Sparking Young Minds

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Our Thinkables are short enrichment units organized by grade level and skill area. Each is only $5.00!

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What are Thinkables? They are short collections of enrichment activities arranged by grade level and skill area.

Over the years, we have produced a number of activity books which address skills such as analytical thinking, flexible thinking, listening skills, etc. and span various grade levels. We are in the process of selecting the very best activities from our books and are updating them and arranging them into eight Thinkables skill areas.

We are also producing new materials for the Thinkables series. Our Opposites title, which you will find here, is the first of these.

One important point: Those Thinkables that include activities from our books will be clearly marked. If the activities in a Thinkable title come from a book you already own, you should probably stick with your original material.

But if you are new to Tin Man Press, or if you wish to extend your library of our resources, Thinkables are a wonderful resource. Start with a grade level, pick a skill you think your students need, and dive in!

Like our other materials, Thinkables will have some "stretch." That's why we have indicated a range of grade levels.

More Thinkables will be coming soon, incorporating original material and activities from our existing products.

We hope Thinkables will let you purchase our activities in a targeted—and cost-saving—fashion. Thanks for taking a look!



Dots and Lines - 4th through 6th

This collection of 15 activities encourages children to look at visual information and analyze it in depth. This is not easy!

Drawing Starts I - 1st through 3rd

The drawings are already started (just a little bit) so students must incorporate the lines that are given into their final product.

Drawing Starts II - 4th through 6th

Four separate drawing starts in four boxes begin each activity. Students must use the drawing starts as part of their drawing based on four descriptions.

Expand the Thought I - 1st through 3rd

Sometimes it is fun to take one subject and play with it in a variety of ways. If all goes well, the end result is a kind of "mental stretching." Fun thinking!

Expand the Thought II - 4th through 6th

Elaborative thinking is the challenge here. Students begin with a single concept and branch out in surprising directions. Promotes flexible thinking!

One activity starts this way: "Suddenly you have turned into a tiny person as big as your thumb. You are wearing glasses. Draw them the size they would be." From there, the challenge goes into other ideas connected to being one thumb tall. "Think of three things  you could carry but which would seem heavy." Or, "How big is that hat you're wearing? Draw it."  And on it goes.

Students are encouraged to think about 15 different subjects from a variety of angles.

Finish the Thought - 4th through 6th

Language usage is complex. The activities in this collection focus on the way we learn language and the subtleties of its usage.

How Would That Look? I - 1st through 6th

Each activity begins with a carefully structured statement. Children must process information, formulate a visual idea and then draw it on their paper.

How Would That Look? II - 1st through 6th

There are 45 visual problems that you present orally to the class. In each case children must draw what you've described. Students aren't making art with a capital A. Rather, keen listening is what is needed to produce the desired outcome.

Join In! -1st through 4th

These 15 activities give everyone a break from the regular curriculum for a few minutes of fun whole-class play.

The point here is for children to relax and simply have fun.

The challenges are varied. In "The Great Paper Race" children use pencils to pass a strip of paper around the class—without letting the paper strip drop to the floor.

"Close Your Eyes" asks children to not peek when they are asked some very elementary questions about their room. "What is the color of the ceiling?" "How many windows are there?" etc.

Great for promoting class camaraderie!

Just Write! I -2nd through 5th

The amount of writing required is not voluminous but it's a start to expressing oneself on paper.

You'll get interesting results when students are asked to write a sentence that starts out sloppy BUT ends up neatly (from the But page) or explains in writing WHY people don't keep earthworms as pets (from the Why page).

Since each of these 15 assignments starts with a theme, the writing covers a lot of territory—and it's motivational to do.

Just Write! II -2nd through 5th

Each activity centers around a single concept. There's The Old Page, The How Page, The Noise Page, The Same Page … you get the idea. The subjects themselves invite good writing and flexible thinking.

Just Write! III -2nd through 5th

There's The Straight Page, The Baby Page, The Fast Page—giving children new writing ideas about common concepts. Very entertaining—and students will hardly know they are gaining experience in thinking—and writing!

Just Write! IV - 2nd through 5th

Bugs, boredom, mistakes, facts, worries—these are a few of the subjects encountered in this collection of Just Write activities. The amount of writing children are asked to do is not voluminous, but the free-ranging thinking they have to do encourages mental flexibility.

Listen Up! I - 1st through 3rd

Fifteen teacher-led strategies are sure to improve listening skills—and students will hardly know they are being put to a rigorous task!

Listen Up! II - 4th through 6th

These important challenges help put students on the path to better listening skills. The activities are teacher-directed with scripts provided.

Listen Up! III - 4th through 6th

Children respond to your oral directions by drawing something described by you. The result? Better listening skills! These are highly motivational challenges that students love to do.

Look and Think I - 2nd through 4th

First, we present a visual premise. Then, students must take that visual information and apply it to some interesting descriptions. Children can work on these activities completely independently. Like all Tin Man Press materials, directions are clearly stated. Perfect for early finishers or those children in need of an extra challenge.

Look and Think II - 3rd through 5th

Look, look, look—that's what children will be doing with these exercises. The focus is on a creative assortment of visual problems that students don't get to see every day. The activities provide valuable experience in analyzing visual data. And they're fun to do!

Look and Think III - 4th through 6th

Being able to look in depth at something is important. The graphic approaches in these 15 exercises encourage students to "dig in" visually.

Looking Logic I - 2nd through 6th

Students look at a drawing and read part of a sentence about what they see. Then they must finish the sentence underneath the drawing in a way that relates to the drawing. Thus. both visualization and language skills share top billing in these exercises.

Looking Logic II - 2nd through 6th

The 45 activities in this collection can be used a variety of ways. You might feature three or four at a time as a warm-up challenge. Or hand them out to early finishers. They provide good experience in developing visual thinking skills.

Nifty Fifteen - 4th through 6th

Simply introduce one of these 15 subjects and watch what happens. Whole-class discussions will meander in interesting directions.

The premise is simple—let children think about common concepts and then ask thought-provoking questions about them.

Topics include Window, Car, Map and Bathtub. Introduce the subject, read the 10 questions and call for discussion.

A great resource to have when you need 5 (or 15) minutes of something to do. And who benefits? Everyone, because thinking at length on a single subject is what is prized here.

Opposites - 3rd through 5th

Hot, cold, first, last, inside, outside—these and seven more either/or challenges push students into new areas of thought and analysis.

Ten two-page activities encourage children to think about things such as how old an "old" teenager is or how to turn a boring drawing of a house into something more interesting or what might have happened if you climb a tree slowly but come down fast.

The intent here is to help children think more flexibly and analytically about familiar concepts that may surprise them. We want them to think "I've never thought about THAT before!"

Really Look - 4th through 6th

We think that looking closely at something is a skill that can be taught—here are 15 activities designed to help children do just that.

Smart Art I - 1st through 3rd

Creative drawing responses to interesting directives—that's what we're after here. Students get to draw things they've never thought about drawing before.

Smart Art II - 3rd through 6th

A great array of art challenges awaits students in this collection. The 15 activities cover a lot of territory—everything from "drawing poems" to making designs.

Smart Snips - 3rd through 5th

Students snip their way into valuable thinking, reading, and direction-following experiences—and everything starts with a hands-on challenge.

Take Aways I - 1st and 2nd

Students cut away shapes from a matrix until there is only one shape left—and that's the answer!

The challenge here is for children to carefully analyze an array of words place in lively shapes on a sheet of paper. Then they use their scissors to take away those word-shapes one by one, based on particular descriptions.

Although the snipping is the entertainment, the real work involves practice in classification. If students are asked to find two paper things, they wouldn't cut out the word "toaster" or "guitar," they'd look until they found "envelope" and "dollar bill."

These are great hands-on experiences in deductive thinking!

Take Aways II - 4th through 6th

Fifteen activities call for scissor work and decision-making as students cut away shapes until they arrive at one remaining shape—and that is the answer!

These hands-on challenges begin with a matrix sheet that is filled with shapes containing words or drawings. Then students start cutting away shapes in response to a series of descriptions. When they finish, there should be one shape left—and that is the answer.

In one activity, Cut Those Cookies, children first look for three drawings that portray a cookie with one big bite missing. The next description asks for a shape containing a drawing of a cookie missing one big bite and a little bite, and so it goes.

The Question Kid -3rd through 5th

Call this flexible thinking at its best! Question Kid activities encourage children to think about old concepts in surprising new ways.

WakerUppers I - 1st through 3rd

True to the name WakerUppers, you can hand out these activity pages to start the day. A lively mix of challenges that are just plain fun to do!

WakerUppers II - 4th through 6th

These 15 hand-drawn variety sheets are friendly and approachable. Let children work on them at their own pace. Encourages flexible thinking!

WakerUppers III - 4th through 6th

Fifteen hand-drawn variety pages come from our popular book, WakerUppers. This is a nice change of pace from the regular curriculum, providing students experience in thinking flexibly as they handle this material.

Just the titles hint at the adventuresome spirit these activities provide—such titles as Square Snowmen and Nooms, Things You Hold in Your Hand, Old Dogs and Bumpy Writing, and Movie Stars and Weird Synonyms—to name a few.

All students can benefit from these exercises, and completed assignments are good take-home "fodder" so parents can also get in on the fun.

WakerUppers IV - 4th through 6th

Give children a WakerUppers in the morning and let them work on it when time permits. When all 15 activity sheets have been completed, let children take them home so that parents can see what they have accomplished.

What's That? I - 1st through 3rd

Here's what Tin Man Press is best known for: visual abstractions! Abstractions give students the opportunity to think in new and different ways.

What's That? II - 2nd through 4th

These exercises promote analytical thinking as students decide which word descriptions go with which drawings.

This is the kind of intellectual play that benefits all students. Even adults find these "projects" entertaining. And, as a byproduct of doing these activities, they exercise a very valuable skill—patience! Sometimes it takes a while to come up with a solution.

What's That? III - 3rd through 5th

This is symbolic thinking at its best! Abstractions give students the opportunity to think in original ways, looking for visual clues to solve problems.

In one activity called Parents and Children, students look at a tall rectangle (representing an adult) and a small square (representing a child).

They then will match these images with word descriptions. If youngsters find two tall rectangles and two squares, they know the label "parents and children" is the correct answer. If the word description is simply "child," then students will be looking for a single small square.

Write About - 1st and 2nd

Here are 15 activities that introduce young children to the fun of writing (but just a bit) as they explore concepts they already know something about.

The assignments fan out in various directions. One activity involves writing about a chair that has three legs—and what would happen if someone tried to sit on it. Another asks why it would be hard to eat soup with a fork.

These activities are designed to motivate youngsters to explore a single subject in a very non-threatening way. Good experience in thinking and writing.