MAT Blog

Need help with technology in the classroom? We have apps for that!

Posted by Karen Cameron on May 24, 2013 9:40:00 AM

Whether you’re a veteran teacher or a new teacher, we know you share something in common: you are busy. In addition to this, you can never have too many ideas for increasing student engagement, as well as improving reading and writing skills.

That’s why we are offering our FREE downloadable guide, Surfing for Substance II, a compilation of 50 User-friendly websites and apps for teachers.

You may be a “tech-head” already, but you don’t have to be to make any of these 50 user-friendly websites and apps a part of your everyday life. Our descriptions of each resource are brief and lighthearted—and hopefully, substantive enough to give you a sense for whether or not they will fit your students’ and your needs.

Inside you'll find apps for the following:

-Classroom Management
-Reading and Literacy
-Images and more!

Amaze your class with your technology "know-how" and have fun too!

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Tags: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Programs, classroom management, download, apps for teachers, free guide, downloads, classroom technology, technology in the classroom

How to Make Earth Day Relevant to Students

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Apr 11, 2013 9:48:00 AM

Earth DayWe want to help you and your students celebrate Earth Day in ways that are not only engaging and enlightening, but also thematic and clearly-focused.

Our guide offers two student-friendly activities that will:

  • Help students visualize and understand how oil spills impact our planet
  • Give students the opportunity to use two methods currently used to clean up oil spills

In addition to these two activities, we refer teachers to one of our favorite resources, If It Were My Home. Using this website, students will be able to visualize the impact of the 2010 oil spill by seeing it physically overlaid onto a customizable map.

The last two sections are devoted to our favorite resources: five documentaries and five books that all relate to oil and our environment.

We hope that you and your students enjoy these activities.

Happy Earth Day!


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Tags: critical thinking, free guide, earth day

In December we challenged teachers. You responded. See the results!

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Mar 23, 2013 6:00:00 PM

lesson plan contestBack in December we challenged teachers to enter our lesson plan contest for a chance to win a classroom party paid for entirely by the Marygrove MAT program.

We were impressed with the winning lesson plan—so impressed, in fact, that we are offering Mrs. Blackburn’s Operation Global Connection lesson plan as a free downloadable!

We want to thank everyone who entered our contest for inspiring us and sharing your passion and creativity!

What is Operation Global Connection and how did it begin?  
When Mrs. Blackburn’s eighth grade social studies students trickled into class in late November, something was different: The desks were arranged in a circle and the classroom more closely resembled a “town meeting hall” than the traditional space they were used to.

As they settled into their new arrangement, Mrs. Blackburn briefed her students on their forthcoming project—one that they would be responsible for designing, implementing and publishing. Students were free to take the project in any direction they wished as long as it met Rhode Island’s GSE HP2, an academic standard that asks students to connect the past with the present.

Everything they did—whether it was researching historical photos, snapping new ones, writing essays or interviewing international students—would be guided by two essential questions:

  • “Why does what happened in the past matter to me today?”
  • “How will it affect my future?”

What did students do?
As a collective, the students decided to research how the history of their state, city, school and classroom communities have changed over time, and then make predictions about how they may change in the future. Students also thought it was worth considering how the values, history, and life in Cranston compared to life elsewhere. To find out, they used technology to connect with students in Greece, Russia, China, Kansas and Connecticut.

How were students assessed?
Although the project had a floating agenda that was set at the beginning of each class, students were regularly assessed through “exit slips” and mini-projects they submitted through Google Docs.

Exit slips asked students two questions: “What did you accomplish today?” and “How can I (Mrs. Blackburn) help you as we move forward? These had to be filled out and submitted at the end of every class.

Mini-projects included:

  • Writing short essays that required students to use research to respond to project-related writing prompts
  • Filming video documentaries to catalogue the project’s development
  • Creating online polls and questionnaires and compiling the results
  • Using Padlet to discuss articles and better understand the lives of their global partners
  • Using various online platforms like Wordle to brainstorm

At the end of three weeks, the project culminated in a nine minute video.

We hope that you and your students find the lesson plan to be helpful! You can download it by clicking here or on the icon below.


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Tags: Marygrove MAT, free guide, Master in the Art of Teaching Degree, downloads, lesson plan contest

The best field trips in life are free.

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Oct 1, 2011 6:20:00 AM

field trip marygrove college MATIf you’re lucky enough to have a budget for field trips this year, most of them are already penciled in on the calendar. But there’s always room for a couple of quick, seasonal trips to enhance and extend your classroom lessons.  Enlist the help of room parents if you can. Lessonplansplus has some amazing resources for planning field trips. If you can find an educational trip that both extends classroom learning and costs absolutely nothing, congratulations, you’ve struck gold!

Certainly, the most memorable field trips are those that can drive home an important concept in the curriculum. Going to the zoo just for the sake of going to the zoo is a missed opportunity to add value and dimension to the work you do in the classroom. For a different spin, bundle up your students and visit your local zoo in the winter and learn first-hand about hibernation, and scarce food and water resources.

But, as we all know, it’s the freebie that is really satisfying. Think about the resources you have within walking distance of your school, to eliminate transportation costs.

  • Visit a local greenhouse in the spring, when everything is beginning to bloom. Or pump it up by visiting a greenhouse full of gorgeous poinsettias in early winter, when you can really demonstrate the value of microclimates. Bonus: this makes for a stunning holiday classroom photo; add a red ribbon and you’ve got a wonderful gift parents will love!
  • Tour a local grocery store, set it up for when there is a big shipment of milk arriving from the dairy, and talk about supply and demand.
  • Visit a children’s hospital and make someone’s day with a class song or choral reading…the goose bumps are free, too.
  • Visit a bird sanctuary, pond or preserve, and discuss habitat.
  • Take a SHAPE walk through your neighborhood. Look for different shapes, colors or materials in the buildings, depending on the age of your students. Older students can try to determine what organic materials are found in building materials.
  • Visit a nursing home at Halloween! The residents are so grateful to see children in costume. Bring sugar free candies or cookies and leave behind some snapshots for the bulletin board.
  • Visit your local high school. Small children will marvel at the big school and big students.
  • Contact your city maintenance division to take a tour of the city trucks; learn about the jobs they do for their citizens. Snowplow, street sweeper, gravel trucks, etc.
  • One of the best free field trips for children of all ages is the Jiffy Mills tour in Chelsea, Michigan. This family-owned business offers a terrific tour of the factory; children choose their favorite mixes to take home. You can find more factory tours at Factory Tours USA

The Field Trip Factory offers many ideas you can use yourself, or even helps you find funding for your trip. suggests checking Trip Advisor  for more ideas in your area; it is a travel site with a “Things to do” section with helpful suggestions ranked by members.

For many more ideas about extending the classroom to optimize learning for your students, download our free guide.

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Tags: classroom lessons, curriculum, download, free guide, Extension of the Classroom, field trips

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