“Building a bridge” to connect with students!

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Minecraft Beginnings

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Taking advantage of the rain in Houston today to learn Minecraft. I am sure that my students will be quite impressed. This most likely will be as epic as the time that I knew about the different Pokeman cards in all of their pockets! We have been teaching the STEM Building Bridges lesson for several years. It has grown into a project that incorporated the engineering class at the nearby Lamar Consolidated High School (we designed the bridges on their computers using Inventor and printed them out on giant printers). It later bloomed into investigating STEM careers even further by designing keychains and using the high school students again to help us transfer our designs to the computers and then produce 3D keychains. During all of this learning, the high school engineering students came to our class each year to help us learn the technology behind catapults, and prepared us for the local Science Olympiad competition.

Above you can see my beginning picture of where I am starting (don’t laugh – I am proud of my craft table!) and where I see us headed (…everyone needs goals). And in the process, I hope to learn more ways on how to incorporate this game into our curriculum (Check out the Edutopia website for ideas for reading, writing, math and science). Credit to digitalmeetsculture.net for photo.

Wish us luck!

Animoto as an “old favorite” for any class subject!

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Animoto is an easy to use iPad app for the one iPad classroom. Recently, our fourth graders made story maps about their favorite picture books. This is a great time to review plot, setting, problems, climax, and resolutions in novels. Think graffiti! This project can just as easily be completed on butcher paper, but the goal is to strategically place pictures and short text throughout the project. This is NOT a Thinking Map project and it took a while for them to think a bit more creatively. Don’t forget to use old favorites like Animoto. This is just a short example of what you can still do with their free app. I think we had room for one or two more pictures.

Students helping create bird habitats at Smith!

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The Purple Martins right outside of our classroom are having an outstanding year. The babies have grown so plump, I could feel the weight of the birds as I pulled them up this week after I checked their nests. We most likely will not take the houses down again because many of the birds are getting ready to fly and I really don’t want to have to deal with any jumpers right now. This week I hope that we can get a break from the rain and use our class set of binoculars to watch the birds feed their babies.

Science makes happy students at Smith!

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Enjoyed my second opportunity offering the Marshmallow Challenge in class. Students were extremely creative this year. I wasn’t sure if this creation was even legal because the marshmallow was taped to the pasta at the top. However, there were no rules against the tape. Students learned to plan, brainstorm, and to exchange ideas in a positive way!