Monday, December 7, 2015

New & Improved KaBoom (aka Zap; Bazinga...)

KaBoom!  Zap!  Bazinga!  are all synonyms for an awesome review game that kids ask to play again and again.  Like most games, students earn a reward for correct answers.   Rewards may be whatever a teacher is willing to give: points, tickets, classroom rewards or bragging rights.  

However, these games have an extra feature that makes game play and scoring unpredictable and exciting.  Mixed in with rewards are negative consequences such as,  “Give 10 points to opposing team” or “Trade scores with opposing team”, or even more extreme, “Lose all points”.  

While browsing in the App store, I came across an app called, “Decide Now!”  It’s an editable (color schemes, answer choices) spinner that can be used to retrieve a random choice.  I set up the following spinner for my KaBoom game:

Now, I can change my rewards and/or consequences in a jiffy and mirror  the spinner on my interactive white board.  AND, I can create additional spinners for other tasks like choosing partners or choosing the order of morning work, or topics, or games, or activities….

If you think it’s an app you might like, check it out in the App store!  It cost a lot less than colored printer ink, card stock and laminating and everyone can watch and cheer as the arrow  goes around and around!  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Growth vs Fixed Mindset: What it is...What it isn't.

"...a growth mindset, while it may appear a truism on its face, can become a powerful motivator. Teaching children that the brain works like a muscle that gets stronger with practice reinforces persistence. Encouraging students to visualize brain synapses firing when they overcome challenges is not merely a metaphor: Brain studies that Dweck and other speakers cited showed surges in brain activity when students respond to mistakes."

The excerpt above is from an article titled, "There's more to a 'growth mindset' than assuming you have it,"  written by John Fensterwald.  

In this November  23, 2015 article in  EdSource magazine,  Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck who coined the phrase “growth mindset”  discusses her concerns about the oversimplification of the idea.  To clarify, she talks about what "growth mindset" is and what it isn't.  Click on the photo to access the article.