Friday, August 24, 2018

Creative is not a noun

This last July, I had the opportunity to attend the Scratch Conference at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  On Day 2, Austin Kleon (author and artist) was the keynote speaker. He was amazing.  I really enjoyed his delivery and his message that creativity is NOT a noun...something that is a passive and is just there or not.  He provides a list of ten things we can all do to become more creative in our lives (both personally and professionally).

Check out this video of his keynote -- then go read his books "Steal Like an Artist" and "Show Your Work". 

Follow Austin on "all the stuff" @austinkleon

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Getting Unstuck with Scratch

A few days ago I signed up for a creative learning experience sponsored by the fine folks at Scratch.  Scratch is a block based coding language created for kids by MIT.  "Getting Unstuck" is 21 days of small programming challenges in Scratch, delivered to your email inbox from July 5 until July 25, 2018.

My students and I love using the program and I am excited to stretch my creativity and get some new ideas for next year!

This is the challenge I received for Day 1:


Create a project that whenever two sprites collide, one of them says, “Excuse me!” and the other sprite says, “Certainly.” (Remember, if you get stuck, find inspiration and support in the Teaching with Scratch Facebook group, our list of Getting Unstuck strategies, or on Twitter at #CreativeComputing.)


Add your Scratch project to this studio to share how you approached today’s challenge. Then, check out and comment on some other examples in the studio! A great way to learn is to study the varied ways other people imagined and programmed creative responses.


Take a moment to reflect on your creative process in the Notes and Credits section of your project. What did you learn from creating this project? What did you notice about how other people approach the challenge?
Here is the link to my project.  I might continue to add a few things here and there -- but, for the most part, it's complete. 

If you would like to sign up and learn more about Scratch and unleash your own creativity -- sign up here:


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Digital Citizenship Resource

A few weeks ago I received an email from a gentleman asking me to review the Digital Citizenship online resource (Sammy's Guide to Online Safety) his company made for elementary aged students.  I get quite a few of these sorts of emails and they tend to get lost in the shuffle as I go about my day and my inbox gets more and more full.  They are also using bulk emails sent to hundreds of people and not really something that applies to what I do in the classroom.

This man, however, emailed a second -- and a third -- time.  I was getting the hint he really thought his resource was a valuable one and that he really DID want my opinion — so I took a few moments to look at it.  I’m glad I did.

Over the years, I have used lots of online resources and tools to help guide my students on the quest to assure lifelong digital safety and citizenship.  This is by no means a tool that can eliminate the need for all others -- but it is a nicely prepared FREE resource to add to your bag of tricks.

Topics of study include Protecting Personal Information, Password Safety, Email Safety, Social Media, Cyberbullying and App Safety!

Teachers or parents can provide the link for their students and have them open the site on their personal device (laptop, chromebook, or tablet).  Students can use the pen tool to circle answers or draw on each page to show understanding -- there is even a typing tool that will allow them to type their answers on the page.

Teachers/parents can even download all of the pages as worksheets if computers aren't available.

Check out this resource and let me know what you think!  Happy Surfing!