Merry Christmas!

1213032253Wishing you all a joyous holiday season!

. . . .

A new job has taken up more of my time than I expected, but I will be back soon with more freebies and visual literacy fun.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

First Friday Freebie #6: Weather Tracker

For a fun end of year/summer break activity, share this weather tracker form with your students. They can continue to practice their observation, reading, and recording skills as they read weather forecasts and keep track of the daily weather patterns.

WeatherChartsample(click here for pdf file)

Sites like Intellicast, Accuweather, and The Weather Channel provide daily forecasts and other weather/seasonal information.

The information can then be analyzed by:

  • graphing highs and lows
  • graphing precipitation
  • graphing humidity
  • comparing forecasts to actual weather reports
  • charting the phases of the moon.

The Freeology site has graph paper, observation charts, and timelines which could be used for analyzing data.

Imagination: the heart of learning

Stumbling across Kieren Egan’s article on the importance of art turned out to be the starting point of an interesting educational journey I’ve been on for the past few weeks. I was reminded of an article of his entitled “Learning in Depth” which I read in graduate school. (If you are a member of ASCD, you can read it here. Otherwise, you can read about the same idea here.) Reviewing this article inspired me to look into Egan’s work again and read a couple of his books. I am thoroughly intrigued by both his Learning in Depth Project and his Imaginative Education Research Group and am eager to continue learning more.

In his book An Imaginative Approach to Teaching, Kieren Egan (2005) expounds upon his belief that “Engaging the imagination is not a sugar-coated adjunct to learning; it is the very heart of learning. It is what brings meaning and sense and context and understanding to the knowledge we wish to teach” (p.36). In the article “Learning in Depth,” Egan (2008) calls imagination “one of the great work-horses of learning,” believing that “the more we know about something, the more imaginative we can be about it–and the more imaginatively we can problem solve” (p.62).

Ahhh… the power of the imagination to grab our interest and spur us on to deeper levels of learning!


Looking for some inspiration of your own? Here are examples of imaginative teaching I have come across in educational blogs lately:

How do you encourage your students to use their imagination?

1000 words and a Christmas greeting

Walt Disney once referred to pictures as the most universally understood language. And indeed, I believe that to be true. However, like all other languages, pictures, too, can be misunderstood or ignored. It takes practice and patience to learn this “language” and be able to glean all one can from a single picture. After all, it is a message of a thousand words we’re looking for in each one.  🙂

There are many wonderful photography sites online where you and your students can practice your picture reading skills (see links here and here for ideas and strategies).

One such site is Teachinfourth’s blog where he often shares his photographs and also features the Weekly Kodachrome. These shots along with their titles and brief descriptions would be a great resource as you teach your students about finding meaning in pictures.

And if you act fast, you could also become the recipient of one of Teachinfourth‘s fabulous photographs. He is giving away 100 5×7 photographs for Christmas this year. Click here for more details.

Happy Holidays!

Grant Opportunity

The P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education has a grant available (up to $1000) to help support teachers “who wish to establish an effective learning tool using the arts in teaching children who learn differently.” The deadline is September 30, 2011. See link here for more info.