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Teachers are Givers Week 2 Winner – Terri Eichholz!


Congratulations to our week two winner: Terri Eichholz of Hidden Forest Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas!

Our judges loved Terri’s use of cutting-edge technology to teach a “Character Strength Floor Plan” lesson based on The Giver.

character periodic tableFirst, Terri’s students discuss the character traits for “The Receiver of Memory” and use The Periodic Table of Character Strengths to describe their own character traits.

character trait floor planNext, the students create a “Character Strength Floor Plan” and use various apps and websites to simulate “Augmented Reality”—an innovative way for the students to explain their floor plans.

“In some ways, Augmented Reality is like ‘seeing beyond,'” said our judges in response to Terri’s lesson plan.

On Terri’s blog, she mentions how, “It’s been so interesting to see the creative ways students visualize their own attributesfrom hidden rooms to indoor pools to closets with no doors.”

Read Terri’s full submission below, and check out her bio on the Teacher Hall of Fame. Also be sure to visit Terri’s personal blog to see all of the other innovative ways she is using technology in the classroom. Coincidentally, Terri’s school is only 11 miles away from LeAnne Hernandez’s school, our winner from last week. Way to go Texas!

Don’t forget that the Teachers are Givers contest is open until June 27th, and there is no limit on submissions, so keep the ideas coming!


Character Strength Floor Plans

Each year, when my students read The Giver, we discuss the qualities that the Chief Elder lists as the criteria for a Receiver of Memory:  intelligence, integrity, courage, and wisdom.  We discuss the meaning of those qualities.  The students then consider their own character traits, and what they believe to be their own outstanding qualities.  Which of these might be appreciated in the book’s fictional community (self-control, for example)?  Which might be discouraged (creativity, for example)?

This year, the students used the Periodic Table of Character Strengths (here is the link to it on my professional blog: http://goo.gl/ZlNaFE) to deepen the discussion.  They then made Character Strength Floor Plans that metaphorically represented their own unique qualities as if they were rooms in a house. 

When finished with their floor plans, the students chose their own methods for explaining their blueprints.  Some used Thinglink, while others created videos using Puppet Pals or Tellagami.  Those who created videos had their movies linked to their floor plan drawings so that you can scan the floor plan with the Aurasma app and the video will appear (augmented reality).  Here is a link to the blog post I did with an example: http://goo.gl/6pzKPH

By identifying their own strong attributes, the students learn a lot about themselves.  They also learn about the many intangibles that we should value and preserve in our current community such as curiosity and creativity.