*Note* The resources listed below are for the 7th grade ELA/Social Studies Glow Games and the content cards were designed as an end of the year review.
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These Glow Games were games that I was inspired by through many different educators. What I love about the Glow Games is that there is so much flexibility in how it is structured and implemented. The Glow Games were designed and adapted to give students a chance to push their collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creative innovation, and confidence skills while building upon the content. We set the room up in stations and students spent about 8.5 minutes at a station before rotating to the next (we have 50 minute class periods). Students had to start with a content question, come to a consensus on the answer, and then play the game. This was intentional as we wanted the students working together to not only review the content, but give everyone a chance to play the game.
*Note* The resources listed below are for the 7th grade ELA/Social Studies Glow Games and the content cards were designed as an end of the year review.
Glow Games in Action
These are some of the images I was able to capture from the Glow Games. With the darkness and quick movements, none of my ring toss or bowling images came out. :( I guess that goes to show how much fun they had with those games - they weren't messing around and were out to win it!
At the end of each hour, we asked students to reflect on their Glow Games experience and how it fit in with the 6C Learner Profile that our district has adopted (from the authors of the book, Becoming Brilliant by Roberta Michnick Golinkoff PhD and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek PhD). We ran out of our neon sticky notes before the end of the day, but it was interesting to see how students rated their experience and areas that they felt we could use some improvement in to push them to higher levels.
Glow STEAM in Action
At the end of the hour, we asked students to clean up their stations and reset the classroom for the next class. Some classes were able to do this quickly and we invited them to use a highlighter to write what they loved about the day. You can tell some students were completely worn out from the fun (and heat!), but they had some great things to share.
I would just like to preface this post with the fact that this was not my original idea. I have been fortunate enough to be connected with some AMAZING educators who are happy and willing to share their ideas and a glimpse into some of their classroom activities. I recently read the book, The Wild Card by Hope and Wade King, and it was incredibly inspirational and helped me to think about things at school from a different perspective. We all have the opportunity to "Set the Stage to Engage" and "Be the Wild Card" in whatever way we feel comfortable with and choose to do so in our classrooms. I do not have my own classroom, but rather an amazing opportunity to work with all teachers K-12 in my district to primarily implement technology and STEAM. I feel classroom transformations complement both those areas and provide an awesome avenue for unique learning experiences. (Note: If you have not heard of "classroom transformations," I highly recommend reading The Wild Card or watch Ep 1 of the Set the Stage to Engage series where Wade King describes what a room transformation is and shows an implementation.)
Below I will share a bit of the "Highlight Reel" (is it really a "Highlight Reel" if it is a long post?) from my first Glow Day as well as links to all the resources we used. Sharing is caring, right? :) If you want to skip the overview and jump into the nitty gritty of things, you can click the button below to see all of my individual blog posts about the events of the day.
But first, I would like to give a HUGE shoutout to the amazing educators who inspired me and shared what they have done for their own Glow Games!
For this day, I worked with our 7th grade ELA and Social Studies teachers (rockstars!). They initially contacted me about doing something fun at the end of the year that could possibly be done as competition. After some thought and throwing some ideas around, I proposed the idea of a Glow Day with them. They were excited and ready to start planning. I had the resources, they had the content - a perfect pair!
I have worked with these teachers before and when we do things, we don't just kind of do them, we REALLY do them! For example, a couple of years ago we created a Breakout EDU game (well, actually two) that completed the book they were reading in ELA (The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond) with what they were learning about in Social Studies (types of governments). We designed the games so that they complemented each other and students had two days to participate in two different games for an engaging end to a thematic unit.
Anyways, I digress...so the teachers started putting together review questions from material they had covered throughout the year and I started putting together the resources. We invited people in the building, administration, and others to drop by and see how their students were wrapping up the school year.
Above is the invite we sent out - I am including a link below to a template if you would like to use something similar in your own classroom.
As our glow day took place the day after Memorial Day, we were unable to put signs up in the classroom the day before encouraging students to wear neon or white. I created a sign that the teachers could put up in their rooms on Thursday and Friday before though, and hoped the students would remember over the long weekend! I spoke with one of the teachers after she posted the sign first hour and she said the signs had created quite the buzz and the kids were wondering why they should wear neon or white, talking about what they could wear that day, and if they could color themselves with highlighter. Mission accomplished!
I created flyers for the different days of the week and one for "tomorrow" in case anyone would like to use them in their classrooms. Simply click on the button below!
The day began for the students by being greeted at the door not only with their reminder sign for what to wear for the day, but also a fun door sign. I was looking to build the anticipation even more before entering the room. The students had never had a glow day before so I am sure they had no idea what to expect when they walked into their ELA and Social Studies rooms.
We decided to have one classroom hold the content games and one classroom hold the STEAM activities. So when the students had their regular ELA class period, they would play the Glow Games and when they had their regular Social Studies class period, they would play the Glow STEAM activities. Use the links below to check out my blog posts about the Glow Games we played as well as the Glow STEAM activities.
Glow Games/Glow STEAM Gallery
Last, but not least, I took my first adventure in actually designing my first "thing" to be 3D printed - a Glow Games coin! I printed 5 of the coins for the top five finishers of the day. I thought it might be a nice to have something to walk away with at the end of the day and would be cool to share at home. I created a Google Sheet that we shared among the ELA teacher, Social Studies teacher, and myself so that we could track the students throughout the day and in different classrooms. The Google Sheet had a worksheet for ELA, one for Social Studies, and then one for the Totals for both. We had the students use a handout to track their progress during the hour and then they turned it in to the teacher at the end of the hour. We wanted the focus to be on the games and activities and not having them worry about inputting their scores.
If you have access to a 3D printer and would like to 3D print your own Glow Games coins, I added the print file to Thingiverse - click the button below to head over there!
As I was preparing for my first Glow Day, I was looking to all sorts of things and came Sturdy for Common Things post on "Glowing Books for the Black Light Booth." I had been previously thinking about a specific grade level I was going to do a Glow Day with first (7th grade), but got me thinking about some of the other grades I will potentially be doing a Glow Day with and thought the books might be a good fit, so I ordered a couple of books from Amazon.
The Day-Glo Brothers
The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors by Chris Barton is an amazing story of how two very different brothers came together after a personal tragedy to create something amazing and help people around the world in different ways. This would be a great text to read for elementary students to kick off a Glow Day, a way to connect World War II, science concoctions, and so many other topics!
Out of the three books I tested, Unplugged by Steve Anthony did not have the wow factor under the blacklight, but the story was beautiful! I think it would be an absolute favorite for kicking off a glow day with elementary students and sharing about how you can discover and see things right in front of you that you might not have otherwise if you were stuck behind a screen. Sometimes we all need a little bit of time to unplug and take in the world around us and simply be in the moment. And Blip is such a cute little bot!
I gave my resources a glow rating with a green, yellow, or red star.
I recently learned about these and I was not disappointed! They are an awesome building resource and the glow in the dark Qubits are AWESOME under the black light. The bright colored ones are awesome on their own, but do glow under the black light.
The Brain Flakes did okay under the blacklight, with the yellows, oranges, and greens doing the best. I was a little disappointed the white didn't really glow, but could be used if four colors are needed.
LEGOs (Classic Colors)
I really didn't anticipate the LEGOs glowing much, and what I saw was about what I pictured. Out of all the colors, the oranges did the best.
Much like the Brain Flakes, I thought the Creation Cubes would perform a little better. Out of all the colors, the oranges glowed the best.
I had two different kinds of bingo chips/counters to try out - one was solid plastic and the other was transparent. Of the colors I had for the solid plastic, the white was the winner and the purple (showed up pink) and yellow a close second. The neon pink transparent ones were great though!
I found these at my local novelty store, but they can also be ordered online. They had a light glow when viewed while they were laying down, but had a great glow when the light was directly facing them. I think if I were to purchase more of these, I would buy just the glow in the dark kind.
I found these buckets at my local Dollar Tree store. They were fun and glitterly and thought they had potential for some glow in the dark fun. I was a bit disappointed in most of them, but the green glowed fantastically!
These are similar to KEVA planks, but a different brand. The plain wood ones are unfinished and the colored ones have a bit of a smooth finish. They were not as fun as I had hoped as the green and yellow are actually pretty bright.
I did not anticipate the colors to be as bright as these were! I was so happy as Straw Builders are guaranteed engagement with students. They will be a great addition to a Glow Day!
I love Squigz and I have some of the mini and regular sized ones. The orange and red ones stood out the most out of all of the colors. If I were to use these, I would definitely go for the glow in the dark ones.
These are in primary colors, but did not expect them to react as they did. The orange, yellow, and red ones definitely popped out!
In my container of Plus Plus pieces, I have a mix of primary colors and neon colors. Without a doubt, all the neon colors stood out and could definitely be used for a Glow Day!
Wooden Shape Blocks
As with my wooden planks, I didn't expect much from these. Fun building resources but not so fun on the glow factor.
Wooden Pattern Blocks
Much like the wooden planks and wooden shapes, these wooden pattern blocks also did not provide much of a glow factor.
These are from my random collection of pipe cleaners. The yellow, white, and orange ones definitely stood out. I was surprised to see that the green did not really glow.
Another no-glow in the wooden resource department. I think if I were to use any wooden resources as part of a glow day, I would spray paint them with glow or neon paint or use neon tape on them.
Much like the pipe cleaners, there were certain colors that stood out more than others. The white, yellow, and pink were the winning glow colors.
Recycled Milk Gallons (Transparent)
These Strawbee connector pieces were punched from recycled milk gallons. I believe this is a case of, "where did they go?". Yes, they are there. No, they did not glow. At all.
I also picked these neon pom poms up from my local Dollar Tree store. The yellows and oranges provided some great glow, but the others were not as spectacular.
This handful of beads was from my bag of mixed pony beads. I had some regular colors as well as glow in the dark ones. Clearly the glow in the dark pony beads were the winners here.
Playground & Treehouse Set
These are from Learning Resources and are great building tools. I was a little disappointed that they didn't glow (other than the purple) as they are a great addition to my Learning Landscapes EDU project.
As I anticipated (with pretty much anything white), these dice were great under blacklight!
This week has been a crazy week as our seniors were wrapping up their last academic week of school. They presented their Senior Capstone projects last night, so my office (which has turned into a STEAM hub of resources this year), was pretty out of sorts and the mess was making it difficult to get my creative juices going for a 4th grade STEM activity today.
As their teacher was going to be out today and a sub in the classroom, I thought it might be fun to make thank you cards for their teacher or other teachers in the building - it would be something fun to walk in and see on a Monday morning. So after a bit of research and only a few materials needed (cardstock, markers, hole punch, and rubber bands), I decided to create thaumatrope thank you cards with the students. Bonus points to those who can pronounce it correctly, as I had to look it up and still wasn't sure I was saying it correctly!
So, what is a thaumatrope you ask? Well, let me explain what I learned from my research (Playdough to PLATO has a great explanation) in the simplest form(s).
The students had so much fun creating these and had time to create multiple thaumatropes. It seemed like they did something a little different each time. The first one they made, I asked them to create one for a teacher in their school and the second one they could create for a family member or friend. We had some great birthday cards for siblings and friends and "I love you" cards for parents. This was a great STEM activity that could be done in a pinch and I had everything on hand! It was also great to watch the students help each other thread their rubber bands the right way and wind up their thaumatropes for each other and then watch them spin. And they walked away with a fun new vocabulary word to share at home that even one of their teachers struggled to pronounce correctly - hey, as educators we don't have to be perfect at EVERYTHING, right? :)
It was also interesting to see that by the end of our STEM time, several students were wearing them as hospital masks. I guess they were keeping their germs to themselves, so I couldn't complain too much! :)
I fell like the past couple of weeks has been crazy and draining for teachers and students with state testing taking place. I remember way back when to when I took standardized tests in grade school and was always on edge because I would freeze and not score as well as my classroom grades. And that was back when there wasn't as much riding on test scores as there is today. Our students today are ROCKSTARS! And each teacher is as well because they work so hard to prepare students for these tests and then have to sit and watch students try their best. Sometimes I feel like it is so emotionally draining because you are reading the faces of the students working through problems, knowing when they hit a challenging question and then seeing the looks of accomplishment when they nail a question - it is a roller coaster ride for teachers!
To help give them a bit of brain break, for our weekly STEM time, we decided to do somehting a bit low-key and brought out the Perler beads. As Friday was May 4th (Star Wars Day - May the 4th be With You!), we decided to give the students a choice in creating a Star Wars or Cinco de Mayo themed design. Many of the students in my district observe Cinco de Mayo with their families, so the day holds a different importance to them than many others. This was something they felt connected to and were excited to celebrate in school. Many of the students were not as familiar with Star Wars, but hey, you can't win them all! :)
You never would have guessed that today was a Friday and they were having a Cinco de Mayo party in the afternoon. When the Perler beads came out for STEM time, there was definite excitement, but they quickly settled in to the activity and were working away quietly. Like super quiet. They were so focused in on what they were creating - it was such a relaxing time for them and for the teachers!
My experience with the Perler beads has been nothing but awesome. If you are looking at incorporating them into your classroom for STEM/STEAM, some recommendations I would propose:
May the 4th Designs
Cinco de Mayo Designs
I also received some new stamps that I created on Zazzle, so we used a new one for when students were done cleaning up their tables and the classroom. You can't go wrong with a llama!
Also, it isn't a Perler bead day until someone tips the large container of beads. :) I prefer to keep the colors separated in 5.5oz plastic snack containers (similar to ones you would get condiments to go from a restaurant). One of these days I will separate the larger container (or have some awesome students help me), but until then, I think there might be some more messes in the future!
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