Epic! Reading Challenge K-5

Join the Epic! Classroom and be automatically entered in the fall reading challenge for a chance to win prizes. Contest runs Monday, October 1st – Friday, October 5th. That’s just a 5 day week to read, read, and read.

Epic! is free for educators with access to 25,000 books. If you don’t have an account, sign up today and be ready for the challenge. You can monitor your classroom’s progress after logging in and clicking on the Epic! Reading Challenge button.

Epic!’s digital library includes many of the best kids books, popular ebooks, and videos such as Fancy Nancy, Big Nate, Warriors,  and National Geographic Kids.

10 Creative Ways to use Epic! in the Classroom

  1. Use Epic! for the “Listening” portion of Daily 5 using Read-to-Me and Audiobooks
  2. Project Epic! on your interactive whiteboard to teach a specific skill or strategy
  3. Use non-fiction books for research projects, such as reports on animals
  4. Students create a “wish list” of books and then partner up to explain that list
  5. Epic! is perfect for Read Aloud, Shared Reading & Independent Reading Time
  6. Students create book reviews and recommend favorites to classmates
  7. Expose students to different expressions and intonations using Read-to-Me books
  8. Perform experiments using ideas in Epic!’s STEM books
  9. Create book commercials using multimedia tools such as iMovie, Telestory or ChatterPix
  10. Compare two books by the same author

Earth Science Photography Contest

To celebrate Earth Science Week, October 14-20, 2018, the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is sponsoring a photography contest. The photography theme for this year is “Inspired by Earth.” The contest is open to interested persons of any age, who are residents of the United States. Entries must be original, authentic, unpublished photographs that capture evidence of ways people are inspired by Earth in their art, whether through dance, sculpture, or some other art form. A panel of geoscientists will judge the photographs on creativity, as well as on relevance to and incorporation of the topic. The winner will receive a prize of $300 and a copy of AGI’s The Geoscience Handbook. In addition, the winner’s name and photograph, and the names of the finalists will be posted on the Earth Science Week website.

Deadline: October 19, 2018, 5 p.m. (ET), for entries

Schoology at the Elementary Level

There are 4 teachers (grades 4 and 5) at each elementary school that are going through Schoology Basics training and are piloting the online learning management system with their students.

At Lewis and Clark ES, Carol Yonkin (4th grade) and Melissa Taylor (5th grade) are diving right in with their students by starting with simple tasks for becoming familiar with the system.  Pictured below students follow oral directions for navigation and learn some terminology.  Then they explore by following course instructions.

schoology class
Taylor’s Class – First day in Schoology. Students watched Grammar Gorillas from Fun Brain and took part in a discussion.


Yonkin’s Class – First time in Schoology. Students reflected on a video and participated in a discussion using guidelines and a rubric.

Lewis and Clark ES students seem to enjoy this method of learning.






Schoology is packed with apps and resources that keep courses inclusive.


Students can work in Schoology without having to veer outside the platform.

VSauce for Educational Video Content

VSauce is a channel featured on YouTube with a wide array of education playlists on knowledge, physics, space, earth, human behaviour, and more.

Watch this interesting experiment called the Greater Good on human behaviour (25 mins) in the classic “Trolley Problem” survey.  What would you do in an actual real-life dilemma where you are faced with rerouting a train that could essentially run over 1 person to prevent it from running over 5 others.  I think you’ll find this experiment very interesting and hook you enough to explore more video content to share with your students.

Subscribe to the channel and be captivated!

  • Why do we dream?
  • Is the earth actually flat?
  • Why way is down?
  • What is the most dangerous place on earth?
  • Is your red the same as my red?
  • Is anything real?
  • Can you solve this Ice Diamond riddle?
  • Cousins Explained; Isolation; Lenz’s Law; The Psychedelic Experience

SimPop for Science Simulations

SimPop is a web-based simulation program created by students for students in grade 6-12.  It encourages scientific inquiry, makes the invisible visible and helps build visual mental models. There are a variety of options and settings for manipulating each science activity. As students interact with these simulations, they explore cause-and-effect relationships. It makes understanding science concepts much easier with a visual hands-on approach. Resource is free so check it out.
simpop simulations