NEW: TMI launches Parent hub of recommended resources

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Summer is well underway, and with the season comes what educators refer to as the “summer slide”—a notable drop in students’ academic skills while out of school.

There are a number of things parents can do, though, to minimize the “slide” and make learning a priority all year long. A quick Google search will net some practical and easy-to-implement ideas, but to make it that much simpler, Teachers Media International has created the Parent hub, a collective of tried-and-tested resources you can use at home.

The hub kicks off with a look back at our Olympic blog campaign, showcasing activity ideas that demonstrate how the Games—and other current events—can be used for cross-curricular learning. We’ve also got a list of top resources as selected by educators from around the world. We reviewed some of these resources on our blog , but head to the hub for a more comprehensive list.

We’ve also curated a selection of primary and secondary lesson starter videos, and a link to some fun brainteasers compiled by our resident mathematics guru, Betty Morris.

The best part is, you don’t have to be an educator to register for Teachers Media International—our “Lite” service is free. Sign up today to access the Parent hub and other inspiring resources to help you slow your child’s “summer slide.” And as always, we welcome your ideas and comments!

Have a great weekend.

~ The Teachers Media Team

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Looking back at our Olympic-inspired blog posts

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We’ve been counting down to Rio 2016 for the past six weeks with Olympic-inspired blog posts covering everything from history and food, to culture and the athletes themselves. We hope you’ve had a chance to scroll through the blog and pick up some lesson ideas that you can use in the classroom, but perhaps have also thought about ways you can make the posts relevant beyond the Olympics.

For instance, this fun writing prompt that has students complete a mock interview with one of their sporting heroes could be completed at any time of the year. Consider “interviews” with hockey players, musicians, famous people in history, global leaders, or others. If you include a form of cosplay (dress-up), this assignment integrates well with the fine arts.

Or how about this math lesson using sports facts? Take advantage of fall’s warmer weather by taking students outside for hands-on demonstrations using these activities or others you come up with using the same principles. What an excellent way to show students that math is part of everyday living—whether they like it or not!

This geography quiz is a fun way to get students engaged in global awareness, and this “test” is guaranteed to get students’ minds working. What other facts can you pull together to help students engage in current events?  What if you mapped out all of the places students have found Pokemon?

And of course, the Olympic Refugee team will continue to inspire people long after the torch is put out. What other efforts have been made to bring international awareness to refugees in the world? In your local area? Your school?

We’re curious to know: How many of our Olympic-inspired posts resonated for you? Did you use any in the classroom? And if you were already on summer break, are there any you may revisit in the fall?  Share in the comments!

~ The Teachers Media Team

TMI partners for exciting project in Kenya

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Teachers Media International Head of Marketing, Patricia Fawdry, surrounded by students from St. Michaels School in Nairobi, Kenya.

Teachers Media International has partnered with the Kenya Institute of Career Development for an exciting educational project that will inspire student and teacher engagement.

While details are still under wraps for now, we wanted to showcase some of the pictures from a recent visit to St. Michaels School in the Eastlands area of Nairobi City, Kenya.

This primary school of mixed ability children aged 6 to 14 hosts 1,134 students, with three streams per year. Although a large school in a relatively lower social mobility area, St. Michaels has shown a 300% improvement in test results over the past three years. No question this is a testament to the outstanding teaching and guidance of headteacher Ms. Mary Weru and her team.

Stay tuned for more details about this exciting new initiative—but for now, scroll down to see some of the pictures featuring students from St. Michaels school and Teachers Media International’s very own Head of Marketing, Patricia Fawdry. The smile on the children’s faces is guaranteed to erase any Monday Blues.

See you on Wednesday for our Olympic re-cap!

~ The Teachers Media Team

OLYMPIC FUN FACTS: Athletic trivia & a fun quiz!

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More than 10,000 athletes will compete in Rio De Janeiro next month, the first Olympic Games to ever be held in South America. Spectators are in for a truly impressive display of skill, determination, and commitment!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered interesting facts and lesson plan ideas on everything from culture, sport, geography and history. As we wind down our Olympic campaign, we thought it might be fun to include a fun fact game that focusses on the athletes.

While the official list of participating athletes has yet to be posted, we compiled interesting stats on some who have set the bar high in some events. Can your students guess who these athletes are using the clue provided? (Answers at the bottom of the post…no cheating!) Hint: Make it into a game by putting students in groups to find the answers using the  Rio 2016 official website. (Psst, check the sports trivia section…) Ready? Here we go:

  1. This impressive French athlete holds the most golds in singles slalom canoeing. He was the Olympic champion in slalom at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, and London 2012 Games.
  2. At the London 2012 Games, this Jamaican athlete became the first man to successfully win both the 100m and 200m Olympic titles two consecutive games in a row.
  3. At the Atlanta 1996 Games, this Danish player became the first and only non-Asian player to ever win a badminton gold medal.
  4. This swimmer is considered the most successful Olympian of all time, landing 22 medals to date, including 18 gold.
  5. These tennis-loving sisters are the only players to have won four medals each—and all of them are gold.
  6. With a gold, a silver, and two bronzes, this Italian athlete is the most decorated female Olympic windsurfer of all time.
  7. This Brazilian Olympic footballer is the leading goal scorer in the history of women’s Olympic football competition—five at Athens 2004, five at Beijing 2008, and two at London 2012.
  8. This Taekwondo master won Afghanistan’s first ever Olympic medal by taking bronze at Beijing 2008.
  9. The “Star Trek” serve was coined after this Brazilian volleyball player who launched the ball so high it almost touched the ceiling.
  10. This Canadian athlete is the only triathlete to win two Olympic medals — gold at Sydney 2000 and silver at Beijing 2008.

How many did you get right?

We hope our Olympic campaign has inspired new lesson plans, but also generated excitement in the classroom for the upcoming Games. We’ll re-cap soon with another blog, but until then, please continue to follow the blog all summer where we’ll be looking at ways to transition into the new school year and current events, including the Paralympics. For a head start, check out this inspirational Teachers Media International video featuring young swimmer, Michael Reeve.

Have a great weekend!

~ The Teachers Media Team

Quiz Answers:

  1. Tony Estanguet
  2. Usain Bolt
  3. Poul-Erik Hoyer
  4. Michael Phelps
  5. Venus and Serena Williams
  6. Allessandra Sensini
  7. Cristiane Roziera
  8. Rohullah Nikpai
  9. Bernard Rajzman
  10. Simon Whitfield

OLYMPIC WRITING PROMPT: Are Olympic athletes heroes?

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It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the Olympics—the location, the food, the melding of cultures and emphasis on sport. But at the heart of the Games are the athletes, the amazing individuals who push themselves throughout their lives so they might reach the pinnacle of their skills.

For many, these athletes are heroes.

But what does that mean? There’s no question that these athletes are a symbol of dedication and perseverance. That they’re motivating and inspiring—who would have ever thought that a team of Refugees would march next month in this year’s opening ceremonies? Indeed, Olympic athletes demonstrate what can happen when you never stop giving up on your dreams.

So, is that what makes a hero?

In Monday’s post, we highlighted swimmer Yusra Mardini, whose Olympic journey began as she fled Damascas in search of freedom. When she competes at Rio 2016, she is not only competing for herself, but for all Refugees. She is their hero.

For today’s writing prompt, have students select an athlete they will follow during the Olympics and learn about their hopes and dreams, and their journey to the Games. How did they become an athlete, and what were some of the challenges along the way?

Now, have students reflect on the following two questions with a short written response: What does it mean to be a hero? When is a sports figure also a hero?

We wrap up our Olympic campaign this Friday with some fun facts about the athletes who will go for gold in Rio next month—hope to see you there!

~ Teachers Media Team

Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) provides symbol of hope

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Ten athletes will make history next month as they head to Rio De Janeiro as the first Olympic team comprised of refugees. Competing under the Olympic flag and marching in to the official Olympic anthem, these athletes provide a symbol of hope for refugees worldwide, and will bring global attention to the magnitude of the refugee crisis.

Representing refugees from Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the team will stay at the Olympic Village, and will compete in judo, swimming, and athletics with the dream of bringing “home” the gold.

You can check out the biographies of these 10 great athletes here, as well as this feature article on swimmer Yusra Mardini, whose journey to the Games is an inspiring read.  Yuzra and her sister, Sarah fled Damascus and travelled with other refugees via dingy from Turkey—crossing the Mediterranean sea—to the Greek Island of Lesbos. When their boat almost capsized, the only swimmers on board: Yuzra ,her sister, and another woman, pushed the dingy to shore—and safety. Read more here!

While forming this team is certainly one of the most significant examples of bringing international awareness, there are examples of providing support to refugees across the world, including within education. Teachers Media International has a number of video resources on our website, including this inspirational video featuring real-life stories of refugee and asylum-seeking children.

What kind of support is offered for refugees at your school? If your class were to create an Olympic flag and anthem for the refugee team, what elements would you include?

This week, we’ll take a closer look at the athletes competing at Rio 2016 as we focus on lesson ideas and fun facts about some of the athletes competing in the games.

~ The Teachers Media Team

OLYMPIC DIVERSITY: Table manners from around the world

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Your parents may have told you that it’s rude to burp at the table, but did you know that in China, it’s not only socially acceptable, it’s considered an indication that the meal was good? This is just one cultural difference athletes taking part in the 2016 Summer Olympics will face when it comes time to re-fuel their bodies.

In two previous posts this month, we shared some of the different kinds of food preferred by the athletes from several countries. With school wrapping up (or already wrapped up) for summer break, we thought it might be fun to take a look at some cultural differences that may come to light when the world comes together at one table.

For instance, athletes from Denmark may be disappointed when the meal is cut…short. There, dinners take anywhere from four to six hours. On the flip side, North America competitors may be hoping to dine and dash—perhaps before the Ecuador team even shows up. Punctuality is paramount in countries like Japan, but Ecuadoreans prefer to arrive at least twenty minutes after the meal has started. With luck, there will be some food remaining!

Regardless of what’s on the menu, though, athletes from Chile will always use utensils—it’s considered rude there to eat with your hands. But in China? The messier (and louder) the better. In fact, in many parts of Asia, the traditional way to eat noodle soup is to slurp it.

The Brits may end their meal with a cup of tea—spoon resting on the plate after stirring and never touched again—but don’t expect the Italians to cap off their meal with a cappuccino: that’s a treat reserved for breakfast.

Just imagine all of these athletes in one room. What observations do you think you would make about how the meal is consumed? Would the dinner participants conform to each other’s cultural traditions with respect to table manners? Should they? Perhaps a great brainstorming opportunity for your class?

If today is your last day, we hope you kick off the break with a celebration of your great year. Rest, relax, and recharge, yes—but don’t forget to check the blog. Teachers Media International will be blogging all summer, including next week’s posts that look at how one Olympic team of refugees is making history.

~ The Teachers Media Team

OLYMPIC WRITING PROMPT: Exploring Culture

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With more than 200 nations gathering in Rio De Janeiro next month for the 2016 Summer Olympics, athletes have more than just their sport to contend with. For 10 days, Brazil will become a melting pot of differing cultures—providing a perfect opportunity for students to learn a little more about this year’s participating countries, beyond sport, food, and language.

Culture, by definition, is the accepted and patterned ways of behaviour of a given people, or a series of beliefs and traditions. In Greece, a child’s tooth is thrown onto the roof for good luck. In Brazil, New Year’s Day is celebrated with lentil soup, because lentil is considered a symbol of wealth. In this Teachers Media International video, a Mexican schoolgirl discusses musical instruments and costumes for her culture.

All of these cultural traditions—which may appear odd at first glance— are only unusual if it’s not part of your culture. But how does this translate to the classroom?

BRAINSTORM THIS

Brainstorm with your class the various definitions of culture—they are numerous!

Now, have students draw a picture or write a paragraph in response  to this prompt:

Culture is:

EXPLORING DIFFERENCES

The use and meaning of eye contact varies from culture to culture. In Japan, for instance, youth are taught at a young age to avoid eye contact with their elders. But in other cultures, it is considered an insult to avoid eye contact when someone, regardless of age and position addresses you. What other examples of cultural differences can you explore as a class?

Have students write a few paragraphs in response to this question: Describe a time in which a cultural difference created a misunderstanding or impacted you in a specific way.

What other ways could you talk about culture in your class? Have you used any of the writing prompts from our Olympic posts?

See you on Friday for more about culture!

~ The Teachers Media Team

 

 

CURRENT EVENTS: A Summer of festivals and cultural learning

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As we continue our countdown to the Olympics, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some summer festivals around the world—a place where culture, education, and fun collide.

We start with Canada,  the city of Calgary in Alberta, hikes up their Wranglers every year to transform their mountainside metropolis into a frontier town as they kicked off the Calgary Stampede.  Billed as the greatest outdoor show on Earth, the Stampede draws in millions of tourists from around the world for 10 days of exhibition and rodeo fun.

The Stampede is a perfect place to brush up on your western heritage—and try a slice of cockroach pizza if you’re brave enough to get past the “crunch”—but it’s not the only summer festival on the map.

Travel to Mongolia to participate ( or just watch!)  Naadam, also known as “the three games of men”, the biggest traditional festival held in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital. Each July, men compete in Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Today, women are allowed to participate in the archery and horse racing—but wrestling is still out.

Or how about the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, the only place you’re likely to find a bagpipe player and a belly dancer on stilts…hanging out. The size of this festival almost doubles annually and draws people from as far away as Japan, Europe, and Australia. What do they do there? Sounds like a great research question.

Perhaps you’d rather learn more about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, crowned as the largest arts festival in the world. Attendees can see almost 3,000 shows at 300 different venues across the city.

If food is more your thing, consider La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain. On the last weekend in August, the town is splattered with thousands of crushed tomatoes in what is touted to be the world’s biggest food fight. Don’t forget your goggles!

Kite fliers come from all over the world in August to the International Kite Festival in Portsmouth in the UK, to participate in one of the world’s largest kite flying displays.  Spectators can see  colourful arrays of snakes, frogs, lizards, whales, fish, and salamanders performing musical routines and tricks in the sky.  A wonderful event for the entire family.

There’s the famous Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea. What started as a way to promote the region’s mineral-rich mud has become a two-week party featuring mud pools and slides, music, and even fireworks.

And although we have missed this year’s event, we can’t exclude the most famous and celebrated festival in Brazil, Carnival, celebrated before Lent each year.  Rio de Janerio, host to the 2016 Olympics,  holds a party full of parades, music, and outrageous costumes with over 2 million people on the streets each day.

What teaching moments can you create by talking about festivals around the world? What do they say about a nation’s culture? Research and share a cultural festival in your city or country.  Hold a multi-cultural festival in your school where students share their cultural heritage through dress, food and music.

Planning a summer break of your own? Maybe one of these events caught your interest! If so, we hope you share a few snapshot on our Instagram page.

~ The Teachers Media Team

CURRENT EVENTS: True or false —Olympic Edition

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Learning about Ancient Greece and the first Olympics is fascinating, but so too are some of the facts about the sports played in the current Games. For today’s post, we thought it would be fun to play a game of True or false—Olympic style.

For each of the sports listed below, two of the facts are true. One of them is false. Your job as a class is to guess which of the statements is false—without peeking at the answers at the end of this post. How many can you get?

1. Football/Soccer

  1. In a form of football played in Ancient China, leather balls were filled with feathers and hair.
  2. The very first game of football was played with a basketball.
  3. Football became so violent in medieval England that it was banned for 300 years.

Fact:  The term ‘football’ was used in ancient times.  Years later, North Americans picked up the term soccer( taken from  ‘soc’ in Association with an ‘er’ on the end) to differentiate from gridiron football.

2. Sailing

  1. King Charles II of England hated the sport of sailing so much, he banned it.
  2. In racing, there are specific rules for overtaking your competition, which is almost entirely dependent on the direction of the wind.
  3. Sailing was on the Olympic programme for Athens 1896, but was cancelled due to poor weather.

3.Wrestling

  1. Wrestling was a central element in the Ancient Olympic Games.
  2. Freestyle wrestling began in the U.K., gaining popularity at fairs and festivals in the 19th
  3. Freestyle wrestling’s Olympic debut in 1904 featured only British athletes.

4. Boxing

  1. During the Roman Empire, boxers used gloves studded with metal, which often resulted in the death of a gladiator.
  2. Women’s boxing debuted at the London 2012 games and home favourite Nicola Adams won the first gold, becoming a star in Britain.
  3. In boxing, medals are awarded in gold, silver and bronze, just like with other sports.

5. Equestrian

  1. Equestrian is the only sport in which men and women compete against each other on equal terms.
  2. Olympic horses will sometimes fly in the cargo area of a passenger plane.
  3. Olympic horses work out on a treadmill and receive massages, physiotherapy, and acupuncture treatments.

6. Judo

  1. Japan and Canada have the most Olympic medals in the sport of Judo.
  2. Competing in a veil, 16-year-old Wojdan Shaherkani made history in 2012 as the first female Olympian from Saudi Arabia.
  3. Judo made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 1964 games.

7. Rowing

  1. Practice makes perfect: An Olympic rower rows about 1,000 km per year.
  2. In 1900 the coxswain (person who steers the boat) for the winning Dutch team in the doubles rowing event was 7 years old.
  3. Female athletes first competed in Olympic rowing at the Montreal 1976 games.

8. Swimming

  1. USA swimmer Michael Phelps is the most successful Olympian of all time—he won a total of 22 medals at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, and London 2012, including a record number of golds: 18.
  2. Equatorial Guinea’s Eric Moussambani learnt to swim just 6 months before the Sydney 2000 games.
  3. Steady breathing is the key element of success in the 50m freestyle swim.

9. Athletics

  1. One of the first athletic events in Ancient times was the running race in which athletes ran 2-4 lengths of the stadium in full armour.
  2. The least amount of medals are awarded in the athletic events.
  3. The marathon is named after the 26-mile run by a Greek solider called Pheidippides.

10. Artistic Gymnastics

  1. Gymnastics originated in Egypt.
  2. At age 14, Romanian athlete Nadia Comaneci made history at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 as the first gymnast to receive full marks from the judges, now known as a “Perfect 10.”
  3. In ancient times, gymnastic competitions included wrestling and dueling with bulls.

 

So, how did you do? We hope you had fun sleuthing out the true and false statements. What is the most interesting thing you learned from this Olympic-inspired quiz?

For teaching videos and articles on sports and activities check out the Teachers Media sports hub.

~ The Teachers Media Team

Answers

 

1. Football/Soccer                                                                                                                                             False: #2. But, the very first game of basketball was played with a soccer ball.
2. Sailing                                                                                                                                                                     False: #1. King Charles II was not only an avid fan of watching the sport, but converted one of his ships into a competition boat.
3. Wrestling                                                                                                                                                    False: #3. Freestyle wrestling’s Olympic debut in 1904 featured only American athletes.
4.Boxing
False #3. In boxing, there are two bronze medals—both semi-final losers receive one rather than fight for one.

5.Equestrian
False #2. Top horses fly around the world on specially designed airplanes and have passports containing very detailed information, just like humans.
6.Judo
False: #1. Actually, Japan shares that honour with France.
7.Rowing
False: #1. Add another 0—on average, they row 10,000 km per year.
8.Swimming
False: #3. To reduce their times in 50m freestyle, most Olympic swimmers complete the event without taking a single breath.
9.Athletics
False: #2. More medals are awarded in athletics than any other Olympic sport—a total of 141, including 47 golds.
Artistic Gymnastics
False: #1. Records of acrobatic performances similar to those seen in gymnastics exist from Egypt—but gymnastics itself originated in Ancient Greece.