Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Google has a great Santa Tracker

Visit Santa's Village created by Google and enjoy a new activity every day. Each is labeled as Watch, Learn, or Play and feature varied levels of difficulty. There is a little something for everyone and lots of learning embedded into most every activity.

The site employs different forms of Google product. Some are tied to Google Code while others like the parachuting Santa game employs maps of the user's actual location. We typed in our school location and Santa landed on the map right in our parking lot. When Christmas Eve arrives, kids will be able to even track Santa on his trip.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Put some STEAM into your kids' Christmas

STEAM might seem just like another educational buzzword, but teaching in a way that fosters science, tech, engineering, art, and math produces well-rounded kids with the ability to communicate and solve problems.

This morning I got the chance to share some of these ideas on WOODTV-8 Daybreak.


Here are some great gift ideas to put some STEAM into your kids' holiday season.
Science - I Heart Guts plush toys -  Stuffed animal like organs for the kid who wants to be a doctor or just loves gross stuff. Doctors and pediatricians are actually using these in their practice so kids and adults better understand consults. $14-$20 

Technology - Ozobots -  Little tiny robots that can be easily programed either by an app or simply by using various colored markers on paper. Each color equals a different command. Giving kids opportunities to program and code is so very important, not necessarily to create a wave of app creators, but to develop in-depth logical thought in kids. $49


Engineering - Tie - Goldiblox and the Zipline Adventure -  Kids get all of the parts to build a zipline for Goldie, the included action figure. The set also comes with an accompanying book to fuel the imaginative use of the zipline. Goldiblox is a company geared at getting more girls involved with engineering. $25


Equally cool are the Modarri toy cars  - These are like Hotwheels except kids build them from the ground up and then modify the steering, types of wheels, and suspension as well as other options. $19 each or $49 for 3 that comes with extra wheels.


Arts - Crayola Virtual Design Pro Car CollectionCrayola Virtual Design Pro Fashion Collection - Elaborate set of art and design supplies where kids make their own vehicles or fashion designs. A partner iOS or Android app lets them scan the designs and then play with them in a virtual world by racing their cars or having models wear their fashions down the runway.


Math - Good old deck of cards and "Book of Cards for Kids - 35 Classic Card Games" -   There are so many math concepts kids learn playing card games from counting, sorting, sequencing, all of the way up to figuring probability and it fosters great family time. $12

These gift ideas are just a handful of options that are available to stimulate thinking and creativity while still providing tons of fun. Notice that they aren't just device based. Each involves some form of real-world making stuff or analog play. All are great for friends and family to make and do together.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Great Use of Space

Check out the picture that Oklahoma's Jeff Lay shared on Twitter.

All areas of a building can be utilized to encourage learning and something like this sends a message to the kids that multiplication facts are important more than during that sliver of the day when the class practices them.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

11 Months, 3000 pictures and a lot of coffee. - YouTube

This is an amazing video created in stop motion. Read the creator's explanation of how it all began.

Started out as just a collection of snaps as I stripped down an engine bought off ebay. (To replace my old engine, which had suffered catastrophic failure). The snaps were so that I remembered how everything went, so I could put it back together again.

via 11 Months, 3000 pictures and a lot of coffee. - YouTube.