cards and envelopes
K-12, Teaching Tools

Valentine’s Day 2022

I’ve noticed an uptick in views of my Valentine’s Day posts, so I just wanted to remind everyone that I have a huge collection of ideas on my Wakelet here. I also wrote a post about being inclusive on Valentine’s Day because it can easily end up being a day of hurt feelings. I’m in the midst of creating a February Holiday Wakelet, so please check back soon (or follow me on my Wakelet profile page) if you are looking for other February activities. Sorry this is such a short post, but I’m juggling lots of projects at the moment!

red flower on white sand
Photo by How Far From Home on Pexels.com
woman reading a book to the children
Anti-Racism, K-12, Teaching Tools

Talking To Your Child About Race

As regular readers know, I try to do a post each week focused on anti-racism. This week, I wanted to share the blog articles for discussing race with children that are on the Ensemble Therapy site. I like that these are broken down by age group. While they are targeted for parents, I think these articles give good advice on what is developmentally appropriate that can be helpful to teachers as well. There are also links to resources such as literature that could be useful in the classroom. Of course, some teachers are also parents, so these articles might perform double duty!

Since I am based here in Texas, I know that talking about race in the classroom is a sensitive issue. But we are not going to do our students any favors by ignoring history and current events. So, I will keep providing suggestions, archiving them in my Anti-Racism Wakelet, and hoping that education will open minds and make our world a better place.

mother and baby girl reading a book
Photo by William Fortunato on Pexels.com
close up of human hand
Creative Thinking, K-12, Student Products, Websites

An A-Z of Creativity

I know I probably throw around the phrase “treasure trove” quite a bit, but I can’t resist using it for this extraordinary gift that Donna Golightly (@DonnaGolightly1) has painstakingly assembled and shared for all to use. Her Book Creator resource, An A-Z of Creativity is full of free website tools (and one non-web based tool, Toontastic) that can really make creating fun for both teachers and students. I feel like I am pretty knowledgeable about what’s out there, but I definitely found quite a few links that were new to me, and I imagine you will, too. Thanks to Donna for curating these and making them available for everyone! I’ll be adding this to my “Fun Stuff” Wakelet. When I have time. After I experiment with some of the sites…

person pointing on a miniature toy robot
Computer Science, K-12

Day of AI

I know, I know. You’ve got tons of curriculum to cover and here I am telling you about learning that isn’t going to be on a standardized test. But here are a few things that might change your mind about participating in Day of AI 2022: it’s on May 13 (so many of you will be done with standardized tests, or close to finished and we all know how challenging it is to keep students engaged at the end of the school year), you don’t have to do it on the exact date, you need absolutely NO experience, and the resources and participation are absolutely free.

No matter what your opinion is of Artificial Intelligence, the fact is that it is becoming more and more prominent in our everyday lives. Explaining it to our students, and educating them on the potential good and bad ways that AI can impact their lives makes sense — and the resources provided on the Day of AI page are fascinating and relevant. (There are more to come, but you do need to sign up for the free registration to access them.) There will be activities for grade K-12, and you might find, as I did while looking at the materials, that you learn some things you didn’t know as well.

One of the most popular posts in recent months on this blog has been the one I did last year on AI generated poetry, so I know that there is definitely some interest in this topic among my readers. Code.org has dedicated an entire section on AI lessons for students here, and I have a Wakelet collection of other educational resources on Artificial Intelligence as well. From Blueprints for Alexa to Machine Learning for Kids, and multiple fun Google Experiments, there a multiple ways to help your students understand the basics of AI and consider its implications while having fun.

blue bright lights
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
happy birthday to you wall decor
K-12, Teaching Tools

January Resources

Happy New Year! One of my commitments for this year is to continue to provide free resources to educators to help you engage and empower learners. To that end, you can find a new Wakelet collection for January holidays and winter here. It includes some links from the December collection, new ones that I’ve discovered, and some links shared by Donna Lasher on her wonderful site. There is also a link to a Martin Luther King Jr. collection, as we celebrate that holiday in the U.S. this year on January 17th.

I am trying to make my collections more global, so please let me know of any major January holidays that I should include other than the typical U.S. ones. When I do a Google search, it is difficult for me to distinguish what may be truly meaningful dates in other cultures from ones like National Peanut Butter Day (January 24th if you are interested). Not that National Peanut Butter Day isn’t important, but it’s not without its controversies…

Peanut Butter Dog GIF By Wetpaint on Giphy.com
mother and her daughters feeding the birds
K-12

Gifts for the Gifted — Experiences

Several 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 (except for 2019) on every 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, including my 2021 list, you can visit this page. I also have a Pinterest Board of Games and Toys for Gifted Students. 

Way back in 2015, one of my Gifts for the Gifted recommendations was “Time with You.” It bears repeating that whether you are a teacher or a parent the young people you care for, in most cases, really desire your attention more than material objects. This is why I often recommend games that can be played with the family or in small groups in the classroom. Since this post is coming to you so close to Christmas, though, I wanted to let you know of a few possibilities that won’t require package delivery or fighting store crowds. There are some ideas in that post from six years ago, but I have some others you might want to consider:

  • Listen to audiobooks together. You can get a subscription to Audible, or one of the others listed in this article. Or you can check them out for free from a school or local library. I use the free Overdrive app to check out mine.
  • Work on puzzles together — maybe even while listening to your audiobook! (I got this idea from Nick Offerman, who said that he and his wife, Megan Mullally, do this all of the time.) You can do physical jigsaw puzzles, or free virtual ones like these. When my daughter got to be about 8 years old, we started doing puzzles together in my Games Magazine (there is a children’s section), and we still work on some together whenever she is home from college.
  • Travel the world without leaving the house or dealing with pesky luggage requirements. I haven’t tried this yet, but I am eyeing a few of the packages for us for on the Family Friendly page of Amazon Explore, like getting up close with the animals at the Toucan Rescue Ranch in Costa Rica or visiting the fortune-telling chicks of Dei Gratia Farm. And, teachers don’t forget about the virtual field trips you can do with Flipgrid!
  • Geocache! I can’t tell you the number of hours of fun I’ve had with my family and with my students doing this free activity. (The activity is free but you may need to invest in some equipment if you are a teacher, as you need working GPS.) Here is a way to get started. If you are a teacher who needs to stay on campus with your students, a scavenger hunt or an escape room activity can also be great and adapted to be high or low-tech.

I hope these ideas help, and that everyone has a great semester break! I will be back in the new year!