Why We Should Use the Term “Indigenous”

For this week’s anti-racist post, I want to share a Tweet from @HollyClarkEdu. It contains a TikTok video from @forwardlight, and explains not only the reasons that she prefers the term “Indigenous” to “Indian” or “Native American,” but also why she rejects the “Navajo” name for her tribe. I did a bit of research on the web regarding the meaning of “Navajo,” and there seems to be some disagreement. This site defines it as an adaptation of a Pueblo word that means, “farm fields in the valley” while other sites declare that the term referred to “knife” or “thief.” Regardless, I think that it is important to use the language that people prefer, so this short video is a valuable lesson.

I will be linking to this in my Wakelet that includes all of my weekly anti-racist posts. Please share so we can educate others!

Gifts for the Gifted – Bare Conductive Touch Board

 A few years ago, I thought I would help out the parents of my gifted and talented students by writing about some games, toys, or books that I thought might make good purchases during the holiday season.  I called the series of posts, “Gifts for the Gifted,” and I have continued to do it annually on every Friday in November and December.  These gifts are suggestions for any child – not just those who qualify for a GT program. Sometimes I receive a free product for review, but I am not paid for these posts, and I never recommend a product that I wouldn’t buy for my own child.  For past “Gifts for the Gifted” posts, you can visit this page. I also have a Pinterest Board of Games and Toys for Gifted Students. You may notice that I missed 2019, but I’m making up for it this year with a post every Thursday in November and December up until Christmas Eve.

Last year, we were able to get a grant in our Maker Space for some Bare Conductive Touch Boards and paint (there are smaller tubes of paint if you prefer). One of the choices for students’ final engineering projects in my class was to create a work of art that integrated the touch board and paint. I just scoured my Google Photos archive and, for some reason, have no video of the final projects in action 😦 Here are pics of the artwork and the back of their canvases, though.

The black paint that you see in the mariachi and country pictures is conductive. The concept was to attach the sound board to the back and connect the black paint with copper tape to the sound board. But, as you can see in the bottom picture, the copper tape was not being cooperatively sticky enough so one of the students ended up soldering wires to it instead. (Soldering is not mandatory; we just wanted to make it more durable.) We made hinged frames for the canvases to enclose the speakers and touch board but allow us to turn them on/off and change batteries if needed. The mariachi instruments played music based on which instrument you touched, and the countries played their anthems. (That group was fascinated with countries of the Cold War.)

Don’t let the over-complexity of the project scare you off. I tend to imagine projects that leave out a few minor details in in my initial drafts. What’s cool about the Bare Conductive Touch Board is that it is actually easy to use. There is a little Micro SD card for you to add your sounds, and you probably want to attach a cheap speaker (I got these at Target for $3) that has a microphone jack so you can hear it. As you can see, we also gave it a battery, but you can alternatively just attach it to your laptop, depending on your project. Here is a step-by-step intro to the board that shows you how easy it is to get it working. There are also instructions for making a midi piano.

I was first inspired to look into doing a project like this when I saw this video. For those of you who have used or seen the Makey Makey (a past Gifts for the Gifted recommendation), you can see that this takes the potential just a bit further.

If you have a child/student who loves to create art and would be interested in attaching sound to it, this is a unique gift that they would definitely enjoy.

Pies by Inspired to Taste

In the United States we will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. One of the traditional desserts served is pie. Of course that means I will be making an oreo cheesecake. Because that’s how I roll. Also because I saw this article in My Modern Met and realized that I had been doing pies all wrong. I wish I could post the pictures of these pies on here, but even the rebellious part of me likes to observe copyright laws. If you just want to skip the article and go straight to the pictures, here is Liz Joy’s pie portfolio. I would love to have students look at these pictures, and have them design their own pie decor. I can’t imagine eating any of Joy’s masterpieces, but people generally say that the same thing about what I prepare – minus the “masterpiece” part, and for a different reason.

Transnormal Tuesday

My blog stats usually go down during holiday weeks, which is wonderful, in my opinion. It’s great that many educators are taking time for themselves, for family, for friends. Some people continue to read, though. In this case, some readers may be from other countries so it’s not a holiday week for them. Or, maybe you are like me, and you just have a hard time shutting off that continuous search for something to spark student interest – the Holy Grail of teaching.

Regardless of your reasons for clicking on today’s link, I decided to depart from my usual passionate description of an amazing resource, and sprinkle today’s post with some of the funny tweets I’ve been collecting over the past few weeks. I keep a Wakelet of these that I turn to whenever I’m feeling a bit low. (I would share the link with you, but some of them are a bit inappropriate.) It’s possible that they are not as funny to you as they are to me, but I hope at least a few of them elicit a smile and take you away from your troubles for a bit.

Follow @gerrydee if you like this one (H/T to @courosa for sharing):

My daughter and I share a love for bad puns, so this one got me:

Follow @EstherThePig for delightful videos of a fashionable pig. And videos like this:

The dumbest way I ever hurt myself was when I tried to take a bathroom mirror (half the wall) out by myself as a surprise for my husband, and ended up breaking the mirror in half with one half stabbing me in the hand. The “surprise” he got was me calling him at work to take me to the ER. Read this thread for even more ridiculous ways people have injured themselves. I had tears rolling down my face.

I had to read this one twice, and then laughed at the brilliance.

This is exactly the type of joke my GT kids would love.

This is so relatable if you have ever owned a bulldog. (I’ve had two.)

I love national parks, but I’ve got to admit these are pretty funny.

And now I’m laughing so hard as I go through the rest of my saved tweets that I can barely type so I will leave you with just one more. This is me whenever I try something new:

One More Winner

We have one more winner, courtesy of InSpace, of a free subscription! Congratulations to Brandy S. of Toledo, Ohio! The InSpace Rep will be contacting you soon!

InSpace Subscription Winners

Last week, I wrote about a new company called InSpace that is reframing how virtual conferencing can look in education. After I published the post, I was notified that InSpace would offer two free subscriptions to educators who want to try it out. Using a random generator add-on for Google Sheets, I chose the lucky winners today from those who submitted forms. In a fun coincidence, it looks like they are both from the same district in Fargo, ND. So, congratulations to:

Stacy A. and Julia W.!!!!!!!!

My contact at InSpace will be getting in touch with you soon with details.

Thanks to those of you who entered. I know this is a hard time to consider trying something new, so I appreciate all of you trailblazers out there! It’s because of you that education gets better and better every year.

Image by AxxLC from Pixabay
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