The Drawing Drawer is an idea that will be appealing to teachers of all levels who are familiar with the classic, “What are we supposed to do when we’re done?” Marty Reid has provided a list of fun ideas for kids who finish their work early. They include suggestions like: “Draw a picture of something you’d like to become better at doing,” or “Draw your greatest fear.” The trick, of course, is balancing the motivational value of this concept with the expectation of quality from the main assignment. However, with a little practice and clear expectations, this could be a great way to add some creativity to the daily routine. While you are visiting Marty’s page, you might also want to check out some of the other great ideas at www.incredibleart.org!
Last year, a friend of mine told me about Google’s 20% Policy, and I immediately thought of its applications for the classroom. It was among many of my ideas that I had for the new school year that just didn’t come to fruition. And now, I find that a teacher named AJ Juliani had the same inspiration – but is actually following through with it. You can read all about Google’s Policy, and how Mr. Juliani is applying it with his students here on the “Education is My Life” blog. Be sure to read the comments that follow, as well. It makes for an interesting discussion!
I read this article on Larry Ferlazzo’s blog, and experienced the same reaction he apparently did when he first realized he was missing a key piece to student’s reflections in the classroom. I have been trying to incorporate more self-reflection into the school day, and now I see that I’ve forgotten a vital part of this. Read Larry Ferlazzo’s article to find out what you may be omitting, too!
UPDATE (6/23/15): You can find an updated version of this post with additional video suggestions here.
I thought this might be a good time of year to summarize and emphasize some of the most valuable resources I have reviewed so far. Today, I am offering a list of my Favorite Inspirational Videos for Students:
#3: The Power of Words – I also mentioned this in yesterday’s post of Inspirational Videos for Teachers. It is good for everyone, in my opinion, to be more thoughtful about what we say. If our communication is not having the effect we desire, we should reconsider the way we are choosing to deliver our message.
#2: The Kindness Boomerang – I have never done a post on this one. I read about it recently on Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day, and knew right away that I would like to add it to my blog. Although it is somewhat simplistic, it does show how our actions can effect many more people than we will ever know.
#1: Times of India Tree Ad – This is a powerful video that shows how important one person can be in effecting change. It says a lot – without any words.
Also, you might want to visit my Pinterest board of Inspirational Videos for Students here.
This great post on Byrdseed Gifted, a fabulous resource for higher level thinking ideas, inspired me to come up with more ways to get music into my own classroom. To extend one of Ian’s ideas even further, I would like to use music to communicate some of my expectations. Students seem to forget, sometimes, what they should do when they finish their work. What if the background music answered this question? If I am playing Bach, for example, could this be the signal that they are supposed to check over their work, and then read a book? Or, could Beethoven mean that they can find another partner who is finished and do a center activity? Of course, this would mean the students would also have to be able to identify the pieces of music – an added bonus! Now that our school district subscribes to Soundzabound, I should have plenty of resources for creating a more harmonic classroom environment.
As a teacher, do you ever have a moment when no one needs your help, and you are standing in the middle of your classroom wondering what you should be doing? In my twenty years of teaching, I think that’s happened twice: when I was student teaching and had no idea what I was supposed to be doing anyway, and today. I showed my students Storybird, which allows you to choose sets of art to illustrate a story that you write. I meant for it to be a station on some computers in my classroom, but the students who started at that station didn’t want to leave. So, I started pulling out laptops until everyone was working on their own stories. For over an hour, there was silence in my room, and every child was engaged in creating his or her own story. We had been studying Figurative Language, and the assignment was to create a story with a winter theme that used at least 4 different types of figurative language.
After lunch, I thought the students might be weary of sitting in front of computer screens. I began saying, “Okay, you have a choice. You can either continue working on your Storybirds or – ” I didn’t even get to finish. They unanimously agreed that they wanted to continue.
Storybird is free. Register as a teacher, and you can add a class of students easily. The students do not need e-mail addresses to register or log in. You can view their work at any time, and they can also view the work of other students in the class by clicking on a tab at the top. They can comment, as can the teacher. It’s online, and easy to share, so they can show friends and family. The teacher can post specific assignments or the students can just create. Collaboration on stories is possible, and reading the stories of others is inspiring. The art work is charming and lovely.
Here is a sample from one of my 4th graders: (I apologize if some of the words are cut off – WordPress does not “play well” with embed codes!)
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I came across this classroom idea while I was playing with Pinterest. Ms. Noble has a great method for reviewing concepts and challenging minds that she thoroughly explains on her website. Although I would probably modify some of the activities, and add some more higher order thinking skills, this shows a lot of potential for motivating students and making sure that learning time is maximized.