s Cliff Worley” which mentions our CEO.

 

What caught your attention this week?


Llegó septiembre y con él celebramos el Mes de la Herencia Hispana

El mes de la Herencia Hispana es una fiesta llena de banderas coloridas

El Mes de la Herencia Hispana se celebra cada año con el propósito de resaltar la contribución política, económica, social y cultural de los hispanos en los Estados Unidos. La celebración se lleva a cabo desde el 15 de septiembre hasta el 15 de octubre.

Celebración de Países

Este periodo fue elegido como el Mes de la Herencia Hispana ya que países como Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México y Chile obtuvieron su independencia. Esta es la única celebración que reúne gente de España, del Caribe, de Norte, Centro y Sur América. En este mes los hispanos celebran sus raíces en grande e invitan a todos los interesados a conocer y disfrutar de las costumbres de cada país.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Para ser más exactos la palabra hispano abarca 20 países donde todos comparten el mismo idioma aunque todos lo hablan de manera diferente. Las familias hispanas también comparten el amor por la familia, los valores humanos, la dedicación al trabajo y por supuesto el orgullo de ser hispanos. Venezuela, Uruguay, España, Puerto Rico, Perú, Paraguay, Panamá, Nicaragua, México, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, República Dominicana, Cuba, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia y Argentina son los países de habla hispana.

Diversidad de Costumbres

Tal vez desconozca algún país pero estoy segura que algo conoce de allí, veamos si logra identificar unos cuantos; ¿unos tacos? México, ¿Gloria Estefan? Cuba, ¿el aroma de una taza de café? Colombia, ¿El ritmo de un merengue? República Dominicana, ¿Leonel Messi? Argentina, ¿el coquí? Puerto Rico, ¿el canal del comercio? Panamá, ¿el flamenco? España. Estos son sólo algunas de las riquezas y personalidades influyentes de nuestros países.

Prepárese para hacer parte de los eventos que ofrece cada ciudad y disfrutar a plenitud de este mes y cuéntenos ¿De qué país es? ¿cómo acostumbra celebrar su herencia hispana? ¿cuáles son sus platillos favoritos?


Celebrating Hispanic America

Hispanic Heritage Month began as a mere week in 1968. It was created by Rep. Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles, California, who was the first Hispanic from California to be elected to Congress since 1879!  President Lyndon Johnson celebrated the first Hispanic Heritage Week on September 17, 1968.

Monthlong Celebration

The celebratory week was extended from September 15th through October 15th by Rep. Esteban E. Torres of Pico Rivera, California, and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.  The month honors the contributions of Hispanic Americans throughout the history of America.

September 15th was chosen in particular as it coincides with the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.  A few other countries follow suit and celebrate their independence days shortly after, like Mexico on September 16th, Chile on September 18th, and Belize on September 21st.


The Integral Impact of Hispanics in America’s History

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the long and integral impact of Hispanic and Latino Americans in America’s history.  Here at Genius Plaza, we are strong believers that representation matters, and are so happy that many of our diverse Learning Champions have impacted the hundreds of thousands of children using our platform.  From Cuba to Colombia, many of our Learning Champions hail from all over Latin America, and their cultures drive our students’ inspiration!  Our children need to see themselves reflected in the world.  This creates a sense of belonging, and allows them to imagine something beyond what can be trying circumstances.  Taking time to talk about how Latinos have shaped the services, country, and everyday life the students live can do immeasurable good to a child’s motivation.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month

During this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, we will share the stories of our Latino STEAM Learning Champions at www.geniusplaza.com/careers and across our social media platforms so we can inspire our next generation of Latino leaders in many fields.   José Matta at Johnson & Johnson, Carolina Huaranca Mendoza at Kapor Capital, and Don Francisco at NBC Universal are just a few of our Latino Champions!