I was at a dollar store this weekend, and saw a plethora of pool noodles.
It reminded me of this post I did a few years ago, and I thought it would be the perfect time for a repeat!
After coming across one article on ways to use pool noodles, I did an internet search, and found a lot more creative ideas than I dreamed could exist for using these long pieces of foam!
My students use every spare moment they can get in my classroom to build elaborate marble runs, so the above picture caught my eye immediately. You can find it, along with 19 other ideas for pool noodles here.
You can find the idea for pool noodle flash cards here. To kick it up a notch for gifted thinkers, why not call out a word in a foreign language, or a definition, and have them find the noodle pieces that spell its counterpart?
Along with the Pool Noodle Super Sprinkler, you can find 29 other ideas here.
Of course, with all of these innovative suggestions I did not find any that matched the one drawn by one of my students!
“Wow in the World” is a new podcast from NPR that brings interesting science and technology topics to families. Hosted by Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas, this weekly show is between 20-25 minutes long, making it the perfect listening entertainment for carpools, short road trips, and family hangouts in the kitchen. Designed to appeal to adults and kids, the topics so far range from space vacations to hermit crab wrestling. With its quick pace, fascinating subjects, and (somewhat goofy) jokes, “Wow in the World” is a fun way to integrate STEM into the busy lives of families. You can listen and subscribe here.
Google has just released a new, free curriculum designed to teach digital citizenship and online safety. The program, called, “Be Internet Awesome,” consists of 5 parts:
Share with Care – Be internet smart
Don’t fall for Fake – Be internet alert
Secure Your Secrets – Be internet strong
It’s Cool to Be Kind – Be internet kind
When in Doubt, Talk it Out – Be internet brave
The curriculum is downloadable, and is aligned with ISTE standards. There is also a video game for kids to play that supports the lessons.
I haven’t had the chance to explore all of the resources, but it is becoming more and more urgent that our students receive education in this area at an early age. The internet and social media are parts of our culture that are not going to go away, and it is our job to prepare our students to use these tools safely and effectively.
First of all, I should tell you that I firmly believe that children should have “unstructured” time to play. This is when creativity bursts onto the scene, right at the brink of boredom. However, I also think children should get the opportunity to learn more about things that interest them, and camps can fulfill this need. Camps of all kinds are often offered during school breaks, from horseback riding to surfing. But some can be expensive or inconveniently far. So, here are some free, online camps designed for kids that you may want to try instead.
Camp Wonderopolis 2017 – Wonderopolis, the fabulous resource that provides kid-friendly answers to all kinds of questions, offers an annual online summer camp. This year’s theme is, “Build Your Own Wonderocity!” and it begins on June 12, 2017. You can register for the camp here.
Camp GoNoodle – When you create a free account with GoNoodle, you can access their free camp during the month of July, which will offer 5 new adventures every Monday of that month. Get more information here.
Summer Math Challenge – Register for this free service to get weekly e-mails from 6/19/17 – 7/28/17 that will give parents ideas for math activities to maintain or improve skills over the summer based on grade level standards. Find out more here
It has been awhile since I’ve succumbed to my Kickstarter addiction, but felt the need to place a pledge last night for “Turing Tumble: Gaming on a Mechanical Computer.” The good news is that the project has already far surpassed its funding goal, and there are still 27 days to go in the campaign. The bad news is that the projected date I will receive it is not until January of next year. Turing Tumble looks like it will be a great addition to my classroom. Because marbles!!!! And logic puzzles in a comic book!!!! And learning the basics of how computers work!!!
If I haven’t convinced you yet, check out their Kickstarter page, which gives a very thorough explanation (better than mine) and video of the Turing Tumble in action.
I don’t take as much advantage of Newsela as I should. This service, which provides articles about current events that can be adjusted to reading levels, just keeps getting better and better. As with many edtech tools these days, there are different features for different price points. I currently have the free version, which allows me to add students to a dashboard and to assign particular articles to read. Students can also take quizzes after they read.
Newsela offers free summer reading clubs. Students can choose which set of articles they would like to receive for the summer from a menu of 12 different topics that range from Animals to the Strange but True News Club. Once they sign up (instructions are given at this link), they will receive 10 articles on that subject that they can read and take quizzes on throughout the summer.
We are always trying to get our students to read more non-fiction, and this seems to be a great way to keep them interested and informed over the break!