Welcome to the Summer Flipgrid

Hello Everyone, I’m here today to talk about Flipgrid. Yes, that wonderful interactive student/teacher voice platform that is becoming very popular right now. I started using flipgrid a few months ago with my Middle School STEAM students and they have … Continue reading Welcome to the Summer Flipgrid

Super Sons EDU

I’ve been asked for years now: “Ryan, when are you going to make a super hero fan page again?” For those who don’t know the story, it was 1996, I was a freshman at Northern Illinois University and I had just been given constant access to the internet. To a kid of 18, this was a wide new world to me, but I did something that was very new at the time, I made a comic book fan page. In 1996, there were maybe just over 80 pages of comic book fans creating their own webpages, early wikis and message boards on their favorite characters. I didn’t have any classes to go to or was signed up at the time (I was a theatre and business major). So, I had to learn everything about HTML and basic coding myself. Flash forward to late 1997, and I had one of the most visited Thunderbolts fan sites around. I continued focusing on Spider-Girl (MC2) and Thunderbolts up until 2006 and then I shifted over to podcasting and my new blog, The Green Lantern Spotlight. Then in 2010 something happened. I lost my job. I decided to stop “wasting” my time as I was told constantly told and try and get a job and finish my master’s degree.  Something I regretted to this day.

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I don’t do Homework

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We always remember the dreaded, H word… Homework. I can flash back to many Saturday mornings and Wednesday nights (3-5 grade) where for an hour or so I did my homework. Of course it would be a few years later in high school and college, where I really learned what homework was. Something I decided I wouldn’t do when I went into education was assign homework. Being a technology director and STEAM teacher, my curriculum really doesn’t ask that I assigned homework. In fact, mine is so hands on that even when we have days where I get little student work finished. I don’t push it out to: “Do it in study hall.” No, I have not seen any reason that sending extra work home with students is going to make a more positive impact on them, only negative. In fact, I have seen it hugely with my own son.

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How Teach like a Pirate changed my practice as an Educator

 

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.

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Teaching Code with Superhero LEGO Game

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The other day, I was looking through my PBL and I came across a way to teach students basic coding with LEGO and super hero action figures. My son, Tyler saw what I was looking at and wanted to build with his LEGO table set upstairs. When I told him how the game works he said they needed the super heroes fight the supervillains and the two of us created a fun game you can use with your students to teach coding.

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My Black Friday Tech Wish List

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I know, you are probably reading the headline and saying: “Don’t you mean Christmas Wish List”? Kind of, but for the last few years, I have always seen great sales for items I would love to have for my students and classroom and eventually, they find themselves to my students (sadly not by Christmas). So, being the #STEAM teacher and trying to transition my students to STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, art and mathematics). I came up with a great wish list this year.

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The Office Remodel Part 1

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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.

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The great room remodel

This past weekend, I attended a session by Michael Jaber about getting the Lead out in Leadership. Basically, the classic get the lead out, hence get moving faster. While Michael had plenty of ideas and many I am going to apply in the next school year. One that did stick out was about remodeling your office or classroom to be more inviting to students and staff alike. Last September, I left my job of over three years due to budget cuts and luckily landed a new one a few weeks later. While I moved my stuff into my new office and organized it to my liking, I still felt like I was the new guy who moved into someone else’s space. In my three years at CLS, my office was very inviting to students and staff, I had various pictures, sayings, collectibles and tech that actually had several students wanting to spend their study hall time in my office to work on their lessons and projects. Now, while I have been at Jackson, I have had a similar experience with my students and staff, they want to see my tech or some of the ideas I’m working for lessons and projects. However, many times they say they say they enjoy the air conditioning more. So, after Michael’s session this past weekend, I knew it was time remodel my office.

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Coming to an Art Room Near you!

    Happy Monday Everyone! I am pleased to announce that this past Saturday afternoon, while on a quest to find some Star Wars The Force Awakens action figures at a Super Target, my iPhone went off. I looked at the notification and it told me that our Donors Choose had been funded. Extremely ironic since I walked down an aisle that had both Sphero SPRK and Ollies on the shelf as I read the notification. As I smiled like I had found a BB-8 marked down to $2, I immediately sent a Snapchat to my fellow teachers and they … Continue reading Coming to an Art Room Near you!