There is a Post-it for that

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.

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Using Code Breaker

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.

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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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2017 in Review

The year two thousand and seventeen begins to come to a close and like many others, especially educators, it is a time to look back and review what 2017 was for me. The honest truth? 2017 has been one of the most difficult years I have had in a long time. Now, hear me out, I’m not going to get up on my soapbox right now and talk about how horrible of a year it’s been. There has been a lot of good, but when someone asks you how your year was, most people say: “good” or “bad”. Very generic, because if you say “good” the next question is: “What was good about it?”. If it’s “bad” the question is asked: “Why was it bad?” So, the first thing you have to do, is look at your adjectives. Good and Bad are relative, just like white and black or pink or blue. It can stereo type of reflection. So, the first thing I’m going to do is use the word “difficult” to describe 2017. Why difficult? Continue reading “2017 in Review”

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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Creating your own Skins for Ozobots with Google Drawings

Copy of Ozobot Skin TemplateOzobots, 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.

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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”

The Catch up

The question always go in the first 30 days of the new school year of what happened in the process of getting started? After the last month of creating lesson plans, Breakout EDU, tech problems, evaluations and yes, even tests. There is always that feeling of trying to catch up on things. I’m not talking about grading or spending time with family, I’m talking about the things you usually do. One of my two biggest issues the last 30 days is my blog posts and working with new tech.

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