You may recognize Brad Montague (@thebradmontague) as the creator of the outstanding Kid President videos. But his creativity and compassionate work with kids does not stop there. He and his wife have begun a “Joyful Rebellion” with the Montague Workshop. What began as a series of videos has evolved into 8 resources for teachers that include the Montague Workshop videos, lesson plans, and activities written by teachers. As the website declares, “Our aim is to be the Alfred to your Batman.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel like a Joyful Rebellion is exactly what we need right now!
February 18-24th is National Engineers Week here in the States. Since my 2nd graders have been studying bridges, we did an activity from the Building Big website, which is still one of my favorite resources when we talk basics about man-made structures. Yesterday’s activity was one I had never tried with a class before, the Suspension Bridge activity. Despite prepping everything ahead of time, I went through my normal roller coaster of emotions during the lesson.
Fortunately, all groups eventually got their bridges built, and they were fascinated with the weight the suspension bridges could carry compared to the beam bridges. I would definitely do this activity again for the wow factor!
For more resources to teach your students about engineering, you can head on over to Discovere.org. I’ve also embedded an awesome video from the National Science Foundation called, “What is Engineering?”
This is a sweet video from FableVision that tells the story of two friends who choose different career paths based on their personalities rather than what culture dictates they “should do.” The message that you can be happy and successful in more than one way is one that I hope that I communicate to my own students and child.
In that creepy way that Amazon has of knowing all about you, it recommended Mockupsto me when I was searching for another brainstorming game someone had recommended on Twitter. The original game was not available, so I thought I would give Mockups a try instead.
Mockups is a good game to practice Design Thinking. It includes cards of three different colors. Pick a card of each color, and you suddenly have a Design Thinking Challenge. A white card tells you the person you are designing for, the gray card tells you what to design, and the black card will give you a constraint for that design.
As an example, I just randomly selected: Adventurous Preschoolers, A Way to Keep Their Hands Warm, Absorbent. There are suggested “games” to play using the card, such as giving the challenge to teams to come up with the best answer or making groups work silently on creating a solution. Of course, you can use the cards however you want.
This can be a fun way to encourage creativity, and students can learn empathy and new vocabulary as they design. The suggested ages, according to Amazon, are 6+. I took out the card, “bartenders,” but didn’t see any others that were objectionable.
One of my suggestions listed in “Telegenic Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break” is a lovely short video called, “The Bear and the Hare.” It is actually a John Lewis advertisement, but these annual holiday commercials have become traditional favorites due to their outstanding artwork and storytelling. I have a link in my original post to an activity that Joelle Trayers did with her students, asking them to use empathy to imagine what the bear might give the hare in return for its thoughtful gift. I thought I would try it with my 2nd graders this year, and here are some of their responses:
While trying to find some inspiring holiday videos this year, I came across this Macy’s commercial from 2015. Even though it’s ironic for an advertisement to be about selflessness, I like the simple message of kindness. For other videos you might want to consider for this time of year, you can check out this post. Also, I keep a Pinterest Board of Inspirational Videos for Students here.