Now, the question is how did I miss these when I was in the classroom, hmmm?!
I talk a lot about Classroom Suite’s Activity Exchange, but there are other software activity and lesson plan sharing communities out there as well. The two other software programs I use the most are Kidspiration (or Inspiration, depending on student skill level) and Boardmaker (mostly for my own use).
- Inspired Learning Community offers free Inspiration, Kidspiration, and InspireData shared resources
- Mayer-Johnson User Sharing offers Boardmaker activities to download
Of course, there are many blogs and teacher-created sites with fantastic resources to share, for free. As my school year is winding down and my own activity-writing is indefinitely on hold, I’ll be osting some of the sites I run across.
In this unit on Traffic Safety, I felt is was important to give students the chance to look at signs and break them down – analyze their parts – in hope that this would help students recognize their meaning more readily. Before completing the following activity on their own, we gathered at the Smartboard and analyzed the visual conventions used in making signs, for example, the color red usually means stop, green means go, and so on.
Because it has a Symbol-Maker drawing tool, I knew Kidspiration was the perfect choice for this type of activity. (You can download the activity I made using Kidspiration here.) Using that tool, students recreated major pedestrian safety signs. A model of each sign was provided, for reference.
Screen shot of Drawing Pedestrian Signs, a Kidspiration activity
This activity is simple, but has profound benefits. I could see that some of my students were not picking up on color differences between signs, clearly a major indicator of what the sign means. This activity became an important assessment tool. As a result, I continued to teach and review sign identification and meaning and threw in more lessons about clues to sign meaning.
If you are interested in more Kidspiration community sign activities, there is a great one that comes automatically with Kidspiration (at least it does in Kidspiration 3, I didn’t check in earlier versions). It is in Kidspiration’s Social Studies activities folder. That activity asks students to match signs with their meaning. Lots of signs are included, too, not just traffic safety.