Blog Archives

Stop-Motion Virtual Tour

 

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!

 

Go Pro

Image Credit: Pixabay

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.

 

The Power of Connection

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.

 

Yearbook

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:

  1. Download the Aurasma app
  2. Follow the “Greenwood Elementary” channel
  3. 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.

Digital Time Capsule (video)

Birthday

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!

Within Reach

Sparkler

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!

Within Reach

Image Credits:

1.) “Sparkler” photo from Pixabay (Creative Commons)

2.) “Kindergarten Collaboration & Digital Curation” photo from Greenwood Elementary

Are You the next MakerStar?!

Students showcase their Sphero Mobile MakerSpace cart.

Students showcase their Sphero Mobile MakerSpace.

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:

Rules:

  • 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!

Maker Cart

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.

Background Information

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!

Pedagogy First (video)

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.

Students connect with a Greenwood graduate and current 3D printing professional.

Students connect with a Greenwood graduate and current 3D printing professional.

PersonalizedPD Cohorts

PD pic

Personalized PD Cohorts Fall 2015

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

Profiles of Character

Be sure to watch the six videos below featuring Wayzata student-athletes.

Be sure to watch the six videos below featuring Wayzata student-athletes.

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

Student-Athlete: Cooper

Sport: Lacrosse

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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Cooper compare communication to trustworthiness?
  2. Why do you think Cooper says, “Trustworthiness is an important factor in a successful team?”
  3. How is your class or school like Cooper’s lacrosse team?
  4. How can you show trustworthiness at the Fun Run?

We will show the video above to students on September 16, 2015

Student-Athlete: Eliq

Sport: Basketball

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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What example did Eliq use for showing respect when a coach or teacher is speaking?
  2. How can you show respect for yourself?
  3. What are some ways you can be a respectful spectator or fan?

We will show the video above to students on September 18, 2015

Student-Athlete: Emily

Sport: Dance

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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Emily show responsibility to her dance team?
  2. Why is asking for help if you need it showing responsibility?
  3. 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

Student-Athlete: Andrew

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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Andrew show fairness when a referee or teammate makes a mistake?
  2. Andrew mentions being on a team with younger classmates.  What does Andrew mean when he encourages us to, “Teach them up?”
  3. 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

Student-Athlete: Hannah

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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Hannah know her team cares about her?
  2. Who does Hannah encourage us to show caring towards?
  3. What will you do to show caring?

We will show the video above to students on September 25, 2015

Student-Athlete: Mara

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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to be an ambassador of our school?
  2. Why is following laws and rules important in diving?  Why is it important in school?
  3. What do you think Mara means when she says, “Respect authority”?

Student Character Pledge*

RESPECT

RESPONSIBILITY

and CITIZENSHIP too.

They bring out the best in me and you.

TRUSTWORTHINESS

and being FAIR

Help to show others that I really

CARE.

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!

Flipped Open House

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.

Click Pic for Open House Video

Click Pic for Video

Directions:

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!

Additional Resources:

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.

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