The past couple of weeks, I have been dealing with a large amount of writer’s block. It happens to all of us, you are just trying to string together a set of ideas and no matter what, it just won’t go from your head to your finger tips. In fact, I was planning about six blog posts the last couple of weeks and couldn’t come up with anything outside of: “hello”. No really, that’s all I could get out of my head. I even tried to do a vlog and that was just as much of a disappointment as anything. So, I just focused on some lesson plans and projects I have coming up, but still nothing. Then this weekend, the family and I headed to NIU STEM fest and not even three steps in I saw it. Albert Einstein created with dominos using. Immediately I had ideas brewing and after visiting a few notes I had taken for Computer Programming this Spring I remembered Erintegation’s Coding with Text Art: ACSII. Continue reading “LEGO ASCII Coding”
I hope the new school year is off to a great start. I am heading into my fourth week of the school year and I’m pretty excited for what I have coming up this week. I’m taking the Five for Five Challenge. The #Five4Five Challenge is an initiative created by fellow educator and author Michael Matera (eXPlore like a Pirate) who encourages others to commit to doing one new-to-you (often creative) endeavor each day for five straight days. This isn’t my first #Five4Five Challenge. I did my first one this past summer when I reviewed Run like a Pirate by Adam Welcome. I reviewed and blogged about Run Like a Pirate each day and how each chapter resonated or challenged me through the reading. I had never at that point ever tried to do something like that before. Sufficient to say, it was truly amazing. I picked up a new level of reading enjoyment and applying the book to not only my classroom, but also my life. The last couple of weeks, I have been trying to figure out what a Five for Five Challenge should be for me this school year and I found the answer right in Kids Deserve It, also by Adam and Todd Nelsoney and a sticker from Tisha Richmond from her upcoming book, Make Learning Magical.
The past few days, I have been working on my summer reading and in the past few days I have been reading: Lead with Culture by Jay Billy and just recently started The Pepper Effect by Sean Gaillard. In Lead with Culture, Jay talked about being intentional with our actions. He highlighted a great point in chapter 8 on page 68 about a teacher who used a Letter–type format for students to practice. The original intention was for students to practice spelling. The teacher saw the activity on Pinterest and thought it would be fun and it was. In the classroom. When it was given as homework it lost it’s purpose and really rang true with me. Something I try to avoid is busy work for students, but a trick is make activities and lessons with a purpose. I’m currently working on a Donors Choose to get a full classroom set of Bloxels for my students for the spring of 2019. My past students found Bloxels amazing, as they were able to create their own games. However, reviewing my past students, many students just saw using Bloxels as making games and weren’t finding the main purpose in their learning with Bloxels. So, I began to do research on how to make learning with Bloxels have a larger purpose with my high school students when we get our Bloxels and I didn’t have to look much farther than The Pepper Effect.
Last night I was having a problem falling asleep, so I was doing some work on a new lesson I want to introduce to my students after Spring Break. Just then, I saw a notification go off on one of my Donors Choose Facebook Groups that I belong to. I had seen on my Donors Choose Page earlier in the evening that it was down and that there was some large announcement happening on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I figured it was similar to what had happened before when Colbert was partnering with Donors Choose to help so many teachers and their students get needed supplies, equipment, ect. I was in complete shock when I saw that Ripple announced to Founder and CEO, Charles Best that Ripple had funded every SINGLE Donors Choose project, which over 35,000 projects and 29 million dollars. I couldn’t believe it! Continue reading “Thank you Ripple and Donors Choose for giving my Students a Voice”
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.
Ozobots, 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.
Since starting Robot Edu, I have been trying to think of new and inventive ways to use gamification and centers with our various robots for our students. A week ago, my instructional coach, Joe Sloan and I came up with using coding cards for our students to use with Ozobots. The concept works pretty simply:
Winter break has come to an end, as many educators, students and myself return to the classroom this week. We are ready to try out new lessons, ideas and projects for the New Year. As many of you know, I have been trying to bring Dash & Dot to my Kindergarteners . I am also planning on introducing my students to Green Screen in the fourth quarter and even working on a Donors Choose to get a full Green Screen/Podcast Studio for my classrooms. However, while I wait to see if my Donors Chooses get funded or not. There are some easy ways to bring STEAM with Green Screen and Robot Edu.
In the last month, I, along with many other educators have been participating in Booksnaps. For those who don’t know, Booksnaps was started by Tara Martin. Have students or staff make their learning and thinking VISIBLE by creating powerful reflections of their reading using Snapchat, Instagram, Buncee or using classroom tools like Seesaw or Google Drawings. What I love about Booksnaps as pointed out by Dave Burgess is “We immediately began snapping images of our favorite quotes and adding them to our “Snap Story” for daily viewing between face-to-face meetings.” I have just recently joined a “SnapGroup” which is a new feature that allows you to chat with a set of Snapchat users up to 15 members and we have been having a great time talking about education, projects and just having all around fun (we’re teachers after all).
I didn’t get onto Snapchat until almost two years ago when two of my coworkers were using Snapchat to send me images of tech problems occurring into their classroom through screenshots. So, I joined the Snapchat bandwagon and have been using it since. Well, thanks to Tara, I came up with a great way to use Snapchat in the classroom for Coding and Robot Edu. Here are a few ideas you can use from Ozobot to Tickle App.
The New Year is here and I’m kicking off 2017 with Robot Edu. I remember when I was my son’s age thirty years ago. Being a fan of movies like Star Wars, Star Trek, Tron, Short Circuit and more. I wanted to have robots in my school and at home, but back in the 80s and early 90s. Robots were not very cheap not to mention, you could get a few months out of them and they didn’t last long. Now, robots and coding are very common in the classroom. In fact, outside of 3D printing, robots in the classroom are a growing educational learning in schools. Today, I’m going to talk about how to create a Breakout Edu with Ozobots, Dash and Dot, Sphero and the coding App, Tickle.