Engage Their Minds will have a brief intermission in order for the author to recharge her brain. We will return next Monday, March 19th, with more engaging resources for teachers, parents, and students!
I came across this blog post on ScoopIt the other day, and enjoyed the humor in Tamara Fisher’s article called “Two Seconds”. The most important part of the article, however, is near the end. Tamara tells the story of one of her gifted students, whose teacher has a unique approach for differentiating for Spelling. Even the teacher’s plan was not challenging enough for this particular student, however, so the teacher modified it once more to the student’s delight. Tamara concludes by saying, “Some kids will need an alternative alternative!” This is such a true statement, and I love that this child’s teacher recognized how a slight change could make such a difference to this student. To read about the teacher’s idea for Spelling, and how she adjusted to her student’s unique spelling abilities, visit Tamara Fisher’s article. You will enjoy it!
Hedgehog Escape is a logic game by Learning Mates. At the moment, it is available on Amazon for $14.85. The goal is to try to roll the pack of baby hedgehogs out of the hedge to their mother. The levels increase in difficulty by adding badgers to strategic spots on the board. This encourages the player to think ahead, and to try to learn from his or her mistakes. It can be played by one player, but my students like to solve the puzzles in pairs. Once a child is shown the way the game works, he or she catches on quickly. My gifted students as young as 6 years old and as old as 11 enjoy this game.
Puppet Pals is an iDevice app that allows students to make puppet show videos. The free version offers a limited number of characters and backdrops, but can still be fun. For more options, you can pay $2.99 for the Director’s Pass, which you gives many more themes and backgrounds, including Talk Shows and Politics. Once the videos are completed, they can be e-mailed (if short enough), uploaded to YouTube, played on your big screen if you don’t have the original iPad (but do have a connector), or saved to DropBox. Be open to “workarounds” if your school district blocks YouTube and/or DropBox.
Below, I have embedded a video created by my 3rd grade Gifted and Talented students. Their assignment was to create a video that explained the use of P.M.I. (Plus, Minus, Interesting), a CoRT thinking skill developed by Edward de Bono. First, knowing the characters they would be using, they planned their show on a blank storyboard, then had to explain it to another group, revise it based on the other group’s suggestions, and get it approved by me. Finally, they could record their video. All groups were very engaged during this assignment.
The video shows President Obama trying to decide if there should be year-round schools. No irony was intended by the students when they chose former President George W. Bush to be the one who gave President Obama advice on how to make this decision 😉
Tap Into the World of Comics is a Slideshare presentation by S. Hendy. It not only gives examples of sites for creating comics, along with their links, but also offers 26 suggestions for ways to integrate comics with the curriculum. Presented in the form of a comic, the slide show is visually interesting as well as a creative and valuable resource for educators.
This site has downloadable posters for “Thick” and “Thin” questions. Beth Newingham has also provided bulletin board ideas and question prompts to encourage “thick” questions. If you have time, click on the “Home” link to find out more about her class, and to see how she organizes her classroom. You can also get more information on how she manages “Reading Partnerships” in her classroom.
“Our Wish for the World” is a creative art idea using the iPad app WordFoto. Tricia Fuglestad posted about this lesson for third graders on the Pop Art of Robert Indiana. Her post includes more pictures and links to an Artsonia gallery of images and a handout. WordFoto is one of my favorite apps for creating, along with TypeDrawing. Ms. Fuglestad’s lesson could easily be differentiated for different levels; for example using the same idea along with Six-Word Memoirs for older or more advanced students, or having younger students use Word Wall words.