Sunday, November 30, 2014

How One Flat Classroom Became Animated...

Merkel High School located just under 20 miles west of Abilene, TX is undergoing a Culture Shift... Community members, parents, students, teachers and administrators are consciously taking steps to bring more non-traditional approaches to learning into the classrooms...

In a more "flattened" educational environment, students are encouraged to gain depth of learning outside of the four walls, textbooks, and teachers that have historically been the basis of knowledge acquisition.

In her first efforts at modeling how we learn from experts outside of the classroom, Animation teacher Ashlei Adams (@MHStechteach) sought the connection with someone in the animation industry... An email, a Google search, a Tweet, and a text later (ok...maybe not that exact order, but close enough) and Ms. Adams' students had booked a Skype call with former Pixar assistant editor David Condolora (@davidcondolora).

Students devised questions, and the teacher handled logistics. How fun for me that I was invited to watch, learn, and listen!

And learn I did! About animation...yes... but even more! I was validated in my belief that...
"real world" expertise can bring laughter, smiles, enthusiasm, and a level of engagement completely unattainable by traditional instruction.

Some of the students, via their teacher, emailed me quotes they would want shared with the world... Pretty cool!


Alee- "He helped me have a better insight into how creating an animated film really works!"

Alexis- "It was cool to get a chance to talk to an actual professional from the industry."

John- "It was interesting to hear what software programs are used in the animated film industry."

Brittany M.- "I appreciated the advice he gave us on how to pursue animation after graduating High School."

Angel- "It was more interesting than regular classwork!"

It seems their expert enjoyed the experience too!

How are you, as educators, flattening your classroom?

It's your turn! Let's CommuniCATE!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Great Googly Moogly! It was a Monster Match!

I had such a great time on Oct. 30 after being invited into a Google Hangout between classes at two of my districts (Clyde ISD and Merkel ISD in Texas) about 35 miles apart. (Merkel would also have a classroom that did Monster Match with a class in Highland ISD.)

Fifth grade students had a blast creating monsters and then using their English/Language Arts TEKS for process writing through the sharing of a Google Doc. It didn't hurt that this Halloween-themed option was just plain fun!

Listening and speaking skills were also covered as the students revealed their monster challenge of recreating another class's monster through Google Hangouts.

Below is a Google Slides presentation of the lesson plan and process... Here is a link to the scrolling presentation as well...

NOTE: Merkel fifth graders enjoyed the fact that their monsters and stories were part of a Haunted Hallway for Pre-K and K students on Halloween. Monsters were accompanied by ooey-gooey items of spaghetti, grapes and gelatin.