Back in September, we posted links and resources to promote growth mindsets. Here is the blog post, Mindset. If you have not read Carol Dweck’s book, The New Psychology of Success, it is a must read! Here are additional videos to post and share with your students.
Generosity…’tis the season. This time of year we give gifts to show our appreciation and love for others. It is not always necessary to buy a gift. It is just as important to share ourselves with others. There are many ways to be charitable and unselfish. Read and listen to the books below to discover ways you can be generous without buying a present.
Listen to the story of a beautiful fish that learns to make friends by sharing his most prized possessions—his shimmering scales. For a printed version – click here. What is your most prized possession? Would you be willing to share it?
Read and listen to the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. What were all the different ways the tree gave to the boy throughout his life? Even though the tree receives nothing in return, how does giving make the tree happy ?
- Have you ever given something away and later wished that you hadn’t?
- When you give something to someone, do you expect something in return?
- Would you give something you really need to someone you love if they really need it, too?
Click on the Gift Box. Write a gift to someone that doesn’t cost money. Color in the bow and the box.
Be inspired by the paper bag. Black Friday usually marks the start of holiday shopping. This year many stores are opening on Thursday. Give students the opportunity to “Respect the Turkey,” save the environment, and design a gift by offering them the opportunity to participate in the “Paper Bag” Challenge.
Kick-off the event with one or both of these books.
1. Did you know that Margaret Knight invented the machine for folding flat-bottom paper bags? These machines are still used today, and she didn’t stop there. This amazing woman received over 20 patents and conceive almost 100 different inventions and all during the 1800’s! In the Bag!: Margaret Knight Wraps It Up written by Monica Kulling is a wonderful biography for all ages.
2. Robert Munsch’ The Paper Bag Princess is another must read aloud. Princess Elizabeth is resourceful in a humorous fashion. This fairy tale provides a great twist and lesson for all.
Task: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Did you know that if every household reused a paper grocery bag 60,000 tress would be saved? Help reduce your family’s environmental footprint this holiday season by redefining a paper bag(s) into an original, ingenious gift! Make a present for someone using a paper bag(s).
Share this video, Ideas Recycling Bottles, to activate creative thinking for students.
“You got this in the bag!”
All over the news, you are hearing about Black Friday starting a day early! Some stores plan to be open for holiday shopping on Thanksgiving. Even though that is a great discussion to have with your students, this post is more about toys making the headlines. From this year’s Hall of Fame winners to Hello Kitty’s 40th birthday, these events are a great opportunity to have student read, research and debate toys.
Why wait three year for Toys Story 4? Have students write their own sequel! Here is a video clip about its release in 2017.
Have students read or listen to NPR’s report Rubik’s Cube, Bubbles And Green Army Men Join Toy Hall Of Fame Bubbles, Army men, and the Rubik’s cube were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
Have students research past recipients. Determine if your favorite toy is in the National Toy Hall of Fame. Nominate it and post reasons to the class blog on why it should be considered. After responding to the class blog, have students complete application on the National Toy Hall of Fame website – Nominate.
Hello Kitty was created 40 years ago to inspire happiness, friendship, and sharing across the world. Since her first appearance on a coin purse in 1974, she has become a global phenomenon and friend to millions. Happy 40th Anniversary, Hello Kitty! Check out Hello Kitty’s official website. Did you know that the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles is hosting a “Hello Kitty” exhibition? Now until April, the evolution of Hello Kitty products, along with rare pieces are featured.
Give students the opportunity to find out why this toy has been around for forty years. Have students ask their parents about a toy they played with when they were younger and if it is still around today. Personally, I am so sad that Mrs. Beasley is no longer available (except for eBay at a very high price.) Have students post their parents’ responses.
Another post on gratitude! You can never be too thankful.
November marks Thanksgiving and this month’s superpower, gratitude. Gratitude is being aware of and being thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.
Grateful: A Love Song to the World – Musicians Patel and Nahmod brought dozens of people from around the world to create this song. They were inspired by the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge, and the song is a celebration of all that is a blessing in life. After 21 Days, people learn that “gratefulness” is a habit cultivated consciously and a muscle built over time. This music video, created within a week by a team of volunteers, displays all this is beautiful in our lives.
- Read about ‘An Unforgettable Classroom Exercise’ that a 4th grade teacher conducted with her students. Do the same for your class.
- Have students create a scrapbook and storyline similar to Lisa McCourt’s The Most Thankful Thing.
- Write down a few of the things you’re grateful for in this moment. Share them on the class blog.
- Create colorful turkeys. Have students create names for crayons or paint. Share names of colors and brainstorm how the creator came up with the colors. Use creativity to rename colors based on things they are thankful for. Ex. Dad’s Saucy Red, Soccer Field Green, Jennifer Blonde, etc. Students color in the crayons and display they on a bulletin board.
- Watch the Science of Happiness: An Experiment in Gratitude. Do the same experiment with your class.
After 14 months of traveling in 42 countries, it’s the story of a guy named Matt doing the gratitude dance with a cast of thousands around the globe … from the streets of Mumbai to a rock formation in Ireland to a tulip field in Netherlands!
The next time you’re tempted to complain, do the Gratitude Dance–actually DO it!–and see what happens.
Respect for others and a shared responsibility for each other, can change the world, but first we must change ourselves. If you have the desire and the time, you can “Change the World.”
We use our thoughts, words and actions to help others.
- We respect others opinions even we they are different from our own.
- We care about others rights and well-being.
- We set aside our own needs to help others.
- We understand that no one is more important or better than others. We are all equal.
- We wish others to have the same privileges as ourselves.
- We are fair and act honestly even when no one is watching.
It all starts with ourselves. Be responsible and you can “Change the World.”
Boxes for Katje By Candace Fleming and illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen is based on real events involving a charitable effort that begins with a girl and her family who send a care package to Holland during World War II. The effort grows to envelop both communities. Host LeVar Burton introduces helping groups powered by young people—the Global Ambassadors, who build goodwill and do community service while learning about cultures through international communications and fundraising, and Backyard in a Box, youngsters who create and send kits to help kids in Hurricane Katrina devastated areas re-establish and enjoy their backyard. This episode demonstrates that acts of kindness and generosity, big and small, make a difference to people in need.
Out of honesty, compassion, and respect comes Responsibility. This includes both personal responsibility and public responsibility. Responsibility is about action, and it is also educate ourselves so we can live up to our full potential. Encourage students to bring in socks, soap and chocolate for an organization. Our school is planning on collecting these items for soldiers/veterans. The boxes will be on display and labeled as “BOXES FOR TROOPS.”
- Explore the interactive website by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Role Play – Responsibility (Use as a discussion starter or a writing prompt.) You borrow a great book from your classroom. It’s a lot of fun to read. By accident, you spill chocolate milk on the book. It’s a mess. You take the book out of your book bag as soon as you get to your classroom. The teacher is busy. You could just take the book back to the shelf and leave it there. What should you do? Why?
- Visit Education-World.com for additional lesson ideas centered around the themes of citizenship, honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility, and courage.
- Research a region your SS class is studying. Find an organization to donate supplies to a family in need.
Scientists believe that the largest number our brains can truly understand is 100,000. But you have read about the salaries of professional athletes, the prices of homes, the cost of college, and local lottery winners. So what does one million really look like?
You are going to create a bulletin board display of a “newspaper million” using the classified section of various newspapers. Feel free to ask classmates for their help. Cut out a two inch square of the classified section. Decide which side you will use. Which side will give you a larger total when all the numbers are added together? You are allowed to use any number listed but you add each digit individually. So this phone number (845) 123-4567 adds up to 45. Add up all the numbers in that square section, and record the value across the square. You may use a calculator to keep track of the numbers and/or to check your work. Staple the square to the bulletin board. Click here for an example – classified sample.
When you complete a row, record the total on a post-it. As you build your bulletin board, take photos, record the total amount at that time. Record all your thoughts. Did you make changes? What part of the classified did you cut-out? What estimates can you make? What questions, thoughts, concerns are you having?
At the end of your project you will create a documentary of all the steps to be posted and shared on this blog. You will use animoto, photopeach, iMovie, etc. to give others a clear understanding of how much is a million.
Good luck and have fun!
Some schools might be having Fall book fairs. Some students might already be skipping their reading because of Fall sports. Any time is a good time to remind students the importance of reading. Start with a statistic. Embed one of the videos below or another of your choice. Ask students to recommend a book for their classmates.
Do you know that if you read for 14.2 minutes per day, you will be exposed to 1,146,000 words per year?
Recommend a good book and share this superpower. Post your recommendation below.
Do you know that if you read for 14.2 minutes per day, you will be exposed to 1,146,000 words per year?
“The more you read. The better life you will have.”
Recommend a good book to your classmates on this blog post.
Monday, October 13th is Columbus Day. It is a National holiday to celebrate Christopher Columbus and his arrival to the new world.
Below is a video for older students from the History Channel. The following link is a more appropriate video for younger students by National Geographic for Kids: Chrsitopher Columbus.
Embed the video to your blog. Have students create a response pretending to be Christopher’s parents. What would his mom and dad have to say about his voyage? Would they want him to go? Would they discourage him from sailing? Select an opinion and convince their son to listen to them.
Try the following games for students to test their knowledge. Click the images to begin.
Use the poem below with younger students to predict the rhyming word.
In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue .
He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain .
He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way .
A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go .
Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked while others snored .
Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep .
Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand .
October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew !
“Indians! Indians!” Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride .
But “India” the land was not;
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot .
The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice .
Columbus sailed on to find some gold
To bring back home, as he’d been told .
He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain .
The first American? No, not quite.
But Columbus was brave, and he was bright .
Poem taken from www.teachingheart.net/columbus.htm
Additional Resources – http://www.palmbeachschools.org/ec/SocialStudies/documents/ColumbusDay1.pdf
I Have an Idea What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada is a must read that I used with my third graders. Its black and white text and images burst into vibrant colors when the main character just can’t keeps the idea down. Not knowing what was created, the protagonist doesn’t know, “‘What do you do with an idea?’” After feeling comfortable with it around, it just won’t go away. Eventually a space place and encouragement, grows the idea with imagination, amazement and perseverance. This is the perfect message I want for my students to receive about themselves and my classroom.
I will start by sharing the trailer. Discuss some ideas they had and what happened.
Share Yamada’s story and discuss the character’s traits.
Provide students the opportunity to jotting their own ideas on paper. We will use this worksheet – I have an Idea and color it in. In addition, I plan to take photos of their “eyes” and display on a bulletin board with their I Have an Idea” heads. Here is an image from Pinterest that inspired me.
It is never too late to discuss Banned Book Week, September 21-27th.
The Library of Congress created an exhibit, “Books that Shaped America,” that explores books that “have had a profound effect on American life.” In addition they released a list of books from that exhibit that have been banned/challenged. Select here – Celebrating the Freedom to Read. This is a great opportunity to open awareness and debate issues.
- Select and read one of the novels.
- Post a comment about a title that surprised them.
- Interview and parent regarding a book that caused great controversy during their teenage years.
- Research other books not on this list that were challenged and/or banned from schools.
- 19 Banned Books If They Were Made Appropriate
- Too Graphic? 2014 Banned Books Week Celebrates Challenged Comics
- 33 Must-Read Books To Celebrate Banned Books Week
These info-graphics from Huffington Post just might entice a few high schoolers to start reading some titles!
Warning: This post has all the resources you ever wanted and needed on Mindsets. I was fortunate enough to hear Carol Dweck speak about her work at the National Conference in Gifted Education in Atlanta, Georgia. Her research is invaluable to students, parents and teachers. This post includes videos, articles, books, quotes, graphics, for all ages. Learning about the brain and our own thinking help all of us to be motivated, independent, self-directed, life-long learners.
Sports or School – It doesn’t matter. It is understanding that in order to develop your talents you always need to work hard. Be a M.I.S.I.L.(Motivated Independent Self-Directed Learner) It is up to you.This film was developed by sportscotland to help young athletes understand what ‘talent’ is and how you can get good at sport – it’s more of a choice than you might think.
Growth Mind-Set vs Fixed Mind Set – What are you?
An explanation on why it is important to be “independent self-directed learners” –
How Your Brain Learns
Cells that Fire Together, Wire Together
By: Barbara Bray
Neuroplasticity means that if you perform a task or recall some information, that causes different neurons to fire in concert. It strengthens the connections between those cells. Researcher and middle school teacher Judy Willis, in this same article, wrote that she saw that her students were more motivated when they knew that they were all fully physically capable of building knowledge and changing their brains. She provided a few tips to create a learning environment that encourages students to learn:
- Practice, practice, practice. When students learn content in different ways, repeat an activity and then retrieve that memory they build thicker, stronger, more hard-wired connections in the brain.
- Put information in context. Tap into already-existing pathways by recognizing that learning is the formation of new or stronger neural connections. Stop rote memorization of isolated facts. Facilitate students connecting the dots and how the concept they are learning is related to past experiences and the real-world.
- Let students know that this is how the brain works. Intelligence is not predetermined especially for students who believe they are ‘not smart.’ If students realize they have the power to change their brains, they will be empowered to learn more and in different ways.
Growth Mindset Quotes – Select on, reflect and post a comment.
Articles about cultivating a Growth Mindset:
“How Not to Raise a Quitter” by Dr. Michele Borba
“Teaching Grit: How to Help Students Overcome Inner Obstacles” by Vicki Zakrzewski
“Teaching Persistence: How to Develop Student Stamina” by Norene Wiesen
“Impact of Mindset on Teaching and Learning” by Drew Frank
“Growth Mindset Framing” by Mindset Words Educator
Books about Mindsets:
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Children’s Books about Mindsets:
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by: Joann Deak
The Most Magnificent Thing by: Ashley Spires
What Do You Do With an Idea? by: Kobi Yamada
Beautiful Oops! by: Barney Saltzberg
The OK Book by: Amy Rosenthal