Choose Your Own Adventure

Rem167209015_d6830e6099_oember the choose your own adventure books? You can make choose your adventure stories using Google Apps tools like Docs or YouTube.  Click here to see a really cool choose your own adventure YouTube video.  Want to get the nuts and bolts of how to create these stories? The following Google Presentation has directions and examples of how to make and use choose your own adventures stories in your classroom. Here is an example created by a 3rd grade class.

Learn to Code this Summer!

Code.org_logo.svgI hope everyone is taking time this summer to set down their devices and enjoy the outdoors and each other.  You might also be looking for some quite time activities for yourself or your kids.  Edsurge has put together a Teaching Kids to <CODE> guide with lots of great resources around learning to code.   They encourage all ages to learn to code, as they argue it is the new literacy.  Scroll down the page and you will find an excellent write up of 50+ tools to learn to code, many of them free.

Extend the walls of your classroom with Global Projects

eyeworldCollaborating with other classes around the world is a great learning experience for students.  The hardest part is finding projects. Look no further. Projectsbyjen.com is a great resource for finding and participating in PreK -6 global projects. There is a wide range of projects both in topic and length. Some projects are 1 day long others are longer term.

Cardboard construction with makedo!

IMG_3864Just got a class set of makedo kits for Pike’s makerspace “Spark”. Makedo is designed for fast simple and sturdy cardboard construction. You can find examples of lesson plans here and a showcase of kid and adult made projects here.

It comes with three tools.

Safe-saw – tool for safely cutting cardboard.

Scru & scrudriver – Use the Scrudriver in conjunction with Scru to easily connect cardboard.

Strap – Reinforce joins or use the living hinge to create moving parts.

Explain Everything 3.0

Explain Everything Alternative LogoExplain Everything will be launching a new version very soon and it comes with 4 new features that I think will be useful here at Pike. See the new version in action with Explain Everything creator Reshan Richards.

1.  Updated User Interface – this is minor for the classroom but they have created an cleaner look.

2.  Improved Export Workflow – one export button. This should make it a bit easier to export your creations.

3. Equation Editor – They’ve added an equation editor for including formulas and graphing. Pretty Cool!

4.  Simple User Interface Option – This is going to be great for the younger grades at Pike.  Takes away many of the buttons and leaves only the most important ones.

 

Making a Makerspace

IMG_3849Over the last couple of days members of the Innovation Committee have been hard at work putting together Pike’s pilot makerspace called “Spark”. The makerspace now has tools like hammers, drills, and screw drivers as well as electronics like Mindstorms and KIBO robots and other tools like 3D printers, vinyl cutters and button makers. The committee also spent time planning the use of the space so that students and teachers in each division would have an opportunity to come to the makerspace. There is still work to be done before school starts but we are looking forward to all the making coming up this year.

 

Kathy Cassidy on – Engaging Young Students with Technology

 

Check out this 10 min interview with Kathy Cassidy (1st grade teacher in Canada) on engaging your students with technology.  In the interview, she describes how she got started with technology and turned her classroom into a Global classroom. Below are some notes I took while watching the video. If, after watching the interview, you want more information, read Kathy Cassidy’s book Connected From the Start

Why have a global classroom and encourage global learning

  • We should all be global learners.
  • Social Media is already a part of our students lives. We should teach them how to do it in a safe way.
  • Teach students to have empathy.
  • Students know how to have fun with technology, but we want them to learn how to use technology to learn.
  • Teach students appropriate ways to act online.
  • Create a digital footprint that you are proud of.
 Tips on getting started with technology
  • Start with one thing. Let that be successful and then build on that.
  • Try Skype in the classroom.
  • Follow blogs of other teachers and then maybe start your own blog.
  • Get started by creating a network of teachers that can support you via twitter or blogs.

End of Year Tech Details for Students and Parents

Below you will find important details about how to handle your files and accounts in eBackpack, Google Drive, and Veracross.  Please be sure to read the entire post.

eBackPack – access to eBackpack will end June 29 – Grades 6-9

For students who are graduating or leaving Pike – all files will be erased after June 29th.  

  • Any file in the “My Files” area that students want to save should be moved to the E-Portfolio area.  All other files will be deleted.
  • If you want to save assignments turned into the teacher.
    • Navigate to that assignment.
    • Open the file that you turned in.
    • Click the “share square” and then move it to Notability or Google Drive.
  • Any file in the E-Portfolio area will remain available as read-only next year for returning students.

Google Drive – Grades 4-9
Access for graduating or leaving students ends June 29th

Access for returning students ends August 24

There are two options for saving files.

Option 1 – When you only want to save a few files.

  1. Log into your account on a laptop or desktop (not an iPad).
  2. Select the files you would like to save.
  3. Go to More Actions (three dots) > Download…
  4. Make the appropriate choices for file formats and then click download.
  5. This will download a .zip file containing your documents.  You can open these documents on a home computer.

Option 2 – When you want to save all of your files.

  1. Log into your account on a laptop or desktop (not an iPad).
  2. Then go to Google Takeout
  3. Under “Select data to include”, put a check next to Drive only.
  4. Scroll to the bottom and click “next”.
  5. Click “Create Archive” in the “Customize download format” section.
  6. If you have a lot of files, this process will take a good bit of time.
  7. It will say that you will receive an email when it is finished but you won’t because students don’t have access to email.
  8. Instead return to Google Takeout later and choose “Manage Archives” at the top of the screen.
  9. Find your archive and click download.  Your files will be downloaded as a .zip file.  You can transfer these files to a home computer.

Veracross – all grades
Access for graduating or leaving students ends June 28th

  • Reports must be printed before June 28th.  As of June 28, 2015, there will be a $15 fee to receive a copy of your child’s report(s) if you did not download and save or print the report(s) prior to the parent report portal closing.  Please make your check payable to “The Pike School” and send it to the attention of Gale Mender.  After payment is received, you will be provided with a copy of the requested report(s).
    • For your reference, below are the dates that Term 3 reports will become available on Veracross:
    • Lower and Middle School reports will be published on Veracross on Thursday, June 11.
      Upper School reports will be published on Veracross on Monday, June 15.

Access to reports for returning students ends August 1.

  • Reports must be printed before August 1.  As of August 1, 2015, there will be a $15 fee to receive a copy of your child’s report(s) if you did not download and save or print the report(s) prior to the parent report portal closing.  Please make your check payable to “The Pike School” and send it to the attention of Gale Mender.  After payment is received, you will be provided with a copy of the requested report(s).
    • For your reference, below are the dates that Term 3 reports will become available on Veracross:
    • Lower and Middle School reports will be published on Veracross on Thursday, June 11.
      Upper School reports will be published on Veracross on Monday, June 15.

Summer Tech Reading Group

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All Pike Faculty and Staff are invited to join our Summer Technology Reading Group. We will be reading the book Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change The World by Tony Wagner.

Please consider joining us for some interesting summer reading, a conversation about the book in the fall, with the opportunity for some online discussions in the summer. Any Faculty or Staff who are interested should RSVP by June 5 so that we may get you a copy of the book before you take off for the summer.

Book Description: Creating Innovators explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators. In profiling compelling young innovators, the book reveals how the adults in their lives nurtured their creativity and sparked their imaginations, while teaching them to learn from failures and to persevere. From the research, a pattern emerges—a childhood of creative play leads to deep-seated passions, which in adolescence and adulthood blossom into a deeper purpose for career and life goals. Play, passion, and purpose: these are the forces that drive young innovators. More than a book on innovation, Creating Innovators is itself innovative in its format. Using QR Codes, readers can access more than 60 online videos by filmmaker Robert A. Compton further explaining the story. For more information about the book click here.