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 DuPage

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This past Saturday, I attended Edcamp DuPage at Wheaton North High School. The Edcamp was a bit different than I have experienced before. While starting at the usual 8 AM kick off time. It only went to about 12:30 due to other events at the school and then finished with a wonderful lunch at the Arrowhead Golf Club. What was different was due to the condensed time of the Edcamp, sessions were proposed earlier and then we voted on them. While several sessions that were proposed did not occur due to the time, I did finally attend my second Breakout Edu. I loved the Breakout Edu session, Breakout Edu if you haven’t heard are games that teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used in all content areas. Usually, it focuses around a locked box, this can be when of the Breakout Edu’s boxes or a toolbox that is locked and you have to figure out clues to unlock the box in a set time frame. Ours was 50 minutes and we finished with 37 minutes left on the clock.

During the session we learned to use our various digital tools, learned about Morris Code and relay on each other’s specialities to unlock the four padlocks that were keeping the box locked. As I said, this was my second one, the first was a simple 30 minute one I attended at a workshop at my local collage that was solved by scanning various QR Codes and figuring out the clues. This one was more in-depth and played at history. It was such a great time, I’m already putting together a kit for my teachers before the school year is over and I will be sharing ways to do basic to advance Breakout Edus this month.  Continue reading “My Trip to Edcamp DuPage”

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

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

Beaming out your Unity

IMG_0482  This week I have talked about B is for Beaming in Build like a Pirate. As I the definition applies, beaming is about transmitting and broadcasting to another location. I remember years ago we a classroom exchange at my school. This was where another class in our school came to teach us something similar to a infomercial. No, its true. We would sit in our desks and the other class would present a project that they did and how it works. We then in turn had to do the same to that other class. It was a lot of fun and was very student lead activity. It sadly stopped by the time I got to 6th grade, but it was a fun three years of doing the activity. These days, we have Google Hangouts, Skype, Youtube, Twitter and Periscope. While there is a lot of responsibility in under taking social media in this day and age with a school. Being able to interact with other classrooms and even other schools in different states or around the world has opened up so many learning opportunities. Continue reading “Beaming out your Unity”

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”

Just One Word

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Last night, my wife brought her Epilepsy support group meeting to a close after sixteen long years. She did this due to lack of participants and membership and has since started working with another group the last few years. We shared a lot of memories, dreams and hopes for the future before bringing everything to a close. Before we left, we talked about one word in our lives that means a lot to us. Of course, this inspired me for a great One Device Classroom project.
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My Journey to The Mobile Learning Experience 2015


Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone is having a great week so far, I just recently returned from Tucson, Arizona where I was part of The Mobile Learning Experience 2015. I originally sent my proposal to talk about Dice UP the Classroom, Roll out learning earlier this year and was surprised that when I was emailed back not long after saying that my proposal had to been accepted. After working out travel plans over the last couple of months, I arrived Wednesday morning in Tucson at the beautiful Westin Resort thanks to my wonderful Aunt Gloria, who drove me from Phoenix down to the conference. After chatting with some teachers from the area I headed towards the main room and after taking in the awe of the room sat down towards the front and was soon greeted by Tony Vincent. After we chatted a bit, he headed off to get ready for the opening and I met with other great educators like Jenny Ashby, Adam Bellow, Michael Buist, Felix Jacomino, Katherine Burdick, Jon Samuelson, Sara Crawford, Rodney Turner, Dierdre Shelter and a host of others. Following the opening key note and seeing Dr. Kathy Weibke be awarded the ISTE professional development award I headed off to the many sessions that were occurring.
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