All posts by engagetheirminds

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

Weird Enough Productions

Tony Weaver Jr. is a hero. I don’t use that term lightly. In fact, I hesitate to use it at all. But when I started doing research on a Tweet from @ProjectFoundEd about this man, I discovered more and more reasons to admire him. In this 2020 world of self-serving politicians and celebrities, Tony Weaver Jr. is the humble, talented, and empathetic champion we need.

Every week, I write an anti-racist post, but Tony Weaver Jr. is one of the many Blacks in our country who dedicates his life to anti-racism. Though his activism stemmed from personal experiences, he explains in this TEDx talk, “Why the World Needs Superheroes Who Look Different,” how other young people were his true motivation. In the CNN video that first led me to seek out more information about him, Weaver expresses such honest emotion about his passion for his work that you know his dedication will never waver.

Weaver is the young entrepreneur who started a company called Weird Enough Productions. “We tell stories that inspire people to embrace their quirks, and get hype about being themselves,” it states on the “About” page. Weird Enough Productions is responsible for a project called, “Get Media L.I.T.” which provides a platform for teachers and students (age 12 an up) where they can use comics and lesson plans to learn about social-emotional topics, media literacy, and digital citizenships. The comics feature a group of young people called “The Uncommons,” who are a diverse cast of characters designed to be representative of the many faces in our population. When you sign up for Media L.I.T. as a teacher, you will have a dashboard to which you can add classes, make playlists of the comics, and push out assignments. Each lesson is either categorized as, “Learn, Inquire, or Transform.” This tutorial for getting started is very helpful.

Get Media L.I.T. is exactly the type of material that will appeal to young people – relevant and visually intriguing. It is a great way to teach students about topics that are not generally covered in the curriculum, and to expose them to fictional heroes who look like them. In addition, the “Transform” lessons offer ideas for how the students can apply what they have learned to make the world a better place.

I will be adding this post to my list of Anti-Racism posts on Wakelet. Please consider sharing it with others, especially those who have the power to make a difference in the classroom. You can learn more about Tony Weaver, Jr. here.

screenshot of Tony Weaver Jr. from “Why the World Needs Superheroes Who Look Different”

Free Offer From InSpace

UPDATE 11/19/2020: Exciting news! InSpace is offering two free trials for Engage Their Minds readers. Read my blog post about this revolutionary videoconferencing tool that uses proximity based sound and fabulous breakout room options. If you are interested in entering a virtual raffle to receive a trial, please fill out this short form by 12:01 am on 11/22/2020. Winners will be announced on this blog and on Twitter on 11/23/2020.

Gifts for the Gifted – Sleuth and Solve

 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.

If you know children who love riddles, like the ones on TED Ed, and are about 8 years and up, you might want to consider getting them one of the Sleuth and Solve books (there are two) by Anna Gallo and Victor Escandell. Each book has more than 20 short riddles with fun illustrations and the answer behind a card you can fold down. I have only previewed the one with the black cover (not the History one), so I can’t describe both, but I imagine their format is similar.

The riddles use icons to communicate to the reader whether or not they can be solved using logic or imagination, and there are stars to indicate their difficulty levels (six stars being the most difficult). Some of the riddles are familiar, such as “Crossing the River,” while others are definitely new to me. One feature that I really like is that the book describes how it can be played as a game, encouraging families (or groups in class) to keep track of the cases they solve and how many points they earn for each solution based on the difficulty level. As I mentioned in last week’s gift post, you can really maximize the impact of any gift if you, the giver, play along with the recipient. And, don’t assume you will have to “play dumb.” Some of these riddles are quite diabolical.

I am giving you a link to these books from one of our new local bookstores, Nowhere Bookshop. The store is owned by one of my favorite authors, Jenny Lawson, also known as “The Bloggess.” Unfortunately, their grand opening coincided with the pandemic, so they have only been able to operate virtually. I’d love for you to support them so they will be able to survive and one day open their doors. If you prefer to support another independent bookstore, you can find some on

For those who love mysteries and riddles, here is a link to a past recommendation from this series, Invisible Ink books.