Building the Future: Tinkering and Playful Learning

The following is an excerpt from an article in The Journal by Mike McGalliard and Anne Wintroub. It’s too good not to share. I encourage educators and parents to read and consider the ideas and recommendations presented in the full article.

“Educators and business leaders have more in common than it may seem. Teachers want to prepare students for a successful future. Technology companies…have a vested interest in developing a workforce with the STEM skills needed to grow the company and advance the industry. How can they work together to achieve these goals? Play may [be] the answer.

“We’ve assumed that focusing on STEM skills, like robotics or coding, are important, but the reality is that STEM skills are enhanced and more relevant when combined with traditional, hands-on creative activities. This combination is proving to be the best way to prepare today’s children to be the makers and builders of tomorrow. That is why technology companies are partnering with educators to bring back good, old fashion play.

“In fact many experts argue that the most important 21st century skills aren’t related to specific technologies or subject matter, but to creativity; skills like imagination, problem-finding and problem-solving, teamwork, optimism, patience and the ability to experiment and take risks. These are skills acquired when kids tinker. ” — The Journal

Sources: Image 1, Image 2

Developing Young Authors #MECA14

StorybirdStorybirds are short, art-inspired stories, presentations, reports, or tutorials you and your students make to share, read, and print. Storybird is a fun, collaborative website that can be integrated in all content areas and at all grade levels. It can be an effective resource for teaching parts of a story, the writing process, promoting creativity, and more. STEM and social studies teachers can use Storybird for engaging alternatives to traditional lessons, reports and presentations. Storybird also seamlessly keeps a portfolio of each student’s work.

Participants will be guided in setting up accounts and helped as they begin using Storybird.com’s tools and services. Participants will learn how to use the teacher-specific tools.

Below are my slides from the workshop that I’ve taught a couple of times this week at the Mississippi Educational Communications Conference (MECA) in Jackson, MS. All the workshop materials and resources (including a video tutorial, additional examples, notes, etc.) are available on my wiki, Learning Telecollaboratively.

Storybird: Encourage Creativity, Promote Writing, & Add Excitement to Reports, Presentations, & Tutorials – for #isummitconf

Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories, presentations, reports, or tutorials you and your students make to share, read, and print. Storybird is a fun, collaborative website that can be integrated in all content areas. It can be an effective resource for teaching parts of a story, the writing process, promoting creativity, and more. STEM and social studies teachers can use Storybird for engaging alternatives to traditional lessons, reports and presentations. Storybird also seamlessly keeps a portfolio of each student’s work.

Participants will be guided in setting up accounts and helped as they begin using Storybird.com’s tools and services. Participants will learn how to use the teacher-specific tools.

Below are my slides from this workshop that I’m sharing today at iSummit in Atlanta, GA. All the workshop materials and resources (including a video tutorial, additional examples, notes, etc.) are available on my wiki, Learning Telecollaboratively.

View more presentations from Clif Mims
Example Storybirds

Halloween Brothers on Storybird

 

You’re Mootiful on Storybird

 

Managing Online Identities: Tips for Teachers, Students, and Parents – for #isummitconf

Keeping up with the state of technology is not easy. New social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest continue to emerge and users sign-up and setup profiles without considering the full ramifications of sharing personal information. Practical tips for helping you and your students thoughtfully setup and maintain your online identities will be shared.

Below are my slides from this workshop that I’m sharing today at iSummit in Atlanta, GA. All the workshop materials and resources are available on my wiki, Learning Telecollaboratively.

Favorite Theo. LeSieg (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) Story

(Repost from 01/08/2009)

I recently mentioned that while building My Google Library I decided to identify my very favorite Dr. Seuss story. It didn’t take me long to narrow the list down to Too Many Daves (from The Sneetches and Other Stories) and Wacky Wednesday. Wacky WednesdayBoth of these stories grabbed my imagination as a child and hold fun memories. While agonizing over which of these tales I treasured the most (I’m exaggerating a bit.) I was thrilled to realize that Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) had actually authored Wacky Wednesday under the pseudonym Theo. LeSieg. This realization spared me the dilemma of choosing which of these two beloved stories was my favorite Dr. Seuss tale. I admit it’s a technicality but it works in my favor, so I’ll take it (hahaha).

I’ve included Wacky Wednesday in my library because… well, because it’s wacky. It’s all about a boy’s zany adventures on a far-from-normal Wednesday. My friends and I would sit in the library trying to find all the wacky details in the illustrations. We were exposed to figurative language, creativity, word play, imagination, and so much more without even realizing it. Perhaps the best thing I can say about Wacky Wednesday is that I’ve read it over and over – and isn’t that the greatest testament of a good book?

In Honor of Dr. Seuss’ Birthday – My Favorite Seuss Story

(Repost from 01/04/2009)

I decided to begin building My Google Library so that I can:

  • Share my favorite books with our own children.
  • Easily access books, images, citations, etc. during class, presentations, workshops, etc.
  • Share and suggest resources with other educators

When it came time to add my favorite Dr. Seuss books to my library I realized that I would have to add most of them, so I decided to try and narrow it down to my very favorite book. It took some reflection and deep soul searching (I’m exaggerating.) but I was able to identify my very favorite (Thanks to a technicality that I’ll share in another post.) Seuss story.

The Sneetches and Other StoriesI remember the first time I read Too Many Daves (from The Sneetches and Other Stories). I was sitting at a table in my elementary school library with two of my friends. I read the book silently and the ridiculousness of one naming all 23 of her children the same thing just sent my imagination spinning. It remains one of my favorite poems all these years later. I’ve included the poem below in case you’re unfamiliar with it. Unfortunately, I can’t also include the artwork because it really sales the story – as is typical of all of Seuss’ work.

Discussion
What is YOUR favorite Dr. Seuss story? Why?

—————

TOO MANY DAVES
From: The Sneetches and Other Stories
By: Dr. Seuss

Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons, and she named them all Dave?

Well, she did. And that wasn’t a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants one, and calls out “Yoo-Hoo!
Come into the house, Dave!” she doesn’t get one.
All twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!

This makes things quite difficult at the McCaves’
As you can imagine, with so many Daves.
And often she wishes that, when they were born,
She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn.
And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of them Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot. And one Sunny Jim.
Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face.
Another one Marvin O’Gravel Balloon Face.
And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate…

But she didn’t do it. And now it’s too late.

Related Articles

Children’s Book Author Encourages Our Youngest

As I mentioned last week our youngest and I had a great time reading The Pout-Pout Fish. It was an evening filled with lots of silliness and laughter. We had such a great time and I liked the book so much I wrote a blog post about our fun and included a few ideas regarding educational connections that could be made with the story, rhymes, etc. Less than 3 hours after my blog entry posted I received the following message on Twitter from the book’s author, Deborah Diesen.

It would be an understatement to say that our youngest was excited to have received a message from the book’s author. The reaction was so strong that I felt compelled to tweet the following reply to Deborah.

Needless to say, we since have read The Pout-Pout Fish many more times, we have enjoyed Pout-Pout Fish-inspired videos, a full-scale search is underway to get access to Deborah’s other children’s books, and our youngest has a renewed interest in reading and writing.

Many, many thanks, Deborah!

Free Apps: Everyday Math

The McGraw-Hill School Education Group has made all of their Everyday Mathematics apps available for FREE during the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Conference. The apps are available in iPod Touch/iPhone and iPad versions. Students often find these drill and practice educational games to be engaging for long stretches of time. The NCTM Conference begins April 13th and concludes on April 16th, so be sure to download your free copies of these apps by the end of Saturday.

Addition Top It Beat the Computer Multiplication
Tric-Trac Equivalent Fractions
Subtraction Top-It Divisibility Dash
Baseball Multiplication (1-6 Facts) Name That Number

 

Hat tip to Karyn Keenan and Cindy Brock for bringing this to my attention.