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Rock Our World: Using music to collaborate and change the world

What it is: Rock Our World has one goal, to give students authentic global collaboration opportunities by connecting them with music.  Rock Our World has been doing just that since 2004.  Students and teachers collaborate in composing original music, making movies, and meeting each other in live video chats. Using GarageBand (Apple), each country creates a 30 second drum beat.  Every Friday, the drum created rotates to another country, where the bass guitar is added. It gets passed from country to country with another instrument added at each stop.  When it gets back to the original country, it is an original piece of music that has been created with the help of kids around the world. While the music is being passed from country to country, students have opportunities to meet and discuss various topics of curriculum in live video chats.  Incredible companies have been involved in this project including Apple, Fablevision, Discovery, American Film Institute, Smart Technologies, NASA, Visual Learning Company, Lintor Publishing, Mariner Software, actor Will Smith and more.  Pretty impressive! Applications for Rock Our World will be accepted for pre-kindergarten through university  in January. You can sign up for membership by providing your email address to be alerted to the exact date you can begin applying. How to integrate Rock Our World into the classroom: This is an incredible opportunity for your students to work and collaborate with other students around the world.  Not only will your students be learning and interacting with new cultures, they will also be learning more about music.  Your students will be a part of creating a unique song by adding their piece to it. At the end, each country will have a song touched by students around the world.  How cool is that?! It would be really neat at the end of the project to create an iMovie of the final song that includes the globe animation zooming into each country as their bit of the song is played and including a slideshow of students from each country. Tips: Take a look at previous projects by clicking on the “Media” tab. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Rock Our World in your classroom.

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Math Class Needs a Makeover: videos, inquiry, math stories and more

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, Create, Download, Evaluate, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Math, professional development, Teacher Resources, TED Talk Tuesdays, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 18-06-2013

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What it is:  I’ve had the great fortune of time to go through my Google Reader favorites this week as I prepare for the shutdown (still bitter about that!).  The unexpected benefit I’ve had from Google Reader’s demise? The forced opportunity to go back through and be reminded of some of the truly amazing people and resources in education.  Dan Meyer is one of my all time favorite math geniuses.  He reminds us that math is more than computation, it is a frame of mind and an outlook on the world.  If your math program isn’t that…it is time to change!  As I went back through the resources of Dan’s that I had tagged, I re-watched his TEDx Talk: Math Class Needs a Makeover.  If you haven’t seen this TED Talk, or haven’t watched it in a while…now is the time.  I’ve embedded the talk above for your viewing pleasure…you don’t even have to go anywhere!  If you have watched it recently, be a friend and share it with someone else.

Dan also has some other really useful mathspiration.  His blog, dy/dan, is a source of math prompts and discussions that will have you thinking beyond computation. 101Questions is a project that encourages students to think about math through photo prompts and inquiry.  Graphing Stories is STINKING fantastic, Dan offers a printout for your students, they can then watch any video and graph the story.  AWESOME describes this resource. Three Act Math is a curricula that Dan developed, click on the links within the doc to get to the resources.  Again…AWESOME. Geometry curricula offers you Dan’s handouts, pdfs, powerpoint and keynote presentations.  Algebra curricula offers the same.

THANK YOU Dan for sharing your passion for mathematics, your inspiration for those of us who aren’t as naturally inclined to geek out about math, and for your openness of resources.

How to integrate Dan Meyer’s awesomeness into the classroom:  Dan makes it really easy for you to integrate his methods into your classroom.  Everything you need from inspiration, to mathematical story sets, to curricula materials is available.  If you teach math, the obvious place to start is with the type of math that you teach.  Dan’s resources are mostly intended for high school students use.  However, as I looked through his resources again, I think they could be appropriate for students in elementary school as well.

101Questions is a great way to have your kids enter an inquiry mindset as they approach math.  These are photos that ask your students what the first thing that comes to mind is.  Students can type in their answer and get a new prompt.  These would be a great way to start your class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Have your class inquire and come up with questions together.  Students can also do this as an independent activity and then share their questions with other students.

Graphing Stories speaks for itself.  Again, it is geared toward secondary students, but I think that given enough support, primary students would really enjoy engaging math this way too.  (Sometimes we don’t give students enough credit for where an interest can take their thinking.  Case in point: Anastasis 2nd and 3rd graders who know Fibonacci inside and out. Normally you wouldn’t see the concept until high school or later.)

The Three Act Math is also a favorite of mine.  Use Dan’s three acts, or use his as inspiration for creating your own!

Dan’s resources hit on every level of Bloom’s Taxonomy…that alone is good reason to stop reading this and go on your own exploration!

Tips: Dan is great to follow on Twitter...a constant stream of 140 character mathspiration!

How are you using Dan Meyer’s Awesome in your classroom?  Leave a comment below!

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