#DBC50Summer Reading

 

Summer is here, like many educators, we look at the days of the 3 other Rs: Refuel, Recharge, and Read. Summer was always a time of reading for me, back to the day where I would sit on the front porch in summer reading comic books or the latest novel that caught my interest. In the Summer of 2014, something drastic happened, as many of you know as the school year came to a close in 2014 I was feeling burned out. I wasn’t feeling very motivated, I was more of an administrator than teacher and I would go into my office and just look at my screen after finishing paper work and go: “Now what?” However, it was that Spring I discovered Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and things completely changed. I found a re-ignition of passion and began buying every book that would be released by Dave Burgess Consulting Inc and they became my constant PD books during the summer. In the past two months thanks to Dave and Shelly Burgess, Jay Billy, Wendy Hankins and some well timed Amazon Gift Cards. I started my Summer of 2018 reading list in early May of a whopping 8 books. I’m here to give a brief review of them, what I found amazing about each one and a little sneak peak at home I’m using them in the classroom this upcoming school year as I begin building the Classroom of Pixels (#PixelClassroom).

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Smashboard EDU Kaboom

Since 2014 I have been smashing Apps and other resources for my students and my co-workers. Leading to the creation of App Dice and inspiring many classrooms and teachers for student choice and creation. In the last couple of years, Dee Lanier has taken the use of App Smashing to the next level with Smashboard EDU. Smashboard combines the incredible use of App Smashes and DOK into incredible learning for both students and teachers. In the past month I have been taking the Smashboard and combining it with some gamification and eXPlore like a Pirate ideas and I came up with a Smashboard version of Kaboom.

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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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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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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”

Perler Bead your Bloxels

For the past year and a half, I have been opening students and teachers up to perler beads. The story began in late 2015, when I was looking into a new hobby as I worked towards finishing up my dissertation proposal. Just after New Year’s 2016, I bought a set of grids and a large mixed bucket of perler beads that was being sold at a swap meet and away I went. A few days later, I was working on a project with two of my friend’s children and they were coming up with crazy designs using graph paper and were bringing them to life with the perler beads. I realized this was a great way to teach students about pixel art and doing 3D printing on a more manageable budget.  The idea took off with my students and I started sharing out classroom ideas and STEAM lessons on my social networks and have refined the lessons to a more digital format thanks to both Alice Keeler and Christine Pinto over the last year. In the last few months, I was able to learn how to use Bloxels to create 13-bit video games. As a result, I decided to merge them both into an amazing lesson that promotes group work, digital citizenship and STREAM

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Gafe 4 Littles App Spinner

Based off of the upcoming book by Christine Pinto and Alice Keeler. I created this fidget game spinner based on Sydney Musselwhite‘s App Spinner. It’s a great way to teach Littles free choice and create amazing App Smashes with GSuite. You can make your own copy here. Continue reading Gafe 4 Littles App Spinner

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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