Build K-12 CC standards-based rubrics in under a minute!

The ThemeSpark™ free web-based teacher tool was designed by former teacher David Hunter. The creator of the innovative Zombie-Based Learning curriculum, he founded our parent company EdCourage, Inc. to offer powerful teacher tools that easily add Authentic Learning to standards-based curriculum. David will be presenting on this topic at ASCD15 in Houston.


I set up an account and built a 21st Century Skills Collaboration rubric based on Common Core in less than a minute. Very clever. You can combine standards from different tracks and them share via web address or social media or download. 

This product delivers.  Give it a try. 

Overcoming the Motivation Challenge in eLearning: 5 Things You Can Do

Motivation in eLearning can best be described with a U-shaped curve: novelty and enthusiasm produce high drive at the beginning, but it drops off sharply thereafter, only increasing when the end of the course is in sight. It is up to you to boost and maintain your students’ motivation throughout the course, so that they will get the most out of it. Unless they have the motivation to focus and sit through the entire course, they learn nothing at all.

Though every student responds differently, here are some fundamental guidelines you can use to keep your learners motivation levels high from that first splash to the finish line.


Engagement is the name of the game. These 5 tips apply to the traditional classroom, mobile learning, blended classrooms and 100% online classes. 

PhotoMath & Reactions To It From Around The Web

You may have already heard about PhotoMath, the new iPhone app that lets you point it at a math problem on a textbook and then solves it while showing all the work involved.

Some are immediately reacting by citing it’s potential use in “cheating,” while others cheer that it might force math teachers and textbook publishers to be more creative in how they teach math.


It is a cheater’s dream or a way to provide instant process tutoring?

Creating Effective & Engaging Video Tutorials | Blended Librarian Webcast Recording now available

The recording of our 9/18 webcast “Would You Watch It: Creating Effective and Engaging Videos” is now available. Over 200 librarians attended the webinar and the evaluation feedback was overwhelmingly positive. If you missed it or if you attended and want to share it with colleagues, please take advantage of the great information shared by Martin’s.


Writing Matters: National Writing Project 2013 Annual Report

The ability to write with clarity and coherence is fundamental to student success in both school and the workplace. We are excited to have the opportunity for teachers in Union County to partner with teachers throughout the state and nation on a project to improve student writing.

— Cindy Langley, Director of Secondary Education for Union County Schools, Union, South Carolina


The National Writing Project has been doing fundamental work to promote the teaching of writing for 40 years. This is the gateway to their Annual Report. 

If you feel alone as a writing teacher. If you are looking for a mature, deep and sustaining community of practice to help you hone your craft… you’ve found it. 

Walking Meditation | Mindful Walking

Walking meditation, also called mindful walking, combines the basic principles of meditation, such as breathing, concentration and relaxation with rhythmic walking. “As with traditional meditation, walking meditation can reduce your blood pressure and heart rate, create feelings of well-being, help you sleep, improve your mood and help you manage stress,” says Shirley Archer, a fitness expert who teaches walking meditation workshops at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.


This article presents 5 practices to help you into mindful walking.  The third practice “Find a Mantra” rang my memory bell and helped be understand that all the years I spent hiking and climbing were in so many way mindful walking. 

I used the mountaineer’s rest step and a simple chant to climb high passes with a heavy pack. It was very hard work that on occassion lead to bliss. 

Thinking back on those experiences fills my mind with ease. My travel memories are a rich library. Evoking the best of them makes now a more mindful place. 

Mindfulness Techniques: 5 Reasons You Should Try Mindful Exercise – About Meditation

Here are my top five observations on why meditation and working out, among many mindfulness techniques, are such a good combination.

Breaking Inertia Is An Inner & Outer Matter
Creating Inner Space on the Cushion & The Treadmill
The Mind-Body Connection is Profound
Measuring Inner & Outer Progress
Building Intention, Focus, and Self Confidence


I’ve been attempting to walk mindfully.  I’m open to any advice I can find. 

5 Simple Tips to Encourage Empathy In Your Kids

Empathy has so many benefits, both for our kids and for more effective parenting. For instance:

  • Children get along better with other kids because they can put themselves in their shoes.
  • Children learn to regulate their emotions, such as during meltdowns and when they’re over excited.
  • Children can separate other people’s emotions from theirs. For instance, a child may get upset when he sees another child cry. But with empathy, he learns that the other child is the one who really needs help.

Below are effective ways of teaching our kids to show empathy:

  • #1: Create a happy home.
  • #2: Discuss being in other people’s shoes.
  • #3: Highlight common interests and feelings.
  • #4: Mention how their actions affect others.
  • #5: Model empathy…