Tag Archives: SCAMPER

SCAMPERing Outside the Rainbow

It has been awhile (2013!) since I posted some St. Patrick’s Day S.C.A.M.P.E.R.  ideas.   S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is an acronym to help people to remember different ways inventive ideas can happen:  Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, and Rearrange.  It was originally developed by a man named Roger Eberle.  Here is a link to a post I did about S.C.A.M.P.E.R.

My 2nd graders worked on using “Combine” and “Put to Another Use” this week.  For “Combine,” they invented something new with a clock and a four-leaf-clover. (I love how the clock hands will pinch you if you aren’t wearing green!)  The “Put to Another Use” assignment asked the students to think of another way to use a Leprechaun hat.

You can use these ideas in your own classroom, as well as the ones on my original post, with any drawing paper or even as writing prompts.

For more St. Patrick’s ideas, don’t forget to check out yesterday’s post!

Photo Mar 06, 1 06 04 PMPhoto Mar 06, 1 07 41 PMPhoto Mar 06, 1 08 59 PMPhoto Mar 06, 1 08 15 PM


Your Winter Break Challenge!

Every time we are about to go on a lengthy break, I talk to my students about creative activities they can do if they happen to get bored. One that I usually recommend is to S.C.A.M.P.E.R. a board game.  They all nod in agreement that this is a good idea.

Then they all come back from break and shake their heads in confusion when I ask if anyone tried it.

I knew that my execution of this suggestion was the problem.  I never gave concrete examples.  Plus, my audience was a little limited.  Chances are that a child who is two days away from Winter Break does not see much likelihood of boredom during this much-anticipated time of freedom.

The other day I had the board game conversation with my 2nd graders, but I decided to take things a step further.

“What game could you combine with another game to make something new?” I asked the class.


“Umm.  What about if you combined Monopoly with another game?” I prodded.

“Like Jenga?” someone asked.

“Sure,” I said.  “Or Twister.  Wouldn’t that be fun to combine with another game?”

“Twister with Jenga!” someone shouted.  “You build the Jenga in the middle and the first person who knocks it over loses!”

Now they were getting excited.

“Or Candyland!” a little girl exclaimed.  “You could use the Candyland cards to play Twister!”

By the time they left, they had some solid ideas that might actually come to mind during a quiet moment in the next couple of weeks.  I felt encouraged by their enthusiasm, but still concerned that their brainstorming would quickly be forgotten.

Then I realized that the real victim of bored children isn’t the children; it’s the parents.  That’s when I decided that I would send the board game idea out to them, so they could have a handy suggestion sheet when the inevitable, “I’m bored!” complaint slams into their ears.  This would have the added bonus of getting some games recycled instead of tossed in the trash to make room for new ones.

So, I printed out a quick suggestion sheet on Canva, and will be e-mailing it to the parents tomorrow.  I’ve include the image below in case any of you want to use it.  Feel free to borrow and remix my remix if you like!

Your Winter Break Challenge



4 More Ways to Survive 4 More Days

Just in case you didn’t properly ration your Teachers’ December Survival Kit,  and you are finding yourself desperate for ways to make it through this final week before the break, here are some more activities that I’ve found from some of my favorite bloggers:

Candy Cane S.C.A.M.P.E.R.

Ugly Sweater Challenge (I love the Ugly Sweater fractions!)

Toys Go Out (scroll to the end of this post for a great book idea and a link to lesson plans!)

Quiver and Holiday Writing – augmented reality fun for the holidays


#neisdpln Rocks!

Just to clarify, I knew all of the people involved in last night’s chat would be great.  I was just worried that I would mess up as host – spell something wrong, forget the hashtag, lose my wi-fi connection.

I almost didn’t have a wi-fi connection.  But that’s a long, boring story. Suffice it to say that only a few people looked at me sideways as I camped out in a booth at a local restaurant with a caffeine-free Diet Coke, my laptop, an iPad, and my iPhone blanketing the table.

You can see my concerns about last night’s chat here.  I have a Storify of the entire chat here. (I apologize for all of the duplicate tweets – not sure what happened there.)

I’ve participated in lots of chats.  It surprised me how interesting it was to be the “Questioner” as opposed to an “Answerer.”  To be honest, I couldn’t think of a lot of great answers to my questions when I was writing them.  I obviously don’t have the vision that many other people have!

It’s hard to pick a few highlights because there were so many great responses.  I’m just going to randomly choose a few, and encourage you to visit the Storify when you have time.

What would you SUBSTITUTE for grades? (Lots of consensus on this one!)

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What other venue would you COMBINE a school with? (Rackspace was a frequent answer!)

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How do you think schools will need to ADAPT 20 years in the future?

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 9.36.07 PMMany seemed to agree with Amy on that answer!

MODIFY!  If you could make anything bigger or smaller about school, what would it be? (This is where we had a LOT of really creative answers!)

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PUT TO ANOTHER USE – What is another use for teachers? (Thanks to Julia for posting this question yesterday!)  

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What would you ELIMINATE  from schools today? (And yes, testing was a popular response!)

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And, finally, how would you REARRANGE the curriculum?

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 9.48.08 PMThanks to all who participated.  Don’t forget to join us next Monday for #neisdpln, 7 PM CST.  I have no idea the topic or who is hosting, but it’s sure to be a fascinating conversation!




Join Us for the #neisdpln Chat!

I’m not sure how I get myself into these things.  After all, it’s been little more than a year since I participated in my first Twitter chat. But somehow I ended up agreeing to host this week’s #neisdpln chat. Not only have I never done this before, but I’m not even sure where I’ll be at 7 PM (CST) tonight as I will be in the middle of my weekly marathon carpool.  But that’s usually how I roll – jump out of the plane and then start reflecting on where I last saw my parachute…

You’re welcome to join us tonight even if you aren’t in NEISD.  It’s going to be a kind of brainstorming session.  I decided to make the topic, “S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Education.”  Here are the planned questions:

  • Substitute – Tell about one thing you would substitute for grades in schools.
  • Combine – If you could combine a school with another venue, what would it be?
  • Adapt – Name 1 way you think schools will be drastically different 20 years from now.
  • Modify – If you could make anything bigger or smaller about your school, what would it be?
  • Put to Another Use
  • Eliminate – What would you take out of the curriculum?
  • Rearrange – How would you rearrange a school or curriculum?

Note that I don’t have a question for “P” yet.  Any suggestions are welcome!

Join us for #neisdpln



I forgot my wireless speaker yesterday.  Usually, the week before our Winter Break, my students enjoy listening to Christmas/Holiday music.  Our new computers don’t have C.D. players, so I have a few playlists on my phone.  However, the phone doesn’t sound very good without a speaker.

Podsnack to the rescue!  During my planning time, I quickly put together a playlist of virtually all of the same songs I had on my phone.  When the students returned to class, the songs were ready to go.  Click here if you would like to access my Holiday Playlist. (The Straight No Chaser songs are a huge hit with the students, by the way!)

Podsnack is a free service.  You can access public playlists that have been shared by a link without even registering.  If you do register (for free), you can create your own playlist by adding tracks from your computer (not iTunes), Dropbox, or YouTube.  There is a Premium version of the service, but I haven’t needed that.

Of course, make sure Podsnack is not blocked if you are using it in your classroom.  And always preview the songs before playing them to make sure they are appropriate for your particular group of students.

Podsnack is great to use in the curriculum as well.  You can read about one great idea from my friend, LeAnne Hernandez.  She won the Teachers are Givers contest this summer with this lesson plan.

Below, you can see some of the creative thinking my 4th graders did yesterday while they were listening to our Holiday Playlist.  Their assignment was to “adapt” Santa’s sleigh to a different environment. If you are interested in more ideas like these, check out this post.

Santa has his own inner tube connected to one carrying gifts.  Whales are pulling them.
Santa has his own inner tube connected to one carrying gifts. Whales are pulling them.
I cannot even describe all of the details in this picture.  The sleigh is being pulled by lions and is also powered by a lunar panel as opposed to a solar one)
I cannot even describe all of the details in this picture. The sleigh is being pulled by lions and is also powered by a lunar panel (as opposed to a solar one).  There is feed hanging off the end for the lions.
Here we have the sleigh outfitted with a drill for underground travel.
Here we have the sleigh outfitted with a drill for underground travel.  Powerful lanterns are necessary, too.
My favorite thing about this one is the technical jargon on the buttons!
Sorry about the quality of this pic!  My favorite thing about this one is the technical jargon on the buttons!

Creative Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break

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!

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Screen Shot from Kelly Wine’s Rube Goldberg-esque Holiday Machine Video

Let’s face it.  This month is hard.  No one – including you – is feeling very focused on academics right now.  To save everyone’s sanity, and to put smiles on all of the faces in the room, try some of these creative ideas:

Here are a couple I have mentioned before, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat.

Other posts in this series:

Logical Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break!
Physical Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break!
Telegenic Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break!