Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day 2016

For the past month, our 5/6 compacted math students have been researching the concept of Pi and preparing collaborative presentations to showcase all they've learned. From the origins of Pi to the history of Pi Day, even with corny jokes in-between. Each group created a ten slide Google Slides presentation and honed their public speaking skills as they presented to the class.

Today, March 14, is the official "Pi Day" celebration across the world (math geeks unite!) For those who confuse pi with pie, you will definitely want to peek at our student presentations to learn more.

Ms. Brockel, our GT teacher, is such a wonderful addition to our staff as she guides students throughout the year with enrichment projects. She invited me to their class today for a final wrap-up of presentations, then surprised me with a gift and a card signed by all the students, thanking me for my assistance with their project. I was completely surprised by their thoughtfulness!

When I opened the gift, I was speechless - Ms. Brockel and her class had purchased me my very own Pi Day shirt (in my favorite color!) JOY!!

The class was fully engaged in various Pi-themed activities, from online scavenger hunts using the iPad to making a paper chain of Pi (which, at some point, had to come to an end even though the number itself is endless!)

Online Pi Scavenger Hunt

Counting the digits in Pi

The Pi link is growing longer!

And what Pi celebration would be complete without examples of pie? 

Today I was reminded of the JOY we can experience in the classroom when we allow our curriculum to align with our passions. I'm so proud of all the hard work our students have done with their projects - click here to see their presentations!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Passion Projects

What an amazing week!
This Wednesday I presented a session at the EdTech Conference held at VCU in Richmond, VA titled "Bring JOY to the Classroom with Passion Projects" where I showcased passion projects of first graders in my school. (For my presentation link, and more information about passion projects, click here.)
The session went well, with lots of laughter and joy scattered about (thanks to everyone who tweeted out comments on #edtechrva - you ROCK!) I loved learning more about the passions of the session participants (shown on this Padlet) then sharing the passions of our students. When the session ended, many participants stayed behind to continue the conversation and ask more questions which was great!
Just this week, I noticed another class diving into passion projects, with a random act of kindness theme:

Of COURSE, I wanted to sponsor a student! What a wonderful project that would have a direct impact on others! I contacted the teacher on Twitter for a mailing address, then stopped by Walmart to pick up a couple pair of socks. Today, after the conference I put passion projects into motion as I mailed off my contribution.

It brings such joy to my soul to know that young people are investing their time and creativity into helping others. What a divine purpose indeed! I'm also thankful for teachers like Mr. Leonard who recognize the power and potential of embracing young students' passions.
A shout-out to all the fantastic people who helped organize and facilitate this year's EdTech conference! Thanks to your hard work, educators such myself can learn, grow, and share the wonderful things we are doing in and out of the classroom! Kudos!