Critical Thinking, Education, K-12

Quotation Station

My students love quotations.  I think, like many of us, they admire the ability of people to perfectly formulate their ideas into compact groups of words that make sense and are often thought-provoking.  Mensa for Kids includes in its lesson plans one that is called, “Quotation Station.”  It includes 65 quotes as well as questions to accompany them, and rubrics to determine student understanding.  There are also 20 ideas for using quotes in the classroom. There is a section near the bottom that recommends other sites to find quotes, which includes a link to free quote coloring pages.

Here are some other posts that I have done about quotations that you might find useful:


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Books, K-5, Parenting, Teaching Tools

Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life

In my post about books that make great graduation gifts, I mentioned that this book looked promising but I hadn’t had a chance to read it yet.  Well, I can now say that I have read it, and definitely recommend it as a nice gift for children who might be “graduating” from Kinder or another primary grade. It might even appeal to older graduates; a friend of mine attested that she gave the book as a gift to an appreciative cat-loving niece graduating from college.

Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life (Tips from a Cool Cat for living an AWESOME LIFE) is written by Kimberly and James Dean.  (I’m assuming not the James Dean.)  The book includes many inspirational quotes in their original form with Pete the Cat’s interpretation on the facing page.

For example, Oscar Wilde’s quote, “Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken,” is translated by Pete as, “If you want to be cool, just be you.”

My favorite quote is from Mark Twain. “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”

Pete’s take on this? “Dude, don’t even think about it.”

I wouldn’t give this to a child to read on his or her own.  It’s meant to be shared and discussed.  Classroom teachers and parents can use the book to spark dialogues and new artistic interpretations.  I would probably not let the child see Pete’s explanations for each quote until after discussing the original quote.

image from: Pet the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life
image from: Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life

Another fun idea, if you are a teacher, would be to read the original quote to the class, have them restate it in their own words (and possibly illustrate it), and then compile them and compare to Pete’s statement.

5-8, 6-12, Art, Books, Education, Motivation, Teaching Tools

Whatever You Are, Be a Good One

I love inspirational quotes.  When I saw this book at the store, I instantly knew I would need to purchase it.  Each of the quotations is hand-lettered by Lisa Congdon, who began the series when she was doing a blog called, “365 Days of Hand Lettering.”  The title of the book,  Whatever You Are, Be a Good One, refers to the quote by Abraham Lincoln.


I really hate cutting apart books, but each of these pages is worthy of framing.  There are several that encourage a healthy growth mindset, such as, “Success is never so interesting as struggle,” by Willa Cather, and, “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship,” by Louisa May Alcott.  You will also find encouraging quotes about kindness and being happy.

I haven’t figured out how I will be using the book in my classroom, but my students love to look for quotes.  They enjoy browsing my Pinterest Board of Favorite Quotations, and also like to choose quotes from other books that I have in the classroom.  (I have a picture frame with scrapbook paper on the inside, and they use dry-erase markers to write a “Quote of the Week” on it.  They also use quotes in their Dream Team projects.)

Another idea would be to show the students the style of the book, and have them choose their own quotes to hand-letter.  The Paper by 53 app on the iPad is a nice tool for doing this.

You would probably not want to let younger students (K-4) browse through this book unattended.  There is a quote from Dostoyevsky that uses a word that some might consider questionable.  Many of the quotes are a bit difficult for that age group to understand, anyway.

page from Whatever You Are, Be a Good One by Lisa Congdon
page from Whatever You Are, Be a Good One by Lisa Congdon
Art, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Education, K-12, Motivation, Philosophy, Social Studies, Teaching Tools, Websites

Zen Pencils

artist:  Gavin Aung Than

The genius behind Zen Pencils is Gavin Aung Than.  Zen Pencils is a “a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories.”  I admire Than’s talent immensely, and I was so thrilled when I discovered his site.  Like many people, I collect inspiring quotes, and when Than’s graphics accompany them, they are true art.

You can get your own set of three free, high quality posters from Zen Pencils by signing up for updates here.  They feature quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and I think they are perfect for the classroom.  If you go to Than’s blog, he even gives you tips for framing his posters.  More prints are available, of course, from the Zen Pencils store.  One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is featured above, and can be found in the store.

I also like the Downloads page.  My plan for next year is to download the wallpapers to the desktop computers in my classroom – maybe even the iPads – so when they are not being used there will still be some inspiring graphics on their screens!

3-12, Apps, Education, QR Codes, Student Response

Quotes with QR Codes

QR Code Poster from Tony Vincent's "Learning in Hand" blog
QR Code Poster from Tony Vincent’s “Learning in Hand” blog

I absolutely love this idea from Tony Vincent’s “Learning in Hand” blog.  He has taken a series of quotes, and used QR quotes to cover up parts of the quotes.  If you go to this link, you can see 20 examples.  He also offers a link to a video explaining QR codes.  Tony hangs up the posters for people to take a look at during breaks at workshops, but I could certainly see bringing this idea to the classroom, as well.  What I might do is have my students use Socrative to input their own guesses as to what words would complete the quote, then let them scan the code to see if the general idea is the same.  Here is a link to my Pinterest board that is chock full of inspirational quotations.

3-12, Education, Language Arts, Motivation, Philosophy, Social Studies, Teaching Tools, Websites

Whose Words Inspire You?


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In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, CNN posted a site where you could choose an inspirational quote by a famous woman, select a background from three choices, and share it via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Tumblr.  I spent quite a bit of time reading the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, and Maya Angelou, and nodding in agreement.

I have a Pinterest board of Favorite Quotations that I will often send my students to as a resource for various projects.  The ease of CNN’s site allowed me to add a few more to my collection.  If your students have access to any of the social networks, they could share some of their own.  (There were a couple of “less serious” quotes, such as from Zsa Zsa Gabor, so you will need to take the age of your students into account before referring them to this resource.)

If you do Socratic Dialogue in your class, many of these would be good jumping off points for discussion.  You can also make connections by asking the students to think of other people that would identify with the quote, or even fictional characters who could have easily spoken those words.