This performance by John Legend for TED says it all. This is what all children want to hear from the adults in their lives. I think it makes a good companion piece to this post by David Brooks, “The Seven Most Important People in A Child’s Life”. And, maybe it’s the kind of connection high school student, Jeff Bliss, really wishes all teachers would establish with their students…
Imagine There’s No Hate
This is a video that should probably be watched by older students, as some of the topics that it brings up might need to be discussed in a mature way. However, I love the concept of this PSA from the Anti-Defamation League. The premise is that some of the famous people, such as Martin Luther King Jr., who we lost far too early, would still be alive today and achieving even greater things if hatred did not exist. This would make for great class discussions, and inspire some research projects for some of the lesser known people featured. Even if you don’t show the video to your class, this could certainly be an interesting assignment, to choose a victim of hate and envision the contributions he or she could have made to this world if that person’s life had not been cut short.
UPDATE 6/9/2020: Unfortunately, Gwigle seems to not be available any longer. However, you can still create your own Gwigle-type game for classroom use.
Yes, you read that right! Gwigle is a site that bills itself as “an educational game to help you use Google more effectively.” Apparently, Gwigle has been around for awhile (since 2006, at least), but I just discovered it. The concept is that you are given a short list of search results, and you have to guess the search term. Along the way, you are given access to different search tips, and learn a little about how to refine your searches. I think that Google searches have changed a bit in the last 6 years, but it’s still a fun and challenging game that teaches some basic search skills. If you are interested in trying it, or having your students try it, I found a very helpful blog post by “Sophie”, in which she listed all of the answers. Another idea might be to develop your own Gwigle type game in the classroom, possibly using vocabulary words or historical events as search terms, and using it as a different way to review for your students.
Paper Airplane Video
I have posted before about “Pink Bat“, a book by Michael McMillan, as well as the accompanying video. Recently, I came across another video by Mr. McMillan: “Paper Airplane: A Lesson for Flying Outside the Box”. This is a nostalgic look back to a time when innovation was embraced and putting a man on the moon was considered an achievement that could only be acquired by the utilizing the powerful combination of knowledge and creativity. “Paper Airplane” shows how important it is to let go of our preconceived notions, and to allow our ideas to soar past imagined boundaries.
This is a great video for teachers and parents to watch. Your students will also find it inspiring. I do suggest that you preview it before showing it to kids, as there is one small part (a cartoon bare bottom) that some might consider objectionable, depending on your audience.
Here is the link, in case the embedded video below does not show: http://youtu.be/QODh5s3XKJE
“Wordplay” by Flocabulary
Flocabulary is a site that bills itself as “Hip-Hop in the Classroom”. I used to access it regularly for their wonderful “The Week in Rap”, which, basically, was a summary of the week’s current events with interesting visuals and a catchy rap to accompany it. Unfortunately, this became part of Flocabulary’s subscription program, and I sadly had to discontinue my students’ weekly viewing (sometimes the only exposure that they had to what was in the news). However, Flocabulary does offer some free videos, and I caught a new one this week about figurative language called, “Wordplay“. It’s a fun video to show your students if you are in the midst of teaching them about personification, metaphors, similes, etc…
I have posted about iCivics.org a couple of times on my blog- once about the website, spearheaded by Sandra Day O’Connor, and once about the awesome free app, Pocket Law Firm. As today is Election Day, I thought it would be appropriate to once again mention the value of iCivics.org. According to the site, “In 2009, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics to reverse Americans’ declining civic knowledge and participation. Securing our democracy, she realized, requires teaching the next generation to understand and respect our system of governance.” Since my first post on this topic, over a year ago, iCivics has gained even more features. It has become a robust resource with 16 games, 15 curriculum units, and a multitude of service projects. Now, teachers can create their own accounts to which they can add classes, allowing them to track assignments and student progress. Students can earn points for playing games, and “spend” their points on community projects that they favor.
Although the curriculum units are geared toward students in grades 6-12, some of the games, like “Cast Your Vote“, could probably be played by advanced 4th or 5th graders.
And, if you are a U.S. citizen, don’t forget to cast your own vote today! 😉