Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tinkercad Lessons (Part I of the Best of 2016-2017 series)

Since it's now summer, and educators everywhere are reflecting on the past year, I thought I'd start a series on what went well this school year, as well as how I can expand this coming year.

WWR was lucky to be able to get a Makerbot Replicator 2 as part of a buy 2-get 1 free incentive from Makerbot with our CTE coordinator. Some teachers immediately asked how to start incorporating it and others still aren't quite sure what it can do.

Title I Teachers and their 5th grade students read an article about how technology is helping animals who have lost limbs or beaks by 3d printing prosthetics. They came in and were able to use Tinkercad to design anything they wanted (they only had 30 minutes or so). These students created nameplates, fidget spinners, a McDonalds, and more. Many of these students had no idea such technology existed and this may be a light bulb moment for potential future careers.

`5th grade Math Teachers needed a volume review before state testing, so we created a challenge for them to design a building using 3 cubes (stretched to any rectangular prism shape they wanted), with a minimum volume of 20in cubed and a max of 60in cubed. VERY easy to create a building and calculate the volume, once we learned the menu that pops up on the left hand side in Tinkercad is helpful, but VERY difficult to try to keep it in that range. Next year, we should sketch it with dimensions FIRST so then we can use Tinkercad to see it in 3d.

1st grade students on May the Fourth created a droid in honor of Star Wars Day. I was so thrilled with their work. I warned them in advance that it would be frustrating, and it was, but they stuck with it and designed a droid of their own choosing. I learned after the first group to have them draw the droid like it was laying on its back to make sure it was more feasible to print. Students voted on another class's set of droids for the best, and the winner for each class was printed in the color of the student's choice.

3rd Graders got to explore and design anything in Tinkercad. Next year, I'd like this to be more focused, but end of year, after testing, what can you do.

Finally, the last group of the year was very special.

The students in our PBL pilot classrooms designed a monument to a famous American. The top design from each class again got to design and print it in 3d. This was the last few days of school, so for the sake of time, only the winning group designed. I pulled the 9 kids with Chromebooks and they got to work. Students pictured hold their monument to Maggie Lena Walker.

I hope to do more of this next year, and will be training teachers on how to use Tinkercad with their classes, to give them some of the control over the lessons and the ability to help answer questions as they arise.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Blogging Buddies


I crave it! Browsing the VSTE Facebook page last evening, I found a post for a nationwide Ed Tech Coaches Blogging Buddies PLN sponsored by ISTE. I immediately knew that this would force me to start blogging again. I have some great ideas and, more importantly, work with fantastic teachers who encourage these ideas... but I lack the time to sit down and write posts about them. I started this blog when I became a full-time Instructional Technology Resource Coach at W. W. Robinson Elementary, and my goal was to highlight lessons that I can assist teachers with so that I'm not just a tech support person.

The goal is to post at least once a month and comment on our buddies blog. There are currently about 100 educators signed up... if you're interested, sign up here!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Back to the grind!

I've been back at W. W. Robinson for about 6 weeks now and I'm just now getting to update this blog! I swear I'll try to do more this year than last year ;) but I think I say that every year.

Since I've been back, the Hour of Code initiative began, and I was able to get into ALMOST every single room to do an hour with your students. THANK YOU for letting me into your classrooms! I know how valuable each moment is with them!

New at W. W. Robinson are 5 Bee Bots and 5 Pro Bots. These are programmable robots that do not require other devices. The students program them directly on the back of the robot. I used these many times last year in Mrs. Anderson's kindergarten room and the kids quickly figured out how to run Bee Bot.

Pro Bot is slightly different in that he has extra commands and can hold a pen or pencil. Ms. Throneburg's class tested him out for me and figured out ways to draw geometric shapes.

Please don't hesitate to bounce lesson ideas off of me, I love to come into classrooms! On previous posts, you can view other lessons I've done with classes and get some ideas on how I can be used.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New iPad Apps

This week there were several apps I took advantage of downloading while free for a limited time! (I use the app appsgonefree and Smart Apps for Kids newsletters).

Mr. Nussbaum- A virtual playground for students featuring Science games (periodic table and sea horses unlocked for now) Sports (bowling and boxing unlocked), Shop & Dine (Math games with percentages and counting coins). It seems from the opening that this would be for younger students, but is really for upper elementary.

2 new early elementary math apps:
Inference Ace- purple and blue app icon- Check out the screenshots on the iTunes store!
 Inference Ace 1 and 2 are targeted to children in Grades 2-5 who can read the words, but don't understand what they read. In Inference Ace 2, kids identify the clue words that lead to an inference. The two apps use different data sets but target different skills.
Also by this developer- Main Idea 1

My story- Book Maker for students. Teachers can create a BrightBot Classroom Sync to begin, or let students create stories without sending them to you.

Classify It! - Sorting and grouping organisms

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blogging in 5th Grade

Ms. Throneburg's class is reading No Talking by Andrew Clements, and she asked if her 5th graders could still access their Kidblogs I used last year. This year's 4th and 5th graders currently have Kidblog accounts through me, but I can easily set it up to include the new teacher/class. Kids as young as first grade could use Kidblog as a response or free write activity.

Students first had to explain to me, someone who has never read No Talking, the plot, characters, and problems so far. The premise is that a group of boys challenge the girls to see who can go without talking the longest. They are only allowed to respond to adults in 3 word sentences or less. I asked Ms. T's students to choose a side- would you like to try this challenge or not?

I gave students pictures of Gandhi to match with a partner (since the challenge was based on Gandhi's idea of a silent day in order to refresh oneself). Students talked and brainstormed for at least 3 reasons why they should persuade Ms. T to let them do the challenge, or convince her NOT let them do it. After brainstorming, students signed into Kidblog. This was the most tedious part, simply because they had never had more than one class to sign in to (They were still enrolled in their 4th grade group from last year). I also forgot to make a link for Ms. T's class on my Kidblog page. The kids were familiar with signing in that way, but without their new classroom teacher, it took a few moments. I also accidentally forgot to add one of her students to the class list, but fortunately, he was patient with me!

Once they were, students began their new posts. After writing, they were allowed to format their text and respond to classmates' blogs. Ms. T. had also created a post with some questions that students chose to respond to.

Here are some highlights of the students' posts:
People are going to focus on the contest and not learn,and what the teachers are saying. (Brooke)
It wont help you learn because you need to answer the questions to understand them. (Branden)
I think we should do the no talking contest so we can build up teamwork some more and because it is a great challenge to go with the book we are reading (Travis)
I THINK WE SHOULD DO THE CONTEST BECAUSE it will help us stop talking so much (Bailee)
Thanks, Ms. Throneburg for having me! 4th and 5th grade teachers, this will be easy to implement as your students already have Kidblog accounts. Other teachers, just let me know and I'll help you get started if you're interested!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

14-15 Goals

I like to set goals or new things to try for each year. In the past, a lot of this was dedicated to discipline, Daily 5, Love and Logic, etc. Now I find I need to set measureable goals, although they may not be accomplished each week, it is what I will aim for. This list was created over the summer and recently finalized to help me prioritize and set timelines. Since it is 2014, I started with 14 school goals, and added my 15th personal goal/objective.

1. Make it through year 2 of Technology Master's Cohort!
2. Co-teach at least 3x/week
3. Keep up this blog- at least a post weekly
4. Add resources to LiveBinder
5. Meet with coding club afterschool
6. Introduce coding during i/e groups
7. Complete yearbook BEFORE deadline!
8. Post to WWR's facebook/twitter 3x/week
9. Assist in planning with teachers/grade levels weekly
10. Present at VSTE with Denise Orndorff and Kat Staton- proposal due soon!
11. Write (and receive!) a Moore Grant
12. Write grants as available
13. Lead CRISS follow-up trainings
14. Assist with New Teacher meetings as schedule allows
15. Make a million decisions relating to home building...and not second-guess!

*Completed- Not too bad- 11/15!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Twitter for Teachers!

Twitter can become a black hole for educators! Following one friend and exploring his/her followers can expand your personal learning network immensely and quickly! Here are some of my favorite to follow and why:

Todd Nesloney - @TechNinjaTodd - Advocate for tech in education and professional development leader, Todd shares lots of quick tips, ideas, links, and articles.

Jennie Magiera - @MsMagiera - Apple and Google educator, big proponent of GAFE!

George Couros - @gcouros - Principal and Professional Development Leader; George posts lots of inspirational and thought provoking articles and ideas.

Rafranz Davis - @RafranzDavis - Instructional Technology Specialist and self proclaimed geek! Rafranz also posts some great inspiration and brutally honest educational thoughts.

Eric Sheninger - @E_Sheninger - Principal at a high school with a fantastic MakerSpace!

Scott McLeod - @McLeod - Great "idea man" in educational technology!

Josh Ajima - @DesignMakeTeach - Virginia teacher with a MakerSpace in Northern VA, excellent presenter!

Todd Whitaker - @ToddWhitaker - Principal and author many of educational leadership books!

Dave Burgess - @BurgessDave - Teacher and author of Teach Like a Pirate. 

Chanda Greco - @vtpanda - ITRC and fellow classmate!

Add your favorites in the comments!