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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Thematic Units: Gingerbread Day, Grinch Day, Reindeer Day

Here is my planning guide for my Thematic Units: Gingerbread Day, Grinch Day, Reindeer Day

Note: Some items must be purchased on TPT.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Global Education Conference


I'm presenting at the Global Education Conference in 10 minutes!  The session will be on Twitter for Educators.
Join in the session by clicking here!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mystery Number Video Chat

Our class has had the opportunity to connect with other classes from around the United States with video chat.  While we meetup online, we have a fun math challenge for the other class: guess our mystery number!


Today our largest number went up to the billions in place value!
We have played the game with two variations.  The first time we played Mrs. Egesdal's class (@4Begesdal) from Forest City, Iowa.  We challenged her fourth grade class by answering yes or no questions to discover the mystery number.
We had great problem solvers ask questions like:
  • Is your number greater than 50?
  • Is your number a multiple of 10?
  • Is your number even?


Today we challenged Mrs. Naugle's fourth grade class (@plnaugle) from Louisiana.  In this game, the students wrote down clues that the other class had to solve in order to find out the mystery number.
Clues included questions like:
  • It is a seven digit number.
  • The number in the tens place is 2.  The number in the thousands place is 3 times this number.
  • The number in the ones place is an even number less than three.

If you would like to participate in a Mystery Number Google Hangout or Skype Chat, sign up here!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Worldwide Communities Project


We are looking for classes all around the world to post pictures of their school & communities to Instagram using the hashtag #ourcommunityed
In this project, we will explore Rural, Urban and Suburban settings while interacting with real classes from around the world.
There is also a Google form for teachers to fill out if they would like to participate.  Here is a link:http://goo.gl/F6tJxD 
Could you help us spread the word?
Thanks! 

Connected-worldBy Junior Melo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gamification in the Classroom

Gamification has been on my mind lately.  One of my goals for this school year is to include more gamified learning in my classroom.

Maybe you saw Jane McGonigal's inspiring Keynote at ISTE?  I think the potential for games in education is limitless!


Today I watched Alice Keeler's fantastic video on Gamification (see below).  She explains the difference between games and gamification.  I love that there were immediate takeaways: in my math lesson on estimating differences today, I created many more interesting "epic" story problems to correlate with the math.  My students loved it- we had a great lesson today in part due to this video!

Sidenote: I came across this video through the Innovative Learning Technologies Special Interest Group (SIG) from ISTE.  Check out a list of all the SIGs here.  Excellent resource!


I also came across the website Educade, which is devoted to gamification in the classroom.  I love that it includes lesson plans with gaming ideas!  This would be a great resource to gather your lesson "hooks".  I also would like to incorporate Minecraft and MakeyMakey into the curriculum this year, so this site offers guidance from educators who have completed projects.

Class Dojo

In the past, I have used Edmodo. My students gave it the moniker "Kid Facebook", and they seemed to enjoy it.  I liked the badges.
This year I think I will rely more heavily on Class Dojo.  I like the avatars, and I plan to use this abundantly for positive behavior rewards.  I also like that you can automatically email parent reports!  I would also like to utilize this resource to track skills- not just behavior.  I like the idea of leveling up and competing against themselves.


How are you using gamification in the classroom?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Google Tools for Educators

As a google certified teacher, I present frequently on Google Tools for Educators.  Check out my presentation from Lipscomb University's Ignite Session and learn new simple tricks that will make your life much easier!


Click here for the handouts that go with this presentation.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Creating a Webquest

Have you used Trackstar to create a webquest for your class?  You can also search for webquests that other educators have already created!
It's simple to insert a few websites.  I like that the students explore ALL the sites in one window.  It doesn't open multiple browsers or tabs.
We have some time at computer lab, so I want my students to explore plants.  You could also use this during center time.  
If you want to use my webquest on plants you can check it out here.
I also have a webquest on Johnny Appleseed if you would like to use it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Creating Inventors

I've been selected to participate in "MakeWithMOTO".  This is an exciting high-tech weekend of inventing!  They bring amazing tools including 3d printers, laser cutters, robots and more!  If you could credit anything you could imagine, what would you make?  I'd love some ideas to present this weekend!  If you have a product or app that needs creating, let me know about it!

I'm looking forward to bringing what I learn back to the classroom.  I'd also like to hear what type of robotics program you have at your school!  Hopefully, my third graders will be presenting at the Maker Faire coming up in a few months.  Have you checked out Maker Faires in your area yet?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Maker Faire

Want a great way to get your kids involved in hands-on STEM projects?  You should check for local mini-Maker Faires in your area!  Described as the World's Greatest Show-and-Tell, maker faires are a gathering of minds... minds that are fascinated with inventing and creating.  Personally, I think it's a great tie-in to STEM projects.




Also, check out things like SparkTruck that will come to you!


Check out this link to find a Mini-Maker Faire near you!

Google map from MakerFaire.com/map

Possible ideas for Maker Faire... Robotics?

I had an opportunity to play with the Lego Mindstorm kit at ISTE this year.  I really enjoyed their product, and I would love to get it into the hands of my students!  I'm debated exactly which product to delve into- I would love to hear what you are using! Leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter!









Today we had our district tech conference.  I played with littleBits. I like that they are magnetic and $149 for a starter kit.  I like and dislike that there is no software component; I think it is easier to use, but they aren't learning a software program like Scratch.





Steve Dembo (@teach42) was our Keynote today!  He works for Discovery Education, and he is also a co-author (with Adam Bellow) of:  
Me & Steve Dembo @ our local tech conference


Adam explains Google Glass to me @ ISTE


Have you watched this yet?  It's a must-do before the new school year!  Get ready to change the world!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A new mindset for teaching Math CC

I have a confession: I haven't felt supremely confident about teaching math common core style.  It feels... messy.  And I'm ok with messy in a hands-on way: my concern was our messy work never matching "the answer" in the back of the book.
I'm having to rethink my preconceived notions, and it's entirely due to Dan Meyer's amazing TED talk. I love the idea of creating multimedia to intrigue students and draw them into the mathematical thinking process.  Having those grand math conversations and really having them get it- isn't that the point?  Deeper concept knowledge?  Real world applications?
I'm in.
Are you?


Check out this amazing website, NextVista, where students and teachers can submit educational videos.  I also love that they have video contests!

PS I would sooooo love to share the multimedia and problems that I'm doing in my class... if you will share yours too!  Promise?