Day: February 17, 2016

#Scratch-ing the 6th grade Math Itch

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Our first project highlight for the 2nd annual Making Math Expo is “Using Scratch for 6th grade Math,” where 6th graders will teach attendees how to use the computer program Scratch while sharing their final projects from their work with the program. As attendees learn Scratch firsthand, creating their own coded projects, students will share how they linked blocks to build a “code,” building both programming and mathematical proficiency.Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 4.12.11 PM.png

As programmers, participants must strategize about the choice of coding blocks in order to make their code more efficient, and as mathematicians, they develop a conceptual understanding of positive and negative numbers as they move objects around the xy-grid, using academic vocabulary to describe their location in the grid.

Want to scratch your coding itch and do some math in the process? Come play with this and more at the Making Math Expo on March 12! Registration is free but limited slots are available, so sign up today!

-Celine Liu, Mathematics Specialist at ACOE

8 Books Worth Picking Up!

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If you are looking for good reading over the holiday break consider supporting the work of these amazing authors, educators and culture keepers! They range from poetry, fiction, history, women’s solidarity, youth empowerment and even an Indigenous coloring book

  1. Waterhummingbirdhouse: A Chicano Poetry Codex

by Israel Lopez

(Black & White VERSION) This is an experimental Chicano poetry codex. This work explores border politics and linguistic borders through the use of a multitude of poetic forms, images and bilingual antics. The poems move from english, spanish, nahuatl and Chicano imagery to convey the rupture, the mending, the re-constructing, re-membering of chicano poetics and a visual landscape that reconsiders the codices left behind by olmeca, tolteca, azteca and mayan ancestors.

  1. BloomingFlower, Shooting Star by Yaocihuatzin PhD

Blooming Flower, Shooting Star is semi-fiction, there is some non-fictional history of Indigenous icons, traditions, and rituals incorporated. The book involves two characters, Citlali and Flor. Citlali is an undergraduate at New York University and was a former ward of the court in California. Flor is a senior in high school in Oakland, California and is still in the foster care system. After not being in contact for three years, they begin to e-mail each other and discuss many of the issues that young adults/teens are dealing with today. They write to each other about issues ranging from love, history, traditions, boyfriends, pregnancy, feminism, gangs, military, and share their daily lives with each other the way best friends or sisters do.

  1. Revengeof the “Illegal Alien”: A Mexican Takes on the Empire by Cesar A. Cruz

Mexican poet Cesar A. Cruz takes on the Empire with a powerful collection of poems, short stories and political bullets. Author Luis Rodriguez (Always Running) describes Cesar’s writings as filled with “fierce insight and righteous rage.” The book has received praise from Godfather of Chicano Studies, Rudy Acuna, political activist Yuri Kochiyama, former Black Panther Shaka At-thinnin, rapper Paris, and many others. Mr. Cruz dispels the myth of the so-called “Illegal Alien” in North America and stands up for all human beings seeking to change the world. Library of Congress Control Number: 2008901057, ISBN #978-0-6151-5299-8

  1. IncarceratedParadise: A Journey from East Oakland to Puerto Ricoby Ramas Crew

Youth from East Oakland undergo a cultural, political journey to Puerto Rico to learn about the countries’ freedom fighters and their struggle for independence. Book includes poems, short stories and powerful biographies from freedom fighters desde Boriken. An, Ramas Crew, production. Proceeds of sales will go to Oakland LEAF.

  1. YouthWisdom by Homies Empowerment

“Youth Wisdom” is a Homies Empowerment production, created by teens, ages 14-19, from Oakland, CA. based out of Arise High School. In this book, they express life lessons bringing forth hope and a vision for a new way to live. Proceeds of sales will go to Homies Empowerment.


This Chicano Codex Coloring book is for both children and adults. This codex reflex on the deer and the medicine of the deer. The codex coloring book series are recalling, exploring and expanding the codices left behind by our ancestors. The imagery found in these texts are inspired by azteca, maya, toltecs, yaqui images but inspire the individual to continue to create not simply copy ancestral work. If we are to continue to thrive, identify and redefine the imagery and meaning left behind by our predecessors we have to re-evision, adapt and create new codices.

  1. Norteños/Sureños:Time to ‘Bang’ For Freedom, Brief History of Mexican Mafia & NuestraFamilia by Cesar A. Cruz

This powerful book details the history of Norteno & Sureno gangs and how their split came about. It serves as an empowering historical tool for young people caught up in gangs. Includes sections on the Brown Berets, Young Lords and many freedom fighters.

  1. Waterhummingbirdhouse: A Xikano Codex Coloring Book by Israel Lopez

This chicano art coloring book is 52 pages and examines neo-mayan,neo-aztec,neo-chicano glyphs. It is for both children and adults alike. This meditative work allows the viewer to explore visual metaphors that draw from what sometimes gets deemed as “lost cultures” and become inspired to create new visions for the next seven generations.  Centered around the reality that these images and cultures are here and now and continue to thrive.

Works suggested by:

cesar a. cruz

Doctoral Candidate & Founder of Homies Empowerment Program

Harvard University-Secondary School Program

Hot New Tools

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Core Learning team members have been busy surveying the landscape for the newest and hottest digital tools in educational technology. At the recent CUE conference in Napa, for example, the literacy team came back with an exciting list of free sites, apps and resources to enhance and promote content creation, collaboration, literacy and more.

Not all of these resources are necessarily new, in fact few have been around for a while, but they still hold up to today’s needs and merit a rediscovery, if they are not already part of your techno-diet.

Insert youtube url to view videos without ads, etc.

Tool to quickly edit youtube videos for just the section you want to show.

Tagboard uses hashtags to search for and collect public social media within seconds of being posted to networks like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Robust tools offer the power to select specific posts to feature on websites, etc.

Project management tool using digital post-its to track progress on projects.

Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL. Ferlazzo curates a new website every day for use with ELLs.

Padlet is an online, collaborative “cork board” for students.

InfuseLearning is the best formative assessment tool to use with students.

Google Art Project  takes students into the most famous museums in the world, and enables them to zoom in on artwork.  Students can search by medium, event, place, person, and time period.

TubeChop  enables teachers to “chop” sections from a YouTube video, and then share it.

QuietTube  is a toolbar button; when installed, teachers do not have to worry about YouTube videos displaying comments.

TouchCast  enables teachers to create interactive videos that include (scrollable) websites, documents, photos, and polls.

EdTedThis website enables teachers to build a lesson around any Ted-Ed Original, TED Talk, or YouTube video.

InstagrokSearching a word in Instagrok produces an interactive concept map.  (This is an especially useful tool with ELLs.)

Socrative is a formative assessment tool similar to InfuseLearning.

Poll EverywhereThis is another formative assessment tool for quick class polls.

EasyBib helps students create citations.

Diigo is an online annotation tool.  Students can highlight and add stickies to any website.

Buck Institute for EducationBIE provides crucial resources for teachers who wish to create project-based learning experiences for their students.

Google DriveStudents are using Google Drive across the country to collaborate on documents and presentations, fill out formative assessments (through Google Forms), and use Google Apps for Education (GAFE).

Doceri is a presentation tool that promotes student annotation.

Evernote is a powerful task managing tool.

Paper is an iPad app for drawing, creating mind maps, etc.

Pinterest is a website wherein users “pin” photos that are linked to information; it is rife with teacher tools and inspirational ideas for your classroom.