Satisfying My Curiosity on a Summer Sunday Afternoon

It is hard to believe, but it is almost the end of July. Summer is the perfect time to explore more of the wonderful resources Discovery Education has to offer -time that is so often at a premium during the school year.
I don’ t have grandchildren yet, but I want to remind all educators with young children to find time to search on Weston Woods as well as Reading Rainbow. A search on Weston Woods turns up over 100 wonderful videos of popular children’s picture books, brought to life through narration and animation.  As for Reading Rainbow, I watched a number of them on PBS when my boys were young , and I am delighted to have the opportunity to experience episodes we missed through Discovery Education streaming. What is great is that both the Weston Woods selections and the Reading Rainbow episodes have been converted for watching through the Discovery Mobile site on the iPad.

Now – to the title of this post – Curiosity. This afternoon, I also followed a tweet from Discovery Education to bit.ly/CuriosityClass. This site, free for all, has a wealth of resources for students, parents, and teachers. On the student site, I took the Curiosity Quizzes. I’d like to say I got all of the answers correct the first time, but I’d be fibbing. However, even though I did get some wrong answers, I learned from my mistakes. And, isn’t that what education is really all about?
One of the links took me to a video featuring Marissa Mayer on the theme of curiosity. In the video she talks about what makes people happy in their jobs, and it isn’t necessarily salary or perks; it’s the excitement they feel when they can make progress in their job everyday and feel that what they do may have a positive impact on the world. That’s what teachers and students need in our job of  “doing school.”  In another segment Michael Dell talks about how important it is that scientists not be afraid to take risks  and not be afraid to fail – as long as they can build on what went right. In our schools, how often is failure viewed as opportunity? Kids and teachers need a chance to go back and try again to get it right – but with such an emphasis on standardized testing and right or wrong answers, how often, practically, does this happen?
I only brushed the surface of the resources on the curiosity(in the classroom) site, but I hope to go back and watch some of the webinars and see which lesson plans I might be able to use or suggest to others.
After spending several hours exploring, I forced myself to get up and go outside and take a 20-minute walk. That is also so important.
Summer is fleeting, but I’m so glad to have the time to discover new resources on Discovery Education. I also hope to get to tune into some of the webinars on the changing interface for the fall. It’s quite streamlined, and I think I’m going to like it.

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