The Teacher’s Academy Releases a New Course: Social Studies Websites Review

The Teacher’s Academy proudly releases the latest course in our Website Review Series: Social Studies Websites Reviews!

For those of you who are not familiar with The Teacher’s Academy’s 3-hour website review courses, the idea is simple.  We research hundreds of educational websites and choose 25 to be featured in one of our website review courses.  Of those 25 courses, we ask teachers to review five of them and give a brief summary of how they might use the website in the classroom.   Within 5 – 7 business days after completing the course, teachers will receive a Certificate and Feedback Form. They also have 25 educational websites to refer back to at anytime!  All of our website review courses are worth 3 professional development hours and cost $24.99.   Not bad for checking out a few cool website for your students!

Here is a sneak peek into the course and some of the fun and interesting web sites teachers will discover:

1. Teaching Tolerance.org

Teaching Tolerance.org is a place where teachers can find free materials to use when teaching diversity, equality, and appropriate social behaviors.  Teachers can use the Mix it Up activities, film kits, and magazines (also free) to help support a tolerant, compassionate classroom environment. http://www.tolerance.org/

2. Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum “tells the stories of 97 Orchard Street.”  This tenement apartment building was built in 1863 and housed almost 7,000 working class immigrants. You can take a virtual tour of the apartments and learn about the families who lived there through pictures and stories.  *A great connection to current immigration issues!  http://www.tenement.org/

3. Teaching History.org

This website provides educational resources for k-12 learners.  Lesson plans, digital integrating ideas, and videos help teachers create engaging learning experiences for their students. There are links to educational websites that complement the lesson plans.  They also have their very own website review section where teachers can choose a few cool websites to check out on their own.  Wow!  What a fantastic idea! http://www.teachinghistory.org/

4. Museum Box

This is a really cool tool for organizing research then presenting an argument.  Students create their own virtual box of information to defend or argue an issue.  The museum box can be filled with videos, pictures, text, sound bites, or anything that can be used to support a particular argument.  Students will have fun with this digital tool while honing their research skills! http://museumbox.e2bn.org/

5.The First Thanksgiving Virtual Field Trips

Scholastic is a great educational website and houses webcasts that re-create the events of the first Thanksgiving.  Students get a tour of the Mayflower, meet the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians of the New World, and learn about the daily lives of these two very different cultures.  Scholastic has also created Common Core aligned lesson plans to make things extra easy for teachers!  http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/webcast.htm

6. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum This virtual museum holds pictures, text, podcasts and videos of this dark time in history.  Teachers can share the stories of survivors and online exhibits to connect students on an emotional level.  Use online exhibits like The Nuremberg Race Laws to ignite discussions about discrimination and fear leading to genocide.  Guidelines and lesson plans are provided to help teachers build an appropriate and sensitive unit for their students. http://www.ushmm.org/

7. Facing History and Ourselves

The philosophy behind this website was to provide a way for users to directly connect with racial injustices and prejudice practices of the past so they never happen again.  Teachers can download lesson plans and units on the events surrounding the Civil Rights Movement or find teaching strategies to teach social behaviors.  Articles and news stories are also posted so teachers can connect current events to our history. https://www.facinghistory.org/

While visiting the other websites featured in this course, teachers will discover tools for creating engaging lessons for students, technology to embark on virtual field trips to historical sites such as the Pyramids of Giza, and access to live footage of our own political leaders.  We hope the Social Studies themed websites we’ve chosen for the course will ignite a new passion for learning about historical events and how they have impacted our culture.  Check out Social Studies Website Review online and get excited about Social Studies!

Here is a listing of other web site review courses you can purchase at The Teacher’s Academy website:

2013 Website Reviews for Teachers – 3 Hours, $24.99

2014 Website Reviews for Teachers – 3 Hours, $24.99

2015 Science and Apps Reviews – 3 Hours, $24.99

2015 Pre-K Website and Apps Reviews – 3 Hours, $24.99

2015 Elementary Website Reviews – 3 Hours, $24.99

For a full listing of courses, check out The Teacher’s Academy Course Catalog






The Teacher’s Academy Welcomes South Carolina Teachers

In the beginning…

In 2012, a group of teachers from Pennsylvania created a small company called Act 48 South Carolina landscapeAcademy.  This company started as an approved provider of professional development hours for teachers in Pennsylvania.  Soon, word spread… and we began to hear from teachers outside of PA.   Teachers from New York, New Jersey, Texas and Oregon were asking if we could offer the same affordable courses in their states!  The teachers at Act 48 Academy decided to expand to offer services to the rest of the nation under the name The Teacher’s Academy.

How Does it Work?

The teachers at The Teacher’s Academy have made obtaining professional development hours quick and easy!  Our process is simple:

  1. Create an account
  2. Shop for courses
  3. Check out

Once you have purchased the course through our secure checkout, the course and all of the materials you need will be emailed directly to your email address.  The course is yours to keep forever!  Once you open the course, there are step-by-step directions for saving the course and for uploading your completed projects to your TTA account.  All of our courses follow a similar format, so once you’ve completed one course, the next one you purchase will look the same and follow the same procedures for saving and uploading projects.  We have a high rate of teachers returning to our site for this reason alone!

 Relevant and Useful Professional Development Projects

The Teacher’s Academy is made up of certified teachers who research the latest, most effective teaching strategies and weave them into the course projects.  For example, our Blended Learning course gives teachers the opportunity to watch and understand how other schools have implemented Blended Learning activities into the classroom.  Armed with this information, teachers can create a customized Blended activity that would compliment their own existing curriculum.  Our Mindfulness in Education course focuses on the implementation of mindful practices in the classroom.   All of our courses supply teachers with high-quality educational resources and links to quality websites for further research.  Teachers can investigate these cutting edge ideas and earn professional development hours for their efforts!

Quick and Affordable

The Teacher’s Academy has considered the financial burden placed on school districts and, more specifically, teachers.   To keep costs low, we have created an efficient system of reviewing projects and then issuing your Certificate of Completion and Feedback Form within 5 – 7 business days.   The Certificate of Completion verifies the hourly participation in the course, and the Feedback Form lists the skills mastered.   These documents serve as the required verification forms that need to be submitted in order to receive renewal credits.  Our process is faster and less expensive than community colleges or other private companies.

There are no administrative or extra costs for materials, because everything you need to complete the course is emailed immediately.   We have a tech team and support staff ready to assist with any questions.

 How we can help busy South Carolina teachers…

According to the South Carolina’s Department of Education, the educator must earn a minimum of 120 renewal credits, as described in the renewal credit matrix, during the five-year validity period of the license. (SC DOE Website, Renewal Page)

 The online courses offered by The Teacher’s Academy fall under Option #10 in the Renewal Matrix:


10. Professional Development Activity, includes conferences, workshops, task force, etc.(further information provided at the end f matrix)
Renewal credits are awarded only for those professional development activities (e.g., conferences, workshops, task forces) that• are tied to the educator’s area(s) of certification and/or the goals of the employing educational entity; are provided by a national, state, regional, or locally approved sponsor; and involve a minimum of 4 hours of direct contact, excluding meals and breaks.
Maximum: up to 60 renewal credits may be earned via this option during the five-year validity period of the certificate.Accrual rate: 1 hour of direct participation = 1 renewal credit1 CEU = 10 hours of direct participation
In order to receive renewal credits via this option, the educator must provide• official documentation from the sponsor verifying the educator’s participation, and• a synopsis of the session topic(s), date(s), and time(s).

The courses at The Teacher’s Academy are written in 3, 6, 15 and 18-hour increments.  Our 15 hour courses would be considered 15 renewal credits or 1.5 CEUs (Continuing Education Credits).  This allows teachers to choose from a variety of educational experiences and gain an abundance of educational resources while earning their 60 clock hours.

We are honored to bring our services to the excellent teachers of South Carolina!  Check out some of our most popular courses:

Inspiring Ideas for the 21st Century Classroom – 18 Hours, $89.99

Mindfulness in the Classroom – 18 Hours, $89.99

Nutrition – 18 Hours, $89.99

Blended Learning – 15 Hours, $79.99

Computers the VERY Basics for the PC – 15 hours, $79.99

Microsoft Word for Educators – 15 hours, $79.99

2015 Science Website and Apps Review – 3 Hours, $24.99

2015 Pre-K Websites and Apps Review – 3 Hours, $24.99


Check out The Teacher’s Academy website for a listing of all of our courses and information on the education requirements for South Carolina teachers on the South Carolina Department of Education web page.

Enjoy teachers!






November 2015 Teacher Feature: Kerry Black

“I don’t do anything special. I just love what I do!”

-Kerry Black

 From the moment you walk into 4C (Mrs. Black’s Pre-K classroom), you get the feeling Mrs. Kerry Blackyou’ve stepped into a special place.  Books and supplies are neatly organized, walls are filled with colorful projects, and there is a warmth in the room that reflects the philosophy of the teacher.  When I reach my hand out to introduce myself formally and thank her for allowing me to spend the morning in her room, she coyly replies, “I don’t do anything special, I just love what I do.”  After spending the morning with Mrs. Black, I realize that is exactly what makes her so special.

Kerry approaches her day with a focus on “creating wonderful individuals.”  She and her partner, Ms. Marianne, create lessons each day that might seem daunting (considering the time restraints of a preschool day) or even impossible (due to the fact that they are teaching 4 year olds). Yet, with proper preparation, support from each other and the will to do the impossible, they find a way to execute even the most demanding lessons… And then they clean up and do it again! Kerry admits that without Ms. Marianne, the prepping, executing and sharing in the joy of accomplishment wouldn’t be possible. Having support is the key to success in learning, and life in general.

Teaching Letter FormationKerry’s ability to infuse learning with play promotes a love for learning in her young students. For example, to teach students how to form letters, they create “Mat Man.”  Students construct a figure using lines and curves (all of the shapes we use to form letters).  Of course, the students are so interested in creating their figure; they don’t realize that they’re learning.  As Kerry explains, “They’re just having fun; they don’t realize I’m teaching them.” 

It’s an ideal environment for preschoolers.  Students learn academics and real-world skills through play.  Kerry explains, “I try to create a warm, caring environment.  We’re a family here in 4C.  We love and take care of each other.”

Warm and Fuzzies are Contagious!

As the focus of Kindergarten becomes more academic, students often struggle socially as they enter the early elementary grades.  They don’t always get the opportunity to practice the skill of working as a group or team, something children typically learn through play.  Kerry emphasizes the importance of being kind and taking care of each other.  In her class, students receive a “warm and fuzzy” (a colorful, soft pom pom ball) when they demonstrate positive, nurturing behavior. It’s fascinating to see how hard students will work for this reward.  There are no toys or small trinkets, just the acknowledgement that you are taking care of and helping a classmate.

Clearly, it is working.  Kerry tells the story of a little boy who was out sick one day.  During morning circle and after they prayed for the boy who was out for the day, two classmates asked if they can make cards for him.  When the absent child received the cards, he asked Mrs. Black if his classmates can receive a warm and fuzzy for making him feel better!

Character and Community Development begin in Pre-K

The children of 4C also embrace the practice of being “bucket fillers.” It is a concept popularized by Carol McCloud’s book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?  Children are encouraged to examine their actions toward others.  Are you helping someone, are you filling their bucket?  They realize through practice that by helping someone else, they end up feeling better about themselves.

These practices serve to enhance Kerry’s behavior management style.  Kerry explains, “I’m not interested in controlling their behavior.”  There is no chart, there is no public acknowledgment of which student is making good or bad choices.  “I simply reward good behavior and help them to make good choices.”

Kerry is an educator first and foremost.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Have You Filled A Bucket Today?Education and a Master’s Degree in Reading.  She worked for eight years as a reading specialist in secondary education and saw firsthand how difficult it can be to remediate students. She felt compelled to reach these students before remediation was their only hope. That’s when she turned to early childhood education. Kerry believes she has more influence on character development and forming good habits if she can reach students in the early stages of development.

“Teaching preschool is my escape…”

When Kerry was called to teach at Good Beginnings Preschool, she had young children and wasn’t looking to jump back into a professional role so soon. Kerry’s faith in God and His plan helped guide her to accept the position and she has since never looked back.  Kerry tells me, “This is now my passion, my happy place, my escape.”  If “escape” isn’t the word that comes to your mind while in a room full of excited 4-5 year olds, you’re probably not alone.  But for Kerry, designing rigorous lesson plans for this age is her passion.

Academia + Creativity + Fun = Learning

Kerry’s rigorous academic background, attention to detail, and high expectations set the stage for a preschool class that focuses on learning objectives and performance outcome. However, meeting performance objectives is not what drives her teaching practices. Yes, the students are held to a high standard. Yes, she peppers in advanced vocabulary. And yes, they do a LOT of hands on projects each day. But, it’s more important at this stage for the kids to love school, take care of each other and demonstrate good choices through play. Kerry realizes that when kids are having fun, there’s almost no limit to what they can learn.

Kerry designed a lesson on the human body that gives her students hands-on learning in a Human Body Projecctfun and impressionable way.  In her human body lesson, students create a “body” from a large paper shopping bag, with holes cut out for their head and arms.  Next, they attach balloons and straws to represent the lungs (that actually expand when the kids blow into the straws)!  There’s even a “piece of food” that travels down the esophagus through the intestine and into the stomach!  Bones (macaroni) are glued onto the back to represent the spine. Kerry doesn’t shy away from using medical terms like esophagus and vertebrae when teaching her students. This lesson is an excellent example of Mrs. Black’s ability to plan and execute an advanced concept lesson that 4 year olds (and their parents) will remember for years to come!

Mrs. Kerry BlackThank you, Kerry Black, for being an amazing inspiration to our children, their parents, your community and now teachers worldwide! The Teacher’s Academy proudly supports and congratulates your creativity, work ethic and genuine passion for developing character and a love of learning in our youth. Congratulations on being The Teacher’s Academy November, 2015 Teacher Feature!