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Greenwood Elementary School is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, so we are planning a birthday bash! In addition to making some more memories at a community cookout (with a DJ playing favorites from the 1960’s as well as today’s hit songs) we wanted to share some of our favorite memories.
Click HERE for our “Digital Time Capsule.” The time capsule is our attempt to honor the past while connecting our school’s rich history to students in a meaningful manner. The 11 minute video will tug at your heart strings, but it will also leave you smiling. Thank you to all the dedicated professionals, families, and volunteers who have invested so much into our students’ lives. Your legacy will always live on.
Our Digital Time Capsule video (above) features the voices of many incredible educators (past and present), but we thought you might like to see more of what our students are currently learning. Check out the four minute video below. I’m excited to see what our students will accomplish the next 50 years!
Most people are willing to concede the world is changing for the better. Education is changing. I tend to agree and I also think our students would benefit from some additional urgency and intentionality on our part.
We have opportunities to connect and learn from others that were unfathomable a decade ago. We simply need to accelerate the merger between how ‘school’ has always been done and what it needs to be for our kids.
The evolution of technology has unleashed new levels of learning, creativity, content-creation, and sharing. However, pedagogy has not been as nimble. We have barely begun to scratch the surface of how ‘traditional best-practice’ should co-mingle with the digitally connected age. We need these two worlds to collide.
This week I attended an EdCamp Leadership Conference in Chicago where I co-facilitated a session that delved into this very topic. As part of the session we integrated some quadcopters and robotics, but the primary focus was on learning and connectivity.
The energy and sense of wonderment in the session were palpable. This had me reflecting on the degree to which we are giving traditional best-practice a ‘free pass.’ Are we more prone to question and criticize new ideas, technology, and innovations than we are to examine the status quo? Sometimes it feels as if past-practice has been placed in a protected vacuum chamber that absolves it from any scrutiny whatsoever.
What if we were able to realize a breakthrough and find a way to merge the digitally connected age with best-practice? What if we created a culture of innovation and risk-taking that made it OK to question things we’ve always done in schools?
Analyzing every inefficiency.
Advocating for students before we thought about maintaining the predictable practices we’ve come to accept as the only way.
How far could we go?
How deep would the learning and relevance be?
What’s the best thing that could happen?
Are you with me?!
Our 5th graders recently completed a project using educational drones. The learning experience integrated technology, creative writing, critical thinking, and mathematics (among other important skills). Students worked with one of our technology teachers, Mr. Adam Hinnenkamp, to create original drone challenge courses. You can read about the #EduDroneChallenge project and how your students can participate HERE.
The video below features one group’s project. Kids created an original theme (Medusa’s Lair) and integrated learning targets into their challenge. I’m so proud of our students and continue to be inspired by the collaborative learning experiences our teachers are providing. Sometimes students are so immersed in their work that they express genuine disappointment when they have to go home or outside for recess. They don’t want to stop what they’re working on in school. You gotta love it!
*Note: If you’re receiving this blog post via e-mail you need to go to https://adjustingcourse.wordpress.com/ to view the 1 minute YouTube video posted above. The video documents the drone challenge our students created.
Background Information: We believe that the most important voices in a school are those of its students; they are central to our mission. The purpose for highlighting pedagogy via video is to amplify student voice when we are together in person. We want the walls of the Wayzata City Hall to reverberate with authentic student sharing and stories about their learning experiences at Greenwood Elementary.
Providing content prior to a lesson or presentation is often referred to as “flipped” instruction. We’re applying the same basic principles to maximize our face-to-face time and to facilitate deeper conversation at the School Board meeting. Please watch our five minute video before April 13.
Focus: Meaningful Technology Integration
- I can identify at least two approaches teachers are using to help students discover their unique talents.
- I can evaluate how students are experiencing a “connected pedagogy” by articulating how technology is being used to transform learning in order to prepare students for their future.
School Board Presentation Agenda
Students will share two-three minute presentations with the support of their teachers. A copy of the PowerPoint we’ll be using is below.
- Sphero Robotic Droids featuring students taught by Carrie Lunetta & Joe McAuliff
- Mobile MakerSpace Carts featuring students taught by Ginny Adams
- Genius Hour featuring students taught by Joe Vrudny & Elle Zeman
- 3D Printing featuring students taught by Adam Hinnenkamp
- Drone Technology featuring students taught by Madeline Ray & Brad Gustafson
- EPIC Reading featuring students taught by Ashley Drill & Jamie Tewksbury
- Question & Answer Time facilitated by Greenwood students and staff
- Click HERE to view a “Flipped Leadership” book by Peter M. DeWitt.
- Hashtags on Twitter to Explore include: #ThatsMyCube, #GWgreats, and #EduDroneChallenge.
- Watch an astounding TED Talk about the athletic powers of quadcopters.
- Video Resources specific to Greenwood include: Mobile MakerSpaces, Genius Hour, ConnectED BINGO, and Sphero Droids.
You might be surprised to learn that your school can purchase a drone for less than $50 dollars! If you’re interested in connecting with other schools that are cultivating critical thinking and creativity using these cutting-edge “quadcopters” this is the blog post for you! Welcome to the “EduDrone Challenge!”
Here’s how it works: Teams of students create a Challenge Course for their drone to maneuver through. Each Challenge Course should feature 4-8 mini-challenges for drones to navigate. Students need to create detailed plans that are drawn to scale, and use precise mathematical terms so that schools across the country can replicate the same Challenge Course design. (Please read the academic standards information below for explicit learning objectives.)
After a team of students has created their Challenge Course plans, they should select a creative theme and write a narrative that describes the Challenge Course in imaginative terms. For example, students that incorporate a hula-hoop as one mini-challenge could describe the hoop as “a black hole that the Drone must jettison through in a distant galaxy.” (Please read the Common Core writing standards below for explicit learning objectives.)
- Brainstorm objects for your Challenge Course (i.e. cones, hula-hoops, etc.).
- Develop a detailed plan using graph paper or drawing paper. Click HERE to see a sample plan.
- Be sure to include measurements and the appropriate mathematical terms.
- Select a creative theme and write a narrative describing your team’s Challenge Course.
- Practice navigating your Challenge Course and make adjustments to your detailed plan or narrative as needed.
- Share your classroom or team’s detailed plan and written narrative with other schools. Use the #EduDroneChallenge hashtag on Twitter.
- Try to recreate Challenge Courses from other schools using the detailed plans they create and share.
We will be posting plans and video that our students create in the coming weeks and look forward to connecting with other schools.
Academic Standards Information:
- I can understand fractions in real-world situations by creating a detailed plan for a drone Challenge Course using fractions/percentages, and successfully building the Challenge Course. (Math: Number/Operation 220.127.116.11)
- I can draw a representation of a three dimensional figure, and create an authentic drone Challenge Course that utilizes the same measurements and points represented by my drawing. Each mini-challenge in my Challenge Course represents one vertex or point in the 3D object. (Math: Geometry & Measurement 18.104.22.168)
- I can write a narrative to develop a real or imagined experience using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. (Writing: Common Core College & Career Readiness Anchor Standard for Writing)
- I can use technology resources for problem solving, self-directed learning, and extended learning activities. (ISTE Nets & WPS Technology Standards 5, 6)
- I can reflect on and adapt to the ever-changing nature of technology and understand how and why technology works. (WPS Technology Standards C & D)
Watch this TED Talk to see the science of drones!
Our school started by purchasing a Parrot AR Drone for about $300, but we are also investing in durable mini-drones for much less.
Connect with @GWtechWPS or @GustafsonBrad with questions!