Mystery GHOs, Creating Videos, and #DotDay

Wow!  This week was JAM PACKED with awesomeness!  Even writing this post it feels like some of these things happened weeks ago!

Ok so first off let me make clear that I have 3 classes (a total of 75 students).  So when I get to do creative and collaborative things with others via Skype or Google Hangout (GHO) I try to include every class period; which can become very difficult!  Well, many of us have heard of the #mysterySkype.  For those of you unfamiliar with it, you find a class around the world to Skype with.  The teachers know where each other are from, but NOT the students!  And then when you Skype, you ask each other yes or no questions until the classes figure out where each other are from!  Well, I’ve become a huge fan of GHO recently so this week we did three, yes three, Mystery GHOs.  I felt bad after just doing one, and the other classes were upset they missed out so I had to plan two more!  Man were they a blast.  Sadly, all three of my classes had trouble figuring out where the other classes were from.  haha.  We have some work to do. But we got to GHO with a Jake Duncan’s (@duncanbilingual) 6th grade Bilingual class in Texas, Brad Waid’s (@TechBradWaid) 3rd grade class in Michigan, and Drew Minock’s (@TechMinock) 4th grade class in Michigan.  My students had such a blast, and have asked me every day to do another one!  Did I lose some class time do these?  Yes.  Did they have anything to do with my subject area of Math? No.  But you know what I’m more concerned with providing my kids with experiences.  Because once they experience this, they work so much harder in class to afford us the opportunity to do this again!

This week we also did some fun things in Math!  The students worked in groups of three to create videos re-teaching the concept of Decimal Place Value and Comparing/Ordering Decimals.  They used iOS devices to record their lessons.  This was their first foray into video making, so they videos were all over the place and not amazing haha.  But we watched each and every one of them with their peers and talked about ways we could improve and things we liked about what was done.  It was a learning experience for the students for sure, but I’m excited to see their next videos!!
We also reviewed multiplication and learned some new parts to multiplication.  The students are going to create videos teaching the concept of multiplication, but before we did that I wanted to review with the class quickly so I threw out dry-erase markers and the kids got to write on their tables their problems.  You would have thought I told them to trash the school!  They were freaking out!  It was quite humorous!  We also did “Fact Exercises” where we do different exercises while we repeat our multiplication facts, and I allowed some students to come up and teach the class (which they REALLY enjoyed).  It’s funny to watch them try to emulate me!

Our final thing we did this week, and by far my favorite, was celebrate Dot Day!  Dot Day is based after the book “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds.  International Dot Day is September 15th-ish, so we celebrated it as a campus today.  Yes as a campus!  I was soooo thrilled when I mentioned Dot Day at the Team Leader meeting on Tuesday and almost every grade level bought in!  We had posters around the school, it was mentioned on the announcements and kids came dressed in their coolest dots and teachers built entire lessons around the idea!!!  It was awesome!
What I did with my students was read the book, discuss the message (every person leaving their “mark” on the world), and then I gave students the ColAR Dot Pages and had them design their own dots.  I didn’t tell them that the page was Augmented and would “come to life” when they were done….so they colored away.  After they finished I had them pull out their devices and scan their pages using the ColAR Mix app.  You should have seen these 5th graders FLIPPING OUT!  They couldn’t believe their dot was popping off their page.  They were in awe!  It was amazing.
But by far the best part, was getting to GHO with Drew Minock’s 4th grade class again.  We did the GHO at the end of the day and our students got up one by one and showed the Dot they created and explained why they made it.  It was such a neat experience!  We now have all of the dots hanging in our hallway for anyone to scan and experience for themselves.  Next week the kids will record short videos explaining how they will leave their mark on the world and we’re gonna use the Aurasma app to attach the videos to the dots!  Can’t wait!

Besides all the great things at school I also got to be on the “2 Guys Show” podcast, which you can check out here and I got to interview author Todd Whitaker for my EduAllStars Podcast!
Man it was an exciting week, but I am EXHAUSTED!  Who knows what awesome things my kiddos will do next week!

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