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Girl Student using Cell phone and studying

As technology rapidly changes, classrooms are changing too. It has become common for students to use laptops, iPads, and other technologies as part of the normal school day. In addition to new computing tools, students have all sorts of new cultural tools to help them process the world. For teachers, this presents exciting opportunities to incorporate new music, news, and events to support the standard classroom curriculum.

One of the broadest opportunities to use popular culture in the classroom is to incorporate internet trends and memes in everyday instruction. This can happen in a number of ways. One possibility is to allow students to find images and video online to use as part of a lesson. Students can search YouTube, Google Images, or other popular sites for easily accessible images to illustrate important points from the days’ lessons. Maybe there’s a funny clip about American History that someone can bring into a history class. Or perhaps there’s a comedic clip about grammar that a student can use to help introduce a writing lesson. By allowing students to select and contribute media that they enjoy, teachers can create an environment where students come into the classroom more invested in the day’s lesson.

Another way to use popular culture to enhance the educational mission is to incorporate students’ love of social media. This is an especially engaging form of incorporation because it requires students to engage with their lessons beyond the classroom. In some instances, teachers establish a class Instagram account and assign students a theme with an attached hashtag. Then, for the duration of the lesson, a few days or a week, students will post and tag things that they see that are related to that lesson. So if students are studying world geography, they can post pictures and video of commercials, billboards, magazine articles, t-shirt slogans, and other things that are relevant to that topic. In this scenario, students receive credit for the lesson by posting and participating in the social media exchange.

Finally, teachers can find ways to welcome students’ stories and interest in popular culture into the classroom by opening up time for students to share whatever is interesting to them that day. An instructor might use the first five minutes of class to let students make announcements or talk about stories they’ve heard in the news that week. Then other students can chime in. By allowing students to set just a small part of the itinerary for the day, we can teach them to feel at home in the classroom.

There are of course dozens of other ways to incorporate popular culture into an active and engaged classroom. By being open-minded and proactive, teachers can take advantage of these opportunities to create a classroom where all students energetically participate in the day’s lesson.

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Rounded colorful Pencils

Photo Credit : salvatore ventura on Unsplash

These days kids have access to all kinds of activities. If they wanted to, children could have a full-time job just doing all the extra-curricular activities available to them. Of course, there isn’t enough time for kids to participate in all the things they might like to do. So how do you and your kids decide which activities and clubs are best? Here are some ideas for choosing activities that will help your child develop a well-rounded personality.

Get Physical

Some children love physical activity and would love to play all the sports. Others have no interest in running or jumping. In either case, physical activity is an important part of our overall health. You should encourage a child who is looking for a new pastime to explore a sport or other physical skill. Children can play sports, do yoga, take dance lessons, or do any number of other activities to get moving and make friends. Best of all, they’ll learn valuable lessons about building a strong healthy body and the importance of taking physical care of themselves.

Be Creative

If your child is already involved in a sport and wants to be more active, you can encourage them to explore a creative outlet. Perhaps their school has an art club. Or maybe there are painting classes at the local library. In many cases, young people have creative interests that they can pursue on their own. For instance, if your son has expressed an interest in learning to sew, encourage him to check out some YouTube videos or online tutorials for beginners. If your daughter wants to learn to draw, there are lots of resources online that she can use to build her skills in her spare time. Because creative activities use different parts of the brain than typical intellectual activities, you’ll be building your children’s capacity to think in new and interesting ways.

Think Outside the Classroom

Students spend plenty of time doing science, math, and history in school. However, for students who have a special interest in these subjects, there are additional opportunities to pursue their intellectual passions. Debate club and Model U.N. are ideal activities for students who love to think and engage deeply on serious questions. Math and science clubs are great places to explore an interest in space or chemistry. Perhaps your child’s school has a robotics club where they can learn to build machines and even participate in competitions. Learning doesn’t have to be limited to the classroom.

The trick is to mix and match activities so that children are exposed to lots of different skills and possibilities. Often, young people don’t know what they’ll love until they try it. You’ll never know if your son loves painting until he picks up a paintbrush. The more you can expose young people to, the better chance they’ll have to uncover what they truly love. And along the way, they’ll learn to appreciate all the different passions they possess.

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Rubik's Cube Gift

Photo Credit : NeONBRAND via Unsplash

One of the best parts of the holiday season is the joy of giving gifts to friends and loved ones. For kids, this often means lots of new toys. But there are other gifts that kids can enjoy and that can also teach valuable skills. By gifting thoughtfully this holiday season, you can offer the children on your gift list valuable lessons along with hours of fun. Here are some ideas.

Puzzle books

Much like building blocks, puzzle books provide lots of options for fun and games in a small inexpensive package. You can find collections of puzzles that range from Sudoku to mazes to brain teasers of all kinds. And they come in different levels for kids and adults of all ages. You can give simple connect-the-dots books to very young children, or more challenging puzzles and logic problems to older children. The beauty of these books is that one book can contain dozens of different puzzles to occupy a curious mind.

3-D Puzzles

Everyone loves a good jigsaw puzzle. But if you want to provide a more interesting challenge, 3-D puzzles are a great chance to practice spatial reasoning skills in a fun and exciting way. The classic example of a 3-D puzzle is the Rubic’s Cube. Though most of us will never quite master this old-school puzzle, there are lots of new spins on the concept that offer varying levels of difficulty. You can buy 3-D puzzles with just a few pieces, or more complex ones that have to be completely disassembled and put back together. Either way, these new-age puzzles are a stimulating and challenging upgrade on the beloved classic.

Music lessons

This one is a little less conventional, but very versatile. Is there an instrument your child would like to learn to play? If you have a son who wants to play guitar, or a daughter who’d like to play drums, music lessons are an excellent investment. Learning to play an instrument has all sorts of benefits for brain development and reasoning skills. And learning a new skill can open up all sorts of future opportunities. If someday your son or daughter wants to join the school band or even start of band of their own, they’ll be well on their way to mastering the skills they need.

Book series

A great way to encourage reading is to introduce your children to a book series that they can get invested in and follow for a long time. Whether it’s young adult drama, science fiction, fantasy, or mystery, a good series holds a reader’s attention for years at a time. This ensures that your young reader will always have something they’re looking forward to reading. Then, as they wait for the next installment of their favorite series, you can introduce them to similar options to keep them occupied. This is how finding a good series can pay off with a love of reading that lasts for years.

Of course, there are lots of other educational gifts that you can give the children in your life. If you know a child who’s interested in science, microscopes and telescopes make great gifts. Perhaps you know a young person who loves to dance and would appreciate dance lessons. The possibilities are endless. The trick is to think beyond the usual list of toys and gadgets to give something that will genuinely enhance the lives of a child in the months and years to come.

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Homemade Musical Instruments

Some things you may have at home or might usually throw away. But you can make many interesting things with these throw away; and can recycle them to make great musical instruments that really work. After they're made, see what to do with them at bottom of page! Great Fun!!!

Drum Ideas

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Tape or glue
  • Cans - large coffee cans or any size
  • Any decorate paper
  • Crayons to color it up
  • Marker

Procedure to make a Drum

Cut a piece of paper and fit it around a Can with a plastic lid; you can use a large Coffee Can as it will work well or you can use any size of it. You can also use an empty plastic jug or wooden bowl turned upside down or metal pot. Once you fit the paper well you can decorate it using crayons & markers; or first you can make the paper look good with your designs and then fit it around the can using glue or a tape.

Bongo Drum

Cut a paper in two pieces and fit it around two cardboard oatmeal containers with lids. Now follow the same procedure to decorate the containers with a decorated paper or by making it unique with crayons and markers, and then attach the decorated paper around both containers with a tape or gum. Keep them aside to rest till the gum is all set and the containers are ready to use.

Now, set the containers side by side and tie them together using two long pieces of string or yarn. You need to tie one piece of string around the upper section of the container and the other around the lower section; then place a dab of glue under the string in multiple spots to make it hold in place. Now your Bongo drums are ready to play, Play your bongos by tapping on the tops with your fingertips.

Base Drum

This is going to be a very easy task, you just need to turn a cooking pan over and beat on the bottom of it with a wooden spoon.

Belt Drum

Collect a round box, such as a potato chip or an oatmeal box container. Now carefully make two small slits, about 2 inches apart just near the top of the box; and thread the box onto a child's belt or a shortened adult belt. And that way your belt drum is ready.

Once you are ready with your drums, it’s time for you to make drum sticks. Let’s look at simple ideas on how to make drum sticks.

Drum Stick Ideas

The best thing is to use your hands to tap on the drums, or a wooden spoon, a metal spoon, rubber spatula, whisk or a basting brush.

Take two unsharpened pencils with erasers and make drumsticks; or attach an empty thread spool on one end of the pencils and wrap a thick rubber band around one end of each pencil. Now it’s your turn to experiment with the variety of sounds and tones you can make.

Taping Ideas

Gather your friends while doing this activity and make all your friends tap together two wooden dowels. You can also put metal thimbles on each finger and tap them together. Or you can also use two metal or wooden spoons, two walnut shells, or two metal pot lids to tap.

Things to Scrape

Pancake flipper, metal grater, metal sifter or two pieces of sandpaper.

Things to Ring

Keys or set of metal measuring spoons, small set of wind chimes.

Things to Shake

Take a container of toothpicks, a container of nails or tacks or an envelope of flower seeds.

 

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