Photo by Renee Silverman
I thought I’d put a list of interesting books and games together that might enhance your instruction, improve your classroom, or give kids something fun to play with on a rainy day. I’ve read/used each and recommend them all. If you buy through Amazon, you’ll help support us here at Byrdseed HQ.
For all ages: Qwirkle is a color and shape matching game that is easy to learn, but has more complexity than it initially seems (and isn’t that the best type of game!). Almost like Scrabble without words, match as many tiles as possible, but don’t set your opponents up for massive points. Great for young kids, great for adults. Four players is ideal, but you can double up with teams of two. I wrote more about it here.
For slightly older kids: Dominion is currently my favorite game. It’s card based and each round lasts only 30 minutes or so. Probably best for upper elementary and older.
My new pal Dan Finkel put out a math game called Prime Climb that’s definitely worth checking out. I had a teacher show me the ropes during our lunch break at a workshop!
Social Emotional Resources
Living With Intensities explains what’s going on with the gifted when they have abundant physical energy, are horrified by certain textures, feel deep sadness (or joy) when no one else does, have imaginary friends, and become obsessed with learning about certain topics. My top recommendation: I wish I had read it earlier!
I love Allis Wade’s take on social-emotional: she wrote a sci-fi series! Gifted students in the not-too-distant future attend a special school to help them learn about themselves. The series starts with Orientation, and part two is called Revelations.
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If I can only recommend one Roald Dahl book, it has to be Matilda. A girl with incredible talents and intelligence, simply dumped to the side by parents and teachers until one special person takes her under her wing. Great for Potter fans.
Oh how I love The Westing Game. A children’s mystery book with a huge and diverse cast of characters and one of my favorite protagonists, the gifted (and unruly) Turtle.
The Mysterious Benedict Society is a wonderful book featuring four gifted kids who have to team up to take down some baddies. Each child is fantastically different, demonstrating how gifted kids can be gifted in very different ways.
The Little Prince is a simple book with staggeringly deep ideas. If you read this one in class, spend a lot of time slowly digesting the philosophical concepts. But don’t watch the movie… it’s pretty weird.
Find more book recommendations from teachers here!
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is made up of fourteen strange black-and-white drawings, each accompanied by just a title and caption. Your kids will be dying to make up their own stories about these bizarre illustrations. I wrote more here.