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Don't let extraordinary situations get you off track. Keep students engaged during periods of absence or school closure with activities that allow you to insert your own curriculum and direct learning from wherever you or your students happen to be. These activities can be adapted for use across multiple curriculum topics throughout the school year.

English/Language Arts: Wield a Wiki

After discussing Internet research techniques, provide students with a choice of topics to research using the Web. Create a wiki for each topic. Once research is complete, allow students to enter learned information to the wiki for one topic page. Each topic group should collaborate to discuss the research. Finally, have students create a product using Web 2.0 tools to teach others about what they have learned or answer a question posed by the research.

For writing prompt and research ideas dealing with viruses and a variety of other topics:

Visit the Discovery Education Curriculum Center

For more information on collaboration, using wikis, and product ideas:

Watch these Web 2.0 tutorials

Math: Model a Math Concept

Draw attention to the many ways mathematical concepts are incorporated into our daily activities. Instruct students to observe and record how the math concept you are currently studying is used in everyday situations and create a product that displays their learning. For example, students studying shapes can identify objects in their homes or neighborhood that take on that shape. Students can draw or photograph the objects and create a collage of shapes. Students should be prepared to discuss how the object's shape helps it to be functional. Concepts related to measurement, pricing, discounts, and budgeting exercises are easily observed during routine shopping trips. Construction activities can help students see real-life applications for figuring angles, arithmetic, scale, and fractions. Weather forecasts offer an opportunity to practice unit conversion, estimation, and prediction.

For ideas on how math is used in a variety of everyday situations, WebMath tutorials can be used by students to gather real-time solutions and explanations to specific math questions.

Visit WebMath to Learn More

Science: Construct a WebQuest

Incorporating higher-level thinking skills and collaboration, WebQuests allow students to learn interdependently and then share their knowledge with a group of classmates to help solve a problem, reach a consensus, build something, or present information in a unique way. Successful WebQuests require careful planning to relay clear and concise tasks and support needed to help students gather information to complete the desired task, usually through the use of templates and resource guides. Using the Internet as the primary source of information, the WebQuest format can easily be adapted to involve students on site as well as those who may be at home by incorporating e-mail or another Web correspondence component such as a wiki or blog.

According to Bernie Dodge, creator of the WebQuest, a WebQuest is comprised of six critical parts: introduction, task, process, information sources, evaluation, and conclusion.

  1. The introduction should peak students' interest and inform them about what is coming.
  2. The task reveals the final product
  3. The process includes strategies and clear steps the learner should use to gain the necessary information needed to complete the task.
  4. The information sources include the Web pages the educator has identified to help the student accomplish the task.
  5. The evaluation measures the results of the activity.
  6. The conclusion brings closure to the quest and encourages students to examine their results and offer critiques and improvements that could be made to the final product.

Get started today! Choose a topic in your field of study that requires understanding, uses the Web well, and fits curriculum standards for your school. For more information on developing your own WebQuest:

In this Webinar hosted by the Discovery Education Network, Bernie Dodge will describe how WebQuests and Web 2.0 go together like chocolate and peanut butter. He'll show examples of how the latest web-based tools can be embedded in a solid pedagogical structure to make a good lesson great.

Watch this Webinar with Bernie Dodge on WebQuests and Web 2.0

Social Studies: Build a Blog

Have students travel back in time to the historical period currently under study as an archaeologist hired by a museum to explore the historical events of a moment in time and provide a blog to visually record their journey for a new museum exhibit. To begin the research, have students write three questions to answer about the period. They may consider topics such as modes of transportation, fashion, government, housing, family life, economics, occupations, and entertainment. In their reporting, students should create blog entries that include a description of three major events during the period and information about three famous or important people from the time period. Students may use the blog entries to relay interviews, news stories, and photographs from the period.

For links to resource pages on how to use digital gadgets and podcasting in the classroom:

Further Resources

Discover resources on Web 2.0 tools and cyber security as well as additional lesson plans and activities.

All about Computers: Web 2.0 Conquering Technophobia

Explore ideas for technology in the classroom, parent communication, classroom management, and curriculum resources.

New Teacher Survival Central

Review subject specific vocabulary words by creating a puzzle for a classmate using our Puzzlemaker tool.


Discover premade worksheets available for a variety of subject areas and grade levels.

Worksheets to Go

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Four Rules to Fight H1N1 Swine Flu

Swine Flu wash your hands picture Wash your hands often and thoroughly using soap and warm water. Always wash your hands after you sneeze or cough into them, use the bathroom, before you eat, or anytime before your hands come into contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Free H1N1 Preparedness Webcast

With speakers from:
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • U.S. Department of Education
Watch a Free H1N1 Preparedness Webcast with Department of Homeland Security, CDC, U.S. Department of Education