Daniel SanGiacomo

aka Daniel Aktas

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When watching a video in class

Tools for using video in the classroom

Be specific about instructions when watching videos to encourage active viewing.

Ask students to:

    • Jot down a reflection when an even occurs
    • Raise their hand during a specific event or quote
    • Be prepared to respond to a specific prompt at the end of the video
    • Talk about what active viewing looks like

Augment the video by:

    • Pause the video and asking specific questions
      • Check for understanding
      • Do you guys check that out? What does that mean?
    • Pausing the video and ask students to talk about what just happened with a partner
      • Not 10-minute just a quick 2-minute conversation
    • Playing the video twice and explain that you will be watching it twice
      • For short videos
    • Hiding the video and only showing the audio of the footage
      • Listen to this artist and tell me what you think the work looks like
    • Turning off the audio……
      • What do you think they are saying?


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Sentence Stems for the Art Class

Over time I have accumulated sentence stems for talking to students about their art.

  • Tell me about… (the drawing)
    • vs. What do you need help with…
    • have students explain the story of the work
  • Tell me more…
    • A follow up for “tell me about”
    • or Give me some more details….
    • have students tell you about their vision for an artwork
  • Tell me about the idea….
    • vs. tell me about the project
  • What would happen if…..
  • I noticed that…
  • One thing I’m thinking about…
    • Honors students work and ideas
  • Tell me about the steps you took to get here…
    • have students walk you through
    • Follow up with… tell me about what you were thinking when you started the project
  • WHO… are these people
  • WHEN… did this take place
  • WHERE… is this taking place?
  • How does that make you feel…



  • Why….
    • Requiring students to defend their work
  • This looks like… some artist
    • Does not get anywhere
    • Does not honor the things they are thinking about
  • Yes or no questions

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What Do You Say to ‘That’s So Gay’ & Other Anti-LGBTQ* Comments?

This website provides lots of ways for adults to answer challenging questions that come up in class to promote a safer school environment.

What Do You Say to ‘That’s So Gay’ & Other Anti-LGBTQ* Comments?

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a first grader who might not know what the word “gay” means, a sixth grader trying to sound cool, or a tenth grader “teasing” a friend.  All of these have the potential of creating an unsafe classroom or school environment and must be addressed.  So, what can caring adults do?”


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Diverse Books For Elementary School

This organization features an expansive list of elementary school books that deal with LGBTQ, family diversity, bullying, and gender expression.

“A simple way to let students and families know that your school welcomes everyone is to integrate books into your curriculum that reflect the diversity of your classroom and the world.”



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i wish my teacher knew

“One day, third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz asked her students to fill–in–the–blank in this sentence: “I wish my teacher knew _____.” The results astounded her. Some answers were humorous, others were heartbreaking–all were profoundly moving and enlightening. The results opened her eyes to the need for educators to understand the unique realities their students face in order to create an open, safe and supportive place in the classroom. When Schwartz shared her experience online, #IWishMyTeacherKnew became an immediate worldwide viral phenomenon. Schwartz’s book tells the story of #IWishMyTeacherKnew, including many students’ emotional and insightful responses, and ultimately provides an invaluable guide for teachers, parents, and communities.”