I want your brain to hurt.

  
A student said a really nice thing to me the other day and he didnt even realize it. He said “Mr. Worth, my brain hurts leaving your class.” This made my day.

Not to mention the behaviors that we squashed at the beginning of the class, I had no idea the class with this student would end on such a positive note. I want my students to get the feeling when they leave  because that means learning is happening.

I remember in college leaving classes with a complete migrane becuase my mind had been opened in such a way that I knew I would never be the same. Learning has that power on us. I hope to have all my lessons to be in such a condition of rigor that students are always leaving my class with that feeling. So yes. When I think of if I have succeeded as a teacher, I want my students brains to hurt afterwards!

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants

We all have a Growth Mindset (sometimes)

Playing video games or sports are examples of where we persist. We never give up because we get frustrated and want the notoriety of beating the game, or scoring the game winning goal. It is competitiveness and it is the way we are wired. So, use that to your advantage as a teacher when talking with your students!

I started talking about Odell Beckham Jr. (a favorite among most middle school football fans) and his famous catch. It is ridiculous. The sports world went crazy for how impossible this catch was. Afterwards, when the dust settled from this amazing touchdown, we realized that it wasn’t luck. It was a skill that he has been developing for a long time.

I took a ball and passed it back and fourth with a student gingerly. Asking the class if we are going to make a crazy catch like that. Of course not! We’re not testing ourselves. We’re not trying new things, not practicing running and catch, or defending the pass from the defender(he was also fouled on the play).  What about the one handed catch?

I then showed the catch to the students… They all loved it.See it below.

 

Afterwards we talked about the catch, it’s insane! Talked about how it could be luck, but then I showed my students this video.

He is still practicing his one handed catches. Something he knows he needs to work on to be the best receiver he can be.

What can you do work on? What have you failed at that you need to get better? What is something that you failed at first, that you worked on to be successful?

Hands flew up. Many sports stories about goalies letting in easy goals to hockey skating skills. I want students to see that they already have a growth mindset in some areas, you just need to tap that drive to compete and be successful and harness it for other areas of your life.

Let your students fail.

 

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This week in my technology classes I have been trying to explain what it takes to have a growth mindset to my students. I have done this in the past as a few inspirational speeches but I’ve tried a few things this week that I think are helpful to teaching this awesome outlook on life. First up is Letting your students fail.

I’ll say it again, let them fail.

We love to tell students and then let them practice this new skill before we let them experience life before we (hopefully) brought new knowledge into their lives. For growth mindset teaching to students, I think it is important to show students first that they might fail while trying an assignment. So, you might let your students try an activity with vague directions, or no directions at all. This might be hard and confusing for students, so don’t let this go on for very long. Then stop the class, talk about failures and successes, what worked? What didn’t? Focus on how failure can help your students learn what not to do on the road to learning the correct process!

I thought hard about failure this week and it is really a great thing, it shows our students what doesn’t work. Sometimes, it is frustrating, but it is another rung on the ladder of success. Try to celebrate those times when a student fails, then decides to use that information to a new academic or relationship success!

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Summer Book Reads and short reviews.

I am so excited to be gearing up for this school year. I have been reading and thinking all summer about things I can do to make my classes more fun and increase the learning of my students. I have already had a few sleepless nights as I just couldn’t get thoughts out of my head from some great books that I have been reading. At a few points I had to get them on paper so I would not forget the next morning.

I would like to share where my head is at so far.

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I started reading the book Invent to Learn and it has completely sold me on the ideas of Constructivist education. Most notably championed (or created) by Seymour Papert. The book is a great overview of tinkering with students and how by allowing them to play with objects and to try new things, they actually end up learning more and it becomes self directed learning. I rented this book from Amazon, but I will need to buy it, I have too many highlights that I will need it for a reference.

Pure Genius: this goes hand in hand with Invent to Learn. Pure genius is about giving students a dedicated time during the week for them to pursue their own projects that they set for themselves. At first I was worried about this idea because I know how much structure students seem to crave at times when introducing a new project. Through reading and a few good  ideas I think it really is possible to pull off! Another one I will have to buy as I am going ot introduce a Genius Hour this year and I really have just this book to go off from. Wish me luck on that one.

Drive: This book has a lot of hype and I did think that it was good to take a look at motivation. Teachers need to teach content, but if we do not motivate our students they will not care about our content. I think this is super important, or else we will sound like the Charlie Brown teacher to our kids! then they  will fail, which means we fail. I have not finished this one, but it reinforces the fact that students are dying to learn about topics that interest them, and when they are able to do so, they will do a lot better job and exceed our expectations!

what have YOU been reading?

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A little more SSH for your Raspberry Pi

So, Once you install your Operating System, you are ALMOST ready to test things out. Let’s go over what SSH can do one more time.

SSH stands for Secure SHell, which allows you to securely connect to other devices, in this case we want to set things up so that we can use a computer to connect to a Raspberry Pi. All that sounds technical, but on a Raspberry Pi it is very simple.

Turning on SSH

in the command line type sudo raspi-config then navigate to the menus below and enable SSH. Save and reboot. 

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When your Pi boots, open up the terminal and type in the command: ifconfig

ifconfig

look for what it says that your inet addr is. In the screen shot above, mine is 10.1.0.149. Write that down!

Downloading PuTTY

Now you got what you need, go to your computer and download a tool called putty. It’s free and allows you to connect to your Pi through SSH. Link to PuTTY Download

enter your IP address into PuTTY and hit Open

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Enter your login which by default is: pi and the default password is: raspberry

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Congratulations! You have just connected to your Raspberry Pi from another computer!

Why is this important?

Well, think of the versatility of the Raspberry Pi, it is small and lightweight which allows you to take it out of the normal computer lab environment and move it into the world as an Internet of Things device(more on what that is later).  So, for example, our school was having issues with a mounted TV in our lobby, we couldn’t send information to it anymore, it was only working with a 10 year old MAC computer. The Raspberry Pi to the rescue! I added a software names Screenly to a Pi and connected it to the TV, I was able to plug it into a network jack and now, from my computer, i can manage that Raspberry Pi and send images and information to that TV in our lobby from any computer in the building. Otherwise, I would need to connect a keyboard and mouse to the Pi in our lobby to control it. Forget that! Pics are below of our lobby Pi, I will create a guide about it in the coming days.

 

 

 

 

 

Raspberry Pi2? Yes Please!


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New Raspberry Pi 2 Kit!

Well, it has been a crazy month since my last update, but I would like to start by introducing the new Raspberry Pi 2! Since my last post I have bought 11 Raspberry Pi 2’s and am very excited about the future of this project! What is the Pi2? The Pi2 is 6x faster than the B+!! whoooaaaa! It also weighs in at the exact same price as the older B+ so, it will work perfectly with my budget!

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I did some digging and found another kit on Amazon for the Pi2. It is a GREAT value. Initially I thought that it would be a good idea to buy the parts individually instead of a kit like this…. I did the math for each component and shopped around…I really do not think that a better deal can be had. Let me know if there is. Here is the kit and the breakdown.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 2 (1GB) Ultimate Starter Kit (Over 40 Components: New Raspberry Pi 2 + WiFi Dongle + 8GB SD Card + Case + Power Supply

  • Includes New Raspberry Pi 2 (RPi2) Quad-Core 900 MHz 1GB RAM, CanaKit WiFi Adapter
  • Premium Quality 6-foot HDMI Cable, CanaKit GPIO to Breadboard Interface Board, Ribbon Cable, Breadboard, Jumper Wires, GPIO Quick Reference Card, Resistor Colors Quick Reference Card
  • 8 GB Samsung MicroSD Card – Raspberry Pi Foundation Recommended MicroSD Card pre-loaded with NOOBS, High Quality Raspberry Pi 2 Case, Heat Sink
  • RGB LED, 8 x LEDs (Blue/Red/Yellow/Green), 15 x Resistors, 2 x Push Button Switches, CanaKit General Guide for Beginners to Electronic Components
  • CanaKit 2.5A USB Power Supply with 5-foot Micro USB Cable specially designed for the Raspberry Pi 2 (UL Listed)

 

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That are a lot of components for a really good price of $85. Now, Remember that I am going to use this for the educational setting, so it also helps by coming in a compact box that can be easily stored for the next class. The electrical components are basic LED’s and a few push buttons, but it will be sufficient for teaching how GPIO works and making some fun projects. I think that is as far as I will get with GPIO and electrical for the remainder of this year at least.

 

So, if you are looking to get into the Raspberry Pi arena, I would highly suggest one of these kits. They are a great value and you do not need to buy the ultimate kit in order to get going. Buy it, open it up and get tinkering!

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Started with a Raspberry Pi

So, I have had a Raspberry Pi for about a month now and sadly I have not had as much time as I would like to devote to the little guy! I was able to get it fired up and man was that easy!

I’ll go through a bit of what I got/did for setting it up.

I knew that there is more than just having a Raspberry Pi, you need other tools to use it! So, I ordered this kit that looked like it had good reviews on amazon and it has Prime (I’m a Prime addict).
So, I ordered this kit: http://tinyurl.com/nsrratm

it includes: Raspberry Pi B+, case, power plug, heat sinks, 8 gig Micro USB Card (with Linux Pre-Installed) , a HDMI cable and  a USB wifi card.

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This is a pretty great deal for all the extras, you get. If you really think that you want to dig into the Raspberry Pi. I would suggest putting down a bit more money and buying a kit that includes the camera, breadboard and other electrical components as well.

Firing it UP!

No, dont be like me and buy this and just assume that everything will work fine. I quickly found out that I dont have a USB keyboard, so I needed that, then I realized that my computer monitor does not support HDMI, so I had to connect it to a TV for setup. Not the end of the world, but if you are planning on using it at your Desk , make sure that you have a HDMI capable monitor or an adapter. So, I needed an adapter too. I purchased this VGA > HDMI adapter to plug my Pi into the monitor at my desk http://tinyurl.com/mybl8z5.

 

Another issue that I ran into was with the Display: Some people have trouble getting VGA Adapters to work. I know that there is a power issue that can affect some people. I was worried for a minute as I went from using an adapter for a DVI monitor and then went from an adapter for a VGA and the monitor was not recognized. As I agonized over my Pi not showing anything I did some digging and found that there is a bit of linux work you have to do to make sure that you can transition from each type of monitor.

So, in your Pi you need to un-comment the following lines so that they look like this:

# Uncomment if you get no picture on HDMI for a default "safe" mode
hdmi_safe=1

# Uncomment if an HDMI display is not detected and composite is being output.
hdmi_force_hotplug=1

That should resolve any issues with Raspberry Pi Monitors. Hopefully (it did for me). The other option is to use your Pi without a monitor which honestly is the easiest idea. You will want to do that through SSH. I will explain that in a future post! So, buy a Pi and get to Tinkering.

Robotics

 

Robots is something that I really didnt have any experience with growing up. I loved computers and would tinker with it, take it apart and put it back together again, sometimes incorrectly, then I would have to troubleshoot and fix my computers. I would say that is the closest I have been to robotics building. which is not really even the same playing field.

However, I would like to change that! Our school has a few kits of Lego NXT mindstorms as well as Lego WeDO kits. These kits are highly valuable and allow for creativity in the world of engineering and science to solve larger picture problems.

I am going to see what I can learn over the break so I can find ways to get these in the hands of students more often. Teachers use them for a unit and then have to move on, but perhaps there could be a club outside or during some free school blocks to focus on robots and engineering?

I have found competitions that would be a great way to motivate students. The championships were just held this weekend, so I have until next fall to organize our resources and see if we could put a team together. Looks like fun!

First Lego League

 

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Create a Digital Assessment

Have you ever wondered if there is a way to create an assessment that will fit exactly what you have been teaching your students? Well, you are in luck!

With our Google Drive accounts we have the ability to create a form, that allows you to make your own questions and record student responses in a nice, neat spreadsheet.

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EXAMPLES

I made a few forms to relate to most subject areas. Click the assessment first, then click to see your responses.

 

Assessment Responses
Social Studies Rome Quiz Social Studies Responses
Math Google Form Math Responses
Foreign Language Google Form Foreign Language Responses
Science Google Form Science Responses
Reading Log Google Form Reading Log Responses

  Why?

 

  • You will save time Grading.
  • Integrate Technology into your lessons (STEM).
  • No Paper!
  • Instant Feedback for you and your students!
  • Easy to Re-Use in the future.
  • Create meaningful homework on knowledge of a topic.
  • Multiple forms of questioning.
  • Can help “Flip” Your classroom

 

 

How do you use it?

 

  • Login to Google Drive( drive.google.com)
  • Click Create> Form (pic right)                                                                            
  • Form will open (below)

 

Customizing your Form

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  1. Name your Assessment ( students will see this as the name of the assignment. so make it specific!)
  2. Check the appropriate Form Settings. The first two checkboxes make sure that you make the students log into google and record their name when then use their form (no more no-name papers! Actually, with their email addresses you can email them, their grades)
  3. Shuffle Question order: Re-orders questions for all students (perfect for multiple choice questions).

 

Adding Questions

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When you create your form, your first question will be created as well. You can edit the question as follows:

 

  • For Question Title you can type in the question you wish to ask.
  • For Help Text you can add additional directions or clarification for the question.
  • For Question Type you can choose between nine different types of questions (explained later).
  • If the question type needs a list of answers (such as multiple choice or checkboxes) then you can fill in the available answers.
  • To force the user to answer the question, check the Required question box (so students are unable to skip past any questions).
  • Click Done when finished.
  • Click Duplicate to make a similar question.
  • Or Add item(left) to add a new question type.
  • Can add images or videos for students to watch pre- or post assessment

 

 

Where do responses go?

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Responses go into a spreadsheet that was created alongside your Form.

Change Theme: Allows you to customize how it looks

View Responses: Shows you a spreadsheet will all student responses for quick access.

View Live Form: Allows you to see the assessment the way your students would

 

 

Sending out your form to students

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There are a few ways you can send out your form.

 

  • Click on Send Form
  • Copy Link and post it to website or classroom- or add  student email addresses (see me about making quick class lists for this option)

 

 

 

This guide is a very basic start to Google Forms. Other things you can do:

  • Send students to certain questions based on their answers ( if a students gets a question wrong, have them view related material)
  • Automatically Grade assignments with Flubaroo
  • Send each student a report of how they did with feedback
  • Insert media (pictures and video) into questions.

 

For a great resource about Google Forms, check out: this guide or come and ask me what I am talking about and I would love to help get you started.