Featured Post

Websites with a Cause

What it is: I have posted before about a website called Free Rice.  This vocabulary game has the added benefit of donating rice to help end world hunger.  For each correct answer, Free Rice donates 20 grains of rice on your behalf.  This isn’t the only website with a cause.  Aid to Children is a vocabulary game like Free Rice, for every correct answer $.25 are donated to children in need through World Vision.  Free Poverty is a world geography game.  See how many cups of water you can donate by testing your knowledge about the world.  Each correct answer means that 10 cups of clean water have been donated on your behalf.  Free Corn is another vocabulary game like Free Rice, for every 25 visits to the website, 1 kernel of corn is donated.  Free Kibble is a trivia game.  Every day your students play Bow Wow Trivia 20 pieces of kibble are donated to Animal shelters to help feed their hungry dogs.  Free Kibble Kat also donates 20 pieces of kibble per player each day…this time students are raising kibble for cats.   How to integrate Websites with a cause into the classroom: Each of the above websites offers a wonderful opportunity to teach students to look outside their own needs to the needs of others.  Use these websites to teach your students compassion, about other cultures, and about helping those less fortunate.  The websites will also be a great way for your students to practice vocabulary or geography.  Encourage your students to play these games from home when they are “bored” or just for fun.  See how much rice, money, corn, water, or kibble you can raise as a class.  Use these figures to teach graphing and charting.  You can also use the sites to teach persuasive writing.  Students can create a “commercial” for the site, a poster advertising the site, etc.  (I found a commercial that I made as an example for my students on Free Corn…small world!)  Using these websites with my class taught me just how compassionate and concerned my students are.  It was wonderful to see my students come together around a common goal. Using these websites with a cause in your classroom is a real life character education lesson! Tips: Bookmark these sites on classroom computers, kids who finish their work early can sit and play one of the games while they wait for the next activity. Leave a comment and share how you are using Websites with a cause in your classroom.

Read More

Day of Play: Mechanical Bulls, Time Machines, Dancing and Mustaches

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, Create, education reform, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary | Posted on 08-10-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Maybe you have heard of Caine’s Arcade?  It is a little movement, started by an 8 year old.  This video will restore your faith in humanity and inspire you big time!  It inspired us at Anastasis Academy, so much so that when the second video came out, inviting us to a Day of Play, we were all in.

On Friday, Anastasis held our own Day of Play.  We collected boxes (lots and lots of boxes), tape, markers, pipe cleaners, glue, aluminum foil, rubber bands, tubes, scissors and paper.  Then, we let the kids at it.  There were no parameters, no specific rules or directions.  The goal for our students was to dream as big as they could. It is amazing what happens when you invite kids to dream and build apart from any rules or expectations of what the end goal is.  Our students (k-8) gathered in our big “all in” room and built to their hearts content.  The amazing part: no two ideas were the same.  We had plink-o, a fortune teller, a minecraft adventure, a time machine (complete with crystal), ski ball, tilt the ball, an old-school computer made of new parts, a hotdog/snow cone stand, dance dance revolution, ferris wheel, tanks, and a mechanical bull.  You read correctly, a mechanical bull.

The students spent about 3 hours dreaming and building.  Some had plans they created the day before, others came in with a blank slate.  After all of the building (and a break for lunch) we gathered to play each others games.  It was SO much fun!  Students even created their own prizes that could be won (mustaches and uni-brows anyone?).

The casual observer might have watched this all go down and seen chaos or a waste of time.  A closer look would have revealed the rich learning taking place.  The problem solving, critical thinking, discovery, planning, rich conversations, kids working together, designing, creativity.  Have you ever seen those words describe a worksheet? A lecture?  This was such a RICH learning experience in so many ways.  Best of all: it built and fostered a culture of working together, learning from each other and enjoying each other.  That is no small feat.

I saw genius today. I am SO proud of these kids, they truly are geniuses.  Two of our students (different classes and ages) built a tank together.  The tank shot rubber bands and launched a “cannon” water bottle.  These boys decided that the rubber band shooter and cannon should have a “safety” just in case something slipped so that they wouldn’t accidentally shoot anything.  The way they worked this out was truly brilliant.  The cannon water bottle was held in place by a popsicle stick safety.  The rubber band shooter was attached to pipe cleaner that kept the rubber band from releasing unless the safety was off.

Our youngest kids built and manned a hotdog/snow cone stand.  My favorite part of the stand was the signs that they created for it.  One of the signs read “Snow cones choose a color: limeade, raspberry, blueberry, grape.”  I love that it said choose a color, not choose a flavor.  SO stinking cute!

A dance-loving student created the cardboard version of dance, dance revolution.  She created a dance mat with different colors on it.  Then, she climbed behind her box and flashed construction paper colors. When the color showed up, the player had to step on the matching color on the mat.  Periodically, she would hold up signs that said things like, “you are on fire” or “fail”.  Brilliant!

Check out our Day of Play below:

Personalized learning should be available to EVERY child, every day. The Learning Genome Project makes that possible.  Please help me spread the word and contribute!

Comments (1)

[…] to create iPad styluses out of sponge and wire for less than 10 cents.  Last year we held an all-school day of play (highly recommend that!) and marshmallow/spaghetti tower challenge.  This year we have some fun […]

Write a comment