Curriki Joins Forces with the Constitution Center

constitution day logoBy Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

In anticipation of Constitution Day on Friday, Sept. 16 – and, of course, the upcoming presidential election – Curriki is delighted to announce a timely and exciting new partnership: the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia!

The Constitution Center may be physically located in the birthplace of our nation, but its website, ConstitutionCenter.org, reaches around the world as the only virtual place where people can come together to learn, debate and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history – the U.S. Constitution.

Curriki’s Constitution Center Collection

You can find the Constitution Center’s always relevant collection on the Curriki website, with fascinating units such as:

  • The 13th Amendment – examine the Primary Source,  the handwritten congressional copy of the amendment that banned slavery, signed by President Lincoln, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, and over 150 members of Congress, for a vibrant discussion guide on the abolition of slavery.
  • Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War – a lesson plan on this fascinating period n US history, featuring an online game featuring an animated Abe Lincoln
  • The Bill of Rights – a multi-faceted lesson that helps students learn about the rights and freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, translate the document into student-friendly language and make connections with real-life scenarios by playing Bill of Rights Bingo.
  • Students will also dive into the legacy of Martin Luther King, the history of Thanksgiving, the separation of powers and so much more.

Primary sources of some of the most fundamentally important historical material, including the Bill of Rights and the Articles of Confederation, are also offered in this special collection.

What is Constitution Day, Anyway?

Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the most influential document in American history, by the Founding Fathers on September 17, 1787.  Celebrating Constitution Day presents an awesome opportunity to inspire students to actively learn about the founding of the United States.

Find Curriki’s curriculum provided by the Constitution Center here.


Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMO

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Follow Curriki’s Blog at www.curriki.org/blog/.

Back to School Tips for Parents

school-buses

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Whether you have already returned to school or that fateful First Day is coming soon, back-to-school can be an extremely stressful time for both parents and kids. It doesn’t seem to matter if your children are going into 1st grade or 12th — having to wake up early and juggle homework, school activities, social events and sometimes jobs … buying school supplies and paying fees … hitting Back-to-School Nights and helping kids organize … the start of a new school year is always a daunting challenge!

How you navigate this transition can make a huge difference in how the entire year goes for your child. Why stumble along hoping for the best when you can be proactive and give you child tools for success from the get-go?

On the last night of summer, we here at Curriki suggest you hold a family dinner to celebrate the end of summer and look ahead to the vast potential of the upcoming year. Make pizza together, and then go around the table sharing what you hope to achieve this school year – make the basketball team, get all As, make new friends, try out for the school play, or perhaps (parents) get involved the PTA! If you visualize it, you’re already on your way to achieving it!

Curriki is delighted to provide all kinds of resources in the classroom or at home, but we wanted to make sure children walk into the classroom rejuvenated from summer and ready to learn. So here are a few resources to help keep parents and kids adjust to the transition and thrive in the months ahead:

Tips for Kids and Parents

  • Care.com has a list of 101 Back-to-School Tips for Kids and Parents to help you and your children start the new school year right. Here are a few:
  • Carve out some fun time with kids before the school year ramps up
  • Start reading habits a couple weeks before the new year
  • Start going to bed earlier and setting alarms to wake up earlier a week or so before
  • Figure out an organizational system before you walk back in the school door
  • Create an after-school schedule that allows time for snack, relaxation, play and study.

The list also includes tips for making the year go smoothly, including:

  • Create a family calendar that tracks everyone’s activities and commitments.
    Teach your kids to prioritize their assignments by making to-do lists with deadlines.
  • Give your kids a short break after each assignment they finish.
  • Arrange playdates with two or three of your kids’ friends to rebuild existing social ties.

Read the rest of the list here.

Teacher-Approved Strategies

PBS.org’s list of teacher-approved strategies for easing the anxiety of the back-to-school transition include:

  • If it’s a new school, tour the school in advance if possible.
  • Make an effort to attend Back-to-School Night to meet their children’s teachers.
  • Refresh kids’ friendships in advance by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.
  • Find more tips from PBS.org.

Special Needs Strategies

Every special needs child is different and has unique needs and challenges. With sensory issues, difficulty with emotional regulation, the need for routine, problems adjusting to change, intellectual or communications issues,  you’ll want to make some extra efforts to make daunting the transition easier, including:

  • If attending a new school, try to schedule a visit before the first day. Meet the principal, counselors and teachers if possible.
  • Discuss and plan the changes in your child’s daily routine that will happen once school starts.
  • Talk to your child about exciting new classes, activities and events that they can participate in.
  • Review your child’s current IEP, and with older students, explain the services and accommodations it includes.
  • Set up a system to keep track of your child’s special education documentation  (You’ll find some ideas here)
  • Start a communication log to keep track of phone calls, emails, notes home and more.

You’ll find scores of other ideas for helping special needs students adjust to the new school year from these resources:

I’d love to hear your strategies on how you helped your child adjust to the transition from summer to the new school year. Please post your comments here on the Curriki blog!


Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMOJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

Back to School Time for Teachers

By Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

back to school boardDepending on where you live, back-to-school is either here or coming up very soon. But no matter which it is, August is the time to start thinking about the upcoming school year and forming your strategy for making the most of it.

Fall beckons as a fresh start for both teachers and students. A clean slate. A new classroom full of students to inform and inspire. It’s a huge responsibility. How will you do it?

Back to School Checklist

I found a terrific Back-to-School Checklist for Educators at fueling-education.com. Its tips include:

  • Putting relationships first
  • Being patient, especially during the transition from summer to school year
  • Creating a solid foundation for the year, and then
  • Writing the story of the rest of the year, realizing there will be a new cast of characters and challenges to explore. “Be inspired by the story you are writing!” it says.

Planning the Year

teacher and studentsScholastic.com has a Back-to-School Planning Guide for teachers that includes tips for organizing your classroom, planning your year, accessing online activities (such as those Curriki offers), and creating a caring, emotionally safe classroom.

Breaking the Ice

But before you can start learning, you need to spend a little time getting your students to feel comfortable in the classroom. Here are a few icebreakers that rock, from Cult of Pedagogy.

Find more back-to-school resources for school leaders at Edutopia.com.

Share Your Ideas

What has worked for you? What are your favorite resources for getting the school year off to a strong start? Please share them here!


Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.