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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I don’t do Homework

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We always remember the dreaded, H word… Homework. I can flash back to many Saturday mornings and Wednesday nights (3-5 grade) where for an hour or so I did my homework. Of course it would be a few years later in high school and college, where I really learned what homework was. Something I decided I wouldn’t do when I went into education was assign homework. Being a technology director and STEAM teacher, my curriculum really doesn’t ask that I assigned homework. In fact, mine is so hands on that even when we have days where I get little student work finished. I don’t push it out to: “Do it in study hall.” No, I have not seen any reason that sending extra work home with students is going to make a more positive impact on them, only negative. In fact, I have seen it hugely with my own son.

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The Dot Zipline

 

A few weeks ago, I had my Dash and Dot Coding for Kinders Donors Choose funded. Bringing the lovable blue robots to my students. Something I had a lot of students asked about Dot was why he didn’t move like Dash did. I told them because you have to be more creative with Dot. When asked: “how?” I brought a paper of Dot to them and then told them we need to put Dot on a zipline and we were going to use LEGOs to create the zip line. My students’ eyes lit up like no tomorrow and they started drawing their zip lines. Taking a page from Classroom Chef we created our own Dot Zip Line.

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MMm… Pizza Math

Hello Everyone,

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.

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Students making their own Number Frames

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!

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LEGO Brick Headz as a Biography

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As many of you know, since 2014 I have been Teaching like a Pirate and in just three years I have expanded my collection with all the various books from the Burgess Consulting Company. However, the two I have been using a a lot over the last year have been: eXPlore like a Pirate and Play like a Pirate. The last few months I have been incorporating both into my STEAM Enrichment classes and my students can’t get enough. A couple of weeks ago I was in the LEGO Store and I came across their Brick Headz sets.

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How Teach like a Pirate changed my practice as an Educator

 

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.

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