Tag Archives: creative thinking

Spring S.C.A.M.P.E.R.

Ms. Trayers (@jtrayers) at Not Just Child’s Play and I are always on the same wavelength!  I tried a new S.C.A.M.P.E.R.  activity for spring this week, and she posted about an Easter one that she did with her students.  I absolutely love that she had her students write their justification for the partners they chose for the Easter Bunny.  They are fabulous!

I need to add more writing to my curriculum and I am going to definitely use it more with these S.C.A.M.P.E.R. activities.  Usually, I just have the students do an illustration as a fun warm-up activity, but I like her idea to add a little more “depth” to their drawings.

The one I chose to do this week was from my Spring S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Packet, which you can find on my TPT site.  I asked my 1st grade GT students to imagine that a mother bird’s eggs has hatched but the last one is a huge surprise.  What is it?

There were a couple of Easter Bunnies, but then there were two that were opposite extremes of each other.  One student drew a baby hippopotamus, and another student drew a tiny little fly!  I asked them to identify what other S.C.A.M.P.E.R. piece they used to come up with these ideas, and they correctly named the “Magnify/Minimize” one.  And then there was the very cute, upside-down, walking baby cactus.  Talk about imagination!

Here is a free copy of the page that I used if you are interested.  You can find the rest of the packet, and other themed S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packs in my TPT store.

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iPhone 5s Parody

from iPhone 5 Parody Ad
from iPhone 5 Parody Ad

I’m still trying to digest all that I learned in a 2 day whirlwind at the Texas Computer Education Association Conference in Austin this week.  One of my last sessions was presented by the inimitable Leslie Fisher, who never ceases to make me laugh.  She started the session with this video, and I thought it would make a good Phun Phriday video for everyone!  Of course, my mind never stops thinking about education possibilities.  Even though it’s a parody, I thought of using it for a S.C.A.M.P.E.R. lesson for some of upper elementary students.  The parody takes the “M” in the acronym (which stands for “Magnify” or “Minimize”) to a new level.  What other crazy parodies could your students imagine with the rest of S.C.A.M.P.E.R.?

Creative Ways to Survive the Week Before Winter Break

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 5.45.47 PM
Screen Shot from Kelly Wine’s Rube Goldberg-esque Holiday Machine Video

Let’s face it.  This week is hard.  No one – including you – is feeling very focused on academics right now.  To save everyone’s sanity, and to put smiles on all of the faces in the room, try some of these creative ideas:

Here are a couple I have mentioned before, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat.

More in this series:

Logical Ways to Survive the Week Before Winter Break!

Physical Ways to Survive the Week Before Winter Break!

A Wee List of Ways to Weather the Winter

Santa "Adapts" to a New Environment (a computer game with a "dedly turtle") from S.C.A.M.P.E.R. The Holidays
Santa “Adapts” to a New Environment (a computer game with a “dedly tertal”) from S.C.A.M.P.E.R. The Holidays

Thank goodness for people like Laura Moore (@LearnMoreStuff).  She collected a ton of December-themed tech activities, and bundled them all up in a Listly she embedded in this post.  With 3 more weeks until Winter Break, she realizes that we all need some ideas to get us through this crazy month.

I’m pretty sure Laura’s list will keep you busy.  But, just in case you still have some huge gaps in your lesson plans, here are some past posts that I’ve done with a Winter theme:

Text Snowflake Creator

Creative Snowflakes

The Twelve Days of Christmas (with Fibonacci and Pascal’s Triangle)

S.C.A.M.P.E.R. the Holidays

S.C.A.M.P.E.R. the Holidays Redux

Augmented Reality Holiday Cards (I might add some more to these in the near future, or you can watch these great instructions from @PaulHamilton8 on making your own.)

Holiday QR Codes (with a Kindness Countdown, Class Coupons, and Home Coupons)

Holiday Logic

Factory Balls – Christmas Edition

And, of course, yesterday’s post – If I Lived in a Snow Globe, I Would Wear My Bike Helmet to Bed

During this month, don’t we all feel like we live in a snow globe sometimes? ;)

A Cornucopia of Creative and Critical Thinking Activities for Thanksgiving

from the Autumn S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packet, "Put to Another Use"
from the Autumn S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packet, “Put to Another Use”  This student decided a hay wagon could be used as a Space Simulator for animals!

Many of us in the States have only a week and a half left before the Thanksgiving holidays. Here are a few resources that might be fun to sprinkle into the curriculum as everyone starts running for the light at the end of the tunnel.  All of them are free except for my shameless plug at the end :)

Pumpkin Adaptations – a cute activity from Miss Trayers at “Not Just Child’s Play”

Thanksgiving Thinking Hats  – I use this with my 2nd graders to see if they can “think about their thinking” (see my Thinking Hats post for more info)

A Thanksgiving Timeline via Google Earth – a wonderful way to integrate Thanksgiving, Technology, and Geography from Laura Moore at “Learn Moore Stuff”

Thanksgiving Fun – a plethora of fun tech activities from “Technology Rocks. Seriously.”

The First Thanksgiving – from Scholastic.com, includes videos, historical letters, and resource guides for teachers

Thanksgiving Jokes with Tom and Ben – a fun activity my Multimedia Club did a couple of years ago with the iPad

Thanksgiving Analogies – from “Minds in Bloom”

What are You Thankful For?  Ask it Better. – I love these great ideas for putting a twist on this age-old question, also from “Minds in Bloom” (You could use a Padlet wall for the responses – H/T to Richard Byrne)

You are the Historian – Investigate the First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving SmartBoard Activities – pretty much what the title says :)

Thanksgiving Sudoku – online

Thanksgiving Sudoku – printable

Thanksgiving Puzzles (Sudoku, Magic Square, Word Jumble, etc…) – from Cybersleuth Kids

Augmented Reality Reward Coupons – not completely Thanksgiving related, but great way to show gratitude for a job well done (students LOVE these!)

Autumn S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Packet – available on TPT for the bargain price of $2.00 :)


Welcome to another Phun Phriday!  And this one promises to be fabulous!  RSCON starts today, Friday, October 11th!  It’s not too late to sign up for one of the 100’s of sessions that will be offered online for free from today through Sunday evening.  Click here to learn more!

One of the presenters during RSCON is Laura Gilchrist.  Her Saturday morning session is called, “Dry Erase Surfaces in the Classroom: Uncap Creativity, Expression, and Enthusiasm for Learning.”  Laura has IdeaPaint on her classroom tables, and has an excellent post showing great pictures of how the students use it to its full potential.  Isn’t it funny how writing on a dry-erase board is not nearly as fun as writing on a dry-erase table?

Check out this page from the IdeaPaint site that shows other examples of IdeaPaint in schools.

I like the idea that you can use other colors besides white!  I’m thinking of painting my tables neon colors, and putting the clear IdeaPaint over them.  What do you think?

Chain Reaction combined with our Umbrella metaphor --- around the_9688295269_l
from Laura Gilchrist’s “Shiny Happy Teachers” blog

Let Them Build It, and Invite Others to Come

This is a bonus post.  I just had to share some of the great projects my students have done for the Global Cardboard Challenge.  Technically, the Big Event is this Saturday, October 5th, 2013 (check here for an event near you).  But we started small this year, and my gifted students (2nd-5th grades) are inviting their classmates to view their constructions and play the games during recess next week instead.  Here are some of the projects that they made.  If you did not get a chance to participate this year, I strongly urge you try to attend one of your local events and make an effort to get involved next year!  My hope for next year is to “charge for admission” so we can raise money for charity.

This student made a theater complete with a moving picture (turn the sticks to move it) and faux popcorn!
This 3rd grade student made a theater complete with a moving picture (turn the sticks to move it) and faux popcorn!


Two students worked together to make this Ping Pong table (with the help of a lot of green duct tape!)
Two students worked together to make this Ping Pong table (with the help of a lot of green duct tape!)


This student made an elaborate mirror puzzle game.
This student made an elaborate mirror puzzle game.


It's hard to tell from the pic, but this student made a zoetrope.  Look through the tube and turn the straw below to see still pics come to life.
It’s hard to tell from the pic, but this student made a zoetrope. Look through the tube and turn the straw below to see still pics come to life.


This is "Mini Mini Golf".  What a fun idea!
This is “Mini Mini Golf”. What a fun idea!