Young Grasshopper, A Writing Prompt w/ Insects & Animation

Watch this 10-second (really) short film and think of how you could use it as a writing prompt in class.  My first reaction was a mix of "cool, bugs and cartoons," but then it jumped to "the kids should see this."  This is just creativity and imagination waiting to happen when the students are allowed to finish this story.  There's just so many options.

Sit back and enjoy these 10 seconds of glory.

From Wayne Unten's Vimeo page:
"In 1903, Olivia Wright was the first to pilot the great grasshoppers of North America."
While taking my kids to the playground, I shot live-action footage of a grasshopper, using my iPhone.
This is one of many short animated clips I've made for fun. I might continue this particular clip as an Insect Aviation series... who knows :)
It was my first project using TV Paint animation. My work-in-progress can be found on my blog:

 My plan is to use this with a couple of grades for some creative writing/engagement/motivational activities..  We can also slip in some extension activities with the iPad such as animating their stories and bringing their creations to life just like the grasshopper.

So yes, this is a little preemptive Spark Student Motivation...and I'm okay with that.  Thanks to Joanne for the great link up!  What are you planning or doing to Motivate your students?

For those of you old enough to remember 
this is a bit like Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.  
And that's okay.

Minecraft Sparks Motivation

Spark Student Motivation is here!  Join in and share with Joanne at Head Over Heels For Teaching.  AND register to win in her and Holly's giveaway (Fourth Grade Flipper).  Excellent prizes.  Have you guys ever heard of this website called Amazon?

Three day weeks are tough from an educational perspective.  Then add in that you and your students have been out of school for 18 straight days (snow days) and it might take a little bit to get the kids going again.  Making that brain work after being stationary is tougher than trying to start my car in -25 degree weather (that's Fahrenheit for all my Canadian friends).

To spark a little student motivation I brought Minecraft into the learning equation.  I have a students who has some difficulty with spelling and writing so we used particular aspects of the game for a writing activity.  Sequencing and Editing to be exact.


So what'd I do?  I know the game, but I don't know it like the kids do.  So I asked how to make a railroad, grabbed an iPad with the game on it, and handed it to him.  "Oh, it's really easy Mr. Sutton all you have to do is..."  That's when I stopped him and we went into a concise lessons on sequencing.  Everything he was about to tell me needed to be written down.  "That's easy he said."  I smiled.

Ten minutes later he has a written paragraph.  We then edited the whole dang thing.  Looked at using specific vocabulary as we write, replacing "do this or that" with specific instructions.  Then he wrote a final copy.  All because of Minecraft.

I should say, I also gave him some background information that my daughter constantly asked questions about Minecraft and I needed help from him to answer it.  This was the original hook.

*It should also be noted that the iPad was used/played for less than two minutes.  This kid was so inclined to write his instructions that he didn't even care.  Beautiful.

This is just another way that technology can be integrated into learning without the need to actually use it.  The idea and allure can sometimes be enough for a student, which is something that actually happens quite a bit with my students.  Making learning fun (engagement for a professional term) is where it's at.  

Also, over break I purchased the Minecraft: Pocket Edition.  It was about seven bucks, but I think I've recouped my money after the time my girls have spent on it.  Now they ask me questions and I have to go and find the answer from my students at school.  The perfect circle.

8-bit Carlton Dance Party!  

Yeah Science! 90 Days of McDonalds.

An Iowa science teacher, John Cisna, just tried a 90 day experiment with his class.  He ate McDonald's for 90 straight days.  That's right.  Ninety continuous days. 90.  I wonder if he had a McRib--but I digress.

The cool part of this whole thing is that he had his students develop his daily menu, count calories, and made sure he had it his way.

Watch the news report below for the rest of the story.  This is definitely a taste good feel-good story.

A couple of takeaways from this video too:

*The teacher has an Inspiration wall that the students have written all over.  
That was the first thing I noticed.  Very nice.

*Apparently workers at McDonalds have never seen a video camera before.  
They love it.  I'm lovin' it.

*John Cisna comes off as an extremely intelligent teacher that really likes his kids and knows how to engage them.  Again, this is based off of a 3-minute newscast--but consider me impressed.  Making smart decisions is the most important part when you (we) make personal decisions.

*I can finally add something Breaking Bad related to this website!

Symbaloo Board: Integrating Reading & Technology

So, in my last post I spoke about some of my favorites and best posts/link-up (just scroll down to my previous post).  I wrote about how Tune Into Tech by  Learning To The Core & iTeach 1:1 was just an excellent link-up for teachers to share exactly how they integrate technology in the classroom (friendly tip:  you should go back and check out some of the posts because they're all so great).

When I went back to look at those posts I realized that I wanted a good way to share all of them with teachers I work with every day.  I also needed a way that was simple, easy, and visually appealing, so I've loaded all of the posts onto a Symbaloo board titled Tune Into Tech: Reading.

So enjoy this board and I implore you to take the time and check out the original link-up from Kristin, Amanda, and Aylin this past summer.  You won't be disappointed and you'll probably learn quite a bit.  

If you check these out you will be happier than a bulldog on a trampoline.  
I promise.

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