Thursday, June 26, 2014

Making Plans

What a summer! I am working 25 hours a week at summer camp. I teach drama, songs, and games in my regular classroom.  The work is fun and easy, but it still means my time is taken. I am also taking two online classes required for my certification. I have put it off for too long and now I have to complete 80 assignments by the first week in August. I have only turned in 6 so far. Sigh.

I am off to work on that, but I've been invited to several demonstrations and meetings in my "spare" time this summer. It could lead to some amazing things next year and while they are all still in progress, I wanted to share them here.

The middle school science teacher and I talked about starting a garden next year in the shared area outside our classrooms. We were planning to put in a few raised plant beds. On the first day of summer vacation I got pulled into a meeting with our STEM coordinator about aquaponics. It looks like things are on track for us to get an educational victory garden system. If all goes as planned, we will have a tank of tilapia and raised beds that filter out the fish waste. It should be pretty impressive! I've already warned them that I lack a green thumb, but I'm will to try.

At FETC I saw a demonstration by WeatherSTEM. I was impressed at all the easy to use data gathered. They install a weather system with cameras and tools that feeds the information to a web based site. The graphs and information available is amazing. The weather system even has its own Twitter account to post auto updates about the temperature and rain for the day. (Here is an example of a site in action.) It looks like we will be getting WeatherSTEM for next school year. My mind is spinning with possibilities!

Yesterday I went to a demonstration of zSpace. This video explains it better than I can:

I got to try it out and I can tell you it really is a cool as it looks. It is pricey, but they are looking at the possibility of acquiring funds to set up a lab where we can bring our classes.

Meanwhile, I'm back to my online classes. I hope your summer is going well!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fifth Grade Owls

 Every year I end up wrapping up a project the last days of school. Every year I swear I won't do it again. This year was no different!

My fifth graders won't have STEAM classes next year, so I decided to end with a ceramics project. After consulting Pinterest, I decided on this one. We followed the tutorial.

Days later, I loaded the owls in the kiln. It was my first time running the kiln without help.

Thankfully, all came out okay! The original plan  had been to glaze and refire. Due to time constraints, we used acrylic paint and a spray finish.

We were painting up until the day before school was out.

It was more than a little hectic, but I was thrilled with our owls!


 I'm working on a mini grant for next year that will allow me to do a ceramic project with each of my classes next year. I'm currently researching ways to make ceramics work with the other letters of STEAM. I'm brainstorming ideas involving 3D printed rolling pins. Fun Times!