Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Riddle Hunts Video

What Are Riddle Hunts?

Riddle Hunts Wiki

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nim's Island: Built by 2nd Graders

This is the completed Nim's Island, made by two of my second grade girls.


If you would like to know any details on how to make, please contact me at

All credit goes out to my two students and their families. What an exceptional job!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reinventing Play with Kids

I never thought the day would come when the natural instinct in kids to play would diminish. When I talk about play I mean the interaction between kids. What kids call "playing" today is nothing more then self entertainment. With cellphones, ipods, and other personal devices (all of which I enjoy to a point) kids can pass the time through endless apps, games, and other means entertainment. There are great educational uses for all these things, but what I have seen in my students is a loss of group play. My students have trouble constructing meaningful play with their classmates. The case for this is the days my students have indoor recess. I have a closet full of games, puzzles, and other activities that they can use. The problem I have found is that most of them are unfamiliar with group play. They do not know how to get from boredom to fun game time with friends. Because of this conundrum, I have had to walk kids through playing games together. I have to physically get on the floor, help set up, explain the rules, and facilitate a game. Once I do this, the students have a blast and will play the game for days. Then I can work my way out of the picture, and help some other kids make the same jump.

How do you battle a world that is calling our kids to only value self entertainment? Would love to hear your thoughts.

*I am in no means against technology. I am against my students losing the ability to interact as kids, which will form how they interact with others throughout their lives.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Birth of Riddle Hunts (A Hit With Kids)

The idea of clues to lead kids on a scavenger hunt started with Ron Clark. If they started with someone before him, sorry I didn't know! I am certainly not trying to claim the idea as my own, but I think the best name for them would be riddle hunts, so that is what I am referring to.
So with Ron's inspiration, I created a riddle hunt to go with the beginning of The BFG by Roald Dahl. What a hit! At the same time, another class in Louisiana was doing the same riddle hunt. They also had a great time. That got me thinking that maybe this riddle hunt would be a lot of fun for others, so I posted about it on my blog.
Next the hunt got picked up by Mrs. Goodwin in Indiana. Her kids had a blast, check it here:

The BFG scavenger hunt from anita Goodwin on Vimeo.

Then Mrs. Goodwin posted her video on Twitter and it gathered another prospective classroom from Vermont.

This has spawned two important questions: Would you like to give the riddle hunt a shot too?

but more importantly....

How can we make more of these hunts and make them accessible to all?

The wiki for Riddle Hunts is now alive: check it here.

Traveling Ideas #30goals

When I set the goal to infuse technology into my classroom this year, I really had no idea where I was going. It was like setting my goal for California, but having no directions to get there. I knew the end would be sweet, the sights along the way would be savory, but the route to take was up in the air.
In the travel to my goal, there have been some significant highlights. By far, the best stop has been the 30 Goals Challenge put forth by Shelly Terrell. If I have a chance to present to my colleagues one resource for change and growth, this will be it. The challenges have been relevant to reflection, growth, collaboration, professionalism, and so much more.
The amazing thing about the #30 Goals Challenge is that it has the potential to live beyond a schedule. Any great idea that is created with an end will ultimately lose its sting to make an impact. That is what is so great about this idea. It can be started at anytime, followed in any order, and completed on your own time. The challenge also comes with a vibrant Twitter hashtag: #30goals, that allows you to connect with others. The blog posts also link to more resources than you will have time to digest.
The 30 Goals Challenge is essential for teachers who are feeling burned out. It is necessary for new teachers who seek direction. It is a must for teachers who believe they have arrived and have been stuck in unfruitful traditions. Take up the challenge, and get ready for a wild ride.