March 2010 - Minds in Bloom
Most families keep books or odds and ends at their coffee table. Why not make your coffee table a place for a little bit of higher level thinking? These games make great additions to your coffee table for your own family and guests to play.

Higher Level Thinking and Your Coffee Table

Big, expensive books with pretty pictures are nice, but they don’t engage your brain all that much. Consider some of these alternatives for your coffee table. NOTE: As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. Tangram Puzzles: 500 Tricky Shapes to Confound & Astound Puzzles are always a good thing, and tangrams are great for improving those spatial skills. The shapes are challenging, but not impossible,

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Questions are probably a commonly used tool for critical thinking, but there are lots of different ways to use them that can really drive creative and critical thinking. Check out these six ways to use questions that you might not have explored.

6 Creative Ways to Use Questions

Whether they are about a specific area of study or just for fun, questions are a terrific way to get kids thinking critically and creatively. You probably already use questioning as part of your teaching – the Socratic Method. You probably also use them to generate discussions and as journal prompts. Here are a few other creative ways to use questions. At the Start of

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Every teacher has had that class where the students just can't seem to be nice to each other. These seven tips will give you ideas for how to help children get along in your class. We hope you see an improvement in positive relationships and niceness after implementing them!

7 Ways to Help Children to Get Along

One year I had a particularly challenging group of third graders in terms of classroom culture. They just did not get along. They frequently treated each other unkindly. There were, of course, a few ring leaders, but it seemed like many of the other kids just kind of went along.   Here are some of the things my teaching partner and I did to try to make

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Making Text Books Work

Personally, I am not a fan. If I had my way, most of the textbooks bought by school districts would be used as door stops or maybe to hold up shelves. It amazes me how an incredibly interesting topic like pioneers or dinosaurs can be made utterly dull when presented in a textbook. If I were the Queen of Education, then students would participate in

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Do you use name sticks? This is one of my suggestions for my Teaching Tools series, and it's a super cheap and easy way to call on students, form pairs or groups, make selections for activities, and more. Click through to read my suggestions!

Teaching Tools: Handy-Dandy Name Sticks

 Welcome to the second post in the Teaching Tools You Gotta Have series. The point of this series is to highlight simple yet highly useful teaching tools.     Ever get tired of that sea of raised hands? This easy-to-make tool makes it a cinch to choose kids randomly. Randomness adds a little fun to your day. It also keeps kids interested and thinking. Get a

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Top Ten at TpT

A tiny bit of shameless self-promotion:   This is the last week’s Top Ten Items sold on teacherspayteachers.com The ones boxed in yellow are teacher materials that I developed! If you want to have a peek, check out the right sidebar at teacherspayteachers.com or just click any of the dark blue links on the sidebar right here at Minds in Bloom.

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Check out this post about eight fun things to do with idioms and other figurative language elements. Your students will love playing with figurative language!

8 Fun Things to Do with Idioms

Teaching Idioms? I know I’m preaching to the choir when I say that idioms are more fun than a barrel of monkeys. There is a boatload of idioms at GoEnglish. Beyond going over the literal meaning of such phrases as, “It’s raining cats and dogs,” there are many other out-of-this-world things to try. They are the cat’s pajamas, so give them a whirl!    

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