creative thinking

  1. 100th Day of School

    In this Remarkable Idea, explore the number 100 and improve students’ number sense. The hundredth day of school is an exciting opportunity for students to explore the number 100 through activities, discussions, and art projects allowing students to gain a better understanding of what the number 100 means to them.

    This activity addresses:

    • Social skills
    • Choice making
    • Cause and effect
    • Fine motor skills
    • Number sense
    • Creative thinking
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:


    1. Using cups, bowls, mason jars, or some other container students can see through, make pairs of 100 and non-100 items such as pennies, cotton balls, or small candies.
    2. Count and separate a set of 100 mini pretzel sticks for each student in class.
    3. Using a hot glue gun, glue 100 crayons to the top of the canvas side by side.
    4. Using school glue, write the number 100 in bubble letters on the middle of the canvas. Make sure you use a thick bead of glue to prevent wax from entering the 100 later on.

    What to do:

    Counting to 100
    1. Begin by counting 100 days with your students. Explain that there are different ways we can count.
    - Give each student a blank ten frame and allow them to fill in each box by coloring, using stickers, or a bingo dotter. Use the ten frames to model counting to 100 by tens. A Step-by-Step can be used to assist with counting by tens.
    - Ask student’s how many fingers they have, and how many students they would need to get to 100. Include toes to get students thinking about other ways to make 100.
    - Using the coins, ask students how many nickels, dimes, or quarters you would need to make $1.00. Model counting by each. A Step-by-Step can be used to assist with counting.

    Thinking about 100
    1. Using a blank All-Turn-It Spinner overlay, write talking points such as eat, walk, hold, do, etc.
    - Use a Jelly Bean switch to activate the All-Turn-It Spinner and when it lands on a category ask students to think about something they could eat 100 of, or how far 100 steps would get them, etc. This could be modified by using an iTalk2 with Levels and giving students a choice between two things (ex. Could you eat 100: Cheeseburgers or jelly beans.)
    2. Using a blank All-Turn-It Spinner overlay, write more than/less than talking points such as “When it rains do you think there are more than 100 or less than 100 rain drops?”, “At the Super Bowl are there more than 100 or less than 100 fans in the stadium?”, or “Are there more than 100 or less than 100 keys on the computer keyboards in our school?”
    - Use a Jelly Bean switch to activate the All-Turn-It Spinner and when it lands on a scenario ask students to decide whether it’s more than 100 or less than 100.
    3. Present the previously made sets of 100 and non-100 items to students and ask them to guess which container is the one with 100 in it. Use an iTalk2 with Levels to let students decide which container has 100. (record “This one has 100.” and “This one has less than 100.” on each side of the iTalk2 with Levels)

    Fun with 100
    1. Give each student a set of 100 pretzel sticks and allow them to create anything they can with the pretzel sticks.
    - Allow students the opportunity to explore the many different images they can create.
    2. Place your canvas in a vertical position (on a stand or have an adult hold it) with the crayons at the top.
    3. Connect a hair dryer to the PowerLink 4, and connect a Jelly Bean switch to it. Allow students to take turns melting the crayons on the top of the canvas.
    4. As the crayon wax melts, it should stay on the outside of the 100 leaving you with a one of a kind piece of art for your classroom made by your students.


    step-by-step | social skills | powerlink 4 | numbers | jelly bean switch | italk2 with levels | fine motor skills | creative thinking | choice making | cause and effect | alternative methods of access | all-turn-it spinner |

  2. Old Time Radio

    Old Time Radio

    Podcasts are a popular media in today’s society, but they are certainly not a new concept. In this Remarkable Idea, your students will create their own radio show or podcast.

    This activity addresses:

    • Communication skills
    • Technology
    • Teamwork
    • Critical thinking
    • Creative thinking
    • Fine motor skills
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    Optional Hardware

    • Microphone

    Free Resources

    • Sound Effects – YouTube or (There are a lot of other sites, just be sure they are free. Sound effects can be expensive!)
    • Software – (free audio recording/editing program)
    • – listen to old radio plays (you can also search the internet for “old time radio”)
    • iTunes store/ – download/listen to free podcasts
    • – (free radio play scripts)


    1. Decide on a format (Radio play, top ten music countdown, news show, talk radio, movie/book review, etc.) for your radio show, or a script from a radio play that is appropriate for your classroom and students. If you choose to come up with an original radio play, decide on some appropriate themes or settings for your students.
    2. Download “Audacity” from to record and edit your radio show.
    3. Find some appropriate podcasts/radio shows for your students to listen to. This will give them an idea of what your lesson is all about.
    4. If you have a radio play in mind, you may wish to gather your sound effects and record them to your chosen communication device (SuperTalker FT/QuickTalker (7, 12, 23, Freestyle)/TalkingBrix 2/TalkTrac)
    5. Record the shows music intro to a BIGmack
    6. Record sound effects to your chosen communication device (SuperTalker FT/QuickTalker (7, 12, 23, Freestyle)/TalkingBrix 2/TalkTrac)
    7. Set up Audacity to record with the Hitch 2 and two Jelly Bean switches.

    • Open Audacity and go to preferences > keyboard
    • Change the shortcut for “Record” from the letter “R” to the number 0
    • Change the shortcuts for “Stop” and “Play” from the space bar to the number 3 (they share a shortcut)

    8. Plug in your Hitch 2 and Jelly Bean switches so the Recording Engineer can control the recording.

    What to do:

    1. Begin by discussing the history of home entertainment (video games, TV, radio, etc.)
    2. Play some examples of old radio shows. Ask the class if they know anything that is popular now that is similar; discuss podcasts.
    3. Play an example of a podcast.
    4. Assign roles to students and give them scripts (be sure to add symbols and marks so students know when it’s their turn to talk or to use a particular sound effect):

    • Recording engineer (the person who presses record and stop)
    • Sound designers/sound effect specialists (they will choose sound effects and add them to the show when necessary)
    • Actors/DJs/Show hosts
    • Writers (if applicable, maybe all students will be writers, maybe you will not have any writers)

    5. Record the shows music intro to a BIGmack
    6. Record sound effects to your chosen communication device (SuperTalker FT/QuickTalker (7, 12, 23, Freestyle)/TalkingBrix 2/TalkTrac)
    7. Do a read-through with your class so they can practice reading and using sound effects/music at the right time. (You may wish to record the rehearsal).
    8. On the Air! Record your show (you may need to record multiple times to get everything right.)
    9. Edit the show - you may wish to do this together as a class and ask their opinions. Do you need more/different sound effects or music? More commercials, less commercials? etc.
    10. Once you have a finished product, “export” your project from Audacity and allow your class to listen to their radio show.


    “What are some things you like to do for fun when you’re at home?” Someone will inevitably say watch movies, TV, or play video games.
    “Before video games and television, people used to listen to the radio for fun. There used to be shows, kind of like the ones on TV that you would listen to and mentally picture.”
    “Podcasts are like radio shows that you can listen to whenever you like. They do not have a set time limit.”
    “We are going to be creating our very own radio show or podcast in our class.”



    Additional suggestions:

    To make recording easier for your and your students, consider recording everything separately and combining it later.
    - Record commercials in advance.
    - Record dialogue, sound effects, and music separately.
    Most if not all laptops have a built-in microphone or webcam. You can use this to record your show (Audacity will allow you to import audio from a video) or you can use an external microphone.
    Burn a copy of the radio show to a disc or distribute them digitally so your students can share the show with their families.


    technology | team work | talktrac | talkingbrix 2 | supertalker ft | quicktalker freestyle | quicktalker 7 | quicktalker 23 | quicktalker 12 | jelly bean switch | hitch | critical thinking | creative thinking | communication skills | bigmack | alternative methods of access |

  3. St. Patrick's Day Fun

    St. Patrick's Day Fun

    In this Remarkable Idea, students celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with food, games, and even build a trap to try and catch that pesky leprechaun!

    This activity addresses:

  4. Creative thinking
  5. Listening skills
  6. Fine motor skills
  7. Number recognition
  8. Patterning
  9. Alternative methods of access

  10. What you need:

    Leprechaun Math

    • Numbers/attribute blocks/etc.
    • All-Turn-It Spinner
    • Jelly Bean switch
    • Leprechaun figures/chocolate gold coins
    • Rice
    • Vinegar
    • Green food coloring
    • Locking plastic bags
    • Lucky Charms cereal

    Mischievous Leprechaun

    • Green glitter/St. Patrick’s Day confetti
    • Small jars/plastic bags
    • Green jelly beans
    • Green washable paint
    • Tape
    • Small shoes
    • Caution tape/police tape
    • Blue2 Blootooth switch

    Trap a Leprechaun

    • Box
    • Green paper for wrapping box
    • Pencil
    • String
    • Leprechaun bait (gold coins, green items, etc.)

    St. Patrick’s Day Bingo


    Mischievous Leprechaun
    1. Leave trails of glitter or confetti around your classroom.
    2. Make small messes and rearrange things, and leave green shoe prints all over the classroom.
    3. Place jelly beans in small bags or jars and label them as “Leprechaun poop”.
    4. You could also place caution tape at the doorway of the classroom and create a fake police report for students to fill out together.

    Be creative so your students really feel as though a Leprechaun has messed up their room!

    Leprechaun Math
    1. Dye your rice green by combining a ratio of 1-cup of rice to 1-tablespoon of vinegar, along with as much food coloring as you need to get to the desired color in a plastic bag. Allow the rice to dry once it has adsorbed the green color.
    2. Place objects (numbers, attribute blocks, etc.) into the green rice bucket.
    3. Using an All-Turn-It Spinner blank overlay, write (or place pictures) of the objects you wish for your students to find in the rice.
    4. Add Leprechaun figures or chocolate gold coins as a surprise for your students.

    St. Patrick’s Day Bingo
    1. Find/create a St. Patrick’s Day bingo card.
    2. Record each bingo space to a Step-by-Step.

    What to do:

    Mischievous Leprechaun
    1. When your students come into the classroom in the morning, allow them to explore the classroom and see the mischief the Leprechaun has caused.
    2. Allow students to take “crime scene photos” using a Blue2 Blootooth switch and an iPad.
    3. Search for clues and make a list of anyone whose desk or locker was messed with.
    4. File a “police report” with your students. Ask them to describe things they found in the classroom. If your school has a security guard, see if they can assist with this activity.

    Leprechaun Math
    1. Identifying numbers/shapes/etc.: Allow students to take turns spinning the All-Turn-It Spinner and finding the correct number/object in the rice.
    2. Patterns: Pass out Lucky Charms marshmallows to each student (you may wish to only use two or three different shapes). Make an A/B pattern and challenge your students to match the pattern. For advanced students. challenge them to create their own patterns or match more complex patterns.

    St. Patrick’s Day Bingo
    1. Pass out a bingo card to each student.
    2. Select a caller to activate the Step-by-Step.
    3. Play until you have a winner. (Chocolate gold coins make a good prize)

    Trap a Leprechaun
    1. Allow students to decorate the box as well as place drawings around the area you plan to place the trap.
    2. Tie the “Leprechaun bait” to the pencil and use it to prop the box up.
    3. After the students have gone home for the day, remove the bait and replace it with a note that says “Better luck next year!”
    4. Leave the trap in “tripped” condition.


step-by-step | patterns | numbers | listening skills | jelly bean switch | fine motor skills | creative thinking | alternative methods of access | all-turn-it spinner |