Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving Origami

Turkey origami courtesy of
I'm not sure how this idea manifest: a combination of having students for 2 days and not wanting to begin any substantial topics that will be forgotten after the turkey stuffage, and paper being a topic as I put together my spring materials and write grant requests. Somehow my brain came up with board games (no-tech + logic), coloring (no-tech + art), then origami (low tech + logic + art).

I found a few origami crafts specifically for Thanksgiving that were available on websites. There are many more resources on YouTube, but it's blocked by the district filter. My next project will be figuring out how to transfer videos from YouTube to TeacherTube...out of sheer necessity and frustration!

Update 11.22.2010: most students enjoyed the online coloring sites and didn't try the origami on the first day. This reminds me of the coloring phase I experienced as an adult because it was relaxing. I had forgottnen that coloring was to become part of my classroom management plan :)

For the students who did make some origami, they were also engaged and completed a few projects to take home. Lesson could not have gone better!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday e-Cards...Thanksgiving edition

Will have students in my after school class use Scratch to create e-cards (electronic cards) ala Hallmark e-cards. Thanksgiving edition is practice for a Christmas extravaganza!

Gobble, Gobble (to the tune of Master P "Drop it, Drop it"
Gobble, Gobble
Shake 'n' Bake it
Cooking dumplings / Hushing puppies
Ate it, ate it!

Turkey images
Shake n Bake
Cooking dumplings / hush puppies
Ate it, ate it

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Robotics are the new Computer Science

At the Grace Hopper Conference 2010 I attended a workshop on getting girls in grades 4-12 excited about computing, and 2 of the 4 technologies featured used robotics of some sort.

Scratch & Alice are programming languages, and allow students to make incredible animations (2D and 3D respectively) limited only by their imaginations.There are lots of programming challenges for students to participate in throughout the year to really flex their programming muscles.

Pico Cricket & Pleo Dinosaur kits were passed around for us to program and play fun! During a meeting with my peer computer teachers I also learned about Pico Boards, which are like Pico Cricket connections but powered by Scratch...totally awesome...gotta get a few!!!

Then this article about a robotics lesson plan came in my e-mail and I now know that robotics are the next big thing in student computing. Of course it makes sense: artificial intelligence has remained behind the scenes in computing, we have a number of domestic robots (the vacuumers and floor cleaners, and toys) that make us more comfortable with independently operating machines. So the next wave of computers is to develop programmers who are comfortable and familiar with robotics. This means we technology teachers have to step our game up!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Adding Interactive Lessons

I now have to practice what I preach: I have a severely learning disabled student in my class for whom I CANNOT give text-based lessons. In addition we read an article in our staff meeting about the purpose of homework and types and length of assignments we should give students. All of this coalesced in my looking for interactive lessons on cyber safety.
We increasingly discuss students who grew up in a multimedia, multi-modal world, yet because we teachers grew up in the text age and are comfortable in the text age, we tend to give students...text. The test will be if students retain the internet safety lessons better through an interactive module than with reading through.