Google Mystery Animal
One of the curious tweets I saw over the Thanksgiving break was about Google's Mystery Animal, a Google AI voice experiment. This is essentially a 20 questions game. How can you use this in class? Well, aside from having fun, it is an excellent way to hone questioning skills. Do you need special equipment? Nope- you can connect with Google Home, if you have that, or simply use your browser. Try it! You may like it. Your students may be inspired to find out more about this sort of coding works.
2 Great Resources from...#FlipGrid... of course
One of the projects I have been thinking about offering in our STEAM space includes various visual illusions, recognizing and creating patterns. I saw-yet again on twitter from my PLN- this very cool Scratch project with speed illusions done in Scratch. Check it out below. It may take a minute to load.
Visual Illusions to Sierpinski Triangles to fractals and more
As I investigated visual illusions, I got sidetracked by patterns, including Sierpinski Triangles, patterns and finally fractals. The math involved in these is interesting. It may help students to build/draw these patterns in order to increase their understanding of the math, and their appreciation of the art. Try the fractivities at fractalfoundation.org.
Sierpinski Triangle Project
These projects can be toned down for younger students or go 3D and fancy with older students. Erica Clark has an excellent blog post and directions on her website.
Want to try decotropes? These 2 sided optical illusion toys are fun and easy to make. You can even download the template from Ana's site
But I think my favorite project wasn't an illusion, but a math pattern. I had never heard of spirolaterals. These are really cool patterns. Try these with your students. H/T again to Erica Clark.
I was so fortunate to attend a webinar with Tiffany Whitehead on Saturday on Classroom 2.0 Live. Tiffany Whitehead, aka the Mighty Little Librarian, is an amazing librarian (aren't they all?) from Louisiana. A 2016 recipient of the Louisiana Library Media Specialist Award, Tiffany is an internationally recognized librarian and a past President for ISTE’s Librarians Network.
She did an excellent presentation. You can access the livebinder here, and I will put the video recording below.
BUT- she shared a couple things that I don't want you to miss! Tiffany shared this excellent 35 page reference google doc: False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources, with tons of tips and tricks for you and your students.
And... She shared the NLP (News Literacy Project) site called Checkology: a virtual classroom, "where students learn how to navigate the challenging information landscape by mastering the skills of news literacy." You can get the premium version free for the rest of the year. Three videos featured below- an overview, a student view and a teacher view.
Participating on the sidelines of a global project in 4th grade this term, it is amazing to see the students making connections with kids across the globe. One lesson that I saw featured on The Global Oneness Project this week really stood out for me.
It is called A Tapestry of Multicultural Diversity. Check it out here.
Great book for a Read-Aloud
I just read this book over the weekend on the recommendation of a friend. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate is sure to make it to the top of your list to read to your class- elementary on up. There is a downloadable teacher's guide aligned with Common Core Standard for 5th grade but can be applied to grades 3-8.. You can even set up your own community "wish day".
Day 3 of GEC is coming up!
Monday, Nov. 13th, 10am to Thursday, Nov. 16th, 4pm. This is an online event.
Great ideas from Eric Curts
Eric publishes 4 separate Google Docs with interesting/useful links that he has collected every month. His blog is always a treasure trove of ideas that will help you as an educator and can be used tomorrow in your classroom. Check out his blog and subscribe to updates. Or if you are pressed for time today, these are the links to his documents you will enjoy checking out.
I was looking through my RSS feed today, thinking about what to focus on for this post and came across Kasey Bell's post about using Google Docs/Slides to create learning menus or choice boards for learning. She has a lot of great ideas and free templates to choose from, so don't forget to check out her post. If you love Pinterest, she also posted the link to the collection of choice boards. Lots of ideas for various disciplines and age groups.
However, most of this sort of thing- student choice- seems to me to be more about UDL than something new. Utilizing Universal Design for Learning (and teaching) means that you offer students choice in how they demonstrate their learning, as well as in how you teach or explain the material. Lisa Highfill and friends, in their Hyperdocs book, as well as on their site, offer excellent choice boards as part and parcel of hyperdocs and offering student choice. They have templates to create hyperdocs. Lisa has a whole page of examples of ways to have students "Show What They Know".
As the teacher, or lead learner or ... how do you help your students find the path to become engaged, passionate learners, to show what they know, to demonstrate their learning?
This year I am trying to build upon the shoulders of many giants, including Seymour Papert and other constructivists and makers: @lloydcrew, @LFlemingEDU and @jackiegerstein and so many others that I have learned from over the years, as I endeavor in my small way to create a space for students to learn, to create, to build, to collaborate. The lessons I try to help teachers create allow for multiple means of expression, allow students to take different pathways to learning. It's not a smooth ride, as we all learn how to create these opportunities, but it is well worth the trip.
One of the resources I am building for the teachers at HES is a list (slidedeck) of all of the "stuff" we have in our STEAM lab with examples they can use, lesson plans to show how these tools, which may well be new to some, can be used to enhance learning, and can actually correspond to the "standards". In addition, I am always on the lookout for design challenges, especially those that are freely shared and use inexpensive materials. Kevin Jarrett @kjarrett shared this link the other day in response to a friend on FB. I had never seen this one and you may find it useful as well. It's the Ready, Set, Design challenge from the Cooper Hewitt Museum- not new, but new to me. Link to the web page and downloadable pdf with activities. Another response to the same query yielded another site I hadn't seen The 5 Clue Challenge. The resources shared by teachers on Twitter, on various FB groups are simply amazing. I could spend all day on the BreakoutEdu groups or the Hyperdocs groups and find new innovative ways to teach topics, to engage students and to allow student choice.