Our next holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, is right around the corner. I was looking for some creative ideas for that theme, and came across a fun concept – trying to trap a leprechaun. If you teach students in higher grades, you could really get into some math and physics with this challenge. Pretend there is a leprechaun hiding in your classroom, and see if the students can deduce from clues (footprints in the soil of a plant, for example) his approximate height and weight. Or, just bring a bunch of supplies to class and see who could build the most clever trap. This would spark some great writing activities, as well. Here are a few links to spark your imagination: To Catch a Leprechaun, Leprechaun Traps, Leprechaun Trap Cake. And, if you are interested in some more creative thinking activities for next month, you can also download my March S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packet here.
Universal Pictures will be releasing a new movie production of The Lorax on March 2nd. With that in mind, I have created some differentiated tasks based on Dr. Sandra Kaplan’s Depth and Complexity icons. This free resource is now available at Teachers Pay Teachers. I also have a Multiple Intelligences packet available based on The Lorax for $2. In addition, there are a lot of learning resources available on Universal’s website for the picture, including environmental lesson plans, a Lorax Media Toolkit that includes images and video clips, and a link to Read Across America (which is partnering with The Lorax, and will also happen on March 2nd.)
Estimation vs. Calculation is one of many interactive math bulletin board ideas made available by Kutztown University. Each of the bulletin boards is designed by a college student studying to become a teacher, has accompanying pictures, directions on how to replicate the board, and worksheets. Most of them are for secondary school, but I noticed a few, such as the Estimation one, that would be appropriate for upper elementary. I especially liked the warning that appeared at the end of the instructions for Estimation vs. Calculation. The creator, Sara Karahoca, states, “WARNING!!!!!! A bulletin board with candy is very enticing. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR USE WITH COLLEGE STUDENTS (as they will eat all your candy). NOT RECOMMENDED IN HIGH TRAFFIC/UNSUPERVISED AREAS (as students, hungry professional staff, and/or wild animals may also eat all your candy and steal your smiley faces.)” A sense of humor always helps!
7 Hat Challenge is a game hosted by Scholastic News that allows the player to choose the difficulty level, and then try to earn 7 different presidential “hats” of responsibility. This is a good interactive that allows the player to learn more about some of the Presidents of the United States and their many roles. For a plethora of Presidents’ Day activities, check out the post where I found this one on “Technology Rocks. Seriously.”
I was really intrigued by the Flags by Colours infographic in a presentation given by Kathy Schrock on “Using Infographics as a Creative Assessment” at T.C.E.A. last week. Although her presentation was about having students create infographics, this particular example struck me as one that could be useful in the classroom. For starters, you could ask the kids to try to predict which one represents their own country (conveniently forgetting to tell them that the flags are in alphabetical order). If they pick the wrong one(s), you could help them to determine why, which might bring in some math and fractions. You could also compare the similar flags of countries, have the students try to figure out which color is used the most (the answer is at the bottom) and speculate why, design what the infographic might look like for another flag – like one of a state or region, or try to design a flag based on its infographic, and then reveal the true flag. I’m sure you can think of even more ideas!
I found Hands Symphony on one of my favorite resources, KB Connected. I think that it is a great site for composing a tune to email to someone you care about while at the same time spreading life-saving information about CPR. Even if you aren’t planning to e-mail your composition, your students will have fun with this creative way to make music. I thought it was appropriate to post a site sponsored by the American Heart Association on Valentine’s Day:)
According to the Origami Resource Center, Puzzle Purses have been around for centuries in several different cultures. In Victorian times, they became a Valentine tradition. You can find specific directions, along with diagrams, for folding your own puzzle purse, here. As an additional challenge, your students can also create the poetry that goes inside.