Harold & the Purple Crayon inspired my Donors Choose


Just before the school year started, I started a Donors Choose to bring Ozobots and our own Flash Forge 3D printer. Many asked how the project came to life and it was my son discovering Harold and the Purple Crayon. Those who don’t know the story, The protagonist, Harold, is a curious four-year-old boy who, with his purple crayon, has the power to create a world of his own simply by drawing it. He goes on many adventures with his purple crayon creating it. I was talking to one of my students during summer school and they asked if they could do the same when the school year started again. I said, we could but we don’t have any Ozobots and we only have a 3D printer on a partnership. They told me, we have to get them and make our own story and characters and sure enough this donors choose was born. We have until December 10 and I want to try and get it funded sooner so I can introduce the Ozobots and the 3D printer for the Hour of Code this November before they reach our full curriculum in January.

We already are on our way and four of my fellow teachers just had their own Donors Chooses funded and I believe I can get this done for my students. Please consider donating and use the code: LIFTOFF at checkout and your donation can be matched up to $100, but only until Monday. Please, help my students before STEAM Storytellers and move us towards STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art and Mathematics).

STEAM Storytellers Donors Choose Project

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 9.01.34 PM  Last year, my friend Peter Smetana and I worked hard to bring STEAM to his art classroom using Spheros and Drones and we transformed the art curriculum and began to pave the way to create a STEAM initiative to have our students become innovators and tomorrow’s global leaders. This year, I am teaching a full STEAM classroom elective and while I will be using our Spheros and Drones, but something my students were asking about before the school year was over was about creating stories and games using coding and this project was born. Less than half of our students have access to technology at home, and are eager for any opportunities at school to use technology and the Internet. My goal is to provide tech experiences to our students to promote 21st century learning and skills, but to go to the next level with STEAM and create STREAM. Science, Technology, READING, Art and Mathematics.

My students want to expand into coding and learning through experiences and authentic problem solving. Ozobots are a great tool to be used in a STREAM setting and align with Common Core. Ozobots will encourage my students to think at a deeper level! They would be able to create dialogue between two characters in the story, and write a code to navigate the conversation and the story structure. Ozobots can be tailored by various skins, but they can be limited by the set brands of skins available. By adding a 3D printer, such as a Flash Forge 3D printer, my students will be able to create their very own skins for their Ozobots and be able to integrate it with their other mobile technology bringing their characters to life with 3D printing and coding. My students will begin to discover and cultivate their creativity as they begin to apply their unique gifts and talents and allow them to become the innovators and global leaders of tomorrow with the stories they will be able to create and tell.

We have until December 10th to fund the project, I am hoping we have this happen a lot sooner, like by September. My students are so hungry for using technology and creating and I want to give them all the opportunities possible and this Donors Choose will be a door of opportunity to enter. Please share or support our project and if you use the code: LIFTOFF from now until the 21st your donation will be matched. Please help making my STEAM storytellers into STREAM story tellers and future global leaders.

The Daily Meme/Infopic Board


Almost a week ago, I shared this image and many were asking: “Is that why you were making so many Nintendo characters?” Well, yes and no. I’m teaching a STEAM class this year and something I have wanted to do for a few years was have a daily board where I post things I either create or my students create and they have to make a meme or infopic from it. So, I create this new board for my students, every day I will have something up on this board and my students will create these memes or infopics from them. Those who do will be able to win everything from SWAG bucks to using it with the classroom lesson of the day. So, let’s say were are doing a trip to Egypt and looking for the Pharaoh’s treasure? My students have to recreate the game using coding with the App, Tickle and our Spheros with it.

What I am trying to do is have students lead the classroom a bit more with our lessons as we work with STEAM. I’m hoping to see some amazing creation this school year and I will be happy to share some of them with you on my social media.

Using Comic Sketches for your Classroom with Todd Nauck art


Todd Nauck

A few weeks ago, I was talking with some friends of mine and we brought up Todd Nauck. For those who don’t know Todd, he is a career comic book artist who has worked on everything from Spider-Man to Batman. I’ve been a fan of his since the 90s and Todd is always doing a “retweet” contest on Twitter when he is at a comic con. We were talking about how he has created some amazing work with his twitter posting and how we could use that for the classroom and a great idea came to me.


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The Pokémon Go Google Sheets and to the Library

Hard to believe that Pokémon Go has been around almost a week and of course like anything new with mobile technology. We are seeing the pros and cons with the game in both daily life and in education. I usually like to focus on the pros and the many ways that the way Pokémon Go is showing us the future of mobile learning. After work today, I found myself with a half an hour to myself, so I went on a Pokémon walk to find new Pokémon and maybe even a few PokéStops along the way. I came to a regular one where I encountered several high school students that had placed a Lure on the PokéStop. For those who don’t know, a Lure can be placed on a PokéStop for a half an hour. It then has pedals and hearts fly around it and it attracts all Pokémon in the area from common to rare. During the Lure time, many groups get together to not only capture Pokémon and also do Gym Battles, but also start discussing and sharing. Something that Pokémon Go has done is create a wonderful social gathering ability and a few of the students knew me from the area. They stopped by and asked if I wanted to join and to see if I could help them and that’s when something pretty amazing happened.

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Pokemon Go Edu

IMG_0633Gotta catch them all! Pokémon! For twenty years, we have heard that slogan, Pokémon has been a beloved game and cartoon series since its release in 1996. On par with one of the most popular gaming franchises, until last January, there wasn’t much talk of Pokémon except with fans or people playing the latest edition on their gameboys. However, as of last week, that all changed with Pokémon Go! What is Pokemon Go?  It retains the basics of Pokémon games past of catching Pokémon, battling at Gyms, using items, evolving your creatures  but now with a twist: You’re doing it all in the real world. That means instead of tapping or using a gamepad to tell your virtual avatar where to go to find Pokémon, you’re actually walking to do with your mobile device in hand in the real world. That’s right, as you walk or in some cases, run, your avatar is moving right along with you in real time thanks to your mobile device’s GPS and you can use it for Education! No really!

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App Dice: A Two Year Journey

If you were at ISTE 2016 in Colorado this year and stopped by the Seesaw booth or attended any of their panels, you most likely noticed App Dice. Teachers and administrators were loving them. Many people were on Twitters and their websites talking about App Dice and loving the idea. I even had several people surprised that App Dice have been around for a little over two years. Followed by many asking me how I came up with the idea. Well, I discovered the idea just after Christmas in 2013. I was looking through Pinterest and I found a teacher blog about a teacher who took some stickers of various iPad apps and put them on dice and then had teachers roll them to come up with some lessons. However, they didn’t use them for App Smashing or random selecting of Apps either. No, they originally rolled them when they were making a lesson with Apps they knew and then had to make their lesson with that exact App. So, if the teacher was going to do an lesson on geography and they rolled Pic Collage. They would have to do a lesson with students that used Pic Collage with just that App. There was no real app smashing, and it was always with the basic school Apps that were on their classroom iPads that were a shared cart. I loved the idea of Apps on dice, but it was way too limiting. Continue reading