The second graders’ next creative assignment came from a local Ice Cream Shop. Pinkie’s is newly opened (and owned by friends of mine!) Our city is in the middle of an amazing celebration of art called Art Prize. Pinkie’s issued their own art challenge to the children of the area. They were given three items, a pink paper, bubble wrap (always fun!) and pink ribbons. They could make whatever they wanted as long as they included those three items. The art is now on display at Pinkie’s and is being voted on by customers. The winner will receive an ice cream party for 10 friends (and I hope 1 teacher!) The kids did an amazing job with their creations and they are shared in the Animoto video below.
Embracing the Maker Movement and encouraging Creativity, I have created a Website,http://classcreate.weebly.com to share projects and other ideas. Our first idea, “What’s in the Bag?” gave students a brown bag with an assortment of items. They were tasked with creating something with the items in the bag (and the bag could be used as well) and three additional items from home. They were to bring the creation back to school to share with the class. The creations were amazing and all very different. I was thrilled and amazed with what the children came up with. I can’t wait to try this again!
This was cross posted on harju.edublogs.org.
Wow! I am still recovering mentally and physically from DENSI2104. Lack of sleep and too many great ideas swimming in my head to sleep, as well as thinking I could run the DENmazing Race have taken their toll. So much to process and I feel a bit ADD in trying. I have an idea, I get work on it, I check Facebook, I comment, I get up and get a snack, I check my email, which leads me to Twitter, where there is a link I must check out, I go back to the first idea, SQUIRREL! and then well I am back at the beginning. I have also realized I should not attempt to cook and check Facebook and Twitter the first few days after DENSI2104. Good thing I put the battery back in the smoke detector.
My first take away from this DENSI was the people. I really feel as though I talked to just about everyone. I met so many new people and I am friending them like crazy on Facebook and following on Twitter. I loved all the Newbies that I met and got to know many of the veterans even better. I can’t wait to set up Mystery Skypes during the first month of school with as many as I can. I have invited everyone to apply to present at MACUL our Michigan Ed. Tech Conference mainly because I will get to see them again! (Proposals are being accepted now – http://maculconference.org ) Dean Shareski’s Name that Tune, Heads Up!, The Maker Faire, and the UnConference added to the fun by giving us more opportunities to interact informally. Thank goodness for social media so I can keep in touch and continue the learning, sharing, and fun with all of these amazing educators!
The learning that takes place at DENSI is immense and deep and hard to pin point. I have many blogs to read, links to check out (thank you Chad Lehman for collecting the links) and ideas to flesh out. I loved MaryAnn Sansonetti-Wood’s “I Must-ache you a question” and will be getting my mustaches together for this school year. I learned how to make Lip Balm with my students (Patti Grammens) as well as Light up Ping Pong Balls (Karie Huttner) and how to use Shaving Cream and food coloring to make cool paper designs (Patti Duncan.) I Got to play with Sphero ( I want one!) The Keynotes were awesome as well and I love that they were Live Streamed so I can go back and catch the ones I missed. I loved learning from Lodge McCammon and I WILL flip my classroom and my staff training this year. I am planning my first staff training using some of the videos from DENSI2014 and Ka-Hoot (thanks Kelly Hines.) Loved hearing from Adam Bellow (and playing Heads Up with him in the lounge!) and of course Steve Dembo. The Kathy Schrock and I sang Brady Bunch tunes on the way to dinner in addition to talking tech. Jannita is an inspiration and I need to keep using those S.O.S. strategies as well as check out the DEN Ambassador program. Everyone was awesome, amazing, inspiring, including _________ (insert YOUR name in the blank.)
I appreciate so much being able to attend DENSI2104. I was on the wait list and got the call about a month before DENSI2014 was to start. It came at the perfect time and everything fell right into place. I was able to hitch a ride with the very fun Sara and Jeremy Badiner, and even better was able to learn from them on the way to and from Nashville. I wish I could be at every future DENSI, and I will not stop applying, but I also know that this amazing week MUST be experienced by as many educators as possible. DENSI is changing the way we teach and sending us back to our schools with new ideas, new enthusiasms, new friends and renewed energy.
Thank you Porter Palmer, Lance and Martha Rougeux and all those who are part of Discovery Education and DENSI. Your work is so very much appreciated and I am thankful for the opportunities that I have been given because of of y’all!
Adam Bellow rocked his Keynote this morning at the Discovery Educator Summer Institute in Nashville, TN. Many inspiring moments, here are a few.
Excited to check out Pixel Press, an iPad App used to create a video game.
Inspiring (meaning there may have been tears in a few eyes) videos were shared.
This one is from the White House Film Festival.
This video, actually commercial, is really about the power of a student’s passion for learning, not the scotch.
I am also excited to explore Adam Bellow’s own site, EduClipper. I’ve been told it is like a Pinterest for Educators. Can’t wait to check it out.
I am having a great time in Nashville attending the Discovery Educator Summer Institute. It is an opportunity to renew friendships and to meet more amazing educators from all over the US, Canada and United Kingdom. The learning takes place in planned sessions and in conversations over lunch, over coffee and while gathering in the lounge in the evening. The Discovery Educator Summer Institute is the most powerful and valuable professional development and should be experienced by every teacher.
A few highlights:
Kahoot.it Go to https://getkahoot.com to get started. Kahoot is a game based classroom response system. Easy to set up and use. Students reply using any device – computer, iTouch, iPad. Can’t wait to use it with my students. It was a wonderful warm up activity for our group and a great way to learn more about each other.
Code.org I have used the Hour of Code activities with my students, however I hadn’t attempted the non-computer activities.LeaAnne Daughrity led a session on coding that had us taking part in these non-computer coding activities. Solo cups were used to demonstrate the power of clear directions and we also used code to write our names. I learned even more about bringing coding activities to my students and staff.
Center of the Universe with Lodge McCammon. I learned more about the Solar System in a session with Dr. Lodge. He used a combination of short video lectures (less than 5 minutes), peer discussion, and movement to engage learners. We used the song – Center of the Universe, written by Dr. Lodge and available as a Discovery Education resource.
http://app.discoveryeducation.com/player/view/assetGuid/0565A817-4C8F-4C88-935E-1A618FBE6002 The video below is our final product. It was great fun to experience learning this way and will be a great way to engage my students and to learn.
I wanted to integrate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities into my classroom. I knew my limitations and if it was going to be too complicated, well it most likely wouldn’t happen! I realized that STEM activities do NOT need to be complicated and really the best part is that you provide the students with the tools and then step back and watch them go.
I chose to start with Tower building using Toothpicks and Marshmallows. I thought this would be a pretty easy activity, but was surprised at how hard it was. First the children needed to work in groups – some groups were beautiful, some had a few struggles. The had difficulty figuring out how to use the marshmallows and toothpicks correctly. One group was spearing the marshmallows like a shish kabob. They needed to understand that the tower needs to go UP and stand on its own. The kids had a great time building that first day and I knew we needed to repeat this activity (more than once) to continue to learn.
Here are some pictures from our first day of Tower Building.
Before our second attempt, we watchedThe Magic School Bus Under Construction (DE Streaming) and I read aloud Iggy Peck Architect. We talked about building structure, design, and shapes they noticed and what they might do differently this time. .They used their first tower as a guide and tried to build better and higher with interesting results. Final photos are posted below.
We followed this up with another tower building activity using index cards and masking tape. This time I worked with the 3rd grade teacher and we mixed up our classes. In that challenge the children were given specific directions. The tower must be at least 15 inches high and must support a small stuffed animal for 10 seconds. In the end only two groups had a successful tower, but they had a wonderful time building. The combining of the two grades was magical and it was great to see how the different personalities all worked together.
Both of these tower building activities use easy to find, inexpensive supplies and can be ready at any time. I know I need to have more of these items around just to let the kids explore with. What if I made the supplies available and didn’t give them directions on what to build? What would they come up with ? In addition to exploring STEM activities I have been learning about the Maker Movement. It will be fun to see where the combination of these two ideas intersect and what that will look like in the classroom.
The MACUL conference (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) took place in March. This was my first year as a MACUL Board Member and it absolutely changed my MACUL conference experience for the better. It is amazing how much work by a great number of people goes into the planning of the conference. It is also amazing how well everyone did their part to make this one of our best conferences ever.
One of my favorite parts of the conference is the Student Technology Showcase. Our first and second graders came to share how they are using technology in the classroom. The second graders shared some of the many ways they share using their Kidblog, including sharing their Discovery Education Boards. When Discovery’s own Dean Shareski, one of the featured speakers stopped by, my student had his iPad on his board and shared it with Dean (without any prompting from me as I was not around at the time!)
The first graders shared how they used the iPad and the Puppet Pals App. On the 100th day of school the children all came dressed as if they were 100 years old. Their teacher took their picture and then had them write about what life at 100 might be like. They published their picture and story using the Puppet Pals App. George Couros, the keynote speaker for the following day also stopped by to see what the students were sharing. He loved the Puppet Pals stories and asked if he could use one in his Keynote the following morning!
I was able to attend many of the sessions including Keynotes from Adam Bellow, George Couros, and Rushton Hurley. I learned from our Technology Using teacher of the year, Erin Klein and so many others. One of the many great things about the MACUL and other conferences is that the learning doesn’t end with the conference. I have already been in contact via social media with some of the speakers and other attendees to continue the learning.
A new part of the conference experience for me were the Lightning Talks.The Lightning Talks were amazing! It is incredible how much is shared in such a short time and so well. Take the 5 min to listen to Trevor Muir in the talk below. It is truly amazing! After hearing Trevor Muir I was inspired and am looking to see if I have a Lightning Talk in me.
I had an excellent adventure attending the ICE Conference in February. This was my second year attending and it only got better. I learned a great deal, but the BEST part was meeting up with so many DEN friends! I instantly felt part of the group and it truly made the conference even more amazing. I enjoyed the DEN meet up Thursday evening, and enjoyed connecting with these DEN-mazing educators.
One of my “Wow”s from the Conference was understanding the Apps within Google Drive. I had no idea! For those of you in the dark like I was, here is the link to the presentation by Tammy Lind. The short version is when in Google Drive, click Create, scroll down to Connect More Apps and then WOW! I am excited about Pow Toon, Movenote and Real Cube to start. I would love to hear what Apps others are using and how they are using them in the classroom. I have not shown my students the Apps yet, as I want to make sure I know all I need to know before I open that box. Plus I want to introduce the Apps with a cool Pow toon presentation.Again, advice from those in the know is most welcome!
A second “WOW” was initially not techie at all. Greg Tang, author of many children’s books with a math theme, spoke and used as his presentation tool a document camera, paper and a black pen. That’s it. He never even got to the tech in the his first presentation and we were all captivated and listening to every word. I stayed for his second presentation and when he did get to the Tech it did add another “WOW”. His website gregtangmath.com has wonderful math games that Greg Tang created that get kids thinking about numbers decomposing them, looking for patterns, and THINKING. Funny Numbers is his way to teach regrouping that makes sense. As someone who has sung and danced to help kids understand regrouping, Funny Numbers is a gift! Kakooma, another game he created has students race to complete the puzzles using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. While Kakooma is sold as an App, it is free on the website as are all of his games along with interactive versions of his books. My second graders, who are usually quite wiggly during the last 20 minutes of the day (okay they wiggle ALL afternoon) were engaged and attending as we read Math-terpieces and tried to find the number combinations. I introduced gregtangmath.com to all of my tech lab students and it is a hit at all levels!
This post is cross posted on http://2teach.edublogs.org
My Middle School Students have been working with Scratch in preparation for The Hour of Code event in December. We began with the Learn to Code Tutorial. This was a great way to introduce the students to the basics of coding and they had fun as the Tutorial used Angry Birds and Plants vs Aliens levels. I was thrilled at how engaged all 6th, 7th and 8th graders were with the tutorial and were determined to reach the end. I loved how the tutorial made them think. The later levels were not easy and the students needed to try a few different things to reach the end.
I then had the students sign up for their own Web Based Scratch account. If they did not have an email address, I gave them one to use. (This website let me use the gmail+1 trick to create additional accounts.) This way they can work on their projects from home and it makes it easy to share projects. During our first class with Scratch we learned together, using directions I found on how to make a maze game. While the basics of the directions worked, we had trouble getting our Sprite to move correctly using the arrow keys. I went home and spent the next evening playing with Scratch and figuring it out. I found the best way to learn was to look at a game someone else made on the Scratch website. If you click on SEE INSIDE you will see the scripts written for that game. I found a maze game I liked and used it as my model for making my own maze game, complete with annoying noises which I knew the Middle School students would enjoy. Below is my game. You move the Butterfly through the maze using the arrow keys.
I have students who attended Scratch summer camps, so they were already experts and able to help the rest of us. I need to learn a little ahead of the other students so I can help them, but I am also encouraging them to check out other projects to get ideas. I am excited to see where we go with Scratch and gaming. All grades will be participating in Hour of Code and my hope is that we are gaming, coding and creating on an ongoing basis throughout the rest of the year.