In May, I posted about the awesome Smart Girls at the Party website, which has entertainer Amy Poehler as part of its creative team. They offered a summer camp in Austin for girls, and it apparently went well. I noticed that they have decided to expand the camp so more girls can participate. They plan to make it available online in July. There isn’t a lot of information yet, but the description does mention that the materials are being created to appeal to a broad range of ages (from 5 to over 21!). Click here to read the information they have so far!
It seems that many students have access to tools for recording videos. Summer is a great time for them to develop their inner director/producer/writer. Here are some resources to inspire the future Oscar winners in your home or classroom:
- Project Ed – This post by Girish Gupta on “Getting Smart” gives a great overview of Project Ed, which sponsors educational video contests for movie makers who are 13 years and older.
- 5 Video Projects to Try with Your Students – Richard Byrne gives some excellent ideas, as well as great tools to use for creating and editing videos.
- 10 Ideas for Classroom Video Projects – This list from George Couros offers some unusual examples of videos that could be adapted for education, like the Kids Snippets series. (Some are better suited for older students.)
- Film and Video Lesson Ideas – One fun idea on this huge list is to create a silent movie. Have you ever tried Artistifier? Fun!
Need some inspiring examples that were created by students? Check out the White House Student Film Festival!
Many of you may be familiar with Wonderopolis, a fun site to learn about all kinds of topics that may have piqued your curiosity at one time or another – and even topics that you didn’t know might cause you to wonder. This summer, the site is offering another free, online camp. It looks a bit different than last year’s camp, as this year’s description suggests that you will be able to follow your own path of wonder, and there will be photo and video contests in addition to hands-on activity suggestions. For more about Camp Wonderopolis, click here.
No one has ever accused me of being artistic. And, though some might call me “crafty” I’m pretty sure that they don’t mean it in the complimentary sense. When it comes to technology, I am comfortable. When it comes to Scratch programming language, I’m all over it. When it comes to making things from scratch, I’m at a loss.
And yet, I sense the need for many of my students to explore the depths of their creativity. And I realize that, with our ever-increasing reliance on technology, many crafts are becoming lost arts. This is why the “Maker Movement” has started to become so popular. It’s why my students embraced the Global Cardboard Challenge so enthusiastically last year (and I have even bigger plans for this year!). And, it’s why I decided to offer an online class this summer for my students that is all about being off-line and creating. (5 other awesome teachers are offering courses as well – more about that in a future post!)
Since I am, by no means, an expert at making anything but blog posts, I realized that I would need some help if I was going to pull this off. So, I enlisted the help of some people who actually know what they are doing. How did I find them? On Twitter, of course. Joey Hudy is the famous marshmallow cannon maker – now working at Intel. Michael Medvinsky is an awesome middle school music teacher who integrates technology and making into his classes on a regular basis. And Sylvia Todd is the amazing talent behind Sylvia’s Super Awesome Maker Show (and has a book coming out this summer!)
I want to introduce you to the youngest “teacher” of our class this summer. His name is Braeden. If you follow @rafranzdavis on Twitter, then you know her nephew, Braeden. Rafranz is a must-follow for all of the resources and insights about education that she shares. But, I was immediately captivated by the pictures she would tweet of Braeden’s creations. You see, Braeden is developing the skill of making puppets. We’re not talking sock puppets or putting a drawing on a popsicle stick. We’re talking Henson-type creations. You can view some of the amazing puppets he has made on his YouTube channel.
Braeden will be giving tips during one of our “Theme Park” weeks on making a mascot. He will, through Edmodo, respond to questions from the participants and give advice. At the end of the week, he will choose a “winner” from the individual and family categories. I am so glad he (and his aunt) agreed to help out – especially after I saw the video below. This young man knows what he is talking about, and will definitely be able to offer a lot more guidance than I could ever hope to contribute.
Braeden obviously receives incredible support from his family, especially his aunt, who all encourage him to continue in his endeavors. He is well on his way to becoming a professional puppeteer. And these are obviously not skills he has learned in school.
If you have, in any way, observed the Rainbow Loom craze that has swept the nation, then you know that young people really want to make things. What’s exciting is when they stop following instructions, and start venturing out on their own. That is what we, as adults, should galvanize them to do.
So, if you are a teacher or a parent, and you have any influence over someone who is about to have two months of freedom to do just about anything they want to do, be sure to give them this message from Joey Hudy, “Don’t be bored. Make something.”
Here is a link to my “Make” Pinterest Board in case you need some inspiration.
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:
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!)
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:
- Some More Activities for the End of the School Year
- More Aurasma Ideas – Great for the End of the School Year
- Journal Pages for Kids
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!
I have previously posted about Mensa for Kids’ game site and lesson plans resources. Recently, I discovered their Pinterest Boards, which offer a ton of resources for teachers, parents, and students that range from apps to ideas for teaching technology. There are book recommendations from kids, inspirational videos, and even classroom design ideas. Here is a link to a fun “Brain Breaks” idea from Liz at “The Happy Teacher”, which I found on Mensa’s Teaching Resources board. Or, if you are a parent, you might want to check out these Rainbow Sock Bubble Snakes from Tammy at “Housing the Forest” that was pinned to the Kids and Activities board. Whether you are looking for teaching or parenting inspiration, the Mensa Education and Research Foundation has a great Pinterest selection for you!
Last week,in my post about my intention to use more online learning with my students, I mentioned a pilot summer camp my district is doing with Edmodo. You may not have access to something like this, but if you are interested in offering something similar to your own students or children this summer, you might want to point them to Camp What-A-Wonder.
Camp What-A-Wonder is being offered by Wonderopolis from today (Monday, June 17th) through Friday, July 26th. You can sign up for updates here, or you can just visit the site each day to enjoy the new resources being offered for each week’s theme. This weeks’ theme: “Ant Farms, Spider Webs and Underwater Coves.”
You will receive a “Wonder” prompt, a suggested Family Activity, Recommended Reading, and Related Wonder article links – which often include videos and even more suggested activities.
If you want to do some virtual exploration without all of the headaches of packing and spraying on bug spray, then Camp What-A-Wonder might be just the right place for you! The kids can even send postcards to keep you updated on their adventures!