Posts tagged ‘creativity’

100 Word Challenge

“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.” By Ayn Rand

I first heard about the 100 Word Challenge on Twitter and thought it was an awesome idea. The 100 Word Challenge is a free weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16 created by Julia Skinner.  Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words and students can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece. You can learn more about the 100 Word Challenge here.

I have helped teachers implement this concept in their classrooms different way; so I thought I would share a few ways as one of the ideas might fit your classroom.

  1. Have a picture up on the board for morning work each day or during transitions if you are in secondary. If you don’t want to do it everyday, some teachers have “Moment Mondays” where they participate in this concept. It is a great way to also bring in global relevance and/or current events.
  2. Use an image to open a new unit (such as the one below, I have used to open up the  water cycle unit) and or close out a unit.
  3. When you finish a lesson early, have a few pictures ready to use. Or have a folder of pictures for students to chose from when students finish their work early so they can be working on it.
  4. Use as a fun homework assignment. I am not a fan of homework (read previous blog post: Why I don’t give homework anymore) but some schools have policies that teachers have to give homework and this is a meaningful and purposeful homework that allows for students to be creative and critically think.
  5. I have used this as a way to start off Professional Development. I tweak it by saying 100 characters vs words.  I have them create a Tweet or caption of the photo as they are walking in. This gets the participants to start thinking about the topic through their lens.

*For younger grade such as K-1, you can have them do a 10 word challenge.

It doesn’t have to be a paragraph story but you can change it up and have the students write a 100 word song, poem or letter etc or even better let them chose! The main focus is to integrate creating writing through critical thinking (hence the 100 word rule).

Here are some picture examples and/or ones you can use to help get you stated.

clous

frog

boy

sun:moon

Giraffe-Leap-Frog

* Make sure to always use an image that has a creative commons license, which means you are free to copy it/share along one that is appropriate for the age level you teacher.

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Engage Students Through Creating Podcasts

“Pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator.” Michael Fullan

Podcasts are a series of audio recordings that you can listen to at anytime. Podcasts are great in the classroom because students can show what they know in a different format and other students can listen to them and learn too. Here are five ways you can use podcasting in the classroom:

  1. Book Talk: When students finish a great book they want to share, they can create a podcast highlighting the book for the book talk series. Other students can listen to the podcasts to see what book they might want to read next.
  2. How To:  This podcast series can be subject based on open to all areas. Students post “how to’s” to show what they know and help other students. For example: How to annotate text or how to apply properties of operations as strategies to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients.
  3. Student Spotlight: Spotlight a student each week. Students share about themselves to help build classroom culture and climate.
  4. Untold Stories: Students choose a different perspective of a historical event, book etc.
  5. Current Events: Students chose a current event, summarize the event and why it is important.

iphone-voice-memos-app

It is important to plan, produce and the publish! Before the students record their script, they must have it written out and get it approved by me. Then the students produce the podcast using the voice memos app that is on the iPad. Below are the directions that are posted, which I have previously modeled for them. I also have a podcast helper if a student gets stuck. 

  1. Press the record (red button) and start your podcast.
  2. When you are finished click on the record button again to stop the recording.
  3. Then click done and it will ask you to save your voice memo, click save.
  4. Label it with your last name and episode number. Example: Thompson E1.
  5. Click on your recording again and it will open up and give you three options share, edit or delete. Click on the share button and email it to me (the teacher).

Once they send it to me, I edit the files using iMovie to add the theme music and take out any pauses etc. You can also use Garageband to edit as well. Depending on the age level students can do this process too.  Finally you publish; I chose to use my website as the host for the podcasts. This way the students always know where to find them.

Here are a few other tools that have helped with podcasting in my classroom:

Podcasting tips: Use this resource before writing your script to get ideas.

Script Timer: Use this web tool to help determine the length based on your script.

Benefits of Podcasting:

  • Students are practicing reading, writing and listening based on multiple content standards.
  • Students are using high order thinking skills to create and critically think.
  • Students are being assessed in a different way.
  • Podcasts don’t have to be individual but students can collaborate too!

 

Please share ideas you have done in your classroom using podcasting!

411 on Makerspaces

“The mind has exactly the same power as the hands; not merely to grasp the world but to change it.” By Colin Wilson

A Makerspace is a learning environment where everyone can discover, collaborate, and create things. It is not defined as a certain space but rather an area of exploration, experimentation and tinkering. Many schools have been adding Makerspaces into their media centers but that is not the only place they have to be. You can add them into your classroom as well. There is a misconception that Makerspaces have to have technology such as a 3d printer and this is not true. I have seen many awesome Makerspaces with no technology in them such as Fashion Makerspaces. Ask parents to donate supplies or apply for a grants through Donors Choose or Go Fund Me: Education to help launch your Makerspace.

Here are some examples items you can put into your Makerspaces but not limited too:

Helpful Articles and Resources:

www.makerspaces.com

7 Things You Should Know About Makerspaces

Book: Invent to Learn

My previous Makerspace posts:

Makerspace in Education

Ways to Use Blokify – Without a 3D Printer in the Classroom

Adding Creativity and Imagination to the Classroom

I would love to hear what you put into your Makerspaces.

Using Memes in the Classroom

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

Memes are images, videos, etc that has a message attached to it. Memes have been made popular on social media sites but they can also be popular in the classroom or in Professional Developments. Below are 5 ways you can use memes and how to make one.

  1. Create rules/procedures for your classroom, school or PD session using memes
  2. Have students create for a message they need to convey for any topic (Ex political or current event)
  3. Use them to teach digital citizenship. For example teaching students to recognize memes versus truths
  4. Have students create one for a character in a book they are reading
  5. Have students create motivational posters or create messages for PD sessions

steve-jobs-real.jpgbuilt-this-meme.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like using Make a Meme site because it’s free and simple. First decide what you are creating a meme for (what is your goal). Then follow these three easy steps”

  1. Create an account to login (FREE)
  2. Explore meme pictures or create your own based on your goal.
    • To make mine above I used an app called bitemoji  to make my avatar (that looks like me) and then uploaded it to the site.
  3. Add the text content and click create your meme
    • Note you can make the meme private or public. I made mine private so only I can use it and it can not be found in the gallery.

Some memes can be inappropriate for students, so a level of supervision is recommended. We must remember to always remind our students of our digital citizenships expectations and that students under 13 need permission to use web tools based on the COPPA Law . Other sites you can create meme’s with are Google drawings, Know Your Meme and Meme Creator.

As always I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on using memes in the classroom.

Are you helping to inspire your students creativity or are you stifling them?

“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” By William Pollard

It is a simple question you need to ask yourself as an educator; are you helping to inspire your creativity or are you stifling them? Are you allowing the students voice and choice or are you (the teacher) always needing to be in control? Are you asking the right questions through exploration or are you demanding right answers? See what happens when third grade students think there is a correct answer:

Interesting isn’t it! If we give our students a safe learning environment with a foundation but allow there to be no ceiling, they have room to be creative and still master standards. If you have not seen Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? It is a must watch.

How can you foster more creativity in the classroom? Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Allow student voice and choice on assignments

2. Model creativity.

3. Incorporate Genius Hour into the schedule

4. Help students believe in themselves to be creative (sometimes we stifle this by setting limits without meaning too – such as rubrics)

5. Think about how you ask the question and what your expectation is for the students to answer

6. Encourage Design Thinking (Here is a previous blog post on this)

7. Assess in different ways. Allow students to show mastery through an iMovie or Skit, it doesn’t always have to be paper/pencil.

8. Allow for mistakes and a safe learning environment

9. Not everything needs a grade. Create some assignments to help students master a skill but don’t grade them, use them for feedback and improvement which fosters creativity.

10. Get out of the students way

Further reading on creativity:

Why Creativity Now? 

Fundamentals of Creativity

Sparking Student Creativity: A Practical Ways to Promote Innovation Thinking and Problem Solving

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