Creative Educator – Let it go: Giving students choices

Creative Educator – Let it go: Giving students choices. Neat idea. This is something I’m experimenting with right now for their projects. Trying to present their projects in different ways. Think outside the box.

Student Mistakes..That’s the Way it’s Supposed to be

I enjoyed reading two articles from the NSTA Reports February 2015 and thought a brief summary of each would be a good idea for a post. Also just hashing out some of my thoughts on them.

After reading the article “Helping Students View Mistakes as Progress” in the NSTA Reports February edition, I decided that I needed to revisit my strategies when it comes to “mistakes”. I tell my students all the time that mistakes aren’t bad in my classroom, you learn from them. But I think I need to show it a little better. This article does a good job in talking about how “mistakes or rather the wrong results are part of science”. Ms. Bigelow who is behind the Ms. Mentor column does a good job talking about how “kids get the impression that if things are not perfect they will not get a good grade”. That made me stop and think yep, exactly what I think my students believe.  I do believe I allow my students opportunity to learn from their mistakes but I think I need to encourage more discovery into why they made the mistake. One teacher suggested “pre-assignments” which I’ve thought about before and I will probably revisit.

It’s just as hard on teachers, we have a tendency we don’t want to make mistakes in front of students. Students see this and it becomes a norm.  I do admit my mistakes with students, example if a lab didn’t work as well as it should have, or a project wasn’t as good as it could have been. Once I admit this to the class they see me as human, and are not afraid to admit they made a mistake. I also turn it into a great collaborative opportunity for the class. I ask the students to give feedback on how I can improve it or change the activity to fit their needs.

The rest of the article references a professor at a school of education. He describes his classroom as an environment safe for mistakes. Meaning he is teaching his students to create environments safe and comfortable for students to make mistakes in their classroom. This article does a good job with this topic I think. Something I’m already thinking about.

Another article I found interesting in the February edition was the Ms. Mentor column. This is the advice column. I really liked the advice she gave a teacher who was trying to implement inquiry into their class. The teacher was frustrated because the students only wanted to “stick with cookbook labs”. Very rigid and organized activities. I sympathize with this teacher. When I first implemented some of the Flipping 101 strategy my students were not happy. As the columnist responds, we are creatures of habit! to introduce something different can wreak havoc on people. The advice she gives this teacher is pretty sound. Take it slow, this goes for flipping also. Work with students introducing them to the different skills. Explain to them why you are doing it and what it is all about. I did this when I first introduced flipping and I taught students how to use the videos. Now, if I don’t put up a video they request one. The inquiry part of this article is really good and something I really do want to implement in class. Ms. Mentor actually wrote a blog post on “Cookbook to Inquiry”.  I’ve read it and it does really good job in helping teachers change a cookbook lab to an inquiry lab.

This month’s NSTA reports was pretty good and taking the time out to read it gave me some ideas to try out in class. Glad I finally got a chance to read it this month.

4 Powerful iPad Apps for Teaching Kids Handwriting ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

4 Powerful iPad Apps for Teaching Kids Handwriting ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. I’m not a grade school teacher but I thought this was a good idea. I know by the time some of our students get high school, their handwriting isn’t the greatest. I think this might help??? And again I’m not a grade school teacher, so… Let me know if you try it. Is it something you will use in the future? Is it a good Tech tool for kids?

Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) : Notes from the Field : Blogs

Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) : Notes from the Field : Blogs. This would be a good start to introduction to satellites. Also the SMAP helps with weather forecasting, and its data could possibly be used in meteorology unit. I’m doing that section next. How the SMAP would be a great example for electromagnetic spectrum and how the satellite uses radiation on the EM to gather its information. Especially interesting is NASA started the “Early Adopters” program. This allows more collaboration between various interested companies. Overall this new satellite could be a great opportunity for a education.

FTC Qualifier 2015

It’s the start of a whole new season with the robotics club. They have their first “official” competition tomorrow. Cardinal Gibbons again will host a Qualifying tournament for First Robotics. Set for Saturday January 17th from 7 am – 5:30 pm, 19 teams have been confirmed. We are lucky to be able to broadcast the event live on the Cardinal Gibbons High School Cube Channel (now called the cube).

Details of the event are located at our school website and the robotics page

Tournament Map

Tournament Map

Pictures will be posted in the future about the event. Hosting an event can be difficult but a rewarding experience for your school community. I found that out last year and again this year.

Speaking Robotics this contest looks pretty cool; Zero Robotics.  As I’m writing this they are broadcasting the finals live. There’s a High School category. I’m wondering if any of our students would be interested. I might just bring this up to our Robotics Coach. But after this weekend. The contest is run by the CASIS Academy which a friend of mine belongs to. She posted this the other day and then on twitter I saw the live feed. Its a competition that lasts from September to December. Here is the description on the website:

The participants compete to win a technically challenging game by programming their strategies into the SPHERES satellites. The game is motivated by a current problem of interest to DARPA, NASA and MIT.  Student software controls satellite speed, rotation, direction of travel, etc.  Depending on the game premise, the students must program their satellites to complete game objectives (navigate obstacles, pick up virtual objects, etc.) while conserving resources (fuel, charge, etc.) and staying within specified time and code-size limits.  The programs are “autonomous” – that is, the students cannot control the satellites during the test itself.  (Zero Robotics Website)

Until my next post.. Tournament Results.. Hope everyone had a good start to the New Year.


8 Pathways to Every Student’s Success | Edutopia

8 Pathways to Every Student’s Success | Edutopia. Interesting take on different abilities we can nurture in children.

These Are The 16 Attributes of The Modern Educator ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

These Are The 16 Attributes of The Modern Educator ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. I know two in a row?? Wow. :) Well this one I think is very good. Some difficult characteristics are listed. With the new year upon us can you think about maybe adapting two of the habits. Up to you!

8 Myths That Undermine Educational Effectiveness | Edutopia

8 Myths That Undermine Educational Effectiveness | Edutopia. I especially like Myth #4. We have a tendency to think that something that works somewhere else will work in your school. Doesn’t always work that way. Too many variables. And Myth #7 doesn’t surprise me. Good reflection for the beginning of a new year.

Free Technology for Teachers: Nine Popular Student Response Tools Compared In One Chart

Free Technology for Teachers: Nine Popular Student Response Tools Compared In One Chart. Good Comparison if you are deciding on using one of these tools. Goes along with my earlier blog entry. I forgot to add in my last entry that I also use Padlet, but mostly for posting discussion answers and photos. Great Lab tool!

Terrific Mini Guide to Help Students Think Critically ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Terrific Mini Guide to Help Students Think Critically ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Interesting list.


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