This school year, several students worked on a series of creative videos with our technology teacher, Mr. Hinnenkamp. They learned different video production skills and tinkered with stop-motion, drone photography, GoPros, and more.
Their work was part of an after-school club that provided additional time/support for students to take their learning deeper. Click HERE to view one of the videos the kids created. It’s an innovative twist on the classic virtual tour. We hope you enjoy the stop-motion tour of our school.
Be sure to check out our school’s website for more virtual tours…including one of my ALL-TIME favorites….the link is to a classic tour of our Media Center filmed from the perspective of “The Mouse on the Motorcycle!” You can see from the video that the GoPro held up under some rough conditions!
We’d love to hear your ideas for future virtual tours and special effects our students could try out. Please leave a comment or share a link to work your students and staff have created.
This week we welcomed former Greenwood Elementary students back home. Several graduating Seniors walked the hallways they once traversed as K-5 students.
Music played over the P.A. system to celebrate returning Alumni. After the “walk” the Seniors took time to reconnect with former teachers and even shared some inspiring advice with our 5th graders. Seeing the power of “connection” is hard to put into words.
This short (2 minute) video captured a few of the hugs, high-fives, and connections that were made. Click HERE to view the video.
We’ll also be embedding this video into our K-5 students’ yearbooks using augmented reality (AR) technology. To view the video using AR follow these three quick steps:
- Download the Aurasma app
- Follow the “Greenwood Elementary” channel
- Point the Aurasma viewfinder at the cover of the yearbook and watch the magic begin.
In addition to the “Welcome Home” video, we will also include several other fun surprise videos throughout the yearbook that are accessible using augmented reality and the directions above. Enjoy the memories and stay connected!
“Once a Grizzly…Always a Grizzly.”
Image Credits for Video:
Thanks to Adam Hinnenkamp for the drone footage of Seniors as they arrived!
Special thanks to Greenwood Elementary and Wayzata District staff for sharing photos to the #GWgreats Twitter hashtag and shared folder in Google Drive.
Image Credit: Pixabay.com
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!
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.
The teacher-observation process provides me access and insight into classroom learning experiences that very few people have. I’m consistently inspired by the relevant and connected learning I observe. Recently I was in a classroom and I didn’t want the lesson to end. As I was watching the lesson unfold, I knew that what I was experiencing was also within reach of classrooms and schools everywhere.
Here are some of the salient things I observed during the lesson:
- I observed an elementary Language Arts lesson.
- A clear learning target based upon state standards guided the learning process.
- The teacher used one of our Mobile MakerSpace carts to teach students how to create an alternate ending to a text by manipulating various elements of the plot.
- Students constructed models depicting their alternate story endings using Lego building bricks from the MakerSpace cart.
- Students were empowered to collaborate on plans for their alternate story endings and projects.
- Students had opportunities to talk, create, experiment, fail, and redesign.
- The teacher purposefully connected with individual students and small groups to elicit high-level thinking and scaffold as appropriate.
- Formative assessment was seamlessly interwoven through the lesson.
- Students presented their creations to the class near the conclusion of the lesson. This public speaking provided students time to explain their thinking, and the teacher was able to use some metacognition connected to the learning target.
- Students used digital tools to curate their work so it could be referenced in the future and shared with parents.
- As part of this process, students photographed their projects and uploaded them to Google Drive to share their learning with their families.
- Students did not want the lesson to end. (Based on what I was seeing, kids would’ve opted to skip recess if given the opportunity.)
- The teacher ensured that the lesson was led by learning; not tools, technology, or activities.
- This was an authentic learning experience that was scholarly and highly relational.
Did I mention that this was a kindergarten language arts lesson?! That’s right…our youngest learners were empowered to innovate, collaborate, present, and curate their work using digital tools.
At one point one of the kindergarteners yelled out in exuberence, “Teacher…we’re engineering!” and her amazing teacher responded, “Yes…you are designing and building.” Kids were making connections to past conversations about design, building, and engineering.
During our observation post-conference I invited the teacher to share her reflections in a blog post instead of the traditional electronic form required by the district. I knew that we could meet the requirements of the standard district form by copy/pasting reflections from a blog post if the teacher was interested in pursuing this. (Stay tuned for her reflections and first blog post…)
I am convinced that a paradigm shift is underway in education because I see it every day at Greenwood Elementary. A new and connected learning paradigm that puts students in the center of their learning is possible. Deeper learning that’s both relevant and connected is within reach!
1.) “Sparkler” photo from Pixabay (Creative Commons)
2.) “Kindergarten Collaboration & Digital Curation” photo from Greenwood Elementary
Our school is looking for somebody to design the next Mobile MakerSpace cart at Greenwood. We’ll supply the budget and pay for the materials, but we need kids, teachers, and parents to provide the creativity, voice, and ideas! Who knows….your class or students just might be the next #MakerStar! To submit an idea for a new cart follow the rules below:
- Be persuasive…WHY would your idea be great for our students?!
- Stay on budget with supplies ($750 max.)
- Stay succinct (provide a focused plan, drawing, or video)
- Include costs, quantities, and any relevant ordering information
- Your idea must fit inside (or on top of) the cart pictured below. Shelves are removable.
- This design opportunity is open to students, groups of students, classrooms, parents, and educators everywhere.
- Submit your idea to hashtag #MakerStar on Twitter by January 15, 2016.
- We’ll be empowering our students to make the final decision and to announce the winners!
Ready to Take the Design Plunge?!
Are you ready to dive in? If not, click HERE to see an inspiring motivational video by Steve Harvey! His “Jump” video applies to many things in life, but it gets me fired up every time I watch it.
Now that you’re ready to jump, just remember to post design submissions to hashtag #MakerStar on Twitter. Submissions can be in any format (short video, diagram, photo, etc.). If you don’t do Twitter don’t worry! Feel free to contact me and we can arrange a way for the design(s) to be e-mailed. The video below demonstrates how our students and staff are using some of the different carts, so be sure to check it out for possible design ideas.
We currently have a fleet of carts capable of transporting hands-on, collaborative learning tools to virtually every classroom and hallway in our school. Click HERE to see our carts in action. A complete list of all our current carts is below.
Cart 1: Cardboard Construction – Makedo Kits
Cart 2: Circuit Scribe – Conducive Ink and Writable Circuitry
Cart 3: Edison Robots
Cart 4: K’Nex
Cart 5: Knitting – Yarn and Assorted Looms
Cart 6: Legos – Motors, Creative Tubs, Base-plates, and Education Kit
Cart 7: Legos – Simple and Powered Machines, Wheels, and Creative Tubs
Cart 8: Lego Friends Kits
Cart 9: MakerBot 3D Printer – with 14 colors of filament
Cart 10: Makey-Makey Kits and Bee-Bots
Cart 11: Modular Robotics – Cubelets
Cart 12: Sphero – 31 Robot Droids, Turbo Covers, and Accessories
**Special thanks to my summer administrative intern, EmaKate, for collaborating with me on this student design opportunity. We’re excited to see what kids can create!
Our kids are counting on us to lead learning with a relevant and connected pedagogy. The approach we use is critical to students’ long-term success. In order to put kids first we’ve got to change the narrative. We’ve got to prioritize pedagogy…NOT apps or devices.
In order to do this we must begin by asking better questions:
“How might we provide students an authentic audience for their work?”
“In what ways can we tap into Social Media as Learning Media?”
“How can we infuse student voice and innovation into the Common Core State Standards?”
“What is the best thing that could happen if we embrace a more connected approach to teaching and learning?”
“What traditions and educational staples (pun intended) do we need to STOP doing?”
It’s time to get serious about pedagogy. Teaching the YouTube Generation without providing safe and scaffolded opportunities for students to contribute to YouTube is absurd. We’ve got to connect kids to authentic learning experiences that are congruent with the collaborative world they live in. Click HERE to view a three minute video highlighting some of the ways our team is connecting students to their world.
Each year our school plans monthly breakout sessions based on student needs, staff requests, site priorities, assessment data, and district vision. Last year our team expressed an interest in taking the learning and relationships from individual breakout sessions deeper. With the help of some Greenwood teacher-leaders and an amazing administrative intern we developed a cohort model that keeps teachers connected around a single unit of study for three months. We believe that the conversations, reflection, and collaboration that will occur between the sessions is just as valuable as the formal learning time.
The K-2 and 3-5 cohorts were designed to address the different developmental levels of students (primary or intermediate). Sometimes these levels mean staff have unique needs due to differences in curriculum, technology capabilities of primary/intermediate students, and the types of conversations we can have about race/culture with a kindergartner versus a 5th grader.
We are using a ‘Flipped’ approach to professional development so that we can maximize our time when we meet face-to-face. (This basically means that staff will have the opportunity to choose from various articles and videos to review prior to attending a session in person.) The article for September’s session was from ASCD (2015) called, “Approaching Race from the Inside Out,” by Alexandria Neason.
The resources below are for the October and November sessions on Racial Equity and Cultural Proficiency.
Culturally Responsive Teacher Matters Article by Elizabeth Kozleski
6 Reasons to Teach African-American History All Year Round Article by Andrea Thorpe
Color Blind or Color Brave TED Talk by Mellody Hobson
How to Overcome Your Biases TED Talk by Verna Myers
Our school is excited to shine the light on some Wayzata student-athletes who are sharing inspiring messages of positive character.
Our teachers will be sharing one short video every couple days with our elementary students. The dates that each video will be shared are listed below. We also have some optional classroom conversation starters that align with the message that each student-athlete shared. I am also encouraging students to practice the character pledge at the conclusion of this blog post.
We will show the video above to students on September 14, 2015
Character Trait: Trustworthiness
Descriptors: Be honest and reliable. Do what you say you’ll do. Have the courage to do the right thing. Tell the truth. Admit mistakes. Choose integrity.
- How does Cooper compare communication to trustworthiness?
- Why do you think Cooper says, “Trustworthiness is an important factor in a successful team?”
- How is your class or school like Cooper’s lacrosse team?
- How can you show trustworthiness at the Fun Run?
We will show the video above to students on September 16, 2015
Character Trait: Respect
Descriptors: Treat others with respect. Follow the Golden Rule. Use good manners, not bad language. Don’t threaten, hit, or hurt anyone. Stand up for what is right.
- What example did Eliq use for showing respect when a coach or teacher is speaking?
- How can you show respect for yourself?
- What are some ways you can be a respectful spectator or fan?
We will show the video above to students on September 18, 2015
Character Trait: Responsibility
Descriptors: Put forth a good effort. Be accountable for your words and actions. Set a good example for others. Do what you are supposed to do. Plan ahead. Think before you act. Be on time.
- How does Emily show responsibility to her dance team?
- Why is asking for help if you need it showing responsibility?
- What responsibility do we have to our class and team for being positive?
We will show the video above to students on September 21, 2015
Sport: Wrestling & Football
Character Trait: Fairness
Descriptors: Play by the rules. Take turns. Listen to others and be open-minded. Don’t take advantage of others. Treat all people fairly.
- How does Andrew show fairness when a referee or teammate makes a mistake?
- Andrew mentions being on a team with younger classmates. What does Andrew mean when he encourages us to, “Teach them up?”
- What will you do to respond to Andrew’s challenge (e.g. The Fairness Experiment).
We will show the video above to students on September 23, 2015
Sport: Cross Country & Track
Character Trait: Caring
Descriptors: Be kind. Express gratitude by saying, “Thank you.” Take a stand against bullying. Be a good friend and student.
- How does Hannah know her team cares about her?
- Who does Hannah encourage us to show caring towards?
- What will you do to show caring?
We will show the video above to students on September 25, 2015
Sport: Diving & Track and Field
Character Trait: Citizenship
Descriptors: Obey laws and rules. Do your share to make our community better. Cooperate. Stay informed. Be a good friend and neighbor. Respect authority.
- What does it mean to be an ambassador of our school?
- Why is following laws and rules important in diving? Why is it important in school?
- What do you think Mara means when she says, “Respect authority”?
Student Character Pledge*
and CITIZENSHIP too.
They bring out the best in me and you.
and being FAIR
Help to show others that I really
I know what’s right
I know what’s good
I will work hard to do
What I know I should.
*Character Pledge Credit: The Josephson Institute
A special thanks goes to the high school students who donated their time to visit our school to share with us. Thanks for being great role models to our students. Thanks also to our PTA for organizing our Fun Run and connecting it to the character traits we focus on all year long. Having a common language helps us support positive decision-making and celebrate students for making a difference in a unified way!
We are extremely excited for our ‘Open House and Community Connections Night’ on September 3rd. This year we are flipping things around a bit! We are sharing some short videos before Open House so that our families have the chance to learn more about our amazing teachers and the curriculum prior to connecting in person.
1. Watch the short video promo above. (It’s less than two minutes long.)
2. Go to https://goo.gl/4u7pFV and select the grade-level playlist you’d like to watch. Don’t forget to watch the flipped videos created by Specialists and Administration too.
3. Join us at Open House and Community Connections Night on September 3, 2015. PTA booths open at 3:00pm. Classrooms are open between 4:00 – 6:00pm. Community tables, PTA booths, and Social Media Support will be open in the Cafeteria throughout Open House. We can’t wait to connect!
I’m really proud of the extra time our team took to create their curriculum videos. To access each grade-level’s playlist in YouTube click HERE.
To access our ‘Welcome Back’ letter click HERE.
To go to our school’s website with more Open House dates/forms click HERE.
Please let me know if I can help in any way.