Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Ideas: The Power of the Paper Plate

Welcome to another Bright Ideas Link-Up where bloggers from around the world sharing tips, tricks, and ideas that work for them (and could work for you).  Here in the Chicagoland area we're enjoying a pleasant summer filled with almost perfect temperatures.  This means a lot of cooking out.  That means a lot of paper plates.  And that got me thinking about...


These flimsy cardboard plates may not hold a hot dog or hamburger without breaking, but they're a perfect school (or summer) supplement to almost any lesson.  The groundbreaking secret is that almost anything can be created with paper plates.

My idea is this:  If you're looking to have students create small projects based on lessons you're teaching give them a stack of paper plates and just tell them to create.  No rules, no boundaries--just the to craft an idea based on the lessons they learned.

There are 20 step tutorials on paper plates creations and some of them are just incredible--but let's give some of the imagination back to the kids.  

Last week my daughters and I spent a couple of hours just making stuff.  They came up with so many ideas during that time; frisbee, scuba gear, shield, cat, snake, owl, monsters, and even an ear of corn.  I would say a topic and my oldest would tell me something she could make.

I'm not even suggesting using paints or glitter.  Just make it quick and easy and tell the kids:  scissors, glue, tape, and crayons.  That way the clean-up will consist of simple scraps.

Here's some of my kids hard work.

Kids have such a bigger and better imagination than most of us anyway.  So let them create.  Mine keep asking when they can create that "paper plate magic" again.  


I even got into the swing of things and created a Flava-Flav styled clock and then recreated the alien facehuggers from Alien (some of you might be too young or scared for that movie). Look at my imaginations!


If you're interested in seeing some examples, tutorials, and Pinterest boards for more paper plates tutorials check these out:
Try this idea in school or as a summer craftivity.  Break the norm.  That's it--now I'm off to put some potato salad on a floppy paper plate and wait for it to collapse in my lap.


If you've enjoyed this post (even a little bit) feel 
free to follow me on FacebookTPT, or even here.

As the summer rolls along sit back, relax, and visit all the other great ideas (probably a lot better than mine) and come up with some ideas to drive the kids crazy when school starts.





Thursday, July 17, 2014

Word Up! The Word Cloud Symbaloo Board

This is a cross-post with A Class*y Collaboration.

Word Cloud Generators have been around since the dawn of the wireless modem (that's a really long time in tech years).  Kids and teachers love them because they're quick and easy to integrate and look pretty.  That's right, I said pretty.  

The only way to make them better would be to put them in an accessible place that everyone could reach.  Drumroll, please................I put together a Symbaloo board with 12 world-renowned word cloud generators. 


Now your students (or you) can pick which one they'd like to use.  Some of these are new to myself, but you've got the classics like Tagxedo, Wordle, ABCya.  There's some newbies that you might not have ever heard of--so check those out too.

Take some time, bookmark this for the new year, and get your kids creating.  
A couple of ideas for using word cloud generators include:
  • Poetry unit: Pick a poem and insert the words.
  • All about Myself:  Students write words they think will describe them the best (great for beginning of the year, get-to-know-you).
  • Adjectives, Nouns, & Verbs:  Lot of choices here describe rooms, objects, people, subject areas, and more.
  • Character Traits from Novels:  Pick a character and write about his traits.
  • Parent Gift:  Students describe parents/guardian and then print it out (include frame if possible). 
  • Create class posters
  • Class list, let everyone get a copy too. 
  •  Social Studies:  Historical characters and their significance.

Here is a quick on I used with Word Mosaic.  
I kind of like it.  It is pretty (and totally me).



 


BarCATlounger totally thinks you check this out.




     

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tune Into Tech: Using Weather Websites to Strengthen Math Skills

Normally when we think of the weather we automatically assume that we're talking about science.  Or the Weather Channel.  And if we're talking about the Weather Channel we're talking about Jim Cantore and THUNDER SNOW!  


But we're not.
We're talking' bout MATH


An alternative for spicing up your typical calendar, morning meeting, or math lesson is to introduce a weather website to the class.  There's so much mathematical information in our weather that it's a little ridiculous. It's so easy to put throw it on a Smart board or display it on a mobile device.  Here are some great sites to start with:

Think about having your students do any of the following:
  • Graphing/charting daily temperatures
  • Find the difference between Highs and Lows for that day, week, or month.
  • Use temperature, humidity, wind speed, or barometric pressure to find mean, median, and mode.
  • Using average rainfall amounts per month and comparing them to other areas all around the world.
  • Comparing temperatures around the world and discovering the differences.
  • Allow students to create word problems based on weather
  • Use the weather map and understanding how the numbers correlate with one another.
  • I could add more, but by this time you're probably beginning to glaze over my post.
The opportunities are limitless when it comes to combining math and weather.  If we stop and think for a minute we realize that understanding the weather is a real-word applicable skill that everyone needs to know.

How else are you able to predict if you're school will be 
having a cold-weather day because of the wind chill--MATH!


Here's a great site for kids to become a Math Meteorologist:  

Understanding the concept of Math-Weather is more relevant every single day.  And the are numbers inside each one of those concepts.  Tornado's, Hurricanes, Floods, Blizzards, Earthquakes; these are all based on mathematical figures too.  But we tend to lump it strictly into science--but we shouldn't.


Think about STEM:  Science, Technology, Engineering, aaaaaaand Mathematics.

Next time your looking for a little way to spice up you math just turn your attention to the clouds (not the digital kind that no one understands, I'm talking fluffy-cumulus ones) and think about how you can integrate weather into your math with a side of technology.



Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to check out all the other great blogger posts for Tune Into Tech:  Math Edition.  Stop by  Learning to the Core and iTeach 1:1 for more like this or to link-up yourself. 



         

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Video Vault: Smart Every Day: Venomous Fish


This guy and his videos are awesome.  
Dare I say that he's a bit like Bill Nye.  
Oh yes, I dare.




Friday, July 11, 2014

Prezi Shortcuts on the Keyboard

Here's a first-rate tutorial on how to use keyboard shortcuts when creating with Prezi.  Many people don't realize that almost all computer programs can be run without the use of a mouse.  The learning curve can be steep if you've never tried it before, but even learning some of the quick tips make a big difference.

Check this out and share it with your students or colleagues (if you feel so inclined).

                                                                                                                                  Prezi


...and just a reminder--cats are jerks.



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