Tag Archives: winter

The Teachers’ December Survival Kit (Redux)

During the last few years, I’ve collected quite a few resources to help teachers “survive” the few weeks before Winter Break.  Rather than recycle them in separate posts this year, I decided to put the links to the posts all in one place.  (The “Telegenic” post shares related videos.)

One activity that has made it into my lesson plans for a few years in a row is, “Outside my Snow Globe.” Another seasonal favorite on this blog is to S.C.A.M.P.E.R. the Holidays.

image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aoifecitywomanchile/3229526632
image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aoifecitywomanchile/3229526632
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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

keep-calm-because-we-have-4-more-days-left

A Teacher’s December Survival Kit

During the last few years, I’ve collected quite a few resources to help teachers “survive” the few weeks before Winter Break.  Rather than recycle them in separate posts this year, I decided to put the links to the posts all in one place.  (The “Telegenic” post shares related videos.)

One activity that has made it into my lesson plans for a few years in a row is, “Outside my Snow Globe.” Another seasonal favorite on this blog is to S.C.A.M.P.E.R. the Holidays.  Here is an example of a student’s work.  He chose to “Substitute” globes for snow to make an “Earthman.”

earthmanjpg

These weeks will fly by and probably be quite chaotic – but there’s no reason they can’t be fun, too!

Outside My Snow Globe…

One of the more popular posts on this blog (particularly during the winter months) is, “If I Lived in a Snow Globe, I Would Wear my Bike Helmet to Bed.”  This is a follow-up post for anyone who might want more details about the lesson I teach my gifted 1st graders.  For this project, it’s helpful to have at least one iPad and a video editing program.

First, I show my first graders the “Bumbleville” video referenced in the Bike Helmet post, and we discuss the perspective questions I listed.  We also read Snow Globe Family and compared the book to “Bumbleville.”

Next, the students brainstorm a list of interesting locations.  They can range anywhere from the jungle to Mount Rushmore.

I ask the students to choose one location and pretend they are in a snow globe at that location.  They write a rough draft of a short story describing what they see outside the snow globe.

As students finish at different times, they take each other’s picture using the iSnowdome app, which is free.  The app places you inside a snow globe, and makes a short video with the snow blowing around you.  My students sometimes like to ham it up and pose as though they are freezing cold – even though we live in San Antonio and it’s usually about 85 degrees outside.

I also take screen shots in the app of each student so I can print those out and add them to their final drafts.  The screen shots can be used for augmented reality purposes, as well.

When the students complete their final drafts, they meet with me separately and we record their stories over the iSnowdome videos in iMovie on the iPads.  (Wow, that was a lot of “i”s in one sentence!)

In iMovie the students get to choose which music will accompany their video, and that’s always interesting!

I display the stories with their pictures.  At this point, you can either send the videos home, link them on your blog, or do what I did – use Aurasma.

I link each child’s picture to his narrated video.  Now, when they take their projects home, all the parents have to do is scan the picture with the free Aurasma app and the video will play.

If you haven’t used Aurasma, here is a link to their tutorial videos. Also, I have a quite a few augmented reality resources gathered on this page.

Want to see an example?  Make sure you have Aurasma downloaded on your mobile device.  Subscribe to the Hidden Forest Elementary channel.  Then scan one of the pictures below to see the videos!

UPDATE 12/6/17: For an incredible STEAM project that you can use with this lesson, check out the immensely creative Tricia Fuglestad’s post here!

Photo Jan 05, 1 57 35 PM

Photo Jan 05, 1 58 06 PM

 

Oh, The Weather Outside is Delightful!

For some of us, that is.  Giant panda, Bao Bao, for example, thoroughly enjoys the weather that, depending on your location, might shut down your entire city.

Most educators aren’t opposed to a snow day every once in awhile. What we dread more are those “Indoor Recess” days that can sometimes last for weeks.

GoNoodle has come to the rescue to help your students work off those wiggles.  They’ve added some “Indoor Recess Mega Mixes” to their ever increasing portfolio of brain breaks.  The next time you are stuck indoors with a 22 students craving some physical activity, you might want to play one of these 11-15 minute collections that include warm-ups, active time, and cool-downs.

Check out the new Mega Mixes from GoNoodle the next time you're stuck inside!
Check out the new Mega Mixes from GoNoodle!

They may not enjoy it quite as much as Bao Bao cavorting in the snow, but you never know!

Telegenic Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break

I can’t believe this crazy week is almost over! I appreciate everyone’s patience as I recycle some posts from last year this week. I’ve added a few updates to keep things “fresh!” (According to Merriam-Webster, “telegenic” means “well-suited to the medium of television; especially :  having an appearance and manner that are markedly attractive to television viewers.”)

screen shot from The Snowman
screen shot from The Snowman

So, let’s face it.  Despite our best efforts to keep our energy up, we need a bit of down time every once in awhile.  Here is a collection of short videos to help you catch your breath.

Kid President – If you haven’t seen this young man’s collection of videos, you are in a for a real treat.  Be prepared to do a little dance and to stretch your smile muscles.  These are some that are great for this time of year:

Winter-themed Animations – I have featured some of these on the blog this season, but they bear repeating (no pun intended – okay, it’s only intended if it makes sense).

Videos about Being Kind to Others (You can find more inspirational videos for students on my Pinterest Board.)

We’re in the home stretch now!  I hope some of these links help you make the distance 🙂

Just in case you missed my other “survival” posts this week, here they are:  Creative Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break, Logical Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break, and Physical Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break.

Logical 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 from Winter Sudoku
Screen Shot from Winter Sudoku

Yesterday, I posted some “Creative Ways to Survive the Week Before Winter Break.” But maybe you have a group of students (or even a handful) who have a decided preference for logical thinking challenges, so here are some resources:

One resource I always forget to check (even though I have products listed on there!) is Teachers Pay Teachers.  Here are some free logic packets you might want to download:

This one is NOT free (currently $8), but it’s 213 pages, and chock full of critical thinking activities for 1st-3rd.  Personally, I think it’s well worth the money for this set of “Christmas Critical Thinking Puzzles,” that includes:  Primarily Christmas Logic, Christmas Logic with a String of Lights, Christmas Analogies, Christmas Which One Doesn’t Belong?*  I do not know Susan Morrow, the author of this set – and I am certainly not getting any money for advertising her product.  But, I think it’s a great deal.  Quite frankly, I am very jealous of her talent 😉

*You can also purchase a few of the included puzzle packs separately, if you prefer.

Another idea, which I plan to try with my older kids, is to have them design some Winter Kodable mazes (similar to the app), along with the coding solutions.  This will let them use a bit of creativity along with their logical thinking skills! (By the way, don’t forget about Hour of Code next week!)

More in this series:

Creative 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!