Circuit Stickers

For today’s Gifts for the Gifted post, I’m going to rewind all the way back to July of this year.  Back then, I wrote about a product called Circuit Stickers from Chibitronics.  I realize that the word “stickers” might make you grimace.  But don’t stop reading, because these are not your ordinary stickers you can buy in packs of 4 sheets at Walmart. These are stickers that light up – if you arrange them the right way.

gifts

With the Chibitronics Starter pack (which can also sometimes be found on Amazon or Maker Shed), you will get the following:

  • 12 white LED stickers
  • 6 each of red, yellow, and blue LED stickers
  • 1 roll of copper tape (5 meters)
  • 2 CR2032 coin cell batteries
  • 2 small binder clips
  • 1 swatch of conductive plastic
  • 1 swatch of Z-conductive tape
  • 1 copy of the “Circuit Sticker Sketchbook” by Jie Qi, an introductory guide to using circuit stickers.
Chibitronics Starter Kit
Chibitronics Starter Kit

The Sketchbook is very important.  It’s kind of a workbook, and very helpful to non-electricians like my daughter and me.  I’m embarrassed to say that I never made a circuit in my life until I ordered this kit.  The workbook is very good at scaffolding circuitry, and suggesting ideas to build on each little project.

Once you “get” circuits, you can really get creative with the stickers, as the video from Chibitronics will show.  You can design cards and make fun jewelry or other fashion statements.

Speaking of cards, you can buy a holiday greeting card kit from Chibitronics here for $25.  It includes L.E.D. stickers and materials to make 3 cards.

If you have a child that is in to “making,” then you should definitely check out the Circuit Stickers.  For other Maker ideas, check out my Make Pinterest Board.

My Gifts for the Gifted series of posts will appear every Friday in November and December.  Here are links to the first two that I’ve done so far this year: Osmo and Shell Game.  You can see even more gift recommendations on this Pinterest Board.

 

Oh hi

Most of the trouble I get into is when my daughter is late getting done with swim practice.  I get bored and start clicking on Twitter links.  Before I know it, I’m addicted to a new game.

Ian Byrd from @byrdseedgifted tweeted the link for “Oh hi” out a couple of days ago.  For those of you who enjoy Sudoku, this logic puzzle should be right up your alley.  For those of you who think Sudoku is evil – you’re welcome.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 9.22.47 PM

Oh hi” is browser based, and the game appears to work on any device, which makes it even more wicked.

I have lots of devices.

I’m not going to try to explain the game because the site does a good job with a simple tutorial.  Basically, you need to get the same amount of blue squares and red squares in every row and column without repeating the pattern.  However, you can never have more than 2 of the same color adjacent to each other. There are 4 levels: 4×4, 6×6, 8×8, and 10×10. I’m still on the 8×8 – mostly because I like the feeling of being somewhat challenged and majorly successful at the same time.  Frankly, I only got that far because of my daughter’s encouragement ;)

If you’re struggling to find an activity to fill in small time gaps during the last couple of days before Thanksgiving break, this might be a good option!

8x8 Oh hi

 

#SimplyGiveThanks

Kid President has joined with Gener.us this week to promote their #SimplyGiveThanks campaign.  He is producing a short video on Facebook each day with a challenge to give thanks.  In Tuesday’s video, the wonderful young man asked for people to give thanks to teachers.  To participate in this, or to give thanks to anyone in your life you deeply appreciate, you can make a short video.  Then post it to a social network and tag it, “#simplygivethanks and @BeGenerus.”

The initial invitation to join the campaign from Gener.us can be found here.  Kid President’s first video announcing his support is on this page.  Each day the new challenges are posted on Facebook.  You can find “The Best of…” videos here.   Episode 8 has a sweet tribute from a 5th grade class, as well as Kid President and a son’s grateful words to his parents.

Mrs. Green's 5th Grade Class Gives Thanks
Mrs. Green’s 5th Grade Class Gives Thanks

As always, please preview all videos before you show them to your students.  If you would like some more inspirational videos for students, check out this Pinterest Board!

Kid President asks you to #simplygivethanks
Kid President asks you to #simplygivethanks

On another note, I am teaching my 1st graders about perspective, so I asked them to think about what teachers might be thankful for.  I agreed with most of their ideas.  I love hugs and dogs.  Stuffing is okay, and earrings are fun.  But then I wasn’t too sure about this student’s #15 – martinis…

Thankful Teacher

After closer inspection, I realized it might be #1 instead of #15, and that it probably says, “Smartness.”

I think.

If I’m right, then I’m pretty sure he meant the smartness of my students and not my own intelligence, which most of my students have discovered isn’t all that high.

I give thanks for students who make me smile and laugh every day :)

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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Google Slides Templates

Now that our campus has a set of Chromebooks, my students have been delighting in exploring Google Drive.  One tool that has been an asset is the Presentation tool also known as Slides.  Similar to Powerpoint, the Google version has a few advantages in our environment: automatic saving (extremely helpful when the network isn’t always reliable), the rockin’ Research Tool, and the ability to use Google image search within the presentation. Even more importantly, a shared presentation invites collaboration.  I’ve enjoyed having the students work on slides in the same show simultaneously, such as the metaphor presentation I’ve embedded below.

There aren’t a whole lot of themes available in Slides.  But a growing number of templates are popping up online.  You can start with Google, itself, for public presentation templates that are free to download. Another fun resource, though somewhat limited right now, is Slides Carnival.

One of my favorite templates that I’ve run across recently comes from the DavidLeeEdTech blog.  This virtual museum template is so cool!  Scroll down to the comments section on his blog to get the direct link for downloading the template.

from David Lee's Virtual Museum Slides Template
from David Lee’s Virtual Museum Slides Template

Another option is to download a Powerpoint template that you like, and then to import the slides into your Google Drive presentation.

To download most templates, you will need to be signed in to your Google Drive. If the link provided for a template does not give you a direct copy, then you may have a “View Only” version, and will need to make a copy yourself. When applicable, always leave the proper source citations for the template on the slide show, but do whatever other editing you would like once you make a copy.

Tired of the limited fonts available for your Slides Presentation? Check out these instructions for adding more.

And, if you are feeling very enterprising and graphic-designy and would like to make your own template, Alice Keeler has step-by-step instructions for doing just that.

Shell Game

For this week’s “Gifts for the Gifted” post, I have another great product from ThinkFun. It’s called, “Shell Game.

gifts

The concept of the game is to place the colored hermit crabs under the shells as directed at the top of each challenge page.  You are then supposed to slide the shells around (without peeking underneath) until you think you have moved the colored crabs to the new spots shown on the bottom of the page.

Shell Game from ThinkFun
Shell Game from ThinkFun

If you think Shell Game is easy, you’re probably not playing it correctly! I learned this from my 4th graders who seemed to be going through the challenges kind of rapidly.  I sat down with them, and realized they were just moving the shells around.  To truly meet the challenge, the player must slide the shells only along the lines provided.  This makes it much harder.

ThinkFun games are always a fan favorite in my classroom, and this one is no exception.  Although it’s designed for one player, I can usually allow up to 3 students at a center with the game, and they take turns on the challenges.

This game is recommended for children 8 and up.  I would definitely agree with that recommendation.  I think younger children would get frustrated or play the game incorrectly.

One of my students came up with an interesting solution to the problem of remembering which crab was under each shell.  He turned the shells different ways for each color so he always knew the crab hidden underneath.  According to him, this “isn’t cheating, just a good strategy.” I have to admit that is a clever way to keep track of the colors as you whisk them around the page!

Some other recent reviews I’ve done of ThinkFun games are Gravity Maze and Robot Turtles (a nice center to have during Hour of Code). Also, if you are looking for more educational toys and games, I have a Pinterest Board here.

My Gifts for the Gifted series will continue each Friday through the end of December. Here is a link to last week’s post, the first in this year’s batch.

(Full Disclosure: I did receive Shell Game for free to review from ThinkFun.)

Augmented Reality Reward Coupons

I confess that this is nothing new.  I offered these augmented reality reward coupons last year, and have been meaning to make some more.  However, that hasn’t happened yet.  Maybe a few enterprising students can make some for me!

music1

My students absolutely loved these last year.  In my classroom Reward Coupons are kind of a seasonal thing, which makes them extra special when I start giving them out.

These coupons, when scanned with the special Aurasma app, will “speak” the reward.  (You need to be following Hidden Forest Elementary in the app.)

If you like these, you might also want to try out the AR holiday cards that I posted last December.

New to augmented reality?  I have an Augmented Reality Page devoted to tutorials, lessons, and apps.  Also, be sure to check out Elements 4D for a great educational way to use augmented reality for teaching Chemistry!

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