Fun and play can create a more engaging learning environment. One of the units in eighth grade science that exemplifies learning through creative, playful, engagement is the Rube Goldberg unit. A Rube Goldberg device is a machine that uses a chain reaction of steps to accomplish a simple goal in a complex and whimsical way. At Friends’ Central School (FCS), the eighth grade students, in groups of 2-3, build Rube Goldberg devices to learn about energy.
In the weeks to come, we are focusing on Maker Faire prep, but I’m also working on an updated project guide for scribble machines.
I missed Digital Learning Day this year. I really meant to do something about it either with my students and/or the Morehead Writing Project, but life got in the way. This is one of the reasons I often have trouble with digital events that happen in real time. I can’t help feeling that there was too much hype about the “thing” and not enough focus on the learning. Maybe I just don’t respond well to...
(Note: This post first appeared on my blog)
Last week, I read an article on venturebeat.com, describing Nancy Pelosi’s “awe” for the maker movement. The article was old, (published January of last year), but I was still happy to see this opinion vocalized, being a maker-educator, myself.
We’re a K–12 school, with K–12 makers, and we treat that making as a way of driving student learning, rather than simply showcasing it. What that means is that we let students tinker, discover, and hit walls with a project before giving them instruction, then use these successes and setbacks as learning tools. Driving our curriculum through our making requires shifting our roles as educators. We often take a step back from teaching directly, so students can teach themselves.
While everyone else is enjoying a snow day, I am in the midst of midterm grading. Why does it always seem like a good idea to place assignment due dates so close to the grading window when I am building my syllabus? I should know better by now…
However, despite the daunting amount of assignments to be graded and grades to be calculated, the process is more enjoyable than I thought possible and here are 3 reasons why.
Before I knew that Winter would put the Commonwealth of Kentucky under a state of emergency and cancel a whole week of classes at Morehead State University, I planned to have my students work on elevator pitches. We will still do that next week, but as I have some time on my hands and the house to myself for this first time in a week, I am thinking about my own elevator pitch and why it is so important to have one for yourself as well as your important projects....
Are you a connected learner? If you are reading this, you probably are and are already aware of the benefits.
As a part of my Flat Connections Global Educator Course, I have been tasked with inquiring into why an educator should become a connected learner and how does connecting with the world change teaching and learning?...
You know the feeling--that “gotta-get-this-grading-done” robotic trance. The blinding feeling of grading close to 180 essays. The guilt of balancing meaningful feedback without taking three weeks to do it.
Anyone who knows me knows about my fascination and commitment to revisit my practice. They know about my desire to understand the affordances of technology and media-making in literacy instruction. They know about my dedication to helping my learners become global citizens.
More than half of the posts on my Metawriting blog have been about writing – 55% in fact. Clearly, writing and the teaching of writing are passions of mine. You do not need to meet me in person and you do not need to stalk me online for very long to discover these facts. I have been teaching writing for a long time now and invariably I receive two responses when I identify myself as a writing teacher.
My blog is now two years old and I have 104 posts which means I have been able to maintain my goal of blogging on a weekly basis (on average). This simple fact gives me tremendous satisfaction, probably because I do not always follow through on my promises to myself – perhaps one of my greatest failings. What is also very exciting for me is that blogging continues to feed me personally and professionally. I continue to have new ideas to write about and I get cranky if life cuts into my...
This week, while grading Annotated Bibliographies, Pandora did that thing we all love so much where it assumes we live more active lives than we do. When I realized it had quit on me, I pulled up the tab, admitted that Yes, I'm still listening, and was graced with this ridiculous ad for Dove chocolates.
Receiving a Grant, joining the Flat Class Global Educator Course (FCGE), and reading so many incredibly helpful blogs has invigorated my desire to blog and share what is going on in my classroom. I hope it may be useful!
(cross-posted from K12 Open Ed)
I've been thinking a lot lately about open learning and with Open Education Week coming up, thought it would be a...
My To-Do list is out of control and if that is not pressure enough then there is the struggle with the parts of my job/life that I love and the rest of it. Much of my week is ruled by Stephen Covey’s “Urgent/Important matrix” or Natalie Houston’s “Prioritize your Activities by Gain and Pain” (with a heavy focus on avoiding pain). You know the type of activity: putting out the fire before it burns down the entire forest or at least plowing a firebreak to keep it contained.
I thought I had a pretty successful Fall semester – at least until I read my students’ final reflections. Actually, it was one student evaluation in particular that just broke my heart and made me question my value as a teacher. I will never know why that student considered my class such a negative experience and I am still trying to come to terms with that feedback. Here is my attempt to do so.