I’m not sure if other teachers have similar experiences this time of year or not, but I’ve been running low on fuel this week. Perhaps it’s the extra energy I’m spending playing with my 4 month old, or perhaps the constant vigilance I have to maintain in my classroom thanks to the students’ “hyper activity” over the impending Christmas Break. Then again, it could be that I’ve just been putting too many projects off and am trying to scramble to get them done before we leave for two weeks.
Whatever the case may be, I find that it’s nice to have quieting activities this time of year, or activities that require minimal plan time. Web sites like this listing of Educational Simulations are useful in finding preplanned, engaging activities, which you can do in a computer lab or with small groups of students. While it’s not the best organized page (it doesn’t have any tags or smart searching features), it is broken up by subject area and contains several really great sites like The Exploration of Edo, Build-a-Prairie, the Chickscope (exploring how an egg becomes a chick), and the Mega Penny Project (a fun way to visualize just how much a million is, and other large numbers). I know that many educators have a “bag of tricks” that gets them through rough days or low energy days, but I’ve always felt a little out of place since most of my tricks are online; much different than the old file folders full of activities, worksheets, and lessons. I’ll have to write about some of the sites over break, as they are actually pretty useful sites. I often wonder how other educators adapt their tricks to the digital world, and whether they take the place of simple worksheets, or are much more engaging activities.