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Mapness

What it is: Mapness is a site, still in beta, that students can use to make interactive, virtual travel journals.  First students add points of interest to a map, then they can add descriptions, photos, and videos right on top of the map.  As virtual travelers visit the map, they are led on a virtual tour depicted on the map.  This is really neat!   How to integrate Mapness into the classroom: Mapness is perfect for integrating into the geography classroom.  As students study different parts of the world, they can create their own virtual tour of that place by collecting photos and videos during their online research and embedding them into maps.  Split students into several groups, each group can be assigned a different place to create a tour for.  When the tours are finished, hold a vacation day where students can visit each other’s assigned places.  This would be an ideal day to reserve the computer lab!  Students can also create literary tours.  As they read a book or learn about an author or genre, they can pinpoint places on the map and add descriptions and pictures.  This would also be a wonderful opportunity to map out historical events.  Bring events to life for your students and weave in some map reading skills while you are at it!  Mapness sure beats the maps I completed as a kid, labeling places on a 8 1/2 x 11 photo copy that always looked sloppy after trying to fit in all of the requirements. Tips: After students create an account, they can add several map tours to their account making it a nice place to save up work throughout the year.  Mapness does require a working email address to activate the account.  If your students don’t have an email address they can create a temporary email address at a site like Mailinator.  (As a side note, if you regularly give out your email address on websites a Mailinator account would save you from a lifetime of spam.)   Check out my Mapness map of my recent vacation to California. Leave a comment and share how you are using Mapness in your classroom.

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Apprenticing students in the art of learning

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 31-10-2013

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I’m of the opinion that the apprenticeship model should be the basis for education.  This is one of the cornerstones of Anastasis philosophy, that we apprentice students in the art of learning.  The goal then, is to teach students how to be learners by modelling what it means to be a learner.  I’m not sure how one can be a teacher and not be a learner.

As a young child, I was apprenticed as a learner.  My parents were masters at encouraging curiosity.  They themselves are inquirers.  They showed me what it meant to passionately pursue understanding of the world around me.  It never felt like school.  As long as I can remember, my parents have owned their own businesses.  When I was growing up, they owned and operated a kitchen remodel business.  I spent summers “playing” at work.  This was my first interaction with using a computer.  I spent hours pretending to talk on the phone to a client and then designing their kitchen using the office Apple IIe.  It was really exciting when I got to use the blue print machine in the insanely scary basement of the office.  Later, my dad started a model rocket company.  He made model rocket kits completely out of wood.  This led to an excitement about physics, making, and entrepreneurship.  My parents involved my brother and I in each part of the process.  I spent many hours sewing bags for the rockets to be packaged in.  When my brother decided that skateboarding was life, my parents started a skateboard company.  This time I learned about screen printing, graphic design, and skate culture.  My families most recent pursuit of passion is at Koostik.  My dad started this company after discovering that he could amplify sound by putting his iPhone in a Styrofoam cup.  He immediately began to tinker in the garage, using his passion for woodworking to create speakers for the iPhone that worked 100% through acoustics.

This was learning at its absolute best.  It gave purpose to all of the things that I learned in school.  My parents taught me how to pursue curiosity, passion and crazy ideas.  They showed me that learning is a life long adventure.

I often get dropped-jaw stares when I tell people that I started a school.  The immediate follow-up questions begin: how did you do it, what classes did you take to prepare you, what professional development on starting a school did you get, where did you find the money?  My answer is always the same, I was raised to do this.  My parents taught me how to do this by demonstrating what it means to be a learner.  They taught me how to do this by showing me how passions and ideas are pursued.  Many that I talk to consider starting a school risky or scary.  For me the scarier thing would be to sit by and watch kids go through an education system that isn’t in their best interest.  The scarier thing is to do what every one else is doing.

I was raised to do this.

My hope for students everywhere: that they would have teachers in their lives who would apprentice them in the art of learning.

Thank you mom and dad for showing me what passionate learning looks like!

 

P.S.  If you haven’t seen the gorgeous work that my dad does, check out Koostik.  Each of the products is made by hand.  My dad is constantly sending me photos of new ideas he is tinkering with.  LOVE that!  Koostik has a contest that ends TONIGHT where you can enter to win product.  I saw the prize pack in person today.  The photos don’t do it justice.  Everything is gorgeous!  My dad is pretty much the master at choosing just the right piece of wood and working with the grain to really make each piece stand out as a masterpiece.  It is truly (functional) art.  Details for how to enter here.

Koostik prize package!

 

 

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