Summer Learning Part 3: Circuit Design

The last hour of a 4 hour summer school day was Circuit Design.  I knew I needed to make this class fun, educational, and challenging to win my students attention.  I had again, acquired several STEM materials from our generous PTO.  I had Snap Circuits, LittleBits, and Makey Makey kits to use in the next three weeks.  It only seemed natural to dedicate a week to each kit.  Below you can see the break down of what I did each day…

Day 1-2 Discuss Electricity

Day 3-5
  • Students work in groups to explore Snap Circuits
    • Start with no directions (used mini kits)
    • Give student guide with experiments to choose from
Day 6
  • Students work in partners to explore LittleBits
    • Start with no directions – let students discover how things work
    • Give task cards to use
Day 7-8
  • Partners develop idea
    • Brainstorm ideas of something to make that will solve an everyday problem
    • Draw a model of idea
    • Make a list of materials needed
Day 9-10
  • Use LittleBits to create a prototype of idea
Day 11
  • Share prototype
  • Make positive comments on paper
Day 12-13
  • Play around with Makey Makey
Day 14-15
  • Play Breakout Edu

As you can see, I started off the three weeks discussing and discovering what electricity is and how it works.  My favorite part of the three weeks was the week we used LittleBits.  I gave partners the challenge to design a prototype of something that would solve a problem thy encounter.  With limited supplies and LittleBits, the students amazed me…

One student made a night light/fan for her little brother, other partnerships created a mosquito repellent hat, a disco light, and a bubble maker.  When students shared their prototypes, the audience wrote positive notes on post-its for each other to read.

The last two days I tried out something new and well,  SUPER exciting :))  I recently received the Breakout EDU  kits for our school and could NOT wait until the Fall to try it out with students.  So, I gave it a try with my Circuit Design class and WE ALL LOVED IT!!!

Breakout EDU is  a game where students need to work together to solve clues in order to unlock locks.  When all locks are unlocked within a certain time, the box can be opened and you win!  Games are based on all types of curricular areas and teachers and students can even create their own games using the template provided by the company.  If you have never heard of Breakout EDU or have but wasn’t sure if you should get it, I highly recommend that you do purchase it for your classroom/school.

The beginning of this summer was filled with learning not only for my students, but for me as well.  I am now filling my days reading the Launch Book by AJ Juliani and John Spencer, preparing for two presentations on Flexible Learning Spaces and the Shark Tank project I did with my class this year.  I am also finding the time to relax, spend time with my family and friends, and reflect on changes for the upcoming year.

How are you spending your final days of summer?

Now that…is Positively Techie !

#TeachSmall

My favorite communication tool Remind wants to hear from teachers about the small things they do to make a big impact on students.

#TeachSmall Movement

Below is my story, feel free to share your story in the comments below or on your own platform…Be sure to use #TeachSmall.

My story isn’t about how the small things I do make an impact on my students.  I’d rather share about the teacher who inspires me everyday to be the best at what I do.  The small things she did, has shaped me to be the teacher I strive to be everyday, because I want to be THAT special teacher for my students too.

Mrs. Glynn was my fourth grade teacher.  The things I remember most about her is that she was young, athletic, had long blonde hair, and drove the coolest car in the parking lot.  I loved her from day one.  She was so  beautiful, nice, caring, and fun.  I knew since I was born I wanted to be a teacher, but when I got to fourth grade – I wanted to be just like her.  I don’t have a lot of memories from my childhood, but this one particular moment I will never forget.  The details are foggy, but I know the way she made me feel is something that has stuck with me my whole life.  Some 35 years later – when I think of this moment – love fills my heart for my fourth grade teacher.

We were sitting on the bleachers in the gym.  I was upset about something (I can’t remember – something about home or possibly girl drama). Mrs. Glynn sat beside me because she noticed something was wrong.  She looked me in the eyes and basically told me everything was going to be okay.  I don’t remember the conversation, I just remember how I felt in that moment.   She showed me that I was important, that I mattered, that she cared about me.  It is an amazing feeling to know that someone you look up to so much thinks you are important.  I make it a point everyday to show my students that they are important, that they matter, that I care about them.  I want them to know I will always be there for them even when they walk out my classroom door on the last day of school.

Mrs. Glynn, thank you for simply being you.  I think about you ALL the time – I will never forget you!

-Nancy

Why I LOVE to Share…

I have been presenting tech ideas to teachers in my building for the past couple of years.  These presentations were small lunch sessions consisting of how to use specific apps, integrate technology into the classroom, and other technology uses.  I recently gave my first presentation (on student blogging) to a group of teachers outside of my building.  This is something I have always wanted to do, but never felt confident enough to go for it.  I am so glad I did!   It was amazing!  The energy I felt as I presented was electrifying.  It felt natural, easy, and comfortable.  It was exactly what I should be doing and I want to do it more.

I am a reflective person, I like to reflect and think about how I can make things different/better.  As I reflected on my first “real” presentation, I was excited to think about all the teachers who will be starting their school year trying new things (like student blogging) and making their student’s educational experience that much better, because of me!  Then I thought, how can I reach even MORE educators?  (Because reaching more educators = reaching more students)  Of course blogging came to mind :))  Thoughts keep rushing through my mind: “Why would anyone read my blog?, What do I have to share that isn’t already out there?, Will this blog really make a difference in the way we educate our students?”.   And the thoughts keep coming, but the challenge I face and the risk I am taking to put myself out there feels – right.

I have a busy school year planned ahead of me.  I teach 5th grade and this will be my second year with 1:1 iPads in my classroom.  I will have a new innovative, flexible classroom space that I am super excited about,  I am trying new Global activities as well as continuing with ones I’ve used in the past, and I am planning on giving more presentations.  I will use this space to share all of the ideas, risks, fun, failures, and accomplishments I encounter this year in hopes to inspire educators to become innovative in their own classroom.

Now that is Positively Techie…