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Invested Learning and Authentic Interactions

Learning "sticks" better when students are invested and have authentic interactions. For example, my daughter enjoys drawing and has started learning animation techniques. Her English teacher allowed her to create an animated movie for a Fahrenheit 451 report.
Not only did she spend ten hours working on an English report, she enjoyed every moment of it. But the part that I appreciate (even if she doesn't) is the comment left by one viewer. This person appreciated the connection made between the song lyrics and the way she had illustrated a particular plot point. Meaningful discussion can connect ideas and people in ways that a forced classroom discussion never can.

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Classcraft Interactive Notebook Page

Finished crafting interactive notebook pages for Classcraft, an engaging classroom management tool.

This fall I plan to add interactive notebooks to my classroom procedures. The goal is to provide students with something tangible to take home at the end of the semester. So that means creating or borrowing resources to guide students in developing their notebook.

Classcraft is a classroom management tool, an elaborate punishments and reward system designed like an epic role play game. Students create avatars and can upgrade pets and outfits based on experience and gold points earned. They can also lose points and suffer minor penalties. Everything is done in a fun, game like environment.

The computer lab is already divided into five or six stations, which lends itself easily to guilds or teams of students who work together in the game. I want students to develop their own backstory and choose their characters for the good of the group. I also need students to keep their login info some…

Exploring Science and Math through Music and Messes

If you have ever seen a music video by the music group OK Go, you know that they enjoy experimentation and quirky effects. Now all that energy is available for teachers in the classroom, with maybe slightly less mess.

In cooperation with Google and Morton Salt, they have produced a set of three STEM related lesson plans complete with tie-ins to their most popular videos. You can get your hands dirty in this wonderful playground at the OK Go Sandbox.

Lego Mindstorm Maze Runner

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