Incredible #hourofcode Learning @Davis_Academy (guest post via @21ststacy & @caterclass)

The Davis Academy: The Hour Of Code Part 2 from Stacy Brown on Vimeo.

 

 

This week students at The Davis Academy participated in Hour of Code.  Five months ago the idea of Hour of Code started with one individual who wanted to get 10 million students to explore computer programming.  With the support of celebrities, CEO’s, and world leaders, Hour of Code grew to exceed the initial expectations.  Hour of Code brought together experts in computer science who designed websites and apps for every age to experience computer programming.

Why Hour of Code?  According to code.org, “Computer Science develops students’ computational and critical thinking skills and shows them how to create, not simply use, new technologies”.   Computer Science is one of the fastest growing industries with over 150,000 job openings annually and 1,000,000 more jobs than students by the year 2020.  A core piece of The Davis Academy experience is teaching students to develop problem-solving skills, cultivate critical thinking, build resiliency, and encourage inquisitiveness.   Technology integration allows us to practice real-world skills in a digital format that raises student engagement.  The Hour of Code has provided us with a unique opportunity for global connectedness.  The Davis Academy joined with 15 million students who participated in Hour of Code.

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The Hour of Code initiative spread through Davis from mechina to eighth grade.  At the Lower School, mechina and kindergarten students practiced programming basics with the Kodable app on the iPads.   First grade programmed a puppy’s journey home with Tynker’s interactive courses designed for children to learn programming skills.  Second through fifth grade used drag and drop programming with self-directed tutorials.  They learned repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms.

Middle School students participated in Hour of Code through a variety of different applications based on their interest and experience.  Some of the programs include Light Bot and Blocky utilizing drag and drop programming to teach core basic skills.  Lastly, teachers throughout the school participated in Hour of Code side by side with their students.

Can’t stop talking about Hour of Code?  The learning continues online with Code.org.  Students can click here and pursue their interest in coding through a variety of tutorials with different programming languages.

And now it is your turn.  Join Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Cater and Mr. Frank in January as we present the “Davis Parent Hour of Code Challenge.”  Come explore and learn the coding skills through the challenges your children engaged in these past two weeks.  This will be a hands on hour of coding open to all Davis parents.  We have 20 slots available for the first session on January 31st at 9:10.  Please RSVP to Janice Durden.

Click below to see the fun and learning that was had this week, and the fun that is in store for all up for accepting the parent challenge.

Stacy Brown (@21ststacy)      21st Century  Learning Coordinator

Rebecca Cater (@caterclass)  Coordinator of Curriculum and Innovative Learning

 

 

Homework Club & Eleven Challenge

I appreciate the honor and assignment that I received when Matt Wachel  @mattwachel nominated me as blogger to join the Homework Club/Eleven Challenge.  Similar to Matt I often find it difficult to carve out time to do as much blogging as I would like to do, but I do enjoy the process and result when I do make it a priority. While Matt is not as frequent a blogger as he would like to be, he routinely contributes to my learning through sharing resources and ideas via twitter.  If you are not already following him, you should and will be glad you did.

 

My First Task – 11 Random Facts about Me.

1. I love playing video games with my kids (or without them)

2. I love playing any game with cards, die or tiles.

3. I am a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan.

4. I am an insatiable reader who loves reading pedagogy, leadership, philosophy, and humor books.

5. I enjoy fiction novels that are a part of series so as to allow a longer investment. (a few of my favorites are The Courtney Series by Wilbur Smith, W.E.B. Griffin’s The Corp Series, and unashamedly a huge fan of the Potter and Artemis Fowl Series).

6. I am a huge fan of George Carlin’s humor and books.

7. I am a compulsive computationalist.

8. I have great admiration for the power and impact of inspirational videos and I love to find and share these with friends, parents and colleagues.

9. I love improve and musical theatre.

10. Cowboy boots are my greatest vanity.

11. I believe Sriracha sauce is a great condiment for everything from breakfast through desert.

This was a bit challenging to answer because I don’t like to talk about myself very often.  But here goes:

My Second Task – Answer Matt’s Questions

1.  What book have your recently read?

My most recent read is a fabulous book that I read and I am now sharing with me teacher and admin teams, Great Ways to Sabotage a Good Conversation by Paul W. Schenk.

2.  If you could sit down with any two people from history, who would you choose and why?

With only 2 selections this is an exceedingly challenging question.  I am split between the amazing leaders of movements and people who showed faith and determination in the face of insurmountable challenges and personal risk (Mandella, MLK Jr., Dali Lama, Ghandi), the incredible thinkers who have so contributed to our current understanding of the world around us (Socrates, Plato, Euclid, Edison, Einstein), the legends of sports and culture (Jackie Robinson, Bobby Jones, Jim Morrison, M.C. Escher, Michalangelo), and my own family members who I never had the chance to meet or left this world when I was far too young.  In the end, I think if given the opportunity to sit down with two people for history, I would likely choose my father and grandfather who both passed when I was only 12 years old.

3.  Hamburgers or Hotdogs?

If this were hamburger or Italian sausage, I may have to deliberate, but I am definitely a burger over dog person.

4.  What is your favorite season of the year and why?

Fall: Start to the school year, fall holidays, and football.

5.  Which person in your PLN do you find most interesting and why?

I am not sure I can identify or single out one person.  I have such admiration for the divergent thinking and strong opinions that many of those who are close and dear to me share with me on a regular basis.  I have great admiration for each of these for the times they challenge my thinking as well as the times they agree with it.

6.  What song/album have you recently listened to?

Embarrassingly, I have been listening to a bunch of minecraft parody’s on youtube thanks to my sons who are in love with everything minecraft.

7.  Who influenced you to be an educator?

I think the most influential people in my decision to become and continue to be an educator are the incredible students I have had the opportunity to work with in the past and the ones I hope to continue to work with in the future.  I was originally an actuary, but I did not like the cubicle.  Then I was a bartender, but I did not love the industry.   While bartending, I was offered the opportunity to volunteer with some gifted math students, and I almost instantaneously new I had found my place.

8.  What are you most proud of this past year?

I think I am most proud of the culture of learning and growing that I see amongst all members of my school community.

9.  If you did not go into education, what profession would you have chosen and why?

I think I would have likely either stayed in the world of actuarial science or accounting.

10. If you could switch shoes with one person, who would it be and why?

My 6 year old.  I think the learning and growing that our students are going to be exposed to in our culture of information and connectedness is going to be mind-blowing.  I would love to go back and learn it anew.

11.  What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2014?

I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions for the same reason I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day.  I think every day we need to be setting goals for improvement and growth just as every day we need to be letting the people we love and cherish know.  My resolution for today is the same as it will be for the 31st, which is to be better every tomorrow as a parent, husband, educator, friend and human than I am today.

 

My Third Task – Nominate 11 Bloggers to Join the Homework Club

Krissy Venosdale @venspired  http://venspired.com/

Suzy Brooks @SimplySuzy  http://blogs.falmouth.k12.ma.us/simplysuzy/

Suzanne Gibbs @Suz_Gibbs http://suzanneclassroom.blogspot.com/

Shawn Storm @sstorm01 http://reachingyourdream.blogspot.com/

Stacy Brown @21ststacy http://5davistech.blogspot.com/ (one of her class blogs written by students)

Terri Eichholz @terrieichholz http://engagetheirminds.wordpress.com/

Devon Caldwell @india0309 http://kinderdiva.blogspot.com/

David Culberhouse @DCulberhouse http://dculberh.wordpress.com/

Cathy Jo Nelson @cathyjo http://blog.cathyjonelson.com/

Diana-Grace Morris @dianagracenz http://exploriosity.blogspot.co.nz/

Shannon Miller @shannonmmiller http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/

My Fourth Task – Questions for you

1. What is your favorite movie of all time?

2. If you could go to have attended any concert anytime in history, what would it have been?

3. What do you do for fun?  Hobby?

4. What two guests would make the best comedic pair as co-hosts for the Oscars?

5 .Cat, Dog or Goldfish? Why…

6. How do you caffeinate?

7. Favorite twitter chat?

8. Best place you ever vacationed?

9. Best book you’ve read in 2013?

10. Favorite television shows?

11. What is one thing you never/rarely share that you are exceptionally proud of?

Here is your Task

1.Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

2.Share 11 random facts about yourself.

3.Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

4.List 11 bloggers.

5.Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you

Sunshine Award

UKA5

I am honored to be nominated for a Sunshine Award by a blogger/tweeter who so regularly contributes to my own learning, Seth Berg.  Seth’s reflective and informative blog can be found at http://bergseyeview.edublogs.org/ and he tweets @BergsEyeView.

The Sunshine award gives others an opportunity to learn more about me as a blogger and then, in turn, I will send sunshine the way of 11 other amazing bloggers for you to get to know!

Here are the rules listed by Brenda on her blog:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

11 Random Facts about me…

  1. I love playing video games with my kids (or without them)
  2. I love playing any game with cards, die or tiles.
  3. I am a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan.
  4. I am an insatiable reader who loves reading pedagogy, leadership, philosophy, and humor books.
  5. I enjoy fiction novels that are a part of series so as to allow a longer investment. (a few of my favorites are The Courtney Series by Wilbur Smith, W.E.B. Griffin’s The Corp Series, and unashamedly a huge fan of the Potter and Artemis Fowl Series).
  6. I am a huge fan of George Carlin’s humor and books.
  7. I am a compulsive computationalist.
  8. I have great admiration for the power and impact of inspirational videos and I love to find and share these with friends, parents and colleagues.
  9. I love improve and musical theatre.
  10. Cowboy boots are my greatest vanity.
  11. I believe Sriracha sauce is a great condiment for everything from breakfast through desert.

Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

Tough question.  I would have to say Field of Dreams due to how it resonates with me as one who lost my father early in life as well as the incredible messages about faith , courage, and love for baseball.

Which teacher inspired you most as a k-12 student?

I had a number of wonderful teachers who shaped the educator and person that I am today, but I believe Paul Myers, advanced math teacher at Woodward Academy, impacted me most.

Are you a sports fan?  If so, season?  Team?  If not, what does get you fired up?

Completely.  I am into anything that has score and can be kept up with in a statistical fashion.  First and foremost I root for anything Chicago based, next I am a University of Georgia fan,

How many siblings do you have?

3 siblings (two sisters and a brother) and 3 great brother/sister-in-laws.

Eat out or cook at home?

I love to cook, so I would say home would be my preference.  I spent about 10 years in the food industry and I love to prepare elaborate meals for friends and family.  That being said, time is a scarce commodity, so I also love to dine out with friends and family.

Where do you go to get away?

I do not do this enough, but we have enjoyed great family trips to Orlando, Great Wolff in Concorde, and recently a 10 year anniversary trip with my wife to Cancun.

What do you do for fun?  Hobby?

My hobby/fun is gaming (card or video) with my sons and friends, watching movies and TV with my wife, and/or reading for myself or with my kids.

Read any good books lately?

Yes, definitely. Shifting the Monkey by Todd Whitaker and Great Ways to Sabotage a Good Conversation by Paul Schenk

Favorite pizza toppings?

Italian sausage.

Addicted to any television series?

Way too many to be healthy. Survivor, Castle, Hawaii Five-O, Scandal, Big Break, Sing Off ..etc.

What would you have your readers know about you that you haven’t shared?

I vacillate between being the poorly behaved child who makes faces in the hall windows of the classroom and being the principal who has speak with children who make bad decisions and get sent to me.

Now it’s time for me to nominate 11 bloggers who deserve the Sunshine award.  I read and appreciate so many. 

  1. MathyCathy’s Blog – Mrs. Cathy Yenca http://www.mathycathy.com/blog/
  2. Mrs. White’s 5th Grade Class http://mesmrswhitesclass.blogspot.com/
  3. MorahKelly’s Blog http://tinyurl.com/n5j7dju
  4. Todd Nesloney’s Blog http://www.toddnesloney.com/
  5. What’s going on in Mr. Solarz’ Class? http://psolarz.weebly.com/
  6. The Principal of Change | Stories of learning and leading http://georgecouros.ca/blog/
  7. The Learners’ Perspective http://thelearnersperspective.blogspot.com/
  8. Rabbi’s Pen http://www.rabbispen.com/
  9. A Tech Teacher on a Mission http://www.techteacheronamission.com/index.html
  10. Beth Holland | Leading Change in Changing Times http://edtechteacher.org/blog/
  11. Inside the classroom, outside the box! http://insidetheclassroomoutsidethebox.wordpress.com/

Finally, according to the Sunshine award rules, it’s my turn to ask 11 questions of my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite movie of all time?
  2. If you could go to have attended any concert anytime in history, what would it have been?
  3. What do you do for fun?  Hobby?
  4. What two guests would make the best comedic pair as co-hosts for the Oscars?
  5. Cat, Dog or Goldfish? Why…
  6. How do you caffeinate?
  7. Favorite twitter chat?
  8. Best place you ever vacationed?
  9. Best book you’ve read in 2013?
  10. Favorite television shows?
  11. What is one thing you never/rarely share that you are exceptionally proud of?

A Message of Thanks

As we prepare to welcome grandparents and special friends into our school and in to our home, I wanted to take a moment to give thanks to all who have contributed to this fabulous start to the school year. 

It is such a joy to come to work each day and to get to work with such a committed group of professional and caring teachers and staff members.  I give thanks to the countless hours of grading, planning, and sharing that they commit.

It is such a joy to be greeted each morning by a throng of smiling student faces eager to experience the day ahead and excited about the learning opportunities that await.  I give thanks for their enthusiasm, love of learning, joy for Jewish practice, and unwavering ability to make me smile.

It such a joy to be able to partner with a parent body that is actively involved in their children’s education and willing to volunteer in the classroom, throughout the school, and in the community.  I give thanks for the trust you put in us and the support you give to us as we work to educate your children.

Lastly, it such a joy to be a member of a community that exemplifies the values of wisdom, courage, and honor that we teach in our classrooms.  I give thanks to all the great role models and Menschs who have reached out to one another to support other members of the community through both the joyous and challenging times of the past few months.

I wish you all a wonderful thanksgiving filled with good food, memories, and company,

Drew

Edublogs Award Nominations

My nominations for the 10th Annual Edublog Awards!

Thank you to all the amazing educators and thought provokers listed below for continuing to inspire me to be better each tomorrow.

  1. Best Elementary administrator blog – Chris Wejr The Wejr Board http://chriswejr.com/
  2. Best Middle School administrator blog – Seth Berg Berg’s Eye View http://bergseyeview.edublogs.org/
  3. Best ed tech/resource sharing blog – The Ed Tech Round Up http://www.edtechroundup.org/
  4. Best educational use of a social network – Zoe Bettess Instagram #ourcommunityed
  5. Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast – Shimi Cohen The Innovation of Loneliness http://vimeo.com/70534716
  6. Best free web tool – Twitter
  7. Best group blog – Two Guys and Some iPads  http://www.twoguysandsomeipads.com/
  8. Best Individual blog – George Couros The Principal of Change https://twitter.com/gcouros
  9. Best individual tweeter – Dr. Justin Tarte (@justintarte)
  10. Best Library/Librarian blog – Shannon Miller Van Meter Library Voice http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/
  11. Best mobile app – TodaysMeet
  12. Best open PD / unconference / webinar series – #Edcamponline
  13. Best teacher blog – Kelly Cohen Morah Kelly’s Blog  http://kidblog.org/3-5JudaicStudies/4361969f-b097-41e6-a0a3-f0189daeb4f3/november-4-november-8/
  14. Best twitter hashtag – #21stedchat
  15. Best New Twitter Chat- #vided
  16. Lifetime Achievement – Tom Whitby My Island View http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/
  17. Most influential blog post of the year – Matt Gomez “We Should Be Doing More Than Teaching Digital Citizenship” http://mattbgomez.com/we-should-be-doing-more-than-teaching-digital-citizenship/

Learn more about how you can nominate your favorite edutech people, places and things for an Edublog Award here!

 

What Is Missing In Educational Chats?

I am not a twitter educational chat connoisseur.  I do not have and do not believe in a discernable palate when it comes to #chats.  If there are a group of people discussing education, childhood development, leadership, culture…etc, I am eager to participate.  This is evident in the myriad of chats that I contribute to, lurk at, and review on a weekly/daily basis.  But here is the problem:  All of these chats are filled with passionate and dedicated professionals discussing their craft, and yet this space that should naturally be charged with emotion remains “peachy.” WHERE IS THE DISSENTION?

Why have so many knowledgeable and knowledge-thirsty educators formed a “culture of nice?”

A team affected by the culture of nice can look high functioning on the surface, but signs of an unhealthy culture may exist: Teachers rarely question each other’s and their own practice, assumptions, and beliefs. Instead they may only complement each other (When Nice Won’t Suffice by Elisa MacDonald).

An important part of awareness is attending to “nondiscussables.” Nondiscussables are subjects sufficiently important that they get talked about frequently but are so laden with anxiety and fearfulness that these conversations take place only in the parking lot, the rest rooms, the playground, the car pool, or the dinner table at home. Fear abounds that open discussion of these incendiary issues in polite society–at a faculty meeting, for example–will cause a meltdown. The nondiscussable is the elephant in the living room (The Culture Builder by Ronald S. Barth).

I do not propose to have the answer, rather I will pose a few questions that may be at the heart of the problem (please feel free to disagree)?

  1. Does a twitter or text based discussion lack the body language and tonal cues that allow for psychological safety while engaged in a discussion laden with emotion?
  2. Does the lack of tone in text too easily provide the “opportunity” for a respectful disagree to come off as disagreeable or curmudgeonly?
  3. Have we all become so hyper-conscious of our digital footprint that we perseverate about not creating a record of argumentative nature or being misconstrued and therefore under attack for your feelings which again contribute to your footprint.
  4. Does our digital PLN lack the emotional and relational cultivation necessary to engage in emotionally charged discussions about our passion, profession, and calling (I have not met the majority of the people I consider part if my PLN).

Impact

Nothing is more valuable than a friend who feels differently than you on fundamental ideas and values. The opportunity to discuss and engage in the sharing of dissenting opinions bring forth prospective learning and allows individuals to test the foundations on which their beliefs are built on.  This is a powerful tool that a fear is not being actualized in these chats.  We must find a way to move past our culture of nice to a culture of growth, where dissenting opinions are not only accepted but solicited for the learning potential they offer the group and each individual.

Drew

Afterthought

Below are some of my favorite weekly chats. This is by no means a complete list (if you want a more complete list click here to go to Jerry Blumengarten’s “Educational Chats on Twitter” page).  Additionally, there are many of my favorites that occur at the same time. If you are new to chats, I would highly advise not attempting to simul-chat (not sure if that is an actual term or my own brain-dropping {thank you George Carlin}).

 

Day

Hashtag

What/Who   is the chat about

When   (ET)

Monday #4thchat Fourth Grade Teachers   Chat

8:00   PM

Monday #edtechchat Educational Technology   Chat

8:00   PM

Monday #tlap Teach Like a Pirate

8:00   PM

Monday #tlchat Teacher Librarians  Chat

8:00   PM

Monday #21stadmin 21st Century   Administrator Chat

9:00   PM

Monday #kinderchat Kindergarten and Early   Childhood Chat

9:00   PM

Monday #COLchat Culture of Learning Chat

9:00   PM

Tuesday #edchat Education Chat

12:00   PM

Tuesday #pblchat Project Based Learning   Chat

8:00   PM

Tuesday #edteach Ed Teach Chat

8:00   PM

Tuesday #5thchat Fifth grade Teachers Chat

8:00   PM

Tuesday #patue Pedagogy and Technology

8:00   PM

Tuesday #6thchat Sixth Grade Chat

9:00   PM

Tuesday #VidED Great Videos in/for  Education Chat

9:00   PM

Wednesday #3rdchat Third Grade Chat

7:00   PM

Wednesday #2ndchat Second Grade Teachers   Chat

8:00   PM

Wednesday #jedchat Jewish Ed Chat

9:00   PM

Thursday #mathchat Math Teachers Chat

7:00   PM

Thursday #artsed Arts in Education Chat

7:30   PM

Thursday #6thchat 6th grade teachers Chat

8:00   PM

Thursday #mschat Middle School Chat

8:00   PM

Thursday #isedchat Independent School   Educators Chat

9:00   PM

Saturday #satchat Saturday Educational Chat   for Teachers and Admin

7:30   AM

Saturday #satchatwc Saturday Educational Chat   for Teachers and Admin

10:30   AM

Sunday #sunchat Sunday Ed Chat

9:00   AM

Sunday #1stchat First Grade Teachers Chat

8:00   PM

Sunday #21stedchat 21st Century Education   Chat

8:00   PM

 

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