Category Archives: Teaching Tools

Nature By Numbers

This is the week of video posts, so here is your third one – an absolutely stunning video that visually relates how nature and math are absolutely connected.  This video was brought to my attention by a fellow teacher, Shari M., who knew that my gifted students would enjoy it as much as I would.

Nature by Numbers from Cristóbal Vila on Vimeo.

You could: pause this movie after the number pattern to see if your students can identify the pattern, have them research Fibonacci, challenge them to list all of the natural objects represented, ask them to find other items in nature that have connections to this pattern.

The creator of this video has an amazing website that explains the math, shows stills of his work in progress, and more.

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TOI Lead India “Tree”

I keep thinking of videos that I would like to share, so I thought I would make that my theme this week.  This particular one could lead to great conversation in the classroom, despite the fact that many of us do not understand the language in it.  Some possible topics for discussion:  apathy, being the change we wish to see in the world, working together.  Every time I watch this video, I am motivated to make a difference.

Ira Glass on Storytelling

Ira Glass, the radio host of This American Life on NPR, gives his opinion of how to become great at your art.  Although he is speaking of writing, this could be a great motivational tool for anyone who has ambition in a particular field. David Shiyang Liu created the typography to go along with Ira’s words.

Draw a Stickman

Larry Ferlazzo offered a new link on his blog for a site called Draw a Stickman that I think could be really fun for the classroom.  The key to this site is the “Share” option.  At the end of the interactive story, a message appears.  When you choose to “Share”, you can determine the message.  You can then e-mail it to yourself and/or others.  If you want to use this to introduce a topic, you can e-mail it to yourself, save the link, and have your students help you create the stickman that brings the message.  You could also create several different messages, differentiating for your students, and offer them as links on your student server or on a teacher website.  If your students have e-mail addresses, such as e-pals, and are corresponding with someone for class, this would be a fun message for them to create and send.

The Kid Should See This

This collection of videos on various topics is described by the author as “off the grid-for-little-kids videos and other smart stuff collected by Rion Nakaya and her three year old co-curator.”  There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational productions to choose from in her archive, as well as on her main page.  These videos would be great to use for research, as starting topics for writing, or just as “hooks” to get your students’ attention.  The best thing is, although I guess we can never be certain of this, that most are probably appropriate for the classroom if they have been approved by a 3 year old.

Bloom’s Taxonomy for iPads

This recently appeared in the Langwitches blog, and a fellow teacher shared it with me.  It is similar to the Bloom’s Taxonomy Tech Pyramid I posted awhile ago, but this one sticks to iPad apps.  Of course, there are new apps every week that would also be great to use at multiple levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  This, however, is a great jumping off point, particularly for teachers who are just beginning to implement these devices in their classrooms.

Resources and Lessons for Fiction Reading

I actually found the link to Beth Newingham’s blog post on another blog, KB Connected.  When I clicked on the link, I was immediately impressed by the creative ideas and the higher order thinking skills each activity included.  In addition, Beth Newingham provides photos of each activity and printables that are simple but attractive.  It has links to her website showing several of the fiction genre lessons in action.  This is the kind of classroom in which kids thrive!