What a week it has been! This campus hit the ground running on Monday and never really slowed down. Here is a snippet of what went on at EE this week. Click on an image to enlarge it for easier reading.
Dash Robots were added to STEAM materials on each campus right after the holidays so at our first Faculty meeting of the year, we demoed them to staff. It was not a highly successful demo, but we did learn something important and that is that too many robots in one room make for a good deal of chaos and lots of non-functioning robots. However, we did generate some excitement amongst the staff about the robots and their usage is slowly, but surely spreading across the campus.
Some things to remember:
1. Each student will need to download the Wonder App in order to interact with the Robot.
2. There are some great resources on the Dash and Dot website: https://teachers.makewonder.com/lessons
See below for some tips on getting started with the Robots.
Here is a short video that also walks you through these steps.
STEAM Day was once again a fabulous experience thanks to Kelly VanMeter, our amazing presenters and all of our wonderful parent volunteers. I took as many photos as I could in any spare moment that I had, and I still missed so many good sessions. Here is a brief round up of the day.
Tracey Aycock was responsible for creating one of the most well thought out STEAM lessons that I have ever seen. She incorporated all of the 4 C's (Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Communication) in this multi-faceted lesson.
1. The lesson began with the students listening to classical music and mapping out what each piece of music consisted of and that conversation led to discussions about Intros and Codas (endings).
2. The assignment was to compose with your classmates a piece with 16 beats.
3. The piece would be based on poetry from the book, Scarum Fair which Tracey shared with them.
4. They spent time discussing their noticings about each poem, focusing on the sounds that they picked up on in each.
5. Next, each team signed up for a job. Some groups looked for concrete sounds that mirrored the sounds in the poems. Some created sounds in GarageBand on their iPads. All sounds were sent via email to Tracey and she combined them into one master file and then the class edited it together.
7. The next step in the process was for Tracey to introduce the Soundplant software. According to their website, Soundplant "...turns your computer keyboard into a versatile, low latency sound trigger and playable instrument. Via drag-and-drop, easily assign sound files of any format and length onto 72 keyboard keys, creating custom soundboards that put hours of instantly-playing audio at your fingertips with no extra hardware needed." Tracey imported each classes' GarageBand file into Soundplant.
9.Makey Makey works through opening and closing circuits, just like any other button. In our case, the circuit was connected with alligator clips attached to either end of the Carnival Booths. The circuit was closed when the students held hands in a circle around the Carnival Booths with the person at the end using the alligator clip to close the circle. Once the circuit was closed the music that the class had created played.
Thank you, Tracey, for your all that you do to bring music alive for our students!
Kelly VanMeter, the Eanes Elementary Instructional Partner, had the idea that at the end of our STEAM Presentation to the staff last week, all staff would put their names in the proverbial hat for a drawing. We would draw 3 names and then she and I would go into the classrooms of the lucky winners on Halloween Day and lead a Halloween Design Challenge.
The 3 lucky winners were Mrs. Leija, Mrs. Bennis and Mrs. Smith's Second Grade Class which is being led in her absence by Mrs. Byrd and Mrs. Sanders.
Kelly found a great resource for STEAM Challenge ideas on Kerry Tracy's You Tube Channel. Kerry also has a a blog that is filled with ideas and many resources on Teachers Pay Teachers. Click on the button below to go to her blog.
The challenge was to build a bridge that would hold as many Trick or Treaters (Teddy Bear Counters) as possible. Each group was given a design sheet and a paper bag containing Q-tips, a coffee filter, and some tongue depressors. In addition, they could use as much masking tape as they needed.
Their first task was to design their bridge and once they had a design that all of the team members agreed upon, the team began building.
The final step was to test their design, make improvements to it and then test it again. One thing that Kelly and I noticed was a real growth in student collaboration and ability to understand the Design Process and implement it smoothly. For the last 2 years, Kelly has included a Design Challenge in grade level STEAM Day rotations and that experience has paid off in the future engineers that we worked with last Monday. Here is a brief video of our experience.
For a while now, the IP's and Ed Techs have talked about having an organized, district wide system of training for our new teachers and last Thursday's First New Teacher Institute was a big step in that direction.
We worked with K-2 teachers and their SPED counter parts in the morning and with 3-5 teachers and their SPED counterparts in the afternoon. Kelly VanMeter and I were in charge of organizing this first one and the remaining trainings will be divided amongst the remaining IP/EdTech teams. In addition to the fact that this training was much needed in this district, it was also one of the best opportunities for ALL of the Ed Techs and IP's to collaborate that I have seen in the 9 years that I have worked in this capacity. It was powerful because of the collaborative piece.
Since I only seem to "speak Paper 53" these days, this blog post was once again done in that app. :)
I was lucky enough to sub for one of the EE teachers who was scheduled to be at the Nicki Newton training last week, but couldn't make it at the last moment. I had heard about Nicki from so many people, so I jumped at the chance to participate. She did not disappoint. I loved getting an in depth look at not only the research that supports the use of Guided Math, but the foundations for setting this up in your own classroom. From an Ed Tech point of view, I was impressed with her stance on the importance of providing meaningful technology integration into your Guided Math program.
Here are my Sketchnotes from the session complete with QR Codes to some of her resources.
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