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”

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Ready for Hour of Code

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It’s December and you know what that means, Hour of Code. Hour of Code is a campaign which has engaged 10% of all students in the world, and provides the leading curriculum for K-12 computer science in the largest school districts in the United States. This year it is December 5-10. I was very happy last year for my school to participate in Hour of Code and this year we are doing it by storm during my STEAM enrichment classes and unleashing our new LEGOs, Ozobots, 3D printer and using Tickle coding App this year. Here are some great ways to have your students get into Hour of Coding and even win some prizes for your school.

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Pokemon Go Edu

IMG_0633Gotta catch them all! Pokémon! For twenty years, we have heard that slogan, Pokémon has been a beloved game and cartoon series since its release in 1996. On par with one of the most popular gaming franchises, until last January, there wasn’t much talk of Pokémon except with fans or people playing the latest edition on their gameboys. However, as of last week, that all changed with Pokémon Go! What is Pokemon Go?  It retains the basics of Pokémon games past of catching Pokémon, battling at Gyms, using items, evolving your creatures  but now with a twist: You’re doing it all in the real world. That means instead of tapping or using a gamepad to tell your virtual avatar where to go to find Pokémon, you’re actually walking to do with your mobile device in hand in the real world. That’s right, as you walk or in some cases, run, your avatar is moving right along with you in real time thanks to your mobile device’s GPS and you can use it for Education! No really!

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The Office Remodel Part 1

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The other day I said I was going to start remodeling my office to be more inviting to students and staff alike. While I planned on doing this slowly over the next few weeks. As they say, time waits for no man and I ended up getting an earlier start due to an accident occurring during some regular checks, such as my entire shelf collapsing (don’t worry, I’m OK). So, after a few hours of moving, cataloging, archiving and a few other things here is the start to my remodel.

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The great room remodel

This past weekend, I attended a session by Michael Jaber about getting the Lead out in Leadership. Basically, the classic get the lead out, hence get moving faster. While Michael had plenty of ideas and many I am going to apply in the next school year. One that did stick out was about remodeling your office or classroom to be more inviting to students and staff alike. Last September, I left my job of over three years due to budget cuts and luckily landed a new one a few weeks later. While I moved my stuff into my new office and organized it to my liking, I still felt like I was the new guy who moved into someone else’s space. In my three years at CLS, my office was very inviting to students and staff, I had various pictures, sayings, collectibles and tech that actually had several students wanting to spend their study hall time in my office to work on their lessons and projects. Now, while I have been at Jackson, I have had a similar experience with my students and staff, they want to see my tech or some of the ideas I’m working for lessons and projects. However, many times they say they say they enjoy the air conditioning more. So, after Michael’s session this past weekend, I knew it was time remodel my office.

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Coming to an Art Room Near you!

    Happy Monday Everyone! I am pleased to announce that this past Saturday afternoon, while on a quest to find some Star Wars The Force Awakens action figures at a Super Target, my iPhone went off. I looked at the notification and it told me that our Donors Choose had been funded. Extremely ironic since I walked down an aisle that had both Sphero SPRK and Ollies on the shelf as I read the notification. As I smiled like I had found a BB-8 marked down to $2, I immediately sent a Snapchat to my fellow teachers and they … Continue reading Coming to an Art Room Near you!

March Madness Bracket Coding

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March Madness is here again and so are everyone’s favorite brackets. Now, everyone knows that brackets are set up to show what teams are playing who and the winner of each round will go to face off the team that advances. Well, being in the spirit of March Madness and of course Teach like a Pirate (you knew it was coming). I have decided to create a type of Bracket set for coding. As many know, I am trying to get our Donors Choose funded by next Wednesday and the clock is ticking. I wanted to show everyone how you could integrate brackets into your Sphero Edu or Coding classroom. Continue reading “March Madness Bracket Coding”

Innovative Tools in the Classroom

As we wrap up, I is for Innovation, I thought I would leave things with some innovative tools you can get for your classroom and some ways you can use them. Perler Beads: We know this would be my first pick. I have really gotten into using Perler Beads with my teachers and students as our way of having our own 3D Printer. We currently do not have the funds to get the emerging technology in schools. While my nieces and peers have access to one at their schools. I stumbled on using Perler Beads due to health advice from … Continue reading Innovative Tools in the Classroom

Building the Odyssey in Mario Maker

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As many of you know, I have been creating and making Perler Bead badges for my staff and students the last few weeks. On the other side, I have been making various characters and art pieces for my family and friends using perler beads. Its become a fun and exciting hobby for me as of late (doctor’s orders). I’ve turn around and transform the hobby into making it great for schools who do not have the budgets or funds for 3D printers for their district. I have received tweets and emails about how they had their perler beads just sitting around in storage in their schools with barely any use. They have no turned around and started using their perler beads for these creations. Well, I have one that will have you jump up and say: “Wahoo!”  Continue reading “Building the Odyssey in Mario Maker”

Making a Square & Triangle with Sphero & Tickle App

In these Periscope Edu videos. I show how to use the App, Tickle on IOS to have a Sphero and Ollie create a perfect square and triangle and then do a full color change and off run. We have borrowed these for our Hour of Code next week. We are currently running a Donors Choose to get our own Sphero set to transform our art room into a full STEAM Builders’ Room. Please enjoy the videos and please share or support our Donors Choose for Mr. Smetana’s students. Use the code word: “EVERYGIFTMATTERS” at check out and Donors Choose will match the donation. We still have $1,045 to go, but I believe we can do it before Winter Break.  Continue reading “Making a Square & Triangle with Sphero & Tickle App”