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.
Continue reading “How Teach like a Pirate changed my practice as an Educator”
Based on ST Math Kickbox activities, here is a great project/lesson you can do with your students using Spheros, Ozobots, Dash and Dot and even Bee-bots that promotes critical thinking, PBL and STEAM with gamification. Continue reading Kickbox Coding Challenge
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.
Continue reading “The Office Remodel Part 1”
This past Saturday, I attended EdCamp Chicago in Elmhurst at Churchville Middle School. A school I once played at during my Middle School Basketball days about 24 years ago (I’m old). I had the great pleasure of hanging with my state line Pirate Crew of Michael Matera, Andrea Kornowski, Carrie Baughcum, Josh Gauthier, and Rebecca Gauthier. Edcamps are fantastic to go to. They are a true un-conferience organized by awesome people like: Joy Kirr, Steve Wick, Maria Stavropoulos, Chris Skrzypchak and Carrie Baughcum and her daughter, Tricia. The opening to EdCamp Chicago was a Yoga session at the begnning, no … Continue reading My Trip to Edcamp Chicago
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!
March Madness is here again and so are everyone’s favorite brackets. Now, everyone knows that brackets are set up to show what teams are playing who and the winner of each round will go to face off the team that advances. Well, being in the spirit of March Madness and of course Teach like a Pirate (you knew it was coming). I have decided to create a type of Bracket set for coding. As many know, I am trying to get our Donors Choose funded by next Wednesday and the clock is ticking. I wanted to show everyone how you could integrate brackets into your Sphero Edu or Coding classroom. Continue reading “March Madness Bracket Coding”
As we wrap up, I is for Innovation, I thought I would leave things with some innovative tools you can get for your classroom and some ways you can use them. Perler Beads: We know this would be my first pick. I have really gotten into using Perler Beads with my teachers and students as our way of having our own 3D Printer. We currently do not have the funds to get the emerging technology in schools. While my nieces and peers have access to one at their schools. I stumbled on using Perler Beads due to health advice from … Continue reading Innovative Tools in the Classroom
The Hour of Code has been an incredible week for my teachers and students this week. I have seen such amazing coding, innovation, creativity, invention and most of all fun with everyone involved. I have to say for my first year running Hour of Code in an entire school has been some of the most rewarding experiences I have had in the last couple of years. I have my students wondering when Ollie and the Sphero Group or any Ozobots or Parrot drones will be in the classroom again with regular lessons. Sad to say, we might be waiting a … Continue reading Hour of Code Week Wrap UP
In these Periscope Edu videos. I show how to use the App, Tickle on IOS to have a Sphero and Ollie create a perfect square and triangle and then do a full color change and off run. We have borrowed these for our Hour of Code next week. We are currently running a Donors Choose to get our own Sphero set to transform our art room into a full STEAM Builders’ Room. Please enjoy the videos and please share or support our Donors Choose for Mr. Smetana’s students. Use the code word: “EVERYGIFTMATTERS” at check out and Donors Choose will match the donation. We still have $1,045 to go, but I believe we can do it before Winter Break. Continue reading “Making a Square & Triangle with Sphero & Tickle App”
One of my first graders for their final Genius Hour wanted to know if she could make a lesson just as fun as Mrs. Andre or myself. Well, after toiling away on Pic Collage, Google Search, National Geographic free pics and about an hour on Stick Around. She came up with this great lesson on baby animals because she loves baby animals especially how they are both different and yet similar. We finished it up by putting linking the baby animal Pic Collage with Google Drive in Thinglink. Give it a try. If you have a problem the direct link … Continue reading My student’s Learn Like a Pirate about Baby Animals Stick Around Genius Hour Project