You might have heard that we recently tripled the teaching resources available to teachers in Kiddom’s Library. Not only are we excited, but we’d like to share our team’s favorite content providers. So without further ado…
Liz: As an educator I am always looking for resources that are made with the student in mind. Zearn is that resource. They understand things about young children that a lot of us take for granted. The imagery is straightforward and easy to understand. The lessons are fun and engaging. They encourage student interaction, check for understanding and give corrective feedback so students can learn from mistakes. There are no flashing distractions or unnecessary components. The language used is student friendly and always has read aloud options. Zearn can be used as a full adaptive math curriculum that meets the students at their level or as targeted teaching opportunities to supplement a variety of other programs.
Kashon, Teacher Advocate
NextLesson: Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies K-12
Kashon: NextLessonis a great addition to the Kiddom Content Library. From the student’s perspective, you can select from a wide variety of subject matter that interest you, and share this with your teacher for more personalized assignments. From the educator’s perspective it’s a great tool to gauge a student’s personality type and find resources to engage them. You can also search lesson plans by aligned standards, giving teachers the ability to develop a child’s skill set within the parameters of their interests. They have great project based assignments that bring learning to life.
Amanda, Community Partnerships
IXL: Math & ELA PK-12, Science & Social Studies: 2–8
Amanda: I can’t wait for teachers and students to experience what IXLbrings to the classroom, catering to kids learning at different paces and on different levels. I was fortunate to find IXL in my third year teaching 6th grade Math. Students ranged in their mathematical ability from the elementary to high school level and I was determined to provide opportunities for kids who needed remediation andkids that needed a challenge. Incorporating IXL work-time in my classroom engaged my students at their appropriate level. I would select a number of lessons or topics for my students to explore and the IXL program monitored their progress, prompting students to move forward once mastery was reached or to practice more if they needed help. As the facilitator, I could see progress on each skill and provide small-group instruction for those students that got stuck within a concept. IXL provides immediate feedback, standards-aligned lessons, and more time for me to support students one-on-one.
Melissa, Professional Development
Listenwise: ELA, Social Studies, Science 6–12
Melissa: As a high school English and Social Studies teacher, it never made sense to me that students were only asked to analyze print texts on state exams. As an adult, I get news and entertainment across so many forms of media, including podcasts and audiobooks, and I deepen my understanding of new ideas through debate and discussion with friends and colleagues. That’s why I love Listenwise for using public radio podcasts to bring my students current events in an accessible, engaging format. It’s often hard for students to connect to faraway events they read about, so the varied perspectives from podcasts and interviews encourage empathy and critical thinking as students learn. Using audio sources also allows all of my students to access the same ideas and content, regardless of their reading levels, making it a great tool for differentiation. Listenwise also pairs graphic organizers and comprehension questions with their podcasts so that you can assess critical listening skills in addition to their silent reading comprehension. Easily keep your curriculum up-to-date with in-depth news stories and help your students become informed citizens.
Jessica, Curriculum Specialist
Everfi: Healthy Relationships, SEL 6–9
Jessica: I love a lot of content but I am very excited about Everfi because they offer resources for subjects and topics that are underrepresented in the digital world. I used the Healthy Relationships interactive modules in my health class to support students who struggled with conflict resolution, communication, and making decisions. The comic book style made the “true-to-life” scenarios more approachable for students who were not interested in role playing the situations in class. This resource is also great for people interested in covering Social Emotional Learning skills which have been in high demand. The greatest part is that this is all free. Soon, we also hope to share some of their other great life skills courses on Kiddom.
Shabbir, Support Analyst
Shabbir: I’m a visual learner with a variety of interests across all subjects and I could not be happier about the addition of TEDEd to the Kiddom library. TEDEd has videos curated for a wide variety of subjects, mostly geared towards an older student audience. TEDEd videos have a knack for being informative, but what makes them stand out are their engaging animations, pacing, and delivery. Maybe most important of all, many TEDEd videos have special guest speakers with expertise on the topic- so not only do students get exposed to information in a fun way, but now they are familiar with with some faces in the subject’s field. With TEDEd on your Kiddom utility belt you can assign engaging, personalized assignments, thoughtful remediation, and lessons that spark discussion and thoughtful dialogue.
Abbas, Chief Academic Officer
Desmos: Math 9–12
Abbas: As a former high school math teacher, I recognize it can sometimes be challenging to find opportunities to translate what’s being learned in the classroom to students’ lives. Sure, if we had more time to plan, we could probably come up with a plethora of creative projects and activities that help students understand how their daily lives are impacted by the mathematical concepts covered in class. Unfortunately, we aren’t always privileged with time to plan like this for every topic. Enter Desmos. Desmos connects a rich graphing calculator to engaging, real-world activities. These activities can instantly help your students engage with and connect more meaningfully with mathematical concepts. And don’t hesitate to roll your sleeves up and play along, they can get challenging.
We hope you’re able to find resources that support your classroom needs and love them as much as we do. If there’s a resource you’d like to see available in the Kiddom Library, let us know by tweeting at us or emailing us directly. Happy Teaching and Learning!
Plus 4 Ways to Differentiate Instruction Using Kiddom’s Library
Planning curriculum is a complex, ongoing project — teachers arrange their learning targets for the year into a scope and sequence, write daily lessons to scaffold instruction, and find content resources that align to the various levels and interests of all students. That’s a lot of heavy lifting.
Finding the right teaching resources online can be particularly challenging. There’s an endless supply of content and curriculum providers, and teachers have little time to comb through it all. That’s why we’ve been researching, vetting, and adding thousands of new resources to our library: to save teachers time. You already know teachers using Kiddom can access a comprehensive library of free resources and assign them instantly to students. Today, we tripled the size of that library, adding more content for more subjects across more grade levels. Yippee! 🤓
As an added bonus to teachers, resources assigned from select partners automatically transfer scores to your reports in Kiddom. That means more teachers will spend less time with data entry. Student progress will be imported into Kiddom, and your reports will be up-to-date.
Our library of teaching resources now includes a wider range of standards-aligned multimedia content and lesson plans. We’ve added a plethora of resources from new providers (IXL, LearnZillion, PBS LearningMedia, Newsela, and Desmos to name a few), and we’ve also added more resources from legacy providers (CK-12, Khan Academy, and CommonLit). Use this handy reference chart to learn which content providers support your classroom needs most appropriately.
Of course, what good are resources if they aren’t supplemented with implementation strategies? Here are four ways to use these resources.
1. Remediate or Extend 🚀
Content providers like IXL, Khan Academy, and Desmos offer excellent practice videos, problem sets, and challenge problems for math skills across grade levels. Create a playlist of instructional videos from Khan Academy or practice sets from IXL for students who are struggling with a specific skill-set. Send challenge activities from Desmos to students who are ready to apply new skills to real-life problem sets and move them up Bloom’s taxonomy to higher levels of thinking.
2. Offer Multimedia Perspectives 🎧
With Listenwise, you can support literacy instruction and listening comprehension through audio resources. Listenwise has a library of podcasts that cover current events with depth and a range of perspectives to help students draw connections between themselves and the world. Pair these podcasts with articles on the same topic from Newsela to meet multiple learning styles. Newsela’s articles are available at multiple reading levels to ensure all students have access to the same information. Create rotating stations and have students read articles from Newsela, listen from Listenwise at each one ahead of a class discussion, or have students choose their own station based on learning preferences.
3. Integrate Social Emotional Learning 💛
Incorporate Everfi’s Healthy Relationships course into advisory, counseling, or homeroom to support your students in developing positive, appropriate relationships with peers and adults. This course is self-paced and interactive, including authentic videos with diverse perspectives. Use them in an advisory setting to guide discussions about community values and shared norms, or weave them into a literature unit to give students language to discuss interpersonal conflict in the stories they’re reading.
4. Mix and Match 📝💻
Curriculum is rarely one-size fits all — use our content library to find the best of the bunch for your students. Both Zearn and Khan Academy have resources and materials aligned to EngageNY modules. Pick the ones that work best for your students and build out a cohesive sequence of lessons. Search “EngageNY” in Kiddom’s content library to find Khan Academy’s EngageNY-aligned units labeled by module number and topic letter. All of Zearn’s materials are aligned to EngageNY — you can see an overview of their curriculum map, organized in the same way, here.
The sunlight is peeking through the blinds of my bedroom window, where I see the wind ruffle the leaves of our magnolia tree.
I hear the wind, now, too.
Two hummingbirds are buzzing at the feeder suction cupped to my window. They rest and drink the sugary water and look at me through the window.
A crow caws as it flies past, and my wife rolls over in her sleep. The sound of her breathing is long and measured.
I wake up like this, everyday. It is extremely peaceful and the most relaxing thing I’ve ever experienced.
Yet, my heart is beating fast, very fast, like wings of the hummingbird outside of my window. There’s a knot of anxiety that refuses to dissipate. Something has a hold on my chest and my breathing is shallow. Why? What is making me feel this way, when I wake up in such an idyllic environment?
I pick up my phone that is next to me on my nightstand, and then I know why. Why I’ve felt this way for months, why I’ve felt uneasy since I moved from Brooklyn, to Seattle.
I feel unsafe. I feel that my life is threatened.
I know that my life is threatened.
People are being murdered by the police, almost on a daily basis. The rights of gay and transgender people are being stripped away from them. Muslims are being targeted by bigots and denied entry into the “land of the free.” The education system is in shambles and young people are being terrorized by current policy. Teachers are devalued and deemed worthless; there are articles about teachers being replaced by AI. Artistic expression and creativity is shunned, but lies are universally accepted. The gap between the rich and poor is widening, as is the divide between black and white. Canada was on fire, and the smokescreen has made Seattle’s air quality akin to Beijing. White Supremacists are marching in Virginia, burning torches, and spreading vitriol, bolstered by a nation that has chosen hate as its form of expression.
Polar ice caps are melting and it is way too hot. Animals and trees are dying, and I’m laying in bed, and it is quiet and serene.
It’s feels like I’m lying in a coffin.
I know that I’m lucky, but I know my luck will end. Our luck will end. I wake up every day thinking today will be the day. The day that my life will be taken from me.
Then I remember
We are stronger together.
Out of darkness, there is light.
There is power in art.
After the dark ages in Europe, there was the renaissance. Because of da Vinci, we understood Flight.
After years of “let them eat cake,” we had the French Revolution and with it, folk tales from the Brothers Grimm and music from Mozart and Beethoven. Artists turning their fears and desires into children’s stories and complex musical notes.
After the Mexican Revolution, we saw the innovative period of Mexican Muralism, which brought us artists like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Out of bloodshed and war, these muralists created images of family life and, of working class people, normally overlooked, in classical art.
During the Great Depression, there was also the Harlem Renaissance, highlighting Black artists of the 20s. From a time when people were grabbing pigeons out of the sky for dinner, Black artists were holding onto life, by reflecting what they saw in the world. There’d be no jazz, rock n roll, or hip hop without the Harlem Renaissance.
I wonder what art will spring forward based on the lives we live in 2017. How will the youth of tomorrow see the youth of today?
Last week I saw “Barbecue” at the Intiman theater where one conceit was telling the same story through a lens of whiteness, and through the lens of blackness. “Barbecue” was story of a down on its luck family trying to save their drug addicted sister. The play started with an all white family planning an intervention, and after the blackout, the story continued, but the same characters were now all Black. It was interesting how race shaped the narrative. I won’t ruin the rest of the play, but I began wondering how a paradigm shift would impact other stories and possibly boost empathy, in audiences.
Then I saw Wonder Woman.
It was an enjoyable movie (quite enjoyable actually), and examined feminism through the lens of whiteness. The first time we meet Diana Prince she is being sought after by her black mammy. The next black woman we meet is a brute that speaks no words but is beaten with a large bat, yet feels no pain. That is the extent of women of color in that film.
Wonder Woman fights for humanity, but not all humans. This of course, is fine, but I wonder what would happen if the same story were told with black women. Black heroine chased by her white nanny. Big white woman hit with bat and says no words. Then black Wonder Woman battles the evils of African genocide and saves us from 500 years of oppression.
Or, would she fight alongside the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II? Would we see the character the same way, or would she be too militant? Would the movie get cancelled like ‘Underground,’ on WGN? Would white women be upset because they couldn’t see themselves in the character? Would the actress be chastised for supporting Black Lives Matter? Would it be a feminist movie or a black movie? Would my daughters leave the theater looking proud, instead of confused? Would she fall in love with an abolitionist? Would a love story even exist? Would Ares be the Egyptian god, Set?
Would young people still make art?
Would it matter?
Would there still be educational inequity?
What does representation mean, in 2017?
I guess we will find out next February…
James Miles is the Executive Director of the Seattle- based Arts Corps, an organization whose mission it is to unlock the creative power of youth through arts education and community collaboration. A Master Teaching Artist who has worked in arts education for more than 15 years. He has facilitated workshops and designed curriculum for the New Victory Theater, Roundabout Theatre, Disney Theatrical Group, Theatre for a New Audience, Center of Arts Education, BAX, Brooklyn Arts Council, Opening Act, and (Out)Laws & Justice. He has worked as an actor, an accountant, a comedian, and a model.
I assumed that I needed a photographic memory, or maybe it was because I’m dyslexic. I definitely lacked the stealth necessary to cheat; classmates routinely lifted their shoulders to block my vision of their exams. I could never explain why I tested sopoorly, but standardized tests weren’t interested in my excuses. The deeper my grades sunk, the further back in class I’d sit; this also closely tied to the lack of effort teachers invested in me. Teachers forgot me once the back of the classroom became my domain. I stopped attending class after failing math for a third semester; until truancy officers brought me back.
“At this point you’re likely to graduate two years after your peers,” my advisor informed me, never prying her eyes from my transcript.
My advisor suggested attending an alternative high school to accelerate my credit accumulation. I applied for the alternative school, but by the time I was accepted I’d grown jaded, and developed a disdain for school and its administration. My test scores led everyone to turn their backs on me, and I’d now been funneled into my last option. A seed of resentment grew to be my primary motivator. Graduating high school for my own good became almost secondary, I was determined to void test scores and disprove everyone’s opinion of me as a failure.
Refocusing myself in high school was challenging. I applied myself to a degree I was unaware I possessed. My grades caught momentum, and I even passed algebra — thanks to one teacher in particular: Mr. Manjee. I don’t remember exactly what common interest we found, or what gave our relationship footing, but we bonded very quickly. Manjee introduced math in style, and demonstrated its application in everyday life during his lessons. He helped me, and other students with a track record of failing, not only pass algebra, but to see it’s usefulness. Manjee kept a diligent eye over my studies throughout my time at the alternative school. By senior year, I managed to raise my grades tremendously, averaging an A and eventually graduating as class valedictorian. Suddenly, I had high hopes of attending a university. College tours gave me a glimpse of a life in which I could recreate myself. I could forget downtrodden schools in impoverished neighborhoods. I wouldn’t have to share the same fate as my parents or the other kids in my neighborhood.
I recognized the letters of rejection by envelope size. A dream simply doesn’t fit in a letter-sized envelope. I was denied by every university that I applied to. Two years of Fs coupled with two years of As, formulated a cumulative average of Cs. No reputable college wants a C student.
Despite this, I didn’t feel an ounce of discouragement. Ironically, I was inspired. I had proved to myself my goals are always within reach. I was shocked to learn Manjee felt as if he failed me after all his encouragement and help applying to college. Manjee’s success with me lay elsewhere. Manjee viewed me as intelligent, capable, and amusing; although I did not identify with these qualities, it was flattering to have a teacher think of me as a person with qualities rather than a grade or college name. My presence never felt unwarranted, and it never seemed that the scale of my problems was insignificant to him. Most of all, he was patient and allowed me to learn at my own pace. My relationship with teachers renewed, I genuinely believed in the opportunities education could offer me.
I ended up attending community college, eventually transferring to a four-year school. I remained in contact with Manjee over the years. He continued teaching, but often felt deterred by how the school system perpetuated inequality. He went on to join Kiddom, an education technology platform, as their Chief Academic Officer. Manjee had been privately consulting Kiddom’s CEO (and his best friend) while he taught, helping design a way to ease the burden of tedious tasks with technology, and allow teachers to allocate their time where it was needed most: with students. The creation of Kiddom revived in me what originally solidified our relationship; it was that core commonality of resilience. When Manjee told me Kiddom was hiring and that I should apply to support teachers, I saw this as an opportunity to repay someone who’d done so much for me. I began working at Kiddom as a Teacher Advocate. My tasks involve assisting teachers navigate the platform, customizing Kiddom to fit their classrooms, and occasionally, occupational therapy. I listen as teachers express their frustration with the archaic systems in place.
“I love math, but I find it pointless if I’m unable to inspire students to use mathematics creatively. I’m merely a robot at this point,” a teacher once told me, “ I love this program. Knowing that there are people out there who believe as educators we are responsible to meet the needs of children not only academically but emotionally, makes me think that maybe I could keep going.”
This particular teacher loved Kiddom’s social emotional capacity. He’d taught math for ten years, his spirit diminished because he knew students needed more than a mechanical exchange to truly cultivate their minds. This conversation lead me to reminisce on the many math teachers throughout my education, and my transformative relationship with Manjee. Maybe teachers long for more ‘aha!’ moments with their students? Maybe over-testing leads teachers to grow jaded? I realized teachers yearn for a relationship with their students, but unfortunately bureaucracy often creates discord. I was delighted that this math teacher found a solution in Kiddom, and then it dawned upon me — Kiddom had also just saved a forgotten kid in the back of the classroom.
Thank you teachers, old and new, for continuing to look for innovative ways to connect with your students.