Category Archives: Education

Museum Dance Off 2

I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know there was a Museum Dance Off 1.  But I didn’t start watching Big Bang Theory until last year – so that tells you how caught up I am on pop culture.

I got a whole new perspective on museum employees just by reading the rules for this Dance Off.  I had no idea they could be so, well, playful. But now I am tempted to apply for a job at a museum after learning what really happens behind the scenes.

Screen Shot from First Division Museum's Dance Off 2 Submission
Screen Shot from First Division Museum’s Dance Off 2 Submission

You can see Dance Off submissions from museums all around the world here.

One of my favorite entries in this year’s contest is the one below from the Fine Arts Zanazabar Museum in Mongolia.  In my opinion, they chose The. Perfect. Song.  (to be sung in a museum, I mean)

Happy Phun Phriday!

Zen Pencils – the Book

Gavin Aung Than, the super-talented artist behind Zen Pencils, published a collection of some of his comics last November. Needing a bit of inspiration this week, I read it again from cover to cover. When I finished, I felt like I was almost as powerful as Rising Phoenix, one of his recurring characters.

Rising Phoenix from Zen Pencils "Marie Curie" cartoon by Gavin Than
Rising Phoenix from Zen Pencils “Marie Curie” cartoon by Gavin Than

Gavin takes famous quotes and creates amazing cartoons around them.  Some of the 36 cartoons included in the book are based on selected words from: Theodore Roosevelt, Marianne Williamson, Marie Curie, and Vincent Van Gogh.  Gavin’s artistic interpretation of each passage is incredibly insightful and extremely creative.

Zen Pencils Book

Of course, one of my favorite gems in the book is Gavin’s cartoon based on Taylor Mali’s poem, “What Teachers Make.” (Not one to show to your students, though!)

To see one of Gavin’s recent masterpieces, take a look at “All the World’s a Stage,” a beautiful adaptation of the Shakespearean quote from As You Like It.  This is the closest I’ve ever come to crying over a cartoon – or Shakespeare.

Though I wouldn’t recommend this book for younger children (a tiny bit of questionable language and gestures and a large portion of higher level vocabulary), you can see in this “Reader of the Month” feature that Gavin’s readers are as young as 10 years old.  You can see Zen Pencils inspired artwork by the two girls here.

The book includes a wonderful pull-out poster featuring many of Gavin’s cartoon characters and the motto, “Imagination Unlocks the Universe.”

Zen Pencils would make a wonderful graduation gift for a high school or college student or for any teenager or adult who appreciates a healthy dose of creativity and inspiration.  I will be adding this to my “Books for Gifted Students – Or Any Child Who Loves to Learn” Pinterest Board as a recommendation for older students.  If you have an interest in Zen Pencils, but you aren’t sure you want to commit to a book of 36 cartoons, take a look at the Zen Pencils store, where I guarantee you will find a poster that is perfect for any setting.

Education Memes

Our #neisdpln chat last night used internet memes to introduce each question.  The clever participants cracked me up with their hilarious replies – many of them using their own memes.  I seriously had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard by the end of the chat. Here was one of the questions:

Q41stworld

And one of the responses (from @jodiharris16):

1stworldproblems

 

It was lots of fun, and you can see some of the other memes here.  For the complete Storify of our chat, here is the link.

If you are considering using memes as a teaching tool, here is a link to some ideas.  One of my favorite sites for adults to use as a meme generator (which also generate gifs) is this one: https://imgflip.com/memegenerator, but beware that there is a lot of content that is not appropriate for children.

#NEISDPLN – Internet Memes in Edu

Testing week.

Ugh.

Stressful.

Depressing.

NOT fun.

So, why not join us in a light-hearted Twitter chat using memes to discuss education?

Everyone is invited!

It’s tonight (Tuesday, April 21st, 2015) at 8 PM CST.  #NEISDPLN

picardmeme

Here are the questions:

1. Haters gonna hate – what’s something you hear educators complain about too often?

2. Grumpy Cat – How do you deal with the grumpy cats you encounter in your job?

3. Facepalm or Epic Fail – What is a teaching mistake you made that you’ve since corrected?

4.  Like a Boss – What are the ideal features of an administrator?

5.  1st World Problems – What are “problems” in our education system that other countries might find silly?

6. Charlie Bit Me – What’s the funniest thing a student has said in your class (and you wish you had video of it)?

I know you were testing today, and it’s exhausting.  But, look on the bright side – you don’t have any papers to grade tonight!

It’s going to be fun.  It’s going to be EPIC.  Do you want to be this guy:

grumpycat

or these guys:

epic

The choice is yours!

Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome

My students and I are huge fans of Kid President.  They love his videos and beg to watch them repeatedly.  I’m okay with that.  Kid President is a great role model, and his giggle makes it absolutely impossible to be grumpy.

You can buy Kid President's book here.
You can buy Kid President’s book here.

KP (Robby Novak) recently published a book with his videographer/brother-in-law, Brad Montague, Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome.  My students insisted that this was a necessary classroom resource, so I ordered it.  It arrived just in time for a field trip for my 3rd-5th graders that involved an hour-long bus ride.  The book was happily passed around during the entire trip.

The book is colorful and full of pictures. It includes monologues from some of KP’s videos and interviews he has done with celebrities.  Many awesome people, including a large number of youths, are featured in the book.  The book is not dry and preachy, though.  Every page is motivational and includes typical KP humor.  Kid President’s advice to make the world more awesome ranges from, “Give the world a reason to dance,” (#62) to “Put tape on your nose,” (#63).  Other great words of wisdom are #70, “Gather your friends, dress up like superheroes, and do someone’s yard work,” and #82, “Give out handmade awards.”

Of course my favorite Kid President advice is #87:

recite-1uuwsp7

Kid President goes on to say, “We are convinced that if you want to change a community, it starts in a classroom.”

To stay organized, there is a handy checklist in the back of the book to help you keep track of your awesomeness.  Also included is a “A New Pep Talk.” Kid President recently uploaded a video inviting fans to make their own videos of the “New Pep Talk,” and send them in for possible inclusion on an upcoming special.  (Submissions are due April 23, 2015.)

I would recommend this book for any classroom.  Kids and adults of all ages seem to love Kid President.  I also think it would be a great book to consider as a graduation gift.  Parents might purchase one for home and discuss with their children which section to read each night.

I’m definitely adding this book to my “Books for Gifted Students – Or any Child Who Loves to Learn” Pinterest Board.  You might also want to check out my “Inspirational Videos for Students” board, which includes many Kid President videos as well as other great resources.

Kindergarten Class

For Phun Phriday this week I want to share with you an artist who is, quite simply, incredible. I love the work she does on both of her blogs – Nicole Smeltzer and The Middlest Sister. She meticulously cuts paper to make amazing scenes and tell stories.

One of her latest projects is to make a book for her daughter’s kindergarten teacher.  The picture below is the “setting.”

Setting: Kindergarten Class, by Nicole Smeltzer
Setting: Kindergarten Class, by Nicole Smeltzer

When I saw the above picture, I couldn’t wait to see how it would look once she added the students. It already looks perfect. Can’t you just smell the crayons and Elmer’s Glue?

However, she blew me away when she posted the completed image. I won’t give it away – you will have to visit her blog to see for yourself. And this is only the first page!  What an incredible gift this will be for her daughter’s teacher.

If you need to brighten your day, I strongly urge you to check out the amazing art of Nicole Smeltzer on both of her blogs.  You will simultaneously laugh at her family and marvel at her talent.

Why Our Family Eats Out 6 Times a Week

According to some probably-not-very-reliable-websites, yesterday , April 15th, was “Steal Something from Work Day.”  If you are a teacher, this probably amuses you – because educators are far too clever and ethical to steal from work.

Typical conversation in the Eichholz household:

Husband – What happened to the aluminum foil?

Me (innocently) – What do you mean?  There’s some in the pantry.

Husband – That’s the wrong kind.  We had some non-stick foil.  Now it’s gone.

Me – Oh.  Oops.  I brought it to school so the kids could see if they could play the Makey Makey piano on it.

Husband sighs deeply at the suffering he endures being married to a teacher who views all kitchen supplies as potential science experiments instead of cooking necessities.

Other items that have gone mysteriously missing from our home in the past year:

  • a hacksaw (to make a foosball table for Global Cardboard Challenge)
  • our tripod (desks are far too unsteady for stop-motion iPad videos)
  • various fruits and vegetables (again – for the Makey Makey)
  • a piece of drywall (great canvas for Sphero painting)
  • 5 lbs. of flour (key ingredient for Squishy Circuit Conductive dough)
  • electrical tape (vital for robots who need to detect dark lines)
  • 6 rolls of paper towels and 2,000,000 boxes of tissues
  • half my salary (to buy supplies from non-district-approved vendors and/or cool stuff for my classroom from Kickstarter)

To be fair, I do sometimes enhance our home with items from school such as:

  • the class tarantula who needed a home over Winter Break
  • the class snake who needed a home over Spring Break
  • strep, flu, and cold germs

Things that Completely Disappeared Between Home and School and I am Pretty Sure Will Never Be Found Again:

  • A flat head screwdriver
  • 9 umbrellas
  • my sanity

Mathematically, it appears that my workplace has come out ahead so far.  I don’t really want a Steal Something from Work Day.  What I need is a Find Something at Work that You Stole from Home and Return It So Your Family Can Repair Their Broken Appliances and Eat a Home-cooked Meal Day.

Actually, that might take a bit longer than a day…

stealfromhome