Many know that having a degree in Instructional Technology, I loving using technology in my classroom. Being a business & technology teacher, the two are interwoven greatly than they were about 30 years ago. However, technology is just a tool and how you apply and utilize it in your classroom is where magic can happen. A while ago, I came across Tony Vincent’s Print Costume Sticky Notes. As Tony stated: “Post-it and other brands of sticky notes are put to good use everyday by teachers and students.” In fact there are over 35 uses for post-it or stickey notes in the classroom from book marks to exit tickets. Something I wanted to encourage with my students was rapport with each other and also looking for great ways for them to have “brain dumps” after I was finished teaching a lesson.
A few months ago while I was looking for a new school, I came across Books in a Jar at a local library. Books in a Jar was started back in 2013 when a student thought it would be fun to take pieces of a torn up book and put sentences, words, phrases, ect in a mason jar and then have students try and guess the story it was from. Kind of like a game of Clue, but with torn to deconstructed pieces of a book. At the time, I thought there be a great way to turn this into a STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, art and mathematics) project/activity. However, I was so busy at the time looking for a new job and recreating some older lessons over the summer, I filed it away. This past week a few teachers were talking about it on Twitter and I grabbed my old notebook and came up with this awesome lesson/project you can do with students K-3.
Since the last six months have been on and off on my blog, I decided to wrap up 2017 with a post using one of my favorite two things. Coding and Robotics. As many of you know I started the #RobotEDU hashtag earlier this year. As I talked about how to use various robots in education from Wonder Workshop to Ozobots. My son and his friends, who are all like extended family to us love coming over and programming out robots from BB-8 to our two Ozobot Evos. My son and one of his friends are great at math, but a few of his other friends are ok, but can program like no one’s business. So, I created this fun lesson using Google Math and Programming.
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
In the last few weeks I have been getting in the amazing books from Dave Burgess Consulting Inc and the new IMpress. After I finish reading the books, I always go over them several times and stack them on each other. My son the other day was taking one of his toys and seeing if he could match the toy height with the books to make a tower. I asked him how many books he had to use to get them even. He went through various books trying to get the right height for the stack of books to his toy. He finally put up: Lead like a Pirate, Table Talk Math (ironically), Unmapped Potential and Teacher Myth to get he hight right for his 6″ toy. I told him good job and then asked him how many pages that was. He looked at me with an: “What?” look on his face. the later flipped to the back and told me the page numbers. So, this got me thinking of a great challenge you can do with students.
As I said, for the month of May I am bringing Math to everyone in fun and exciting ways thanks to books like: Table Talk Math, Classroom Chef, Teaching Math with Google Apps and more. This one comes straight out of Google Math, Instant Relevance and even Play like a Pirate. How may you ask? Let’s find out.
The last couple of weeks, I have been having one word on my brain. No, it isn’t dissertation, even though that is requires a lot of thinking in my case. It’s been Math, in fact I have had so much Math on my brain lately, I have been ordering books like: Table Talk Math and Google Math. After all, when you talk STEM, STEAM and STREAM, the M stands for Mathematics. I’ll give everyone a little confession, I was that kid who heard the “M Word” and would just shutter. Yet, now here I am promoting mathematics constantly with students from basics to slope. If my old Freshman Math Teacher could see me now. He be either very proud of me or very frighten. So, I’ve decided to kick off the month of May with, you guessed it, MATH!