Not Just Child’s Play

If you are an elementary school teacher who loves to differentiate, I highly recommend “Not Just Child’s Play”.  Written by a teacher of gifted Kindergarten students, the posts in this blog always inspire me to keep my expectations high with my own gifted students.  This post, on Multiple Perspectives (one of Dr. Sandra Kaplan’s Depth and Complexity icons), reflects the amazing imagination and creativity we can find in even the youngest of our students.

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You are Your Words

For those of you who find it appealing to make pictures out of text, as in the iDevice apps TypeDrawing and WordFoto, there is a website that will also perform this function.  You are Your Words, sponsored by American Heritage Dictionary, allows you to upload your photo and text, and meld the two together.  There are some basic controls for changing the contrast and font types.  Once you have created your masterpiece, you can share it on Facebook or Twitter.  You can also download and save it.  An idea for using this might be to have students upload their pics (with parental permission, of course), and choose one or more quotes that they find meaningful.  This would make a great photo gallery in your classroom!

10 Ways to Differentiate Learning

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

This post from Edna Sackson at “What Ed Said” succinctly advises on changes that can be made by the teacher to differentiate learning in the classroom.  The hardest one for me, but the one that has made the most difference in my years of teaching, has been the first suggestion, “Let go.”  I have to say, though, that I tried to pick the most vital advice out of the list of 10, and could not prioritize them.  They are all important, in my estimation, for every classroom – even if you are homeschooling a class of one!

Shape Collage

Shape Collage is a free app for iDevices that allows the user to use photos on the device to create collages in different shapes, such as stars, paw prints, puzzle pieces, etc…  You can even type in your own text, and the photos will conform to the words. Once you have created the collage, you can save it to your Photo Album, or share it via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail.  If you do not have an iDevice, there is a similar program online called Loupe.  The biggest difference between the app and the website is that, on Loupe, you are loading your pictures from an online sharing site, and do not have the option to load them directly from your computer.

Shape Collage is a great app for Creating, the highest level of Bloom’s New Taxonomy.  Students can create collages that conform to shapes related to what they are studying, or the shape of a text that gives a meaningful message.  The collages can be another way for students to express themselves poetically with pictures.

Bembo’s Zoo

Bembo’s Zoo is a book available at Amazon.  But it is also an amazing website that uses flash animation to delight the viewer with animals created from the letters that spell their names.  Visually, it is very appealing, and especially great for use on interactive white boards.  To use it for a learning activity, you might want to try showing it to your students, and then challenging them to create their own animals out of letters.  Extending further, some students might want to draw other objects using letters, or even create their own alphabet book with a different theme – such as inventions.  The app for iDevices, TypeDrawing, could be used for a similar activity.

Teacher’s Notebook


I have a new store on Teacher’s Notebook, and I am featuring two new products on it, in addition to my Easter Creative Thinking Packet.  There is a packet for primary students (1-3) to do research on a country using Dr. Sandra Kaplan’s Depth and Complexity.  There is also a Spring Creative Thinking Packet.  I still have my store on Teachers Pay Teachers, and the items offered will be identical and at the same price.  However, I will make a 100% profit on Teacher’s Notebook, so that is why I have changed the button on this blog.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Quicksheets

These Bloom’s Taxonomy Quicksheets, created by Andrew Churches at Edorigami, are a great teacher tool for quick reference on how to integrate technology and higher order thinking skills effectively.  Each Bloom’s level has its own sheet, and recommends technology activities and websites that address the needs for that level.  This is a great companion to Bloom’s Taxonomy Tech Pyramid.

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