January 2010 - Minds in Bloom

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Pick an Emotion – Boredom Doesn’t Count

When I was in college I had to take Statistics (Psych major, Ed minor). The professor that taught the class had a reputation for scaring the bejeebies out of his students –  a reputation that turned out to be true. Not looking like you were actively trying to solve whatever problem he presented was an invitation to ridicule. Voicing that you didn’t understand was worse.

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Tears and Hope: A Reflection

I generally keep Minds in Bloom on topic, but I have also said that along with Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking, there should be a third “C” to this blog – Compassionate Thinking. With that in mind, I offer the following, written by my 16 year old son. My Little Moment of Inspiration I am a lucky person I’m smart, not extremely bad looking, and

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These eight fun dictionary activities will have your students doing things like looking up words, making up words, racing each other, and having fun!

8 Fun Dictionary Activities

Hopefully, you’ve got dictionaries, maybe even a class set. They are, of course, great for looking up words and you will use them to teach dictionary skills, but there are also other great things you can do with these rather large volumes of words. Here are just a few ideas: Send your students on a Dictionary Scavenger Hunt. You can make one up yourself, or get

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Too Much Homework and Cognitive Load Theory

I am so happy to be hosting my first  guest post from the authors of Technology in Class. Technology in class offers a wealth of information, not just on technology, but also on teaching strategies and education issues. They have a knack for finding lots of useful and interesting links as well.   I student taught at a nationally recognized high school for academic excellence. 

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Consider this: Neatness and creativity often can't coexist. If you want your classroom to be a neat one, it likely won't be a very creative one--and vice versa. Remember that creativity is important for helping students to learn, and it shouldn't be omitted due to a need for neatness.

Neatness vs. Creativity

Exactness and neatness in moderation is a virtue, but carried to extremes narrows the mind. -Francois Fenelon Have you ever seen one of those classrooms that is neat to the extreme? Creativity and extreme neatness rarely coexist. Here are some reasons why: Ultra neat classrooms look bare. There isn’t much in the room in terms of art and science supplies or even school supplies above the

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Nix the Negativity

I don’t usually get personal on this blog, but my story does have a point that relates to working with children, so I hope you will read it and get something useful from it as well. So, as you may have gathered from my last post, I have been dealing with some personal challenges – nothing life threatening. Just the break up of a relationship. So,

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Blokus 3D – A Chip off the Old Blok

One of our family holiday gifts this year was the Blokus 3D Game. In addition to the strategy element, one of the reasons I enjoy the original Blokus Classics Game so much is that the shapes of the pieces are so appealing.The same holds true for the 3D version. While the classic game pieces are pentominoes, Blokus 3D features the same shapes that can be

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Getting Your Child into the Gifted Program

Maybe your child is genius-level smart; 99 percentile. You don’t need this post. Your kid will get into the program – gifted programs were made for your kid. Maybe your child is a little above average. You don’t need this post either. It doesn’t matter what you do, your kid isn’t going to get in to a public school gifted program. If you can affords

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Send your students on a multiplication scavenger hunt--right in your own classroom! There are tons of things in your classroom that can be turned into multiplication problems, giving your students much-needed practice in multiplying. Check out this list of ideas for a scavenger hunt!

Send Your Kids on a Multiplication Scavenger Hunt

Multiplication problems are hiding all around the classroom, just waiting to be discovered by your students. Next time your class is feeling restless, and you just can’t bear to make them do another set of math problems, give everyone a clipboard (or every pair–this would be a terrific activity to do with a partner) and challenge them to find and solve as many multiplication problems

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Symbols vs. Reality

The Challenge: Do not read the words, instead say the color of each word. Fast. Red Green Yellow Blue Purple Pink Brown Black Orange Yellow Blue Orange Gray Pink Purple Blue Yellow Green Pink Orange If you are like most people, this was not an easy task. That is because our brains are trained to see things and then draw an instantanious conclusion. But what

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Writing Prompts for students

20 Questions to Ask Kids

https://youtu.be/INFPbnmoTao Click here for this question picker and digital activity! Getting to Know You! One of the best ways to get to know your students is to ask questions. But of course, they need to be the right questions. Aim for open-ended, intriguing questions that will get your students to think deeply if you are using them as writing prompts and to interact if you

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I’m Done! What to do with Bright Students

Intelligence is by nature, a bell curve. In every class there is likely to be a few kids (usually the same few) who understand the concepts immediately and are finished before most of the rest of the class is even halfway done. In a perfect world (maybe one in which teachers had endless, paid planning time), those children would have curriculums designed just for them

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