Category Archives: 3-12

Wondermind

Wondermind is about Science, Art, and Alice in Wonderland.  It’s hard to describe this enchanting site, which just got nominated for a Webby Award in the Youth category.  I recommend that you visit the site, play the delightful games, and learn about the brain and its perceptions.  You will be enchanted.

Imagine: How Creativity Works

Imagine: How Creativity Works is the title of a new book by Jonah Lehrer.  In this short video by Flash Rosenberg, the main idea of the book is summarized in an entertaining use of live-drawing.  I first found out about this video on Free Tech 4 Teachers, and immediately showed it to my 5th graders, who are currently working on their Genius Hour projects.  It’s a great way to justify my refusal to give them the answers immediately when they encounter obstacles, and it’s a much better explanation than that I am just being a lazy teacher!

IMAGINE: How Creativity Works from Flash Rosenberg on Vimeo.

Drawminos

Drawminos is a website that allows you to choose from some “Favorites”, allowing you to drop a ball, and to see the shape created by the toppled dominoes.  The part that I think will engage many students, though, is the “Create” part, in which you can design your own shape to be revealed once the ball is rolled.  It takes some planning and patience to arrange the dominoes how you would like in order to achieve your final design.  Once done, though, you can save your design online, and receive a URL for its specific location.  This could be a great way to introduce a topic, or to have students integrate their learning, their creativity, and their understanding of Physics!

Logotype Maker

Logotype Maker is a tool I discovered awhile ago on the Free Tech 4 Teachers blog.
I have used it for a few personal projects, but had not implemented it in my classroom yet.  Yesterday, my fifth graders were working on “Genius Hour” projects – which I will be detailing in a future post.  Some of the students are creating websites using Weebly.  One pair was trying without success to create a banner for the top of their site, and it suddenly occurred to me to recommend Logotypemaker.  They were so psyched about their results that other groups kept coming over to see what was going on.  Several students wrote the site address down so they could try it at home, and two other groups immediately got to work on creating their own logos.  If your students have blogs or websites, I highly recommend you show them this resource.  It will not only generate hundreds of logo ideas, but will also allow the students to edit them to further personalize them.

Academy of Achievement

The Academy of Achievement aims to “to bring aspiring young people together with real-life heroes.”  One way they are accomplishing this is by posting audio and video of interviews with leaders in different fields.  The videos include such eminent people as Steve Jobs and Maya Angelou, and many more.  In addition to the videos, the Academy of Achievement has curriculum resources for teachers.  Most of those resources are for grades 7-12, but there are a few, such as The Olympic curriculum, for as low as 4th grade as well.
On the “Keys to Success” page, the featured individuals are grouped by character traits such as “Passion” and “Vision.”  A fun tool for students is located on the “My Role Model” page, where you can find role models who are featured on the site based on some of your own individual traits.
Because some of the materials are designed for older students, I would advise that teachers preview all videos and materials before using them with their classes.

History for Music Lovers

 

The History for Music Lovers channel on YouTube has a lot of videos of historical figures and moments set to popular songs.  The one I use with my students is “Gutenberg“, the lyrics of which are sung to the tune of “Sunday Girl” by Blondie.  For those students who don’t really care to read history from a book and are musically inclined, this is a great way to get their attention.  (As usual, before presenting videos to students, please preview them to make sure they are appropriate for that age group!)  This is also a great idea for students who are interested in finding another way to present their own research.  It beats a PowerPoint presentation!

Valentine Puzzle Purse

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.