Spaceteam app probably wasn’t created to help kids learn to decode rapidly, but it just might be the best method available. Spaceteam requires 2-4 players who all work on their own device to collaboratively solve meaningless problems. Each player is given a dashboard of gadgets with novel labels. Players see commands pop up on their screen. The only thing is each command is to be executed not by the player herself, but by one of the other Spaceteam members; therefore, the player who receives the command must quickly shout it out for another player to execute.
The game requires speed, collaboration, multitasking, and most of all, quick reading skills. For students in grades 2 through 6, they play without even realizing they are working on reading skills, and that’s the beauty of it. The game is so engaging and fun, they will beg for more and more, and before you know it, will have fluency that is out of this world! Here are my own kids (mostly grown ups) playing:
Spaceteam is free with upgrades available for $4.99. It is currently available for both iOS and Android devices.
The latest podcast upload from The Bedley Bros EdChat talk show features 2 impromptu guests that we pulled off of a Tweet call out at the last second. It was fun! The two educators who were willing to come on the show and play along with our silliness were Samantha Bates and Robert Hochberg. Here’s the booklist we compiled on the show:
- Choosing Up Sides by John Ritter
- The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
- The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
- Squids Will Be Squids by John Scieszka
- Build With Chrome (App)
- One World Schoolhouse by Salman Khan
- Drive by Daniel Pink
- TNEdChat on Twitter
- He’s the Weird Teacher by Dough Robertson
- The 7 Laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory
- Learn Me Good by John Pearson
- Freakanomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
What makes a student successful? What makes adults successful? Is it how much they know? To me, it’s the character of a man or woman that makes the biggest difference. When I look back over my years of teaching, my biggest frustrations with students (and parents) revolve around issues like responsibility, dishonesty, short-sightedness, dependence, lack of perseverance, and lack of tenacity. As Angela Duckworth so eloquently details in her TED Talk, the biggest indicator of success is grit.
For years, educational “experts” have been telling us that students fail, students are mean, students are depressed because of their lack of self-esteem. I see students with the opposite problem: they are completely self-consumed and think of themselves as invincible. “I can drink and drive and will never get caught or get in an accident.” “I can be lazy and not do any hard work and turn out just fine. I’ll get by somehow.” Today’s young people suffer from a lack of character that revolves around an extreme self-centered attitude.
So if we want kids to focus more on others and develop strong character, what do we as educators do? Build up their SELF esteem? I believe that approach creates more self-centered, ego-inflated citizens. First, we can model other-centeredness, caring, giving, and kindness for our kids. We should be smothering them with positive messages, encouragement, and acts of kindness. In addition, teachers should be highlighting positive peer role models.
Friday, a 12-year old boy had a dream come true: he got a foul ball at a Red Sox game. But instead of standing up, celebrating his moment, and pocketing the ball, he turned to the little girl behind him and handed it to her. Ryan acted without even thinking! He did it because it’s nice to do! What an amazing role model. Let’s lift up Ryan and make him a hero for our kids to admire, rather than all the characterless actors, musicians, and athletes that our society loves to worship. And after you watch this, submit a comment with a link to other inspiring stories of selflessness that we teachers can use as positive role models for our kids.
Mike Lawrence, CEO of CUE, and Steve Hargadon, founder of Classroom 2.0, will be piloting a new Google for Education online training program for teachers. Listen in to learn more from these EdTech pioneers!
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Do you teach students how to measure angles? Here’s an awesome little trick to make it much easier for the kids. Analog clocks can serve as a simple measurement estimation tool. Each number on a clock represents exactly 30 degrees. Teach your kids to draw angles that approximate the hands on a clock.
For example, tell them to draw an angle that measures 120 degrees. Most students from the 4th grade and up can multiply 30’s since it’s just like multiplying by 3’s. So to draw an angle that measures 120 degrees, the student would count by 30’s (30, 60, 90, 120.) 30 times 4 is 120 so the students draw a hand pointing at an imaginary 12 and an imaginary 4 and VOILA!
I’ve been teaching kids to use protractors for years. It’s so challenging for them. When I tried the clock trick, my kids picked it up like *THAT!* Of course it takes a bit of practice. And your students will probably master it a bit quicker if they are able to see each other’s work. You may want to practice skip counting by 30’s before asking the students to draw angles.
Once the kids get good at drawing the angles, it will be much easier for them to flip it around and measure angles that are already drawn. They will first look at the angle and ask themselves how this would look on a clock.
Angela Maiers joins Scott and me to discuss her two best-selling education books. Angela is known world-wide as an excellent keynote speaker, creator of Quest to Matter, an amazing inspirational figure in education, and a true innovator. Mrs. Maiers is the author of Classroom Habitudes and The Passion Driven Classroom. Fasten your seatbelt: it’s time for a wild and inspiring ride with the incomparable Angela Maiers!
Alex Kajitani, the Rappin’ Mathematician and California Teacher of the Year, shares about his new book Owning It. His book helps educators to deal effectively to the roles we play as educators. It’s a must-read book for those who wish to impact not only their students, but the community as well. Don’t forget to share this blog post on Twitter with your PLN.
According to his website, “Daniel H. Pink is the author of five provocative books — including the long-running New York Times bestsellers, A Whole New Mind and Drive. His latest book, To Sell is Human, is a #1 New York Times business bestseller, a #1 Wall Street Journal business bestseller, and a #1 Washington Post nonfiction bestseller. Dan’s books have been translated into 34 languages and have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. In 2013, Thinkers 50 named him one of the top 15 business thinkers in the world. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and their three children.” Scott and I had the privilege of talking to him about his opinions on how to improve classroom practice in the 21st Century.