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.
I stumbled across KBears when I was in the middle of hunting down some not-so-intimidating sites for geography research for my younger students. I have not investigated all of KBears, but I was immediately attracted to the geography portion as a potential resource for my 1st and 2nd grade Gifted and Talented students. The site is very “cute”, making it attractive to the primary kids. It is also fairly easy to navigate. There is still some big vocabulary, but it is not overwhelming. With printable maps, world music, and geography games, this is a great site to add to my teacher toolbox!
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”.