LEGO ASCII Coding

The past couple of weeks, I have been dealing with a large amount of writer’s block. It happens to all of us, you are just trying to string together a set of ideas and no matter what, it just won’t go from your head to your finger tips. In fact, I was planning about six blog posts the last couple of weeks and couldn’t come up with anything outside of: “hello”. No really, that’s all I could get out of my head. I even tried to do a vlog and that was just as much of a disappointment as anything. So, I just focused on some lesson plans and projects I have coming up, but still nothing. Then this weekend, the family and I headed to NIU STEM fest and not even three steps in I saw it. Albert Einstein created with dominos using. Immediately I had ideas brewing and after visiting a few notes I had taken for Computer Programming this Spring I remembered Erintegation’s Coding with Text Art: ACSII.  Continue reading “LEGO ASCII Coding”

Taking the Five for Five Challenge

Hello Everyone,

I hope the new school year is off to a great start. I am heading into my fourth week of the school year and I’m pretty excited for what I have coming up this week. I’m taking the Five for Five Challenge. The #Five4Five Challenge is an initiative created by fellow educator and author Michael Matera (eXPlore like a Pirate) who encourages others to commit to doing one new-to-you (often creative) endeavor each day for five straight days. This isn’t my first #Five4Five Challenge. I did my first one this past summer when I reviewed Run like a Pirate by Adam Welcome. I reviewed and blogged about Run Like a Pirate each day and how each chapter resonated or challenged me through the reading. I had never at that point ever tried to do something like that before. Sufficient to say, it was truly amazing. I picked up a new level of reading enjoyment and applying the book to not only my classroom, but also my life. The last couple of weeks, I have been trying to figure out what a Five for Five Challenge should be for me this school year and I found the answer right in Kids Deserve It, also by Adam and Todd Nelsoney and a sticker from Tisha Richmond from her upcoming book, Make Learning Magical.

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#DBC50Summer Reading

 

Summer is here, like many educators, we look at the days of the 3 other Rs: Refuel, Recharge, and Read. Summer was always a time of reading for me, back to the day where I would sit on the front porch in summer reading comic books or the latest novel that caught my interest. In the Summer of 2014, something drastic happened, as many of you know as the school year came to a close in 2014 I was feeling burned out. I wasn’t feeling very motivated, I was more of an administrator than teacher and I would go into my office and just look at my screen after finishing paper work and go: “Now what?” However, it was that Spring I discovered Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and things completely changed. I found a re-ignition of passion and began buying every book that would be released by Dave Burgess Consulting Inc and they became my constant PD books during the summer. In the past two months thanks to Dave and Shelly Burgess, Jay Billy, Wendy Hankins and some well timed Amazon Gift Cards. I started my Summer of 2018 reading list in early May of a whopping 8 books. I’m here to give a brief review of them, what I found amazing about each one and a little sneak peak at home I’m using them in the classroom this upcoming school year as I begin building the Classroom of Pixels (#PixelClassroom).

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Thank you Ripple and Donors Choose for giving my Students a Voice

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”

Pixels in a Jar

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.

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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”

Perler Bead your Bloxels

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

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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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