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”


Ready for Hour of Code


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


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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Selfies in the Classroom with Instagram

social-1206610_1280A while ago, I posted about using social media in the classroom. Mostly by using the various features of Instagram along with sister Apps. Well, as many of you know, Instagram and its sister Apps had overhauls on both designs and features. I’m going over a few ways you can use Instagram in your classroom and using the various sister Apps both with and outside of Instagram.

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My Trip to Edcamp Chicago

This past Saturday, I attended EdCamp Chicago in Elmhurst at Churchville Middle School. A school I once played at during my Middle School Basketball days about 24 years ago (I’m old). I had the great pleasure of hanging with my state line Pirate Crew of Michael Matera, Andrea Kornowski, Carrie Baughcum, Josh Gauthier, and Rebecca Gauthier. Edcamps are fantastic to go to. They are a true un-conferience organized by awesome people like: Joy Kirr, Steve Wick, Maria Stavropoulos, Chris Skrzypchak  and  Carrie Baughcum and her daughter, Tricia. The opening to EdCamp Chicago was a Yoga session at the begnning, no … Continue reading My Trip to Edcamp Chicago

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


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”