The fascinating CNN article, “Is There Bias Against Creativity?” should be read by every person that can impact a child’s learning. It is an affirmation of the importance of creative thinkers and problem solvers in our current world, yet points to the ways that many of us discourage this type of thinking in others and in ourselves. This article, by Amanda Enayati, gives some reasons for this bias as well as some important ways to remove it based on her interviews with a neuroscientist and notable some notable designers. It explains why the life of Steve Jobs really was such a unique success story. One of the more interesting quotes in the story is: ”Technology is an amazing empowerment and a huge disablement,” says Laura Richardson, principal designer at frog design. “We are losing our capacity for resilience.” I highly encourage you to read this article, and pass it along to others so we can try to work on dismantling this bias.
Flipboard is a free app for iDevices that enables you to create a personalized magazine. I have used Flipboard for over a year to organize blogs and online magazines that I like to read. It is only recently that I started to investigate how it could be used in the classroom.
Within the Flipboard app, there are suggested blogs to add. You can also add Twitter and Facebook feeds. But, if you just want to provide an easy way for your students to access some engaging resources, you can find lists of online magazines and blogs for kids, like the one here, provided by KB Connected or here. Another idea is to add your own classroom blog, or student blogs.
It’s easy to add a new resource. When you open Flipboard, you will notice that one of the squares says, “More”. Tap on this square, and a search window will come up.
Type in the blog or online site you would like to find. It will generate a list of possibilities. Tap on the one you want, and it will open inside the Flipboard app. You will then have the choice, on the top left, as to whether or not you would like to add this site to your collection.
Once added, users need merely to tap on the square for the site they would like to visit, and it will open within Flipboard. Readers can view updated posts, and “turn the page” to read more. They will also have options to open the site outside of Flipboard.
This is a great way for the students to read each other’s blogs or to catch up on news on various kid magazines, like Sports Illustrated for Kids. This could be a center in your classroom or at a table, or an option for students who behave well.
If you have any other ideas for Flipboard in the classroom, please feel free to comment!
In this blog post by Kathleen Perret on “Learning is Growing”, she gives a list of great ideas for informally assessing the learning of your students. These are quick techniques to use at the end of a lesson just to check if your intended message got across. Although I have used some of these, there are a few new ideas that I think would be well-worth trying – such as “Chalkboard Champs” or “Rock, Paper Scissors”.
I have used The Artist’s Toolkit for several years now to introduce my elementary Gifted and Talented students to the elements and principles of art. Each element or principle gives the user the opportunity to “Watch, Find, and Create”. There are also a couple of videos of artists in action. This is a very simple, but effective site. I like how it teaches, but also allows for the students to apply what they have learned and to create artwork based on this.
“Draw a Stickman” has been one of the most popular posts on this blog. Now, there is an Episode 2! You can play it on the web, or you can play it on an iDevice (and get an alternative ending) for free. Although I found out about the new episode through e-mail, I thought that Kelly Tenkely’s summary of both of the Stickman episodes and the ways you can integrate them in your classroom was an excellent post. So, I will direct you to her for a wealth of ideas!
I love this idea from Maureen at StrongStart. Meant for primary grades, this activity could easily be differentiated for any ability level. Using file folders with a picture glued inside, and a hole cut on the exterior that shows part of the picture, students are asked to guess the picture. Hints can be given on the outside. Older students could easily design these folders themselves, photographing or even drawing the pictures on the inside. This could be tied in to any academic discipline to review or introduce terms, characters, and settings. Visit Maureen’s blog for ideas on how to implement this in your classroom.