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.
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
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!
As January comes to a close, we start looking ahead towards that 14th day of February, Valentine’s Day. For years, students and teachers have made Valentine Cards from paper to stickers. In the last few years, thanks to various mobile technology, classrooms have started creating Valentine Cards with video and various mobile Apps. Why not? Using tech to create something from the heart let’s students discover their creativity and innovation in new ways. Here are three ways to bring the love of creation to your classroom this February.
In the last month, I, along with many other educators have been participating in Booksnaps. For those who don’t know, Booksnaps was started by Tara Martin. Have students or staff make their learning and thinking VISIBLE by creating powerful reflections of their reading using Snapchat, Instagram, Buncee or using classroom tools like Seesaw or Google Drawings. What I love about Booksnaps as pointed out by Dave Burgess is “We immediately began snapping images of our favorite quotes and adding them to our “Snap Story” for daily viewing between face-to-face meetings.” I have just recently joined a “SnapGroup” which is a new feature that allows you to chat with a set of Snapchat users up to 15 members and we have been having a great time talking about education, projects and just having all around fun (we’re teachers after all).
I didn’t get onto Snapchat until almost two years ago when two of my coworkers were using Snapchat to send me images of tech problems occurring into their classroom through screenshots. So, I joined the Snapchat bandwagon and have been using it since. Well, thanks to Tara, I came up with a great way to use Snapchat in the classroom for Coding and Robot Edu. Here are a few ideas you can use from Ozobot to Tickle App.
Using time lapse Perler Beads, I created this tribute to Carrie Fisher using CC Star Wars music. May the Force be with You, Carrie Fisher. Continue reading Carrie Fisher Tribute Video
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.
A couple of weeks ago, my Donors Chooses for getting a 3D Printer, LEGOs and Ozobots was funded and it didn’t take long for my students and myself to get down to using them in my STEAM class. While my students wanted to really rush into creativity as soon as they could, I did remind them of page 60 of Launch about “Design thinking may be slow, but it actually saves time in the long run.” One of the original ideas for the 3D printer was to create skins for our Ozobots. While my students love making skins using traditional paper and tape, there is something about coding a design and then seeing it brought to life that really gets my students’ innovation flowing. Here is a set of lessons and projects we have been doing the last couple of weeks and a few we have planned in the weeks ahead after winter winter break.
With Hour of Code coming to an end. Something you can try is to code a movie. I created this one with Tickle App, but it doesn’t have to full animation. You can code robots or drones to move towards … Continue reading Code a movie