Brain Breaks 2.0 – GoNoodle

GN.png

I have been incorporating brain breaks into my classroom for over 5 years now using my trusty brain break cards. However, last year the Wellness Teacher introduced me to GoNoodle and I am hooked.

If you are a teacher, I probably do not have to tell you about the importance of frequent breaks for learners. But in case you haven’t heard of this new craze, a brain break is simply a break for your brain that incorporates some movement. Although it sounds disruptive, these quick breaks actually increase engagement and stamina in students.The short periods of exercise improve the physical health, mental awareness and educational success of children.

GoNoodle is like youtube for brain breaks. A free account allows you to set up a class and watch videos that vary in length and content. After selecting an avatar, you can make it grow and morph as you accumulate time spent watching videos. Check it out and I know you and your student will be glad you did.

Types of Video

  • indoor recess videos
  • yoga
  • mindfulness
  • guided dance
  • free movement
  • kinesthetic learning
  • calming
  • stretching
  • test readiness
  • zumba

Since it is testing season, I should highlight the video – Take a Breath. My students really enjoy doing this before any test prep activities!

Advertisements

Peace, Love, Summer – Keeping Kids Well Fed Over Summer Break

While summer is an exciting time for students and parents alike, for many families that rely on free and reduced lunch programs, it also brings with it a sense of fear and anxiety as it also brings these programs to an end.  During the school year, 21 million school children receive free or reduced-price lunch — but during summer, 90% of those 21 million kids have limited or no access to meals they receive when school is in session. 

ConAgra Foods partnered with Kid President, Robby Novak, to inspire Americans to take action so that all kids can “be awesome this summer.”

The ConAgra Foods Foundation is donating the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America for every view, like, or share of this video through July 31st!

While I am by NO means a supporter of Con Agra and their #gmo policies, feeding kids is something I can get behind. SO VIEW, LIKE, AND SHARE!!!! You’ll be helping to feed kids across this fine country of ours by doing so.

 

 

#whatthekidsneedtoknow – How to Be More Awesome!

Need to be inspired? Look no further!

(Plus, who out there doesn’t need a reason to dance?)

Image

If you aren’t familiar with Kid President (@iamkidpresident) and his incredibly inspiring and humorous videos, now it the time to cuddle up with your laptop and visit his YouTube site, as it is long overdue! His YouTube Channel, SoulPancake is full of incredibly inspiring videos that have been enjoyed by millions. With so many great videos it’s hard to choose a favorite, but I would say that ‘A Pep Talk’ is definitely one of my top 3!

Image

I recently shared with my students this video: Kid President’s Letter To A Person On Their First Day Here

 At the end of the video, Kid President invites the viewer to share with him their own thoughts on #whatthekidsneedtoknow. He invites us to compile a list of things that make an awesome person, and share it with the world to give more people a reason to dance! What’s not to love about this assignment? It gets students to focus on the things they want to see more in themselves and others, while also reflecting on what things in life are really important to happiness and survival … DANCING AND CORNDOGS!

Image

In groups, my students set out to share their own life lessons to a person on their first day here. The first step, was compiling a list of at least five life lessons they wanted to focus on as a group. The second step, was to create a storyboard for their multimedia presentation. The last step, using Domo powered by GoAnimate, was to produce a cartoon video depicting #whatthekidsneedtoknow according to them! (If you want to learn more about Domo, visit this past blog post of mine).

Image

The following are links with what they came up with. I may be biased, but I think they did a rather AWESOME job!

Group One

Group Two

Group Three 

Group Four

Image

Exciting News: A Kid President Show is coming to the HUB network!

Wonder – Teaching About Bullying and Acceptance Through Literature

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

wonder

So if you know me, you know I absolutely LOVE to read. I am that annoying friend who will gladly push book selections on you if you ever make the mistake of telling me that you enjoy to read! I own tons and tons of books and enjoy nothing more than sharing them with others. I am always eager to know if my friends too enjoyed them as I always feel a certain sense of triumph when I’ve paired a friend to a book they’ve loved. In short, I am a huge book nerd!

A few years ago, a close teacher friend of mine, Stephanie, asked if I wanted to read the book “Wonder” with her. I dove right in and ordered the book without hesitation. Once I opened it, I was hooked and couldn’t (and didn’t) put it down until I was done. To say that the book was an emotional journey for me, would only begin to describe the effect it had on me. If you have not yet read “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, I strongly urge you to do so. (You can totally borrow my copy!)

This year, I decided to read the book to my class because I feel it encompasses so many life lessons, and illustrates it in such a believable and moving way. I love how the language and characters in the story are so realistic, and so I really felt like the students in my class would be really moved by this story. Well by day one, they too were hooked!

Here is a quick synopsis taken from Wikipedia: The story “Wonder” is about a 10-year-old boy with facial deformities named August Pullman (Auggie) who wishes to be treated normally. He attends public school for the first time in his life, although he does not want to, he agrees to go. Throughout his fifth grade school year, he faces many challenges of having a deformed face, but some surprises also come up like Summer and Jack. The book also goes into other people’s perspective of August: Via’s, Summer’s, Justin’s (in which he doesn’t capitalize his “I’s” and has other grammar mistakes), and Miranda’s.

The themes of kindness and inclusion, meanness and exclusion, and friendship, are the main ones weaved throughout the story. Wonder is told in several different points of views, allowing the reader to see how one person’s differences can affect the lives of so many others. It will make you laugh, cry, question your own behaviors and thinking patterns, and force you at times to be uncomfortable. This is the magic behind the story and what makes it so powerful and moving.

I will be posting some activities we did as a class for the book as we go along. Here is a FREEBIE that we used to create text messages to Auggie prior to the chapter when he goes to school. I had my students write him a text message offering him some advice on his first day of school. They enjoyed it very much and did a great job balancing the right words to encourage Auggie, while also setting him up to be prepared for the possibility of not all kids and adults treating him nicely. I was very proud of their work and excited to showcase it.

We were also working on persuasive letters in Writer’s Workshop at the time, so I had students write August letters persuading him to either go to school, or stay at home and continue to be home-schooled. CLICK HERE  for the paper we used for that.

We signed the Choose Kind Pledge online as a class too! After each kid signed, I gave them one of these cute labels I printed onto a label to wear.

Last, they visited this SITE and created digital postcards that they e-mailed to me. On each postcard they were asked to write about how they would carry out their pledge to be kind.

Each of the assignments is pictured below.

Text to Auggie

 

Auggie Text

 

2014-04-21 14.22.54

Wonder

2014-04-21 14.23.24

2014-04-21 14.23.00

wonder postcards

 

A List of Resources

Choose Kind Tumblr

Educator Guide for Wonder

 Teachingbooks.net

 

HAPPY READING!