You may recognize Brad Montague (@thebradmontague) as the creator of the outstanding Kid President videos. But his creativity and compassionate work with kids does not stop there. He and his wife have begun a “Joyful Rebellion” with the Montague Workshop. What began as a series of videos has evolved into 8 resources for teachers that include the Montague Workshop videos, lesson plans, and activities written by teachers. As the website declares, “Our aim is to be the Alfred to your Batman.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel like a Joyful Rebellion is exactly what we need right now!
One of the presentations I gave at TCEA was called, “Global ‘Heart’ Warming,” – a title that one of my friends later told me should be changed because it didn’t really describe the presentation very well. (I’ll take new name suggestions in the comments below.) However, I thought I would share the presentation here for those of you unable to attend. There are tons of links (especially in the “Project-ing” section) to different ways that you can collaborate globally.
Of course, some slides would make more sense during an oral presentation. If you are ever interested in having me present to your school or at an event, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see other available presentations on the top right side-bar of this site.
My first post about Thrively was in 2015. Since then, the platform has changed a bit. There is still a free option that includes a Strengths Assessment and links to resources and local activities connected to student interests. However, there are now journals and online courses, such as, “Find Your Passion” and “Grit.” There are even more options in Classroom Pro and School Pro that you can see on this pricing comparison page.
I am using Thrively with my 5th grade gifted students. They completed the Strengths Assessment today and began the “Find Your Passion” course. With the free version, I have a Teacher Dashboard, so I am able to see their Strength Profiles, Interests, and Aspirations. I can also read the responses to the journal prompts. Using the “Class Insights” menu, I can access summaries of class interests and click on each interest to see exactly which students chose each category. You can also involve parents by inviting them to view their child’s profile.
After discussing the assessment today, one student thanked me for giving him the opportunity to do it. The entire class was enthusiastic about completing the assessment and continuing with the courses, which are a great tie-in to working on Genius Hour.
Thrively is a great tool to help you learn more about your students – and for them to learn more about themselves. One student ironically commented that she was pretty certain that she was not assertive like her assessment claimed – until we discussed the meaning of assertive and she realized that it can be a great strength.
Due to the vocabulary and the amount of reading involved, I would not recommend using Thrively with students younger than 5th grade.
The Class Dojo “Big Ideas” series is growing. Up until now you could find videos on: Perseverance, Growth Mindset, Empathy, and Gratitude. The latest theme is, “Mindfulness.” So far, only the first video has been released. In the past, the schedule has been to publish one per week. As with the other videos, there are discussion questions to use after viewing the short video. There is an also an option to share the video through “Class Story” with parents. The first video is a timely one for me as my students are currently practicing presentations of their Genius Hour research. I’m kind of curious to find out how Mojo solves his problem of “The Beast,” one that I grapple with quite a bit!
By the way, you can find more Growth Mindset videos and resources here.
It has been about 4 years since I first wrote about Spaceteam, and there have been a few changes since then. The app is now available on both Google Play and iOS, and there can now be up to 8 people involved in a single game. What hasn’t changed is that it is still fun!
When you play Spaceteam, everyone playing must be on the same wi-fi network. Once all of the players get past the “Waiting Room” in the app, each person gets a different dashboard with gadgets that usually have gibberish labels. In order to get to the next level, instructions must be followed. However, the instructions on your screen are usually for other players – so you must call them out. This means you will be shouting out ridiculous sounding directions such as, “Turn off the novacrit!” with the hope that the player who has a “novacrit” will hear you and turn it off. Not all of the commands are gibberish, however. It’s funny listening to someone impatiently yelling, “Darn the socks! Someone needs to darn the socks!”
Due to the unusual vocabulary, this game is best suited for 4th grade and up. The app has a 9+ rating, but I have not seen anything inappropriate pop up on the screens. The biggest danger seems to be that people might inadvertently pronounce something incorrectly.
Why play this app in your classroom? Well, it’s a great brain break. It’s also fun for team building. In addition, it can be the introduction to a great conversation about listening. One of the things my students learned was that, when you expect to hear one thing and someone says something else, you may miss it. (This happens a lot in Spaceteam due to differences in perceived word pronunciations.) They also learned that little can be accomplished when a lot of people are yelling, and that communication is definitely more difficult in high-pressure situations.
Spaceteam also has a Spaceteam ESL app designed specifically to help English language learners work on vocabulary. Again, there is a lot of shouting involved, but it beats memorizing word lists.
For many of us, the end of the school year is drawing near. If you are looking for novel ways to keep student interest, you may want to try Spaceteam.