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Coding in the classroom has definitely been huge in education lately but it is often a struggle to fit it all in. This summer I was super excited to learn that you can now code with Moby. I have used BrainPop in my classroom many many times and I can't wait to use the creative coding with my students. I am also excited to share more about how you can use BrainPop coding activities in your classroom.

When you log into BrainPop, you will need to type in "creative coding" in the search bar. Right now, there are 40 topics that include coding activities. Some of the topics include ... seasons, division, cells, Martin Luther King Jr., dinosaurs and conflict resolution.

Including coding projects into your classroom instruction can sometimes be a struggle. I really think that BrainPop hit the nail on the head when they decided to include coding activities that are content based. These activities would be great for an extension, enrichment for your gifted learners or a closing activity after a unit.

Each topic includes all of the normal activities that you know and love but they now include a creative coding activity. You can use it as a closing activity or even start with the coding activity to have your students show what they know.

Each topic includes four different coding projects (stop motion animation, meme, doodle augmented reality and a newcast). The coding projects are very easy to follow and include detailed instructions for your students. The meme is my favorite but I will definitely be using all four in my classroom. I love giving students choice and I love that BrainPop is offering choice.

Another great feature is that you can print out planning paper for you students. This would be great to have them plan out their project before they actually create it. If you click on the "plan" button on the right side, it will take you to a planning sheet that you can print out.

I hope you are able to use BrainPop Creative Coding in your classroom this year. What are some ways that you might use it in your classroom? Leave me a comment.

Hi friends! Today I wanted to share my passion with you guys and hopefully inspire you to incorporate it into your classroom. My passion is definitely 21st-century learning and technology. I have really let my students drive the learning through student choice. I love providing my students with the inspiration and opportunities to explore and create through coding projects. I have had so many magic moments in my classroom this past year and I can't wait to share them with you guys. 

Today I wanted to share how you can help your students create digital animated stories using Scratch.

So your first question is probably ... WHAT IS SCRATCH?  Scratch is a block style coding program that will allow your students to create their own interactive stories and games.  There is a free online version of Scratch and also a free version that you can download onto your computer.  You can find both versions HERE.

I honestly did not know much about Scratch until a few years ago.  I just dove into it and learned all that I know from trying different things and watching a ton of tutorial videos.  But trust me friends ... your kids will pick it up quickly and they will be motivated and inspired to create new stories.

Still unsure ... don't worry ... I've got you covered!  I created a short video tutorial that you can show your students.  The video will teach them how to create a short animated story in Scratch.  They can watch it and re-watch it until they feel comfortable or you can watch it and then teach them.  I have more tutorial videos coming soon.
This past school year was my first year as a full-time technology teacher but I know the struggle is real when trying to integrate technology. Time is tight and it can be a hassle at times to fit it all in! However, the best part of technology is that it is super engaging and can enhance ANY lesson. Today I want to share with you guys how to integrate coding into a math geometry lesson. My third, fourth and fifth graders LOVED this lesson! I even created a video lesson for you to share with your class!

I created this lesson as an enrichment lesson to get students practicing angles, coordinates and geometry. I decided to focus on squares and rectangles and then challenge my students to create other shapes on their own. Here is the video lesson that you can share with your students.

This is my first year teaching in upper elementary. One of the things that I have really worked on is implementing student-led learning in my classroom. It is definitely an area that I am constantly reflecting on because I definitely see a lot of growth from my students when they lead the learning. It also helps make learning relevant to students.

One of my favorite student-led learning opportunities is the design challenge. The only supplies that I gave my students were cardboard pieces, masking tape and poster board (11x11). I learned the hard way that the best thing is to cut the cardboard into strips. The students were able to cut the strips into smaller pieces for their maze. If you give them a box to cut, it will be a disaster. Just warning you now!

My students worked with measurement during this design challenge. They used rulers to make one inch marks to draw out a design grid. They also used protractors to measure angles. They also really got a chance to use critical thinking because we had to make sure that we designed a path that was wide enough to fit our ozobots.

After the design challenge, we worked on programming our ozobots to travel through our mazes. It was a great way to make our design challenge relevant.

I hope that you are able to implement student-led learning in your classroom. I would love to hear about your experiences.

It's that time of year again!  It is time for the Elementary Entourage Secret Santa Hop.  This year, I wanted to share one of my informational texts with you guys.  I hope you can use it in your classroom.

Click HERE to grab your freebie.

Ozobots are a great way to integrate STEM challenges into your classroom.  They are easy to program and have four different levels for different programming skills.  They are definitely a favorite in my classroom.  This is part two of my ozobot blog series to show you a few different ways that you can integrate ozobots into your classroom.  Here is how I used ozobots in my math lesson to help my students learn and review quadrants and coordinates.

My students were learning about x and y coordinates and the four quadrants.  I decided to have them complete an ozobot challenge centered around that.  I gave the students a piece of grid paper and a checklist.  The students had to find the point of origin and then label the x and y coordinates.  

As part of the challenge, they had to determine the starting part or where their ozobot would start.  Then we used ozoblockly to program our ozobot to complete "tricks" inside of the grid.  The challenge was to make sure that our ozobot stayed inside the grid.  It was a challenge but a fun one!

Do you want to have your students complete this ozobot challenge using quadrants and coordinates?  You can grab this freebie HERE.  I included several different grid paper sizes for easy differentiation and also an easy to follow checklist.  I hope this helps you implement the coordinates challenge into your classroom.

Have you seen these tiny little robots that have been all over Facebook and Instagram?  I have shared about them a few times and I have had a ton of questions about them.  Well...these tiny robots are called ozobots and they are a great way to get your kids excited about coding.

I've been asked ... "How do you incorporate ozobots into your classroom schedule?"  I have found that ozobots are a great way to incorporate STEM challenges during my lessons.  I decided to start a blog series to show you a few different ways that you can integrate ozobots into your classroom.

Here is how I used ozobots in my math lesson to help my students learn and review different angles and measurement.

Ozobots can be programmed using markers and also by using ozoblockly, which is a block based coding language that is similar to that used in Scratch.

Since my students had never used ozobots before, I decided to start by giving them time to explore with them.  I shared how to calibrate them using the black dot and I also shared how to use the markers to draw a track for them.  I partnered the kids up and gave them a piece of white poster board (cut in 1/2) for them to draw a track on.  Then I let them go explore!

Some of my kids drew a track and some decided to create an ozobot race.  It was so much fun to see all of the different things that they created for the ozobots.  During the exploring time, I walked around and talked to the students to see what they were able to create.  It was very helpful to have time for them to explore on their own too.

After the exploration time and my math lesson on angles, I gave my students the rules for our STEM challenge.  I wrote down the rules on an anchor chart for them to refer back to.

I gave each table a big piece of white paper, markers, a protractor, and an ozobot to program.  I encouraged my students to plan out their track first by using pencil and then to trace it with the markers.  It worked really well.  The students were able to create their angles and then they were able to connect the angles to make their track.  Their favorite part was adding the color codes to make their track a little more interesting.  Turbo and backwalk were their favorites!

This was a great lesson to help my kids review angles and also to program those angles for their ozobot to follow.  It also helped build teamwork, problem solving, and persistence.  My kids had a blast too.

Stay tuned for more ozobot blog posts in this series.  I can't wait to share how else I have incorporated them into my classroom in both math and language arts.  My next post will be about our ozobot challenge day.

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