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”

Smashboard into Coding

Have you heard of Smashboard EDU by Dee Lanier? Smashboard Edu is a HyperDoc that leads learners through the design-thinking process, involves app-smashing, collaborative goal-setting, and iteration. The main objective is to create a unique product that solves a relevant, real-world problem. For the past couple of years I have been focused on Student Driven Learning in the classroom. For my Computer Programming Class this semester, I introduced the concept of Smashboards and App Smashing to them in the previous weeks. Having them solve questions based on the Holidays and Veterans also by Dee. For my lesson, I wanted my students to create their Smashboards if they were going to teach other students how to program with Scratch and Ozobot Evos.

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No internet on Google Chrome? No Problem! 10 ideas for T-rex Game

We have all faced it. We are just going along doing out work on Google Chrome when it happens… the internet goes down! Can be so many reasons: bad connectivity, sever reboot, maintenance or maybe you are trying to upload too many files to the cloud. The T-rex Game has been a favorite pixel game to play while you are waiting for your internet to reconnect or just want to see how far you can go in the game. I have actually found Ten ideas you can use the T-rex game in the classroom using a few chapters from Table Talk Math, Explore like a Pirate and Instant Relevance.

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Creating your own Skins for Ozobots with Google Drawings

Copy of Ozobot Skin TemplateOzobots, small little robots you can code a number of ways. Great for K-college and more. As many of you know, I love using Robot EDU, where you use robotics to challenge and engage students. Using STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, arts & mathematics). I have had students creating amazing projects with Ozobots over the last year. One of the greatest ways to generate creativity is to tell a story with an Ozobot is by creating a Skin for them. Skins are usually cut outs that students and teachers can attach to Ozobots to dress them up to look like animals, people or objects. Many classrooms love to use Makerspaces with Ozobots using 3D printers and 3Doodlrs (I know I have). Giving such a unique look to their Ozobots. However, as we know many schools do not have 3D printing, butttttt…. many schools have Chromebooks.

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Teaching your Way

As the first semester draws closer to an end (6 weeks for me). Teachers reach that moment where they start to reflect on their classroom teaching or the 90 Day reflection. As many of you know, I returned to the classroom this year after serving as an administrator and enrichment teacher the last few years. I went from reaching a large range of students in a small capacity to teaching high school students in six different sections on a Block Schedule. To say the least, it was not the easiest transition, especially taking the position just a little over two weeks before the new school year started. I was fortunate to have a portfolio from previous school years about the material that needed to be cover. However, after the first month, I felt that I wasn’t teaching the classroom the way I wanted to teach it. Don’t get me wrong, my new students enjoyed the fact that I wouldn’t lecture constantly, gave extra time to work on assignments instead of having extra homework. They also loved my XP Power ups (they still do). Yet something was still missing.  Continue reading “Teaching your Way”