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.
Continue reading “Taking the Five for Five Challenge”
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).
Continue reading “#DBC50Summer Reading”
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”
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”
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
Continue reading “Perler Bead your Bloxels”
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!
Continue reading “Students making their own Number Frames”
A few weeks ago, I was on my Perler Bead Facebook Groups and our latest challenge was creating Fidget Spinners. The Fidget Spinner has been around for a while, the spinner works on a simple premise where you have to put it on one finger then use your other hand to keep it going. It also works perfectly for killing time when you’re bored waiting for someone, or chilling out for something to happen. They have become the norm in schools to the point they can also create a unique oppurtunity for STEM and STEAM lessons and projects. Continue reading “STEAM with Fidget Spinners”
Greetings from a Galaxy, Far, Far Away. First of all, a major thank you to all the donors who helped my school get their 3D printer filled up with filament and Perler Beads for our students. This will go such a long way in really transforming their learning and for my teachers to have amazing creativity with their lessons. While the Force is strong with our school right now, a great set of lessons came to me while watching Rogue One the other day that you can use with coding and everything from Ozobots to LEGO We Do 2.0.
Continue reading “Going Rogue One with Coding and Robots”
I know, you are probably reading the headline and saying: “Don’t you mean Christmas Wish List”? Kind of, but for the last few years, I have always seen great sales for items I would love to have for my students and classroom and eventually, they find themselves to my students (sadly not by Christmas). So, being the #STEAM teacher and trying to transition my students to STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, art and mathematics). I came up with a great wish list this year.
Continue reading “My Black Friday Tech Wish List”
Hello Everyone, I know, two blog posts in the last three days, I must be catching up on my posts. Anyhow, I wanted to share my second Donors choose Project, Building STEAM with LEGO. As many know, I launched my first Donors Choose almost a month ago, and I’m 25% funded and even getting several votes thanks to Limeades for Learning. A few months ago, I was reading Play like a Pirate by Quinn Rollins and my love of LEGO was reawaken in the classroom. The last few months, I have been slowly moving LEGOs back to my … Continue reading Building STEAM with LEGO