In the age of budget cutbacks in education, there is one thing that is completely free… creativity. There are resources available online that will inspire kids to think, dream, write, create, design, and wonder. I’d like to share some of my favorites below. Whether you have ten minutes to spare or are looking for a great way to get started in a new project, these links include some fun ways to get kids minds in gear…and yours too! Enjoy.
Sand Designs: http://www.earthporm.com/man-takes-single-rake-beach-zoom-see-itll-blow-mind/ I look at this and see many things. Think about how he creates this, while in the midst of it. Math, symmetry, patterns, visual poetry, symbolism, tessellations, measurement.
Western Spaghetti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBjLW5_dGAM A video created with ordinary objects as something else. Find something in the classroom, write about a completely new and made up use for it. Give it a new purpose, a new goal, and new life. Write from it’s point of view how it feels about the repurpose. Creative Writing. Math, timing, fractions, decimals.
Peep Diorama Contest: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/peeps/ Who can resist these scenes and the creativity it takes to create them? Why not have a contest in your school? Peep book scene? Peep historical timeline down the hall with every group of kids representing a different time? Peep scene creative writing- use the photos to inspire stories.
Tumblr of Instagrams: http://edugood365.tumblr.com/ I set up this Tumblr for the Edugood project. Every photo posted with the tag #edugood automatically gets posted to it. Why not host a scavenger hunt in your classroom each week. Encourage kids to snap photos of words like “creative, pattern, symmetry… or any vocabulary you want reinforced. Adding a unique hashtag will allow you to set up IFTTT for automatic posting. You could also use a site like Shuttercal and have one photo posted per day. Kids will enjoy taking the photos just as much as parents will enjoy seeing them.
Jellybean Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOu0DuxFAT0 Have a few moments on a Friday afternoon before you head out? Show kids this video. It’s unbelievable that it’s made ALL from Jellybeans. I know jellybeans aren’t a standard… but thinking, problem solving, and creativity that went into this video, it’s amazing. Watch the follow up that shows how it was made and ask kids to identify how collaboration was important.
Ok Go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHlJODYBLKs Amazing dogs in this video. I think it proves that creativity is not about asking, “Why?” It’s about asking “Why not?”
Frozen in Time: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/high-speed-photography-frozen-in-time/ While not ALL of these are great for classroom use, they are moments of frozen time captured. Could this inspire kids to write about what would happen if time froze? Could this inspire them to explore scientific topics like force and motion, states of matter? Yes!
Epic Coke Machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZweYkjx0c0 Engineering students build the most amazing contraption together. Every group of kids I’ve shown this to has said, “I want to build that!” when it ends. After the video, kids can try their hand at “Fantastic Contraption” physics simulation.
Kittens on the Beat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTaXI9LUugc&list=TLQl_lw6DkvDT-Hd7e-_Dwt4_nuZsBtxl8 It’s the real story of what happens when nobody is looking. This could be a great springboard for kids to think about the unexplainable and create their own theory in the form of a short story, a book, or even a blog post.
Scratch: http://scratched.media.mit.edu/ Have a kids that are interested in coding but don’t know where to start? MIT has tons of resources in this online community. There is even a tutorial on getting started. Why not encourage a small group of students to watch it and get started. It’s available right now and it just might fire those kids up to get excited about school! The curriculum that can be tied in with Scratch has endless possibilities.
I may start sharing a list like this each week. The internet is full of inspiring things, because, well, the world is. We just have to take the time to notice and to allow our kids time to notice. The best way to learn is to embrace the wonder they are filled with. Enjoy!