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Brainy Stuff

 

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It is so important that we do not neglect the gifted and advanced children in our classrooms. Often, because these children catch on to new concepts easily, teachers may leave them to their own devices rather than doing everything possible to be sure that these children learn something new each and every day. They are entitled to the same diligent care that we give our struggling students! With this in mind, I will add great links to information about gifted children whenever I find one. Click here for links to gifted information. Be an advocate for your advanced and gifted students! Challenge them!

Brainstorming Books:

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Brainstorming Books ... A collection of brainstorming activities designed to be used as group work. Set a timer and let them at it! These fun activities consist of word problems, math activities, brain puzzlers, and more.

         Beginning Brainstorming Book  (Brainstorming Group Activity Beginning, Sample)

         Advanced Brainstorming Book (Brainstorming Group Activity Advanced, Sample page)

         Advanced Brainstorming Book 2 (Brainstorming Group Activity Advanced, Sample Page 2)

Thinkers:

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  Thinkers! ... A collection of challenges for students who finish their assignments early. These can be used as independent challenges or as group challenges.

        Sample pages:   Thinkers! Sample 1    Thinkers! Sample 2    Thinkers! Sample 3

Ladybug Math Race

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Ladybug Math Race ... Visit here for this fun game!

Other Brainy Ideas...

Many more fun and challenging ideas are included with a full subscription, including:

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Group story writing

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Story starter ideas

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At home/in class research challenges

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Literature contracts

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Creative Problem Solving for literature

SEE BELOW....

Student Activity/Writing Contracts:

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Student Contracts ... Getting students interested in research and writing is always a challenge. One way that is suggested by leaders in Gifted Education is to offer students a contract, giving them choices for a particular project. I use a contract to extend our literature experiences. These contracts can be used for stories that the students read together as a class or group, or for stories that you read aloud to them. For example, if the story your class reads is about an Indian tribe, you would offer a contract that gives the students three choices for a writing assignment and three choices for a drawing or other hands-on activity. Examples of writing choices: 1) Write a paragraph that describes the cultural differences between the Indian tribe in our story with another Indian tribe of your choice. 2) Write a paragraph that compares the main character in the story to the character traits. What are some of the things he/she does to show good character. Examples of hands-on choices:  1) Draw a picture map of the Indian tribe's village. 2) Build a totem pole, canoe, etc. from various art materials. I usually give the students three choices for each and ask them to rank their choices. I then try to give them at least one of their #1 choices as I group the students into groups of four to work on these projects together. The students work together to brainstorm ideas about their writing selections (all students within the group work on the same projects) and activity projects, but they must each do a separate writing/activity piece. The students then present their final projects to the class as a group. When finished with the presentation, the other students may ask questions. All literature created contracts will be included in your subscription, as they become available throughout the year.

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For more information about CONTRACTS, click to this link.

Group Story Writing

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Group Story Writing ( Group Story Writing Sample ) Sometimes something "unique" is needed to get kids to write. Try this fun lesson...give each student a copy of the group story paper. Ask them to write only one sentence that fits the story starter at the top of the page. Then, have them crumple the paper, toss it into a designated area, and then grab another. Each student will then have to build off the previous writer's sentence(s). Continue with this until the page is filled. Then, have the students rewrite the story, using whichever paper for which they wrote the final sentence. They usually have comments like, "This doesn't make sense," or "I don't like this sentence," or "I don't like this part..." At that point, tell them to take ownership and edit the work. As an extension, the students can read the final story aloud. There are 15 unique group story activity papers available on the site!

Creative Problem Solving:

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CPS... Read a picture book to your class, but STOP right after the problem has been introduced and then ask your students to work in groups to identify what the problem really is. Set a time limit of about five minutes to decide on just ONE problem, having everyone within the group agree. After they have identified that one problem, ask them to now work on what they think a good solution would be for the problem. Set the criteria...for example, "The only criteria is that you must use the story characters to solve the problem." Allow them ten to fifteen minutes to come up with as many unique solutions as possible. When this part is finished they must choose their three best answers...they can vote on which to choose, or you can again set some criteria for them. When they have decided on the three solutions they believe to be best, have them use a rubric to filter each solution. The solution that gets the highest points using the rubric is the one the group must choose as their final solution, even if they don't think it is the best one. Then, they must work together to figure out possible things that could go wrong, etc. Once they have all of their answers, ask each group to share their thoughts about the problem and solution. By this time they are usually very anxious to find out the problem and its solution by having you read the end of the story. 

Challenges:

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Challenge Research... Why not compact your gifted/advanced students work and allow them the opportunity to research a topic of interest and then present it to the class. You might be amazed at what you learn, too! For more information on compacting, click to this link.

        Several  research worksheets available with your subscription. 

 

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At Home Learning Challenge...  Offer these learning challenges as optional projects.   At Home Learning Challenge Sample  Many of these challenges are available with a paid subscription. Click here

 

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Tangrams or Pattern Blocks... Have a supply of these on hand at the back of the room along with some challenging activities to be used with the Tangrams & Pattern Blocks. My kids have become masters at recreating the shapes. Many free resources are available online for use with Tangrams & pattern blocks. 

 

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Analogies... Challenge them with an Analogy of the Day. Start out with some easy ones and add progressively harder ones! There are many books available! 

Red is to apple as _______________ is to banana.

Front is to back as top is to _______________.

Four is to square as _________________ is to triangle.

Elephant is to large as mouse is to __________

 

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Math Challenge of the Day... Have a thought provoking math question on hand for those who finish their work early. 

 
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Mindbender of the Day... I keep five folders labeled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday in the back of the room. Each folder contains a unique "thinking" question, picture, etc. that the students must solve. Some of these are similar to the "Thinkers" shown above. Word search puzzles are always popular, too.  Great ideas are available in many books on critical thinking, available in any teaching store. I like the book, "Mind Joggers." As students finish their work, they may take the Mindbender of the Day to challenge their minds! I do not grade these mindbenders, but I do give the students stamps on their incentive cards for completing it. To make life easy, you can post the solution to the previous day's mindbender on a bulletin board so that a student can see if his answer was correct.

Have you tried any of these ideas? Write to let us know!

Great Games:

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Have great games on hand for PAT (Preferred Activity Time) Some of our favorite games (available in most teacher stores or online): 

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APPLES TO APPLES        

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BLINK

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BLOKUS

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EQUATE

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JURASSIC JUMBLE

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LETTER FLIP

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MAKE 7

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MY WORD 

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QUIDDLER  Official site for Set/Quiddler...Online quizzes available here!

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SET

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STARE

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SQUINT

        More great teacher stuff!

 

   Visit here today for a great list of resources!

 

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Last modified: February 15, 2017