#gmttc is the official hashtag for the Global Math Task Twitter Challenge. Classrooms around the world are invited to participate by solving the problems that are tweeted and/or tweeting out their own. You can formally sign on to be a #gmttc tweeter on this spreadsheet, but this is not a requirement. It is easy enough to find recently tweeted tasks for your grade level by doing a search for #gmttc with your grade level number at the end. For example, #gmttc4 will provide you with recent 4th grade challenges.
I enjoy seeing the variety of images students use to present the math problems, and your students will begin to make connections between what they are learning compared to students in other parts of the world. This is a quick, no fuss way to “flatten the classroom.” As a whole-class, center, or extension activity, #gmttc is a fun idea to help students get excited about math!
It started with a picture and a hashtag. The picture showed a classroom whiteboard with an inspirational quote written decoratively on it. The hashtag was #whiteboardwisdom. Since I love alliteration, quotes, and anything that might make me wiser, I searched the hashtag on Twitter. Of course, that delivered many more motivational messages, and I resolved to see if any of my students would like to be in charge of providing a weekly #whiteboardwisdom. That seemed kind of humdrum, though, so I did a Google search for #whiteboardwisdom in the classroom. And that’s how I ended up here, a Pinterest rabbit hole of teacher and student creativity that I never even knew existed.
Many of the pins that I saw seemed to be inspired by a teacher named Brittney Briggs, who is incredibly creative and artistic from what I can see. The common thread among all of the images in this Pinterest smorgasbord was that they invited student interaction instead of merely giving them something to think about. Sometimes the students respond directly on the board, and other times the teachers offer sticky notes for responses. Although I certainly can’t do justice to all of the great ideas out there, here is a sampling I chose to demonstrate this fun concept:
Monday Made It – What is the Coolest Thing You Have Ever Made?
Tell Us Something Tuesday – One Thing That Most People Don’t Know About You?
What Will You Create Wednesday – Find a Doodle and Turn it into a Masterpiece!
Theme Song Thursday – What Should Be Our Class Theme Song?
Finding Dory Friday – What is Something You Lose or Forget to Do Often?
Engage is a two minute video from “Let it Ripple” Film Studio (also the producers of The Science of Character). It’s a good reminder that we only have a short time on this planet, so it’s important to make that time meaningful by helping others. Accompanied by the soundtrack of, “Give a Little Bit,” by Rodger Hodgson, Engage might be the little nudge of inspiration that your students need to become more involved in the world around them. A similar video, which you can also find on my “Inspirational Videos for Students” Pinterest Board, is “The Time You Have (in Jellybeans).”
H/T to @ibceendy for sharing this link on Twitter!
One of my favorite podcasts is “TED Radio Hour” on NPR, on which each episode examines TED talks that address a particular theme. Last week, the theme was, “The Power of Design,” and I found many parts applicable to education. The show includes Tony Fadell, who speaks about the thought processes that went into the first iPod, and Janine Benyus, who speaks about what designers can learn from nature (very applicable to my 2nd grade unit on structures), and three other TED speakers. Alice Rawsthorn speaks about the rebellious natures of the best designers – such as Blackbeard. Yes, the pirate. You can thank Blackbeard for the skull and crossbones.
I have been thinking about innovation and creativity quite a bit, and how I can help my students to try to be more original and less derivative. Listening to this podcast reminded me of this recent interview with Quentin Tarantino when he was asked for his advice. “My advice for when you want to find a story you want to tell is: What is a movie you want to see?” Tarantino said. “What is it that you want to contribute? There’s a whole lot of movies you could see without you. What’s the movie that we have never seen because you haven’t made it. Make that movie. Make the movie that’s the reason you’re going to be doing it.”
What’s the ______________ that we have never seen because you haven’t made it? The story, the invention, the picture, the school, the educational system… Fill in the blank with what you want to design.
One of your goals this new school year may be to “flatten” your classroom walls by making more global connections. “Skype in the Classroom,” which I blogged about earlier this year, is a great way to get started. The site now offers Bingo Cards as a resource that you can print out for your students to keep track of all of the fantastic Skype experiences they have throughout the year. You can also use a bingo card to get a nice collection of ideas for Skype sessions! There are teacher instructions, and there is even a set of cards that you can use for professional development. All of these downloadable PDF’s are free, and just the tip of the iceberg when you explore everything that “Skype in the Classroom” has to offer!
With Constitution Day approaching in the United States on September 17th, I thought I would share “Do I Have a Right?” from iCivics. It is free, and you can play it on your web browser or using the iPad app. The game helps you to learn the rights you are given by the constitution as you assign cases to lawyers based on their specialties. There is now a Powerpoint extension pack that teachers can use to reinforce what the students learn after they play the game. The game is really engaging (my daughter and I love to play it together), and only one of many fabulous resources brought to you by iCivics. If you haven’t used iCivics before, here is a little more information from a previous post.
It’s almost September 15th-ish, which means that Dot Day is quickly approaching! For those of you who have not encountered Dot Day before, it is an international event inspired by the Peter Reynolds book, The Dot. It’s all about celebrating creativity and “making your mark”! In last year’s post about Dot Day, I shared a few “new to me” Dot Day ideas for the celebration. This year, Breakout Edu has announced a brand new breakout adventure for elementary and middle school students based on The Dot. Students must solve the clues to set creativity and inspiration free. I recommend doing the breakout activity and then giving your students the opportunity to unleash their own inner artists as a follow-up!