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Amazing Race Staff Meeting

Staff meetings are generally very dry affairs. Often they become reiterations of the email memos that have been sent out.  In an effort to make our staff meetings more worthwhile experiences, I suggested that we use our March staff meeting to show teachers a different way of learning.  I didn’t just want to tell teachers about the benefits of constructivist learning, I wanted them to experience the benefits first hand.  I proposed holding an Amazing Race competition with our staff.  We would split the staff into teams, give them tasks, clues, detours, and road blocks.  The first team to complete the tasks would receive a “sweet million” (a King sized Hershey bar with a Starbucks gift card attached). Tasks: These were things that the team had to do together.  For example one of our tasks was to count all of the biographies in the library, and subtract the sum of biographies that were less than 100 pages.  (Our 3rd grade students are required to read biographies that are more than 100 pages, the idea was to get teachers looking through the biographies, realizing the small number of appropriate biographies that meet their requirements).  Some of our other tasks included, stopping somewhere in the building and taking a silly team picture with a camera stationed there, searching United Streaming for an Animal Cracker (idioms) video, filling out a Google Form that asked questions about previous tasks, and using search tricks in Google. Clues: These pointed the teams to the next task. We had route markers throughout the rooms and halls to point the way. Detour Clue: These are random tasks.  Example: Find a maintenance form, substitute form, and reimbursement form and write who should receive each at the top of the form. Road Block: These are completed by only one member of the team. For example: jump rope and have a teammate take a picture. We started our Amazing Race Staff Meeting by giving each team colored bandannas, a school map, a bottle of water, pen, and notebook.  Before the race began, we watched a CHC Amazing Race video.  Our teams were off, teachers were running down the hallway and shouting directions to each other.  They were working, learning, and having fun together. You can see our Amazing Race video and Google form here. The meeting was a huge success.  Morale was boosted, staff bonds were strengthened, and teachers participated in a different kind of learning.  It was fun! I had NO idea how competitive our staff is. What creative staff meetings have you been a part of?  What kinds of staff meetings do you find most useful?

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Science of Everyday Life

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 16-05-2013

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What it is:
Discovery Education and 3M have partnered to bring the science of everyday life into your classroom.  This fantastic collection of resources is for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.  On the site you will find videos and interactives that help kids learn about the science around them and make connections to what they are learning in school.  Lessons are inquiry based and encourage exploration in life science, physical science, earth science and technology/innovation.  Virtual labs are interactive flash-based labs where students can discover more about science like wind energy.  At the Innovation HQ portion of the site, students can travel through time and look at innovations that they use in their every day life and “meet” 3M scientists. On the Student page, students can see a young inventors hall of fame.

How to integrate Science of Everyday Life into the classroom:  The Science of Everyday Life is packed FULL of great videos, lesson ideas, virtual interactives and student activities.  I really appreciate that the approach to lessons is inquiry based!  The lessons include great resources and encourage students to ask questions and dig deeper.  The virtual investigations and labs are also really well done.

Content is separated out by grade level, quickly find exactly what best fits your classroom needs!

The travel through time feature is really neat for students to explore.  This could be done as a class using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard or used as a center exploration or individual activity in a 1:1 or lab setting.  Split students into smaller teams or have them explore a specific time period independently.  The timeline gives some basic information, and would be a great launching point for further investigation.  Students could turn this into a larger project where they connect the innovation from history with innovations today.  What learning had to take place in the past, in order for the innovation that we have today?  This would make a great compare/contrast activity for students.

Because Discovery Education is involved, you can anticipate high quality videos and related resources.

Tips:  The resources and interactives on the Science of Everyday Life are largely Java and Flash based.  If you are running these resources off an iPad, you will want to use an app like Rover (which allows you to view Flash), Photon, iSwifter, etc.

I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Science of Everyday Life in your classroom.

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