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It’s Monday…time to be AWESOME!

The week begins and I know the unknowns make it hard to think ahead so I will post fun activities to do here and there that will bring joy and a wee bit of adventure.  Expand on any of these in anyway you and your child can think of and share them with me.  I love learning new ways to explore ideas each day!

You can see from the online posts that are circulating so many individuals are rising up and sharing their passions with others and giving their time to help us fill the days with wonder.  One special activity today is Jarrett J. Krosoczka who will be giving an online art class.  He is a well-known graphic novelist.  He has illustrated many books your children might know such as Jedi Academy and Hey, Kidd .  Students will not need anything fancy just a paper and pencil and perhaps watercolor if available.  The lesson will begin at 2 pm ET and 12 PM mountain time.  He will also show games you can all play together.  I can’t wait to begin!  You can find the link at:  www.youtube.com/StudioJJK

Second, venture outside today and try to find 2-3 rocks you love and create characters for a story.  You can decorate them with marker, paper paint and any found objects. If you do not have rocks around use paper or even a potato!  Then, write a story about these rocks and an adventure they are about to embark on.  Share their stories with me to post! You can extend the books by reading the rock book series by Linda Kranz beginning with “Only One You.”

Lastly, here are some items to collect around the house that you will need tomorrow for some STEAM activities for Saint Patrick’s Day.  I will post the lessons tonight (so parents can prepare ahead). Get ready for some magical fun with a few tricky twists.  Make this a scavenger hunt and check them off as you go!  The fun is always in the hunt!

  1. empty rectangular box/tissue box
  2. sticks, skewers or popsicle sticks/recycled cardboard from a box
  3. six pieces of paper towel/empty paper towel roll
  4. food coloring/markers
  5. plastic cups/glass clear cups
  6. white paper
  7. potato or ball
  8. cornstarch
  9. Pennies
  10. old crayons in red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple, white and a square piece of cardboard
  11. metal straw or plastic straw
  12. clothespin or plastic spoon
  13. hair dryer
  14. smile

Happy Monday everyone!  Enjoy the sunshine upon us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Pi Day!

RECITE Pi

In the book “Math and Magic in Wonderland”, Lulu calms herself by reciting the digits of Pi and I can not think of a better day than today to begin…Happy Pi Day everyone and may these numbers bring a sense of calm to your weeks ahead.  Here is what Lulu loves sing:

All the numbers stand in line

3.14159

Reciting Pi is really great

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It calms you down as you can see

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The digits don’t end there’s always more

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I hope you like this song of mine

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GO ON A Pi ADVENTURE

You can find the book above on Amazon or even listen to it via Audible as they have a March special complete with a kid comedian package.  The book is wonderful and has many other math adventures you can take with your child and Lulu’s twin Elizabeth.  

Here is another song for those who dare to venture beyond the first 31 and go for 100!  It’s catchy and filled with all kinds of rhymes.  It is called 100 digits of Pi and you can find it at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HRkKznJoZA

For more adventures try creating a Pi necklace if you have beads floating around and if not make your own!  You can quill the beads by rolling papers you color yourself. Quilling is a great fine motor work out and very unique piece to wear or send to a friend!  

GRAPH IT OUT

Graph out your numbers and make a Pi city!  You can print graph paper online if you do not have any handy at home or make a pie line circle art piece and color code the numbers.  Continue the art adventure by creating you very own pie man or pie chain!  

COOK A PIE or Pi

In the kitchen, put your pie making skills to the test!  You can make a spinach pie, banana pie or even a mystery pie to share with your family,  If pie is not your favorite…don’t forget the other pie…the pizza pie and create the Pi symbol out of vegetables or pepperoni!  

FIND YOUR BIRTHDAY IN Pi

Lastly, see where your birthday falls in Pi!  Here is the ink and see where everyone one in your family falls!  End the celebration digging into a great story about “Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi”!  

www.mypiday.com

DOUGH know what to do?

Hello parents, students and all the great people out there who are together and sharing time at home as we hopefully heal our communities from this virus upon us.  My hope is to bring ideas to you that I love to do with children and share a play adventure with you over the next few weeks.  Please feel free to email me pictures or videos of your “play times” together so I can share them with you.  I will be sharing the first activities Sunday and will continue to do them every other day.  I will use resources that I hope most of you might find at home or outside in yard or park.  In addition, I will offer links to resources you can also use that will connect to an activity so you can extend on it more.

If you have the time tomorrow you could start by making some homemade play dough.  I will list below two fun ways I like to do it.  One recipe is a stove top dough and the other is a recipe for the incredible kitchen assistant…the crock pot/slow cooker.  In addition, I will attach an edible one that can also be created for “gluten intolerance” needs.

Crockpot Play Dough

2 Cups of flour

1/2 Cup of salt

3 Tablespoons of cream of tartar

3 Tablespoons of cornstarch

2 Cups of warm water

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

1/2 tablespoon of almond oil (optional especially with food allergy) or orange/lemon peel

food coloring

ADD all dry ingredients to crock pot (slow cooker), followed by the wet ingredients. Stir until well combined.  Add a few drops of food coloring and stir until you have the desired color.

Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

Remove lid and stir dough until you have a right consistency.  Scoop out and store in air tight container or bag until you are ready to PLAY!

**Be careful as play dough can be hot when you remove it from the crock pot.

**For multiple colors mix colors after in separate bowls.

STOVE TOP  Play Dough

2 Cups of Flour

2 Cups of Water

3/4 Cups of salt

4 Teaspoons of Cream of Tartar

2 Tablespoons fo vegetable oil

*Food coloring (optional)

Combine dry ingredients in saucepan before it is warm.  Add 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Use a spoon to mix wet and dry ingredients.  Stir until there are no clumps and the ingredients are completely combined.  Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  It might cook faster depending on the heat of your stovetop. Remove when dough is not longer wet.  Add food coloring or scent (orange peel) .  Knead for 30 seconds or more.  This is great for little fingers to strengthen their fine motor skills. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.  If dough gets dry add a few drops of water.

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE  EDIBLE/GLUTEN FREE RECIPE:

https://nurturestore.co.uk/no-salt-play-dough-recipe-homemade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technology with a Twist

 

As an educator, I know the importance of sharing and teaching technology to children but I also struggle with the amount of time I know they spend on devices outside the classroom.  I want children to see how they can use technology to create and expand on their learning and new concepts as well as connect their understanding to their community of learners.

What could be more fun than controlling a robot around an obstacle course right?  Meet Sphero!  This spherical robot has become the number one sensation in my room and kids just go bonkers over all it can do.  Each time they learn a little bit more and realize the potential of ideas they can develop with such a simple design (a sphere with awesome hardware).

Over the years the students have had Olympic swimming races and designed a bathing suit for Sphero with the least amount of friction possible complete with blueprints.  They have designed and RE-DESIGNED (very important part of the creative process) their own obstacle courses complete with a map and a plan.  Each section was named and each one was designed by a group of 2-3 partners to break up the job of completing the entire task.  Each day of the design two new project managers were assigned to ensure and assist the partners in kind and productive communication.  Managing a team can present issues when SO many ideas are shared and some individuals get “stuck” on their idea and their idea only!

 

Working in teams allows children to practice the art of listening and how to show empathy to one another.  I share with them how it is easy to say something mean to someone in a frustrating situation and really hard to be kind.  They began to understand how we can share our frustrations and concerns with kindness but it takes practice.  Imagine our world if everyone practiced this daily.

This past year some of my students even created their very own miniature golf course for their peers.  This was no ordinary golf course though…it was an underwater world complete with characters, stories to unfold and a theme to even help ones who struggled in the face of frustration.  All of it was kid-driven, kid-created and each every student LOVED visiting their world.  The best part was even after they finished they still were creating in their minds about what they still could add to the course and how they could make their design even better.  THAT is the gift of creativity!!!

Here are a few samples of the stories shared:

Atlantis

In the Atlantis golf course there is a swinging octopus that has acid tentacles that will knock you to the beginning if you are not careful.  The octopuses all meet at the western end of Atlantis…so beware!  

Electric Eel

Beware of the electric eel’s shock!  It goes on if you stay in him too long.  You have to try to get out quickly. You have three tries to get out of the electric eel.  DO NOT get shocked from it! The eel is yellow with sharp, vicious teeth. It will gobble you up!  GO! GO! GO!

The Scarlett Skull

Enter at your own risk. This sunken vessel may contain treasure but beware of Captain Red Sword’s blood red sword swinging in the water.  Dodge it or else you will meet your DOOM!

Shark Alley

Ahoy, you have come to Shark Alley.  Go quickly through the vicious, tail whipping shark before you become one of the shark’s scrumptious seal meals.  Go now! You have only five minutes before he devours you in one whole gulp!  

Underwater Treasure

Welcome to Underwater Treasure.  You are supposed to go through the side of the chest.  Beware of the pirates’ deadly souls that are guarding the chest.  When you ring the bell, that will let you know that the pirate will not haunt you.  Good luck!  

I do not really know which was more fun for the students actually because they loved designing their own part of the course, writing descriptive, adjective rich stories about each section and also collaborating to put the entire course together.  Character, setting, theme and more all wrapped into one technology lesson!  Not only that collaboration, communication and creativity were around every corner of the process.  I, sadly, did not even record the moment they shared it with the community at the school including teachers and the principals because I was taking in all the wonder. I have to say I do not have regrets.  Sometime we miss too much when we are hidden behind that small rectangular box!  The memories are in my heart and theirs though forever!

Even if you are not a technology guru, be audacious and give technology with a twist a go!  I am always learning new things and even more WITH my students.  Children help you see things even you would not imagine and how we can all grow from new experiences.

 

Making Learning Stick Creatively  

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Children are like little sponges awaiting new discoveries.  How we deliver new information to them and allow them to explore it deeply are two huge components in their everyday learning.  Creative, hands-on lessons naturally lend itself to powerful connections for a child both academically and socially.  They engage all the senses and can even have wiggle room to expand on these ideas and grow daily in the learning process.  Teaching them to use curiosity when they face the unknown opens up door creativity and allows them to take risks even if they might make a mistake.

Many children, even my own, often ask me why they have to learn certain concepts in the classroom and they lose sight of the value of what they are learning because they cannot connect to it in any way.  One of my favorite thank you notes from a student I had for three years wrote so eloquently “It feels like you have taught me everything I know.  Thank you for helping me love learning.”  I only worked with her in my position for 60 minutes each week for three years.  Imagine if we spent each day learning together.  To me, if love comes first knowledge will always follow.  Too many students go through the motions of school but never connect to what they are learning or question how it relates to where they are in their learning journey.  

In my classroom, we gradually visit learning mantras to grow on (center photo below).  They ignite up our superpowers to soar beyond even when the journey gets challenging and we want to put the pencil down!  Creatitvity is alive and is woven through each project to allow students to think deeply and expand their thoughts outward to see the “bigger” picture.  Creativity and the power to “dream big” is often more challenging than asking a child to do work at a grade level above them.  Last year we fell in love with the vision of the GoogleX’s Moonshot Factory and how they realize perseverance and making mistakes bring forth brilliant news ideas.  Teamwork and daily “high fives” when mistakes are made keep their dreams and ideas flowing and inspire new ones.

This past year Metacognition man/woman/kitty (more to changes to come to him or her) also arrived in our classroom flying high and asking students to question their understanding and think about what they are learning and how they are growing as a learner.  A simple light bulb that came to life and ignited questions and a desire to seek them in others.   This small yet very powerful man brought questions to life in a playful way in which the character connected to the student and helped them remember to think about what their learning in a new and FUN way.  

 

The students were asked to create how they imagined their own “metacognition man/woman/animal and then began exploring the questions by writing their very own math problems.  In each light bulb had manipulative “cereal pieces” placed inside to assist the problem solver in solving the math problem they created.  Each problem was unique and they saw them importance of having all the necessary information in a problem to allow the “problem solver” to be successful.  In reflection, students stated that creating their own math problem allowed them to 

  • feel really good and almost as if they were a teacher for a day teaching others
  • create their own characters and setting
  • express how they see math in their minds
  • being creative during a math time

In a world of technology with every answer at their fingertips, we must inspire children to dive deeper into learning, be curious and never forget the art of being audacious.  Creativity is a gift to learning and one that can spread beyond the four walls and into the community and more. Dream big and the ideas will come!  Don’t forget to high five your mistakes…it feels wonderful because you know you just have not got it YET!