Monthly Archives: January 2016
Kindergarten Engineers (Video)
Recently, one of our kindergarten classes worked on a standards-based engineering challenge, and the results were incredible. The truth of the matter is this type of “incredible” is something I see on a daily basis in classrooms across our school. Sometimes I’m able to take a few pictures (or video) and other times I simply stand in awe of the passion and skill our teachers possess. I am amazed at how our team cultivates skills that help students thrive today and excel tomorrow.
When all is said and done, the transmission of graphite to paper provides important practice and achievement data. However, it’s the transmission of curiosity that transcends time. Learning how to learn, overcoming failure, and working together to create something more beautiful than any of us could create alone is where the magic is. When digital age skills and a relevant pedagogy are part of the achievement process kids win.
This three minute VIDEO highlights the process we used for a lesson with Edison robots. Getting a glimpse of the conversation and steps our kindergarten students followed is pretty special. I also think that sharing some of the activities that our teachers are facilitating is good for all kids. When educators share their insights a global ecosystem of learners benefits from the ensuing conversations. Shining the light on best practices, innovation, and the work our dedicated teachers are doing helps us all understand how we might serve students in a more relevant and relational manner. It’s not about the robots!
Edison robots are the tool featured in this video, but they are not the reason this learning experience was incredible. The mindset and approach that Mrs. Amy Westman used made this learning transformational for kids. (A connected teacher with a growth-mindset is more important than any robotic device.) Amy and her colleagues demonstrate this on a daily basis. I’d suggest following @MrsAmyWestman on Twitter. She’s one of seven phenomenal kindergarten teachers in our school, and she shares some great learning highlights throughout the week.
Standards and Mobile MakerSpaces:
Lastly, one of the kindergarten standards that guided the lesson was 0.8.1.1 1. “Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.” We used one of our Mobile MakerSpace carts to bring this challenge to students, and to breathe relevance into the standards.
If you had ten minutes to talk about anything you wanted to what would it be? What if you could join a conversation that educators halfway across the country were having about the very same topic?
I’m co-hosting a new show on the BAM Radio Network called, unearthED. The show premiered in iTunes this week and was listed on the “new and noteworthy” list. We’ll be following the energy behind different conversations that teachers and school leaders are having on social media, and then taking them deeper.
We think students deserve a new narrative because many of the conversations on Twitter are too important to skim over. My good friend and co-host, Ben Gilpin, and I are committed to delving further into the issues that every educator confronts. The show is less about answers and more about questions, vulnerability, and authenticity.
Our show is part of the BAM Radio Network’s TweetED Channel covering the best Twitter education chats of the week. We hope you’ll listen and subscribe, but most of all we hope you will join us in moving beyond the echo chamber. We think kids will benefit when we continue these conversations together.
You can subscribe to “unearthED” by clicking HERE or copying the link below into your browser.
Classroom Twitter Chat #StuConnect
Join classrooms across the country as we celebrate the books we love on Friday, January 15, 2016 at 9:30am CST. Be sure to add the #StuConnect hashtag to your classroom tweets when responding to the questions below.
Q1 What book are you reading independently right now? What book is your teacher reading aloud to you? Which would you recommend?!
Q2 If you could meet a favorite character from a book, who would you choose?
Q3 What’s on your classroom’s Top 10 “Must Read” list?
Q4 If you could create a new book award what would you name it? What book would you nominate and why?
The entire twitter chat will only last 15-30 minutes. Feel free to join us for one question or stick around for the entire chat. All grade-levels are welcome to participate.
We will share out a new question every five minutes or so. Classrooms can respond to specific questions by starting their Tweets with the letter “A” (stands for Answer) and adding the hashtag #StuConnect to the very end of each Tweet.
Feel free to prepare pictures and video ahead of time. For example, if your students would rather design a new book award drawing to respond to question four they are more than welcome to. Creativity is appreciated, but a love of literacy and cultivating digital leadership skills are the ultimate goals!
Special thanks to my friends and #StuConnect co-moderators John Fritzky (NJ) and Tony Sinanis (NY). We’ll also be joined by a Greenwood student serving as honorary co-moderator and “Principal for the Day!” We hope you can join us for the live Twitter chat at 9:30am CST on Friday, January 15th.