The past few days, I have been working on my summer reading and in the past few days I have been reading: Lead with Culture by Jay Billy and just recently started The Pepper Effect by Sean Gaillard. In Lead with Culture, Jay talked about being intentional with our actions. He highlighted a great point in chapter 8 on page 68 about a teacher who used a Letter–type format for students to practice. The original intention was for students to practice spelling. The teacher saw the activity on Pinterest and thought it would be fun and it was. In the classroom. When it was given as homework it lost it’s purpose and really rang true with me. Something I try to avoid is busy work for students, but a trick is make activities and lessons with a purpose. I’m currently working on a Donors Choose to get a full classroom set of Bloxels for my students for the spring of 2019. My past students found Bloxels amazing, as they were able to create their own games. However, reviewing my past students, many students just saw using Bloxels as making games and weren’t finding the main purpose in their learning with Bloxels. So, I began to do research on how to make learning with Bloxels have a larger purpose with my high school students when we get our Bloxels and I didn’t have to look much farther than The Pepper Effect.
In the first part of my new summer series. I begin the planning stages of my room remodel starting with P is for passion. Continue reading Dice UP the Classroom: Creating the Pixel Classroom
A few days ago, I received my copy of: Let Them Speak by Rebecca Coda and Rick Jetter. Let Them Speak! is an amazing book on how to find out what your students really think, feel, and need, and what to do with the feedback you get from students, and how to use student voice to improve education and school culture. As many of you know, I have been a big advocate for Student Voice for a few years and in the last year, I have used Flipgrid to amplify Student Voice. So much, I am working on several Donors Choose projects to turn half of my classroom into a Flipgrid Recording Student. You can learn about that more here. As inspiring of the book is and the many notes, I have taken, I wanted to try something a little different to give students a focus on what they want to speak about. Sometimes students know what they want to talk about, but are not sure if it is: a question, idea, an thought of change or something completely innovative and I found just the thing with a little Pixel Classroom and Perler Beads.
My new App Dice templates are up. Continue reading App Dice Templates
Last night I was having a problem falling asleep, so I was doing some work on a new lesson I want to introduce to my students after Spring Break. Just then, I saw a notification go off on one of my Donors Choose Facebook Groups that I belong to. I had seen on my Donors Choose Page earlier in the evening that it was down and that there was some large announcement happening on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I figured it was similar to what had happened before when Colbert was partnering with Donors Choose to help so many teachers and their students get needed supplies, equipment, ect. I was in complete shock when I saw that Ripple announced to Founder and CEO, Charles Best that Ripple had funded every SINGLE Donors Choose project, which over 35,000 projects and 29 million dollars. I couldn’t believe it! Continue reading “Thank you Ripple and Donors Choose for giving my Students a Voice”
About two weeks ago, I received my copy of Google Apps for Littles by Christine Pinto and Alice Keeler. Many ask me: “Ryan, you are a high school teacher, what could you possibly use from GAFE 4 Littles?” Something that many do not realized is that any lesson can be adapted for any grade level. Truth be told, I have high school students who have never worked on a collaborative document or haven’t since they were in 8th grade. While that might not seem that long ago for say my Freshman or Sophomores, it does make a difference when it isn’t done consistently or regularly. Having not taught in a high school environment for almost 3 years and not in a regular classroom role in 5 years. I had a take a step back and realized many of my students did not use GSuite for EDU regularly in their curriculum. To start the process of making it a more regular part of our classroom day, I introduced all my classes to HyperDocs. As HyperDocs when done correctly involves inquiry and collaboration and really promotes Student Centered Learning. Christine created a fantastic “Who Is Telling the Story” HyperDoc that I knew I had to adapt for my students.
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.
A few days ago, I had something happen to me, I had two Donors Choose projects end without making their goal. For the first time in almost two years, I didn’t have a project make it’s goal. I didn’t get upset about it, but it made me really think about why they didn’t get funded? The first usually is: “it was too high of a goal.” One of the main reasons that a lot of Donors Choose do not get funded is because it’s too high of a goal. However, my goal was in the less than $200 range and I had a donors match too. Those usually get funded in just a few weeks if you set it up right. So my next question was: “What didn’t I do to get enough attention for my project?” Which seem to be the answer, I was basically saying: “I don’t have a budget and I really want to help my students learn with tools that I can’t afford.” Which does rub the wrong way, so I decided to think about what was important to my students and it didn’t take long before some of my students came to me during a project on Tuesday and said: “Mr. Read, I love using Flipgrid, but recording them isn’t really convenient for me.” That’s when it hit me. Continue reading “Starting the Flipgrid Recording Studio”
A couple of years ago, I was reading a post on Erintegration by Erin Flanagan on the game Scoot. The game works with students answering one question at their desks and then move to the next seat when the teacher calls “Scoot.” This usually works by giving students blank paper or whiteboards and have them write questions or have them all turn to the same page in a workbook and Scoot to complete the page. The questions can range from: “Today I feel?” to writing down an adjective to describe an object or picture. Erin created a great way of playing Scoot using both iPads and Chromebooks and playing a special playlist on with songs cut to be 3 minutes long each so students work until the song ends and then Scoot. The last couple of weeks, my division leader and I have been using the Pair Programming Method. Click on the video below to see how the Pair Programming Method Works.
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.