Whether you’re into College Football or not, the infectious PJ Fleck and his “Row The Boat” philosophy translate well to any school or classroom culture. Having earned my Masters degree from Western, it is great to see the amazing things Fleck and the team are doing on the field, but it’s what’s happening behind the scenes that is the most inspiring.
The Players Tribune is easily my favorite sports publication, probably because it speaks to the life experiences and not just to the box scores. Give it a read.
You see, I don’t ask my players for their very best only on game day. I push them to hold themselves to that standard every single day.
Thanks to everybody who came out to my Movie Making session this morning. I loved the enthusiasm lots of people shared and I was blown away by all of the great tips shared in the slide deck of tips and tricks. Please email, tweet, or text questions or ideas this morning or the post generated.
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Coding, Maker Space, Video, Photography, Graphic Design, Sound Engineering, and countless other great educational innovations have suffered far too long in the educational prisons of the world. It is time we break them out and truly integrate them into the core curriculum.
Coding is math. Video editing is story telling. Making is practical application of all kinds of “core” skills. They have to move though beyond being viewed as clubs, fun Friday activities, or just stuff hippies do to avoid integrating fully into society.
The education establishment has this terrible tendency to bottle up and lock away approaches to teaching and learning that don’t look like something it experienced in the classroom twenty years ago or worse isn’t obviously a part of subject areas measured by state assessments.
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My former district took away specials like gym and art and made them test prep time. Recess was all but eliminated for more reading instruction. So much for educating the whole child.
This has to stop.
We can lament this all we want and nothing will change or we can begin to focus on the pedagogy and develop sound ways that coding builds success in the algebra classroom and that iMovie Book Trailers build excitement for reading and a demonstration of literacy. That is how we break down the prison walls that are keeping great innovation on the fringes of education and not at its core.
If you grew up in the era of Oregon Trail, Galaga, Defender, Blades of Steel, and NBA Jam then you might have a little place in your heart for the nostalgic look of 8 Bit graphics. When your creative juices start mixing with your love of old school games, check out these tools.
64 Yourself – Upload any image under 2 MB and convert it to something that looks like it was made on a Commodore 64.
8BitPhotos.com – Simply upload a picture and let this site convert it for you.
Pixlr – If you want a little more control over how your pixels come out, use the free Photoshop-ish Pixlr. Upload a pic, find the “Pixelate” filter, and tweak until you have it just right.
You can also create from scratch online with Make8BitArt.com (below) or on the BitDraw – Pixel Art Tool for iOS devices and Android. The basketball player above was made on an iPad with that app.
Northwest Ohio Google Certified Innovator for Education Eric Curts delivers a great webinar on using Google Drawings for teaching math.
Eric takes viewers through the ins and outs of Drawings but excels when he starts to unpack Common Core standards and show practical activities for elementary teachers. The geometry examples are good but the fraction activity is really innovative.
Is this winter dragging you down? Do you have one of “those” classes this year? Need to put some adventure back into to being an educator? Wanna get away?
“Yes,” you say. “But where am I going to find such adventure and then get the dough to make that happen?”
Funny you should ask because there are a slew of great options in some amazing locations. CUE Rock Star is in Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, The Lakeshore of Michigan, and Boston as well as all over California this summer.
The National Endowment for the Humanities offers an astounding array of learning opportunities all over the world and throughout the United States that range from five days to five weeks. Many include handsome stipends to cover travel and fund future projects with the knowledge gained.
For experiences like Discovery that are free but attendees have to pay for travel or Rock Star that costs around $250 and requires travel, help can be found now at DonorsChoose.org. The site has teamed up with the Gates Foundation and together are running a pilot to help teachers fund their own professional development. Grant applications can be developed through their helpful guide.
So stop pouting about your sad lot in life. There are plenty of adventures to be had and now a new vehicle for getting those adventures funded. To be honest, adventures like these are what keep me amped up about education. Not only is the travel exciting but the biggest benefit comes from meeting incredible educators from around the globe. Get going!
Inspired by all of the creativity and ingenuity involved in the building of Caine’s Arcade, I took our annual research of the World’s tallest skyscrapers into the cardboard construction world.
This project with third graders took on many layers.
-Learning to research, looking
for specific facts
-Manipulating and studying models in Sketchup
-Understanding and calculating scale, 200 feet in real life equaled one foot of cardboard
-Engineering of a free-standing structure
-Creativity and style
-Developing perseverance and stamina when the best laid plans fall flat, literally
Some projects came together much better than others. We are dedicating one final class period to our architecture next week. At that time, we will sit down and take a hard look at what went well and what did not go well. Not all buildings are are going to stand as well as this version of the Willis Tower in Chicago. The biggest challenge will be for the kids to tell me why their building experience went well or what could have gone better. They are just third graders. If we don’t give them the chance to try projects like this and experience the trials and tribulations of collaboration then we can’t expect it just to naturally happen.
Great things are happening in the classrooms across Michigan and many educators are realizing they have the tools to tell their own stories. We are no longer at the mercy of how politicians or portray us or what stories the media chooses to tell.
The #MichEd Video Challenge is aimed at collecting all of the awesomeness in one spot. Please consider sharing the great things you are doing with your students. We must tell our own stories. We are the only ones who really know how they go.
Here is a great tool for building digital citizenship. It was originally posted at Edutopia.org and reminds us all to think before we post something online. This acronym isn’t just good for kids but is a reminder for adults as well.