Be Real by Tara Martin Review

As many of you know, I am currently on my summer reading. I’m reading a lot (I’m on book 9) of incredible teacher books. Ranging from individual authors to of course the Dave Burgess Consulting Inc and IM Press print. Late last week, Be Real by Tara Martin arrived. If the name sounds familar, Tara is the founder of #Booksnaps. Booksnaps if you are wondering in Tara’s own words: “Documenting our key takeaways and creating this visual digital representation of our thoughts between face-to-face meetings. Then, add them to our “Snap Story” for daily viewing.” I have to admit, I have been Booksnapping a lot since that article came out. I was someone who really did not see the point of Snap Chat. Seriously, I had students coming to my office asking for help with the App a couple of years ago and I was going: “Seriously? Instagram is so much better.” Then I switched school and several of my co-workers were using it for various filters and video. So, I jumped on board, but it was Tara who really showed me the great use for using Snap Chat in education (sorry Maggie Cox). That was what Tara did, she taught many of us a “real” way to use Snapchat in education and that’s where my review of Be Real comes in.

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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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Letting Students Speak

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.

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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”

Using Code Breaker

A few weeks ago, I received my copy of Code Breaker by Brian Aspinall. As many of you know, I currently work as a business and technology teacher. When I took the position this past fall, one of my new classes to teach was computer programming. I had been teaching students to code for almost three years by this point, but I had to start with Python for my new students. This was a bit of a learning curve as I had not really used Python on a regular basis in a few years. I also wanted my students to explore beyond simple Python coding and we branched off into GSuite Coding, Robotics and yes, Scratch. My students enjoyed using Scratch 2.0 a lot, especially in making games, but I wanted to move beyond that and I made it one of my top goals to learn more various ways to code in engaging ways in 2018. Then this wonderful book came into my hands.

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2018 One Word: Hourglass

The past week I have been looking back at 2017 and looking at all the good that happened. While I have talked about how 2017 has been one of the most difficult years I have faced in a decade. I have made it through (well in 4 days fore sure). When 2016 was coming to an end, I was looking at my “One Word” for 2017, which was Passion. What is the One Word?  The “One Word” approach is choosing a word that is a driving force for the year, rather than creating a list of  New Year’s resolutions, the One Word has been my go to the last two years.  However, in year’s past I’ve settled on “a word” for the year, but I never really get it move past the first five months. When January 2017 began and news of my mother’s health had come out. I fell back on my One Word and focused on my drive as an educator and technology. It was one of the few things that was getting me through the first few months of 2017 as more bleak news kept coming at me. Especially when July 1st rolled around and I was refocusing on changing my teaching style as I searched for a job. I also focused on my One Word as I went back into the classroom in August and tried to keep it alive as the days went on. The problem was, I kind of went with my One Word on a semi basis instead of a plan or driving points.

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No internet on Google Chrome? No Problem! 10 ideas for T-rex Game

We have all faced it. We are just going along doing out work on Google Chrome when it happens… the internet goes down! Can be so many reasons: bad connectivity, sever reboot, maintenance or maybe you are trying to upload too many files to the cloud. The T-rex Game has been a favorite pixel game to play while you are waiting for your internet to reconnect or just want to see how far you can go in the game. I have actually found Ten ideas you can use the T-rex game in the classroom using a few chapters from Table Talk Math, Explore like a Pirate and Instant Relevance.

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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”

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