Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Extras of Podstock

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the extras of Podstock, but wanted to take a moment to give a little more information. If you are attending Podstock and have ANY questions hit me up on the twitters @akbusybee or email me! Do you have to do these extras.. you sure don't, but they are fun! Even if you don't complete them.. you get to meet new people in the process!

Monday July 13h- #mcdt challenges will be released.  #mcdt- Make, Create, Do, Teach.  There will be 8 challenges.  Each challenge has a special hashtag.  Not on Twitter- not a big deal! You can post to Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, Blogger, Youtube.  When you finish a challenge you just need to make sure to tag me in it.. or find me! I am flexible.  For each challenge completed you will get a gear for a steampunk style key chain. Complete all 8 challenges you will receive a special gear to add to your key chain.  Finish all 8 challenges you will also be entered into a drawing for a fun prize! IMPORTANT- #mcdt challenges MUST be finished by 9am on Friday!- Update- Release the Kraken- I mean.. #mcdt15 challenges

Thursday July 16th- NEW- Podstock Exploration
Podstock Exploration challenges will be released on Thursday morning.  These are for teams of 2 people to 6 people.  There are about 12 items to complete for the Podstock Exploration and teams will have until 10pm on Thursday to finish the challenges.  The team with the most points will win!

Thursday July 16th- Podstock Gift Exchange
All you need to bring is a gift that is $25 or less that represents you, your school, or your area.  It is highly encouraged that you actually make your item (you won't be kicked out if you buy it though too :)  This is one of my favorite parts, because it is so much fun to hear about all the different stories on why the items were chosen.  I am already working on mine!  If you join.. make sure that is an item that can travel back with someone that might be flying. This will take place after the last session on Thursday.  More information on exact location and time will be announced on Thursday.

Friday July 17th- Podstock Photowalk
The photowalk will take place on Friday July 17th. We will meet in the Old Town Hotel foyer at 7am.  Although this is early it is the PERFECT time to walk around and be a tourist.  Have you been a part of the photowalk before.. this year we are putting on an extra twist to those that attend!  I can't wait to use my new camera for this one.  It is a great way to be a tourist, meet new people and stretch your legs before the day of learning. Everyone is invited.  You don't need a fancy camera your phone will work!

I finished up my costume for the dance on Thursday.  I even created 2 shirts for during the conference itself.. and finished up my Steampunk top hat today! AND.. if you are interested in trying Jamberry I will have ALL of my stuff (plenty for you to try an accent nail or 2)


Thursday, July 9, 2015

#elemaker The Making of a Makerspace

For the past year I have been percolating how to get a Makerspace in my elementary school.  I am now READY to take on the challenge!

For the past 6 (well.. maybe it is 7) I have been a Team Manager and Co-Team Manager for several Destination ImagiNation teams.  Destination ImagiNation gives students a chance to create and solve a challenge.  The best part as a team manager is I can't interfere and the students have to come up with their own solutions.  What I have discovered; however, is that not all students have the opportunity to be on a team (now granted.. we are going to have 6 teams next year!)

I want to reach more students.. and next year my principal is giving me the space (AND more importantly the TIME!)

My parents posted this quote today on the Buffalo Bookstore page today, and I knew it was time for me to get my ideas on "paper"

In reading the Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and in conversations I find it interesting how varied the ideas on what makes a makerspace.  But the great thing about makerspace is that it really can be ANYTHING!  I work with so many kids that when they see a piece of construction paper they often wait for instructions on what to do with it.  They don't always have a chance to "think outside the box"  Makerspace can be building with electronics, but it can also just be seeing an item and thinking how you can use it differently.  Isn't that we want our students to do? To figure out how to see things in a different light?

Here are my beginning thoughts:
-I want everyone to be able to go through the Makerspace and have a chance to be a creator.
-Although I want all students to have a chance to create I also know how students in the elementary world need a little more structure (not step by step of course with expectations of what the end product should look like, but some guidance)
-I would love teacher buy in

Here is my "plan"- PLEASE remember that this is in the works.. and it is going to take some work.  I want to share my ideas so this way I can get ideas as well.
Best part of this "plan" so far- My principal is not only on board.. but she came up with this idea because she knows that kids need it!
-Since we have 6 weeks- The first week of the six weeks would be welcoming ALL the students into the room. The first week students would hear a book, then see the materials and have a graphic organizer to PLAN what they are going to do. 
ie- Read Where the Wild Things Are- students will then have the opportunity to plan either their own monster or a boat that has to do a certain task.  If those don't fall into what they would work on then they will be able to work on something that entertains them.  I want to do this type of structure because I want to make sure that all students can start seeing objects/items/materials in different ways.
-Weeks 2-6 each grade level will rotate through during a specific part of their day.  Week 2 will be 5th,  Week 3 will be 4th, Week 4 will be 3rd, Week 5 will be 2nd and Week 6 will be 1st and kinder.  Each class will have a certain day (ie 5A- Monday of the 2nd week, 5B-Tuesday of the 2nd week and so on) and to cut down on size A-M the first 30 minutes and N-Z the second 30 minutes during their slot.  The first six weeks everyone will rotate through, but after that it will be based on perfect attendance.
Now you might be saying.. 30 minutes! That is not enough time to create anything! BUT If you think about it.. this is a guaranteed 30 minutes each six weeks.  The makerspace room will be open at other times that will include before and after school. I am hoping to even have some teacher buy in so they can work on their projects at other times as well.  The first week of the six weeks as they all rotate through will be the time for me to get them started, the next time they come it will be for them to create.

Did I mention that I am a planner?

I am looking forward to Podstock next week as it is over Maker where I hope to gain even more ideas! I am very excited to start on this journey.  I also have lots of thinking, learning and collaborating that I want to do.  My #summerofcreating is now going to turn into helping students have a #yearofcreating I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

BrainPOP Pointers- Make-A-Map

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (@akbusybee) you might know that I am a tad bit obsessed with BrainPOP

There are SO many great features in BrainPOP that is more than the movie! I am going to be sharing some of my favorites throughout the summer on my blog!

If you have never heard of BrainPOP before-
"BrainPOP creates animated curriculum- based content that supports educators and engages students-in school, at home and on mobile devices. Our resources include movies, quizzes, games, mobile apps, experiments, activity pages, and much more covering hundreds of topics within Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Technology, Arts & Music, and Health. All content is aligned to and searchable by state standards including Common Core." https://www.brainpop.com/about/tour

One of my new favorite features is Make-A-Map
For the screenshots I using a Free Movie and have not signed in.. HOWEVER.. signing in allows you to do so much more (such as save your work and students can share it with their teacher or work on it at a later time)


With each BrainPOP movie there are tons of extras that are below the movie.  Click on the Make-A-Map Feature


Once you have clicked on the Make-A-Map it pulls up the Concept Mapping Tool (did I mention that right now I am working on a Chromebook)
In this work space you have the movie, keyword, images and the ability to add extra nodes.

Students (or teachers- you could do this as a group) begin playing the movie.  When they have found a piece that they want to add to the concept map they click on the camera button to snap a picture.

What the what! That piece is now on my Concept Map.. and even better.. by pushing the play button it takes you back to that part of the movie!


As you can see this is a fantastic tool, but an even better tool when a student can save it and work on it later and continue to add to it.

Ideas for the classroom:
- Summarizing information over a topic that has been discussed in class
- Researching a topic deeper
- Taking notes

As soon as I saw this tool I also thought about those special education students and the ELL students who we are always trying to reach.  What a great way for a student to easily show what they are learning and also quickly and easily go back to review what they have done.

The videos replay in the work space, but so do the keywords!


Other great features:
- Connect the findings and add information in between
- change the color of the different nodes (how great would this for students to color code the word depending on what you are doing)

As I noted I am not currently signed in and using the free feature.  Signing in allows SO much more!
-You can Add Movies!  Often times when we are researching although we are looking at one topic, there are connections that can be made.  By clicking on the add movie piece it brings up other movies that would be associated with current movie.
-You can save your work
-You can turn in your work!


Are you a BrainPOP or BrainPOPJr user?  What are your favorite tools?

I will be sharing another one of my features next week!



Friday, June 26, 2015

Baked Parmesan Squash

I have actually really enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone and trying some recipes.  This is one from Pinterest. I said it was a win.. my husband thought it needed more salt..but I was happy with it!
I found this recipe at Plainchicken.com
Now.. it called for 4 squash and that is too much for just 2 of us.

Ingredients:
-2 squash
-1/2 tablespoon olive oil
-1/4 teaspoon of pepper and salt (I kept this the same)
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 450 degrees
-cut squash into slices
-Mix squash, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl
-spread out on pan and top with the Parmesan cheese 
-Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly brown on top

I was very pleased with how it turned out and will be trying it again.  What is your favorite squash recipe?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bandana Dress

Today is day 18 of my own #summerofcreating challenges. Not only that..but my amazing friend Todd Nesloney asked me to do a challenge for his awesome #EduLS series I had to challenge others to share their creating. You can check it out here!

Yesterday for my day 17 I made a bandana dress...so today I wanted to share how I made it.

I have really tried to make my #summerofcreating items be things that I could use or gift to a friend.. so this dress is my second prototype for some cutie twins that I will be making Julu 4th ones for! The first one I made.. I tried to just use one bandana.. it would be a Pinterest fail in size!

Materials:
-2 bandanas
-sewing machine (but.. this could easily be done with just a needle and thread
-ribbon (for my July 4th ones... I will be adding a white bandana to the bottom for some ruffle

Directions:
-fold over one edge of each bandana about 1 or 2 inches (depends on the thickness of your ribbon) and sew across. This will be where you thread your ribbon.
-pin your two bandanas together with the seam from the ribbon edge facing out (this way once you have sewn together you can flip it inside out and all seams are on the inside)
-sew up the two sides of the pinned bandanas leaving about a 2 to 3 inch space between the ribbon edge and the edge of the side seam (this will be for the arm holes)
-once sides are sewn flip bandanas out. Cut 2 pieces of ribbon and thread through the top. The ribbons can now be tied into bows.
-you can also use the ribbon to edge the bottom of the dress.

There are lots of Pinterest ideas out there.. and I already have plans to extend on this one! Super easy and super cute.. and the price is fantastic as well!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fiesta Chicken

When I shared about my #summerofcreating with my Academic Liason  (Vanesa Asbun) she shared one her go to recipes. I knew that I wanted to try it.

Ingredients for the Fiesta Chicken:
-2 boneless chicken breasts
-a can of corn
-a can of black beans
-a can of rotel
-package of chicken taco seasoning

Directions:
-heat oven to 350
-coat the chicken breast with the chicken taco seasoning
-combine cans of beans, corn and rotel in a 9x13 casserole pan (I mixed them up a bit)
-put the coated chicken breast in the casserole pan
-bake at 350 for an hour to an hour and thirty minutes- use a thermometer to make sure it is done (I had mine bake for an hour and thirty minutes.. and it was a little dry..nothing life changing but I could have removed it earlier)

There are lots of ways you can eat this. I chose this evening to have it as chicken soft tacos. I made the pico de gallo myself too- you can find the recipe for that here On that recipe I added a bit more lime juice and only used one jalapeño. Not going to lie.. pretty yummy meal ;)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Podstock 2015

Summer time is the time where I get rejuvenated and inspired at the various conferences I have the chance to attend.  My favorite conference of the summer is Podstock!

I write about Podstock every year, because I always come away with new learning, new friends, and new excitement for my the year.

Want more information about Podstock.. check out the website (and register.. you won't regret it!)

Preconference- July 15th
Conference July 16th-17th

The conference is one of the best ones yet.. but there is so much more that goes on with the conference than just the conference!

Are you attending Podstock.. check out these extras:

July 16th: The annual Podstock Gift Exchange.
Back story on the Gift Exchange.  The first ever Podstock Kevin had tweeted or Plurked out to bring something for a gift exchange. My mom helped me make an awesome Texas Gift Basket (that first year.. there were only 3 Texans that came) BUT.. no one else brought a gift to exchange. The next year began the official gift exchange.  All you need to bring is a gift that is $25 or less that represents you, your school, or your area.  It is highly encouraged that you actually make your item (you won't be kicked out if you buy it though too :)  This is one of my favorite parts, because it is so much fun to hear about all the different stories on why the items were chosen.  I am already working on mine!  If you join.. make sure that is an item that can travel back with someone that might be flying.

Another extra is the Podstock Photowalk.  The photowalk will take place on Friday July 17th. We will meet in the Old Town Hotel foyer at 7am.  Although this is early it is the PERFECT time to walk around and be a tourist.  Have you been a part of the photowalk before.. this year we are putting on an extra twist to those that attend!  I can't wait to use my new camera for this one.  It is a great way to be a tourist, meet new people and stretch your legs before the day of learning.


The Make, Create, Do, Teach (MCDT) Scavenger Hunt will be up and running again this year.  More information on that to come!

Tips on Surviving Conferences:

- Wear clothes that you are comfortable in.  I always love meeting new people and I love wearing cute clothes, but I try to remember where I am.. how is the weather.. what kind of activities will I be doing.  I have discovered that I am okay wearing t-shirt and shorts, but I still want to be somewhat professional- you never know who you will run into.
-Pack snacks and water! I often times drive to the various conferences that I attend.. so I pack my own and leave in the room.  If I have to fly, the first stop I make is to a local convenience store to grab water bottles, breakfast bars and snacks.  I also try to take a reusable water bottle.  (Podstock is one of those different conferences as they always have the BEST brownies, sodas, and water between sessions!)
-Be okay with missing a sessions.  I have discovered that I am an introvert.. and I need a little down time between sessions.  If you feel like you are going to miss something follow the Twitter feed.
-Be okay with meeting new people and inviting yourself to sit with people you don't know.  With most people wearing a badge or a certain shirt.. you automatically know that you will have a topic to talk about.  This is a great ice breaker and a way to step outside your comfort zone.

A HUGE TIP I HAVE- conferences are a fun place to be.. and there are lots of fun things going on.. just remember your social media usage.  If you are enjoying different adult things.. be careful what pictures you post.  Take a moment to frame your pictures so you can still show you are having fun.. but you are doing it "appropriately"

Just a couple of friendly suggestions and reminders.  My favorite part about Podstock.. is that I get to put on a costume one evening.  This year it is Steampunk! Who knew that the Victorian costume that I used when volunteering at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum Christmas Open House would come in handy again! Still needs work.. but it is a great start! I can't wait to start sharing the other things I have up my sleeves for the conference!

What are your tips and tricks for surviving conferences?  Do you have a favorite conference?