Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Versailles trip - très bien

Nearpod's latest feature - Virtual Field Trips

Students have the opportunity to view the world from their finger tips with the help of Nearpod's Virtual Field Trips and hardware from Unofficial Google Cardboard.  If students are learning about Ancient Greece, they simply grab their togas, google cardboard and nearpod app and off to the Acropolis they go.  Time travel never was easier.  "I can reach out and touch it, as if I was there." - the voice of a 3rd grader.  

How do I launch a Virtual Field Trip in my classroom?  It's simple, follow these steps:

1.  Sign up for a free Nearpod Account
2.  Explore the premade Virtual Field Trips from the Library
3.  Add your own field trips by creating a new presentation, choose My Library, New Presentation.
4.  Select Add Slide, Add Content, Virtual Field Trips.  You will need to upgrade to the Gold Membership for $12 a month or go to the upgrade for free in the top right and share the link with 5 friends to receive the gold membership free for 6 months.
5.  Publish the presentation.
6.  View live, enter the pin in the "join session" box on another computer, ipad, smartphone, or tablet.  7.  To view the virtual field trips on the smartphone, click on the mask looking icon on the top right, put phone inside google cardboard.  The cardboard only works on the smartphones. The tablets and ipads can be moved around and up and down to view the field trip.

Virtual Reality is not only taking the education world by storm, but also the "real" world.  New York Times is parterning with Google to produced the documentary, "Displaced", about uprooted children from the war.

To read more about how Megan, a 4th grade teacher in Fulton County integrates Nearpod Virtual Field Trips with her classroom, check out her blog.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


The MakerMovement is an umbrella term for the independent inventors, rethinkers, and tinkers. Important for our students, teaching them to think outside the box.  Use their imagination.  A project without lines.  Creation only limited to imagination.  A future that is bright for our students.  One that is not consuming, but creating.

Lots of STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, ART and Math

Atlanta has it's Maker Faire this weekend.  The kids and I tinkered, explored, and invented.
Made me think about what kind of maker I am.  What kind of maker are you?

UpCycled CD-Rom Turn Headband Spinners

Planets Bracelet - In order

My super talented and very smart daughter followed the directions on the website to create her very own planets bracelet.  So proud of her.  She worked hard with a set of crimps and pliers.  Well done, HP!

Paper Making

The kids learned how to make paper.  They started with a wire mesh tray in water with loose cotton fibers.  The fibers stuck to the wire mesh.  Next station required vacuuming the excess water.  Last station, iron the paper.  Yes, iron for 10 seconds.  Very cool indeed.  And what is even cooler, Atlanta has it's own world renoun paper museum.  The Georgia Tech Museum of Paper Making.  They have several school programs, from Paper Works, Paper in Our World, Paper Travel to Book Arts.  The standards covered are listed on their website.  They even custom tailor programs, simply contact the Education Curator.

Maker Shed Projects

Brush Bots or moving toothbrush heads really were amusing.  Great for a birthday party or after school club.

MiniMaker Faire coming soon to a Barnes and Noble Near You

Hello, My Name is Chip

My son and I are assembling this little guy tomorrow.  It's one of the several MakerShed projects. When we are done, we will take the challenge to create paper chip.

Up to You After School - Middle School Club

Out of this world, AMAZING!  Incredible.  These words seem to do this club injustice.  This is one club you will want to learn more about.

Droves of middle school students attend the Up to You monthly club meeting to learn more about international injustices such as world hunger, poverty, lack of clean water, and human trafficking.  On this particular Tuesday, the afternoon bell rings, middle school students pile into the gregarious, up-beat, go-getter, Ms. C. Wood's classroom. The mastermind behind the club.  They are learning about social injustices, but not in the typical way.  These students learn by doing.  Ms. Wood and her outstanding team sponsors (Mrs. B. Wood, Mrs. Sexton, Mrs. Connally, Mrs. Maulding, and Mr. Harris) have ingeniously designed tasks for students to complete while learning about social injustices.

Today's Topic:  Rice Field Slaves
On my visit, students began by watching a You Tube Video on a bonded servant (born into slavery) in the rice fields.  For 18 hours a day he works separating rice so we can eat it. Yep, that would be the equivalent of two consecutive school days working - in the heat, with no shoes, and little water. Not to mention the verbal and physically abusive conditions.  You could hear a pin drop as students watch, moved by the words of this slave - longing for freedom.  Eager to learn more. We learn best by doing.  Next step?  Complete four tasks to simulate the environment/conditions of slavery.  Students work in teams of 3 or 4.  They have 30 minutes to complete all four tasks.  Incentives?  Oh yes, Ms. Wood knows how to motivate her middle schoolers if their team is first or second to complete the four tasks they receive a penny necklace.  A necklace to serve as a reminder that everyone has value.  The winning teams earns $5 to go towards a gift basket for a teacher of their choice. Learn more about the End It Movement.

Task 1:  Digging for Dinner

As students enter they read information pertaining to the task in relation slavery. In this task, Student separate rice from sand, shells, rocks, and dirt for their dinner.  A huge bin filled with rice and these other particles are placed on a table, using an aluminium foil pie tin with holes, students sift out rice, enough to make a half cup.  A half cup of clean rice that is.  Once complete students eagerly get the task signed off and zoom to the next station.

Task 2:  Money Talks

At this task, students optimize bartering skills.  In order to receive the ingredients to make dough (salt, flour, water) they have to give something (purse, shoe, phone, etc).  Recipe?  Nope. Students experiment with various amounts until the ingredients form a dough mixture.

Task 3:  Chasing Waterfalls

Clean water.  A luxury we take for granted.  Along with many others - First World Problems, Read by Third World People.  The challenge:  students use a coffee filter to pour dirty water through to get clean water into their water bottle.  They need half a water bottle full of clean water for their check off at this task.

Task 4: Grind it Out

At this task, students are given coffee beans, using lots of creativity and ingenuity they are to quickly make them into coffee grounds.

Meaningful words from teachers/students

A teacher says, "I haven't seen this much passion in teaching in a long time."
A fellow colleague says, "She (Ms. C. Wood) is beyond amazing, she comes up with all these ideas herself."
A 7th graders perspective " Up to You club is an eye opening interactive club.  We do things that other slaves do on a day to day basis.  The first club meeting, we had to go fetch water in huge Home Depot buckets and carry it a long way without spilling very much water. (If we had a certain amount full, we received our club shirt).  It took forever because my team had to keep stopping to re-grip.  I hope that Up to You will continue for a long, long, time."
Oh and all those cute adorable signs?  Yes, Ms. C. Wood is not only brilliant in curriculum development and instruction, but a rockstar DIYer!

We are more than thankful to have her at our middle school.  She is admired by colleagues and treasured by students.