Grade K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, High School

Smashing Fingers & Other Familiar Concepts – freer thinking through fresh eyes

finger-wound-koe-2016I seem to have forgotten how to use my fingers and hands properly. Don’t be alarmed; no medical condition here. It’s more like a mental block on applying my expected digital dexterity to daily tasks. Sure, I’ve spent a lifetime beating up my hands in the barn, garden and kitchen sink. But clearly I’ve lost perspective on finger functions and hand handling. Here’s this fortnight’s damage:

  • light bulb-induced burn, right pointer
  • diamond-shaped mystery gouge, 3rd knuckle right hand
  • red welt plus scrape, by nail of left middle
  • 2 pin/thorn/??? pricks that won’t heal, back of left hand
  • smashed-in-a-pocket-door nail, right middle
  • blender blade slash, right pointer
  • busted battery acid bath, same cut on right pointer

So I got to thinking…what other common, regular, everyday things are we using or thinking about with less flexible finesse than we should be? To keep from dwelling on the negative (e.g. hands no manicure can save), I flipped the question to:

What everyday stuff can students explore with FRESH EYES to gain better insight and knowledge?


Everyday Stuff to Explore with Fresh Eyes…While Crossing the Curriculum (of course)

  • FOOD  You’re Eating it Wrong –  Tips on better tasting hot dogs (squish the bun for a less bready bite), hamburgers (cheese under patty so bun doesn’t get soggy), and more. Can you do better than Dan Pashman?
    • Watch a video. Find ONE MORE WAY to improve the routine way of eating the featured food. Bonus:  Make your own video with your favorite foodie technique.
  • SHAPES & GEOMETRYmajor props to Christopher Danielson for these tips:
    • Which One Doesn’t Belong? – Shapes Book with matching teacher’s guide, both by Christopher Danielson. Because per the author, ‘there are many shapes books for children. Most of them are very bad.’ This one, however, is mind-blowing! Be the geometer you were meant to be. Read, share, & buy this book.
    • Which One Doesn’t Belong – A website by Mary Bourassa & others ‘dedicated to providing thought-provoking puzzles for math teachers and students alike. There are no answers provided as there are many different, correct ways of choosing which one doesn’t belong.’
    • Minecraft – Over 100,000,000 people own this game to gleefully, even fiercely compose and deconstruct 3-D shapes. They paid to play & learn.
  • SCIENTIFIC METHOD – Don’t look at it as a recipe. Try Dogged Determination, a short story & unit, to explore how a tennis ball-chasing pup plays with the scientific method to get useful results (a game of fetch).
  • PICTURE BOOKS and PRESIDENTS Picture books should be in the Oval Office to help our Commander-in-Chief prioritize the Executive’s duties and powers for the entire term of office. See A Picture Book 4 My President to suggest a title that could help run the country.
  • ECONOMICS (if you do it right, it IS everyday stuff)
  • PAPERCLIPS (poster child for everyday ENGINEERING/DESIGN)
    • Consider one of today’s creative interview questions for new job seekers in any field:  How many ways can you think of to use a paperclip (other than its basic design function)?
    • Name another common object and devise unusual, unintended ways to use it.
  • POETRY & SONG – Both use words and rhythms to create meaningful lyrics. Use Well-Versed (a series of units) to explore common themes in new ways through classic poems & modern voices.

For the record, this thinking about thinking with fresh eyes seems to be helping me already. I deftly averted another smashed finger while wrestling some recycling into the bin (with a heavy hinged lid). Let the fingers fly!



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