Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and I have been looking for some writing activities to do with my gifted Kinders and Firsts. I found several great ideas, and thought I should share them with you in case you are looking, too!
Two of the lessons are from one of my favorite gifted teacher bloggers, Joelle Trayers. She teaches gifted Kinders this year, and always has incredible examples of ways to draw out the creativity of her students. One of her past Mother’s Day projects was to have the students do GT Frames about their moms. Using 4 of the icons from Kaplan’s Depth and Complexity, Joelle has her students write about their moms using: Unanswered Questions, Rules, Multiple Perspectives, and Big Idea. You can see some great student products here. For a second (and just as adorable) project suggestion, check out the Top 10 Lists Joelle’s students made about their moms. Construction paper mother portraits make this completely frame-able!
A brief Google search turned up April Walker’s Mother’s Day lesson based on the book, I Love You the Purplest. After reading the book, where a mom uses colors to describe her children when they demand to know who she loves best, students write color poems about their moms. You can see some student examples here. I’m thinking it would be fun to have the students use some unusual color words like “chartreuse” or “vermilion” just to add a bit of extra challenge.
While searching my own blog I found an activity I recommended to myself to do – 4 years ago. Apparently, I found a cute printable celebrating how moms “wear many hats,” and suggested it would be fun to have students think of how their moms do many different jobs. Their mom could wear a fireman’s hat, a chef’s hat, an artist’s hat, etc… This is one reason I blog, so I can record ideas for the following year. Of course, it would probably help if I actually looked at my previous posts a little bit more frequently than every four years.
Now I have a plethora of ideas for Mother’s Day. It’s good that I teach more than one grade level because I’m inspired to try out each one!
I was recently doing research for an article and ran across this fabulous public art installation. Wouldn’t this be cool to adapt for a classroom? I don’t think that I can legally post any of the pics on my blog, but definitely check out the ones here, and comment below if you have ideas for classroom use!
One app that I use for digital curation is Flipboard. This app allows me to create my own digital magazines where I can collect links on various themes. My “Fun Friday” magazine, for example, is where I add anything that looks cool, but isn’t especially educational. As I was going through “Fun Friday” this week, I noticed that several articles were about unusual types of sculptures, so I decided to do a themed Phun Phriday post today:
My 4th grade gifted class is learning about mathematical masterpieces, talking about the symbolism of the circle, and discussing immortality as we read Tuck Everlasting. I usually integrate a short project on mandalas as a culminating activity during this time of year, since their symbolism fits so well with the other facets of our study. With a new 3d printer in our classroom, and students anxious to design, I gave them the option of creating their own mandalas in Tinkercad to print on our Polar 3d. The one you see below is our first successful printed mandala. We are still working on how we want to fill in the holes. Traditional mandalas are made with colored sand, so we want to find a way to simulate that, yet retain the printed outline. I will keep you posted on our journey to the final product! (Here is an interesting time-lapse video of the creation and destruction of a traditional mandala.)
One of the interesting new resources I discovered at SXSWedu this year is the Smithsonian Learning Lab. This ambitious project spearheaded by The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access aims to give unprecedented access to the massive collections that have been digitized at the Smithsonian’s network of museums and research centers. You can learn more about the Learning Lab’s intended mission here.
The Learning Lab offers images, recordings, and texts that you can, as a free registered member, curate into your own collections. You can then annotate and make notes in your collection. Adding your own files to the collection is another noteworthy feature. Collections can be shared, and teachers can assign collections to students in their rosters (similar to Google Classroom). Here is a link to how teachers can use the Learning Lab.
Students under 13 need special permission to create collections of their own. However, an elementary teacher could certainly benefit from using the images and other resources to supplement lessons. In a way, this Learning Lab is another type of virtual field trip, allowing students to see high resolution images of objects that might not even be on display at the museum any longer.
Here is a picture I found to place in my “Inventions” collection. Any guesses as to the purpose of this object?
This is my St. Patrick’s Day post from last year. I’m trying to post it in plenty of time so you can use it for the holiday if you like.
A couple of years ago I posted about the cute idea that I’d found on several websites of having students build leprechaun traps. Since my Kinders were learning about Inventor Thinking around that time, we tried it out. They were very earnest about creating efficient traps, and I’m pretty sure at least one of the students was disappointed that he didn’t catch his prey. You can see our class blog posts from that year here and here.
Here is an updated list of St. Patrick’s Day links in case you want to try to capture your own leprechaun this year – or, better yet, his pot of gold:
For a Pinterest Board with over 200 Leprechaun Trap ideas, click here.
It’s always fun to see the progress of Kickstarter projects you’ve backed. I got one of the first batch of 3Doodlers way back when, and things have really changed: new filament colors, tons of project ideas, a 2.0 version, and accessories.
3Doodler is a 3D printing pen that requires no programming – just patience and imagination. I’ve had students who have loved using my original, and some who have given up quickly in frustration. After using it for awhile, I developed a wish list of features that would be ideal for a 3D printing pen – and it’s quite possible that my wishes have been granted.
The 3Doodler Start is designed with younger kids in mind. It’s wireless (HUGE plus – fully charged 3Doodler Starts can supposedly last up to 60 minutes), completely safe with no hot parts, eco-friendly plastic, and suitable for children 8 years and up.
You can pre-order a 3Doodler Start to be delivered in May. They are offering it at a slightly lower price than intended retail for 13 more days. Currently, it is $39.99 for one 3Doodler Start, and $79.99 for a starter pack that includes 8 packs of filament and 8 “starter blocks.” (You need to look at the web site to see what “starter blocks” are.) One warning: you will not be able to use current 3Doodler plastic or accessories with the 3Doodler Start.
I’m probably going to order one. Because that’s my not-so-secret vice, ordering things that are fun and aren’t available anywhere else 🙂 When they start offering class packs, I could definitely see this being utilized in a Maker Space, art room, or any other place that creativity is encouraged!