Minds in Bloom is so very pleased to welcome Heidi Raki, of Raki’s Rad Resources, who will share some terrific ideas for using hands-on projects to promote critical and creative thinking. All too often, math and science concepts are taught from a book. Students read some words, look at some pictures, try some equations, and are expected to think about the problem at hand in critical and creative ways. However, many
Journal Prompts Write journal prompts on small slips of paper, and put each one in an egg. Have each student pick an egg and write about whatever prompt he or she gets. Have students return their prompts and use them again on another day. Create your own, or print off some of these 200 prompts terrific writing prompts. Math Line-Up Write a different math
So, maybe in the old days kids made dreidels out of clay (I think there’s a song about that…), but not only is that difficult and expensive (a kiln isn’t cheap), it would also likely result in a dreidel that would break very quickly. Here is a more modern way to make this traditional Hanukkah toy. You will need: One old CD or DVD Sharpies
Here is a fun way for students (or campers, scouts, or whatever you have) to test their powers of observation while enjoying nature. A nature walk is also a great way to introduce the concept of camouflage. To do this activity, you will need a short stretch of trail in the woods, ideally one that is not used a great deal – a couple hundred feet is
Asking open-ended, engaging questions is a great way to get to know your students and for them to get to know each other. Use these ones as discussion prompts or as writing prompts for journals or notebooks. How would life be different if there were no electricity? List three different ways. Explain a flower to someone who has never seen or heard of one before.
A class Memory Wall is essentially a way to work as a group to remember the highlights of the school year. While individual projects like memory books and end-of-the-year essays are great, the advantage of the Memory Wall is that by working as a group, you remember more – one person’s memory of an event sparks another memory from someone else. It’s also great way to
Here is a fun math scavenger hunt to try with your students! How many zeroes are in one million? What is an object that is exactly five inches long? How many prime numbers come before 100? How many nickels are in twenty dollars? What do all the numbers on a computer keyboard add up to? What is the circumference of your head? How many stacked
Scavenger hunts are a terrific way to get kids engaged in what they are learning. Children love the challenge of finding everything on the list, and when you are done, you can discuss what they have found and which items were particularly difficult or easy and why. Here is a fun scavenger hunt to use for Earth Day. Nature Scavenger Hunt The best place to
You’ve read the books. You have probably seen the movies…so why not try these Harry Potter Would You Rather Questions? Great fun for your and your students! Would You Rather… 1 Have Ron for a friend or Have Hermione for a friend 2 Fight the basilisk or Fight a dementor 3 Spend a weekend with Dudley Dursley or Spend a weekend with Kreacher the house elf
One of my mentors from my early teaching days said that we should strive to give students “freedom within structure.” Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Grids are one excellent way to do that. To make a Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Grid, simply put nine more or less equal projects, assignments, or activities into a 3×3 grid. Students must then choose three of the projects to complete. However, just like in
Writing thank you notes for holiday gifts doesn’t have to be a chore. Here are 10 creative thank you note ideas to help make writing thank yous fun! Make thank you notes into an art project: Get out the crayons, the glitter, and the glue. Have your child make a picture (ideally incorporating the gift), and then write a note underneath or on the back.
Here is a great project to do with little kids this holiday season. Each recipe makes a single gingerbread man, so this is great if you don’t want to make a bunch. The steps are easy to follow for little people with some adult assistance. If you do this with a group, then give the kids margarine tubs or cereal bowls to mix in and
Winter Break Scavenger Hunt How many letters are in your full name? Who has the longest name in your family? Find something that is eight inches long. What exactly is Wassail? Find something that is red and white. Find something that is used to fix something. What is the first ingredient in eggnog? Find something with numbers on it. On what date does Hanukkah start next
Want to add a little holiday magic to your journal writing program? Try this free journal prompt choice grid. At the start of the week, students choose three of the nine prompts. Since they must choose three in a row, they will have to make some choices, weighing one prompt against another. You can get the whole set of Holiday Tic-Tac-Toe Journal Prompts here. Or you
There are many, many great ways for students to respond to literature. Students especially enjoy creative book reports. These will work for almost any book and are especially good when students are reading independent book selections. A quick web search will reveal that there are many ideas out there for creative book reports, but they are not all good ideas. Here are, in my opinion,