Saturday, January 14, 2017

Purdue STEM Workshop Slideshow Posted

Role Play Education Slideshow Title Slide
Amazed at the response to my #2017STEMConf workshop last Thursday. To view my slideshow from the workshop, scroll to the bottom of the RPE website.

I estimate there were 50+ attendees at my presentation. Several took notes and four teachers stayed after to ask some excellent followup questions.

Since this workshop was only 45 minutes, I wished we could incorporated more hands on role play. Several teachers already use ClassDojo, so it was good sharing ideas with them on expanding and incorporating the Dojo system into a larger classroom narrative.

I was able to attend several other workshops and enjoyed hearing Buzz Aldrin give the keynote speech. As I continue to process through all my notes, I'll try to share some thoughts in additional posts.

Related Link:

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Collecting Classroom Book Reviews

If students struggle to choose free reading books, try creating a card catalog.

Today at lunch while talking with a reading teacher, she mentioned that several students struggle to choose a free reading book. It's not for lack of choices, instead they are having difficulty discerning if the book is worth their time.

"Photo" by David Fulmer under CC 4.0
Why not create a way to share book recommendations between students?

While the tech side of me thinks Microsoft Access would be a fun way to do this, I recognize most teachers wouldn't know where to begin in creating a digital database. But it wasn't that long ago when libraries used a simple card catalog system for tracking books. A simple tweak of the system can help a teacher collect book recommendations.

Using 3x5 index cards, have students write the name of the book at the top, then the author underneath. The first student should write a short description of the book without spoilers! The finish the card with their name and a 1-5 star rating.

If another student has also read the same book, they can write their name on the back of the card with their star rating. Keep all the cards alphabetized in an index card file. With a little practice and maintenance, a teacher can offer students a wide selection of reading recommendations.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

ISTE Standard: Global Collaborator

Standard: Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

I think this is one of the best technology standards because it fits so well with our mission and especially the social aspects of this year's theme verse. It can be difficult for students, especially younger ones, to comprehend the larger world outside of their social bubble. We protect them on field trips and corral them into neat lines with established patterns. The big world can be a scary place, but it is also filled with amazing people who daily act as the hands and feet of God. As Christian school educators, global collaboration easily takes on a missional element.

In this article from 2015, ISTE Connects gives seven tips for starting a global collaboration project:
  • ​Find your passion and purpose. If you're excited about the project, you are better prepared to overcome obstacles. 
  • Pick your focus. Select a unit that you truly love and will put your best effort into it. 
  • Check in with your students. Kids need to feel secure enough to engage with people they just met. Community must exist inside the classroom before they can connect with outsiders. 
  • You gotta believe. Your passion will excite others to give their best effort. 
  • Find your people. Use people you know who will come alongside and help you out. 
  • Dream a little. Don't be afraid to take risks and try something different. 
  • Let go. When problems happen (and they will), don't become overwhelmed but turn it into another teaching moment. 
Ideas for global collaboration projects:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

BIT: Bumper Sticker Discussion Starters

November seems to be Social Studies emphasis month as we go from the election to Thanksgiving. One way teachers can prompt Biblical integration discussion is to use bumper stickers.

Photo by Nyenyec
Do you agree or disagree with the bumper sticker:
  • ​​He who dies with the most toys wins.
  • Well behaved women seldom make history.
  • Life sucks, then you die.
  • It's a dog eat dog world.
  • Celebrate diversity.
Feel free to modify these or use an image from the Internet to prompt the discussion. Of course the goal is to bring students to a place where they can defend their position with Scriptural support.

To take it further, have students explore how these ideas have influenced history. They should then be able to draw conclusions about how ideas can shape or change our actions and give historical examples such as the flight of the pilgrims or the Scopes trial or even biblical revivals and reformations.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Discerning Truth Through Research

Imagine researching through thousands of scrolls at the library of Alexandria or the task Noah had in preserving antediluvian records on the ark! Learning to collect, organize and retrieve information is a life skill.

In the book Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages, Alex Wright explores how mankind has always tried to organize and make sense of an increasing volume of information. Our world is inundated with information, but that is not an excuse for students to lazily select the first bit of info they find. 

The leaders of the next generation do not need to be smart (full of knowledge), instead they must be wise (able to discern truth). I heard a college professor commenting on the Robin William's movie, Dead Poets Society that the main character taught his students how to think, but he didn't give them something to think about. Don't be afraid to use the Bible and religious texts as source materials in every research project.

Our students should be busy researching because they are looking for solutions to real problems in their lives. In fact, they already do this as demonstrated in this video from Extra Credit, as teachers we need to cultivate that skill so students can apply it to other areas.

ISTE Standard: Knowledge Constructor
Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.
  • plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits. 
  • evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
  • curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
  • build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
How to Cite the Bible in MLA Format
According to Purdue OWL​, italicize “The Bible” and follow it with the version you are using. Remember that your in-text (parenthetical citation) should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). (See Citing the Bible at In-Text Citations: The Basics.)
The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.
The Bible. The New Oxford Annotated Version, 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2001.
The New Jerusalem Bible. Edited by Susan Jones, Doubleday, 1985.