Starting the Flipgrid Recording Studio

A few days ago, I had something happen to me, I had two Donors Choose projects end without making their goal. For the first time in almost two years, I didn’t have a project make it’s goal. I didn’t get upset about it, but it made me really think about why they didn’t get funded? The first usually is: “it was too high of a goal.” One of the main reasons that a lot of Donors Choose do not get funded is because it’s too high of a goal. However, my goal was in the less than $200 range and I had a donors match too. Those usually get funded in just a few weeks if you set it up right. So my next question was: “What didn’t I do to get enough attention for my project?” Which seem to be the answer, I was basically saying: “I don’t have a budget and I really want to help my students learn with tools that I can’t afford.” Which does rub the wrong way, so I decided to think about what was important to my students and it didn’t take long before some of my students came to me during a project on Tuesday and said: “Mr. Read, I love using Flipgrid, but recording them isn’t really convenient for me.” That’s when it hit me. Continue reading “Starting the Flipgrid Recording Studio”


Scoot Reflection

A couple of years ago, I was reading a post on Erintegration by Erin Flanagan on the game Scoot. The game works with students answering one question at their desks and then move to the next seat when the teacher calls “Scoot.”  This usually works by giving students blank paper or whiteboards and have them write questions or have them all turn to the same page in a workbook and Scoot to complete the page. The questions can range from: “Today I feel?” to writing down an adjective to describe an object or picture. Erin created a great way of playing Scoot using both iPads and Chromebooks and playing a special playlist on with songs cut to be 3 minutes long each so students work until the song ends and then Scoot. The last couple of weeks, my division leader and I have been using the Pair Programming Method. Click on the video below to see how the Pair Programming Method Works.

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There is a Post-it for that

Many know that having a degree in Instructional Technology, I loving using technology in my classroom. Being a business & technology teacher, the two are interwoven greatly than they were about 30 years ago. However, technology is just a tool and how you apply and utilize it in your classroom is where magic can happen. A while ago, I came across Tony Vincent’s Print Costume Sticky Notes. As Tony stated: “Post-it and other brands of sticky notes are put to good use everyday by teachers and students.” In fact there are over 35 uses for post-it or stickey notes in the classroom from book marks to exit tickets. Something I wanted to encourage with my students was rapport with each other and also looking for great ways for them to have “brain dumps” after I was finished teaching a lesson.

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Using Code Breaker

A few weeks ago, I received my copy of Code Breaker by Brian Aspinall. As many of you know, I currently work as a business and technology teacher. When I took the position this past fall, one of my new classes to teach was computer programming. I had been teaching students to code for almost three years by this point, but I had to start with Python for my new students. This was a bit of a learning curve as I had not really used Python on a regular basis in a few years. I also wanted my students to explore beyond simple Python coding and we branched off into GSuite Coding, Robotics and yes, Scratch. My students enjoyed using Scratch 2.0 a lot, especially in making games, but I wanted to move beyond that and I made it one of my top goals to learn more various ways to code in engaging ways in 2018. Then this wonderful book came into my hands.

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Pixels in a Jar

A few months ago while I was looking for a new school, I came across Books in a Jar at a local library. Books in a Jar was started back in 2013 when a student thought it would be fun to take pieces of a torn up book and put sentences, words, phrases, ect in a mason jar and then have students try and guess the story it was from. Kind of like a game of Clue, but with torn to deconstructed pieces of a book. At the time, I thought there be a great way to turn this into a STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, art and mathematics) project/activity. However, I was so busy at the time looking for a new job and recreating some older lessons over the summer, I filed it away. This past week a few teachers were talking about it on Twitter and I grabbed my old notebook and came up with this awesome lesson/project you can do with students K-3.

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A Semester in Pixels

It’s 2018, and like many educators in the New Year. I’m always working on new goals to bring to the classroom and to my students. Back in late November, I decided I was going to start a new Passion Planner project, but I wanted to incorporate not only goals, but also a self monitoring chart. We all have good days, bad days and when the month or year is over, we reflect on our good days and our bad days. However, do we have more good than bad? Is it somewhere in the middle? It didn’t take long for me to find: “Year in Pixels”.  Continue reading “A Semester in Pixels”

Color Code Domino Math

Since the last six months have been on and off on my blog, I decided to wrap up 2017 with a post using one of my favorite two things. Coding and Robotics. As many of you know I started the #RobotEDU hashtag earlier this year. As I talked about how to use various robots in education from Wonder Workshop to Ozobots. My son and his friends, who are all like extended family to us love coming over and programming out robots from BB-8 to our two Ozobot Evos. My son and one of his friends are great at math, but a few of his other friends are ok, but can program like no one’s business. So, I created this fun lesson using Google Math and Programming.

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2018 One Word: Hourglass

The past week I have been looking back at 2017 and looking at all the good that happened. While I have talked about how 2017 has been one of the most difficult years I have faced in a decade. I have made it through (well in 4 days fore sure). When 2016 was coming to an end, I was looking at my “One Word” for 2017, which was Passion. What is the One Word?  The “One Word” approach is choosing a word that is a driving force for the year, rather than creating a list of  New Year’s resolutions, the One Word has been my go to the last two years.  However, in year’s past I’ve settled on “a word” for the year, but I never really get it move past the first five months. When January 2017 began and news of my mother’s health had come out. I fell back on my One Word and focused on my drive as an educator and technology. It was one of the few things that was getting me through the first few months of 2017 as more bleak news kept coming at me. Especially when July 1st rolled around and I was refocusing on changing my teaching style as I searched for a job. I also focused on my One Word as I went back into the classroom in August and tried to keep it alive as the days went on. The problem was, I kind of went with my One Word on a semi basis instead of a plan or driving points.

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2017 in Review

The year two thousand and seventeen begins to come to a close and like many others, especially educators, it is a time to look back and review what 2017 was for me. The honest truth? 2017 has been one of the most difficult years I have had in a long time. Now, hear me out, I’m not going to get up on my soapbox right now and talk about how horrible of a year it’s been. There has been a lot of good, but when someone asks you how your year was, most people say: “good” or “bad”. Very generic, because if you say “good” the next question is: “What was good about it?”. If it’s “bad” the question is asked: “Why was it bad?” So, the first thing you have to do, is look at your adjectives. Good and Bad are relative, just like white and black or pink or blue. It can stereo type of reflection. So, the first thing I’m going to do is use the word “difficult” to describe 2017. Why difficult? Continue reading “2017 in Review”