Teach your students to listen with

The Power of Public Radio


We hope you’re enjoying your three day weekend. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tomorrow we thought we’d listen to the voice of his son, Martin Luther King III. Share this story, MLK’s Son, with your students and let them see the civil rights icon through the eyes of his son.

Terror Attacks in France

Your students may have heard about the attacks in Paris by Islamic radicals but not fully understand what happened and why. The attack on journalists was a first, but targeting Jews isn’t new in France. This story will give your students a framework to understand these attacks and the response of the French and Jewish communities.

Coming Tuesday: Islamic Militants in Nigeria

An even more deadly attack occurred last week, this time by an Islamist militant group in Nigeria known as Boko Haram. What is Boko Haram?  What are their goals? And what is the Nigerian government doing about it? Use this stories to help your students understand this growing movement.

Selma and Civil Rights

The 1965 voting rights march in Selma, Alabama exposed police brutality to the world and set the stage for the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The new movie ‘Selma’ tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the movement in Selma in a new and authentic way. This story can spark a conversation about traditional Hollywood depictions of civil rights and how this movie has broken that mold.

NEW Lesson Plan: Maya Angelou’s Life and Legacy

Maya Angelou was an author, poet and icon. Her memoir “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” changed the literary world and opened doors for African American authors and women. In this lesson, students analyze Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” and answer the question: How can poetry serve as a voice for social justice?


FreshGrade Introduces New App to Facilitate Real-Time Learning Collaboration

New App Connects Parents, Teachers and Students to Evolve and Advance Learning

KELOWNA, British Columbia– FreshGrade, a Learning Collaboration System for teachers, announced today it has released a robust new mobile app.  The new app augments FreshGrade’s existing web product by giving teachers more freedom to work efficiently in a busy classroom.

Studies have shown that ongoing, meaningful parent engagement is a critical factor in the academic success of a child; the classroom, however, remains a mystery for many parents. FreshGrade is addressing this issue by giving teachers a more robust toolset to capture and document learning that can be shared with parents in real time – opening a window into the classroom for parents and providing a platform by which teachers and parents can more effectively support a child’s learning.

The launch of the new mobile app will allow teachers to capture and document even more learning in the classroom, thus enabling greater collaboration and engagement with parents.

New features of the FreshGrade app include:

  • Tangible Parent Engagement: In-app notifications of portfolio views and comments
  • Three-way Collaboration: Comment and respond to posts on ePortfolios
  • Capturing Learning: Via picture, audio, video or anecdotal note and tag individuals, groups or the whole class
  • Continual Capturing: Content can be saved and tagged to students later, to keep up in a busy class
  • Mobile Account Management: Ability to update/add class and student profiles


“We understand that teachers are already using a variety of methods to track and report on students’ progress and communicate with parents,” said FreshGrade CEO Lane Merrifield. “FreshGrade simplifies and enhances this process, and offers a more efficient and impactful way to approach these tasks. We’re excited that through our new mobile app, we’ll be able to alleviate even more of the workload that teachers endure on a daily basis. “

Traditional report cards are static, periodic evaluations of student learning and have not caught up with today’s mobile, digital and interactive platforms that allow for real time, meaningful connections and engagement. FreshGrade is changing that approach and providing better information to parents, sooner.

“I usually see parents after school or at parent-teacher meetings. FreshGrade allows me to create a bond with parents that hasn’t been there before. I can share instantly what’s going on in my classroom with parents – samples of reading, video, performances.  Everything that sparkles in the classroom,” said Los Angeles teacher Max Schafer.  “In the past, it’s been difficult to do but with FreshGrade, the design is so eloquent and simple you can catch the spontaneous moment.”

FreshGrade has already been widely adopted in select regions of Canada, including the Surrey School District, the largest school district in British Columbia and one of the largest in Canada, which has implemented FreshGrade as its standard reporting tool for the 2014-2015 school year. The company also announced $4.3 million in seed funding from leading education and venture capital firms in August 2014 and has a growing adoption rate in progressive regions of the U.S. and Australia.

Teachers are able to use FreshGrade for free by signing up for the new app, which is available in the Apple App Store, or by visiting

About FreshGrade

FreshGrade was founded in 2011 by Lane Merrifield, Steve Wandler and Mark Payne, and is headquartered in Kelowna, British Columbia. Designed in collaboration with teachers and parents, FreshGrade is an online and mobile Learning Collaboration System, connecting teachers, parents and students to provide real time, and ongoing, impactful and meaningful collaboration on student learning – changing and advancing the learning paradigm. FreshGrade was named among edSurge’s Top S’Cool Tools for Q2 2014 in June 2014. Learn more at or follow FreshGrade on Twitter at @FreshGrade.