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.

Can MakerSpaces Invent the Future? (Video)

YouTube SpheroExoIt is incredible what kids can do when we believe in them, coach them, and get out of their way! Our students recently participated in a robotics competition that was invented from the ground up by staff and students.  We designed and printed 3D “exoskeletons” that fit over our Sphero robotic droids…and SpheroExo was born.  The rest is history.

Check out the 5 minute video below and prepare to be amazed at what kids can do.

http://tinyurl.com/SpheroExo

We are so proud of our students and all they are creating, engineering, and achieving.  Watch for our students next week as they present SpheroExo to teachers at EdCamp Eau Claire!  Students will be sharing their design process and how they’re inventing the future at #EdCampEC.

I’m not sure that MakerSpaces can actually invent the future, but I’m very confident that cutting-edge tools and a culture conducive to innovation helps.  A relevant and connected pedagogy empowers all kids to create, connect, and dream bigger.

 

We Are Greenwood (video)

Our 4th grade podcast crew collaborated on a video project that depicts a year’s worth of learning in just four minutes!  Students brainstormed words that described their work and goals for learning.  The kids were amazing, and their video speaks volumes about who they are and what they can become. 

I’m really inspired by our students, and LOVE the fact that our teachers are so committed to teaching the “whole child” through the arts, character education, and so much more. Click HERE to view their video and to see what our artists, mathematicians, readers, writers, and engineers have been up to the past year or so.

Words in Action

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Our school district is celebrating National Volunteer Week in a big way!  Wayzata Public Schools created a series of Facebook posts highlighting volunteers across the district.

At Greenwood Elementary we couldn’t select just one volunteer to honor, so we invited all our amazing volunteers to be part of a school picture.  It was really fun to see how many people were able to stop by school on short notice for the photograph.  The inspiring volunteers in the picture actually represent the hundreds and hundreds of parents that make a difference in our school.

We asked some of our volunteers to share what volunteering means to them.  A few of the quotes brought tears to my eyes because I see the words in action every day at our school.

 

“I’m thankful for the many volunteer opportunities at Greenwood, both in the classroom and behind the scenes with PTA.  Volunteering is a fun way to stay connected to our school community and I think the time we give really makes a difference for the children at Greenwood.”

~Becky P.

“I so enjoy being a volunteer at Greenwood. As a former teacher, I am always happy to be back in a school setting and as a parent I am happy to help at school events as I know they are making the students’ experience better. I am always amazed at the wonderful support of parents and faculty and feel that Greenwood is truly a very special elementary school.”

~Deb B.

“Greenwood Elementary has become a second home to me. Serving in the PTA as a volunteer, Vice President and now as President has become very rewarding. I love having an impact on the education my children receive and the many other children at the school now and in coming years.  I realized that if I wanted to know what was going on I needed to get involved. A bit reluctant at first, but now I understand what volunteering means. We have the power to change lives in small and big ways. It’s truly amazing! I feel good about everything we do to help support our teachers and staff in making a better place for our children to be educated.”

~Jennifer V.

“If there is any small thing that I can do that can help make a young person enthusiastic about reading, interested in school, or excited about learning; how can I avoid staying involved?”

~James P.

“I’m a strong believer in the team approach of parents, teachers and staff working together for the educational success of our Greenwood students.   Volunteering is my way of giving back with the added benefit of showing my kids I care about their school and value their education.   I truly enjoy working with other parents, students and staff, whether in the classroom, serving on PTA committees or participating in school events. It’s great to be part of the Greenwood community!”

~Tracy B.

“I’m very blessed in my life and volunteer in a variety of ways as a means to give back to the community.  Volunteers at school allow kids to be able to participate in a whole host of activities that might not otherwise be available to them.”

~Linda G.

“Through volunteering at my children’s school I have gotten to know the wonderful staff and some terrific moms too! It’s very satisfying providing students and teachers with the positive parental interaction and support.  I like being part of the message to the larger community that Wayzata parents really do care and want the very best for our kids.  And working to organize and run the fundraising events is just plain fun while helping our schools cover costs of activities and supplies.  And, I hope it is setting a good example for my children.”

~Pam C.

“I love to volunteer at Greenwood because I truly believe the saying is true that it takes a village to raise a child.  School is more than just the place where academics are learned.  I like helping to be a part of a community where kids are given unique opportunities where they can grow and thrive as individuals.”

~Erin B.

“Volunteering at Greenwood is a great way to show our kids how much we value their education and that we consider school a worthwhile cause.”

~Michael H.

“I like to volunteer because it gives me the opportunity to share my talents, skills and experiences. I hope I can impact student lives in a positive way and invest in their future.  I believe it is very important for my children to see that I am giving of my time, so when they have the opportunity to volunteer, they will see the importance of volunteering and the cycle will continue!”

~Kari P.

“What I love the most about volunteering at Greenwood is the connection I make with the teachers and staff, the students and other parents. I love knowing that my contribution directly impacts the experience my children and others have at school.”

~Amy A.

I Love to Read SMACKDOWN!

Image Credit: vortexeffect.net

Image Credit: vortexeffect.net

There has been a lot of buzz about the ConnectED BINGO game that started this month.  In fact, we’re so pumped to be reading and connecting that we are issuing a Reading Smackdown for educators. That’s right…and it’s all for the love of literacy!!

I was recently chatting with a few of my principal friends from around the country on Twitter and Voxer.  We challenged each other to a Reading Smackdown…..are YOU up for the challenge?!? Participating is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Create a short video clip of your favorite line from a book and post it to Vine.  Be creative and be sure to add the hashtag #StuConnect to your post. We can’t wait to see how educators walk the walk during “I Love to Read” month.  Special thanks to Chris Lehman for contributing this mini-challenge to the BINGO board.
  2. Join the fun, and print your BINGO board by clicking the link below. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxQP80CJnm8EelZzSUt5bS12Sk0/view?usp=sharing
  3. Tag at least three more educators via Twitter or in a blog post and challenge them to join the #ReadingSmackDown too. Don’t forget to use the #StuConnect hashtag when posting your video on Vine.

I’m tagging my friends Tony Sinanis, John Fritzky, Amy Fadeji, Theresa Stager, Spike Cook, Adam Welcome & Mark French.  Good luck!

What is Innovation?

Innovation can look like many things…but you probably never thought it could be students creating a mini-golf course featuring robotic droids instead of golf balls!  Greenwood’s 1st through 5th graders have been busy collaborating on a variety of challenges with the support of a terrific tandem of Technology teachers.  The tool of choice is Sphero robots!

Check out the short video below for highlights of their innovation in action!

We believe that if the appropriate support and cutting-edge tools, our students can do more than we ever thought possible.  That’s why we’re committed to innovation and cultivating 21st century skills like collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

We’ll be adding our 31 Sphero robots to our fleet of Mobile MakerSpace carts in the coming days.  Teachers will be able to check out the robots and other MakerSpace carts to support student learning and creativity throughout our school.

A huge thanks to Adam Hinnenkamp and Kate Asmus for helping students to learn the basics of blue-tooth syncing, coding, and more.

I’ll Never Forget

Our teachers have been doing some truly ground-breaking work. The level of innovation and passion in our school is palpable.  We have classrooms participating in Genius Hour, coding, connecting with other schools, 3D printing, green-screen video production, flipped instruction, team teaching, augmented reality, and re-imagining learning spaces. I thought that I had grown accustomed to the general level of “awesomeness” in our school…but I’ll never forget what happened last week.

This past week Mrs. Kirchner’s 4th graders had the chance to take one of our “Mobile MakerSpace” carts for a test spin. The cart was loaded with Circuit-Scribe kits that enabled students to draw their own working circuits.  As you can see from the short video clip below…student engagement was off the charts!

The most inspiring part of the lesson was the process that Mrs. Kirchner used to introduce the new technology to students. Students were assigned partners and given time to experiment, collaborate, and fail. That’s right…FAIL.

They talked about why their circuits were not working, compared notes, wrestled with frustration and tried again. It was beautiful. When the guided inquiry time was over every single group had successfully created their own working circuit from scratch. Students drew the conductive lines themselves and created unique battery configurations to power their projects.

I was fortunate to be a part of the experience and it was absolutely amazing. I’m talking jaw-dropping amazing.  It’s one thing to be issued a science kit full of wires and directions. It’s another to see a group of kids wrestle with failure and overcome it using skills like collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.

I will never forget the power of failure in the learning process!

It Meant A lot

Vet Salute

This week our school honored America’s Veterans and it meant a lot. It meant a lot to hear 863 kids singing songs from the heart in unison. The depth of their sincerity echoed throughout the gym and reverberated in the hearts of all in attendance.

It meant a lot when several Veterans approached me after the program (many with quivering lips) to express their humble and heartfelt thanks. It meant a lot because the program was all about them and it was the least we could do. It meant a lot to gather with Greenwood parents and staff who are currently serving.

Vet family

It meant a lot to know that our head custodian was at Fort Snelling National Cemetery taking part in services honoring friends and Veterans that he served alongside. It meant a lot to see our students personally thanking him for his service the very next day when he was back at school.

We were able to share the program with several families remotely using a live-stream feed. It meant a lot that our school community could continue the conversations from their workplaces and dinner tables even though they could not be physically present. It meant a lot that one of our staff members was also able to catch a short video clip of our students singing together; an impactful experience I will never forget.

It meant a lot to see all of our boy scouts and girl scouts in uniform and ready to serve as called upon. It meant a lot to see the dedicated employees we have on staff that are currently serving in attendance and sharing a message of character and integrity with our student body.

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It meant a lot to see our music teachers invest many hours into the planning of the program. It meant a lot to hear that in the weeks of preparation leading up to the program, many classrooms would quietly sing patriotic songs while working on art projects and other seat work (during math class, art, and more). Our kids and staff really are an inspiration.

The spirit of gratitude that permeated our school yesterday meant a lot. We will not forget the valor or sacrifice of our Veterans.

Sharing Your Story in 3D

ThatsMYcube

Click the flyer to participate!

The past several weeks I have been collaborating with an inspiring group of educators from around the country. Our goal is to connect students to one another using art, storytelling, and 3D printers!

We’re inviting students, teachers, and schools everywhere to create a unique cube on their 3D printers. We’ll combine all the cubes we receive into a large, shared work-of-art that represents the heart, soul, creativity, and stories from every person that contributes.

Getting started is easy and we’re developing tools and tutorials so even the most novice 3D printers (like myself) can connect their students to this collaborative global project. Feel free to embellish your 3D printed cube so it represents you…or your classroom. You could even add a QR code linking to a short video about your school.

We’re hoping that the connections that are forged from this project lead to mind-blowing creativity and “possibility thinking” in our students. Be sure to click on the flyer above to learn more. Also, don’t forget to follow the hashtag #ThatsMyCube on Twitter to see how the shared art piece grows over time.

We’re really excited for our students to connect, learn, and share in an innovative manner. Don’t miss this opportunity to share your story with us in 3D!

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