10 Unusual Projects for Hour of Code

Coding–that geeky subject that confounds students and frightens teachers. Yet, kids who can code are better at logical thinking and problem solving, more independent and self-assured, and more likely to find a job when they graduate. In fact, according to Computer Science Educationby 2020, there will be 1.4 million coding jobs and only 400,000 applicants.

December 3-9, 2018, Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one-hour introduction to coding, programming, and why students should love it. It’s designed to show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. Here are ten unusual projects (each, about one hour in length) you can use in your classroom to participate in this wildly popular event:

  1. Alt Codes
  2. Animation
  3. Coding with pixel art
  4. Human robot
  5. Human algorithm
  6. IFTTT
  7. Macros
  8. QR codes
  9. Shortkeys
  10. Wolfram Alpha widgets

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Hour of Code 101

December 3-9th, 2018, Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one-hour introduction to students on coding, programming, and why they should love it, designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. Throughout participating websites, you’ll find a variety of self-guided tutorials that say “anybody can do, on a browser, tablet, or smartphone”. You’ll even find unplugged tutorials for classrooms without computers. No experience needed.

Coding–that mystical geeky subject that confounds students and teachers alike. Confess, when you think of coding, you see:

coding

 

…when you should see

coding

It feels like:

When it should feel like:

Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one-hour introduction to coding, programming, and why students should love it. It’s designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. If you’re not sold 100% on the importance of computer science in a student’s future, watch this video:

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Metaverse–Education Game-changer

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are buzzwords that every educator wants to know more about. They are two distinct functions. Kathy Schrock, columnist for Discovery Education explains:

Augmented reality layers computer-generated enhancements on top of an existing reality to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it.

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of real life… It immerses users by making them feel they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand.

The differences are actually pretty simple. Virtual means experiencing a world that doesn’t exist. Augmented means adding something virtual to the physical world.

The AR that most people are familiar with is Pokemon Go. This app was wildly popular because of the seamless integration of real and fantasy. Moving this sort of AR to education gamifies learning in ways that challenge creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving.

One tool that stands out in the creation and use of AR for Education is Metaverse.

What is Metaverse?

Metaverse has become one of the most popular AR apps in schools. It is a forever-free platform with no in-app purchases, no premium offerings, and no limits on what you can use on a zero budget. It blends a website for the creation of AR experiences with an app for their display, nimbly allowing users to create, share, and interact with their AR ‘experiences’ (or projects). It’s easy to use and requires no coding. Users can access a wide variety of AR games, lesson plans, and other experiences created by others and shared in the Metaverse ecosystem via the free app (reminder: Always preview these to be sure they fit your student group). For those looking for greater personalization, they can create their own on the website.

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Big Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers!

teachers pay teachers

Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store for big savings on November 26th and 27th!

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Happy Thanksgiving Week to All!

I’m taking next week off. I’ll be preparing for my daughter’s holiday visit from her home in DC and my son who’s visiting virtually from Okinawa Japan. I am so excited to see both of them!

I’ll be back November 26th. Any emergencies–drop me a line at askatechteacher@gmail.com.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today and TeachHUB, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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A Thanksgiving Poll for Students–What does ‘Turkey’ mean?

Last year, I did a poll on the meaning of the word ‘turkey’. This was to demonstrate how powerful symbols are to your students and do so with an authentic use of technology to support discussion on math, language standards, and the holidays.

As a summation to your discussion with students on symbols, idiomatic expressions, geography, farms, or another topic, post this on your Smartscreen. The poll includes lots of definitions for the word ‘turkey’. Have each student come up sometime during the day (or class) and make their choices.

What definitions did your students come up with I didn’t list?

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Categories: Critical thinking, Holidays, Lesson plans | 1 Comment

16 Thanksgiving Sites, 2 Apps, and 2 Projects

Need a few websites and apps to fill in sponge time? Here are Thanksgiving websites that will keep students busy and still teach them:

  1. Canadian Thanksgiving
  2. Online/Offline Thanksgiving activities
  3. Plimoth Plantation
  4. Starfall–Silly Turkey
  5. Thanksgiving edu-websites–CybraryMan
  6. Thanksgiving Games
  7. Thanksgiving games and puzzles
  8. Thanksgiving games–Quia
  9. Thanksgiving information–history, more
  10. Thanksgiving Jigsaw
  11. Thanksgiving Jigsaw II
  12. Thanksgiving Lesson Plans
  13. Thanksgiving Tic-tac-toe
  14. Thanksgiving video–Brainpop
  15. Thanksgiving Wordsearch
  16. The First Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving Activities That Keep You in Charge of Learning

thanksgivingTeaching the days before big holidays is challenging. Students and teachers alike are ready for a break. Both struggle to pay attention regardless of how innovative and engaging are the lesson plans.

I’ve been there often. As a result, I’ve come up with fun ways to support learning while students power through the last few days of school. Here are seven I use during the pre-Thanksgiving season:

ASCII Art

Time required: Less than one class

ASCII Art is the graphic design technique of creating images by typing the letters, numbers, and symbols defined by ASCII Standards. Holiday examples include this Thanksgiving pumpkin and these holiday bells. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open your word processing program (MS Word, Google Docs, or another).
  2. Add a watermark of a picture you’d like to use, preferably a single image rather than one that includes a background. Silhouettes are perfect for this sort of project.
  3. Type over the image with the letters, symbols, and numbers that best fit the outline. It’s fine to use one letter throughout (like an X).
  4. Add color by highlighting the letters, numbers, and symbols typed over the parts you’d like colored (such as the stem of a pumpkin or the bow on Christmas bells in the linked samples above).
  5. When you’ve covered the image with characters, delete the watermark. That leaves just your typing.
  6. Save, print, share, publish as is customary in your classes.

Tie-ins: Use this not only for holidays but any academic class by creating an artistic image of the topic being discussed. Click the link for an example of Abraham Lincoln to align with study of the American Civil War or this one of the American Revolution. This is also a fun and authentic way for students to practice keyboarding.

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Book Review: Repositioning Educational Leadership

education leadershipRepositioning Educational Leadership

by James Lytle et al

4/5

The idea of using inquiry to drive change is both inspired common sense and not entirely obvious. That’s why when I heard about Repositioning Educational Leadership: Practitioners Leading from an Inquiry Stance (Teachers College Press 2018), I was thrilled to read it. Teachers are familiar with the inquiry classroom but it doesn’t always filter up to administrators.

“…educational leadership for k12 schools is increasingly complicated, as demands on educational leaders and schools continue to escalate.”

 “Leaders need opportunities to learn from the ‘inside’ of other leaders’ experiences, doubts, and all. This volume addresses that need.”

The authors, James Lytle, Susan Lytle, and Michael Johanek, collected evidence from school leadership who used inquiry to solve recalcitrant problems in their schools. The result is this book with a simple rationale: Education leaders must position themselves as inquirers. They must lead from an inquiry stance.

The book is organized into three sections: Learning from and with Students, Collaborating with Teachers and the School Community, and Leading System-level Inquiry. Each chapter within the theme is written by a school leader and shares their story of how leading with inquiry solved a problem they faced. These range from struggling to serve diverse groups of students to addressing where the usual education practices were failing. I found all of them interesting and instructive, each resonating with some aspect of my own experience. In all of these, solutions included the application of inquiry–talking to students, to faculty, to groups, to parents. And listening.

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Measuring Up–the Key to Meeting State/National Standards

measuring upLast year, only 61 percent of high school students who took the ACT English achievement test were deemed college-ready. In math, it was 41 percent. We teachers recognize it is our fiduciary responsibility to fulfill state and national education standards that prepare students for college or career. Many of us find students benefit greatly when the school employs curriculum-based assessments to measure progress. Why? Because by teaching, assessing knowledge, tracking progress, and personalizing to student needs, we can determine if students are accomplishing what they must to complete the work of learning.

Unfortunately, most textbooks offer no easy way to measure overall progress toward completing state or national standards, nor do they backfill for a lack of knowledge. Both of these are critical pieces to the successful accomplishment of learning goals.

This is where Mastery Education’s Measuring Up can help.

What is Measuring Up?

Measuring Up is a suite of tools that supplements any classroom curriculum by offering standards-based instruction, practice, assessment, and reporting customized to many state or national standards–with the singular goal of assisting students in meeting English Language Arts, Mathematics, and/or Science standards.

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