Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#GCC and Roxaboxen

Students at my school have been hearing about Caine's Arcade and the Global Cardboard Challenge since the first week of school.  Some classes have had a little time to brainstorm and research ideas during media visits.

Several students have told me about making their own cardboard creations at home.  One mom posted her son's skeeball game and another mom sent me pictures of her sons' cardboard arcade.

Today I was reading aloud Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran to a class of second graders.  It ties in with their social studies unit on local government.  It's always been a magical book for my second graders, but this year we ended up talking a lot about imagination.

Being creative and using our imagination has been a recurring theme lately!

After the book and our discussion I reminded them about the Global Cardboard Challenge. Our second graders are tasked with designing a community.  Because there are nearly 600 students in our school I told them we would need to make a miniature-sized cardboard community.

This actually made it very easy for us to integrate the Ozobots.  They could have roads just like in the book.  We spent the last portion of class sketching ideas for our community and building roads for the Ozobots.

The children wanted to know how the Ozobots know how to move.  I said, "You have to tell them."  A little girl looked down at her mini-robot and said, "Dance!"

After a quick chuckle I explained that we tell them by making code with our markers. They loved it when an Ozobot made U-turns and other moves.

We are excited to start on our cardboard town!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Ozobots Are Here!

As a fellow chapter leader wrote, the Ozobots have landed! I was thrilled to have a box waiting for me on Thursday morning.  It was filled with five new Ozobots.  I had actually wanted an Ozobot months ago and I am so excited to now have a set of five.  Thank you, Ozobot and Imagination Foundation!  

We finally had our first official club day and I had thirty kids who came to the media center.  They have been coming to the library for regular classes so I had already introduced them to Caine’s Arcade and the Imagination Chapter.  We had also done the marshmallow challenge and celebrated International Dot Day. Fridays are Club Day for fifth graders at our school. These were the kids who would go more in-depth with the Imagination Chapter activities.

The first order of business was decorating their journals/sketchbooks. Dave Hartzell talked to me about the importance of writing and reflecting during each session. There are so many talented artists in this group! Most students really enjoyed doing this. I am excited about this part.

The next part of class I introduced the Global Cardboard Challenge and the Ozobots.  We split into two groups so that there would be 2-3 students per Ozobot.  The girls used the Ozobots while the boys researched some cardboard ideas and finished their sketchbook covers.  Then we switched. SciGirls Seven are strategies that are meant to help girls and boys in science activities. That is why we split into girls and boys.  This helps make it more comfortable for the girls to lead. The boys did not seem to mind at all! By the end of class they were all working together.

We watched a short video and I gave them some handouts from the Ozobot website. Students were making their own codes within minutes. They really loved these miniature robots! They were telling the other fifth graders all about it when they returned to class.  

Our local SciGirls partner also came during the first club meet.  Whitney Sprinkle Collins is from the local NC Cooperative Extension. She is in charge of educational outreach and the 4-H Curriculum.  After the kids left for lunch she shared the 4-H curriculum with me.  Tons of great ideas! I can’t wait to explore this partnership more this year.

Friday, September 18, 2015

International Dot Day - Update

Here's a quick video I made from our Dot Day celebration!  Dot Day Video

One of our fifth grade classes ended up Skyping with Copeland Elementary.  Rebeccca Skyped with schools all over the country. Students also did Dot Day activities in STEM centers.

It turns out there were a lot of local schools participating in Dot Day.

Overall, it was a worthy addition to our media program.  I think that next year we will use some of the ideas from Rebecca and my fellow Imagination Chapter leaders.  We'll definitely add our guest dot board and more Skyping. (The fifth graders want to Skype with people in London and in different countries.)  I also liked the idea of giving a sticker dot to someone who has made a mark on us and telling him/her why. Alicia at Flat Rock helped her students make augmented reality dots using Quiver. Those looked awesome and I bet the kids loved them.

I also love the other books by Peter H. Reynolds.

On to the next activity - Global Cardboard Challenge!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

My GPS for the School Year

I came across this post via Twitter: "GPS is set!Angela Rutschke had chosen five words to guide her year.  As I read the blog and followed the trail to the origins (Teach Like a Pirate's Dave Burgess and teacher Michael Matera), I knew I wanted to do this.

This summer I was inspired by Dave's book, Kid President's book, and Angela Meier's You Matter Manifesto. Then I found out about the application for becoming an Imagination Chapter. I was also thinking about Common Sense Media for the upcoming school year.

So five programs.. Could they be summarized in five words?  Hmmmmm....

1) Passion

2) Awesomeness

3) Kindness

4) Creativity

5) Citizenship

Yep, I want kids to be just as passionate about reading, learning, and making as I am.

I want my kids to have an awesome year and that starts with the adults bringing their Awesome Game.  

Kindness ALWAYS matters.

Creativity - wanting to rethink doing the Global Cardboard Challenge school-wide and just doing it with my Friday club, BUT I know this one event will be the best thing I've done with kids.  Going to make it work somehow.

Digital Citizenship is so important.  I want my kids to be better with digital literacy, write and make more for an online audience, and engage with others from across the globe more often.

So how am I doing so far?  The first month or two of school is always extremely busy.

But this is why I am a media coordinator. Each of these matter.  I am teaching generations of students. (Shocking, I know.) I want kids to be readers, not for the sake of passing a test, but because it truly opens doors. I want kids to be makers because they are the future. I think making helps them think more than anything else. And being kind to others (in person and online) - that's the way it should be.

Game on.  Best Year Ever. Let's make it count.  Let's roll.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sharing Caine’s Arcade with the Students

I could not wait to share the news that we are a 2015 Imagination Chapter. But how could I tell them all so that it would make sense? And what does that even mean for our students? 

After using Minecraft and our makerspace last year, I knew that every class would want to be involved.  I knew the club would be meeting on Fridays, but I wanted to incorporate activities into lessons with all of the grade levels.  Using technology and creating fit nicely with our media lessons. 

Some of our classes visit the media center for lessons with me 1-2 times a week. Some classes visit every other week.  By the end of the second week of school every K-5 class knew all about Caine. 

These two videos helped me introduce everything to the students.

Several students went home and built their own cardboard games. Kids were telling their brothers and sisters about this movement. The buzz is building.

Introduction? Check.
Marshmallow Challenge? Check.
Dot Day? Check.
Next up?  MakeDo tools, hopefully an Ozobot, and then the Global Cardboard Challenge.

International Dot Day

My friend Rebecca was the one who introduced me to International Dot Day.  At first glance I was afraid it might be too young for my older students. After delving into it more, I have seen the opportunities for taking it deeper.  I also like that the author’s message is more than about everyone being an artist.  It is about going out into the world and making your mark. Everyone has something special to offer. And what a wonderful world it can be when we choose to inspire and lift up others.

Besides sharing the book and having a discussion about the book, we also made a school-wide piece of artwork. Each K-5 student added his or own dot.
Some students have made their own dots to take home and some have made digital dots.They really liked the Toy Theater website.

I found some neat ideas in the Dot Day downloadable handbook.  Here are some links to help you celebrate.  You don’t have to wait til Sept. 15!  You can celebrate anytime!

Helpful Links

We have plans to Skype with a class at Rebecca’s school on Sept. 17.  I also asked our visitor to make a dot so I can add it to other visitors' dots in a special spot.

Dot Day is an easy way to weave multiculturalism and global literacy in your lessons.

Friday, September 4, 2015

3D Printer

One of our parents had offered to bring in her personal 3D printer to show the kids.  Fabulous! By the end of her visit, more than 150 students got to see the printer in action and hear all about this technology. They learned how 3D printers are also being used in the medical and food industries.
What did I notice during her visit?  1) The students were very engaged the whole time.   2) They were learning about new technology that most had never seen.

After her visit some of our students had enough time to try out ToyTheater.com.  This site has lots of creative applications and the kids loved it.  Some were making dots for Dot Day and some were building 3D designs.

Thanks for bringing in your 3D printer, Mrs. Williams!

PS Thanks for printing me a cardboard tool because I was too impatient to wait for MakeDo ones. Looking forward to getting ours next week!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Imagination Chapter Orientation

After a time difference snafu on my part and an unexpected meeting, I was finally able to complete the online training and orientation for the Imagination Chapter leaders.  This was hosted via Google Hangouts.

Alice Lin is just a darling.  Very joyful.  Her official title is Director of Community Engagement for the Imagination Foundation.  She is the one who moderated the session and has been sending out group emails.  

We had a large group of chapter leaders from all over the world – Singapore, Ontario, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States. Great group of people! This was training session #9; there are chapters on six continents. I am excited to start this journey.

Since this meeting happened to be after school from 3-5pm (for me), Kendall stayed with me.  He worked on his own projects while I did my group chat. Plus Kendall got to meet a celebrity (Alice.)  He was so impressed that she knew Caine.

                                                 Photo Credit: cainesarcade.com

Kendall worked on a couple of optical illusions and a Link hat.  Talented kid!