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

 

Podsnack

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!

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 5.45.47 PM
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!

Do You Want to Build a 2-Pocket-Folder-Man?

My 2nd graders have been doing some hard convergent thinking during our last couple of classes, so I thought it was time to practice creative thinking for a little while.  They love doing S.C.A.M.P.E.R. activities, and I like to let them choose from a couple to keep things interesting.  (You can visit this old post for an explanation of S.C.A.M.P.E.R. and some suggested activities.)

Yesterday they could choose between finding a substitution for snow to build a snowman or putting reindeer to another use for the 364 days of the year they aren’t in action.  You can see some of their ideas below. I love that one student actually included a key on hers to explain the different parts!

You can see more holiday S.C.A.M.P.E.R. ideas here.  Also, you can do a search on this blog for ideas for the rest of the year.  Or, you can mosey on over to my TPT store.  I’ve got Autumn S.C.A.M.P.E.R. and S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Through the Seasons – or you can download Superhero S.C.A.M.P.E.R. for free.

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Alternatives to Showing the Movie Frozen for the Next 14 Days

You know how it goes.  Grades are turned in.  Textbooks have been collected.  The computer lab is shut down.  But the activity level of our students has gone up.  What’s a teacher supposed to do?

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve been trying to get my students to reflect on the year.  Using our class blog as a reference has helped tremendously.

Yesterday, with my GT 1st graders, I also asked them to look through the blog posts for their grade level.  They used a simple printable I found from Laura Candler to write their favorite moments of the year.  Here are some examples:

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Using divergent thinking for activities like the Squiggle Challenge and S.C.A.M.P.E.R. were very popular with this class.  Speaking of S.C.A.M.P.E.R., here is what some of them did with a page from my Summer Pool Party S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packet – Put an inflatable pool cushion to another use. (By the way, all of my grade levels, K-5, love doing S.C.A.M.P.E.R. drawings!)

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One of the blog posts the first graders “re-discovered” as they reflected was this one.  Try showing the Kid President video at the bottom of that post, and see if your own students can add to the list.  We used Padlet, but old-fashioned pencil and paper works, too!

Here are some other ideas from past posts for making the last couple of weeks fun and engaging:

I would also recommend checking out the Not Just Child’s Play blog by Joelle Trayers for ideas.  That woman always has creative suggestions that can be modified for any elementary grade level!

It’s Like a Box of Chocolates – but Not as Caloric

Chocolate Fix Logic Game from ThinkFun (for 8+)
Chocolate Fix Logic Game from ThinkFun (for 8+)

UPDATE 1/26/2021 – Here is my up-to-date Wakelet collection of Valentine’s Day resources.

Since I only see most of my students once a week, I have to think ahead when it comes to holidays.  It suddenly struck me that we are in the middle of January, and I haven’t given thought to Valentine’s Day, yet.  So, I culled together a bunch of resources to offer to you in advance.

And finally, I came across this last one, and almost leapt out of my seat.  If any of you participated in the Global Cardboard Challenge this year, then you know how much the students love making new things with boxes!  In fact, I had a parent e-mail pictures of her son this weekend as he fashioned a large box they had received at home into a mini putt-putt course.  According to her, he said, “After GT, I don’t see cardboard the same way.”

So, if you are looking for another Cardboard Challenge to energize your kids (or didn’t get the chance to participate in October), here is a cool idea for a Valentine’s Day Box Project from Amanda at One Extra Degree.

UPDATE 1/15/15: If you want even more ideas for Valentine’s Day, check out this year’s post!