3-12, Apps, Education, Independent Study, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Web 2.0

Take Your Dream Team to the Next Level

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Last year, I posted about a “Dream Team” project, inspired by Angela Maiers, that my 5th graders did using the Puppet Pals app.  If pressed to name my own Dream Team (which would have a larger roster than all of the teams in the NBA combined!), Angela Maiers would definitely be part of it.  Two other members would be Laura Moore, an Instructional Technologist in our district who blogs at Learn Moore Stuff, and Kacie Germadnik, a fellow GT teacher.

I was recently browsing Laura’s blog, and she did a post with some great shout-outs to teachers who have been integrating technology in amazing ways.  She included Kacie’s Dream Team project, which completely blew me away.  Each student created a Smore, and they have biographies and pictures of their Dream Team members. Also included on the Smore pages are various technology products created by the students in which they explained mandalas that they made as well as “This I Believe” videos.  Kacie then collected each student’s project into a Blendspace portfolio.  To see more examples, take a look at this link.

3-12, Behavior, Careers, Education, Independent Study, Motivation, Parenting, Philosophy, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Videos

The Science of Character

image from letitripple.org
image from letitripple.org

“Instead of asking students what they want to be, we should be asking them who they want to be.” 

I wish I could give attribution for the above quote.  It was something I saw on Twitter a few weeks ago, and it resonated with me.  The film called, “The Science of Character” delivers a similar message, except the question is, “How do you want to be?”

My 5th grade GT students study the “Dimensions of Character.”  This 8-minute film, “The Science of Character,” says everything that I hope they will learn from this year.  It stresses that you have the power to develop your own character – and that you can also shape the character of other people.  The video cites brain research that supports these ideas, and also cites Carol Dweck’s work on mindsets.

The video asks the audience to think about your own top five strengths.  You can access the ones you have identified to be the most important on the Periodic Table of Character Strengths, and you can click on each one to learn more about it.  This is a fabulous resource.  It not only gives the definition of each strength, but links to films, books, and other websites that give examples of the strength. (UPDATE 2/14/2022: This particular resource does not seem to be available anymore, but here is a PDF of the Character Strengths.)

The site also offers film discussion guides for every level, from elementary to adult.

I am definitely planning to use this with my 5th graders.  Last year, using an idea from Angela Maiers, I asked my students to choose their own “Dream Team” of people who demonstrate the traits they most admire.  (You can read more about this project here.)  The “Science of Character” film and resources fit in perfectly with this project.  I want to thank “Let it Ripple” for providing such a wonderful supplement for classrooms around the world!

3-12, Apps, Behavior, Creative Thinking, Education, Independent Study, Language Arts, Motivation, Philosophy, Research, Social Studies, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Videos, Writing

Dream Team

Angela Maiers, an educator/consultant/writer whom I greatly admire, has mentioned on her blog the idea of having a “Dream Team” – a group of people who you would like to emulate.  In her book, The New Habitudes, she also mentions this, and offers a free reproducible here for conjuring up your personal Dream Team members.

I loved this idea, and mentioned it to my 5th graders, who also seemed excited about the concept.  Then I thought of a way they could present their Dream Teams to the class using their current favorite technology tool – the iPad.


The students chose 4 character traits that they believe to be the most important, and then 4 people from history who exhibited those traits.  After researching some specifics, they developed “Dream Team Talk Show Scripts” to use with the full version of Puppet Pals.  The full version has a cast of talk show characters, and also allows you to create your own puppets from photos.  (Puppet Pals 2 is even better – but we haven’t been able to upgrade yet!)

Here are the planning sheets we used:

Choosing My Dream Team

Design Your Dream Team Talk Show Script

The entire class is not finished yet, as the students need to rotate through our iPads, but you can see some of them on our class blog by clicking here.