August 20, 2015

Classroom Discussions on Real-Life Dilemmas

It's time to download your next set of 4 thinking strategies HERE.  This set includes the following thinking strategies:
*  Dependency-Inter-dependency
*  Design
*  Details
*  Dilemma

Each of these 4 strategies can be skillfully used to jump-start the thinking process.  I especially enjoyed discussing dilemmas with my gifted and talented students.  Here's a few examples.

 People everywhere face important dilemmas each day.  Making good decisions and weighing the outcome is a valuable skill for students to acquire.  Consider the following dilemmas.

  • In 1775, early settlers faced a dilemma when Lieutenant Moore, Commander of an armed British vessel demanded they load their lumber onto the ship to build barracks for the British troops in Boston.  If they refused, they faced hunger or even death but if they complied, they betrayed the American cause.  What should they do?
  • On a return journey, Christopher Columbus noticed that his compass headings did not agree with the sightings of the North Star (Polaris).  Should he trust the compass or have faith in his belief that Polaris is true north?  The wrong decision could send the fleet too far north into the cold and dangerous waters of the northern Atlantic. Which navigational tool would you trust?
  •  International trade is a growing industry. Large ships carrying cargo around the world must use ballast water to safely maneuver the vessel.  Ballast water transports organisms half a world away where the balance of predator and prey does not exist.  This dangerous practice is costing billions of dollars and contaminating food supplies.  What alternatives or solutions should be considered?

August 8, 2015

4 More Thinking Strategies to Entice our Students to Think Critically

I am excited to share the third set of task cards showing 4 additional thinking strategies from my collection of 45 iDazzle Thinking Apps.  These 45 Thinking Strategies are proven to be effective in all 4 core subject areas and in grades K-12.  Download your copy HERE

This is a fun example of how I have taught the Data App.  Without any explanation, I like to ask the participants in my workshop to use a sticky note to indicate which simple machines they used the previous day.  Below is the slide shown on the PowerPoint.

The teachers usually place one or two sticky notes in the appropriate spot of the chart paper to indicate which simple machine they used.  The sticky notes are placed one on top of another in order to resemble a bar graph.  Then I figure the percentage of how many used each of the six simple machines yesterday.  Below is the results of a recent workshop.

In this case, there were 28% of the teachers had used an inclined plane the day before, 31% used a wedge and only 22% used a screw.  16% used a pulley, 28% used a lever and 84% used a wheel and axle.  Now, its time for some fun!!!!   I switch the presentation to this slide:
I give them a moment to look over the many simple machines in our everyday life and then explain that only 28% of the people in the room flushed the toilet yesterday.  16% didn't wash their hands using a water faucet.  After a bit of laughter, I emphasize that the BIG IDEA to our activity is that some DATA we collect may not be accurate and perhaps needs a second look.
Collecting, organizing, and analyzing data is an important skill for our students to master.  There are so many thought-provoking tasks that can occur during the process.  I hope you enjoy collecting all 45 task cards and encourage your students to think creatively and critically along the way.

August 2, 2015

I'm Participating in the Tried and True Linky Party

As a new blogger, I thought it would be great to participate with an innovative group of teachers offering "tried and true" activities and tips for the first day of school.

My favorite "tried and true" activity for the first day is to play a fun, interactive, trivia game.
The true and false quiz will feel more like a game as students "whip-around" to compare their answer with their partner's answer choice.  The room fills with excitement as students pair up and get their brains energized.  They aren't expected to know the answer but learning the information in a brain activated way is so much fun.  Besides, those active bodies are up, moving around and getting to interact with new friends. How fun is that?

 Click HERE to check out the preview.

The best part of this activity, is that you will engage in a brain-break teaching activity which you can adapt and use over and over to help hook your students into the content you are about to introduce as the school year continues.  You've laid the foundation for engagement throughout the year!

As an introduction or exit activity to content driven lessons, three or four questions are sufficient to arouse student curiosity.  Once they know how to play, it's quick and easy to get a short assessment of a student's new knowledge and understanding.

This set of  trivia activities will fill approximately 20 minutes in three different settings as students learn interesting facts they are eager to share or discuss with others.  It sets the stage for year-long content-driven fun!

August 1, 2015

I met Farley in Vegas ~ Here's My "Currently" Post

At the TpT Conference in Las Vegas, I met Farley from "Oh Boy, Fourth Grade".  We met at the initial gathering just before the sessions began.  Her friend from "Crazy Town" told me about her blog and how successful it has been.  Several talked about being part of the linky event called "Currently".  So fast I am linking on to the August "Currently".

Currently, I am listening to the best book on Audible by Mary Kay Andrews.  She's my newly found favorite author this year.  I'm currently listening to "Save the Date" and I read "Ladies Night Out" in May.  "The Fixer Upper" is next on the list.
I'm loving these last few weeks of summer.  I can't believe fall is around the corner.  The "to-do" list is completely full.  I still have all those appointments to make that I never seem to make time for during the school year.

My husband and I have a quick trip to make before summer ends.  We are off to Charleston and Savannah.  Hopefully, there will be a great summer breeze and we can walk along the beach and enjoy the time together.  I almost feel guilty that summer is almost over and I haven't had much time to spend with my parents.  Our time together is special but I wish they lived closer.

My B2S Random Act of Kindness (RAK) is letting my two favorite teachers know that I am here to help.  There is so much to do with setting up a classroom, designing lessons, gathering materials for work stations, and organizing management systems. I'm ready and willing to dive into the challenge!

Go check out Farley's blog, "Oh Boy, Fourth Grade.  Link-up and check out her new give-away!