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Vicki Davis
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5 Ways to Bring Financial Literacy into Any School

20 April, 2018 - 20:09

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Brian Page has ideas to bring financial literacy to every school. Whether you want games, curriculum, or to know what’s next in financial literacy, this is a must-listen podcast for anyone working with financial literacy in their school.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript 5 Ways to Bring Financial Literacy into Any School

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e295
Date: April 25, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with one of my favorite financial literacy gurus, Brian Page about five ways to bring financial literacy into the classroom.

Now Brian, what is our first way?

Brian: Thanks for having me. I am excited to be on.

So I have to start with NextGen Personal Finance. https://www.ngpf.org/

#1 – NextGen Personal Finance

NextGen Personal Finance and Tim Ranzetta, who is the founder, was just recognized earlier this week by Jumpstart https://www.jumpstartinc.org/#1 as really the leader in the industry.

He just received the pinnacle award, and that night, he announced that he would continue to give back and make the programming and the resources free. He dedicated 25 million more dollars over the next ten years to iensurethat he could do that.

The organization is full of up to date resources that include anything from lessons that are comprehensive, a turnkey semester class, a turnkey 9-week class, a turnkey trimester class to single activities that are interactive that teachers can use.

He has games that he’s developed. He has a blog post. He has podcasts to keep teachers current on evolving content.

He’s dedicated to providing training throughout the country. He just had a national conference in San Francisco that was entirely sponsored and had 110 teachers in to provide three days of training.

Over the summer, he’s posting all kinds of Fin Camps — one, two and three day Fin Camps in various states across the nation that teachers can attend for free.

The other thing that I love, beyond how comprehensive their curriculum is, is that he has a large full time staff who listens to teachers. They are constantly updating it, which is particularly necessary in the financial space, where it’s constantly evolving.

And the other thing that sticks out is that it’s primarily shared through Google Drive. So, many teachers are like me, where they like to take lessons or sources and “tweak” them, based on what’s best for their specific students. By having everything on Drive makes it really easy to go in and make small little subtle tweaks.

Vicki: Awesome!

Brian: So that’s… Yeah! Yeah, I’m excited about that one.

Vicki: Great! What’s our second?

Brian: Our second is a complete resource dump. There’s so much out there. I wanted to bring to light some other resources people can look into later.

#2 – Several Other Resources

NEFE https://www.nefe.org/ is a great resource for students in high school and in college. They have great lessons on their website as well. They have a terrific Life Values Quiz that I love to use.

The Counsel for Economic Education https://www.councilforeconed.org/ is terrific, not just for financial literacy teachers, but for teachers who teach economics.

Knowledge at Wharton High School http://kwhs.wharton.upenn.edu/ is an extensive website full of podcasts and articles and lessons. I was on a team that developed quite a few lessons that are downloadable. They’re free. Some other great rockstar teachers helped with that. Lisa Bender and Lois Stalljack.

Jumpstart, of course. https://www.jumpstartinc.org/ They have a clearinghouse that allows teachers to dive in and enter search criteria and filter out specific lessons for them — and then take charge today.

And finally, GFLEC http://gflec.org/ has micro-credentials. So if you Google Gfleck there are twenty micro credentials that I created along with other stand out people who really led the project. The thinking behind that is to attach teaching methodologies to specific topics. The methodologies that are coupled with the topics are evidence-based.

Vicki: Wow.

Brian: You can show that that methodology is effective for that topic.

So that’s my Number Two, and I know that that’s about fifty…

Vicki: Oh, but that’s fine. Teachers will love all of those links that we will put in the Shownotes, like we always do.

Brian: (laughs)

Vicki: OK. So what is our third?

Brian: The third is Time for Payback https://www.timeforpayback.com/

#3 – Time for Payback

It was created and it was funded by NextGen Personal Finance.

It was announced — or I should say it was released a few months ago, and then the New York Times did a really good article on them.

And essentially, the founder of NextGen Personal Finance saw that the game “Spent” — which is really popular for financial literacy teachers — was really effective. Teachers loved it for a number of reasons. So he hired the same company who developed that game to also develop this game.

The goal of the game is for students to experience the types of decisions that you have to make just prior to college and through college that you don’t necessarily think about.

We always think about, you know, how much to borrow, and interest rates, and on and on.

But he gets you to think about how to make the day to day decisions that are tough. Do you work and take time away from social life and enjoy college less? Or do you join a fraternity? Are you able to sign up for your classes on time?

So you’re constantly introduced to these little daily dilemmas that all of us face in college.

And then it scores you, based upon how you do.

Vicki: So is this a little simulation, or are others in it, or is it just kind of independent with you in it?

Brian: It is an independent simulation, and it takes anywhere from 20-40 minutes. It’s probably the best tool base that I’ve ever seen to help teach kids about college.

Vicki: WOW. That’s a great endorsement. Very cool.

OK, what’s our fourth?

Brian: Our fourth would be VISA’s Financial Football Game https://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/play/financial_football .

#4 VISA’s Financial Football Game

They are going to be very soon releasing a new iteration of it in the next couple of months.

I was thrilled to be on the team that did some of the question revisions. It’s a really fun way to introduce financial literacy quiz questions, like Quiz Bowl format, questions in classrooms, anywhere from elementary to high school students.

They also have Financial Soccer.

They have a big announcement coming in the next couple of months on a story-based game. I unfortunately can’t go into any detail, but I was thrilled to be on the team for that. I can assure you that it’s something that people have never seen before. It’s an engaging way for students to experience the type of personal finance decisions you have to make on a daily basis. Then, based on their choices, they’re sent in different directions.

So, this whole story is riddled with financial landmines that are tough to face. The challenge is, can teens face those, and then end up winning the game?

Vicki: Oh, very cool.

OK, what’s our last one?

Brian: The last is a challenge to the listeners.

#5 – A Challenge to You

So I was able to partner with United Way and bring United Way in to file tax returns with my students.

So my students brought their W-2s and any other paperwork that was needed, and United Way volunteers sat with my students throughout each of the bells that I teach, and they filed their tax returns with them.

A lot of people forget that teens oftentimes have earned income. I saw a statistic once that only 3% of teens file a return, yet 25% of teens have earned income. So you have all of these teens out there working, and we know the standard deduction next year is $12,000 — meaning they’re going to get every penny back that they paid in federal taxes, assuming that they didn’t put themselves as exempt.

So the conclusion of the day? My students received $6,500 in tax refunds.

It’s something any teacher can do.

Vicki: Wow. Of course, you’ll have to check with the parents and see who’s being claimed where.

Brian: Oh yeah!

Vicki: That’s awesome!

OK, so we have all of these different resources.

Let’s finish up with this. Brian, do you think there are schools that are still not covering financial literacy? I can’t imagine how, but is it doable.

Brian: (laughs)

I KNOW there are!

If you go to NextGen Personal Finance’s website, they have up in the upper right hand corner a #finhero, and it was an extensive project where not only did somebody survey 85% of high schools in the United States, but they build out all of these advocacy tools that teachers could use if they wanted to advocate for financial literacy.

So what they found in the process was that only 1 in 6 students are receiving financial education in the United States.

Vicki: (groans)

Brian: So, just think about how detrimental it is for an 18 year old whose single decisions are compounding through their entire life.

If they miss a payment, they don’t know that it’s on the credit report for 7 years.

If they misuse a credit card, they don’t understand how it affects their credit score.

If they don’t start investing for retirement when they’re young, they miss out on compounding and will never have the opportunity to retire.

You can go on and on about all of these adult-like decisions we’re asking students to make before they even graduate high school, and we’re never giving them the tools to make those decisions.

Vicki: You know what? If a school claims that it’s “future ready” and they’re not giving every student access to financial literacy, they can just stop pretending that they’re future ready.

Brian: Totally.

Because if you’re not ready to manage money, you’re not ready for your future.

Brian: Very well said.

Vicki: Yeah.

So teachers, advocate for it.

We’ve given you lots of resources. There will be lots included on the blog post accompanying this.

Financial literacy is just something that we all have to do. We all have ideas for what we can do.

Brian Page is a fantastic resource, as you can tell. He’s got a lot of impact happening with financial literacy programs around the country.

Let’s do this!

Brian: Sounds great! Please, others, get on board.

Let’s make this happen. Let’s make change happen.

Let’s get personal finance skills in every classroom!

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Financial Literacy Resources

1. NGPF: http://kwhs.wharton.upenn.edu/

2. Other great resources include:

– NEFE https://www.nefe.org/

– Council for Economic Education https://www.councilforeconed.org/

– Knowledge @ Wharton HS http://kwhs.wharton.upenn.edu/

– Jump$tart https://www.jumpstart.org/

– Take Charge Today https://takechargetoday.arizona.edu/

– GFLEC Microcredentials http://gflec.org/education/financial-literacy-micro-credentials/

3. Payback (College Game): https://www.timeforpayback.com/

4. VISA games financial football: https://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/play/financial_football

5. Tax Filing day

Bio as submitted

Brian Page loves to teach personal finance at Reading Community City Schools in Ohio, where he was named the ’11 Milken National Educator Recipient and CNN Money Hero. He served on the Working Group for President Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. He is happily married with three children and has the world’s best dog.

Blog:https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianhpage/

Twitter: @FinEdchat

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post 5 Ways to Bring Financial Literacy into Any School appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

The Best PD for Math Teachers (and How to Use It) #mtbos #iteachmath

20 April, 2018 - 10:53

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

David Petro has been using Twitter for his math PD for more than eight years. Learn about the current trends in hashtag learning and the popular techniques for harvesting learning from this social network.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript The Best PD for Math Teachers (and How to Use It)

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e294
Date: April 19, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with David Petro a math and science consultant from Ontario, Canada.

Now, David, you have a real belief about the best PD that you have ever had. What is it?

David: I’d like to say the best PDs I’ve had — and have been using for almost eight or nine years now — has been, Twitter, in fact.

To me, Twitter is more than a place that celebrities and politicians can share their thoughts. It turns out it’s actually a great place that educators meet and share what they’re doing in their classrooms.

Vicki: Now, all of us, me included, have gotten frustrated with Twitter because it’s not quite what it used to be. I could go in the airport and tweet out, “Hey, I’m in the Atlanta Airport, and then other friends would see it immediately, and we could meet up, and chat and have lunch.

It used to just be chronological, and you’d see everything. And now, we’re not seeing everything quite as much as we used to.

How are you getting around that problem?

Twitter is now different. How are you working around that?

David: I guess I kind of use Twitter differently.

I don’t use it, as a communication tool between people, at least not at first.

I use it to look for things that relate to education, and to do that I actually really focus more on hashtags instead of people. So I’m less worried about people following me or me following people. I instead worry about following hashtags.

So when I’m using Twitter, I’m using an app like Tweetdeck, and I’ve got my different hashtags lined up. I’m looking at what people are sending using those hashtags.

Vicki: OK, so what are your favorite hashtags, David?

What are your favorite hashtags?

David: Everyone has favorite hashtags, right?

Vicki: (agrees)

David: (laughs)

So, I guess when I first started using Twitter, I thought #math would be a really great Twitter hashtag to follow, but it turns out there are a lot of people that don’t like math…

Vicki: (laughs)

David: (laughs)

They’re happy to talk about it, and say lots of bad things about math on Twitter.

There’s a little bit of trial and error involved

But I eventually found out that #mathchat is actually a really great hashtag. Usually when people use that hashtag, they’re basically saying, “Here is something that is related to math.” There’s usually a picture, and there’s usually a link to something related to math — and usually related to math education.

That’s actually quite useful. That means that tweet has really got some meat to it.

It turns out there are lots of “chat” hashtags — #scichat and #edchat and #elemchat (elementary).

When people use those hashtags, they’re basically saying, “Hey! This tweet is about something to do with this thing. You might find it useful.”

Vicki: So do you have another favorite besides #mathchat?

So you named #elemchat and #scichat. What else?

David: You said we only have about 8-10 minutes…

Vicki: (laughs) Give us some, and tell us what they’re about.

David: I usually use “math” as the main focus of my Twitter presence, so some of the hashtags that I use besides #mathchat…

One of the most recent ones that has actually become quite popular is — and it’s kind of funny to say it — is #mtbos. Some people pronounce it #mtbos and that actually stands for the Math Twitter Blogosphere.

The Math Twitter Blogosphere is at #mtbos

What that really means is that this is a community of teachers from around the world that have basically started using Twitter to communicate with each other to share their math journey, a look inside their classrooms, and at the same time have started blogging about what they have done.

So it’s a combination of looking at blogs and reading Twitter, and they’ve all sort of created this community of math teachers. You can pretty much be sure that if it has the #mtbos, there’s something about teaching math in that Twitter post.

More recently, there was a little bit of a brouhaha because — it’s a very cryptic hashtag, #mtbos. I think it might have been Dan Meyer @ddmeyer –I know he’s been on your show — who suggested changing the hashtag to #iteachmath.

Vicki: Huh!

David: And so that seems like a much more reasonable hashtag use. So #mtbos or #iteachmath are really also great hashtags to follow.

Another great hashtag is #iteachmath

Vicki: You know, the one thing about using a cryptic hashtag is that sometimes it does keep the spammers away, doesn’t it?

David: It does… It does.

Vicki: But it can also keep people — who might want to find it useful — away, too!

David: That’s right. It’s a double-edged sword.

Vicki: Yeah.

So that’s great, the conversations that you’re having.

Now are there any other ones that you recommend, that you find really useful?

David: In terms of hashtags, you have to really try stuff out.

I like using #scichat as well, because that one is related to science education. As a science consultant, I’m looking for that. There are all kinds of variants on hashtags. So even our people in the UK, they will use “maths” with an “s”…

Vicki: (agrees)

Try variants of names of hashtags

David: So you just have to sort of try with variants.

It really does depend on what you are looking for.

Because I’m mostly dealing with math — that’s kind of where my focus has been — but you can actually just search on that thing called Google for educational hashtags. You wouldn’t believe the list that you’ll come up with.

Vicki: We’ll put a link in. Jerry Blumengarten, @Cybraryman1 has lots of great links.

So David, tell us a story.

I’ll tell you this. I’ve trained teachers on Twitter, and then they go and delete your Twitter account right then. And I’m like, “Oh my goodness! There are so many useful things!”

Tell us a story about something that’s happened that you found out about on Twitter, and it improved the classroom.

David: The perfect — if I can go back to the #mtbos — this is a grassroots group of teachers who actually started to create their own conference in the summer. They called it the Twitter Math Camp.

If you use Twitter, you might have heard the phrase a “tweetup”?

Vicki: (agrees)

David: Do you know what a tweetup is?

Vicki: Oh, yes.

David: That’s when you physically meet the people you know on Twitter.

The Twitter Math Camp and associated tweetup

So they’ve developed this huge tweetup where they meet at someplace in North America every summer for four days, and they talk about math. They have a regular conference, only it’s super grassroots.

It’s interesting, because last year I actually went to my first Twitter Math Camp, and I presented a topic with a teacher whom I’d never met before from California, only on Twitter. We actually presented a workshop together, and it was a really interesting experience to present with somebody cold that you’d actually never physically talked to before.

Vicki: Awesome!

And so what did you take away from that, from Twitter Math Camp?

DId you get a lot of resources, a lot of ideas, or how do you compare it to the more formal math conferences you go to?

David: It was interesting, because I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. It turned out to be one of the best conferences I had ever been to, for myself. I think because those people who — it sounds kind of accusational, “those people” — are all just as geeked about math as I am.

So the depth with which we talked about topics went right into the night. It was a really, really great community to be a part of.

Vicki: Let’s finish up. A 30-second pep talk to math teachers on jumping in to Twitter for learning about math.

David: Don’t write Twitter off. It’s a great place to find stuff.

Don’t write Twitter off. It’s a great place to find stuff.

As long as you’re not looking for anything too specific, that feed is a really great place to find ideas that you’ve never thought of before, to teach math and to bring math alive for your kids everyday.

Vicki: Teachers, sign up for Twitter and use something like Tweetdeck. I use something called HootSuite.

Yes, the algorithms have changed. Lots of us who’ve been around for a long time have complained about it. But you know what? There is still a lot of usefulness in Twitter. I still find it useful, even if it has changed from the “good old days” when I could actually meet a friend in the airport because I tweeted it out and they saw it on Twitter. (laughs)

Things do change on us, but we can still use these tools for awesome professional development.

Thanks!

David: No problem.

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

David is a Math & Science consultant at the Windsor-Essex Catholic DSB. He is a big advocate of sharing resources (and getting free stuff), online PLCs and maximizing the power of the hashtag. He a contributing author of several secondary math textbooks and the president-elect of the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME). He can be found sharing the math resources he finds weekly at http://ontariomath.blogspot.ca/, sharing the data sets he likes at http://found-data.blogspot.ca/ and sharing the activities he’s created at http://engaging-math.blogspot.ca/. When he’s not sharing he’s either swimming, biking or running to get ready for his next Ironman triathlon.

Blogs: http://ontariomath.blogspot.ca/

http://found-data.blogspot.ca/

http://engaging-math.blogspot.ca/

Twitter: @davidpetro314

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post The Best PD for Math Teachers (and How to Use It) #mtbos #iteachmath appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Supercharge Student (and Teacher) Financial Literacy With #PowerofEcon Day on April 26

19 April, 2018 - 08:23

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Managing money can be a challenge for many adults. It’s not always easy for people to keep debt down, pay bills, and manage finances effectively. Consequently, many schools are implementing financial literacy programs. If you haven’t done this yet, or even if your school already has such a program, your teachers and classes will want to join #PowerofEcon Day on April 26. These free activities and a power-packed Twitter chat will energize and provide support for your financial literacy discussions. The Twitter chat will be live at noon Eastern Time using #PowerofEcon. To prepare, help your students create questions to pose to the featured economist. As a result of this celebration, we hope these resources will help teachers and students get excited about economics.

Celebrate the Power of Economics with the #PowerofEcon chat on April 26. Your students can ask questions of an economist and more. Use Twitter to connect to other classes tackling financial literacy education.

April is Financial Literacy Month

The power of economics is in play everywhere, and April is the month to embrace it. Think of #PowerofEcon Day for finance and economics as what Pi Day is to Math class.  This is our day to celebrate and discuss financial literacy.

Sponsored by Econ Essentials from Discovery Education and CME Group

On Thursday, April 26th, celebrate Financial Literacy Month by boosting your students’ understanding of personal finance on #PowerOfEcon Day.  With this in mind, Econ Essentials is providing free, standards-aligned resources for your use.

Created by CME Group and Discovery Education, Econ Essentials is designed to help high school students learn economic principles through the use of real-world examples.

Join the #PowerofEcon Events on April 26

Get ready for an action-packed day of economic discussion with classrooms across the country on Twitter @DiscoveryEd with the #PowerofEcon hashtag:

  • 10AM: The Power of People examines the three-part mini-documentary series from Seeker Stories. This series features people shaping the impact of economics on the world as we know it. As an illustration of the importance of financial literacy, Seeker is a global showcase of people who are making a difference in the places where they live. Teaching Tip: You’ll want to bookmark these videos and use them in your courses to make every day a #PowerOfEcon Day.
  • 12PM: The Power of Possibility features an interactive live chat with CME Group’s Chief Economist, Bluford Putnam. Notably, your students can pose their economic questions for him to answer. I look forward to joining in the conversation as well. Teaching Tip: Just use the hashtag #PowerofEcon at noon ET on that day. Have your finance classes create and pose questions during this time as well.
  • 2PM: The Power of Content dives into interactive learning modules on finance, fuel, and the food system. Econ Essentials has some excellent units to help students understand these concepts. Teaching Tip: If you’re in a 1:1 environment, split the videos up and let students discuss, share, and compare highlights.
  • 4PM: The Power of Futures takes your economic learning to the next level by exploring investment concepts. This more advanced course from Econ Essentials helps students understand investing, hedging, and speculating. It includes quizzes, a game, and some infographics for you to use and explore as you teach about investment. If you play a “stock market game” or do any other investment-related activities, this module is for you. Teaching Tip: If you’ve already had some investment experience, have students explore and share the infographics or check out the quizzes in your classroom.
How You Can Participate in #PowerofEcon

Using #PowerofEcon, you and your students can tweet out what you’re doing to learn about financial literacy and the power of economics. Be sure to include #giveaway for a chance to win a gift card.*

And get your finance and financial literacy classes to join the Twitter chat at noon. Even if you’re not in class, students can give you questions to ask the economist. This will be a fun, exciting opportunity for classes to connect about financial literacy and understand how Twitter chats work!

Join the Twitter chat at noon ET on April 26 and all day long for free financial literacy resources.

How Econ Essentials Can Help Your Students All Year Long

Econ Essentials has interactive learning modules that help students understand real-world economic principles in action. The videos by Seeker Stories are a fantastic tool for illustrating the principles of real-world finance. The Power of Futures will help your students understand investment. So, even though we’re sharing this content on April 26, these incredible resources are available to you all year long.

Let’s celebrate economics, finance, and investing on April 26. I’ll see you on the #PowerofEcon hashtag on April 26 and at the Twitter chat at noon that day!

Information on Bluford Putnam, the Economist in the Twitter Chat

If you want to share the bio of Bluford Putnam, the economist who is the expert for the #PowerofEcon Twitter chat, here’s the bio to share with your students.

Bluford (Blu) Putnam has served as Managing Director and Chief Economist of CME Group since May 2011. He is responsible for leading economic analysis on global financial markets by identifying emerging trends, evaluating economic factors and forecasting their impact on CME Group and the company’s business strategy. He also serves as CME Group’s spokesperson on global economic conditions and manages external research initiatives.

Prior to joining CME Group, Putnam gained more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry with concentrations in central banking, investment research and portfolio management. He most recently served as Managing Partner for Bayesian Edge Technology & Solutions, Ltd., a financial risk management and portfolio advisory service he founded in 2000. He also has served as President of CDC Investment Management Corporation and Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer for Equities and Asset Allocation at the Bankers Trust Company in New York. His background also includes economist positions with Kleinwort Benson, Ltd., Morgan Stanley & Company, Chase Manhattan Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Putnam holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Florida Presbyterian College (later renamed Eckerd College) and a Ph.D.in economics from Tulane University. He has authored five books on international finance, as well as many articles that have been published in academic journals and business publications.

Disclosures

* Recipient shall not accept this gift card if accepting such gift card is prohibited by any policies or procedures with which such recipient or recipient’s employer is required to comply.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post Supercharge Student (and Teacher) Financial Literacy With #PowerofEcon Day on April 26 appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Bringing Literature to Life in Open Sim

19 April, 2018 - 01:57

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Mary Howard’s students build and learn in Open Sim, a virtual world like Second Life. From building architectural constructs to understanding the Diary of Anne Frank, literature comes alive in this virtual world.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript Bringing Literature to Life in Open Sim

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e293
Date: April 18, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Mary Howard sixth grade teacher in New York State. She was a finalist for New York State Teacher of the Year for this year, 2018.

Mary, you are bringing literature to life in Open Sim.

You and I were actually talking before the show. I used to do some work at Open SIm, and people really pushed me toward Unity. I found it to be really hard.

What is Open Sim? It sounds like there are still people using it, huh?

What is Open Sim, and is anyone still using it?

Mary: Yeah, there’s still quite a few educators, especially out in the trenches, using Open Sim.

Sometimes it’s a hard concept to describe. It’s a virtual environment.

We hear a lot of talk now in Ed Tech circles about how we can get these students engaged and speak a language that they’re speaking. Really an Open Sim (simulator) is a great way to do that.

We bring these students into a virtual world. They have an avatar, and the avatar walks around this virtual world. Then I incorporate my curriculum through the virtual environment. It’s really exciting stuff!

Vicki: So educators, think about (how) some people host their own Minecraft servers. This is in some ways like Second Life. It looks a little bit more realistic than the pixelated Minecraft types. A lot of really cool things you can do in Open Sim, even though some people have pushed toward Unity.

So what are you doing with Anne Frank and teaching literature in you Open Sim world, Mary?

Mary: Yes! Well, the students have this world that they go into. The platform is held at a server with our local district.

Like you described, just to give people a little more of a background, it’s really great for middle schoolers, because by the time they’ve hit sixth and seventh grade, a lot of them have moved on beyond Minecraft, or they really can’t get their heads around the fact that a teacher is using Minecraft.

I always say to the students, “It’s like Minecraft on steroids. We’ve gone away from the pixelation, yet we still have the power of the building and construction,” which really speaks to students’ creativity.

Open Sim is like Minecraft on steroids

So in the program that I use, the Anne Frank house was actually re-designed in the virtual environment for the students to visit. So they go into a reconstructed Anne Frank house.

They read, of course, the companion novel that goes along with it, and they’re able to sort of “see” and visualize what’s going on in the novel.

Yet they’re also able to build and construct their own reflective pieces within the virtual environment. In one case, a student actually built a World War II bomber and placed that in the Anne Frank Museum that’s in the virtual world.

So, there are just so many ways to be more hhands-onwith the novel when you’re using a virtual environment.

Vicki: What are some of the things that students are really taking away, that you couldn’t get from just a class discussion about Anne Frank?

Mary: Well, it’s really an engagement practice.

The virtual environment group that I work with — this Open Sim group — I actually don’t do the Anne Frank house.

I do an extension off of that, which came from the initial project. It was a three-year project. Several teachers began the Anne Frank that’s actually in our seventh and eighth grade curriculum in our building.

But then I began the project in this Open Sim environment with “An Era of the King.”

So you sort of have to imagine the Middle Ages and Medieval Times, which is the curriculum that I teach.

Teaching the Middle Ages in a virtual environment

It’s great to teach the Middle Ages to begin with — you have your knights and kings and queens and castles — but it’s even better when you can bring them there!

So I had thirty kids in the computer lab. They’re all in there as an avatar, wearing Middle Ages clothing, walking around a Middle Ages village.

Then of course, the curriculum is gamified, so they have different levels of challenges that they have to engage in — which are knowledge based — in order to learn the curriculum, but also succeed in the virtual world.

So when you asks questions about what do the students get out of it? It’s just this whole package of things. It’s taking curriculum, making it engaging and exciting. and putting it at a level where the students are genuinely coming from nowadays

Vicki: So you’ve been using this for a while. Are there any mistakes you’ve made in the past?

Are there any mistakes we can avoid?

Mary: Oh goodness, yes! (laughs)

That conversation could even be longer than the successes. (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs)

Mary: I think that just comes with technology. People ask me, “How do you do all this tech stuff?”

And the first words I say are, “Be fearless.” You have to just be willing to let it go and be willing to understand that mistakes and accidents will happen.

Our first experience, the very first time… I was so excited to get these students in the Open SImulator. We sat there on laptops in a classroom, and I tried to get all 25 students online at the exact same time.

We overloaded our system. No one could get on. Everybody was raising their hands and kind of whining, “It’s not working. It won’t let me in.”

It was just one of those high stress moments like, “Oh no. This is an absolute disaster.”

And those are going to happen.

As you know as a tech person, you really have to be fearless and just understand, it’s going to happen. But you can’t break the children.

Vicki: (laughs)

Mary: (laughs) They’re going to be fine.

Vicki: And, it’s a learning process. I remember one thing I had learned is to try to get the kids in ahead of time to create their avatars, just because that tends to put some strain on things, and you know, it just takes time to learn this stuff.

So what have you done right, Mary? What’s one of the big things that you’re like, “Yes, this has made a huge difference.

What is your favorite project, where you knew you totally got this right?

Mary: Oh, I love that question!

Well, I think my favorite project was that we did in the virtual environments is a project combined with our local community. We have a Darwin Martin house, which is a Frank Lloyd Wright build here in Buffalo. There’s a huge Frank Lloyd Wright connection in Buffalo

I worked with a local BOCES person to set up an opportunity for the students to actually build in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright.

We gave (the students) (virtual) land, and we gave them an opportunity to learn about the architectural principles behind Frank Lloyd Wright.

Then we took them on a field trip to the Darwin Martin house.

As we were walking around the Darwin Martin house after spending a couple of weeks discussing the architectural principles and researching Frank Lloyd Wright and what he does, seeing and hearing ten year olds say things like, “Look at that abstract design,” or “See how he incorporated this central hearth in this home.”

Hearing that language manifest itself right on site, but then going back to the virtual environment when we got back to school, and seeing the excitement that the students had, designing and creating homes in the Frank Lloyd Wright form…

It was just the most magnificent and rewarding project that I think I’ve ever done with students. It’s just a really exciting thing to see what the students could build and design when you let them go, and let their creativity blossom.

Vicki: OK, Mary, to all the teachers listening to you… Give them some encouragement to try something virtual.

I mean, there are so many ways you can do this. There’s Open Sim, of course there’s Minecraft.

Some people are doing the Google Expeditions, and that’s great. But we need to understand here the differences. They can actually build. They can sandbox. They can create.

Mary: Yeah…

Vicki: There is a difference between experiencing something and creating something.

So, what’s your pep talk to teachers for utilizing this type of immersive technology?

Why should teachers try something like Open Sim?

Mary: I think we spend a lot of time saying that our equipment can’t handle it, or our tech department can’t handle it, or our filters won’t allow that to happen.

And I also say, “Be that rogue teacher.”

You know, be the lady in the corner of the building that has all the cats, because if you are that person, you take the lead.

Your tech department will find a way to make these things happen. And once it happens, the explosion in creativity is so worth it.

We spend a lot of time gnashing our teeth over using technology as, “Oh, I have to INSERT that into my curriculum. Or I have to add that onto my curriculum.”

And it’s really a paradigm shift.

You have to realize that it IS the curriculum.

It is going to generate all of that critical thinking, and all of that inferring, and all of those (things like) “tolerating ambiguity” and all of those buzzwords that we have that we want our students to do.

This one element happens.

If you get out there and explore and make it happen, all of that other stuff that you’ve been worried about with your students?

It falls into place.

Vicki: That is great advice for us, remarkable teachers!

Now get out there it make it happen!

Mary: Yeah! (laughs)

 

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford: kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Mary Howard is a sixth grade teacher in Western New York State and was a finalist for the New York State Teacher of the Year for 2018. She considers herself a FEARLESS educator and an early adopter of many EdTech initiatives. Mary attempts to create a culture of inquiry in her classroom and hopes to build future innovators Her blog, http://www.yoursmarticles.blogspot.com features many of her EdTech pursuits including an Augmented Reality Sandbox that she uses in her classroom, makerspaces, coding as well as the use of Virtual Reality/Virtual Environments in her classroom. Mary is also a specialist in engagement, and uses digital tools to engage students and ignite their learning. She has presented throughout New York State and numerous other conferences including MACUL (Michigan) and at ISTE Philadelphia, Denver and San Antonio.

Blog: http://www.yoursmarticles.blogspot.com

Twitter: @mrshoward118

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Bringing Literature to Life in Open Sim appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Open Badges in Elementary School

17 April, 2018 - 21:30

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Some elementary classrooms are using self-directed badges for competency acquisition by students. In today’s show, Amy Cooper talks about how this is done, the advantages, and insights on student motivation.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript Open Badges in Elementary School

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e292
Date: April 17, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Amy Cooper, who’s at an elementary school in Minnesota.

And Amy, you’re working with digital badges or open badges in elementary school. Help us understand. What are open badges, and how does this work with elementary kids?

What is a digital badge and how do students earn one?

Amy: Yes! So a digital badge is a visual representation, such as you would see a Girl or Boy Scout badge, except it carries metadata with it. So you would see who issued the badge, the date the badge was achieved, artifacts related to the badge — that might be a student’s visual representation, voice interaction (the student could talk about their achievements), or pictures to show a hard or soft skill learned in school.

Vicki: So how do they earn these badges?

Amy: Badges can be earned as a complement to what’s currently happening in the classroom, or to replace grading, so there are a variety of ways to use badges in the classroom.

What are you finding out about using badges?

My research focuses on how badges can be used to attain foundational skills, such as in reading, and how the badges can move the students forward intrinsically.

The teacher will look at the goals or standards they have for their state or their school, and they’ll partner with the student to see where the student is and where they’d like to go. The teacher uses the badges according to where the student is.

Let’s say in kindergarten, the student was trying to learn Letter Sounds. The student and teacher would meet and work to gain the skills on the letter sounds and then could show their knowledge with that metadata that’s attached to the badge.

It really serves as a very motivating, transparent goal path. The student is able to see what they’ve achieved, what they’ve mastered, and where they’re going and what they’d like to achieve.

Vicki: I guess the part that intrigues me — of course extrinsic motivation is a motivation that comes from outside of you, and intrinsic is the holy grail of motivation because that comes from within us — but a badge is obviously an extrinsic reward. It’s something they are given by someone else.

Extrinsic or intrinsic motivation?

Are you saying that if you use badges for a while, eventually they can go away, and they’re more motivated to still read, even when the badges go away, or not?

Amy: Yeah, well we look at badges from kind of the seminal work of Dweck and people like Vygotsky and Piaget, in how we look at learning. We look at badges as not just a sticker, or a representation of something. It’s more about, “How can we use the badges to scaffold learning, to have the student self-regulate their learning, and self-guage where they are, where they need to go, and what they’d like to learn.” So the badge kind of helps push that in and implement that continuum of learning for the student.

Vicki: OK. So it’s helping them learn, but are you noticing a change in intrinsic motivation as a result?

Amy: Yes. We’re noticing that the students are saying, “Oh! This is my goal. This is what I want to go after. I want to learn…” The students will explain, “I want to level up. I want to move to the next level.”

They’re able to just get a grasp on that, rather than your typical grading and assessment that happens where the teacher says, “Well, you need to get here.”

The student is able to say, “I’m here. And now I want to reach this goal.”

That does become what we have seen is very intrinsically motivating fo the student.

Vicki: So choosing the different goals they want to meet next, out of say, twenty or thirty opportunities to level up.

Amy: Yes.

Can you provide an example?

Vicki: So give me an example of what they might choose. I mean, are they, like the kindergarten kids. “OK, I’ve got the letter A badge, and now I want the letter B badge.” Is that kind of what they’re doing?

Amy: They might go for a greater goal, or they might say, “Now I know these sight words. I would like to be able to read this book.”

Or they’re choosing specific letter sounds. Or maybe for them, that doesn’t feel right, right now, and they want — perhaps they just go for a cooperating with their peers badge, if that’s where they’re at. And how can they use cooperation or different aspects to pull that into reading.

So, it’s kind of a more of a holistic view, but taking whatever it is that they are working on or feel strong enough about to reach those foundational skills.

Vicki: So what tool are you using to assign and track the awards?

What tool are you using?

Amy: Credly Online creates an option to create badges and attach all of the data to those badges that they’re earning.

So a teacher can easily say, “This is your letter sound badge, along with that, here’s a picture of…” The student was working on this specific task, or the student to show their learning through a video enhancement. Or maybe it is some sort of a graphic organizer or some type of picture they want to display on there.

But that can all be created through programs like Credly or Mozilla. There are a number of free programs online that teachers are able to access to do that.

Vicki: OK. So you’re tracking on Credly.

Can you think of, Amy, an example of a student — of course no names — that this has really changed and improved their ability to read?

Has this made an impact on any particular student?

Amy: Mmm-hmm. I have one student in particular that struggled with comprehending in second grade nonfiction text. So, it just… wasn’t very motivating to the student.

So we began pulling in… I said, “Well, is there a specific badge you would like to use, based on a fictional character, because that’s the genre that you’re really interested in right now?”

And so the character was based on a series of bears. At one point, we said, “Well, is there any part of this where you badge on top of the fiction books and create a nonfiction meaning.”

So the child began making that selection and was able to really strengthen their area in nonfiction reading because they wanted to move to the next level. They had mastered fictional reading opportunities, and wanted to move to nonfiction.

Where might a teacher begin?

Vicki: Hmm. OK. So Amy, if a school or teacher is looking at using badges, how do they start?

Amy: They might start by just saying, “This is one skill I’d love for my students to master. I’m going to focus on this one specific skill,” whatever that might be.

And then they can go on Credly. It’s a free signup. And you would go in there and say, “OK, we’re working on this skill.”

Let’s say you’re doing an animal project. The student would choose a specific animal or area the student is interested in, and the teacher could assign begin creating badges that meet each student’s specific need for that project or whatever skill of mastery or opportunity they feel they would like to open for their class.

Vicki: Amy, are there any resources that will help a teacher kind of understand the 1-2-3s of getting started?

Amy: Sure. Mozilla has a great amount of resources on there. You could just do a Google search for “open badging in Mozilla” and it will bring up how to start issuing a badge, how earners receive a badge.

  • Open Badging: https://openbadges.org/

Mozilla takes the teacher through a very sequential process of how to go about starting the badge process.

Vicki: Excellent. We’ll put those in the Shownotes.

Teacher, open badges and using badges in the classroom are something that a lot of teachers are really getting some interesting and awesome results with. You need to take a look at some of the best practices that are out there –it has been around for a little while — of the right way to do this.

Amy, thank you for sharing with us. We will include some information in the Shownotes so that our listeners can learn more.

Thanks!

Amy: Great. Thank you so much.

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Amy Cooper received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota. She earned her Master’s degree in Language Arts from the University of Minnesota. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Professional Leadership Inquiry at Concordia University, Portland, Oregon.

Her dissertation seeks to understand how digital badges positively impact intrinsic motivation in the area of reading at the elementary level. Amy has fourteen years of experience working as an elementary educator.

Twitter: @amycooper100

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Open Badges in Elementary School appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Infographics in Education with Eileen Lennon

16 April, 2018 - 21:30

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Infographics are powerful communication tools. Today, infographic pro, Eileen Lennon, shares how she uses infographics, creates them, and why they’re such a powerful tool.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now

 

***

Enhanced Transcript Infographics in Education with Eileen Lennon

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e278
Date: April 19, 2018

Vicki: So I was talking to my friend, Lisa Nielsen, about her blog, and she has this amazing woman, Eileen Lennon who creates these infographics that get shared like crazy!

So Eileen is on the show with us today, to talk about these powerful infographics and how she uses them to communicate.

So Eileen, how did you get started using infographics to communicate?

How did you get started with infographics?

Eileen: Actually, it was Lisa. She had spoken to a bunch of the students in the city system and asked what would speak to them, what they would want as material to learn about digital citizenship. And they said actually, infographics was what they respond to the best. They don’t want to read books or brochures. They wanted to look at things.

So she started with infographics, and she asked me to help her. So I started with her, creating the social media guidelines for the New York City Department of Education.

Vicki: OK. So, how do you create these infographics?

How do you create your infographics?

Eileen: The website I use is Piktochart. They have a lot of templates, lots and lots of templates, and I get an inspiration from one of them, and I go from there.

In my head, I have an idea that I want this to look like something, and then I just find a template that is close enough to that, and I go from there.

So they give you a starting point — someplace to start from.

Vicki: Now you’ve got to have great content, though, right?

I mean, doesn’t it take a lot of time to research to get the good content for these infographics?

Where do you get your content?

Eileen: That’s where Lisa comes in. She writes incredible articles and blog posts, and then she sends me the blog post. Then I cut as I need to out of it so that it makes an interesting infographic.

Vicki: How do the students respond to these infographics?

Eileen: They love looking around in a classroom at something that’s relevant and visually appealing.

It’s not the teacher’s handwriting plastered all over the walls. It’s something aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and if you’re sitting there staring at a wall for 45 minutes, it’s kind of nice to be staring at something a little more prettier than that.

Vicki: You’ve also gotten an incredible response from educators, because didn’t you make a graphic for some things that George Couros has done? It’s gotten an incredible response. Tell us about that one.

#InnovatorsMindset was such a good book, I had to make an infographic about it. Thanks @gcouros! pic.twitter.com/yLIfzLWrFW

— Eileen Lennon (@eileen_lennon) February 6, 2018

Tell us about your most popular infographic to date

Eileen: (laughs)

Yes. I read his book, as most people have. I was very impressed. It was a profound change in how I was thinking about things. So I realized that if I was going to keep that in front of me, I needed to have it in front of me as an infographic.

I created the infographic really for myself, but I did want to put it on my blog and things like that. I reached out to George and said, “Is it OK if I do this?”

And he said, “Oh, absolutely! I’m going to use it now, too!”

So he pushed it out even more than I did, and now I’m getting people all over the country “liking” that infographic since then.

It’s even gone past that, that he wrote a blog post about how I did ask permission, and I didn’t steal his material, because that had happened to him very often.

So that I asked permission, I cite my source, and took it and recycled it to something that I could use on my wall. So now I come into my room every day and I see almost a little book report I did for that book, reminding me what I need to do in my classroom every day.

Vicki: You know, Eileen, you remind me of what Sylvia Duckworth has done.

Eileen: Yes!

Vicki: I kind of feel like you are to infographics what Sylvia is to Sketchnotes. What do you think about that comparison?

Eileen: Absolutely. I don’t want to step on her toes. She does amazing stuff.

I’m trying to stay in my lane.

Vicki: (laughs)… which is infographics.

But here’s the thing. We all have ways to share visually, don’t we?

Eileen: Yes. Yes, we do.

And I just found that… I have an art background, so this was helping me “scratch that itch” too.

I was able to be a designer and spread my thoughts about teaching a little further.

Vicki: If a teacher wants to start using infographics, either themself or with their students, how do they start?

Where might a teacher start with designing infographics?

Eileen: I would think that even just going into Google Slides or PowerPoint and just facing a small slide first would be easiest and the least intimidating way to go. Take a quote, take an image, and put it all together on a page so that it looks good.

When you start feeling comfortable about the type being this size, and relating it to the picture, then you’re starting to get a sense of design.

So that’s one piece. Then you add another slide to that, and keep working toward a bigger and bigger piece.

Then you can move over to the infographic courses that are online. Piktochart is one of them. Easely is another one, and also Canva. You can choose any of those, and then they have templates so that you wouldn’t feel so intimidated to use from that point on.

But I would say, start with just a slideshow kind of almost index card image to play with, and then grow from there.

Vicki: It’s really easy to end up with a tacky infographic.

Eileen: (laughs)

What pitfalls would you avoid?

Vicki: Do you have any design tips, since you have a design background?

Eileen: (laughs) Yes.

I call it the Ransom Note School of Design.

Vicki: (laughs)

Eileen: Keep your typefaces to about three. You have your heading typeface, an accent or like a caption, and your body text. You don’t need any more than that.

And also colors. It’s not a coloring book. You’re trying to send a message out, and it’s not supposed to hurt the eyes. So keep it to a uniform color so people can recognize the blue is always the headline, or the green is always the captions. You want to give them some visual clues about the information you’re giving to them.

And, don’t cram it all into a menu design. Give the eye a little space to move around. Have one basic focal point as your “catch” and then let the eye drift around the page to find the other information in order of importance.

Vicki: Now just because you use pictures and have text on there doesn’t mean it’s an infographic.

Eileen: (laughs)

Vicki: What’s the purpose of an infographic? (laughs)

Pictures and text alone do not make an infographic. What does?

Eileen: An infographic is to convey a message. Either doing that with actual graphics or with type depends on what you’re trying to say.

But a graphic is always really important on an infographic. It lends some professionalism to it, and you can cram a lot of information into a little graph. So it always helps to have an actual graph on your infographic.

Vicki: You have been doing this for a while. What are some of the top mistakes that you think that educators or or their students make when creating infographics?

What are the top mistakes that new designers make with infographics?

Eileen: They try to cover too much. They put a lot of type on a page.

It’s supposed to be a piece of art, a design. Don’t put paragraphs. Bullet points are really the only way you should go.

And trying to get everything to scream at the same volume is also a big one. Let one thing be what catches your eye, and then as your eye wanders, let each thing be a little bit less important, so that the eye almost knows goes where to go next.

Vicki: Obviously, you’re proud of the infographic that you did for George’s book, Innovator’s Mindset.

Do you have another infographic that you think, “OK, I’m really proud of this…” ?

Do you have another infographic that you are really proud of?

Eileen: Lisa’s blog post recently about school safety. She had gone into a church and reflected on all the things the church was doing to make people feel welcome, and wanted to take some of those ideas and concepts and make schools do the same thing.

So I was thinking of an infographic I could make with a church theme to it. I was thinking of stained glass, and one of the templates on Piktochart had a stained glass feel to it.

That one spoke to me immediately, and it has a peaceful… It got the mood that I was looking for, and not just the information I wanted out. I really like that one.

Vicki: As we finish up, are there any resources that you go to for ideas for your infographics?

What resources would you share for new designers to get inspiration?

Eileen: Like I said, the templates in all three of those websites are really where you can begin and end with inspiration. They have templates for every — education, business, Sweet 16s. They have different categories that you can scour, but they really do provide quite a bit of resources on the sites themselves.

Vicki: Eileen Lennon is an expert on infographics. We are going to be linking to a lot of her resources. Of course Lisa Nielsen does share a lot of these on her blog as well, and we’ll link to that as well.

But I think it’s and important message for us to remember that — people like to say a picture’s worth a thousand words — and you know, an infographic may be worth even more, because it has so much content.

But we are more likely to read things that are more graphically appealing, in today’s modern era.

So if we want to get our message out there, we need to be able to create infographics or Sketchnotes, as we’ve had Sylvia on the show before.

We need to make it appealing and get that message out there. So check out these infographics, and I hope you’ll try it out in your classroom.

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Eileen Lennon is part of the team that developed the social media guidelines and resources for the NYC Board of Education. She is Microsoft, Google, and CommonSense certified and moderates the monthly #NYCSchoolsTechChat. Eileen has also guest moderated national Twitter chats such as #EdTechChat, #growthmindset, and #connectedTL. She has presented at various technology conferences, including the NYCDOE Tech Summit, EduCon, and the Tech & Learning Summit. Ms. Lennon was awarded the NYCDOE Excellence in School Technology Award at the annual NYCDOE Tech Summit in July 2016 and the Most Innovative Use of Social Media Awarded at NYC Technology Forum in November 2017. She teaches technology at the Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Bayside, Queens.

Blog: http://mslennonblog.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @eileen_lennon

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Infographics in Education with Eileen Lennon appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Ways to Bring Computational Thinking and STEM Together

13 April, 2018 - 21:30

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

STEM and Computational Thinking go together. Today’s guest is a PhD, Biomedical engineer and STEM Teacher. Stephanie Zeiger helps us see the potential of STEM and computational thinking.

Legends of Learning has awesome free science games and activities to celebrate earth day on April 22. coolcatteacher.com/earth Check out their NGSS aligned Science games for grades 3-8. Listen Now

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Enhanced Transcript 5 Ways to Bring Computational Thinking and STEM Together

Link to show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e290
Date: April 13, 2018

Vicki: Let’s talk about bringing computational thinking and STEM together with Stephanie Zieger. She works with science and coding at a school in Nashville, Tennessee.

So, Stephanie, what is our first way to bring computational thinking and STEM together?

Stephanie: Well, first, thanks for having me on your show. I was very excited to get contacted by you to talk about this because I’m super excited about it.

The first thing I want to say is that as teachers, you need to know that STEM and computational thinking are not exclusive. In fact, the way scientists and engineers approach problems is very similar to how a computer scientist thinks.

Scientists and engineers approach problems like programmers do

So, for example, when we look at the engineering design process… First, you’re going to identify problems, you’re going to do the research and know what your constraints and criteria are, and that’s going to be something you do whether you’re designing an airplane or an app. You might need to learn some concepts to understand the problem better, but it’s very similar.

Identify problems and do research

When you go and you imagine and brainstorm to think of those solutions, you might need to break down the problem into more manageable parts before you imagine how to even solve it. This is actually called decomposition in computational thinking.

Decompose the problem before brainstorming

Next, you get to plan. Just like an engineer or a scientist, you’re planning out your experiments or designs, you’re going to design an algorithm when you are programming. That’s a step by step way to solve the problem.

Design the algorithm or create your plan

Then last, when we get into the create, test, and we redesign You get to test your design and learn what’s working, what general concept you figured out and what needs to be modified. To redesign, you have to look for those patterns, analyze the data, and figure out what’s responsible for the result. This is similar pattern recognition and abstraction computational thinking.

Create and test and analyze results

Finally, my favorite thing is when you’re coding, and you run that program and it doesn’t work, and you have to debug, you’re actually have to be learning from failure. We know as science teachers, that’s definitely something you’re doing in the science and engineering field.

Debug and modify

Vicki: Wow. So have we already gone through all five now? (laughs)

Stephanie: (laughs) We haven’t!

Vicki: (laughs) OK, so we’ve gone through four. So let’s back up a second.

So first of all, you said, STEM and computational thinking are not exclusive. So some people think, “OK, now we’re going to do science. Now we’re going to do engineering, Now we’re going to do math. And then we’re going to do coding.” So you think all of them can kind of come together, right?

Stephanie: Right. Definitely. I think with the right project design, you can actually incorporate all of these together.

We’ve had some experience with that, and what we’ve found is that it tends to get the students more excited about what they’re doing in the science class. It also really helps them feel like they can change the world when it comes to using STEM and computers.

Vicki: OK, so give me one example of bringing these together, Stephanie.

An example of computational thinking and STEM together

Stephanie: So, in one instance, one of my favorite projects we do has to do with an electricity unit in our seventh grade. We ask students to develop an interactive toy. They are “hired” (laughs) by Mattel — which is just to get them excited — to design an interactive toy.

So students work as mechanical and electrical engineers to learn about circuits, like series and parallel, current and voltage. Then they design a toy that’s going to incorporate a push button, an LED, or a motor.

What we found was that our students were like, “Oh yay! My button works! And the LED works!” But they really want a more interactive toy that does a little bit more than light up or spin. So we took the project to the next level and added in what’s called physical computing.

Now our students are using Arduinos to actually light LEDs in patterns, spin a motor to a certain degree that they want so they get more control over their toy, or actually just even play a song by changing the frequency of sound waves using a buzzer.

So the excitement of this project just grew exponentially. Our students are even more excited when they finally get through that trying things out and finally get a working toy that incorporates Arduino.

Vicki: That’s incredible. And what age are the kids?

 

Stephanie: This was in a seventh grade class.

Vicki: Excellent. OK, so you’ve given us an example of how STEM and computational thinking come together. That’s a fantastic example. It’s obvious that the kids have to do number two, which is planning things out.

Then number three, which is testing and learning and figuring out how to modify.

Let’s park for a second on number four. Now here is a frustration that I see a lot of teachers — or I guess a misstep — that a lot of us make. I did it at first, too. We feel like we have failed as a teacher if it doesn’t work the first time. Do you agree or not?

Stephanie: I do not agree. Are you talking about if the student’s project doesn’t work the first time?

Vicki: I’m saying that sometimes teachers tend to to feel like a failure if the student project doesn’t work the first time, but that’s not really how we should feel, is it?

Stephanie: No. Definitely not. Having been a scientist and an engineer in my previous life before teaching (laughs) I have to say that there’s more failure than success in these fields.

What you want is for student to be like, “OK. That didn’t work, so let’s see what went wrong. Let’s step back and work through it, and see how I can redesign and build a successful prototype.”

We really want to push the process, not the product. We want — even at the end of the project — we want the students to really reflect on where they started and where they ended up. They can see where they’ve grown in their learning.

As a teacher, we don’t want it to work out perfectly, because that’s no fun. The fun part is when we actually teach our students how to persevere and problem solve when things don’t work.

It’s no fun if it works out perfectly the first time

That’s where debugging comes in with computational thinking, and where in science and engineering it’s just a natural part of those types of jobs.

Vicki: Well, and I’ve seen teachers who’ve done things like, “OK, design a building, and I’m going to cause an earthquake to happen. See if you can keep it from falling down.” Or putting some stress on it, so it’s an actual competition for it, I guess, to hold up in some way.

Stephanie: Right. We do a bridge project with some of our students in our classroom. We intentionally make the bridge fail. We put on as much as we can until it breaks. The reason we do that is we want them to go back and redesign and figure out how they can improve it. That’s a very important part of the process.

I would encourage teachers to find ways for students to have projects that aren’t always going to work out perfectly, and then help model to them how they problem solve and work through that. Students tend to think failure is a bad word. In my line of work, I actually think it’s a great word. (laughs)

Vicki: So is that our fifth, to help model how to problem solve, or is it something else?

Stephanie: Well, I had some more, but… (laughs)

Vicki: OK! Give us some more!

Stephanie: (laughs) Alright!

I did want to point out that part of when you are modeling… so let’s just model… I always give an example for computational thinking. When students can realize how much STEM goes into computer generation or animation or games, they can use programming to design their own animation of a STEM concept, such as how to get to a rocket’s velocity or angle of projection accurate so that it can make it to the moon.

There are resources like code.org, CS Discovery’s curriculum, or MIT’s Scratch program that can be really useful for teachers to create a project that allows the students to express their creativity while using programming and modeling to deepen their understanding of the scientific concept.

We’ve applied this across several projects, including one that’s been done in our history classes, where the students actually wrote code to model Greek mythology (laughs) as they were learning about the gods and goddesses.

Vicki: Awesome. So we’ve talked about a lot of ways to bring computational thinking and STEM together.

Stephanie, let’s finish up with a short 30-second pitch on why these two things belong together. Why do computational thinking and STEM belong together?

Stephanie: So computational thinking and STEM belong together because they’re really going to complement each other in helping your students become more STEM knowledgeable. I want to encourage teachers that while you can see the benefits of computational thinking, you might be overwhelmed to know even where to start.

So reach out to the Computer Science Teachers Association. Membership is free! They have great resources. Just jump in. Step out of your comfort zone. Be the student, and just try to program. You’ll be amazed at how much you grow in your learning, and the new perspective you’ll have about your students as they’re learning STEM concepts.

Step out of your comfort zone

Vicki: I totally agree, because I know when I first helped kids make video games in Scratch, it scared me. I know when I first helped kids make apps, it scared me. When we first got Arduinos, it scared me.

Stephanie: (laughs)

Vicki: It’s kind of scary and nerve-wracking, but these are things you can do. So get out and try and experiment and be a creator along with your students.

Stephanie: Yes. I completely agree with that.

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Stephanie Zeiger is an engineer and scientist that has embraced bringing the world of STEM to students of all ages. She has undergraduate degrees in nuclear engineering and a PhD in biomedical engineering where she first learned to code. As a research assistant professor at Vanderbilt University, she became involved in many STEM educational outreach programs and found a passion for teaching science. Today, she is an instructor with the Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth and a Harpeth Hall School science teacher where she teaches and develops STEM curriculum including multiple coding classes that emphasize computational thinking.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post 5 Ways to Bring Computational Thinking and STEM Together appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Legends of Learning: The Game-Based Science Platform for Grades 3-8

13 April, 2018 - 09:10

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Students love to play games, and they also need real-world examples to help science come alive. With this in mind, Legends of Learning is a fantastic platform full of NGSS aligned science games that does both. Kids in grades 3-8 will love these science games. As shown below, game selection is easy for teachers. Just pick the Next Generation Science standard that you want to teach and choose from several options. For the purpose of teaching, science games are fun ways to engage students and reteach and review material! Sign up is free.

Sponsored by Legends of Learning.  

To demonstrate the power of effective game-based science learning, look at the research. For example, Vanderbilt University has recently found how this approach leads to a more engaging science classroom.

Popular Activities: NGSS Science Games for Grades 3-8

Here are some examples of popular topics and games:

For the purpose of seeing what fits in your classroom, check out the other standards by signing up for a free account. Understandably, right now is a perfect time to review the concepts you’ve been teaching all year.  In light of what I’ve shared about Legends of Learning, sign up and see what these NGSS aligned science games can do for your classroom.

Select the Standard and Start Playing (and Learning!)

In Legends of Learning, it is simple for teachers to select the standard and find games that they can add to student playlists. Signing up is free.

So, whether you teach elementary or middle school earth science, life science, or physical science, you’ll find fun, exciting games for your students to play and learn. Understandably, we teachers always need to find new ways of reinforcing and reviewing concepts. Legends of Learning is the solution I recommend for engaging kids and exciting them about the science concepts they’ve been learning all year.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies that I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post Legends of Learning: The Game-Based Science Platform for Grades 3-8 appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Understanding ADHD and Helping Kids Succeed

12 April, 2018 - 21:30

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Katherine Firestone helps parents and kids with ADHD. Having been diagnosed with ADHD herself, Katherine is uniquely positioned to help us understand what to do to help children with ADHD and their parents.

Legends of Learning has awesome free science games and activities to celebrate earth day on April 22. coolcatteacher.com/earth Check out their NGSS aligned Science games for grades 3-8. Listen Now

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Enhanced Transcript Understanding ADHD and Helping Kids Succeed

Link to show:
Date: April 12, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Katherine Firestone founder of the Fireborn Institute.

Katherine, we’re talking today about kids who have ADHD and helping them succeed and thrive.

But you in your story, you have ADHD. You were diagnosed as a junior.

Help us understand, for those of us who don’t have ADHD, what this feels like. Helps us empathize with what you live and what kids with ADHD live with every day.

What is it like to live with ADHD as a student?

Katherine: Yeah. So it’s different. ADHD has a lot of different manifestations.

But for me, what it really felt like was I felt like an imposter.

I felt like, “I’m tricking everybody that I’m smart. I don’t really belong in these classes.”

When I was young, I had a very hard time learning how to read. Through high school, I had a difficult time reading. I would skip ahead. I would forget things. I literally couldn’t read the sentence because I couldn’t track it. I would have to highlight the words just so my eyes would stay on track. So it just felt like it took me SO much longer than everybody else to get my work done.

When you have ADHD, it’s very difficult to not also have anxiety, because you’re thinking about everything, right?

Like I’m constantly worried about my friends, how what I had just said was affecting something, or how what I was doing was being interpreted.

So you’ve got that constant thought going on. It’s very difficult to focus on one thing.

UNLESS you’re super interested in that one thing. Then it’s totally like, I don’t have to think about (anything else). I’m totally focused on that.

So, like my parents would say that I had a one-track mind. That’s absolutely true when I cared about something.

So this is why parents who have kids with ADHD, they see their kids, and they’re like, “My kid can focus! He’s playing videos for like hours!”

Vicki: (laughs)

Katherine: That’s because that’s what really interests your kid, and so they’re going to spend their time doing that. They can focus on it.

And it feels really good to be good at something, and video games provide that.

So again, with kids with ADHD, who often struggle with being good at a lot of things because they can’t focus, it feels good to be good at something!

So naturally, are going to focus on those things.

Vicki: So Katherine, what did it feel like when you got your diagnosis? How did you process that, and did it improve things in your life, and if so, how?

How did you deal with your own diagnosis?

Katherine: So for me, it was a relief.

Because it felt like, “This is it! This is what makes me different from other students. It’s not that I’m an imposter. I actually am really smart, but I do have something that’s, you know, holding me back to some degree.

But now we can do something about it. Now that we know what this is, you know, we can hire an executive functions coach, we can think about strategies, I can go on medication.”

It really empowered me and boosted my confidence.

And I know that it is not the same for all kids. A lot of kids feel that there is something wrong with them.

You know, I’m on a mission to tell you that, “No, there isn’t! You are fantastic!”

I credit ADHD with a lot of my success, and I think it actually helped me in the long term.

But I just needed some help, you know, sometimes, staying focused, showing the teachers how smart I really was. Having the diagnosis really helped that.

Vicki: So how do you help parents? I know that this is part of your work that you do now.

How do you help parents, who, they either suspect that their kids have ADHD, or they realize their kids have been diagnosed with it, and they’re just trying to get an understanding of where do they start?

How do you help parents who are just beginning to learn about ADHD?

Katherine: Yeah. That’s a really good question.

So, most kids who struggle with ADHD have a really difficult time with executive functioning skills. These are all the skills that you need to be a good student:

  • to focus
  • to sustain your attention
  • to organize
  • to plan
  • to inhibit your responses
  • to stop doing something fun and start doing something boring, like homework.

Vicki: (laughs)

Katherine: So, a really good place to start is to learn about executive functioning skills. And Peg Dawson and Richard Guare are some of the leading researchers in executive functioning skills.

Consider a survey about executive functioning strengths and weaknesses

They have a fantastic questionnaire that asks you questions to figure out where your strengths and weaknesses are.

I strongly encourage parents to fill this out for themselves and also think about where their kids fall in this lines because it will help you as a parent figure out what your executive functioning strengths and weaknesses are. And what are your kids’?

And then you’ll be able to empathize with them when you see, “Oh, my strength is organizing. But my kid cannot organize at all.”

That’s going to give you an understanding, “OK, I can see where this is coming from now. OK, let me help my kid with this.”

Seek help from experts

And then, also you know, I definitely recommend finding a psychiatrist who can help your kid. I definitely recommend finding an executive functions coach. The earlier you can get the interventions going — you know, not just medication — but, you know, figuring out how to study, how to read effectively. Those kinds of strategies. The sooner you can help your kid develop the strategies, the better off they’re going to be in the long term.

Vicki: The big thing that I think is important, because two of my three kids have learning differences — is creating an organization system that works for them. You shouldn’t be the one who keeps them organizing.

Create a system that works for your child, not for you

Katherine: Yes.

Vicki: Like my son has a big iron clipboard. We call it the Iron Planner. He puts everything he needs to do in there. He clips everything to the front. It’s a big kind of hard-sided metal case. I wouldn’t ever, in a million years, use that system. But it totally works for him.

His grades will typically go up 5-10 points average when he’s using his Iron Planner.

So, isn’t part of it, saying, “OK, let’s find what works for you — and not what I do —

Katherine: Oh, absolutely! You know, it’s very difficult. We can’t force our kids to do what we did, or what worked for us. It really has to come from them, what works for them.

Everyone’s got their different organizational style, and we have to just figure out whatever it is for our kid that’s going to make them work, because that’s going to get their buy-in, and then they’re going to use it.

If you try and impose something that works for you, or that the school has decided works, if it doesn’t work for your kid, then it’s not going to work for them, and they’re just not going to use that.

So definitely being innovative with those ideas is so important.

Vicki: So, you help kids with ADHD and their parents and help them succeed, but I also know that you’re kind of big into Social-Emotional Learning (SEL).

What is the emotional side of this, that you have to help students come to grips with?

So much of teaching is helping kids believe in themselves.

How can we help ADHD kids with the emotional pieces of their diagnosis?

Katherine: Yeah. Yeah.

Well, so there’s definitely that anxiety piece that I talked about before. Like I said, when you have ADHD, it’s very difficult to not have anxiety about it. Because you know you’re different.

And if you have more of that hyperactive part, you know that other classmates are not as active as you and maybe are not getting in as much trouble as you are.

So knowing that about yourself is important, and you can learn some strategies.

I’m a huge proponent of meditation, and yoga, and taking brain breaks.

These are all things that are very helpful for kids with ADHD, to be more mindful about what they’re doing, and then that’s going to help calm their anxiety.

It’s going to help them think in the moment of being active, being more present, and thinking about, you know, “What should I be doing right now?”

Or helping then with that response inhibition so that they can feel more comfortable at school and more like they fit in.

But, I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have the opportunity to run around and get their energy out. They need that, too. We need to provide them with opportunities for that as well.

Vicki: So Katherine, as we finish up, would you give a 30-second pep talk to teachers who are struggling with all the ADHD kids they have in their classrooms — so that we can reach and encourage those kids to help them to be their best?

Katherine: Sure!

What should teachers know about those “difficult” ADHD kids in their class?

You know, the thing to remember about kids with ADHD is that they really do want to please you. They have so much to offer, and I know that they’re so difficult.

But if you can empathize with them and understand, you know, they’re not acting out because they want to, it’s because they have this innate need.

If you can figure out with them and work with them to figure out what can fill that need in another way, you know, they can do amazing, creative, really high thought level kind of stuff.

Vicki: Especially, wouldn’t you agree, Katherine, if we can find those things that they love?

Katherine: Yes. Yes. Exactly.

Vicki: Yes. I’ve had kids who love Minecraft, or who love different types of things — whether a sport or a genre of books — and once I know that, you know, you can really unleash so much learning if you can get them excited.

So you know, educators. I know that… I’ve heard people sitting around the lunch table, saying, “Oh, years ago, this…” Well, OK, but we live in today. (laughs)

Today is that we have a lot of precious wonderful students with ADHD that we love and we want to reach. Understanding them and helping the parents, teachers, and the students all be on the same team. We all want them to learn. We all want them to succeed. And we want our classrooms to be a better place by understanding ADHD.

Take a look at the resources at the Fireborn Institute and look at the environment

and the wonderful resources for parents and for kids to help with these things.

We’ll also link to this fascinating executive functioning skills quiz that I think I’m going to take a look at and maybe use with my students.

So thank you so much, Katherine, for helping us to understand.

Katherine: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me!

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted About Fireborn Institute

Fireborn Institute is a non-profit that provides parents with practical and easy-to-remember strategies to help their children in school. Through our lectures, podcasts & handouts, we coach parents on topics such as helping with homework or conquering a messy backpack. Our ultimate goal is to help parents help their kids thrive at school.

About Katherine Firestone

Katherine had a hard time in school because she suffered from undiagnosed ADHD till her junior year of high school. What made her successful during this time was the support system she had around her. After college, she worked as a teacher, and saw that parents wanted to help their kids at home, but didn’t know what to do. She started the Fireborn Institute to give parents ideas on how to help because success at school is enhanced at home.

She is also the host of The Happy Student, a podcast for parents on promoting happy academic and social lives. The show provides practical strategies on a variety of topics based on Fireborn’s 4 pillars.

Blog: http://www.fireborninstitute.org/

Twitter: @SisuFireborn

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Understanding ADHD and Helping Kids Succeed appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Merge Cube Mania in Middle School

11 April, 2018 - 21:30

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Karen Bosch explains why Merge Cubes are so hot, how they are being used in classrooms, and how she’s using them to build critical thinking and creativity in her school. Join Merge Cube Mania!

A big thank you to Karen. She couldn’t stand that I wasn’t able to get the Merge Cubes in my local Walmart and sent me one! I got in the mail TODAY (Tuesday) as I’m prepping this post to go live. Thank you Karen for not only being an amazing educator but a kind, thoughtful person.

Legends of Learning has awesome free science games and activities to celebrate earth day on April 22. coolcatteacher.com/earth Check out their NGSS aligned Science games for grades 3-8. Listen Now

 

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Enhanced Transcript Merge Cube Mania in Middle School

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e288

Date: April 11, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking to Karen Bosch.

She, I just found out, was MACUL 2017 Tech Using Teacher of the Year. So she is in Michigan. Today we are talking about Merge Cube Mania in middle school.

So, Karen, what is a Merge Cube?

Karen: So, a Merge Cube is an augmented reality device. It looks like a cube, a black cube. It’s squishy, foamy, very flexible. And it looks like it has a QR code on each side of the cube.

A Merge Cube is a 3D augmented reality device

Those codes serve as a trigger. When you scan the cube with your mobile device — it will work with an iPhone, an iPad, and it works with Android, but you have to have the Merge Cube app on it.

When you scan the cube, and you’re holding the cube in your hand, when you look at it through the iPhone, instead of seeing the cube, you’re going to see something else in your hand. It might be a human heart. It might be a fire. It might be a castle.

But it is very, very cool to see something else being held in your hand. It’s a little bit different than a lot of other augmented reality. A lot of times, with augmented reality, you have a trigger that you print out and you scan it flat.

But because this is a three-dimensional object, you can turn it and interact with it. So it’s pretty interesting.

It allows you to take photos and videos of what you are seeing

And it also has, within the apps, the ability to take photos and to take videos. So you can actually video and document what it is that you are seeing through the augmented reality.

Vicki: So we’re kind of looking through the screen — and we’ve done shows before that we’ll link to about augmented reality. You’re looking at this cube. And it probably doesn’t look like a cube.

Karen: It doesn’t.

Vicki: It could like like all different kinds of things. So what’s an example of something it might look like?

Karen: So there are things where it will look like maybe a castle, or an aquarium, or it might look like a human skull. They have probably about a dozen or so different apps that you can download — and many of them are free.

There are several apps for it, and most of them are free

Some are interactive games.

So you might find something like Tiltball, where there’s a marble that’s rolling down the different faces. As you turn it, the marble rolls different directions.

Or there’s a Starfighter one, where you’re actually doing like a little space battle. As you turn the cube, your little starfighter will move in different directions.

They’ve also got apps — one’s called Dig. It’s kind of like a little mini Minecraft, and you can actually create things by tapping onto the cube and you know, build holes and different things will appear.

One that I really like is a Choose Your Own Adventure Story. This is called 57 Degrees North. It starts out, the cube looks like a crate.

But as you turn it, the story opens, and you see inside of the cube you see a scene, and you hear a voice of somebody talking and narrating the story.

As you turn the cube, it will say, “Which direction do you want to go? Do you want to do this or do that?” As you turn the cube in that direction, then that box opens to show you the next scene.

I would LOVE to have my students be able to program something like that and create their own stories. I think that would be pretty neat.

They also have interactive — more learning type games — called Mr. Body, where you see a human body, and as you tap on different parts of the body, the organs will open up, and there will be some information about it. Again, with the cube, you can turn it so you can see the things, all from all different angles and sides.

My favorite one is one called [Galactic] Explorer, which is a solar system. It actually looks like you’re holding a spinning solar system in your hands. I was doing this one last week with some preschool students, and I said to the teacher, “You’ve got to come over and see this!”

My favorite one is the one about the solar system

And she was just blown away, because she’s been trying to help her preschoolers visualize what the solar system looks like.

And you know, a poster on the wall is one thing, but to be able to take this cube, and use the augmented reality.

She was projecting it up on her screen, and now she can tap on Jupiter, and Jupiter will come up. She can turn it, and they can see the moons and all the different aspects of the different planets. So that interactivity is pretty, pretty neat.

So there are a lot of things that you can do with them that’s pretty cool!

Vicki: Incredible! OK. Now, we had never heard of Merge Cube, and now all of a sudden, everybody started talking about Merge Cube.

So how did this Merge Cube mania start?

This Merge Cube mania came out of nowhere! What happened?

Karen: About a month ago, I started seeing stuff on social media. I saw Leslie Fisher first talking about it, and then I saw all of my friends talking about it. The Merge Cube was originally about $15-20.

But WalMart had an overstock, and so they were selling them off for $1.00 each.

Vicki: (laughs)

Karen: And so, you know? Technology is expensive.

But when you can — for $1.00 each — put something into the hands of everybody? You don’t have to share. You don’t have to do it in stations. You don’t have to have partners. You know, for a dollar, you can’t go wrong.

So everyone was out buying hundreds and hundreds of these Merge Cubes. I ended up buying 32 of them. I figured even if I just do one lesson with them, I can get my dollar’s worth of use out of each one. So that’s kind of how it started.

Did you get any of them, Vicki?

Vicki: I couldn’t find them in my WalMart.

Karen: Oh no!!!

Vicki: Of course, I’m in the middle of nowhere. And I’m like, “Why do I not see these things?” And they just weren’t there. And by that time, there were pretty much just pictures of educators with them in their shopping carts everywhere, you know.

Karen: It was crazy.

Vicki: So here’s the question. If apps for the Merge Cube are limited right now. You said there are like eight or so apps…

Karen: Yeah…

Vicki: How…? Your favorite thing is the solar system. Do you have any other ways that you are using it with your middle schoolers?

What can we do with these, besides marvel over them?

Karen: Well, what I decided to do is… It’s not so much right now what you can learn with the cube, but I think that there’s a great learning process that you can go through with your kids, again because in their hands, everyone has one, and the threshold to get them started takes about 3 minutes.

I demoed it. I said, “Skip the activation code. Skip the login. Say, “YES,” when it asks if you want to use the camera and the photo. Here’s the little tutorial. Run through that.”

That basically was all the instruction I needed to give. Then I said, “OK! You’ve got a bunch of apps on your iPad. Figure it out yourself. Explore. Find out what you can do.”

And so they basically were learning to use the technology themselves, which is what they’re going to have to do for the rest of their lives.

So I didn’t have to put together tutorials. They just explored.

And what I started seeing happening was, “OH! How did you do that?” or “OH! Did you know you could do this?”

They started discovering things. “OH, we can download this. We can do that.”

They were just totally engrossed in learning how to use the cube, just exploring all the depths of it.

That was Part 1. That was Day 1.

My students played one day, and then I had them write reviews of it

Day 2 was they had to document it. So each of my middle school students has a blog. So they had to write a review. They had to include media in the review. They had to tell what they learned about how to use it. They had to give some examples. They had to give their opinion of it. What were some of the plusses? What were some of the minuses?

They started putting together the media, again because they could just take photos and videos through the apps themselves. So some of them just put a lot of videos and pictures and clips in. But some of them said, “Could I combine a bunch of videos together in iMovie?”

“Oh, sure!”

Or you know, “Could I use the Apple clips app?” And that was even better because then they started adding narration onto their videos. They added titles. They added annotations. They added closed captions.

There were a variety of different ways that the students put together their reviews. But again, it wasn’t so much WHAT you could do with the learning right now, but it was just that whole process of learning how to use it, and then being able to document it in a way that you could share with an audience.

Vicki: Yeah!

You know, so my students have programmed in augmented reality using something called MetaVerse, which is awesome. But this really gives a way to anchor physical objects into your augmented reality app.

And then the other thing you’re doing is you’re app smashing…

Karen: Absolutely!

App smashing is where it’s at

Vicki: So you’re combining things that you can do with the cubes — with other apps — to kind of make these fantastic new experiences where the kids are in it, but they’re interacting with objects that it looks like they’re holding, but they’re not necessarily holding.

Karen: Absolutely. I’ve seen some people use the solar system one as a background for green screen. I’ve seen people using the solar system as part of clips where they’re, you know, giving reports on planets.

But again — yeah! Because you can record media with the apps, there are just a lot of different ways that you can use that to smash it together.

Vicki: So, we can link in the Shownotes to the Merge Cubes, but this is augmented reality, and it’s continuing to grow as so many of us are learning about it, playing with it, and really helping our kids with that computational thinking of experimenting, app smashing, trying things out.

So let us know how you’re using your Merge Cube.

How are you using YOUR Merge cube, teachers?

Karen: (laughs)

Well, for me, I just played with it. It was just very fascinating to see.

It IS a big wow, where kids can hold something in their hand and then look at it, and it looks like something else. I’m hoping, maybe, to be able to have these older kids bring them in with younger kids and partner with them to get them started.

And then I want to do this whole exploration thing with some of my other grades — with my 3rd and 4th and 5th graders — where they just “go at it!” and learn about it on their own.

Because I do think that that’s part of transfer of skills. Taking skills that they’ve learned in one area and then learning how to successfully navigate a new technology but finding similarities with what they already know and putting it into a new context. That’s pretty important for kids today.

Vicki: Awesome.

Thank you, Karen!

Karen: You’re welcome! It’s been fun talking to you!

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Karen Bosch Is the PreK – 8 Technology Instructor at Southfield Christian School in the Metro Detroit area, a position she has held since 2001. Her roots are as an elementary classroom teacher where she utilized technology as an integrated part of the learning environment. She enjoys helping both students and teachers to creatively use technology tools to extend and share their learning in meaningful ways. Her recent learning adventures with her students have included exploring sketchnotes and 3D printing.

Karen is a 2007 Apple Distinguished Educator. In 2016, she was selected to be a Dremel 3D Printing Ideabuilder Ambassador. She was named as a 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator and serves as a Book Creator Ambassador. Recently, she was recognized as MACUL 2018 Technology Using Teacher of the Year.

Karen’s website called “Creative APP-titude: iPad Multimedia Tools for Creativity” contains a wealth of iPad resources and student project examples. You can locate her resources at http://tinyurl.com/ipadcreate/. To learn more about how her students used Merge Cubes, check out this blog post at her Middle Pages blog: http://blogs.southfieldchristian.org/middlepages/2018/03/merge-cube-mania/ .

Blog: http://tinyurl.com/ipadcreate

Twitter: @karlyb

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Merge Cube Mania in Middle School appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

How to Host a Student Media Festival

10 April, 2018 - 21:30

Mike Lawrence on episode 287 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Mike Lawrence, a current organizer of the longest running student media festival in the country, shares how to set up and run your own media festival. With a big hat tip to our mutual friend Hall Davidson who started this event, we learn the ins and outs of student media festival and how you can “steal” their ideas and run your own!

Legends of Learning has awesome free science games and activities to celebrate earth day on April 22. coolcatteacher.com/earth Check out their NGSS aligned Science games for grades 3-8. Listen Now

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Enhanced Transcript Hosting a Student Media Festival

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e287
Date: April 10, 2018

Vicki: Student Media Festivals!

Today we’re talking with my friend Mike Lawrence about student media festivals and how you can run one.

He has been running the nation’s oldest student media festival for the last 9 years.

Our friend Hall Davidson ran it for 25 years before that.

It’s at mediafestival.org

Now I do have to give a shoutout. That he (Mike) today just started, as we’re taping this, as Senior Director of Educator Engagement for PowerSchool, which is a sponsor of a lot of the work that I do. So I do need to disclose that.

But we are so excited, Mike, to talk about student media festivals.

Would you describe — for those who have never heard of the idea of a student media festival — what it looks like, and what are you trying to accomplish?

Mike: Thanks, first of all, for inviting me on. I’m really pleased to be here on this exciting day for me personally. I’m thrilled to talk about student media festivals.

What is a student media festival?

So to answer your question, it’s kind of like the Oscars that we just had recently on TV, but for kids.

So these are students who are working using media — whether it be video or imagery, or we even have a 3D printer category this year — to express their creativity and to demonstrate knowledge of a subject area.

So we aren’t so much looking to find the next Spielberg (although that would be kind of cool) but we’re trying to find kids that are able to use media to demonstrate a concept they’re learning in class.

So to support that, we have categories that are aligned up with each core subject.

So you’ve got everything from English/Language Arts category or you’ve got a Math category, a Science category, and so on.

And there we have two divisions, Elementary and Secondary.

There are subject divisions and grade level divisions

So what I love about the festival is that kids actually get celebrated for their creativity while they’re learning. And they get to come down, and we have a microphone for them.

I get to be the Vanna White, and I hand them the plaque.

And then they accept the award. We have them speak.

It’s a great practice for them to thank their parents, and thank their teachers, and we always encourage them to thank the sponsors. It’s never a bad idea if you get stuck.

And Hall Davidson is the emcee. Even though he was the director for 25 years, he still can’t shake us, and he’s fabulous in that role.

It’s just a great day. It’s a Saturday. This year it will be June 2nd at our Harmony Gold Preview House on Sunset Boulevard.

We tell people, “It’s in Hollywood! It’s coming to accept awards, and it’s the Oscars for kids.”

It’s the Oscars for kids

That’s sort of the way we describe it.

So that’s kind of what it looks like, and we’re really thrilled to keep doing it.

Vicki: Now this is in California. What’s the deadline? And how long are these videos?

This is only open to students in California

Mike: Great question. Thank you.

So the deadline is April 2nd. From January through April is the submission period.

Anyone in the K-12 public, private, independent space that resides and goes to school in California are eligible.

We don’t have a limit on the length of video projects.

We’ve even had full-length feature films submitted. If you can believe that.

Vicki: Wow.

Mike: We had middle school students, who every year would submit a feature-length film.

It’s just fantastic! So you can do that, or you can do just this quick snippet….

We have a lot of students who submit PSAs (public service announcements) because that’s a popular assignment in class.

We have folks that do sort of mock movie trailers, people that do music videos, people that do — as I shared earlier — other media can be submitted in the categories as well.

So they’ll do a series of photos. Like a photo essay. That can be submitted as well.

So we don’t have a length limit which I know our judges aren’t thrilled about. Some of those longer projects do take time to judge.

But that’s the time frame. So we open it up usually Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January is when we start accepting submissions, and then this year April 2nd is the deadline.

Then that gives our judges the time — from the end of April to judge. Then we use May to announce the winners of each category so that they know to come to the festival to accept the award.

But we hold back on the grand prize winners, and we announce those at the actual festival.

Vicki: WOW. How many submissions do you get, Mike?

How many entries does your festival get each year?

Mike: We have about 6,000 students involved in the projects that are submitted.

The number of submissions is somewhere in the hundreds. Like 400 or 500. It varies each year.

It makes the job pretty difficult for our judges.

But we slice it up by the subject areas.

And we get teachers that are experts in that subject or have taught that subject for years, to be the judges. So either individuals can judge, or teams together and you know, pop some popcorn, and score them up together. It’s up to them.

And it’s all volunteer driven. These are all folks that just out of the goodness of their heart have agreed to step in and judge.

We actually argue that it’s a professional development opportunity because you get to see what good and bad media projects look like — very quickly.

We have a rubric on the web, and we ask the people to use the rubric as they’re building their movies and certainly the judges use that thoroughly as they’re actually scoring it. So it ends up being a bit of a training exercise where those judges and helps them improve their own use of media in the classroom.

And so that’s the time frame.

But what if we’re not in California?

Vicki: OK, so Mike. Say somebody’s in another state or organization, and they want to do a festival like yours. How can they get started?

Mike: It’s true. Not everybody can move to California, even if they want to.

So what we have on the website, is a “Steal this Festival” page.

And we’ve broken down, “Here’s how we do it. Here’s the rubric. Here’s the template. Here’s the form we use.”

And we have that right there on the website.

We encourage people to take the idea and run with it. And build their own regional festival. And tweak it! You don’t have to do a carbon copy of what we do. And build a regional festival for your state, or your part of the state, or your country.

We encourage educators across the globe to do that.

We’re really thrilled to see those ideas pop up, and new festivals pop up… And we celebrate that every time we see that.

So that’s what they could do if they wanted to start their own festival.

And then certainly drop us a line, and let us know, “Hey this is what we’re doing in Georgia,” or “This is what we’re doing (wherever)..”

That would be fantastic. We can tweet them out and encourage people in that region to apply as well.

Vicki: Mike, is there a mistake that people make when they kick off a media festival? (One that) really costs a lot of time and energy that could be prevented?

Mike: Wow. Great question!

Is there a common mistake that beginners make?

You know, I think what often happens is you try to do too much.

We’ve grown over the 52 years of the festival — adding categories, tweaking, and adjusting things. I would say start small. I think the common mistake is that, “We have to have all the categories that they do in California,” or that they have at the Oscars.

I would start small, and just go with a few awards, and see what organically develops. If you get too prescriptive, you may find that it’s difficult for teachers to sort of fit in that box.

What we do at the festival is we have a little bit of a “loose” category for special award winners. And we just look at what’s submitted each year.

If there’s something that’s outstanding in student achievement, but it doesn’t quite fit in a category? We’ll create a special category and give them an award for it because it really deserves to be recognized. We don’t want to let it go by, and not have a moment to applaud that work.

So, I would suggest that you start small, be flexible, and then be open to what you get. See what comes in.

I’ll give one example. We had this fantastic submission come in that was using Minecraft to tell the story about how zombies attacked this one student’s school. They actually went inside of Minecraft and captured a screen of the game.

And then they layered on top of that their voices. As essentially actors, performing, using the characters in Minecraft as their puppets. Kind of like a digital puppet show.

And that’s actually a type of video called Machinima where you use machines to build cinema. It’s a portmanteau of those two words.

And so, we didn’t have anything to celebrate that. It’s animation, but it’s a unique kind of animation.

So we created the new Machinima category, and we gave that project the first ever Best Machinima award. It was a good example of being flexible, and watching what’s coming in, and adjusting… which I love to encourage.

Vicki: Well, Mike, if someone is pitching it for their state or their organization, and they have a really short time to pitch this, to those who can fund or support this type of thing, what would you say in your 30-second pitch for the advantages of hosting a student media festival?

What’s the elevator speech to sell this project?

Mike: Well. It celebrates student creativity, encourages educators to use media and get away from lectures. And really build that project-based learning that we know activates the brain, teaches students to be collaborative, and results in just a fantastic learning experience for the students.

There’s my elevator pitch for it.

Vicki: OK. So teachers, think about hosting a student media festival.

And remember, you can go to mediafestival.org and Steal this Festival and they’re letting you do that with all of their ideas.

And California educators, remember that your deadline is April 2nd for this year in 2018.

Mike: Yes. And it’s free! It’s free to enter! And it’s free to attend!

Vicki: Ohhhh. I love that!

Of course, it takes the time of a whole lot of you guys, but it’s such a great project.

Thanks for doing it!

Mike: Well, thanks for letting me share!

It’s a fantastic opportunity, and I appreciate the chance to talk about it.

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Over the last twenty-five years, Mike Lawrence has been a teacher, administrator, technology coordinator and non-profit leader. He served as CEO of CUE (CUE.org), helping the nonprofit grow fivefold in 12 years, served two terms on the ISTE board, and also serves as Director of the California Student Media Festival (mediafestival.org). He currently leads Educator Engagement for PowerSchool.

Blog: www.mikelawrence.me

Twitter: @techmaverick

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post How to Host a Student Media Festival appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Mathivating Kids to Get Excited About Math

9 April, 2018 - 21:30

Kim Thomas on episode 286 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Get Mathivated with Kim Thomas. She literally speaks math and has exciting things to do each day of the week for her students. (She also has quite an interesting way to handle difficult behavior including profanity.)

Listen Now

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Enhanced Transcript Mathivating Kids to Get Excited About Math

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e286
Date: April 9, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Kim Thomas  @kimthomasILSTOY, 2016 Illinois Teacher of the Year. She’s been teaching for 25 years, and currently, she’s in Peoria County Alternative School for kids who have been expelled, teaching at the middle school level.

So, Kim, you love math. What’s your philosophy behind helping kids get excited about math?

Kim: Well, I “math-ivate” them, and I try to be the best fraction of their day.

You know, math class… A lot of kids walk in my room with negative parabolas on their face, and I’m like, “No! Give me a sixtieth of a minute, and I will rotate that to a positive parabola.”

So by mathivating them, and making the class fun X fun + fun.

Like, you bring that fun and passion into the classroom, and kids are just gonna be like, “What did she say?”

And I’m like, “HEY! It’s time to get Mathlicious!”

They’re like, “What is that?”

If I would just say math, most of them would want to rotate 180 degrees and run.

So I came up with this Mathlicious way to do mathivate them, that really puts a positive parabola on everyone’s face.

I do… “Live + Laugh + Love = Learn” in my classroom.

Change the days of the week

So we LIVE it up every day. They know that they’re going to do something fun every day when they come in the room, so I name the days of the week. Now I change these names according to my kids and their interests.

Monday

So Monday is Math-oggle Monday and You Matter Monday. So we talk about things over the weekend and how much I missed them, and then we do a Math-oggle game I created. It’s like Boggle but it’s numbers, and so you have to pick adjacent numbers or diagonal ones that equal a certain number. And I let the kids pick the target numbers. So they have a lot of fun doing that. And it always works. It’s so Mathazing. No matter what number, no matter what is in that Math-oggle board, it works!

Tuesday

Now, TNGO Tuesday. I changed it this year to Tweakin’ TNGO Tuesday, because the kids have work called “tweaking” — not Twerking, I don’t Twerk on a Tuesday —

Vicki: (laughs)

Kim: But so, like, if you think today is Wednesday, “Mrs. Thomas, it’s Wednesday! You’re tweaking! It’s Monday!”

So I call it Tweakin’ Tuesday, and they just love it because, throughout the week, they’ll be like, “Mrs. Thomas, it’s not Tuesday, and you’re tweaking.”

So we all make mistakes as teachers, and I love it when the kids figure the mistake out, and they’ll be like, “Mrs. Thomas, you were tweaking.” So we call it Tweaking TNGO Tuesday.|

I use tangrams for the kids to create a picture. And they LOVE it. To just observe them problem-solving and listening to their Mathlicious dialog… it just gives me mathbumps to watch them go, “Hey, if we just put this piece here ,” and all of the problem-solving. But they love trying to figure out this puzzle. How excited they get when they figure it out. And then you can have kids create their own. Just putting the pieces together and you know, take a picture of it, and then the kids draw the outline, but then have them draw the solution. They love X love to pass out their own Tweaking TNGO puzzle on Tuesday.

Wednesday

Wednesday is Wuzzle Wednesday. So we do math puzzles. Kids are getting so good at these that they like to create their own. So we keep continuing to look up “fun puzzles to do” that really help us with our thinking skills, and also can be like a riddle or a joke.They love stuff like that as well. That’s Wuzzle Wednesday.

Thursday

And then there’s Thirsty Thursday! And what are we thirsty for? Math! Best subject ever! (laughs)

Well, they’re all my favorite days. But Thirsty Thursday I created an activity called Equation-anza. So they come up to the board and they roll a dice. Now usually it’s a 10-sided dice. They love it. And they have to guess, so if they’re in groups, they get to guess what number they think their group is going to roll.

And it really helps with kids getting along. I teach at an alternative school where kids have been expelled, so we’re really working on not only Mathlicious and math, but also skills on getting along and what you’re going to need in the real world to get along with each other. And deciding who gets to pick which number what day.

So they pick a number. And if they get it right, you know, we have a gotcha box or a treat, and THEN…

We love this. We use the date as the target number every Thirsty Thursday. And then my kids — after we get the square of 25 numbers (so five numbers from the dice) — they have to use those.

On the first line they have to use two of them, if they can, to get the date, if it’s possible.

Then the next line, three. And then four, and then all five. They add, subtract, multiply or divide.

It is SO math-abulous! It works for every date! My kids have not come up with a date that has never worked!

Vicki: Wow.

Kim: So, you know, just telling them. I get all these mathbumps, and I tell them, “I didn’t know what you were going to roll!” And “We didn’t know what the date was going to be!” And it works every single day.

Vicki: Awesome.

Kim: So, that’s Thirsty Thursday. Friday

Now, on Friday we have two things we do.

For Math-head Friday, we wear numbers like the headbands game, and they have to ask each other questions to see who gets it right first.

And THEN… We came up with Fri-Dab Friday! (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs)

Kim: It’s like… when you “dab”… You “dab” after something good.

Vicki: Yeah.

Kim: So I saw a lot of dabbing in my classroom, and I love to dab, and I dropped the smartboard marker, like the microphone? (laughs)

Vicki: Yeah.

Kim: They have to create a 2 X 2 line poem, we started with, on a math concept. And then we rap it out. I have kids who just LOVE to beat on the desk.

And so instead of telling them, “No, stop that.”

NO! I go ahead and let them beat on that desk. I just teach to the rhythm. And most of them get sick of listening to me trying to rap, so they stop. (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs) How funny.

Kim: I just love it. So I call it even, “Rap It Up” at the end of the class.

And we try to freestyle what we learned, and then somebody does the beat on the desk.

So every day coming up — I figured out that naming my days has really helped my kids be excited.

Now there’s so many other things we do with the Mathlicious projects that I have that I’m just so excited about. I finally got a book done of everything I’ve been doing for the past 10 x 2 + 5 years

There’s a book with all of these ideas in it! Vicki: Wow.

Kim: … to share with others. That’s like a dream come true for me. But just taking interests of kids. My days do change. Like dabbing wasn’t around, how many years ago. So now it is, so I try to take their interests and turn it into my math class, so you know, they will be interested in what we’re doing.

Vicki: Now, we will put a link to the math book, and what you’re doing, because there’s a lot to dig into here.

Now, we’re almost finished with the show, but Kim, tell us a story about a kid. You know, you work with kids who struggle, and a lot of times teachers when they’re in schools like yours — where the kids struggle, the teachers struggle. But it’s like you’re thriving and surviving and so excited.

Tell us a story about what this excited approach to math can do with kids.

Kim: It is! And it’s just like every day they know… in fact, every hour. You know, kids have to start fresh. You have to give them that fresh start. I believe in these spirit of four chances. To me, it’s 70 x 7. And once I got my Teacher of the Year title, I knew it was like God saying, “Get that book done!”

A story about just one student

So the story. I had a girl come in, and she sat in the back of the room, and she put her head down. And I was like, “Oh no, we don’t put heads down in our room.”

So I never tell kids what NOT to do. I just go talk to them about why we shouldn’t. So I went back and said, “Hey, let’s talk about why shouldn’t we put our head down during class, and so we kind of talked about it, and she put her head up. And she yelled, “I hate math!”

And you know, I had my hands over my ears, ‘“Ahhhh!”

So I had her come up you know, off to the side, and I put my hands on her shoulders, and I said, “You know how moms love you, but they have to correct you, right? Well, I’m your math mom, and I’m going to have to correct you, but I love you, even though I correct you. And I would never put you down. For anything ever. Not your past test scores or grades. Nothing. I’m here to build you up. So please don’t hate on my math class. Give me that one-sixtieth of a minute to show you how Mathlicious math is.”

And she goes, “Well, I can’t even do my times tables.”

And I said, “So what? I will help you.”

She goes, “You mean, you don’t care about…”

And I go, “No. I care about what I can help you with.”

“Well I need to count on my fingers.”

“That’s OK. So do I!”

“What?”

“I’d rather count on them and get it right, then try to think about it and get it wrong.”

She’s just looking at me.

And I go, “Honey, you don’t know what you can do, until you really give me that chance to help you. Because I’m here to help you.”

And she just looked at me like, “OK…” And she sat down, and she started working on her Math Muscles. That’s another thing we do in the beginning in the room. Math Muscles. And all of a sudden, as the weeks went by, she would be the one going, “Nobody blurt it out! Let me see if I can figure it out.”

So came our next testing, and it tests for growth, and she gained 11 x 2 points.

Vicki: Wow!

Kim: She was elated!

And was she at grade level yet? No, she wasn’t at grade level yet, but that’s OK.

She grew.

To me, the Mathlicious thing, and the Math-azing thing is, she’s not afraid of math class anymore.

She came up to me, and she goes, “You know, Mrs. Thomas, on my cab ride home the other day, the cab driver said, ‘What’s your favorite class?’ I said, ‘Math. Can you believe it? I never thought I’d say that. I’ve always hated math class!’”

And she goes, “Well, I just want to thank you for not giving up on me.”

And I said, “Well, how can you thank me?”

And she goes, “Stay in school and stay parallel to boys.”

Thank you! Because … popular… can get you into trouble.

Vicki: (laughs)

Kim: I keep it 10 squared, keep it 100 with my middle school kids.

But it was so cute. And you know, she wasn’t afraid. And that’s… you know, I could have taken her as being… You know, I always try to take their habits… Some of them come in my room and say curse words, so we turn it into math cursing. And we turn it into… you know, instead of telling kids to stop, I try to rotate it into something good.

This can help kids with cursing?

Vicki: How would you help them with cursing?

Kim: Oh my gosh, this is my favorite. So I did an article on… I call it “Math Cursing.” It’s from Curio Learning, “Teach Like a Rebel.”

And so, my kids… When they come in and I hear a curse word, I’m like, “OK, let’s talk about why we don’t cuss.” And so then I tell them how, “Well, I don’t use those words because the Bible says no filthy things should come from your mouth. So you guys, I know there’s somebody in your family that you cannot cuss in front of. So give me their names. So they all go around and they give me the name, and I say, “Put me on the list.”

I go, “We can math curse in here, because most people want to curse when they walk into a math class, anyway. So whatever they want to say, they have to replace it with a math word that starts with that letter.

Vicki: (laughs)

Kim: So, “Sit your fraction axis in the seat!” or “What the…? This shape is driving me nuts!”

Or one kid said, “Mrs. Thomas, what’s the “h” word?”

And I’m like, “height.”

And he’s like, “What the height are we gonna do today?”

Vicki: (laughs)

Kim: Seriously. When they start talking to each other, I just love it. They’re looking on the wall, they’re trying to think of other words, and eventually, the cursing just really dies down.

But every once in a while, my kids just have to let it out, and they can choose a math word instead.

But I take that habit, and instead of saying, “Don’t, don’t, don’t…” Let’s face it, my kids have been told that so many times before they come to me. So a true blessing in my life is to be able to say, “Yes,” so these students can feel that, what it feels like to be told, “Yes.” You know, to be included in things instead of excluded.

And I tell them, “This thing of being expelled is not an ending. It is a new beginning in your life. What are you going to do with it?”

Vicki: Oh, I love that.

Well, Kim, you’re somebody that I know that all of our remarkable teachers are going to want to learn more about. This is one of those that you definitely want to check the Shownotes to see what all Kim is doing.

Kim, I’m just proud of you and your attitude.

What a remarkable job you’re doing with these kids.

Here’s the thing. When you love children, they will just… they will more than go the extra mile. They’ll actually learn, which is what we want.

So, thank you, Kim. And I’m Math-ivated!

Kim: (laughs) Yay!

Well, thank you times thank you.

This has been a pleasure plus an honor to be on your show and meet you, and to speak to all those Math-abulous educators out there, those 3D superheros going the length, width, and height for our kids.

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Kim is the 1000 x 2 + 4^2 Illinois Teacher of the Year. She is an inductee into the Illinois State University College of Education Hall Of Fame. Kim is currently in her 10 x 2 + 5 year teaching in Peoria, Illinois. She teaches middle school students mathlicious math at the Peoria County Alternative School for kids who have been expelled. Kim is the author of Mathivate, the mathlicious method that puts a positive parabola on everyone’s face!!!

Blog: https://kimthomasilstoy.com/

Twitter: @kimthomasilstoy

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Mathivating Kids to Get Excited About Math appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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