Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Selfies with Wokka as collection of fun Tweets from CUE 14

Wokka and I had a great time at CUE 14.   Here a just a few of the great pictures we got with some awesome teachers.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Silicon Valley Cue

Cheryl and I co-wrote this post. We would love your feedback as we continue to develop workshops to educate teachers in the tools of flipping and the magic of puppets.

In my life as an educator I have lead workshops in responding to student writing, writing college essays, writing blogs with students, and sharing student writing.  There have been other workshops and they all revolved around the common theme of writing.  I love working with teachers on writing instruction because it is a challenging task that needs support.  This year I have been sharing another part of my professional interests, on 3/8/13 Cheryl and I lead a workshop on learning with puppets at the Silicon Valley Regional Cue conference.
The workshop was an afternoon "hands-on session" and when we were planning, Cheryl and I were challenged to design a workshop that was, fun, informative, and invited teachers to play around and discover what they needed to know.
This was not the first puppet workshop we have lead, but we are young in puppet years and we are always learning.  Cheryl and I led a puppet workshop at #EDCAMPSFBAY, this seems so long ago.  I was still getting ready to teach with little kids, and I had just built the PVC green screen puppet theatre.

The Edcamp workshops were only and hour and even though the ethos of Edcamp is conversation based the 2 Edcamp puppet sessions I have lead ended up being mostly me talking.  The teachers in the room were puppet-curious, but the structure of the workshop never allowed them to open up.
Cheryl kept our process focused on getting teachers active and exploring.  I think her experience running choice day workshops in puppeting for her high school students really benefited us.  Cheryl set the space up so we had room to work.  In fact the first thing we did was lay claim to an attached hallway.  (Cheryl and I both laughed about how our kids seem to always end up in the hallway working.) We also unpacked all of our puppets onto the CART.
Moments I loved
Participants tweeting out pictures of them with puppets
Teachers using the livestream to puppet at their friends
the Dig Cit video that was made on the spot
the after tweet about the great sale on fleece
the tweet about how teachers not on twitter are behind a “selectively mute puppet”

Questions I am left with
Would it be better to have multiple steps of puppet construction?  (puppets in process?)
that was my intention with the puppeting stuff i brought. are we actually doing full puppet construction at CUE?
at CUE we promised Flipping. . . .
What about a hot glue station? (burn yourself here and now so you know what it feels like?
that seems less helpful than I’d like.
Should we bring or collect info on teacher's discount at fabric stores?
are there others? isn’t it just Michael’s and Joann?
What have we learned that we could use to shape the Edupuppets?

Co-teaching is not something new to me - in fact, I have more practice co-teaching workshops than doing them on my own.  And the value in the co-taught workshop is that instead of one brain and one set of answers, you have two brains and infinitely more sets of answers.  Plus, in a workshop that is more than just lecture, you need two people who can help make the content meaningful and something that can be taken home and used on Monday.

This workshop was the first time I’ve presented about puppets having actually used them in my class.  In the EdCampSFBay session, I had big ideas but nothing I had actually done.  Plus, I had no puppets of my own - just the ones that Sam had given me.  So I was learning as much as I was leading that session.  But this time, not only have I made puppets of my own and used them in class, I’ve actually taught students how to puppet.  My leadership class does a weekly puppet newscast and has gone from videos that look like badly overdubbed Japanimation to clever, often hilarious, dialogue-driven puppetry.  The puppets have a personality that is independent of the person providing the voice and is consistent from week to week.  We even have story arcs - puppets in relationships, puppet-napping, and puppets banned from Ninja News for violence against other puppets.
While I am sad there weren’t many high school teachers there, I hope that there are some who will watch the video of the session and pick up the puppeting spirit.  That really is the beauty of capturing these presentations on video and sharing them with people who couldn’t attend: you are opening up the learning possibilities from the number of seats in the room to the number of people with internet access.  The second figure is FAR higher than the first.  As flipped classroom teachers, that’s some of the motivation for putting content online: increase the number of people who can access what we teach.
In fact, all of human life is about collaboration - it is, as John Green says, about helping one another tilt to catch the wind.  Without YouTube and Shakespeare, Sam would have no puppets.  Without Sam, I would have no puppets.  Without puppets, there would be no Ninja News.  Without Ninja News, I would not have presented at this conference.  Without us presenting, the information stays in Sam’s head and potentially tens of people can be transformed by that.  And those tens of people affect hundreds of students, who affect thousands of people.  So we are literally changing the world through collaboration.  One puppet at a time.

Bee Bot Planet Challenge Reflection

Bee Bot Planet Challenge Reflection This is a brief reflection on working with the first grade students on programming. We used the Bee Bots to learn and practice the sequence of planets in the solar system as they flew from one planet to the next in the solar system.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bee Bot Planet Challenge

Bee Bot Planet Challenge In first grade we are learning about the Space. We are going to focus today on learning the order of the planets and programming. the students will be programming the Bee Bot robots to visit e planets in order. We will have 5 bots for 24 kids. Each student will have a set of command cards and they will have to collaborate to plan the route, or program.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Building 60006, Lego City Police ATV

Build 60006 Getting to know stop motion apps this week. I used istop motion for this one. I could have controlled the light more, but overall I liked the production value. I did finish it in imovie. I added transitions, titles and music. Today in robot Lego robotics the kids started making stop motion movies, so I had better learn faster. Also I love that the police officer has an ATV and the criminal has a wheelbarrow. Now that I have a wheelbarrow! I need a Lego llama.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Building 70800 The Glider from the Lego Movie

Building 70800 The glider from the Lego Movie This movie was created with LEGO Movie Maker. Note: Lego movie maker tags like a bad boy.

Learning with Puppets at #SVCUE

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Gnomeward Bound

Gnomeward Bound This movie was created with LEGO Movie Maker. A sample stop-motion movie I made to learn about the tool.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Learning Sequence with Bee Bots

Learning Sequence with Bee Bots My kindergarten students love coding and working with robots, and my team of teachers keeps me close to the standards.

Teaching Sequence in Kindergarten with Robots

Bongo and 3 of the Bee Bots

Our first lesson was a getting to know the bee bots session.  We had 4-5 kids per mat and we distributed some command cards to each kids (next time I should give each kid identical mixed packs of command cards).  The kids had to map out the course with the cards and I modeled placing each card on the mat in order.  This helped them visualize the sequence.  This is the real skill.  When I gave a student the bee and asked him to program it he scooted the bee along the route and pressed the program step button each time.  This is a stepping stone but this is NOT sequencing.  As I continue to work with this student I will limiting him to command cards and asking him to use the command cards to audit and rewrite programs.

Programming a robot requires knowing what you want the robot to do.  One of the first steps to creating a program is to develop a detailed sequence of every move the robot will make.  Once you have this sequence you can begin to use the  programming language to write the program that will guide the robot through the steps.  I was talking with some great teachers at EdCamp Silicon Valley in a session on programming with elementary students.  Diane Main defined programming as “creating a set of instructions for a computer or robot to follow.”  I am quoting from memory, so Diane if I got that wrong, let me know.

This week I brought the Bee Bots into my kindergarten class.  I showed up to weekly planning meeting and asked these two wonderful teachers “How do we use these?.”  I showed them how the Bots are programmed and how they interact with the mats.  I currently have 5 of the Bee Bots and 2 of the mats, and two sets of command cards, their “class set” plus one other bot.   As I showed these to the teachers they shared their sequencing goals with me.  after a litter discussion it seem like a natural match to have the student use the bee bots as physical tools to explore recognizing and expressing sequences.

If I have learned anything from Wes Fryer it is “Have a challenge, and have a few more ready.”  For these kindergarten students the challenge was placing a post-it note on a square and asking them to make the robot go to the square.  After the first student programmed the robot, they all got a turn.  I was really impressed with their ability to watch their classmates program the same course into the robot.  After the first round we placed 2 notes on the board, a way point and an end point.  
The students were engaged and they took turns well.  This activity ran for about 40 minutes.  I am looking forward to exploring sequence more with the kindergarten soon.