Monday, November 30, 2020

izzit Civics Blog – Blog 6 – Alternative to Screen Time

Back in the 1980s, Cyndi Lauper sang a song, “Time after time” which has become (in the COVID-19 world,) screen time after screen time as a result of remote learning classrooms. While my Civics class utilizes technology, I prepped this week for the culminating class which is a program titled Win-Win and devoid of technology (screen time).

Win-Win is a hands-on classroom trading game that gets every student involved. Through the experience of actually trading items, students will learn important lessons about economics and trade. The real-life dimension of the game (that students get to keep traded items) engages them in a way few classroom exercises can match. After they play the game, you can debrief them on their experience and share important lessons. We've suggested some possible points for discussion. Even the most disinterested student will be drawn into the excitement of Win-Win. (In fact, you may be surprised to find that the student who is often most disengaged may be the shining star in this game!)
Removed from screen time, this simulation is a hands-on student interaction activity (in a socially distanced, safe environment!) Note, once back to in-class education, this is a great way to have students learn away from the computer and focusing on key topics - free enterprise, capitalism, globalization, and property rights!

I began the class with my opening discussion point, what is bartering, and have you ever bartered anything? Quick responses involved bartering with a sibling/family member. Others shared talents they possess and how they "bartered” for expertise by others. I then showed the Teachable Moment, "Barter and Entrepreneurship" which illustrated the rudimentary theme that providing a service is beneficial to both sides - actually stated by one of my students!

The worksheet was distributed prior, and asked students to answer - Have you ever had to barter for something? Most people have, even if they don’t realize it. Think of any time you have exchanged something other than money for another object or service. Moving to educational video, The Foundations of Wealth, which is designed to help students understand what the subject of Economics is all about. Economic decisions are made every day, even though students may not be aware of them. For example, all of us think about: How will I choose to spend my time today? How will I choose to spend my money? Who made the things I use? How were they made? This video will help explain a great deal about the way in which these decisions are made.

I focused on segments 1, 2, & 6, for a total of a half hour of video time and proposed the following:
  1. What is the “secret” which enables a society to start improving its way of life?        
  2. What happens when you spend all your time at one job? 
The class will culminate next week with the hands-on simulation on bartering and trade, both open and restricted!
Pictures and follow-up next week!
Want to learn how to use Win/Win with your class? Watch this instructional video.

Dean Graziano is the Vice-President of He is a multi-state, award-winning educator and former Curriculum Specialist Teacher grades 6-12 Social Studies, with over 25 years in education. He served on the Massachusetts MCAS Standard Setting Panel, and also selected by the College Board to be an Advanced Placement Reader for U.S. History. He worked on the historical inquiry model and a national presenter for ABC-Clio, a Social Studies data base company.

In 2007, in a surprise visit to his school, he was awarded the United States Department of Educations' American Star of Teaching Award. Dean was selected as the 2017 State of New Hampshire's Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator- of -the Year. Dean’s pilot program in Rochester, NH was singled out by NH Governor, Chris Sununu as the model for the State of N.H. Career Academies. In 2019, he developed and implemented a proposal to purchase a Mobile Classroom ( a new & remodeled 36’ RV, aka M.A.P.s) utilizing Perkins V funding, to bring CTE/WBL programming - leveling the playing field/equity for ALL NH students and spoke nationally at several ACTE Conferences on this model.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

S.M.A.R.T Steps Week

Dean Graziano, VP of Education for®, has authored a proclamation to celebrate and underscore the importance of back-to-school and secured New Hampshire’s Gov. Chris Sununu’s signature on a proclamation declaring September 7-11, 2020 S.M.A.R.T. Steps Week.

S.M.A.R.T. steps mean S-Start with discussion, M-Make informed decisions, A-Access reliable materials and content, R-Respect and be responsible towards varying viewpoints, and T-Thoughtful and tenable responses - building leadership. This proclamation underscores student and educator engagement, being actively engaged and rigorously involved in learning - specifically, development of critical-thinkers and being respectful of others, as well as self-reliant and responsible citizens. Our students should be leaders and educational role models for our younger students. Success in a post-secondary path requires hard work, a strong work ethic, responsibility, and problem-solving abilities. 

Because of an ever-changing world due to Covid-19, schools and businesses have had to reinvent learning and preparing students/employees respectively for a new learning/work environment. Simply put, schools and more to-the-point, educators, need effective and proven educational resources NOW! For over fourteen years, offers no-cost, high-quality educational materials to educators: teachers, homeschoolers, parents, grandparents, scout troop leaders – to anyone interested in learning/teaching! We are here for you! Explore why critical thinking starts at! 

New Hampshire citizens are encouraged to participate in the activities commemorating S.M.A.R.T. Steps Week, September 7-11, 2020. For additional information please contact Dean Graziano at [email protected].

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Remote Education Tips – By Susan Gable

By now, most of you out there who are teaching remotely (or helping your kids learn remotely) have probably heard of Zoom. Zoom lets you do a digital meeting. It's an awesome tool for connecting with people, something we desperately need right now.

But from an educational standpoint, there are some other options that can help.

Another way of teaching an actual lesson remotely, one that will allow your students more flexibility in when they view the lesson, is to record your presentation to video, and then make that video available to your students. This way if there is shared technology in the home, students don't have to worry about commandeering the tech at an exact time. Maybe their sibling needs to the computer at that time, or their parent is using the same computer to work from home.

Check out In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Loom has even taken the step of making their product FREE to educators. Forever. (Yes, I know, it's an amazing thing! Well done, Loom!)

Loom allows you to make recordings that utilize your camera, your screen, or both at the same time. Students can see you presenting the material, hear your voice, and see the material you're presenting. Right now, seeing and hearing you, their teacher, is a big help. Connection is something we're all craving during this social distancing. 

Use your screen to present your lessons, whether it's using a website, a Google Slide or PowerPoint Presentation, or drawing equations on screen.

Besides making lessons more flexible for your students, this also allows you to give the lesson once…and have it forever! No more doing the same lesson over and over again. Let the students watch, and then you can handle their questions and provide one-on-one help – a much better use of your time!

This video gives you a quick look at what your students will see when they watch a presentation you've recorded.

More Loom Resources:

Read and watch 2 short video tutorials about Loom here: 

Teaching a Lesson with Loom and a Google Slide Presentation: 

Teaching a Lessons with Loom and a PowerPoint Presentation: 

Monday, March 16, 2020

More Helpful Tips for Parents & Educators Who Will Be Educating Kids Remotely Due to the Coronavirus Situation By Susan Gable

With more schools going to remote (online) learning because of the Coronavirus, we wanted to offer some help! Here are some things we've found that can help both parents and teachers during this time period. This is a good time to show kids that learning isn't just for in-school, or as directed by their teachers. Learning is everywhere and all the time. Here are some great places for you to find online opportunities for your kids.

Make sure students can access the internet!

The U.S. Constitution & Black History  A FREE online course that explores how changes to the laws via Constitutional amendments and Supreme Court Cases impacted the history of black Americans.  (Your student will receive a certificate upon completion of the course at the email they sign up with. Ages 13 and older.)

Current Events – 2 lessons with vocabulary words and higher-level discussion questions each school day. (Or what would be school days under normal circumstances!) Engage your students with what's going on in the world. (Must be signed in to a FREE account to view/use the lessons.)

Scholastic Learn at Home – PreK – Grade 6+

Udemy Inexpensive courses (look for sales!) to learn all kinds of things, from economics and American History, to graphic design or Excel.  

Open Culture Online Courses – Listing of free online education courses from universities around the world. 

Academic Earth – Another site with listings of free online college courses.
Duolingo – This is a free app for online or your cell phone that allows you to study foreign languages, from Spanish and German to Japanese and even Klingon. It simultaneously immerses the learner in reading, writing, and speaking the language. (Seriously, this is FUN! Try it out.) 

How about a virtual field trip to a museum? Here's an article with links to 12 Famous Museums that you can explore without actually leaving home.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

E-Learning Fills in the Gaps By Susan Gable

It could be weather-related or a water main break. It could be due to mass illness. (We all know kids are germ magnets!) School's closed! Unexpected day off! Break out the hot chocolate and stay in your pajamas.

But we all know there's no such thing as a free lunch – or a free day off, especially if your district has already exhausted any "free days" built into the calendar.

More and more districts are using a variety of e-learning and "flipped classroom" models to fill in the gaps when students can't be in school. This prevents the need for makeup days, usually added at the end of the year or taken from a vacation period.

Needed to Take Advantage of E-Learning Makeup Days:

1. Technology – This method works best in districts where students have been issued laptops/Chromebooks by the school. That ensures all students have the tools they need to do the work.
2. Home Internet Access – It goes without saying this makes it work, particularly for inclement weather that pops up unexpectedly, without giving teachers a chance to have students download materials.
3. Learning Management System (LMS) – This helps tremendously with structure. Students will already be accustomed to accessing teachers' lessons and assignments, and communicating with their teacher this way. Can Help, Too

Educators can create an account to access free materials at that work great for these types of makeup days.

Students can access the site via their teacher's class code and watch 10-15-minute videos designed to promote critical thinking. They cover from economics, science, and health, to geography and family & consumer science. You can even find some that integrate music and social studies! Students can then take an online quiz. 

Assign a Current Events lesson, with vocabulary words and higher-level discussion questions. Have students write essays for answers, then return to class the next day prepared to discuss! Or, if your LMS includes a forum capability, host the discussion there.

Looking for something even shorter? Check out the collection of Teachable Moments videos – short, right-to-the-point videos that are less than 5 minutes long and include supplemental activities.

There's also a new online mini-course, The U.S. Constitution & Black History, which can be used online, or dragged into your SCORM 1.2 compatible LMS.

You don't have to wait for an e-learning day. also offers complete substitute lesson plans that incorporate their materials. Other teachers use them on a regular basis to bring the curriculum to life with high-interest videos. Create your free account today!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Financial Literacy - Coming Soon from!

Money can't buy happiness... but knowing how to manage it sure can increase your happiness!

Teach your students all the basics of Financial Literacy with our upcoming video.

From budgets and compound interest, to the time value of money and why savings needs to become a habit, we cover what your students need to know!

Learn more here.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

New Interactive Course from

We just released a brand new product for, our very first interactive mini-course.

The U.S. Constitution & Black History course (available to educators as either an online course or as a course module that can be loaded into an LMS) examines how the laws of the United States, starting with the Constitution itself, have impacted the history of black Americans. It covers important Supreme Court cases like Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Ed. How have we moved toward a more inclusive nation? One that strives to live up to the words Thomas Jefferson penned in the Declaration of Independence, "...all men are created equal"?

Open Structured Course

This version of the course is an open structured course - a participant is not "funneled" through the course in the structured sequence, but rather is free to explore the segments of the course that most appeal to them, in the order they want.

Closed Structured Course

Participants are required to complete the course in sequence and must view at least 90% of each video and complete any quizzes in order to proceed to the next segment.
If you are an educator looking to preview this course for use in your classroom, we recommend the Open Structure Course. If you would like to assign the course to your individual students and know for sure that they are completing each section, we recommend you send them to the Closed Structure Course. If you want your students to only complete certain segments of the course, send them to the Open Structure Course and have them complete the segments you wish.

Your FEEDBACK is invaluable and much appreciated! Please take the time, after using the course, to complete a feedback form.

The course has been aligned to all the most common standards. You can use our Standards Alignment tool if you need to document which standards you're covering by using this course.

NOTE: Course cartridge created in SCORM 1.2. If not compatible with your LMS, email us.