Wednesday, October 26, 2016

3D printer - FlashForge Finder

I recently was lucky enough to have a 3D printer, the FlashForge Finder, through Donor's Choose at the beginning of the school year. Honestly, I didn't have a clue what I was getting myself into with 3D printing. I knew I wanted to give students an opportunity to design, create, and share using a 3D printer because I had seen the amazing objects being shared on Twitter. Also, we had a 5th grade teacher move onto another school this year who had been using a 3D printer for a few years. I felt obligated to carry on the tradition for this year's 5th graders.

FlashForge Finder

Of course, I thought it would easily just plug in and start printing. I was wrong. It was a little difficult getting the printing table aligned and balanced. Make sure to follow the directions completely when leveling it. Also, I had trouble with the PLA plastic not sticking to the printing table after the first couple of prints. I ordered BuildTak adhesive and it took care of the problem.

Here are a few websites/articles to help you get started using any 3D printer. I wish I had read these before I started printing:
Here's an example of some of the amazing objects my 5th graders have designed using TinkerCAD:
Nameplates, Lounge Chair/Swimming Pool, 6-sided Die

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I recently watched the TED Talk from Emilie Wapnick on why certain people have a hard time deciding on they're true calling.

I know some of us are/were truly dumbfounded when an asked what we wanted to be when we grow up. After teaching for 10 years, I still feel as though I don't know what I want to do when I grow up or don't have a true calling. Emilie calls this "multipotentialities." It points to the fact that many people have numerous interests or passions. Many of us find it difficult to pinpoint exactly one passion to follow over the other.

We should introduce our students to perspectives like Emilie's. It's more important to be passionate and deeply involved in numerous activities or interests than be void of passion at all. What's your take on Emilie's "multipotentialities?"

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Innovator's Mindset Week 5 Reflection

After finishing the Innovator's Mindset and watching this week's Youtube discussion, the following
questions caused me to reflect on my own practice and school culture:

1) Do I know and build upon the strengths of those I serve?

Honestly, I could do a much better job of highlighting my students' strengths or interests. I do offer lots of voice and choice in my classroom, but I could do more to push students in the areas where they excel. I'm reminded of a chapter from John Spencer and A.J. Juliani's book, Launch, where they discuss how to have students own their genius and how we, as teachers, should celebrate their geniuses.

2) Are we embracing new (and better) opportunities for learning, and making decisions based on supporting these new realities?

I do this often in my classroom and practice. I create lessons (mainly project-based learning or inquiry-based projects) with the idea that they're going to create something new, share it, and connect with others during the process. Many times the technology (computers) are not the focal point rather it's the learning accelerator, allowing them to share and connect.

3) How do we share openly and regularly to further our own learning and development?

I use this blog to reflect and share with the world about what happens in my classroom and resources I've been using. I would like to do more reflecting on a daily basis. I don't think may of my colleagues, but I think it would be powerful for students and teachers to reflect on their day, every day, using the blogging platform. It would be fun to have a podcast for students and teachers to share their learning as well.

4) Do our professional learning opportunities mirror the learning we want to create for our students?

For the most part, the professional learning opportunities provided by my district have limited choice or voice. I often leave feeling like the PD was a waste of my time. It's getting better as more leaders are realizing the importance of meeting the needs of teachers. I try to give my students voice and choice in what they learn, and when I have to deliver PD, I keep this in mind.

Innovator's Mindset -- Week 5

If you weren't able to view the live Youtube feed for the Innovator's Mindset with sepcial guest, Brad Gustafson, here's a link to yesterday's Youtube feed.

Also, the assignments to complete are:
  1. Read Part 4 of the book (pages 205-231)
  2. Do some type of media reflection on what resonates and share to the #IMMOOC hashtag.  I want to to leave this more open this week.  Do something that is a little bit tough.
  3. Comment on 3 other participant blog posts.
  4. Blog/Podcast/Video/Your Choice based on your thoughts

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Innovator's Mindset Week 4 Reflection

After reading Part 2 of the Innovator's Mindset and watching the Youtube discussion, the following ideas caused me to reflect on how we use technology in our classrooms to support learners and how that could be applied to staff as well:

1) "Technology should personalize, not standardize."

2) Students should create, share, and connect using technology.

3) Staff should create, share, and connect using technology.

All three ideas reminded me of the SAMR model for using technology. The model stands for the following:

Substitution - just replaces what can be done with pencil and paper
Augmentation - effective tool for common tasks
Modification - using technology to create things that wouldn't be possible without that technology
Redefinition - using technology for new tasks that we're inconceivable before technology -- Innovation

How do we give students opportunities to redefine their own learning using technology? How do give them a chance to create, share, and connect with other learners?

The same questions could be posed for educators. How are we given a chance to create, share and connect?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Innovator's Mindset Week 3 Reflection

After reading Part 2 of the Innovator's Mindset and watching the Youtube discussion, the following passage caused me to reflect on how I structure my classroom and lessons:

8 Things to Look for in Today's Classroom

1) Voice -- Do students have a say in what they're learning? 

     Possibilities: surveying students; making changes to curriculum/content/goals based on student feedback -- How else can we include student voice in our classrooms?

2) Choice -- How do students have a choice in what they learn?

     Possibilities: Genius Hour; Choice Boards; Build challenges -- How are students able to choose what they learn in your classroom?

3) Reflection -- How often do students reflect on their work?

     Students need time to think about their learning. Many times, we give a grade and their learning stops. They need time to think about what went well, what didn't, and what can change.

4) Innovation -- How often to students have time to create something new and better?

      Possibilities: Cardboard Challenges; Passion Projects; STEAM projects

5) Critical Thinkers -- How often do students develop and ask their own questions?

     Possibilities: "I Wonder" days -- students develop questions and research them 

6) Problem Solvers -- How often are students solving/finding real world problems?

    Possibilities: students can find an issue with the school and create a solution -- What are other ways we can empower students?

7) Self-Assessment -- How often do students assess their work?

     Possibilities: students can use a kid-friendly rubric to check their work and to provide feedback to a partner. Students can then make changes based on feedback from the rubric and their peers.

8) Connected Learning -- How often do students connect with experts?

     Possibilities: Virtual Fieldtrips; Connecting with experts via Skype, Google Hangouts, or Social Media