Watchknow: Youtube and so much more!

YouTube video Brandweer Nederweertphoto © 2010 Maurits Knook | more info (via: Wylio)
A few months ago I learned about WatchKnow from someone in my PLN and I passed on the recommendation to my teachers. (Watchknow is a site that hosts educationally safe videos in an ad-free environment.  This is great news in places where Youtube is blocked, and for those of us who hate all the extraneous “stuff” that appears on Youtube screens.) Here’s an excerpt from their vision statement: WatchKnowLearn has indexed over 20,000 educational videos, placing them into a directory of over 3,000 categories. The videos are available without any registration or fees to teachers in the classroom and to students at home 24/7.  When I first explored the site I was impressed with all of its search capabilities and the tremendous range of topics and grade levels.  Recently I was thankful to have found out about it. Why? My art teacher wondered if I could order a video for background information about the work of Georges Seurat as part of a special schoolwide project next year. Now, I’m in a K-3 school and after checking my usual catalogs and sources,  I came up empty-handed. Then I remembered WatchKnow! In just a few minutes I found several age-appropriate videos about Seurat and pointillism that will fit the bill perfectly. Ya gotta love the web and your PLN….!

School year rhythms

Have you noticed that there are rhythms to our school year?  We’ve recently passed the six week mark which is always the first major chunk of the year.  During this time routines and expectations have been established, schedules have been nailed down, fall assessments are completed, and the getting-to-know-you efforts have hopefully paid off with new staff and students.  Now it’s time to begin another part of the rhythm.

This is the time of year when at least some of my teachers start to see the possibilities for collaboration.  By now they are ready to dive more fully into the content areas and consider how I might be able to assist them.  This year I’m excited to be working more closely with the music and art teachers to  plan an integrated approach to the core curriculum.  Wednesday begins a series of meetings with our second and third grade teachers to discuss how we can bring the visual and performing arts, information literacy,  and technology in alignment with social studies and science.  The culmination of our work together will be a couple of evenings of sharing with the community in the spring.

At a recent workshop I was reminded by Bernajean Porter that we’ll need to build relevance and rigor into whatever it is we decide to do, and that we must keep the learning at the forefront, supported by the curriculum, with technology and tools in service to the thinking tasks.  Sounds like a tall order, but I’ve got my groove back.  I’m ready.

What rhythms have you noticed at your school?  When are you able to maximize your potential to collaborate?  How do you go about “stacking the standards” so that learning is first, followed by curriculum, followed by technology?  Please share!  This is a new way of looking at things for me.