UN Day: Celebrating an era of sustainability 


In 1945, nations across the globe were in ruins. The second war had ended, and the world was ready for peace. Fifty-one countries gathered in San Francisco that year to sign a charter, effectively creating a new organization—the United Nations (UN).

Seventy-one years later, the United Nations continues to maintain peace and security, and today—24 October—marks the 68th anniversary of UN Day, an annual event to celebrate the role and goals of the UN and its charter.

“Humanity has entered the era of sustainability—with a global commitment to fulfil the great promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, states in a quote on the UN Day website. “In this, the Organization’s 71st year, we have 17 goals to propel us towards a better future for all on a healthy planet. “

These ambitious—but vital—goals are outlined here and this link offers posters that demonstrate concrete actions people can take to help achieve them. How many of these actions can you implement in your classroom or school? In what other ways can you recognize the efforts of the UN?

Events to celebrate UN Day are planned throughout the world, including an inspiring concert featuring the Korean Traditional Music Orchestra, Lang Lang, the world famous Harlem Gospel Choir, and the Hungarian State Opera with performances by soprano Andrea Rost, and other notable artists. The theme of this year’s concert is “Freedom First.”

Want more info? Check out this article for 5 Fast Facts about UN Day You Need to Know.

~ The Teachers Media Team

Note: “Header image: BY- sanjit / Creative Commons

Hot Topic: What can students around the world learn from the U.S. election?


The world is keeping a close eye on the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

While people from other countries may not be able to vote, it would be difficult—and foolish—to ignore the enormous influence the U.S. wields across the globe. Regardless of where you stand on the candidates and the issues, the 8 November vote will create a ripple effect that will be felt in classrooms from coast to coast and globally.

With just over two weeks until the big day, politics is sure to be a hot topic in your school. But what to teach?

Teachers Media International has a great selection of video resources that tackle tough topics such as global citizenship, the right to vote, and the fine art of the “debate.” In this video, for example, students at a school in the U.K. talk about how their school council works, providing great tips on how to host a successful debate, and most importantly, the most effective way to represent the views of others.

Throughout the next couple of weeks, we’ll feature a number of election-inspired resources on the Teachers Media International website, suitable for classroom use. If you’re not already registered, now’s a good time—our “Lite” service is FREE!

For well-thought out articles, take a look at the Emerald Publishing Group website, where up until 31 October, you can read and discuss a number of insightful articles with respect to the election, including this fascinating infographic: What might the “American Dream” look like by the year 2035?

 Of course, this is only a sampling of the resources you can access. What is available in your school? What methods are you using to talk about this hot topic, and the potential impact of the results, regardless of which candidate is elected into the Oval Office? Share—or debate—in the comments!

~ The Teachers Media Team

Note: “Header image: BY- DU Beat / Creative Commons”

Writing Prompt: Creating rubrics for student self-assessment


Many educators have a love / hate relationship with assessment. It can be both rewarding and empowering—but as the assignments pile up, and the year goes on, the sheer amount of assessing can be daunting and often monotonous.

It doesn’t have to be.

By creating rubrics—a self-assessment tool that sets clear expectations for students and holds them accountable—learning can become more meaningful. Using rubrics is an easy way to assess student progress both during the learning and as an effective summative measure, not to mention keeping students involved throughout the process. To create a rubric, keep these five basic tenants in mind:

  1. Be consistent. Make sure your students understand how they will be assessed.
  2. Base your rubric around the skills you are assessing.
  3. Use clear language.
  4. Embrace the positive.
  5. Leave room for creativity.

That last point lends itself well to today’s writing prompt, in which you will help your students build a rubric for a current assignment.

Step One

Brainstorm with the students exactly what the project is intended to accomplish and all the major components of the project. , Write down the elements or criteria required to complete each component. Make sure the students have a chance to discuss and understand the criteria.

Step Two

You’re ready to add more components. Make a list of the “extra” ways students can earn marks—creativity, perfect grammar, or effort, for example.

Step Three

Choose your Rubric. Rubrics come in a variety of forms, but the most common is the list. If you like the list form, you’ve already created a basic outline. For a table, make the points (criteria) run down the left side of the page. Across the top, write in evaluative terms from poor to excellent. Under the excellent column, write the ideal project criteria. Fill in a description under each evaluative term for each criteria .

Step Four

For older students( or for summative purpose) you can  attach points to each evaluative term under each component. Determine the points you’d like to make each component of the project worth. The easiest is to make the top score 100 so that students can quickly add the points he/she obtains. Assign points for each section until you’ve filled out all of the sections of the rubric.  For younger students or you may decide to keep the terms (excellent, etc.)

You’re done!

By engaging students in the evaluation process, they are active in their learning. Leave room for questions, and have fun!

Do you have examples of rubrics you’ve used in the classroom? We’d love to hear about them and how they work in your classroom.

~ The Teachers Media Team

Expert Advice: Meaningful learning assessment


Meaningful assessment is about more than students’ grades, says Ken Royal, an education technology writer and editor with 34 years of classroom, school, and district-level experience.

“To get to the bottom of what’s really important, we need to begin by looking at two types of assessment for data collection,” he says in this new article for Teachers Media International, Meaningful Learning Assessment.

Royal outlines the various types of assessment, noting that educators who complete formative assessment effectively can find out what truly matters in their teaching and for student learning.

The key, he adds, is to accurately journal every student’s daily learning quest for each subject and class. Sound overwhelming?

“Well, you might be right if we were talking about last century student assessment,” he says. “But today, using technology solutions, that sort of assessment is not only possible to do, it isn’t difficult to do with many students, or just one.”

He adds that good and specific professional development for teachers is key to making formative assessment work, along with a solid learning plan for students as individuals.

The following videos—for secondary and primary—feature examples of the kinds of assessment tools Royal outlines in his article. For dozens more assessment video resources, or to read the full text of Royal’s article, register for Teachers Media International—our “Lite” service is FREE.

What assessment strategies are you using in the classroom? Sound off in the comments section!

~ The Teachers Media Team

Dear New Teacher: Letters from the pros


Throughout September, we published a series of Dear New Teacher letters—advice for “rookies” from seasoned educational pros. The response was so wonderful, we couldn’t pass over these “last minute” words of wisdom from a teacher in London. After all, the learning doesn’t stop after the first month of teaching.

Dear New Teacher,

Teaching is one of those priceless jobs where each day is different and you never know quite what to expect when you walk into that classroom! It is extremely rewarding watching your class learn and grow throughout the year.

In all jobs there are always highs and lows. Paperwork can be one of the lowest points in teaching but if you keep on top of it (organisation) then the highs certainly outweigh the lows. Enthusiasm and lots of energy will keep you going even at the toughest of times!

And always remember to believe in what you are doing, don’t take it too seriously, and listen to constructive criticism.

T is for time (it goes very quickly)
E is for energy (you need it for those 30 children)
A is for answers (the ones you want your students to get correct)
C is for caring (each child is special)
H is for holidays (we need and deserve them)
E is for education (what every child needs)
R is for responsibility (the children are in our care)

~ Dawn Sutcliffe, a primary teacher from the UK

Have something to add? Send it to us via email at contactus@teachers-media.com. We might publish it on our blog!

For continued professional learning, consider registering for Teachers Media International, an online service that gives you access to more than 3,500 best practice videos, articles, interactives, and more. Our “Lite” service is FREE!

Have a great weekend!

~ The Teachers Media Team

Writing prompt: Empowering women in education


Teachers Media International believes in gender equality for both males and females, but with yesterday being International Day of the Girl Child and this Saturday marked as the International Day of Rural Women, there has been a significant amount of “girl power” in the media, a good portion of which has been geared toward the U.S. presidential debate. No question, the 7 November vote will have a global impact.

As you gear up for election talks in your classroom, we thought it might be a great time to discuss with students the issue of gender equality—how far we’ve come, and how far we’ve yet to go. This Teachers Media International video is an excellent example of that when it comes to equal pay.

Like what you see? Register for our FREE “Lite” service to see more great video resources.

While society as a whole has taken great strides toward gender equality, the leaders of the “girl power” movement are some of the most influential women in the world. Who are they? How have they impacted your life? Consider these questions to spark discussion as you review these following writing prompts with your students:


  1. Brainstorm with your class: What does influential mean? Who is the most influential woman you know? How does she inspire you? (Note: Most young children will cite their mother, aunt, grandmother, or other close relatives and friends here. This is a great time to write a poem, letter, or descriptive paragraph of appreciation.)
  2. What are some of the advantages of being a girl?
  3. Name three women you know who you look up to. What makes them so great? Why are they so important to you?


  1. Research a woman who was the first female to work in a traditionally male field. What kind of struggles did she face?
  2. If you could meet any influential woman, who would you choose? What questions would you ask her?
  3. Brainstorm a number of stereotypes people have about girls. (Ie: You throw like a girl!) Why can stereotyping be dangerous?

Consider your own classroom. In what ways are you promoting gender equality? Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments.

~ The Teachers Media Team

World Mental Health Day: Providing psychological first aid in schools


Did you know that one in six adults has had a common mental health problem in the past week? According to the World Mental Health Organization, if society doesn’t act now, depression will be the leading illness globally by 2030. An alarming statistic—and sadly, one from which youth are not immune.

You can help.

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day—recognized each October 10—is psychological first aid, the idea that anyone can provide support to those in distress. It is a time to educate and raise awareness of mental illness and its major effects on people’s lives worldwide.

But as educators know, that awareness can’t stop at the end of today. The impact of mental illness is felt daily in schools, and is an important issue that must be constantly monitored, discussed, and observed.

Teachers Media International can provide support. Our extensive video library contains dozens of videos on mental health—from personal accounts as relayed by teachers from around the world, to tips for providing psychological first aid to those in distress, perhaps even your peers.

The first step is to listen. We encourage you to review this video, in which staff at a school openly discuss their mental health problems amid claims that one in three teachers will experience such issues during their career.

What personal stories—or words of wisdom—can you add?

For more information about how you can provide psychological first aid to those in need, please visit the World Health Organization website.

~ The Teachers Media Team

Photo Credit: Header image: BY- Iamonline.com / Creative Commons

MAKE MATHEMATICS FUN: Engage students with brainteasers and puzzles


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No doubt about it, for many students, mathematics is scary. But it doesn’t have to be! One of the most effective ways to ease student fears is to incorporate brainteasers and puzzlers into your lesson mathematics lessons plans, allowing kids to logic out the answers in groups or on their own—without even realizing they’re doing mathematics.

Solving mathematics brainteasers and puzzles comes with numerous side benefits, as well—they help kids grasp diverse concepts, build fluency, develop strategic thinking, allow children to work at their own level, teach transferable skills, and can help with test preparation.

Consider working through the following three mathematics brainteasers and puzzlers with your class. (Shhhh. Answers at the bottom of the blog…)

  1. A factory produced 2300 TV sets in its first year of production. 4500 sets were produced in its second year and 500 more sets were produced in its third year than in its second year. How many TV sets were produced in three years?
  2. A company that frames houses gets paid in digital currency, called bitcoin. They charge 225 bitcoins for materials and 35 bitcoins per hour for labour. The total cost of building a home is 330 bitcoins. How many hours did it take the team of workers to frame the house?
  3. How many minutes are in one week?

As you review the solutions with your students, observe how each child worked through the problem. What can you learn about your students from their process?

For more brainteasers and puzzles, check out the Teachers Media International website where you’ll access the Mathematics hub featuring videos, articles, and hands-on activities to help with teaching and learning mathematics. Our “Lite” service is free.

Have a great weekend—and to our Canadian readers, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

~ The Teachers Media Team


Problem #1
Year 1 – 2,3oo TVs
Year 2 – 4,500 TVs
Year 3 – 4,500 + 500 = 5,000
In 3 years: 2,300 + 4,500 + 5,000 = 11,800 TVs

Problem #2
Set up the equation.  225 + 35(x) = 330.
Let x be the number of hours the labourers worked.
Solve the equation. Remember to keep the equation balanced, you must perform the same operation to both sides.
x = 3
The painter worked 3 hours
That makes sense, but it is always good to check your work. Start with the original equation.
225 + 35(x) = 330
Substitute 3 for x
225 + 35(3) = 330
225 + 105 = 330
330 = 330
You are correct.

Problem #3
Start small and work up.
There are 60 min in one hour.
There are 24 hours in one day.
There are 7 days in one week.
So —
1.) There would be (60 x 24) min in one day. 60 x 24 = 1,440 Thus, there are 1,440 min in one day.
2.) There are (1,440 x 7) min in one week. 1440 x 7=10,080. There are 10,080 min in one week.
That’s a lot of minutes! Ever wonder how many of those minutes you spent sleeping? Eating? Do the math!


Writing prompt: Change of seasons


There is perhaps nothing as visually inspiring as the changing of the seasons. For many—particularly artists and writers—this natural rotation of nature has become a backdrop for life, representing change, fresh starts and new beginnings—or the opportunity to observe, reflect, and document.

Of course, those observations will vary depending on where you’re located on the globe. As much of North America watches the leaves change from gold and amber in preparation for winter, countries across the equator—such as Australia—are gearing up for summer. And in some places, such as chilly Antarctica, “summer” doesn’t quite mean what it does to students in the UK, for instance.

Regardless of where you are in the world, the following prompts will not only spark student writing, but will also help create an awareness of how the changing seasons impact the lives of people everywhere. But first, take a look at this Teachers Media International video, which demonstrates a variety of creative ways to talk to students about climate, or one of our most popular resources, Weather Around the World.

Now, let’s put pen to paper and get writing!

Primary Prompts

  1. Have students draw or insert a symbol/shape of the season they are in or like (leaf, snowflake, umbrella, sun, etc) and write a poem, putting the words of the poem around the shape.
  2. It’s the first (or last) snowfall of the year. What do you do? Go sledding? Build a snowman? Describe your perfect day.
  3. Write a descriptive paragraph about what is growing in your backyard.
  4. Brainstorm a list of the BEST things about the current season in your country.
  5. Ask students to respond to the following question: what is your favourite season and why?
  6. Consider asking students to move away from the scientific reason and use their imaginations to explain why leaves change from green to red, yellow and brown.

Secondary Prompts

  1. Write a poem about your favourite season.
  2. You’re shopping for Christmas presents and discover a secret portal to a winter wonderland. What do you see?
  3. An older man is walking along the beach on a warm sunny morning when something happens to completely change his life.
  4. Describe snow to someone who has never seen snow.
  5. Describe what it would be like to live in one of the warmest cities in the world.

We’re curious, what is YOUR favourite season and why? Share in the comments or email us at contactus@teachers-media.com. Be sure to include your country!

~ The Teachers Media Team

World Teachers’ Day: Valuing teachers, improving their status

13064This Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of World Teachers’ Day, created by UNESCO back in 1966 to appreciate, assess, and improve educators of the world.

This year’s theme, Valuing Teachers, Improving Their Status, shines a light on the need to support teachers in the Sustainable Development Goals as set out by UNESCO’s Global Education 2030 Agenda. For education, that means a focus on inclusive and equitable education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Official celebrations kick off in France, 5 October, with a keynote speech from Marc Tucker, President of the National Center on Education and the Economy, followed by panel discussions with representation by a number of countries from across the globe. Check out the full agenda here.

Can’t make it to France? Not a problem. Everyone can help celebrate the profession by generating awareness about common—and specific—teacher issues. Spend some time with your school administration this week to discuss, compare, learn, argue, share, and improve.

In the classroom, consider activities that celebrate teaching, or create awareness about the profession, such as these writing prompts published last week on the Teachers Media International blog. Encourage students to write letters to teachers who have made an impact on their lives. Or have students create personalised cards or artwork.

Perhaps students would be interested in being a “teacher for a day” such as the kids in this cute video resource?

For some humourous accounts of teaching, check out our homepage this week and link to videos like this one, where six teachers recall funny and inspirational experiences from their teachers careers.

In what ways will you celebrate the profession this week? At Teachers Media International, we salute you and all that you do for our children around the world. We value you, and want to help you improve.

~ The Teachers Media Team