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."

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!