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Ideas for the Brain ... help needed!

Do you have a Pinterest account?

If so, how many board do you have?

Do they have a focus?

Do your boards have interesting names?

How many times do you look back at the pins you have already pinned to those boards?

One of my board is named Ideas for the Brain

And there are only nine pins on it right now …

But in my opinion, they are nine pretty good things or at least I thought so when I pinned them :)

Oh no …

I just noticed that two of the pins are on there twice …


I guess that means I really liked it both times I pinned them!

One of my double pins is from the Shiny Happy Teachers blog:

Now I know at first glance, the instruction that is written on the board does not seem very exciting or interesting for the brain …

But if you go read about her experience and watch the videos, I bet you will understand why I pinned it on my Ideas for the Brain board!

Now for my second double pin:

(notice I said double pin and not double chin … that is a whole different story!!!)

At first glance, you can probably guess why this pin is on my Ideas for the Brain board …

And it from one of my favorite sources: EducationCloset

Here is a teaser to get you even more excited about going to check it out:

Have you ever wished that you could see what part of the brain is being activated when a child has a lightbulb moment?  You see the look on their face, they get excited about your content and they just start getting their hands dirty with exploring the information.  Or maybe you’d like to see what part of the brain SHOULD be activated but is not, so that you can take out another strategy from your bag of tricks.

I hope you find things all around you that make you think …

Maybe these pins will lead you along a learning path or just help open up some windows of possibility …

What have you found or pinned that you think I should add to my Ideas for the Brain board?



Add a Twist ...

I have an idea for a learning project:


  • work in pairs or small groups to research folk tales from various countries
  • read and become familiar with the stories through a variety of comprehension and retelling activities
  • create storyboards in preparation for a retelling project to include a beginning, middle, and end with a focus on change over time

So how can I add a digital twist to this project?

  • discuss aspects of digital storytelling that can be used based on the tool or app used for creating
  • with guidance, select the app or apps that best fits the needs of the retellling
  • creating with apps will allow students to use creativity and critical thinking to design images and record sounds to effectively communicate the retelling


Each of the apps listed above can fulfill a unique need for communication.  

Students who wish to use animation can work through the tutorials on the GoldiBlox app to learn that skill before using that app to create a movie.

The WriteAboutThis app is designed to encourage creative writing by allowing students to add images, text, and audio recording. In order to meet the needs of all students, there is even a new dictation option built into this app.

ShadowPuppetEDU will allow students to select images from the ipad and then add narration to the group of images.

Students can choose to use one app for the whole project or can use app combinations to create an image using one app and then bring it into another app for the storytelling piece.

By having these three apps as choices for this project, students can focus on the story that is being told and not spend so much time focusing on the technology part of the project.

We could use the reflector app to display the work on the ipad on the computer screen which could be connected to a projector or large monitor.  Students will be able to share their stories for peer feedback all along the way.

After the retelling projects are complete, there needs be a bigger audience for these creations (demonstations of learning) that just me, the teacher …

Back when I first taught 4th grade, I found that students seemed to work harder if they knew someone else was going to see it …

When I said I was going to display the finished work in the hallway

Well, now stapling papers in the hall is not the only way to share student work …

Students can share their creations in online portfolios …

Or on class websites …

Maybe a padlet wall could work too …

There are so many options …

You have to decide what will work best or you and best meet the needs to the students!




And I can't wait ...

The journey of life takes many twists and turns …

My trip on the journey is heading in a new direction …

Or I guess back to a pit stop from before …

Almost 5 years ago, I moved from a school to the district office in instructional technology

I have grown and learned so much since then

And now it is time for a change …

In January, I am going to be a Gifted Education Specialist serving three elementary schools!!!

And I am sooooooo excited!

This is a chance for learning

A chance for creativity

And a chance to have a different kind of impact

I will use the things I learned from being a classroom teacher, gifted education teacher, instructional technologist, Wonderopolis ambassador, and mom to help make learning come alive to challenge students and encourage growth …

And I can’t wait!




photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc



5 of my favorites from this week!

Here are 5 of my favorite finds from the week:

Critical Digital Literacy Explained for Teachers

Critical digital literacy is one of the essential required competencies for the 21st century educator. In an era of unprecedented personal publishing, infobesity (information obesity) becomes a real issue. Teachers need to be able to critically  assess and evaluate the materials and knowledge they come across. This could be done through adopting a critical thinking lens to filter things that could otherwise unconsciously affect one’s stance and interpretation of  a given meaning.


What Happens When We Write Every Day

Here’s what Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, has to say on the subject:

Frequency makes starting easier.  Getting started is always a challenge.  It’s hard to start a project from scratch, and it’s also hard each time you re-enter a project after a break.  By working every day, you keep your momentum going.  You never have time to feel detached from the process


North Star Smart Stars Survey



Brown Bag STEM Challenge


In the last ten weeks, I’ve shared some of my favorite “Brown Bag” STEM Challenges- activities and lessons that can easily be incorporated into a formal classroom or an informal learning setting.

All of these activities can be integrated for minimal cost, involve materials that can be found in almost any store and whose supplies are so simple that they fit in a brown bag (well, almost all of them…).







A Thinking Day  ...