Rock Thoughts is uniquely positioned to be a valuable virtual learning resource. Specifically:
- we promote the development of key literacy and critical thinking skills
- we support the strategic use of technology and digital media as learning tools
- we facilitate collaborative work opportunities and promote cross-cultural interactions
- we inspire innovative thinking and creative problem-solving
- we empower children to develop positive, global and virtual identities, connecting with others in meaningful ways.
You can read more about our underlying educational objectives in our Vision.
Participating in Rock Thoughts is quite simple:
- contact us to let us know how many rocks you’re making and we will send you a batch of unique codes for your rocks. In the meantime, paint away!
- when your rocks are done, with a permanent marker print a code under each rock and our site’s URL (rockthoughts.com).
- send us a photo of each rock with it’s code either visible in the photo (you can see some examples on our site) or as the title of the photo (e.g. abc123.jpg).
- submit the story for your rock (you can do this directly on our site or via email at hello [at] rockthoughts [dot] com). Be sure to include your rock’s code with your story! Once we have your story and rock’s photo, we will upload them onto the site.
- go out and hide the rocks, be sneaky, be creative, have fun! Send us photos of your rocks in hiding and we will post them on our Facebook page.
You can also read a step-by-step tutorial and how this project can be managed school-wide at Mini Matisse.
- Rock Thoughts Process – instructions on how to participate.
- Rock Thoughts Chart – a spreadsheet to help you keep track of your rocks, their owners, location and the status of the rocks. Feel free to customize this to best meet your group’s needs.
To see how the process actually works, Watch our stop motion animation video about two friends that embark on a grand adventure:
Using Rock Thoughts in the Classroom
Pre-K through Elementary
- Reading – our stories are short, concise and fun to read. Children can read them independently or as a group. We have hundreds of stories and they are updated on a regular basis which means that children will always be able to read new stories.
- Writing – children can practice their writing and story crafting skills by creating stories. The fact that the stories are published outside of the classroom forum and have global reach serves as a great motivator to inspire struggling writers.
- Editing and Review – as these stories are accessible to a broad audience, it incentivizes children to review and edit their work.
- Reading Comprehension and Constructive Critique – visitors to the site are encouraged to submit comments, feedback, and suggestions to improve upon the posted stories. This gives children an opportunity to read a variety of stories and practice reading comprehension as well as how to formulate constructive feedback.
- Digital Footprint – as this is a virtual platform, it enables teachers to discuss the impact of children’s digital footprint and appropriate online behavior.
- Collaboration – children are given an opportunity to collaborate with storytellers and artists from all over the world, regardless of their age, demographic, background, nationality or expertise. This collaborative experience exposes children to a breadth of information, knowledge and skills and teaches them how to work with others to create something that is meaningful to the group at large.
- Art – this is a great way to encourage creative expression and imaginative play.
Elementary through Middle School
- Languges – we feature fun and engaging content in multiple languages. This gives children an opportunity to practice reading and writing in foreign languages, and it is a particularly great tool for English learners.
- Cultural Understanding – teachers can use this tool to enhance learning about different cultures by having children paint monsters and write stories that reflect the particular culture they are studying. In addition, as this is a global tool, children have access to stories written by storytellers from around the world, giving them a unique opportunity to connect directly with other cultures.
- Storytelling Pen Pals – one exciting application of this tool is to pair children up from different schools around the world and to have them collaborate on joint stories. This enables children to learn about different cultures and how to collaborate across borders.
Middle School through High School
- Mentorship – older children can be paired with younger writers as storytelling mentors. The older children guide the younger ones through the process of crafting stories, including proper construction, grammar, spelling, editing, and review, as well as how to supplement stories with art, working towards a final published piece.
- Team Publication – children can be assembled in a team to work towards publication of an anthology of stories. The team is responsible for managing the project, setting deadlines and assigning tasks, painting rocks, writing narratives, editing the stories, generating art or related media, and creating a final work product. Rock Thoughts will work with these teams to publish the books in e-book or paperback format.
- Project Management – with larger project, children create Google Docs to track the status of their class rocks, they coordinate the input of stories and work with Rock Thoughts to ensure that their class project is completed.
We have already partnered with a number of educators around the world who have used Rock Thoughts to enhance their literacy and art curricula (see the Schools heading in the Menu above). We invite you to join them!