And another bonus post for today! (Some things just can’t wait to be posted!) Joelle Trayers gave me this idea on her blog, and if you don’t already read her blog you should! Her depth and complexity ideas for primary aged children are awesome!!!!!
Anyway, I showed my 1st grade GT students a die-cut heart, and asked them to turn it around and look at it different ways to see what else it could be. I showed them some of the examples from Ms. Trayers’ class, and told them they could NOT use any of those ideas, even though they were fabulous. To be creative, their drawings would need to be different , not copies. Then, I let them brainstorm as many ideas as they could – even though many of them said they already knew what they wanted to draw. And here is where I think I might have improved on the last time I tried this activity – I told them to go around the room to look at everyone’s ideas.
“What does it mean if someone else had the same idea as you?” I asked.
“It isn’t unique!” one girl answered.
“So, is that the idea you want to use today?” I asked.
They all agreed that no, it was not, since we were focusing on creativity. They finally got to start their designs, and I was really impressed that most of them were so different. Here is what they drew:
This is a bonus post for those of you who keep track of my daily posts! Our Maker Club made some paper circuit Valentines, and here are some of the results. For instructions on making paper circuit greeting cards, you can check out this post. If you are interested in more Valentine ideas, here are many that I have collected over the years.
Around this time last year, I wrote about using the “Would You Rather?” format for math problems. This idea was brought to my attention when Richard Byrne posted about John Stevens’ awesome site where he regularly publishes these challenges. If you have middle-high school age students, I highly recommend that you check out John’s blog.
Because my students are younger, I made a series of my own “Would You Rather” questions last year. A few of them tied into Valentine’s Day. You can access the problems and download the slides for your own use here.
I rolled out the set a couple of weeks ago for new groups of students to try. I decided this year to give them a format for their answers. I wanted to make sure they not only answer the question, but show their math and cite any resources they used (we haven’t worked on formal citations yet, as you might notice). As you can see from some of the examples below, the sheet the students fill in has evolved a bit to make it a little more visually pleasing.
The students are allowed to choose any of the problems they like to work on. It can be interesting to see their preferences. What’s fun is that even the students who choose the same exact questions can have completely different correct answers.
I’ve been meaning to make some more of these because I like the multiple steps necessary, what the students learn about searching the web for information (they are working on finding reliable sources right now), and the writing needed to describe their thoughts. However, I haven’t had the chance to add to the collection. In the meantime, feel free to use the ones from last year and let me know if you have any suggestions! And here is a link to the PDF for my latest iteration of journal sheets for these challenges.
Last week, I posted about this year’s Doodle 4 Google contest with the theme, “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place.” I mentioned that one thing that I am particularly excited about is the page of Classroom Activities that complement the contest this year. Included in this are three live events where students can “Meet the Doodler” online. Fortunately, my 4th graders got the chance to view the first event yesterday, and it was a great experience. If you were unable to participate, you can see the archive here.
Two elementary schools were able to join the Doodler in the Google Hangout. You can apply to be included as one of the video guests by signing up here for the two remaining events (2/19/14 and 2/26/14 at 1 PM EST). Or, you can just do what our class did, and watch the video while posting some questions in the chat window.
Yesterday’s video (less than 40 minutes) featured Sophie Diao, one of the ten Google “Doodlers” that create the fabulous specialized logos we see periodically. She explained the process for creating a Google Doodle, how long it generally takes, and what she does when she can’t think of any ideas. A neat part of the presentation included an assignment for everyone watching to try to design their own Valentine doodles. I’ve included some of the ones my students did during the short presentation, and you should watch the video for some outstanding ideas from the 2 elementary schools that participated. If you are looking for a fun, last-minute Valentine activity, throw this challenge at your students! (For more Valentine ideas, check out this post.)
Earlier this month, I saw a post by Richard Byrne that led me to this great site of mathematical “Would You Rather” problems. John Stevens (@JStevens009) is the clever man who creates these mathematical challenges, and I love the thinking that is required to solve the questions he poses. I tried a few with my 3rd graders, and they were hooked. Many of the problems, though, require a little more advanced math knowledge than generally possessed by 8-year-olds, so I thought about penning a few of my own. Since Valentine’s Day is closing in, I decided to go with that theme. I asked John if he minded me borrowing his idea, and he generously gave me the go-ahead.
The rule I give my students for these problems is that they must prove their answer using mathematical reasoning. They are allowed to use the internet to research and/or do some hands-on measurements. It’s possible that they may be able to justify completely different answers. For example, on the one about the pound of chocolate, they might choose the lower amount instead of the higher because they are not huge fans of chocolate – though that seems to be rather rare.
I don’t know if you have ever heard kids playing the actual “Would You Rather” game, but it can get a little disgusting. They seem to enjoy the gross questions, so I threw one into this series for the sake of low entertainment ;)
I found Hands Symphony on one of my favorite resources, KB Connected. I think that it is a great site for composing a tune to email to someone you care about while at the same time spreading life-saving information about CPR. Even if you aren’t planning to e-mail your composition, your students will have fun with this creative way to make music. I thought it was appropriate to post a site sponsored by the American Heart Association on Valentine’s Day:)
According to the Origami Resource Center, Puzzle Purses have been around for centuries in several different cultures. In Victorian times, they became a Valentine tradition. You can find specific directions, along with diagrams, for folding your own puzzle purse, here. As an additional challenge, your students can also create the poetry that goes inside.