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Gearing Up for Innovation Nation

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The district-wide Innovation Nation STEM festival  is only one month away and we’re starting to gear up.

You’ll be hearing more and more about the Innovation Nation as it gets closer.

I’ve got some great news to share with you about the events taking place on May 14th.

  • Currently we have fifteen (15) outside presenters confirmed with a half-dozen others tentatively confirmed.  See the poster below to see some of the people coming.  We will also have 15 WUSD interactive student presentations.
  • Cradleboard Elementary has donated STEM-related prizes to be used for student prizes during Innovation Nation.  Thank-you Mr. Tom Shafer.
  • The WMAT Education Department JOM program has come through with 100 Papa John’s Pizzas for the winners of the Innovation Nation Contest held at each school.
  • The John Hopkins NARCH Youth fund has come through with $900 in student incentives which we plan to use to purchase:
    • $20 Walmart Gift Cards for the teachers whose classes win the school contest and participate in Innovation Nation.  To be used for classroom supplies
    • STEM-related prizes for students to award the winners of the two engineering/math challenge contests that we hold during the Innovation Nation Event.
    • STEM-related raffle prizes to be raffled off every thirty minutes starting at 2:30.  All these prizes are geared towards children.

It would be great if we can encourage as many students to be there as possible.  We’ve been blessed with lots of student incentives and we would love to have lots of student participation.

Here’s what the tentative schedule will look like on May 14th.

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Why STEM Projects Work

As the Tech Ready Team has been working on building STEM projects this year, I’ve had a chance to see how these projects are working in the classroom and the great opportunities that these projects are opening up across our district.

The slideshow below is part description, part reflection on the ways they’ve been successful, and part vision of how they could be expanded.  Take a look at it.

How to Moodle… Just Ask Us

If you’re the type of person who likes to have a manual to refer to this is the Moodle resource for you.  howtomoodle

How To Moodle is a company that provides training for schools and teachers using Moodle as their classroom website.  They have decided to make available for free their Moodlemanualmanual on using the latest version of Moodle.  If you’re the type of person who likes to have a manual to refer to this is the Moodle resource for you.  The manual is useful with all versions of Moodle, but WUSD will  hopefully have the latest version of Moodle up and running soon at your school.

To download the manual click here, you can also find it on the WUSD Tech Resources page under the LMS section.  It’s in pdf format so you can refer to it as an eBook in electronic format.  Before you click the link and push print, be forewarned that the manual is 162 pages.  Below is a screenshot from the manual on the Moodle Quiz Activity:

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Innovation Nation: A STEM Festival

Ination poster

Click the picture to download the poster in pdf format. Print on legal size paper.

The rest of the country has set their clocks forward, Spring is around the corner, and it’s time for a STEM festival.
On Wednesday, May 14th, the Chief Alchesay Activity Center will be host to Innovation Nation.

This event has been designed to bring awareness of STEM opportunities to the White Mountain Apache Nation as well as spotlight student STEM projects in the Whiteriver School District.

Booths will be set up from private companies, STEM organizations, Universities, and Government Agencies that will highlight innovation, new ideas, and creativity.

Winners of school contests at each school will be presenting their projects at the festivals.   During the event students, community members, and teachers will receive tickets for participating in activities at the various booths.  Participants can use the tickets they earn to “purchase” food at the event.

Students can participate and win prizes at various engineering and math problem solving competitions during the event.

What Can Teacher’s Do to Participate?

1) Advertise it to your students.

You can download the Innovation Nation Poster here.  Make sure to print the poster out on legal size paper.

2) Participate in the Class Innovation Contest at your School.

Winning classes will receive a pizza party, and we’re also working on prizes for winning teachers.  Contact your STEM curriculum developer or principal for information about the deadline for this contest at your school.  You can download a flyer for this competition here.

3) Attend for Professional Development hours on Wednesday, May 14th.

You’ll receive more information about how to register in mylearningplan.com to receive PD hours for attending.

4) Volunteer to help.

If you’re interested in volunteering to setup, hold student contests, or clean up, please email me: bgoode@wusd.us

Innovation Nation Contest

Click the Image above to download a pdf version of this flyer.

What Does Common Core have to do with Project-based Learning (PBL)?

What is PBL?You might be surprised to learn that there is a direct connection between preparing your students for Common Core and the PARCC exam and using project-based learning in your classroom.  Project-based learning is a great tool to have in your teacher toolkit as you make plans and efforts to prepare your students for the deeper thinking and higher difficulty of the Common Core Standards.

The new standards aim to prepare students for college and career readiness.  Project-based learning (PBL) is a great way to prepare students for Common Core because it emphasizes significant content and real-world outcomes.

Consider the following quote from David Ross, director of professional development for the Buck Institute for Education.

Everyone knows that content is king and Common Core wears the crown. Significant content is one of our eight Essential Elements of PBL. Make an easy connection: Significant Content=Common Core.  Now let’s use a shorter word. When designing a rigorous, relevant, and engaging project, Common Core is the “what.” But what about the “how?” In our minds the answer is obvious: PBL is the solution for Common Core implementation. PBL is the “how.”

 Of course, we realize that PBL is not the only way to help students master these new standards. As states move toward implementation of the Common Core, however, more and more schools and districts are focusing on PBL as their go-to instructional strategy to prepare students for deeper thinking. Next-generation assessments aligned to the new standards (still in development at this writing) are expected to emphasize application of knowledge rather than recall of facts. Here, too, we find common ground with PBL, in which students demonstrate and share what they know or can do through performance assessments. For PBL veterans, student demonstrations of learning are not new at all. They’re an essential element of every project.

 Common Core Standards for English Language Arts include tasks that are very familiar to people who know PBL:

“Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions”

“Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners”

“Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others”

“Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question)”

Common Core Standards of Mathematical Practice also echo PBL best practices. The math standards set expectations for students to do real-world problem solving, use mathematical modeling, apply statistical analysis, and communicate their understanding. “Mathematically proficient students can apply the mathematics they know Loading…to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace,” according to the Standards of Mathematical Practice. Such applications naturally have a place within high-quality projects that ask students to use mathematics concepts and procedures in authentic contexts.  (Excerpted from the book PBL for 21st Century Success: Teaching Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity, published by the Buck Institute for Education, 2013)

doonlinecoursesIn the Whiteriver School District, the Tech Ready Grant is currently developing STEM lesson plans for every grade-level that implement Common Core standards.

These units are structured around Science, but also include Math and ELA Common Core standards as well as digital PARCC-type questions in the units.  The Science and Technology elements of the units are used to engage students as well as fulfill the need for informational text required by the ELA standards.

These units are being developed to give WUSD teachers access to PBL units aligned to their curriculum and resources without having to develop them from scratch.  Teachers will be given complete access to the units so that once they are implemented they will be able to make changes, extensions, and additions to the STEM units.

You can access the units that are being developed here.
Use the following login to explore the units:
(Username: wusdteacher  password: pass123)

Common Core Math Resources (Free of Charge)

It’s tough to know where to start when looking for Math resources online- there is so much good stuff out there. It’s even more difficult to know where to start when looking for math resources that are aligned to and address the common core standards. This list of math resources has been compiled by http://www.ccedtech.com to specifically help get a handle on Common Core. I’ve added a few more resources to their list. Here they are:

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives: This site is developed by Utah State University to support K-12. It includes plenty of online exercises.

Inside Math (videos and lessons): A resource for math educators that you should be familiar with.

Interactivate– Common Core Aligned Lessons:  A collection of digital interactive resources aligned to common core math.  Similar to NSDL below.

Learn Zillion – Common Core Aligned Lessons: Video tutorials, guided practice, and lesson plan downloads for teachers.  Read the TechReadyTeam post here.

Opus Math Problem Bank:  This is a search engine to find math problems aligned to common core.  It focuses on 7th and 8th grade.

Eureka Math– Common Core Math Maps: This is a pay site that has a free preview of their digital common core curriculum for grades K, 3, 6, and 9.

National Science Digital Library: Browse the Common Core Math Standards and find plenty of digital resources associated with key learning goals.

Math Video Sites:

Teaching Channel
Numberphile
SEDL
Mathalicious

I think you will find these sites a great help if you take a few minutes to look at them.

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You can teach your kids to be a maker, a creator, or an innovator with the Hour of Code

Would you like to introduce your students to the concept of programming computers?  Do you and your students not have any background in computer programming?  The Hour of Code is an initiative that enables you to introduce your students to programming concepts even if your students are absolute beginners.  Below is a promotional video.

This week is national Computer Science Education Week and you will see a link to the Hour of Code on google.com underneath the search box.  the  Hour of Code is an initiative to get 10 million students introduced to writing computer code.

How do I do it?


There is a website (code.org/educate/hoc) where there are currently 30 tutorials available to teachers to use with beginning students kindergarten through 12th grade.
You can participate in some of the tutorials without any access to computers.

However, the easiest way to get started is to look at the site, pick an online tutorial, and have your students work in groups with computers or tablets in your classroom, or take your students to a computer lab.

Finding Common Core, I mean AZ CCRS, activities.

Masteryconnect.com has released a new tool to help teachers find classroom activities that meet specific Common Core Standards.  The new tool is called Resource Pins.

Resource Pins is  a free service that allows teachers to post and view activities tied to specific Common Core mcStandards.  If you’re familiar with pinterest the layout will be familiar.  It has only been open to the public since the middle of November; however, there are already over 10,000 resources posted!

If you would like to try the service simply go to http://masteryconnect.com and click on the “JOIN FREE” button.  Once you have set up your free account, you will be able to access the Resource Pins.

  You will find the “Resource Pins” button on the top menu.  Simply use the search boxes to choose the Subject, Core, Class, and Standard categories.  If you wish to add Resources use the “Add Resource Pin” button on the top right.

Click the picture below to see a sample query for 10th Grade ELA standard RL.9-10-10

Resourcepins

Health, Wellness and Culture Family Night

Health, Wellness and Culture Family Night at Canyon Day Junior High School was a successful event, benefiting the community, students, and the school on November 5th. An estimated 600 people from the community attended! It was a fun and educational evening, building awareness on topics like Apache culture and arts, nutrition, gardening, exercise and sports, higher education opportunities, suicide prevention, substance abuse and anti-bullying.
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Families visited the booths and collected information, giveaways and tickets for food and prizes. Booths ranged from tabletop displays of community resources and Apache “kool-aid”, to fun and interactive activities such as a jeopardy game, hula hoops, lacrosse and beading.
Students were also a part of building community awareness. Two groups of 8th grade students created multi-media projects to present at their very own booth! One group of students re-enacted a bullying scene. They recorded their video footage using tablet devices and Windows Movie Maker to edit their presentation. The second group of students created an animated bullying scene by using the animation software, Go-Animate.
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Canyon Day JHS partnered with many organizations to make this event possible, including:
• Indian Health Services
• Johns Hopkins
• First Things First
• Navajo County Drug Coalition
• Johnson O’Malley
• Cellular One
• N’Dee Fitness Center
• Hair Styles
• Reach Out and Read
• Northland Pioneer College
• Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
• CDJH Indian Club and Teachers
This successful event could have not happen without the participation of teachers and staff, who worked together to plan, set up and host the Health, Wellness, and Culture Family Night!

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Tech Ready Team Presentation

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The Tech Ready Team recently took the show on the road and presented at the MEGA Conference on November 19th.trtmc
The theme of the conference was Spark Innovation. The presentation outlined the WUSD strategies of preparing our students for PARCC by:

  1. First preparing teachers to teach with mobile devices in order to address the AZ College and Career Readiness Standards.
  2. Creating STEM units that integrate Project-based Learning as well as mobile devices K-12.

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You can check out the powerpoint presentation on the web here: trtmegaconference