Last Minute Holiday Idea- Tapple!

One of my favorite AIG teachers recommended this game to me. It looks like so much fun! I am definitely going to get this for my fourth and fifth grade students. Each round is short and could also be a great time filler for teachers.

Description from the website:

Tap the Tapple Wheel!

Tapple is the award-winning, fast-paced word game that gives families & friends a rush of excitement as they compete to beat the timer! No need to spell  just say your word, tap the timer, and pass the Tapple Wheel. The last person standing wins the round!
Tapple will entertain your friends & family during holiday get-togethers, parties and more! The kids won’t even know they’re learning as they rush to tap the timer!
AGES 8+
2-8 players
10-20 minutes play time
MSRP $19.95

http://www.amazon.com/Tapple-Fast-Word-Fun-Everyone/dp/B00BBLI5CC

Inspiring…

The other day I was asked about teaching by a twenty-something friend. Professionally she is in the financial world but is looking for a career change. She mentioned that she has changed companies for different reasons- mainly because she didn’t feel challenged. After a few jobs she realized that it was fulfillment she was searching for in her job. And she asked me about teaching…

Through our conversation, I quickly realized how sad it made me when I realized that she had not be encouraged to pursue this – either from the media or from her family. I am sad because I cannot imagine a better job than teaching. Changing a child’s life, affecting how their attitudes about school, and just seeing them learn is so incredibly amazing. When I am not teaching, I feel a piece of myself missing. I told her how much I loved it and how I could not wait for the day I was able to get back in the classroom. I hope that my days as a teacher are considered inspiring either for students or others to enter this amazing profession.

Anyways- here is my second favorite TED Talks. Rita Pierson is SO inspiring.

Need More Holiday Ideas??

zometool

One of my favorite teachers I have worked with sent me this link over the weekend with some great toys, apps and books listed for gifted children. It is definitely worth scanning through the list.

I LOVE this toy: Zometool for math or spatial gifted children. They have lots of resources posted on the website for the toy- including resources for educators. I think this might be a learning tool we buy.

I found a review of the toy that showed how the toy works and would be great for gifted children.

Another one of my favorites that I think would lend to some really great discussions with gifted children was titled: Where Children Sleep. I looked at the pictures posted on Amazon- super idea but out of print and over $400. So I did find a link to some of the pictures in the book by James Mollison. Because I can’t let stuff go… I emailed the author to see if there was somewhere to buy the book. But he lives in Italy and I am sure is very busy.  (Guess what?!! I did hear from the author. The book will be in reprint early next year. I will have to keep an eye out for it.)

On My Wish List

This recommendation comes from one of my favorite academically gifted websites (I will blog about his website soon).  He does a great job explaining the game and uses pictures. Over the years many of my gifted students have recommended the game to me. We definitely put it on our wish list for the holidays.

Thanks Ian Byrd from byrdseed.com for this recommendation.

quirkle gifted game recommendation

One of my best friends also highly recommended this toy! After I wrote this post she wrote me about the toy: Qwirkle is a good game of strategy. There are wooden blocks with six different shapes in six colors. Using the blocks, players try to score the most points by building lines that share the same shape or color. The player with the most tiles that share something in common (color or symbol) plays their pieces and wins points. The game is over when all the tiles have been played and all the points have been tallied.

Board Game for Beginner Programmers!

robot turtles

I hope I am not losing readers by now with all my game recommendations. But I am really enjoying looking at all the games and ideas that parents have told me about the past week. I especially love that this one was on Kickstarter.  The parent reviews are high and it looks fantastic for any young child that has the mind or desire for programming or coding. Reading through some of the reviews it does seem like a game for preschool to younger elementary age gifted children.

Zooleoretto

More ideas for gifted children! This suggestion comes from a parent of a gifted child.
One board game we really like is called Zooloretto. We have the “mini” version and hope to graduate to the larger ones. Its great for strategic thinking but also has the appeal of the animals and trying to get a “daddy” and “mommy” animal in your zoo so you can get a cute little “baby” animal. We play this as a family frequently! 
zoolo1
(Fantastic full parent review: http://fathergeek.com/zooloretto-mini/)
 

Children Love Science!

I am really loving the suggestions from my friends! This comes from my friend, Sherry.
Another “toy” that Ruby got for her birthday last week was a microscope. The key, for us, was getting the accompanying book “Greg’s Microscope” which really explained the fun you can have with one and how they work. Once she understood that, she’s wanted to use it all the time.microscope

I always wondered…

What if the students got frustrated with the amount of standardized tests?

What would happen if all the students protested?

What if they didn’t show up? 

Well, some Colorado students did just that.

http://news.yahoo.com/thousands-high-school-students-skip-colorado-state-tests-231126434.html

standardized testing, academically gifted

PS- I thought these were the interesting statements from the article:

Critics say the tests do not represent what is taught in state high schools, and that preparing for them wastes valuable classroom time and stretched resources.

“Practically no teachers or students were involved in the passing of this legislation,” Chaya Wurman, one of the organizers and a senior at Boulder’s Fairview High School, said in a video statement.

“We’re being tested on things that we have never learned before, or haven’t learned in years,” she said, adding that many students believe they would not do well on the tests.

How cool does this look?

The other day a parent (thanks Alissa) told me about this toy. I am definitely going to get it for my son for the holidays- so we haven’t officially tested it. However, it has high reviews and seems that kids as young as 5 can figure out how to build circuits.

snap circuits

Here is the definition from Amazon.com

Create Working Electronic Circuits
Snap Circuits comes with over 30 pieces to create 101 different electronic projects. The pieces, which include snap wires, slide switches, an alarm circuit, a music integrated circuit, and a speaker, snap together easily on the included plastic grid–no soldering required. Each piece is numbered and color-coded to make identifying them easy. These components combine to create working circuit boards just like the ones found inside televisions, radios, and other electronic devices.

Simple, Fun Projects Let Kids Learn While They Play
With its easy-to-follow instructions, Snap Circuits gives your child a hands-on education in how electrical circuits work to run the everyday devices that they’re familiar with. They’ll also gain valuable lessons in building and in following instructions. The project manual includes large color illustrations and simple directions for each project.

The projects include a sound-activated switch, a musical doorbell, a voice-controlled lamp, a flying saucer, and a light police siren. With these projects, children will experiment with things like electric switches, integrated circuits, digital circuits, fuses, and the transformation of circuit sounds into other sounds.

Grow as You Go
Because the projects are arranged in order of complexity, kids can build on their skills as they progress through the manual. The lessons start out with a simple electric light and switch project that demonstrates how electricity is turned on and off with a switch. Further along, kids can put together a two-speed fan, create clap-controlled sounds, and more.

Design Your Own Circuits and Upgrade Your Kit
Once children have mastered several of the techniques introduced in this kit, they can use the components to experiment and create their own customized circuits and electronic devices. The Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 can also be upgraded to the Snap Circuits SC-300, Snap Circuits Pro, or Snap Circuits Extreme with the purchase of a UC-30, UC-40, UC-60 upgrade kits, respectively. Kids will enjoy additional parts, manuals, and projects that’ll take their kit–and their fun–to the next level.

Entertaining Toy- Great for Hand-Eye Coordination and Spatial Learning

IMG_9772
I emailed some of my mom friends that have academically gifted children about toys. Since I am well aware of not knowing everything, I try to pull from my resources! Here is a recommendation from a mom of three boys- 7 years old, 6 years old, and a 3 years old.
Oh easy… we love Perplexus and Perplexus Jr.!  The boys literally fought over these when we got them and they intrigue anyone from 5-105!
gifted toy2
For those that enjoy handheld devices this is a good break from the ordinary screen driven world, but it will supply the same competitive results.  It’s easy to understand- get the ball from the starting position to the end position without derailing the ball.  Easy, right??  Wrong!  Both my boys and husband got this before I was able to claim success.  It requires critical thinking, hand-eye coordination, and a lot of patience.  And even after you solve the game it will leave you longing to do it time and time again!  Just today my son took it in the car on the way to church (which should give him bonus points for attempting to do it in a moving vehicle).  It’s a maze in a ball that will leave you enthralled! 🙂
 IMG_9773
~Michelle