As many of you know, since 2014 I have been Teaching like a Pirate and in just three years I have expanded my collection with all the various books from the Burgess Consulting Company. However, the two I have been using a a lot over the last year have been: eXPlore like a Pirate and Play like a Pirate. The last few months I have been incorporating both into my STEAM Enrichment classes and my students can’t get enough. A couple of weeks ago I was in the LEGO Store and I came across their Brick Headz sets.
It was April of 2014, I was just a month and a half from completing my second year at Christian Life Schools and something happened. I felt burnt out. I had barely been in education for almost four years and I remember sitting in my office. I was fixing a few forgotten gmail passwords and was told on twitter: “You have to do something else with your App Dice, they are getting boring.” I had no other major planned classroom lessons happening until close to May 1st and I had just sent off my clean up for iPads for classrooms and final eRate quotes to be reviewed and I looked at my blog and went: “What can I do?” “What is the point, if I’m not in the classroom.” “I’m just another tech guy with no classroom and nothing better to do.” “I’m not good enough to do anything innovative or new.” Then I had Barbara Gruener point me towards a guy named, Dave Burgess and his book, Teach like a Pirate.
For those who don’t know, Tara Martin a few months ago started Booksnaps. The idea of #BookSnaps was by documenting key takeaways between face-to-face meetings and adding them to our “Snap Story” for daily viewing using Snapchat or related apps. This allows the reader to connect an idea or thought by creating a digital visual representation. The visual representation solidifies the text content within the mind and signals the brain to retrieve the idea from memory. Something I have been doing since Booksnaps was publically revealed and I have been trying to do various Booksnaps with my students using Seesaw. Going back about another month before that, Quinn Rollins, Mr. Play like a Pirate himself, talked about using Funko Pop! for biographies. The idea behind Funko Pop! figures are creating simple biographies of characters they’re learning about in class. Historic figures, great inventors, characters in novels — anything in your curriculum that has a human in it. Continue reading “Booksnaps and Funko Pop!”
Hello Everyone, Well, this weekend I was talking with some of my various coworkers and they talked about wishing they had access to all the Teach like a Pirate and Hack Learning books that are around. So, with some … Continue reading TLAP for my Teachers GoFundMe
If you are like me or other educators, you know that classroom management can some days be a struggle. No matter how many years you have been teaching or administrating, it just seems that there can be a lost in the classroom when it comes to work stations or behavior. As many of us know, there has been quite the influx of Elf on Shelf and even Mensch on a Bench. The basic concept for the characters is they appear in a different spot each day and children can’t touch or move them. The idea came to me late last year with my own son during Elf on a Shelf. We had our Elf showing up in areas that he had a problem of getting into. Our Elf (Elfy) would show up in spots around the house where he shouldn’t be doing, it worked great. Continue reading “The Classroom Friend”
Last week, I had such an amazing thing happen. Both my Donors Choose projects were fully funded. Bringing Ozobots, LEGOs and a 3D Printer (still waiting on it) to be brought to my students for STEAM. In the last couple of days, I have seen my students come to life with our new tools and having them bring new innovation to their learning and understanding. Well, I was working with my Kinders and something very interesting happened. They had a problem with coding with their Spheros and Ozobots. Not because of the ability to code, but due to the size. That’s when I had to jump into action to bring coding and robotics to my Kinders with their new LEGOs.
The other day I said I was going to start remodeling my office to be more inviting to students and staff alike. While I planned on doing this slowly over the next few weeks. As they say, time waits for no man and I ended up getting an earlier start due to an accident occurring during some regular checks, such as my entire shelf collapsing (don’t worry, I’m OK). So, after a few hours of moving, cataloging, archiving and a few other things here is the start to my remodel.
Happy Monday everyone! Its the final week of school for me and while many are in the same boat and others are already ahead of the curb. It won’t be long before we are sitting down again trying to work new ideas into our lessons. Now, many of us know, that as teachers or educators when we find something that works, we usually keep using it, but we also know that after a while, a lesson or project might start to become outdated, but that’s not true. Several years ago, when I was working just after my undergraduate days from college. I worked in kitchens and of course just like in every kitchen, you had to clean up at the end of the day or when the main meals were complete. There was an old term called: “Finding Pennies”. This was based on an old kitchen cleaning trick to see who was doing well at their job. Basically, a crew leader or manager would take a handful of pennies and throw them in various areas where sweeping should be performed daily. If the manager came back the next day and found the pennies still where they were tossed, then the employee did not do a good job sweeping.
A few years ago, I did this same idea with a set of lessons that seemed to be a bit outdated with classrooms and started using it for a daily practice.
Friday is here and on Friday I like to do some fun stuff. I’m not talking about dancing into the weekend or heading out to my favorite local grill. Taking a page out of Play like a Pirate I like to do a theme with my Secret Socks. What are Secret Socks? Well, the socks you wear that are special when you are dressed for success. My Secret Socks usually range from comics to sci-fi to emojis (don’t tell Melissa). As you know, we had our Donor Choose fulfilled thanks to amazing donations from people like you (No, I don’t work for PBS). As we were showing our students how to create art with our Spheros and Drones, I decided to code some artwork with spring colors using our Ollie Darkside. I also asked the question: “Why was the Empire really formed in Star Wars?” Most students answered because Palatine was a Sith Lord and wanted power. Which, I did answer was true, but really, the Empire was originally created to bring order to chaos, even if those who ran it had a pretty warped sense of order.
Over the last few days, Mr. Smetana and I have been introducing our new Spheros and Darkside Ollies into the classroom. Using a few coding dice (see below), I have created some abstract art pieces using the Spheros for our new STEAM Art Curriculum. This has really engaged the students on a whole new level and they can’t wait to start creating with coding and drones.
The Coding Dice below are pretty simple to use .You roll them and then use the command that pops up. As you see with the Ollie, I had a lot of free choice commands and did some of the Ollie tricks for making the second art piece. The Spheros were more set control, I also used the App, Tickle for the Spheros rolls and jump tricks with the paint.