This infographic comes from the blog over at eyeoneducation.com. I particularly like the first suggestion, “Brainstorming with a Twist.” I often have my students brainstorm, but I have never thought of adding this additional challenge once they are finished. You can go here to view the book, Teaching Students to Dig Deeper: The Common Core in Action, by Ben Johnson, from which the infographic is adapted. There is a link on that page to download a PDF sample from the book.
Maybe it’s because my own gifted daughter will be attending middle school next year that these articles caught my attention. I thought I would share them with the rest of you who may be parents of gifted children who are in middle school or will be soon.
In “Middle Matters: Guiding Gifted Girls Through the Middle School Maze“, by Susan Rakow, you will find some interesting case study examples, and specific advice on how to deal with some of the obstacles girls face during those awkward years.
In “Middle School Gifted: Making Sense out of Chaos“, by Marie Brucker, you will find a compilation of different resources. I particularly like the one near the end, which gives ideas for “Coping Skills and Stress Relievers.”
In “Surviving the Middle School Years with your Gifted Child“, by Christopher Taibbi, I found some information that would probably help with any relationship, whether it be with gifted children or adults.
And, finally, I would like to recommend this book, The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook, which is great for parents and children to read and discuss together.
My series of holiday (or any time) “Gifts for the Gifted” continues today with a set of adorable dolls and puppets from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild. The Little Thinkers dolls include a wide array of influential personalities from different cultures and fields of study. There are scientists, philosophers, artists, musicians, revolutionaries, and even radio hosts (N.P.R.’s Carl Kasell). Inspire your own little thinker with a cuddly Galileo or Frida Kahlo. And if your child has an active imagination, you might want to look at the very reasonably priced puppets – which include some of the same notable personages, but also offer a few different ones, such as Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela. I would bundle one of these with a children’s book; you can find several of the famous names in Chicago Review Press’ “For Kids” series, some of which are listed on this Amazon list.
I know a lot of parents are considering bestowing iPod Touches or iPads to their children for Christmas, so next Friday, I will be giving a list of apps that you might want to load on your child’s iDevice before you put it under the tree.
Here are links to my previous “Gifts for the Gifted” posts:
Also, you might want to take a look at my Pinterest board, which has even more ideas.
Since gift-giving season is right around the corner, I thought I would use my Fun Friday posts to share some excellent gift ideas for engaging your kids. The newest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records (currently $19.11 on Amazon.com) has been released, and it has a special feature that families with iDevices might appreciate. By pairing a free augmented reality app from Guinness with the book, readers can experience portions of the book in 3D. There is also a free bonus e-book app to go along with the printed version. Below is a video showing some highlights, or you can go to the following link: http://youtu.be/EWf_xxVbj5c
Yesterday, my students and I, along with classrooms around the world, got the opportunity to view a live interview with J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books. If you missed this webcast, there is a recording of the nearly 50 minute presentation available here.
Unsurprisingly, Rowling was delightful and inspirational during the interview. Having no idea what topics would be covered, I knew I would have to “wing” it in our follow-up discussion. I should not have been nervous, however, as the questions and responses gave me plenty of fodder for our classroom dialogue afterwards. For example, Rowling was asked what she considered to be the most admirable quality in a person, and she answered, “Bravery”, which easily connected to our topic of the character traits of heroes.
Along with the webcast, which was sponsored by Scholastic, you might also want to take a look at Scholastic’s resources for a Harry Potter Reading Club.
And, if you want a really immersive reading experience, then you will thoroughly enjoy Pottermore, the website launched by Rowling and friends that allows the user to get involved in the virtual world of Harry Potter, from purchasing school supplies to getting sorted into one of Hogwarts’ four houses, to many adventures beyond. Oh, and if you have children, they would probably enjoy it, too
Mark your calendar for September 15th, which is International Dot Day! Sponsored by FableVision Learning in coordination with Peter Reynolds, author of The Dot, this is a day on which educators pledge to encourage their students’ creativity. You can sign up formally to participate in International Dot Day, or you can choose your own way to celebrate this day of imagination. The website offers ideas for ways in which to make this a memorable day for your students as well as videos from some of last year’s participants. You can also go to this link for some ideas from Peter Reynolds on how to incorporate his wonderful book into your classroom.
Thanks to Cari Young, librarian at Fox Run Elementary in N.E.I.S.D., and author of The Centered School Library, for this great tip!
For the summer, I have decided to use my Tuesday and Thursday posts to reblog some of my favorite posts that some of my readers may have missed the first time around:
As a teacher, do you ever have a moment when no one needs your help, and you are standing in the middle of your classroom wondering what you should be doing? In my twenty years of teaching, I think that’s happened twice: when I was student teaching and had no idea what I was supposed to be doing anyway, and today. I showed my students Storybird, which allows you to choose sets of art to illustrate a story that you write. I meant for it to be a station on some computers in my classroom, but the students who started at that station didn’t want to leave. So, I started pulling out laptops until everyone was working on their own stories. For over an hour, there was silence in my room, and every child was engaged in creating his or her own story. We had been studying Figurative Language, and the assignment was to create a story with a winter theme that used at least 4 different types of figurative language.
After lunch, I thought the students might be weary of sitting in front of computer screens. I began saying, “Okay, you have a choice. You can either continue working on your Storybirds or – ” I didn’t even get to finish. They unanimously agreed that they wanted to continue.
Storybird is free. Register as a teacher, and you can add a class of students easily. The students do not need e-mail addresses to register or log in. You can view their work at any time, and they can also view the work of other students in the class by clicking on a tab at the top. They can comment, as can the teacher. It’s online, and easy to share, so they can show friends and family. The teacher can post specific assignments or the students can just create. Collaboration on stories is possible, and reading the stories of others is inspiring. The art work is charming and lovely.
Here is a sample from one of my 4th graders: (I apologize if some of the words are cut off – WordPress does not “play well” with embed codes!)
Pink Bat, by Michael McMillan, is an inspirational book that I just shared with my 5th graders. The book is “about turning problems into solutions”. In a charming story about a plastic red baseball bat that fades with time, the author teaches about the importance of trying to look at problems through a different lens. Included with the book is a DVD of the author explaining his message. You can also find that video here. We were able to connect the story to another video that was recently brought to my attention through e-mail. Ask your students to brainstorm their own “pink bats”, and share a few of yours!
An Awesome Book was recently featured on the blog iLearn Technology, by Kelly Tenkely. This book, written by Dallas Clayton for his son, is about dreaming big and dreaming different. It is about being creative and not restricting yourself to society’s norms. Clayton originally self-published the book, unable to find anyone to take on the project. After making an impact around the world, he was finally contacted by a major publisher. The book is now available for purchase at major retailers. What is fabulous, though, is that Clayton and the publisher also agreed to make the book available for free online. You can go here to view the book and a short video of the author. Kelly Tenkely has a few recommendations for how this resource can be used in the classroom on her blog. This book will inspire you and your students!