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Middle School Maker Journey: Top 20 Technologies and Tools

Middle School Maker Journey: Top 20 Technologies and Tools
"It's not about the tool," they say -- but sometimes it is. In our middle school makerspace, students have been using a variety of tools and technologies in a variety of projects and activities. And there are many more that we've yet to explore and experience. While our makerspace is still in its infancy, it feels like we've had the program forever. As of this writing, a second group of students is in the midst of Design Experience One. We haven't had that much time to delve into projects in depth, but you can expect more from us later in the year. Before I go any further, let me say that we realize just how fortunate we are. The Lure of Bright, Shiny Objects Makerspaces are too often defined by things -- hardware, software, other technologies -- which can engender a shopping-list mentality among people interested in creating such a learning environment. 1. We want students to collaborate effortlessly, express themselves freely, and do so in ways not possible in other classrooms. 2. 3.

Related:  AISPPCollaboration InfoHelpful Technology linkSTEAM & MakerspacesMakerSpace

20 Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking 20 Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking by TeachThought Staff This is part 1 in our #iteachthought campaign. This is our equivalent to “back to school,” and is intended to help you focus in the 2015-2016 school year on taking a thoughtful approach to your craft as a teacher. Among these shifts we’ll talk about is turning our focus from content and teaching to thinkers and thinking. This is a student-centered approach to pedagogy (and heautagogy), and will consist of three parts:

Ready, Set, Design!Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Ready, Set, Design is one of our favorite group activities, for adults and kids alike, at Cooper-Hewitt. It’s a highly adaptable design challenge that can jump-start collaborative and creative thinking in any group. We use it with kids’ groups at the Museum, for internal staff meetings, and even at industry conferences and summits we host. The activity is such a success with our participants that we’ve gotten a lot of requests for a how-to guide. Here it is!

Your Kids Can Do It: Quick, Free, and Easy Stop-Motion Videos Today is not only my last day of teaching, but also my last day posting on Top Teaching for this school year. For my last post, I would like to share a fun classroom activity. As our year wrapped up, my students took some time to become more familiar with stop-motion animation. Bringing Engineering Design To The Classroom My biggest regret as an educator is that throughout the first half of my career, I continually underestimated the abilities of middle school students. (Slow to learn, I would later underestimate kindergarteners as well.) It’s not that I thought that they were unintelligent. Nor did I think they lacked creativity.

Technically a Librarian: Make Writing I know I'm a little biased, but I think we have a pretty amazing makerspace. It's getting bigger - and messier - every day and the kids are creating some incredible stuff. Until recently, the makerspace was pretty contained to the library. This certainly wasn't to exclude maker activities from occurring elsewhere - it just happened. While at one of our ELA planning meetings, we were discussing the lack of enthusiasm kids have for writer's workshop. What was once a time for kids to express themselves creatively, was now a time that kids dreaded.

Why Teacher Staff Meetings Suck Bring TeachThought Professional Development To Your School! Why Teacher Staff Meetings Suck–And How To Make Them Better by Terry Heick What Advice Would You Give a Student Teacher? This week, I got an email from someone who is just about to start student teaching. Feeling anxious about the semester ahead, she asked if I had any advice. I’m going to share my own thoughts here, but I would like it if this could be one of my crowdsourcing posts, where we pull together all the collective wisdom of my incredibly smart, insightful readers (like the times you advised parents on skipping kindergarten and having your child take extra math courses). So after I share my ideas, I would love for everyone else to use the comments below to give all beginning teachers advice on how to make the most of the student teaching experience.

New Minecraft tutorial teaches kids coding Minecraft meets Hour of Code in free browser-based tutorial A free Minecraft coding tutorial from Microsoft, created for the upcoming and third annual Hour of Code, introduces players ages 6 and older to basic coding contained within the popular “sandbox” game, so named because players have freedom to build and do anything they wish inside the world they create. The tutorial was unveiled on Nov. 16 by Microsoft, Mojang AB, and and was created especially for students and educators.‘s Hour of Code is a campaign intended to expand global participation in computer science activities. It is held during Computer Science Education Week, which this year runs from Dec. 7-13.

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