Virginia Hamilton Conference offers two outreach grants of $1,000 each


Each year, two grants up to $1000 each are available for projects to develop new classroom or library programs that raise awareness of multicultural literature among young people particularly, but not exclusively, through the works of Virginia Hamilton.

Each year we will award one grant to a K-12 teacher, and one will be awarded to a school library or youth services librarian in a public library.

Eligible applicants must currently work with or plan to work with children or adolescents in any grade from preschool through high school or in a public or school library.

Applicants must submit an application form, a professional reference and a proposal detailing the development of a new classroom or library program that:

* Promotes awareness of multicultural themes and issues through outstanding literature

* Illustrates the use of exemplary multicultural literature, particularly but not exclusively the works of Virginia Hamilton

* Demonstrates effective organization, methods and/or library service

* Includes a plan for documenting the development of the program throughout the grant period

* Cover sheet with your name, postal and e-mail address, telephone number and project title

* Detailed description of the proposed program that includes:

o Setting (classroom and/or library)

o Population (grade level and/or age range)

o Program goals

o Dates of the program and a detailed timeline of events

o Program procedures, methods and organization

* Evidence that the program will promote awareness of multicultural themes and issues

* A program budget

* Evidence of the use of exemplary multicultural literature; particularly, but not exclusively, the works of Virginia Hamilton

* Plan for documenting the program’s development throughout the grant period

* Program evaluation procedure

Award application deadline is February 28.

Grant recipients will be announced at the annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth at Kent State University, scheduled for April 9 and 10, 2015. For further information about the conference, please visit

The Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grant is sponsored by the College and Graduate School of Education, Health, and Human Services and the School of Library and Information Science in conjunction with the Kent State University Foundation and the Office of Continuing and Distance Education, with generous support from private donors and Scholastic Press.

Kyle Pearce on Gamifying Assessment Recording

Kyle Pearce has taken up the ideas from Jon Orr and Alice Keeler and added his own experiments …

I’ve shared some of the ways in which I’ve attempted to move towards assessing students based on learning goals (aka standards based grading) like some of the other folks in my district, but I’ve found that sharing one big public Google Sheet with students hasn’t inspired those who need it most to address the learning goals they are struggling with. For some time, I have thought about using cell referencing to create a personalized sheet for each student, but had no new ideas to really inspire making the change.

Jon’s spin-off of Alice’s gamification approach to assessment still focused on students being graded on individual learning goals, but the part that I really liked was the idea that students are to focus on consistently showing a deep understanding to earn 4-stars (level 4) in order to master the concept and earn a badge.

You can read the whole post here =>

Video – Teaching design for change

Designer Emily Pilloton moved to rural Bertie County, in North Carolina, to engage in a bold experiment of design-led community transformation. She’s teaching a design-build class called Studio H that engages high schoolers’ minds and bodies while bringing smart design and new opportunities to the poorest county in the state.

Emily Pilloton wrote Design Revolution, a book about 100-plus objects and systems designed to make people’s lives better. In 2010, her design nonprofit began an immersive residency in Bertie County, North Carolina, the poorest and most rural county in the state.

Technology Is Changing The Way Children Learn To Read


One of the reasons that it was so difficult to get children to learn to read in the past was because it was hard to develop functional lessons that were applicable to real-life situations. For example, reading a story about a duck was helpful, but it was not always something that kids could readily apply to what was going on around them. As the Internet and other technology continues to advance, it is becoming easier to teach children to read in ways that they will be able to use in their daily lives.

The progressive parents have stopped fighting with video games and have realized that video games can be a great way to help kids to learn to read at almost any level. Interactive video games that teach reading skills are available all over the Internet and can be used by children at every level of aptitude. If you want your kids to learn to read, then utilizing a video game can be the most effective way to do it.

The interactive video games that connect people all over the world can help children to learn to read in several different ways. Kids want to play those games. But if they want to play, then they will have to learn how to read. Their friends are already playing online interactive video games and no kid wants to be left behind when it comes to the popular games everyone is playing. The games also require people to chat back and forth using the written word. Not only can your kids learn to read by playing video games, but they can also learn sentence structure and good grammar as well.

Another way that technology is helping kids to learn to read is by offering new reading courses for kids at all levels that can be easily manipulated to help the child learn at his pace. In a classroom setting, there can be pressure that may leave behind some of the kids that cannot keep up the same pace as everyone else. But when the child gets home, he can stop a DVD reading lesson and review it at his own pace. Now every kid has the chance to learn to read thanks to technology that was not available just 20 years ago.

Because there are so many technology tools to help children read, that allows the parents to find the time to get involved in their kids’ lessons as well. The portability of technology means that parents and kids can be in the same room reviewing a reading lesson for the day while the parent does his own work tasks on the Internet as well.

Technology continues to bring breakthroughs in ways that allow us to become more interactive with the world around us. By channeling reading into video games, interactive DVDs and other materials, educators can help kids start to read at ages that may have been impossible in the past. If the child wants to learn, then there is nothing to stop him.


Author: Cookie Maxwell offers information regarding phonics activities. For more on teaching children to read, please shop online with us at

Living Brand-Ed: Three Reasons Why Teachers Benefit From Personal Brand in a 3.0 World

Standing at the intersection of a career in education and a second, “encore act” in business consulting, I see branding, or as I describe it for educators, “Brand-ed”, as an integral part of developing professionalism for teachers at any stage of career.

Brand was once a staple of the Madison Avenue community. With the rise of social media, brand development in education makes perfect sense. Communicating who we are in a schoolhouse without walls becomes part of every daily lesson plan.

In a Daniel Pink’s new book, To Sell is Human”, he catches up with something I instinctively used as I crossed from the “island of education” to the “land of business” eight years ago. It was a great divide, and the business community greeted me– a lifelong educator on their shore–with doubt. I wasn’t part of their “tribe”. But I made a lasting impression, and built my work on the idea that I had been in the business of education-Sales! I sold education to kids, parents, my superiors, to grant-making entities, even to the real estate brokers in the neighborhood of my school-they were in sales, too. I became part of the business community, and a thought leader. Yes, I’ve attained “chiefdom”! And that came from thinking about brand.

Now, I’m journeying back to education, with the experience of years of business consulting, and it’s perfect timing. My “chief” status in business is about branding. I can offer you three reasons why being “Brand-ed” is important to support your unique, personal education brand.

Reason 1: Teachers Benefit from the Reflective Process of living Brand-ed

In our busy lies as educators, breathe. Give yourself time to reflect on where you are in the story of your career. STORYTELLING is at the root of developing a personal brand, Think or write the story of how you became the teacher you are today and where you may be headed. You’ve got the beginning of creating your Brand-ed stance. This isn’t about touting yourself. It’s not an ego-centric or selfish process. Start with the words, “Once upon a time”. See where that takes you. My own story begins, “Once upon a time a 23 year old, first year teacher was crying in her first classroom on the day before school. In walked the principal… ” That was me, and my journey in education as a “different” educator started with tears. Write your story. Tell it to a few people. Including your students.

Reason 2: Teachers Benefit from Gaining Perspective by Living Brand-ed

Developing a personal brand may seem like it’s “all about you”, but it’s not. Think about conveying who you are as an educator, what you believe in, value, and live. Do it from the perspective of what Madison Ave marketers call POSITIONING. Think of others. Who will you share your brand with, and how do you want them to see you? Are you sharing that brand in real time and online? You have to be consistent in both delivery channels. Remember my story about the tribe of business? As I built my brand through many interactions with the biz tribe, it became easier. I learned who they were, how they thought, how they regarded me, and I refined my positioning with my audience in mind. Live in another’s shoes as you develop behaviors that show your Brand-ed commitment. Monitoring how you come across is essential for your development. Living a Brand-ed career means you are genuine. You can’t fake it. The kids can smell a phony a mile away. You are building your brand to build authenticity that positively impacts relationships with your students –and their learning.

Reason 3: Teachers Benefit from the Clarity of Claiming a Brand-Ed Professional Life

Teachers are communicators. Messaging is right out of Madison Avenue. Research and design teams work tirelessly on finding just the right path to a consumer’s heart. We need to do the same with our own Brand-ed “campaign”. Clarity of brand message is important in telling your story. You must be the creator of that brand. Be the CBO, Chief Brand Officer. If you don’t do this, people do it for you in real time and online. You want your personal brand to be crystal clear. Challenge yourself to get your personal brand for professional life into ONE word. That will create clarity.

You can claim that one word and use it from the first day of school to position yourself as an educator. My one word is SPARK. I see myself as a catalyst. I live that and enjoy the benefit of people who see that in me and want to work with me.

Most of all, understand that a combination of passion and talent makes for a lasting brand. Your passion to educate and the skill set you bring to the classroom will guide your efforts to live a Brand-ed life.


By Trish Rubin

Trish Rubin, MA/MGA stands at the intersection of business and education, consulting cross industry clients in developing their unique “Brand Visibility” in a noisy 3.0 world.

Trish’s expertise lies in the “mash up” of PR, Marketing and Branding. She employs traditional, web and social media on projects and campaigns . Her sweet spot is successful influencer networking and relationship development that advance business goals.

The author of the unique face-to face, event networking book,”Trish Rubin’s New York Minute for Networking”, she is a respected thought leader and a recognized expert in building business relationships for organizational advancement and entrepreneurial success.

FB/ Twitter: @brokerbabe_nyc/
FB/ Twitter: @brokerbabe_nyc/

The best education of all …

“You are told a lot about your education, but some beautiful, sacred memory, preserved since childhood is perhaps the best education of all. If a man carries many such memories into life with him, he is saved for the rest of his days.

Fyodor Dostoyevs

10 Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

Skype is a free downloadable software that lets you do voice and video calls combined with instant messaging for free. The possibilities of Skype to flatten your classroom are endless.

Interview authors, astronauts and other amazing individuals from around the world.

Collaborate with classrooms, businesses and more in multi-disciplinary projects.

Explore a volcano, rainforest, or history museum in virtual fieldtrips with experts in the field or even share your field trip experiences with others.

Practice conversational foreign languages with native speakers.

Provide additional support for students needing extra attention or unable to come to class.

Invite a guest lecturer from leading educators and experts from anywhere in the world.

Explore foreign cultures first hand with classroom to classroom video conferencing.

Broadcast a performance or project to parents and families unable to make it to school.

Access and share professional development opportunities with educators on the go.

Collaborate with innovative educators to plan units, lessons, and more.

5 Skype Companion Tools

To get the most out of Skype, you should consider utilizing other web 3.0 and social networking sites such as

Web 2.0 Tools for Class Projects – such as Twiddla in order to brainstorm, collaborate, and share ideas in real time.

Google Docs – allows participants to share and edit documents.

Flickr – to share photos and enhance the feeling of learning together across a distance.

Blogs – to reflect and share learning.
Twitter – as a backchannel during interviews, lectures, etc and as a way to continue the conversation throughout the school year.

3 Ways to Connect with Others Using Skype

Online Skype Communities

ePals Global Community offers a free 30 day trial. Sign up to connect with other classrooms using Skype.
Skype in the Classroom Ning is for teaches interested in using Skype to connect with other teachers for idea sharing and classroom video conferencing.

The Mixxer is a free educational community for language exchanges via Skype.

Meet the Author Network connects you with numerous authors willing to enter your library or classroom for 10 – 15 minute skyp sessions for free. You can also set up longer interviews for a fee.

Global Skype Projects

Global School Network engages classrooms worldwide in meaningful project-based learning exchanges to develop science, math, and literacy skills and foster collaboration, global citizenship, and multicultural understandings.

Taking it Global is an online community of global educators with the goal of making a difference in the world.

Around the World with 80 Schools introduced on the Langwitches blog challenges teachers to connect with 80 different schools via skype in order to circle the globe once. 

Skype in Education Directories  

Connect with other educator’s looking for video conferencing classroom partnerships at these directories.
Did I miss one? Please add it in comments. Thanks!

Skype in Schools Directory

Eduskypers Phonebook

Ready to install and get started with Skype for free? View this Skype techtorial for teachers.

Free Educational Resources | Interactive Whiteboard Lessons by Learning Today  

The illiterate of the 21st Century

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

Education – Today and Tomorrow

This video was created by Tom Woodward of Henrico County schools in Virginia. Tom used the work of Karl Fisch from Colorado who created a PPT using various quotes and statistics from “flat world” thinking. Used with permission