035: Living on the Edge of Chaos with Todd Flory

In this episode I have the pleasure to chat with Todd Flory. Todd is a 4th grade teacher from Kansas. He is doing some amazing work in regards to global education.

This was a fun episode as we explore the ins and outs of expanding your classroom beyond the four walls. This topic has been covered many times, but Todd brings a new level to the conversation as we discuss

  • How do you find another classroom to connect with?
  • How do you go about finding experts to speak to your students?
  • The benefits of mystery skype
  • What happens when a global learning moment ignites a spark for a student?
  • His latest project of doing a Skype BreakoutEDU
  • How to connect global projects to the standards

There are plenty of examples to get you started.

You can find more about Todd at the following

Shownotes

Check out the show and episodes on iTunes

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034: Living On The Edge of Chaos Podcast with Ginger Lewman

You are in for a treat with this episode. My great friend and educational hero, Ginger Lewman, was kind enough to spend some quality time discussing project based learning, quality learning, and a ton of other powerful concepts in this latest podcast episode.

If you have not check out her work, then you must check the resources at the bottom of this page.

I recently read her latest book and after reading the book, scribbling mass notes in the margins, and being reminded about the key things we must be doing in schools I just had to pick her brain some more.

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-6-15-38-am

In this episode we cover some key questions such as:

  1. What is project based learning?
  2. What are the common misunderstandings of pbl?
  3. Are shorter projects better?
  4. What is the importance of Wows, Hows, and Bows?
  5. How do we get started with pbl?
  6. How do we make pbl work within the confines of the school system?
  7. Why did we get into the profession of teaching in the first place?

 

Grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and be ready to gain some new ideas to enhance your practice. As always we would love feedback, questions, a nice review on iTunes, and more.

Enjoy

You have two ways to access this podcast episode as well as all previous episodes

  1. Check out the show and episodes on iTunes

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033: Living on the Edge of Chaos with Tammy Dunbar

Season 3 of Living on the Edge of Chaos podcast is ready to knock your socks off with none other than Tammy Dunbar talking Genius Hour.

It has been a long time since season 2 ended. In that void of episodes I had a series of small side podcasts(all on the same channel) testing things out.

After some learning, revision, and moving into action Living on the Edge of Chaos is here.

I cannot be more excited to start off season 3 with anyone other than Tammy Dunbar. Tammy is a 5th grade teacher from California who also teaches technology and does a ton of trainings for teachers around the world. She is one who not just talks the talk, but walks the walk.

In this episode we discuss Genius Hour. Genius Hour has been covered many times, but this episode looks at the bigger picture of Genius Hour.

  • How does one connect this concept to the standards?
  • How do we move away from it being a “pocket of innovation” into the culture of innovation for a school?
  • Can implementing a program like this actually raise test scores?
  • What happens when we treat students as more than simply a number and data plot?

Below are the links to all references in the podcast to learn more.

We hope you enjoy. As always please reach out with questions, ideas, thoughts, and reviews by leaving a comment on iTunes or leaving a comment on the blog(coffeeforthebrain.com)

Last, you can reach out to Tammy on her website or on Twitter.

Enjoy this episode and be ready for an amazing season of pushing our thoughts on the status quo of education.

You have three ways to access this podcast episode as well as all previous episodes

  1. Check out the show and episodes on iTunes

2.

3. If  you care to watch the video version, then here you go!

 

Show Notes

CV: https://docs.com/tammy-dunbar/about

Liberating Genius OneNote Journals/Lessons by Tammy

https://docs.com/tammy-dunbar/8170/liberating-genius-onenotes

Liberating Genius Into Sways by Tammy

https://docs.com/tammy-dunbar/3662/liberating-genius-sways

Free eBook “Liberating Genius” By Angela Maiers & Mark Moran

https://choose2matter.org/liberatinggenius

Liberating Genius by Angela Maiers

http://amzn.to/2ezyRBj

If looking for a list of pretty much everything Genius Hour, then check out this LiveBinder put together by Joy Kirr

A list of all previous episodes can be found here

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032: Quad Cities Ghost Hunters

I am really excited to share some amazing work of 7th grade students. One of our incredible educators from Bettendorf Middle School launched a project in her language arts class where students went on field trips to a variety of locations in the Quad Cities to explore whether or not these places are indeed haunted.

Students conducted field research and came back to work and develop a podcast to showcase and highlight their experiences.

 

What you are about to listen to are the top recordings of each location to give you the best listening experience.

Sit back, listen, and enjoy the podcast. The students welcome any feedback, comments, ideas, and most importantly if you have any stories from these locations or other locations.

In a future episode we will record a podcast with the students and teachers about the actual project and how to implement in your classroom.

But for now, we hope you don’t get too scared and maybe check out some of these locations for yourself.

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Here are the posters for the other four locations(fifth location posted above) also created by students in case you want to learn more

macie-canva

vanessa

carter-m-canva kate-m-canva

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031: Math Masterpiece PBL

Project based learning is hard. Anyone who tells you differently has not done a high quality projects that leads to deeper learning. The reason in implementing project based learning so difficult is that the mindset has to change. There is a massive upfront preparation phase of mapping out the project with all the necessary elements, determining the authentic audience, how to weave in experts, and figuring out the final place for the project to reside. This all requires an invested time and energy focus months ahead of time. It requires the teacher(s) to do the the project, map things out, and have all bases covered knowing things will change and adapt based on the development of the students.

However, I have yet to meet an educator or student who has been part of a quality project that has not been changed for the good after completing and being part of a quality project.

As we explore projects I think many people would agree that math is probably one of the most difficult to create a high quality learning project, let alone integrating it with other subjects.

Recently, my wife who teaches 8th grade algebra and pre-algebra completed a project that was a pivotal moment for her, the students, and the school where she teaches. I know this seems quite dramatic, but it is true. Let’s cut into the project(pun intended).


 

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She was trying to find a way to enhance her math instruction and learning. Her department is already doing some great work to get to this point. They don’t use a textbook and essentially have created their own curriculum from scratch and other resources to enhance instruction. They also have a powerful PLC established where the teachers and instructional coaches have some high quality conversations about data, instruction, and how to constantly improve.

The general challenge of this project was to create art using the Desmos website by creating vertical and horizontal lines and lines with positive and negative slopes as well as multiple other functions that allowed students to create their desired masterpiece. This may not seem like much, but have you ever tried to create a minion or logo of your favorite team or coffee using nothing but math? I thought so!

Students were also given the parameter of a minimum of 75 lines. As students began to brainstorm and come up with their designs they had to have approval of their plans from the teacher. Once they were good they were given time to write their “code” to bring their art to life.

Students had to think. They had to teach one another, brainstorm, and do additional research as their ideas developed. How do I stop the line from going on endlessly? How do I create a curved line? What if I want to do this? or that? Many things were left open for them to explore and solve on their own. This is where the power in learning took place.

As they began to finish their designs the prints were then formatted to be cut in a vinyl cutter. Students would email the teacher their Desmos graph. From there the grids and all backgrounds would be removed within the software.

Art with all grids

Art with all grids

Remove all grids and lines from background

Remove all grids and lines from background

 

Clean background

Clean background

Choose the "Image" option

Choose the “Image” option

Save this file and load to your vinyl cutter

Save this file and load to your vinyl cutter

We use the Silhouette Cameo to do all of our cuts. It is a very easy to use vinyl cutter that makes great cuts and is very easy to learn.

For the sake of costs(vinyl is not the cheapest) students images were printed within a 5 x 5 in square so we could get 4-6 prints per 12 x 12 inch vinyl sheet. This was also large enough to see all details and small enough to add to computers, cars, and more.

Once they were all printed, students were given a day or two to pick all the pieces out. We had them do this part because it is their design and they understand what they want to be removed. Keep in mind that allowing students to do this will lead to mistakes. We had to cut several more than once. Students had a hard time understanding what to pick and what to leave. I would suggest having examples to show them so they can understand negative space.

In the end all students were able to take their designs home. However, this was the not the end. She decided to host her own exhibition during the day. We went back and cut out  about 40 of them again for a display. We placed colored cardstock that matched the vinyl behind it.

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We also made a poster of every single design(even the ones partially completed) using collage.com because we needed a site that would allow us to upload over 100 images. After several various exhibit design layouts(some were amazing) time got the best of us and she ended up with this very nice looking display at the front of the building.

 

(If you are interested in other layouts reach out to me)

The next step was to have the students own the learning. This is something that they have not had to do before. She invited staff to her room for a showcase day. She also emailed a letter to all parents inviting them to the school. For her exhibition day, staff and parents came during the class period. The students took on the role of the teacher and taught the adult how to write math equations and formulas to make simple shapes. This allowed them to showcase how difficult their own art was to create, gave them a sense of pride by how the adults struggled and really gave everyone a chance to bond over math. So often parents see kids doing work, but have no concept of what they are doing or how to engage with the content. My wife teared up several times watching the kids and parent interact.

 

This Sway has a massive amount of images to help you understand what was all created.

Despite the kids and teacher being super nervous, it turned out to be a glorious day. Since this project has ended(just a few weeks ago) she has already developed and launched a bigger and more massive project and is already sketching out plans for another project.

Just when you think you cannot do a project or thinking that pbl does not fit your curriculum, I challenge you to think again. It can be done. It is simply a matter of putting in the time, effort, and planning. It is finding people who can help you. It is removing the mental barriers you have placed on yourself as well as the limitations you have placed on students by deciding what they can and can’t do.

Nothing is impossible once you decide it is not.

All documents for the project can be found here

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030: November 2015 Month Goals, What Are Yours?

My podast is back! Check out this episode where I discuss my four goals for the month of November. I have 4 big goals

  1. Weight under 230
  2. Donation of 500 books
  3. Build a robot that delivers coffee to teachers
  4. NaNoWrimo nonfiction style to finally finish my book!


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029: Kristin Galle – 2014 PBS Digital Innovator and Therapy Classroom

Towards the end of 2014 I put out for a challenge to help spread the positive vision of educators. I asked educators to nominate themselves or others to help share the amazing things in education

Increasing Teacher Voice: Challenge and Nominate a Teacher 

The first episode for this season is with an amazing educator named Kristin Galle from Wisconsin.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 1.34.07 PM

Kristin is a 2014 PBS Digital Innovator and is doing some really intriguing things with therapy, mental health, and more in her classroom. It really is something worth hearing.

I hope you enjoy this first episode. Remember if you know someone who would be good to have on the show make sure you nominate them so we can get connected.

Increasing Teacher Voice: Challenge and Nominate a Teacher 

Shownotes

http://www.symbaloo.com/

 

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020: Living On The Edge of Chaos: Season 2 Episode 2 – Mini Thought on Courage

This is something new that I am trying with my podcast. I am adding a new bit called Mini Thoughts where I will share an unedited, uncut idea from my iPhone. Often times when I drive I record my ideas to develop later on. I thought perhaps this could be something worthwhile to share as I work to polish these ideas.

Additionally, I have shared these bits on YouTube as well. It is good to test out new avenues of growth. I will see how this works out.

 

You can check out previous podcasts here

 

Shownotes and Credits

Music created by 8th grade student Dennibro

Additionally, if you would like to be on the podcast and talk about this topic please let me know as I will be creating a follow up podcast on this topic.

As always, I welcome all ideas and feedback.

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019: Living On The Edge of Chao: Season 2 Episode 1 Opener

Coffeechug Concepts Podcast is back for Season 2 of Living on the Edge of Chaos

This season opener is a short podcast about what you can expect from the episodes this season.

Enjoy and as always I welcome any and all feedback!

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016: Living on the Edge of Chaos: Courage PBL

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 6.19.02 AM

This episode is designed to do two things.

1. To showcase another amazing project created and developed by a teacher here at Bettendorf Middle School on the topic of courage. We hope that as we continue to share out our projects that it inspires others to develop projects, connect with us, and share out additional ideas and resources so everyone can improve.

2. The students have podcasts and they need an authentic voice. Below you will find a link to their blogs and podcasts. We would love it if you checked out their work and left them a few comments. If you have a class it would be awesome if your students left some feedback. If your students have work we would love to return the favor!

Enjoy this episode. Let me know your thoughts. If you have any questions, ideas, resources, etc. please reach out to me at aarmau@gmail.com or Rachael Dierickx at rdierickx@bettendorf.k12.ia.us

6th and 7th grade: http://kidblog.org/BMSHonorsEnglish/
8th grade: http://kidblog.org/8thGradeHonorsEnglish-2/

Here is a condensed document to give you a sense of their blogs and why they are writing what they are writing

Enjoy the show

Shownotes and Credits

Music created by 8th grade student Dennibro

Additionally, if you would like to be on the podcast and talk about this topic please let me know as I will be creating a follow up podcast on this topic.

As always, I welcome all ideas and feedback.

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