For those of you new to this blog, I am devoting Fridays during the holiday season to recommending “Gifts for the Gifted”. You can see the three posts that I have done so far here, here and here. You can also visit my Pinterest board on Games for Gifted Students. A lot of these are not just for gifted students, but would be appreciated by many children – and adults.
Today’s recommendation happens to be one that I have not tried, yet. But, I am ordering this kit for my 10-year-old daughter because it looks like the perfect combination of imagination and engineering. The Little Bits Holiday Kit retails for $49, and includes the following items:
A double sided instruction sheet with quick start guide and project suggestions
A custom-made 9V battery + cable
A 9V battery connector.
Custom plastic screwdriver
• light wire
• dc motor
• bright led
• wire x2
The list above does not really do the kit justice, however. There is so much potential in the various combinations of these parts, some of which is shown in the video below. And, if you have a child or group of students that might be interested, Little Bits is also offering a “What are You Making for the Holidays?” challenge with a deadline of December 11th. Inventors of any age are invited to submit sketches of a possible Little Bits design, and the winners will receive all of the parts to build their inventions.
If your child is interested in building, inventing, and designing, this could be a great gift to put under the tree!
During the holiday season (yes, I know it’s a bit early, but we all know that it’s going to come fast!), I have pledged to use my Friday posts to give suggestions for gifts for your favorite brainy child (or teacher of brainy children). I’ve decided to call this “Gifts for the Gifted”. Last week, I posted about the new, augmented-reality-enhanced Guinness Book of World Records. Today, I offer you the game, “Q-bitz Extreme.”
“Q-bitz” happens to be one of the favorite games in my classroom. From Kindergarten to 5th grade, my gifted students all enjoy trying to create the patterns on the cards using the 16 wooden cubes. Some of them create their own patterns. Yesterday, one pair of students delighted in showing me that, not only did they create a pattern on top of the cubes, but that a reverse pattern showed when they flipped them over. Although “Q-bitz” is designed to be a game in which 2-4 players compete, most of my kids prefer to do their own thing – which is fine, because there are four sets of cubes, each set a different color.
I recently found out that there is now a “Q-bitz Extreme“, which has new, curvy patterns to try to replicate. If you visit the website for “Q-bitz Extreme“, you will see that Mindware offers some suggestions for variations on the game, which you could also use with the original “Q-bitz“. In addition, they sell an expansion pack.
I have posted about the Mensa for Kids website before, but did not emphasize the fact that there is a section of the site that provides lesson plans for gifted children. The Lesson Plans section offers at least one enrichment lesson for each grade level from Kindergarten to 10th grade. It also has a unit on “The Power of Invention” that could be adapted to several different levels. Including such topics as Fibonacci, Hurricanes, and using Music Lyrics to teach, this is a great resource for teachers who are looking for ways to extend learning for gifted kids.
Whether you use the Wordle riddles that “Jen” has created, or set off to make some of your own, this is a great concept that integrates technology with practically any topic you are learning. You could use your Wordles to introduce a topic or to review something that has already been taught. You could have students create their own Wordles that others need to guess. One of the cool, and quite simple, features on this site is the way that she embedded the Wordles in her blog so that when you roll over them the answer appears. This can be done when you add the alternate text to a picture you are inserting in your blog or website. Of course, Wordle is not the only site that creates word clouds. Tagxedo is another fun way to make these, and allows you to format them to different shapes.
Though this book is technically for parents, I think that teachers could use a lot of the information as well. At the very least, it could be a resource offered to parents at a conference about their gifted child. This is a free e-book, which can be downloaded in various formats or even viewed on the internet. It has a lot of links to other resources, and it is an easy read with common sense advice.
Khan Academy is a revolutionary approach to teaching which advocates “Flipping the Classroom”. You can view the TED video below to learn about the humble beginnings of the Academy on YouTube, and the ambitious plans Mr. Khan now has for his free service. Basically, the site has hundreds of video lessons indexed in which Mr. Khan explains a variety of topics – mostly math and science related. If you have a G-mail or Facebook account, you can become a Coach. Your students, who would also have to register with one of these e-mail addresses, can complete exercises on the site at their own pace. As the Coach, you can monitor their progress using several different tools included in the registration portion of the site. Even if you don’t want to register, this is a fabulous resource for allowing students to learn at their own pace, or even for reteaching and reviewing topics.