I recently curated an entire list of sites to help teachers use in the classroom for lessons on evaluation online information – and most of the links on the list came from Facebook. I am not ignorant of the irony in that statement, but I will say that the particular Facebook group that this came from is my favorite and most educational – the Distance Learning Educators group. If you are looking for help or ideas in anything related to distance learning, this group is extremely knowledgeable and supportive. When a teacher recently asked for advice for lessons to use with her 12th graders about fake news, a stream of educators responded, and most of the answers were new to me.
My latest blog post for NEO is all about encouraging students to participate in purposeful conversations about their learning – a challenging task even in a traditional classroom. As many teachers are currently working with students remotely or in a combination of face-to-face and remote, new complications have arisen when it comes to meaningful peer-to-peer discussions. In my NEO post, there are many resources for teachers that range from building a safe community to concrete methods to encourage all students to take an interest and offer their voices. I hope you will find it helpful.
Paper circuits are an excellent way to introduce young students to electricity. Making them is also a good time to work on having a growth mindset, because there are various small details that keep your circuit from working (ripping the copper tape, blowing out your LED, connecting the wrong legs of the LED to the wrong pieces of tape, etc…) The supplies are pretty cheap, so it’s good to have a lot of them available , and I like to have some pre-made circuits so students can test batteries and LED’s when they blame the parts instead of the maker. Here is an updated list of Halloween Paper Circuit resources:
Like last week’s “Peel the Fruit” activity adapted from Harvard’s Project Zero, 3-2-1 Bridge is another Visible Thinking Routine that I’ve used with my students to elicit deeper introspection and understanding of a topic. You can see my initial post on the routine here. 3-2-1 Bridge is similar to a K-W-L chart, but it requires higher order thinking. Students are given a topic, and write down 3 words it initially makes them think of, then two questions, and 1 simile or metaphor to describe it. After learning more, they go through this process again, and make a “bridge” connection between their first impressions and their later ones. You can see examples of how this routine can be used in the classroom on this website created by Alice Vigors.
For online learning, you could use the Slides activity I am sharing. I considered a few ways to use this. You could use slides 2-4 for backgrounds on a Google Jamboard for collaborative work or in a PearDeck or Nearpod presentation (once before they learn about the topic, and then after – with the addition of slide 5). Alternatively, you could take out slides 2-5, and then assign the activity to individual students or pairs to work on together. Either way, I think that it is good to do the reflection questions because metacognition is so important when using these routines.
For my “Peel the Fruit” presentation, I linked the source I’ve adapted it from in the first slide. You can also see some other important links on this blog post. The 2nd slide in this presentation was actually designed on a Master Slide so that students don’t inadvertently change it. The slide has links to each of the student slides, so that when it is time to discuss, the teacher can click back and forth from each “layer” of the fruit. The home button on each student slide brings you back to the original diagram.
I envision that once a class has begun to study a topic, the teacher can assign students to begin on different slides, typing their comments in the tables. They can move onto a different slide once they have commented. If you need new slides, I would add them to the end, or else your hyperlinks will need to be changed. Once students have added their thoughts, the teacher can discuss with the whole class, and go over the reflection at the end of the slide show.
If you have not used this Thinking Routine before, you can see videos of it in action with a 4th grade class here. (Scroll down.)
To make a copy of my Peel the Fruit presentation for your own use, click here.
As some of you know, I have a slightly scary addiction to Kickstarter. However, I feel like I’ve been pretty good at choosing some winning products to back, which makes my addiction a bit less scary – though not less impactful on my wallet. The Turing Tumble was one Kickstarter product that lived up to its promise, and I even recommended it for Gifts for the Gifted in 2018. You can read more about it here. I have used Turing Tumble with various age groups, and the kids who love it often don’t want to let anyone else try. Put that together with, well, Covid-19, where you don’t exactly want to encourage people to share their toys, and you might have a bit of a challenge playing this game. This is where the recently launched site, Tumble Together, can help out. Tumble Together is a Turing Tumble simulator (say that 10 times fast). You can mesmerize yourself by moving the pieces and dropping the marbles to your heart’s content. You can even click on the menu to do 30 different challenges. But the best part is that you can open your own shared room and invite your friends to work on it with you! Without worrying about germs!
Turing Tumble – it’s a game, it’s an education, it’s a plethora of conundrums. Check it out. And, don’t forget that Turing Tumble offers Educator Resources here, including discounts on the physical game which is a delight.