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Call for Posts: April Issue of #ProjectPLN

Hello all!  I am back in town which means that my to do list has grown a mile.  That list includes putting together the April issue of Project PLN.  The problem: we still need some posts!  If you would like to be a contributor to the April issue of Project PLN, we would love to have you. Topic for...

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Flash & Thunder- Part graphic novel, part game, all fun and learning

Posted by admin | Posted in 5Sigma, Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Technology, Websites | Posted on 30-11-2015

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INVICTA-Challenge- graphic novel/game/maps

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What it is: INVICTA Challenge combines technology (in the form of an action-packed video game), a graphic novel, maps, an operation packet and an action figure that inspires kids to read and problem solve. Each INVICTA Challenge collection builds problem solving and leadership skills for students 8-14. Part story, part game, students are placed in historical situations where they get to make the decisions that will determine success or failure. The first challenge, Flash & Thunder lets students walk in the shoes of an American Hero.

How to Integrate INVICTA Challenge in your classroom: These challenges are a fun and new way to foster literacy, history, and leadership skills in your classrooms. Stories are highly visual and have enough action and adventure to keep even your reluctant readers engaged. The game component of the challenge almost takes on a choose your own adventure feel as it pairs with the graphic novel, maps, and missions. The first challenge, Flash & Thunder tells the true story of a Native American paratrooper’s D-Day leadership. The way that this combination puts students in the middle of the story is fantastic. Students aren’t passive readers…it is impossible! With Flash and Thunder, students are in the middle of the action, analyzing options, making decisions, evaluating the decisions and building comprehension and understanding of history all the way.

The INVICTA challenge is like a smart recombination of the things I enjoyed most from my own childhood: American Girl dolls/Books, Oregon Trail…only with a major upgrade.

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At Anastasis, we’ve been working on an inquiry unit about change makers and the power of one. The INVICTA challenge has been a fantastic launching off point for students as they consider what it means to be a change maker, and what characteristics make up a change maker. This interactive challenge/book/game put students in the middle of thinking like a change maker, building leadership traits like integrity, nobility, valor, initiative, curiosity, tenacity, and accountability.

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This challenge would be an excellent addition to your classroom library. You might want a few copies so that students can read together and work through the game and missions together in a book group. The video game component will be available on iOS, Android, and online here. Take a look!

Tips: The INVICTA Challenges can be purchased at Barnes and Noble for $34.99. For all that is included in this kit, it is truly a great value! I’m so excited for the other challenges to come out, some very exciting stories and characters are on their way!

Full disclosure: INVICTA sent me the Flash and Thunder challenge so that I could review it for you all here. But…

You can win your own Flash and Thunder challenge at the 5Sigma Education Conference in February! If you register for the conference today, you can save 20% using the code: CYBERMONDAY at check out. Not only will you get the opportunity to win one of these great challenge kits for your classroom, you also get a conference experience like no other!

Wildly Audacious Goals and the Power of One

Posted by admin | Posted in 5Sigma, Anastasis Academy, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, TED Talk Tuesdays | Posted on 02-11-2015

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In 2010, I thought that technology might be the savior of education. I created the Learning Genome Project as an attempt to make it possible to personalize education for every child. This project took a detour when I realized that, in the United States, we exist within a system that has not been designed to educate the individual. This led to creating a model that honors unique individuals, a model that would make utilizing the Learning Genome Project possible. But this isn’t a post about that story. This is a post about the connections that this project has made possible.

About a month ago, I received an email through the Learning Genome Project’s website. This isn’t unusual, what was unusual was the incredibly serendipitous connection that it enabled.

Bodo Hoenen contacted me because our projects are eerily similar. Our thought process and approach is incredibly similar. But Bodo comes at the problem of education from a very different direction. Bodo recognized the vast number of refugee children (and girls in particular) who have no access to the school system of the country from which they have fled. Additionally, the host countries where these children land often don’t have the necessary resources to educate these children. The result is somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 million children world-wide who aren’t being educated. At the current pace, UNESCO estimates that it will take until 2086 before we are globally equipped to provide these children with quality education.

Does anyone else see the problem with this? 2086 is a long way off. There is a sense of urgency here. Children around the world cannot wait for us to get this right. They can’t wait until 2086 for this problem to be rectified. Children need us to solve this right now. Current approaches aren’t able to scale quickly enough to make a difference for children who are waiting for an education. Bodo Hoenen through Dev4x is working to change this. They have a fantastically audacious open project that goes beyond current approaches.

This is where Bodo’s vision and the Learning Genome Project overlap. Dev4X is working on a technology solution that will empower these under served children and their communities to take control of their own learning and create better lives for themselves.

Dev4X was founded on the belief that this global challenge can be solved while these children are still young by globally sourcing solutions and open collaboration.

At Anastasis, our students are currently working on an inquiry block, “Power of One.” The kids are exploring change makers, and looking into what it means to be a change maker. They are also investigating ways that they can enact change. They are recognizing their own Power of One.

I cannot say enough about the incredible students at Anastasis. These are kids who live their learning every day. We’ve challenged the kids during this inquiry block. Memorize one, give one, pray for one, serve one. The idea is to make one small change that can actually become a BIG thing. In the first week of this inquiry block, a group of three students came to me and asked if they could stay in for recess. “Mrs. Tenkely, we were talking during the morning walk and realized that we each have $100. We were talking about what we were going to use our money for and realized that we don’t really have anything we really need. So then we thought that maybe we could pool our money and buy a Sphero robot to do random acts of kindness for others. But then we remembered that we have 3 Spheros at school and realized that you would let us use them. So we were wondering if we could use our money to buy little things to hide around the school for other kids as a random act of kindness. Can we stay in for recess and hide things for kids with notes?” I am telling you, AMAZING students!

Power of One

Each of our classes has a charitable organization that they pour into for the year. One of our intermediate classes is connected with a food bank run by adults with special needs called Stepping Stones. Our students are helping to put together boxes of food for Thanksgiving. They’ve agreed to help come up with ideas to raise money for these boxes. The kids split into groups as part of their inquiry block to think about ways that they could raise money. Last week, two girls came into the office to propose their idea: “We were wondering if we could offer horse rides at school to raise money for Stepping Stones?” These girls created a waiver to sign, proposed the idea to the owner of the building we lease space from, created fliers, and organized for horses to be at school today. In 2 hours, these girls raised $400 giving horse rides at school. They organized everything themselves. Change makers!

What does this have to do with Dev4X? Anastasis students are now working on the part they can play in education for kids around the world. They are considering how they can be a part of Bodo’s wildly audacious goal of making education a reality for children all over the world. Students will be considering how they can add to the conversation, and how they can help raise some money to put into the project.

We would like to challenge other schools to do the same. What can you do to raise some money to make education a reality for children everywhere? There are 98,817 public schools in the United States, what would happen if each of them raised $100? Could we enact change for education world-wide that would have incredible implications for our own educational model? Could it be that children are the key to education reform world-wide? Are they the power of one?

Dev4X has a live Indiegogo Campaign. This is an opportunity to transform education, an opportunity to “be the change you want to see in the world.” (Gandhi) What can your students do to make a change in the world? How can you empower your students?

Bodo Hoenen is our closing keynote at the 5Sigma Edu Conference in February. You will not want to miss seeing Bodo live, and experiencing the model of education that makes the Power of One stories above possible. Early bird registration ends this week! Sign up now!

 

Mangahigh: k-12 math games

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 13-10-2011

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What it is:  The title of this post is a little underwhelming- I had a hard time expressing ALL that this site does in one line.  Mangahigh is a game based learning site where students can learn all about math. What is unique about Mangahigh math learning games is the way that the learning topics are addressed.  These aren’t your typical drill/skill math games that only address the four basic operations or introductory algebra skills.  The games adapt in difficulty to student levels as they play.  Games continue to challenge students without getting too difficult too quickly and frustrating kids.  The Mangahigh games encourage students to observe, hypothesize, test, evaluate and conclude. All games are based on the Common Core standards making it easy to integrate the games into your current curriculum.  Teachers get their very own login to Mangahigh where they can assign challenges, track student progress and use the games as a form of formative assessment.  The mathematics topic in Mangahigh are geared for elementary, middle and high school students (I am a big fan of site that meet a variety of ages and needs!).

How to integrate Mangahigh into the classroom:  Mangahigh is a great way to shake up your math classroom while injecting it with a big dose of fun, discovery and challenge.  The best way to use Mangahigh is in a one-to-one setting where each student has access to the Mangahigh site.  This makes it easy for students to work at their own pace and for you to track progress.

Mangahigh would be a great way to tailor what your students are working on so that each child is getting challenged at the level they need.  Use the built-in analytics to help inform decisions about where to go next with your students.

Don’t have access to a one-to-one environment?  Don’t discount Mangahigh yet.  The site could be used in a one or two computer classroom as a math center.  Rotate your students through the center throughout the week.  Those who have computers at home can continue the learning there.  Mangahigh would be a great way for students to continue their learning.

Tips: Do you have a pen pal or collaborating school?  Mangahigh will let your students engage in a Fai-To where they can have a friendly little math smack down competition.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Mangahigh in  your classroom!

SPILL! Virtual Team Challenge

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Character Education, collaboration, Download, Evaluate, Math, Middle/High School, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 19-01-2011

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What it is: Registration is now open for the Spring 2011 SPILL Virtual Team Challenge for North America.  The Virtual Team Challenge is a real-time, multi-user business simulation that is played over the course of several weeks by high school students in North America.  As a team, students will take on business tasks and challenges that simulate real-world experiences of professional services employees. Each student participant will fill one of the several roles offered on a simulated professional services team and compete against other high school teams to clean up an oil spill in the river of New York City.  When the challenge is complete, Deloitte will make a real donation to the United Way on behalf of the winning team.  Registration is open now and the competition takes place from February 14, 2011 to April 1, 2011.

How to integrate SPILL! Virtual Team Challenge into the classroom: The SPILL Virtual Team Challenge is an engaging, hands-on approach and competition to learn about business, math, and economics. Get your classroom involved in this great learning opportunity and challenge by registering your school, entering students’ names and assigning them roles and teams for the game, downloading the free game and installing it on the school computers, and playing through the tutorial. On February 14 the official competition and game launches. Students can play at their own pace to finish the three game tasks by April 1, 2011.  This is one game that is packed full of learning, provides a realistic experience, acts as a team building exercise, and has the great outcome of providing a donation to the United Way.

Tips: You can learn more about the game platform and Deloitte by visiting the Virtual Team Challenge website.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using SPILL! Virtual Team Challenge in your classroom.

The Write-n-ator

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 15-09-2010

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What it is: New Hampshire Public Television has created a great site based on the PBS Word Girl show. I learned about the site from a blog that I look forward to in my Google Reader every day, The Book Chook. The Write-n-ator site features video clips about words and vocabulary for students to watch; after completing the clip, students are offered a related writing challenge.  The clips and challenges are all related to writing, word recognition, and vocabulary development.

How to integrate The Write-n-ator into your curriculum: The Write-n-ator highlights words and vocabulary through fun videos and writing challenges starring the PBS character Word Girl.  Offer these challenges to your students as a class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Watch the video clip and create a class response to add to the challenge.  Alternately, each student can take the challenge in a writing journal.  These videos and challenges make for a fun introductory activity to use as a writing warm up.  They have the added benefit of introducing new words and vocabulary.  There are 20 videos and challenges total, so these could be a regular feature in your class.  If you have access to a computer for every student, students can complete the writing challenges online and view other students responses to the challenge.

Tips: Click on the “For Teacher” tab next to each mission for the correlated standards that each challenge meets.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using the The Write-n-ator in your classroom!

Goldburger To Go: Rube Goldberg Machines

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 14-05-2010

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What it is: I am always finding fun activities on PBS kids site, today I ran across Goldburger to Go!  Rube Goldberg designed machines that made simple, every day, tasks into complicated activities with the help of his contraptions (think Wallace and Gromit).  The students task is to design a machine that will help serve lunch.  The machine isn’t working properly and students must discover which pieces of the machine need a little tweaking.  As students complete the machine, they can test it out and get hints and clues about could be keeping the machine from working.  

How to integrate Goldberger To Go: Rube Goldberg Machines into the classroom: Students are fascinated with machines that work together to perform tasks.  Goldburger to Go is a fun way to challenge your students to think about cause and effect and to consider how all the working parts operate together.  The puzzle game is a good way to get your students thinking about and discussing different types of energy.  Use this website with the whole class using an interactive whiteboard and discuss the types of energy as they occur.  Walk your students through the scientific process as they hypothesize what is going to happen and experiment with adjusting the machine accordingly.  The website also lends itself nicely to studying different kinds of simple machines.  The built in hints help guide stumped students in their thinking.  Goldburger to Go would make a fun center activity or even to play individually in a computer lab setting.  This is one of those thinking games that my students could spend hours playing.

Tips: Students can create and build their own real-life Goldberg machines with fun activities and suggestions found here.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Goldburger to Go: Rube Goldberg Machines in your classroom.

Math Mania Back to School Challenge

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 01-09-2009

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What it is: Math Mania Back to School Challenge is a FREE 48 hour math competition hosted by Voyager.  Voyager also holds the World Math Day competition each year, Math Mania is a similar competition. Students compete against other students in real time using the Vmath Live math program.  This challenge is limited to 2nd through 8th grade students in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas who are registered by September 14th.  Other Math Mania challenges will follow (different dates depending on US state) so if your school isn’t in a state listed above, check out the Math Mania website to find out when your challenge will take place.  Although the official competition is September 15-16, students can begin practicing on VmathLive as soon as they are registered.  Prizes include student and school trophies and plaques, on-site pizza parties, visits from Vbot, and a champion hall banner awarded to the top overall performing school.  Awards will be given to the top 10 students overall, the top 5 classes,  and the top 3 schools.

How to integrate Math Mania Back to School Challenge into the classroom: You have never seen students so excited to practice math facts!   Students face off with other students from around the world practicing their math facts.  The live competition with students from around the world is highly motivating and has students asking “can I play this at home?”  When have you ever had students ask to practice their math facts?!  Reserve a computer lab for September 15th and 16th so that your students can take part in the competition.  In the mean time, students can be practicing for the competition by playing on VmathLive in a computer lab setting or as a center activity on classroom computers.

Tips: If your state is not listed above, be sure to visit the VmathLive site to find out when your Math Mania challenge will be held.  Print out the fliers from the VmathLive and post around your school to raise interest and excitement about the competition.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Math Mania Back to School Challenge  in your classroom.

Kids’ Science Challenge

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Fun & Games, inspiration, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 08-12-2008

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What it is:  Kids’ Science Challenge is a nationwide competition for 3rd- 6th graders to submit experiment ideas and problems for real scientists and engineers to solve.  Teachers or after school science programs can enter their classes for this contest that will inspire students to find the fun in science.  The deadline for entry is January 31st, 2009 so get this one in before the holiday break!  The grand prize winner will win a visit with the scientist or engineer to work with them to solve the question or problem proposed, along with possible appearances in Kids’ Science Challenge videos and Pulse of the Planet radio programs.  Other prizes include: a tour of the flavor lab, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream party, science kits, Kids’ Science Encyclopedia and Science books, visit to the SETI institute, telescope, personal planetariums, celestial seeker, a visit to a skateboard engineering workshop, a visit to your school from a pro-skater, a week at camp Woodyard, a skateboard, a physics workshop, a research cruise, kayak, handheld digital microscope, and more!  If that isn’t incentive to give it a try, I don’t know what is!  The first 1000 entrants get a free science activity kit.  The Kids’ Science Challenge website is a great place to explore even if you won’t be able to participate in the challenge.  Students are introduced to real scientists through video, can play science games, and find additional activities including downloadable science projects.  

 

How to integrate Kids’ Science Challenge into the classroom:  Invite your students to explore the Kids’ Science Challenge website and then journal some original questions, problems, or experiment ideas that are related to one of the four fields of science including flavor science, water quality, skateboard engineering, and the search for life in outer space.  This is a great opportunity to use technology creatively to present the questions and problems that students have and want solved.  Think blogs, websites, video, or podcast.  

 

Tips:  Be sure to check out the great lesson plans for the k-12 classroom to use for each of the scientific fields explored on this site.  The lesson plans are aligned to National Science Education Standards.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Kids’ Science Challenge in your classroom.