Last Thursday, Richard Byrne shared an absolute treasure trove of Google Drive templates created and shared by Darren Maltais. You can click the link above to read Richard’s post. One of the templates that you may want to consider using in the near future is “ELA 12 Days of Christmas,” which offers 12 different creative writing ideas, along with examples. Whether you plan to use some or all of these, you should definitely make a copy of this to help you and your students make it through this occasionally overwhelming time of year! (I particularly like the Facebook example with comments from Buddy the Elf and Rudolph!) By the way, if you would like math activities for the 12 Days of Christmas, you can try this.
I can’t believe this crazy week is almost over! I appreciate everyone’s patience as I recycle some posts from last year this week. I’ve added a few updates to keep things “fresh!” (According to Merriam-Webster, “telegenic” means “well-suited to the medium of television; especially : having an appearance and manner that are markedly attractive to television viewers.”)
So, let’s face it. Despite our best efforts to keep our energy up, we need a bit of down time every once in awhile. Here is a collection of short videos to help you catch your breath.
Kid President – If you haven’t seen this young man’s collection of videos, you are in a for a real treat. Be prepared to do a little dance and to stretch your smile muscles. These are some that are great for this time of year:
Full disclosure: this first week of December is going to be my busiest week this year. Therefore, I decided to cheat a bit for a few days and recycle some posts from last year. I’ve done a bit of editing to make sure they remain current but otherwise they are the same. Hopefully you still find them useful!
This one is NOT free (currently $8), but it’s 213 pages, and chock full of critical thinking activities for 1st-3rd. Personally, I think it’s well worth the money for this set of “Christmas Critical Thinking Puzzles,” that includes: Primarily Christmas Logic, Christmas Logic with a String of Lights, Christmas Analogies, Christmas Which One Doesn’t Belong?* I do not know Susan Morrow, the author of this set – and I am certainly not getting any money for advertising her product. But, I think it’s a great deal. Quite frankly, I am very jealous of her talent 😉
*You can also purchase a few of the included puzzle packs separately, if you prefer.
Another idea, which I plan to try with my older kids, is to have them design some Winter Kodable mazes (similar to the app), along with the coding solutions. This will let them use a bit of creativity along with their logical thinking skills! (By the way, don’t forget about Hour of Code next week!)
Yes, I’m a sentimental idiot. Apparently I’m not alone. I’m one of the many whose heart has been warmed by the new John Lewis Christmas commercial for 2014, “Monty the Penguin.”
In 2013, John Lewis produced “The Bear and the Hare,” which may have been a commercial, but it was also a work of art. I’m not sure “Monty the Penguin” took as long to create, but it is certainly another top-notch production.
I realize, of course, that this is a commercial. I also am aware that many people do not celebrate Christmas. It could certainly be argued that “Monty the Penguin” is just another excellent example of manipulative advertising.
But there are lessons in this video much like the ones in “The Bear and the Hare” – the power of imagination, and the value of empathy. And it’s truly delightful to watch.
I will unashamedly admit to crying at the end of the video (I dare any mother not to), but I’m not going to tell you if I bought a stuffed penguin or not after watching the commercial. There are just some secrets a girl has got to keep.
My holiday series of “Gifts for the Gifted” concludes today with a post on apps that you might want to pre-load on that new iDevice you’re about to set under the tree. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. New apps are released weekly, of course, and there are quite a few older apps that I may not have had the pleasure to try, yet. I will give you some resources for finding apps that might fit your specific needs at the end of this post.
These apps are great for elementary age children, and do not require much reading. If I have previously reviewed the app on my blog, I have included a link so that you can learn more about it.
My series of holiday (or any time) “Gifts for the Gifted” continues today with a set of adorable dolls and puppets from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild. The Little Thinkers dolls include a wide array of influential personalities from different cultures and fields of study. There are scientists, philosophers, artists, musicians, revolutionaries, and even radio hosts (N.P.R.’s Carl Kasell). Inspire your own little thinker with a cuddly Galileo or Frida Kahlo. And if your child has an active imagination, you might want to look at the very reasonably priced puppets – which include some of the same notable personages, but also offer a few different ones, such as Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela. I would bundle one of these with a children’s book; you can find several of the famous names in Chicago Review Press’ “For Kids” series, some of which are listed on this Amazon list.
I know a lot of parents are considering bestowing iPod Touches or iPads to their children for Christmas, so next Friday, I will be giving a list of apps that you might want to load on your child’s iDevice before you put it under the tree.
Here are links to my previous “Gifts for the Gifted” posts:
Last week, I posted about one of my creative thinking packs that I like to use around this time of year. You can download the packet for free by going here. I have been using the first two pages (“Substitute” and “Combine”) with my 1st through 5th graders during the last week, and it’s been a kick to see their unique ideas, particularly for the “Substitute” page. The directions for that one are to design a snowman made out of something other than snow. I have to share some of their results!