Few Bad Apples: Student Social Experiment Part 4/5

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 6.02.15 AM

Today we drop the fourth  part in our five part series showcasing student voice in an 8th grade language arts project.

Please check them out, leave some feedback, comments, questions, etc.

We will be sure the students check it out. They are excited to have their voices heard and to learn from others.

We will be sharing every project as it is not fair to only show what we consider high quality. Every voice deserves to be heard.

We have decided to release the projects in small batches so you take time to view them and provide them with your reactions. As much as we want them to share their voice it is just as important for you to share your voice.

Enjoy!

Part 1: Project Overview, Resources, and Explanation

Part 2: First Batch of Student Work

Part 3: Second Batch of Student Work

Here is the next batch of work

Stop Judging Teens T-Shirt Link to Project
Teens Can Prove Adults Wrong Link to Project
It Is Not Talking Back Link to Project
Student Voice Twitter Link to Project
Stop Judging Teens Link to Project
Poster Link to Project
Your Voice Can Make The World Better Link to Project
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Few Bad Apples: Student Social Experiment Part 3/5

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 6.11.29 AM

Today we drop the third part in our five part series showcasing student voice in an 8th grade language arts project.

Please check them out, leave some feedback, comments, questions, etc.

We will be sure the students check it out. They are excited to have their voices heard and to learn from others.

We will be sharing every project as it is not fair to only show what we consider high quality. Every voice deserves to be heard.

We have decided to release the projects in small batches so you take time to view them and provide them with your reactions. As much as we want them to share their voice it is just as important for you to share your voice.

Enjoy!

Part 1: Project Overview, Resources, and Explanation

Part 2: First Batch of Student Work

Here is the next batch of work

Teens Can Be Judged Link to Project
You Are Enough Mural Link to Project
Choose Your Destination Link to Project
Don’t Trust Society’s View of Teens Powtoon Link to Project
Can You Trust Teens? Link to Project
No One Person is to Blame for the Stereotypes blog Link to Project
My personal connection about getting judges Link to Project
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Few Bad Apples: Student Social Experiment Part 2/5

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 6.22.31 AM

Yesterday we launched the first part in this five part series showcasing student voice for the A Few Bad Apples project created by Lisa Barnes.

Today we bring you the first batch of projects created by students. Please check them out, leave some feedback, comments, questions, etc.

We will be sure the students check it out. They are excited to have their voices heard and to learn from others.

We will be sharing every project as it is not fair to only show what we consider high quality. Every voice deserves to be heard.

We have decided to release the projects in small batches so you take time to view them and provide them with your reactions. As much as we want them to share their voice it is just as important for you to share your voice.

Enjoy!

Generation Z Link to Project
It’s Society Not The Teens Link to Project
Stereotypes Are Real Link to Project
Don’t Judge Us Until You Know Us Link to Project
Teens Chance To Volunteer Instagram Link to Project
A Few Bad Apples – PowToon Link to Project
Are Parents and Kids The Same? Link to Project

 

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Provocative #PBL Idea: spraying chemicals on the people to slowly kill off the population

IMG_1424
There is a conspiracy theory that somebody is spraying chemicals on the people to slowly kill off the population. It is all about Chemtrails.
Is it real or not? You research, discuss and then vote. There are many similar topics that produce great amounts of thinking and the taking of stands on issues.
Science of Chemtrails and Contrails
All about Chemtrails (notice references at the bottom)
__________________________
Landing on the Moon Conspiracy Theory (the Americans didn’t land on the moon. It was a Hollywood stunt???) Did they really go there?
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Don’t forget teacher confidence before authentic audience

 

Authentic audience is a vital component to any project based learning unit. As teachers across the nation strive to develop high level PBL I think there is one vital aspect that is often overlooked in the process.

 

Teacher Confidence

 

For many teachers, shifting to PBL is not something that happens overnight. We have to push beyond our comfort zones to change how we teach and how we deliver content. I don’t think there is one teacher who would love to have a project take off and connect with the world to showcase the work of students. BUT, in order for that to happen teacher confidence cannot be overlooked.

I don’t always think it is realistic for teachers to launch a new project and expect the community to be involved. Sometimes we have to test out a project idea to gain a sense of what works, what does not work, and how things will all fit together. Only after teaching a project for a year or two do we begin to think about introducing the ideas to the world.

Not every teacher has that entrepreneur mindset where they just launch an idea and have the tough skin to let it roll. We all bring our own flavor to our classrooms and that needs to be embraced.

Many times I witness the glitches that happen in delivery are many times due to overlooking the simple idea of teacher confidence. Teachers need to feel confident in their work and their ideas. We are no different than our students. Once we have a project figured out we can then begin to push our ideas out to the community. We need to make sure that we support the comfort levels of teachers as long as they are still pushing their own comfort zones. This is key. I am not suggesting we don’t change our ways. What I am talking about is that as teachers stretch the edges of their comfort zone we must support and help them gain confidence to continue to purse these paths and not cut them down with negativity and critique. This only shuts them down. There will always be teachers who push beyond the walls of the school, but to expect every single teacher to do so is asking a lot. It takes time and by encouraging and helping teachers move to this type of mindset takes time.

Focus on your own school. Make your walls and halls shine with deep learning of students. Turn your school into a marketing department of deeper learning so when the community sees the work they will want to be part of the process. They will be asking how they can get involved. Start with the culture of your own building first before moving the community.

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Need Guidance and Feedback on Next Big Project in Education

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 7.39.20 AMI have decided to post my idea to the masses in hopes of gathering a few final insights before launching. I am stuck on a few items and need some help. I have been working through a new project idea and I need some feedback……honest feedback. Feel free to hammer it, tear it up, and let me know what you think. Tell me what you like. Tell me what sucks. I want this to work and I know it still needs some work.

Below is a link to a project that has started last year with our school and village in Africa. I am ready to crank things up a notch and move to a more massive scale and challenge not only myself, but teachers and students.

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s31/sh/cc6e7ccf-cd37-4ee9-a507-d7cbd3c36883/3e3485b6a9aa0a448c8f786d2b285342

I realize I have to start small which is why we will focus on our friends in Africa(read our whole journey here , but I have a vision of more schools, more connections, and powerful projects.

If you have time please check it out and give me your honest feedback.

I am hoping to get the site launched next week and begin. I have started to post books on eBay to get the ball rolling, but it is time to go all in before school starts and this gets left behind.

 

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BrushArtBot Presentation Reflection

Today I traveled to Johnston Middle School in Johnston, Iowa to present as a Master Teacher for Iowa Public Television. This was a small conference as this is something new for IPTV.

I decided to challenge myself by presenting in a new way. I did not use any slides and I did not use my computer or any tech. What I wanted to do was create more of a hands on workshop. I have sat through enough sessions and keynotes and PD where we sat, listened and walked away with intention but not IMPLEMENTATION.

I had 40 minutes to present my project BrushArtBot which is a page here on the site(see top menu)

This was a bit tough because I was not sure how many people were going to show up. In the end I had probably around 20 of the 30+ people here at the conference. What I wanted them to do was play, tinker, and experiment. In order for that to happen I had to talk less and let them do more.

I briefly talked about who I was and what I do. I then explained the materials in their baggies. Very quickly I explained how to assemble the brushbot.

Keep in mind they all had access to my lesson plans as well as the page on my website to see everything if they wanted.

What I found interesting was that like our students in the classroom the audience was quiet and bit hesitant to experiment. However, as soon as one guy had his bot moving everyone decided to move. They all wanted their bots to move as well.

Cheaply, I set up some board to create a short little racetrack so they could race their bots. They loved this. During this time I talked about the various extensions and connections about how we could connect these to any subject, any grade, and any learning from circuits, electricity, art, design, wiring, science, math, etc. I told them how they could create challenges about fastest by moving the motor, the battery, weight, etc. This really got their gears turning a bit.

Next, we had about 18 minutes left so I challenged them to the true design of converting their brushbot to an artbot. I had everything laid out for them to play. It was great to watch them try and make it happen. We had some success of bots painting some patterns. It was so fun to watch them go.

One thing that I was bummed about was having enough time to share with them how to connect the dots to true learning and standards. This is more than just a “fun” activity. True learning could occur with adding elements of a design notebook and the specific content you teach. This is something I will have to do a follow up video on to help with those that continue to use this project.

Additionally, I need to create a database of bots created. Some really wonderful designs were created. Also, I need to add more layers of challenges and post those videos online as well. I have several videos to add and finish editing.

In the end I was satisfied more than what I thought I would be. It was a great test run for this idea with many things for me to think about, fix, enhance, and improve upon.

I present at a conference next week and was not thinking about using this project, but I might change things to add this as part of my Tink Tank because the interest of the audience was high. To prepare is not cheap, but if I can excite teachers to add new ways of teaching, then it is worth the cost.

 


Created with flickr slideshow.

 

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The Power of International Collaboration: Iowa – Africa

This will take time to properly develop, but I wanted to
Uganda - America.png
keep a running log of what we are learning and doing.
We have connected with a village in

Uganda, Africa where we are examining success, education, and life between our location and theirs. It is becoming very powerful as we learn that not everything operates like it does in our little bubble in Bettendorf. This is so powerful and when connections are made, the kids really gain a sense of what the world has in store.

Project Goal


The question that we are working with for the unit on Africa is something like this

“What does success look like to you?”



Our goal here is to force students to look at what traits or values they believe personally captures the essence of success. We will then move them towards looking at people they know, local, country, and then global. We would then like for them to find a country or location in Africa that is successful based on their personal definition. The goal here is to connect their personal beliefs and ideas with a country they know very little about and to try to bring down the walls to some of their American mindsets.

As I worked with Eden we started to think deeper. Here is an email from Eden, where he has really upped the thinking to the project. This showcases the power of collaboration.
“That is a great question to start a unit with. There are so many levels to it.

Perhaps you could ask your students to do a video interview type project, they could interview their peers or teachers or members of society focusing on that question. Then wrap it up in a short video.
Then, you could ask what success means to people in an African country focusing on the children and/or adults.

I think the contrast in answers would shock your students and be a good education to them. Also, it is a realistic project that your students could do. They could develop skills in interviewing and video work.Flag-Pins-Uganda-USA.jpg

As part of the project, you could also turn the question around and ask “Who does success look like?” They could point out their hero and then research why they became successful.

Example of Success in Uganda:A boy who I taught to in Uganda in 2007 called Ronald met my friend Crystal who came to visit me. Crystal was impressed by this boy and decided to sponsor him. He didn’t disappoint, five years later he came second in the entire state in his exams recently.

The reason for his success: he got up at 4am everyday to start studying and didn’t finish until 10pm at night.

So that is how you get some of the best scores in the state, get up before dawn and start revising, stop studying when the electricity is switched off in the evening at your boarding school.

Ronald = Focus, determination and the understanding that he was given a chance in life which he took with both hands and didn’t look back. You could even turn the question around again and ask “What does failure look like to you?” For Ronald it would have been ‘missed opportunity’ if he hadn’t done his very best he would have missed a great opportunity to do well in life. He plans to become a teacher in the future.”
Eden shared with us a video of students talking about their school from 2008. This was a good video to give us and our students a sense of school in Africa where we would be communicating.


August


We started communication between teachers. We were working on the issues and how to make sure we could connect.

Over the summer the Atiira School was being built and updated when a lack of funds has kept it from being completed. Below are some images of the village and school.

Inline images 1
Inline images 1


The teacher’s accommodation that fell down.

How far we have built:

Inline images 2
Inline images 2

 

 

Inline images 3
Inline images 3


September

We prepared our materials, packed a camera with batteries and memory cards as well as some other goods and mailed off a package to Uganda.

Atiira Primary School is located in Soroti, central Uganda. It is seven hours north of Entebbe. Entebbe is where the largest airport in Uganda is located. It is a nice town and many rich people have their home there, including the President. It is half an hour from the capital, Kampala City.
We were trying to figure out the mailing system and this is something our students are still intrigued with. We learned that the post can be unreliable and the process can take a long time of sometimes months to reach certain areas. We had learned patience which is a good thing in our culture of instant and now. We wanted to make sure we provided money to send goods back to us. We learned that teachers make about $100 a month, so shipping costs of $5 – $10 are just not feasible for them. It was interesting packaging everything and hoping we hid money and the goods properly.

October

As we waited for our package to arrive, we viewed another video to teach some lessons about Uganda. Students received a complete view of what Uganda is like and began to understand the reasons why the meaning of ‘success’ is different. 

We watched Midian’s story. The video had a huge impact on students and really opened their eyes and lead to some great class discussions. Most have no idea what the life of a child in Uganda is like day-to-day.


Here is what I shared after viewing the video.

I am eternally grateful for what you are helping us do. We have one of our students who is considered one of the biggest bullies in the grade completely absorbed in this project. It has been an eye opener for her in ways that no other platform has been able to reach her.

I showed the video you linked of the beautiful Midian to the teachers doing this project. They were caught off guard a bit by what they saw. We have decided to show this in our 7th grade classes as well as the 8th grade group working on soccer equipment.

We were discussing a few things today and not sure if you have any answers or insights.

1. What are the possibilities of establishing a pen pal type structure to this project? I think if our students can connect to one person at the school they will be emotionally connected. I was thinking a picture and letter (very basic) might be something we could pull off if we supplied the materials and template of a letter. I don’t know enough yet about the school and the community to know if this would be too difficult or not.

2. We were also talking about transportation. How often do vehicles come to the village? We were on Google maps and just trying to make sense of the area. Do people in the village leave and travel elsewhere or remain permanently where they are located?

Thanks again for everything. I love it when the teachers are as excited and devoted to the project as the kids. That is when you know you have something special developing.

We later learned that the School location is here
All the children walk to school. Some walk for up to 45minutes to an hour to get to class. There is a main road near the school that vehicles pass along. This school is lucky in that fact, some schools are miles away from the nearest good road.

If a family is very rich they may have a car, rich family = motorcycle, middle class = bicycle, poor = no transport. People travel to the nearest town for supplies, using a friend’s motorcycle, cycling, or in the back of a truck.

November
On November 2nd the package finally arrived! We were so excited because we were starting to worry about it not making it to our friends.
As we continued to move forward with our project here locally we watched

Hans Rosling: Let my dataset change your mindset

On November 22nd, 2013 we received their video. It is AMAZING! And I cannot help but watch with a smile each and every single time.
The video was sent by a young man named Eddy, who is helping with video, editing, and communicating. He is working hard to ensure things are being done between schools. He has been fantastic in helping despite our minor setbacks due to the language barrier and technology needs. I am hoping to help him out as he is working hard to rise above and make something of himself.

December


Due to crazy weather, winter break, and other things to wrap up first semester the project stalled a bit

January 2014


We worked to capture photos and videos of our area and what success means to us. Students brought in thousands of images and videos. After sorting through it all, a computer crashing, then crashing again, and issues with audio we finally had our video ready in……

February
2.13.14: Our video in response to our friends in Africa



2.25.14

We received word today that the video is in the hands of our good friend Eddy. The issue we have now is once again waiting. It is hard for the students and our friends to see our students on a small phone screen. He is working to find a laptop that could be borrowed so the village can view our video properly. Once again this proves to be a powerful reminder that we are quite fortunate to have what we have. We often complain that our 11 laptop carts are just not enough to do proper learning. Perhaps we need another reality check.

MARCH


We received a video from the children of Atiira Primary School produced by Eddy!

It was great to see the children’s reaction to our video from Bettendorf. We also saw glimpses of their life, for example, how they collect drinking water.

A fascinating video! Thank you Atiira for making and sending it!



MAY

As we wrap up the year we are hosting a school supply drive. As students clean out their lockers we are having boxes placed in the social studies classrooms. We are working with the headmaster to reward the students in Atiira for working hard in school. We are learning some very important lessons in human connection. We have learned that we just don’t give out freebies because what is there to be gained for them in the long run? We are currently developing the system now to deliver the supplies to the school and continue an international communication between two schools who are very different, but are striving for the same thing – excellence in character and academics for their students.

We have larger and bigger plans for the next that we don’t want to unveil yet, but this has been one incredible journey this year. We have learned more than expected and are so excited to work together as a school to provide supplies to others who can really benefit.

I will continue with the updates throughout the summer as things develop.



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GLOBAL COLLABORATION PROJECTS ARE UNVEILED!

 

(this post is a cross post from my ALCOA Eagle Eye to the World blog)

It has been sometime since I have last posted here on the blog. Things are going as fast as the development and growth of Rudy.

Ever since the beginning of the year we have had students from all over the world connected using tools like Edmodo, blogs, Google Hangouts, Voicethread, and other tools to help share the power in watching and observing the ALCOA Bald Eagle Nest.

The last few months students have been working to connect and make a global collaborative project. This is not as easy as it sounds. I know we read all the time about technology and how simple it is, but there are many factors that come into play.

When working with various classrooms we must consider

-timezone

-vacation days of school districts

-weather implications

-requirements of a regular school

-age differences

Despite these factors the teachers and students involved in this project (you can check them out here) made it happen. It has been a pleasure and honor to work with so many amazing educators and students.

This is only the second year of doing this project and once again I have learned so much. I will be sharing these thoughts soon, but today I want to unveil the projects created by the kids.

They used their research, their voices, and their artwork to showcase to the world what they have learned. We have students from kindergarten on up to 5th grade represented.

If you go to our project page  and on the menu locate Student Pages you will see several categories. Each category has Voicethreads created by the students. These are voices from all the classrooms.

I would love for you to take a listen and to provide any feedback you can. I am always striving to improve as a leader of this project, but more importantly it is vital that these students understand their voices are being heard by the world.

So, please leave a comment on this blog or email me at aarmau@gmail.com

I will share it all with the teachers so the students can gain feedback as well.

I have a few more things I will be sharing as we continue to watch Rudy grow and test the boundaries of the nest.

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Classroom 2.0 Live Featured Teacher Presentation and Reflection on Student Voice, STEM, Teacher Tinker Time, and Pushing Boundaries

Saturday, May 17th I had the honor to be a featured teacher for Classroom 2.o.

It has been a while since I presented online. I did not want to have a boring presentation and wanted to cram as much in as I could.

I loved this chat. I loved that two of my students came online to speak. I left this open for any of my students who I work with to jump in. It is just another sign of the amazing student voice that we have developing in our school. I tried to convey not just student voice through action and in a general situation, but also through STEM activities. I wanted to showcase that student voice can look different based on the students and how you operate in your school.

Reflecting back I think the chat went well. I hope it provided benefit for others. As I continued to talk I was getting all fired up with my passion for student voice, play, tinkering, and just challenging ourselves to be better. I wish I had more time as an hour flies by when you get going.

If you have questions or want to know more about what I shared please reach out to me.

I plan on sharing out product descriptions, material lists, costs, etc. on all the projects I shared. I have some new ideas that generated from this presentation and will be sharing those soon.

Thanks to all who listened and joined. Thanks to my two awesome students who jumped in. This won’t be the last that we hear from them.

Here is a description of the presentation

We are so excited to have Aaron to help us wind down the school year and ramp up our motivation as our awesome May Featured Teacher! Aaron Maurer, known as Coffeechug, is a former gifted education teacher for Bettendorf Middle School in Iowa and is currently an Instructional Coach for the district. He was also a 6th grade social studies and literacy teacher prior to that. But his day doesn’t end there…after school he is a First Lego League Robotics coach, boys/girls basketball coach, and runs intramural football for 6th grade. Aaron was an Iowa Teacher of the Year Finalist for 2014 and is a member of the LEGO Education Advisory Panel. He advocates and operates several global projects and communications with students all over the world.

Aaron  and his students shared some of the amazing things he is doing with his students and teachers and three of his many passions: (1) STEM and the Power of Play, Tinkering, and Coding (including things beyond curriculum with after school programs, bringing students in to tinker and develop, and some of his current projects with robotics, Arduino, and Young Engineers of Today); (2) Student Voice, his heart and soul, where students are part of project tunings, and a student group called Iowa High Five (a group of students whose mission is to educate and inspire youth to reach their full potential as leaders) and (3) PBL which is being implemented school-wide in his middle school of 1100 students that incorporates a process called project tunings.

Recording (full): https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/jwsdetect/playback.jnlp?psid=2014-05-17.0906.M.ACE02B5F35AA7E7975F015AAC6F794.vcr&sid=2008350

Tiny URL for Recording: http://hnyctt.me/cr20live-AaronMaurerFeaturedTeacher-5-17-14

Recording Chat: http://wiki.classroom20.com/May17_2014

Here is a list of all resources shared and discussed

http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=1327662

Here is an archive of the presentation

http://live.classroom20.com/archive-and-resources

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