Author Archives: rippie77

A Project-Based Learning Activity That Can Work in Any Classroom

fIn our last post, we dove into a three-step system to get students to do the talking. Getting them to open up and do the majority of talking (and learning) is not as easy as

Source: A Project-Based Learning Activity That Can Work in Any Classroom

I’ve always had problems scaffolding my projects. There are some great hints in this article to help you do just that. I’m already thinking at the end of the year we could do PSA on local environmental issues. Maybe connect to health issues. Thanks to A.J. Juliani for all the great ideas.

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Where does coding fit in your class?

I love coding. That being said, I never found the time in the past to do it in class. I teach science and I know coding is great for introducing another part of STEM. But where can I fit it in? I’ve been racking my brains trying to think of a ways to include coding into my class. I know our Physics teacher does coding in her classes. And there have been many times she has offered her robots to me.

Then I began to think about it and finally came up with some ideas. After reading about the Hour of Code event, I decided to try something in class  (if you don’t know about this is you can read about it here). When do we code in an Earth Science Class? When the students do their Genius Hour or Citizen Project. I have some students who love to use our EV3’s or they create a game for class. Students love the programming blocks in the EV3’s. We also use these in our Robotics Camp. The EV3 program is similar to Scratch and works on a type of “block interface”.  My other project in class takes place at the beginning of the year, I have students use Scratch to introduce themselves.

Scratch.JPG

It was a basic introduction to scratch. I had Students code sprites to answer three questions. Students had partners for the project and had to create a conversation between their sprites. The questions were based on “getting to know you”, or introductions for the beginning of the year. I wanted to change this up a bit and figure I would try this out. I think they enjoyed it, I will probably find out on my semester survey. There were some problems; I need to structure my introduction a bit more, and let them do a tutorial on the program. I’ve already decided to implement some things for next year.

Why am I bringing this up now, well I started to think about Ozbot.  This summer I had a chance to test the Ozbot out and found it pretty easy to use. We are thinking about getting some for our Robotics Summer Program. This is a great way to introduce students to coding and can be a great introduction into programming robots. But how could I use this in class? Could it be integrated into my Earth Science Class? Questions I haven’t answered yet. But does it have to be a part of the class? Could I make this activity a reward when we end a unit? Again I haven’t decided yet, but I can guarantee I will come up with something and when I do I will post it here.

So where does coding fit in your class?

Five Ways to Boost Student Engagement with Flow Theory – John Spencer

If we want students to develop a maker mindset, we need to empower them to hit a state of creative flow. Flow Theory explains what happens when we hit that place of “optimal experience,” where

Source: Five Ways to Boost Student Engagement with Flow Theory – John Spencer

I never hear of Flow theory and now I know. It’s interesting and new at the same time, to me any way. I do the Genius Hour project and might try some of the suggestions made in the post. Also the author John Spencer shares a ton of resources.

Excuse Me While I “Just” Go Innovate

This is really an awesome post and I would highly recommend it to teachers who are being pressured right now to be “innovative”. I think Ms. Ripp does a good job in arguing how teachers are already innovative in their classroom.

It has been building for a while.  This idea that teachers need to “just” innovate more.  That we need to break the system, try a new idea every day.  That we need to just do more.  Just do it better.  Just be more.

But that little word “just” has such a huge implication.

It tells me that what I am doing is not already innovative.

That what I am doing is not enough.

That I am not good enough, nor enough for the very kids I teach.

That if I only would “just” be a better teacher then perhaps all kids would run into my classroom with a smile on their face and beg me not to send them home.

But I teach real live children who have friendships, and emotions, and families, and lives to live and so no, I don’t get offended when they don’t run into my classroom…

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Schlechty’s Levels of Engagement

Pretty good video about student engagement. Definitely describes all students.

7 Must Have Apps, Tools, and Resources That Develop Critical Thinking Skills – The Tech Edvocate

Gone are the days where children were expected to memorize facts and recite them at any given time. Instead, it is hoped that children will develop critical thinking skills so that they can analyze situations, think about different outcomes, and present well-reasoned conclusions. To help children develop critical thinking skills, there are some apps, tools, and resources. Here is a list of the top seven. Guess the Code While this app is presented as a game, it is actually a great way for children to look at patterns and sequences, and try to figure them out. The app generates different […]

Source: 7 Must Have Apps, Tools, and Resources That Develop Critical Thinking Skills – The Tech Edvocate

If We Have to Give Kids Grades, Let’s Let Them Argue Their Merit.

I sensed the anticipation as soon as I entered the classroom. Groups of students were huddled together flipping through notes and documentation. A few were going back and forth about what they were going to

Source: If We Have to Give Kids Grades, Let’s Let Them Argue Their Merit.

Interesting take on grades. Good points made about Teachers letting their students do this. The idea I know is not new I’ve heard of various ways to do this. I have not done this, but it might be a good idea to try it.

 

Helping Students Learn Project Management – John Spencer

If we want students to think like artists, entrepreneurs, and engineers, they need the chance to design real projects. But this also requires students to learn how to engage in project management. Listen to the Podcast Just

Source: Helping Students Learn Project Management – John Sp

Designing Group Projects So That Everyone Participates – John Spencer

Collaborative projects can easily fall apart in the classroom. You start with a great idea but next thing you know, you have half of your students checked out. So, how do we fix this?   Listen to

Source: Designing Group Projects So That Everyone Participates – John Spencer

After listening to the podcasts I’m rethinking my group projects. How do you get all parties involved in the project? Buy in? How do you get students to own the process? John Spencer does a great job in giving teachers ideas how how to do this. But obviously each classroom is different, and something that works for me might not work for you. And there will always be that one or two students you just can’t get to work. Its frustrating I know, but its one of the things Teachers have to accept, its called “human behavior” (well that’s what I think). The classroom can’t be perfect.

 “It’s complicated, John Spencer says and its because kids are complicated”.

I know the projects that are successful in my classroom are the one’s that students are engaged and have ownership. “Creative Collaboration”, definitely agree here with John Spencer. Our earthquake towers are one of the most successful projects we do in class. Students take ownership and work together on building something.

I’m definitely taking some of John Spencer’s suggestions and implementing them in the some of my projects in class.

Thank You Mr. Spencer great article!

 

30 creative ways to use Padlet for teachers and students – BookWidgets

Source: 30 creative ways to use Padlet for teachers and students – BookWidgets

Has some nice ideas for using padlet. I’ve used it before and it works great. Using it as an exit ticket I think is a great idea.