#DBC50Summer 34/50: Code Breaker

My first experience with coding? High school. Computer Applications 3. We were told to open Notepad on our Dell Optiplex GX110s (yep – big, white computers complete with driver for a 3.5″ diskette). After we were given a sheet with various html codes using angle brackets, we set to creating our own websites. As a junior in high school, I was able to create my first website using code like <h1> and </h1>. My favorite part? I distinctly remember when Mrs. Burgess (Yes, that is really her name! No, the irony of that is not lost on me!) gave us the “cheat codes” to different colored backgrounds and colored text. As soon as I could make my page hot pink and purple, I had succeeded. (Y’all, it was a horrific design. HA!)

Book 34 is a super short, super fast read full of ways to get started with coding in your own classroom/school! Brian Aspinall brings us Code Breaker as book 34 in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line up.

Brian is quick to explain that computer science is not only coding. It’s a way of thinking. He speaks to learning about coding as a language that our students should know, even if they are not planning to become professional programmers. Thinking through the process of writing code is about more than just creating a website or app. It’s about the critical thinking and problem-solving that is put into practice while writing the code. It’s about perseverance and finding those tiny mistakes that can negate an entire block of code. I love his analogy of coding being a part of computer science as biology is a part of natural sciences. That’s when the distinction really clicked for me in a way that I could share with others.

Even if I weren’t already an advocate for teaching students how to code, I would be after reading Code Breaker!

When I became a media coordinator at an elementary school in 2014, I heard about this idea of “Hour of Code” that was taking off in schools across the world. I knew my students needed in on this, so I partnered with our computer teacher and we created a schedule in which every student in our school (yes, even the pre-kindergarten students) would engage in coding within one day. It was fast and furious and so much fun! Our pre-k and kindergarten students enjoyed playing a game of Simon Says and following the tiles along the hallways of our school. They were learning the fundamentals of coding through playing a game they were already familiar with. They learned how the computer only does what the human tells it to do just as they only do what Simon says to do in the game. We then moved from analog coding (unplugged activities) to using code.org for our emerging readers. This is a great place to go for coding instruction, allowing learners (even you!) to move through a curriculum designed for any age group. Even though I’ve moved to a middle school, the Hour of Code has not only continued in that elementary school, but has spread throughout my district.

If you’ve participated in the Hour of Code and are ready to move to the next thing in coding, check out Brian’s book! He gives many ways to integrate coding into multiple subject areas at a variety of ages. There are QR codes linked throughout the book to blog posts to further your learning, as well as examples and resources. At the end of the book there are several more resources, and educators to follow are listed throughout the pages of Code Breaker.

I have some of my favorite resources to share with you as well.

There are several unplugged games to get you started, too!

Earlier this year, I facilitated a session on Coding Camps and shared our activities in a five day summer camp. That slide deck can be accessed here.

With the strides we’ve already made to include coding across our district, I was a bit apprehensive about how I could implement Code Breaker in the new school year. Luckily Brian provides to many new ideas that finding something to implement was incredibly easy! For this book, I will be working with my math team to use MinecraftEDU to show patterns in both constant rate of change and growing patterns as he describes in chapter 4! This experience fits perfectly in our curriculum and we already use Minecraft to do multiple lessons, so students will be excited to see it implemented in patterns as well!

Brian provides excellent resources on his website. Brian has three TEDx Talks! Click for access to Hacking the Classroom, Education Reform, and Beyond Rote Learning. Don Wettrick (remember Pure Genius – such a good book!) interviewed Brian in his StartEdUp podcast. MindShare Learning did a video podcast with Brian, and The Ed Podcast just released a podcast with Brian earlier this summer about coding and why it isn’t necessarily the most important thing being learned (LOVE THIS!). As always, Andrea Paulakovich and I are copiloting a flipgrid which allows for collaboration on a global scale reflecting on each DBC, Inc book. Andrea had this incredible idea of using flipgrid at the beginning of the summer, and I was fortunate enough to get to be part of it! Feel free to share your thoughts with the community here; if no one has posted, be bold and start the conversation! The Twitter community uses the hashtag #CodeBreaker to discuss the ideas in this book. Speaking of Twitter, here are a couple of my reflective tweets while reading the book. Brian speaks so much truth in so few pages! Be sure to grab your copy now!

 

 

I was excited to finally be able to read book 34 and am equally pumped to get to read book 35! If you’ve heard of The Ron Clark Academy and believe in what the educators there in Atlanta are doing for their students, you will also be excited about book 35! It was written by the husband-wife team of Wade & Hope King, educators at The Ron Clark Academy and is called The Wild Card. Prepare to be inspired to get creative with book 35!

#DBC50Summer Book 21-30 Recap

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Is this my life? Really? Is this my REAL life? The past two months of #DBC50Summer have turned into some surreal moments! From receiving the most thoughtful, motivational DMs, tweets, and personal written notes (even snail mail) from these incredible authors to the sheer amount of knowledge and inspiration I have gained – the whole thing makes me question if it’s really real!

I have to say again how much I appreciate the outpouring of support from you, my PLN, as my family and I begin the journey of managing Type 1 Diabetes with our youngest daughter, Sophie. A quick update: we’ve been home from the pediatric hospital for 2 nights and her blood sugar is still stable and she’s been so brave in her blood sugar checks, maintenance insulin, and basal insulin injections! We have to poke that sweet girl 9 times a day as part of her treatment plan. Our 5 year old now knows and can explain vocabulary like blood sugar, insulin, diabetes, pancreas, and energy. She’s had more weight on her little shoulders than many adults I know, and her story is already a powerful one. She’s not lost a bit of her spunk through this, and I’m simply blown away by her. I appreciate you giving me a second to share a bit about her & patience as I have been taking my time in reading the past couple of books. We’re back at full speed now though!

Continuing on, for those that are just joining the fun, #DBC50Summer started in June when the 50th book was released by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. (Check out Books 1-10 and Books 11-20!) Through a bit of what Dave Burgess calls Creative Alchemy, I drew on multiple problems I wanted to solve and created a solution that took care of them all at once. I had over half of the DBC, Inc books sitting on a shelf and had only read about a dozen of them. After meeting Dave at a conference (he was keynote and I was a presenter) in my home state in April, I was re-energized and even wrote a quick blog about it here. I had not had the inspiration to blog in a long time, but I knew I wanted to jump back into social media (Twitter specifically) and wanted to reflect on my practice more through blogging. I was also feeling stagnant in my professional growth, and knew that the DBC books could be the answer. The ones I had already read were fabulous so I knew not to expect any less from the others. With each of those problems, the perfect solution was to read the DBC books, and blog about them. Dave has strong words about being inspired and not implementing…

So with this in mind, I decided to implement at least one thing from every single book in the 2018-2019 school year. That’s one way to handle stagnant teaching, right?!

It’s important to note that I am reading the books in order of their release date. This has been incredible for several reasons. I am able to see names of current DBC authors in past books. It’s so cool to see those names knowing what’s getting ready to happen for them, the doors that are opening by sharing a part of their story in someone else’s book. I love seeing the evolution of DBC, Inc through the years. It’s really neat to see the maturity of the line up as it continues. I was beyond inspired by the first book, Teach Like A Pirate, written by the president of DBC, Inc and continue to be amazed at each book I pick up all the way up to book 30! It is incredible that each book continues to push me and make me want to be a better educator. One would think that after 30 books I’d be tired of reading them, simply going through the motions by now, or even ready to throw in the towel. I’ve got to tell you, I’m more excited now than when I started this journey in June! These authors have become vital players in my PLN and I have found that they are so relatable and approachable. The community around the books are full of amazing people who support one another and challenge each other to be the best educator possible for the students. What I love is that no matter what the book is, no matter the content, author, or how many copies sold, every single DBC addition points back to the learner! Talk about having your priorities straight – this group has that going for them!

So let’s see what’s been happening in #DBC50Summer the past couple weeks:

21 – Escaping the School Leader’s Dunk Tank by Rebecca Coda & Dr. Rick Jetter: This book rips back the curtain on the ugly side of education. Politics, jealousy, and deceit are everywhere and education is no exception. Rebecca & Rick want us to not just survive as leaders, but thrive in education and share ways to do just that in this book!

22 – Start. Right. Now. by Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas: These guys take you on a trip that inspires you to get started as a leader and not wait another second! They share that leaders Know the Way, Show the Way, Go the Way, and Grow Each Day! This is a gut-punching book that will challenge you to consider if you’re doing all you can as a leader!

23 – Lead Like a Pirate by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf: I have never been so nervous to click publish on a blog. Why? This book was integral in my walk as an instructional coach and I wanted to make Shelley & Beth proud! I wanted to uphold the integrity of the book and I literally want every leader out there to purchase a copy of it! Power-packed. The only way to really describe how incredible it is!

24 – Table Talk Math by John Stevens: One of the authors of The Classroom Chef wrote a second book and I was enamored by the stories of John’s family and their discussions of math in its relevance to the real world! These authentic math problems bring a whole perspective, where math isn’t to be feared, but understood. Why not discuss math nonchalantly around the dining room table? John shows us how!

25 – Teaching Math with Google Apps by Alice Keeler and the late Diana Herrington: Another amazing addition to the DBC & Google family, Alice and Diana share 50 ways to use Google Apps to implement technology in any math class! What’s great about this book though is that the suggestions aren’t just related to math!!! Grab a copy, even if you aren’t a math teacher!

26 – Shift This by Joy Kirr: Y’all… this book right here… just go get it. Trust me, and go get it! Joy is a total jewel and she shares small changes that we can all make in our classrooms to make big impact! With a growth mindset, we can all make changes in our practice and Joy shows that no matter how you may feel about your own teaching, we can always shift something and get huge results!

27 – Unmapped Potential by Julie Hasson and Missy Lennard: What does your mental map relay about education? Why do you believe what you believe? How can you break through barriers and change your mental map? This book inspired me to put a HUGE road map of the United States in my classroom – find out why in the blog, then go purchase your own copy!

28 – Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth by Aaron Hogan: Perfect teachers are unicorns, centaurs, leprechauns… they don’t exist! Aaron shatters the myths that surround a perfect classroom – he addresses it all in order to help you THRIVE in education: behavior, engagement, relationships, and so much more! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!

29 – Social LEADia by Jennifer Casa-Todd: I couldn’t wait to get to book 29 so I could finally read the book I won in the #DBCChallenge! Jennifer shares why we shouldn’t stop at teaching digital citizenship, but empower our students to be digital leaders through the use of social media. She shares stories of change and global impact led by STUDENTS! This book is a great way to start the conversation about opening up the internet and showing students how to navigate social media rather than hoping they make the right decisions outside of school.

30 – Spark Learning by Dr. Ramsey Musallam: An extension of Ramsey’s TED talk 3 Rules to Spark Learning, we are shown how to inspire and encourage curiosity in our classrooms. Go beyond being “the fun teacher” and actually engage the students through their own natural curiosity to learn content while the teacher fill in the gaps.

You can’t go wrong with any of these books! All 10 of these books were released within 6 months! DBC is clearly picking up steam and moving ahead at an exponential pace! In fact, we’re up to June of 2017, so in less than a year, DBC released another 20 books!!! Dave and Shelley still run the business from their house (so impressive)!

If you want to jump on board with #DBC50Summer, it’s not too late! You don’t have to read all 50 of the books that were released as of early June to hop in! Just share your reflections on ANY DBC book using blogs, sketchnotes, flipgrid, or any other method and use the hashtag #DBC50Summer. Reading and implementing ideas from ONE DBC book is better than reading nothing at all, so join me! This has been an incredible ride and I’ve still got 20 more books to go to fulfill the self-imposed challenge! I’m so pumped to continue this journey and looking forward to implementing and learning so much more! If you want a quick peek at the implementation plan from #DBC50Summer, as well as seeing the books in order, check out my spreadsheet (you can also access the flipgrid for each book from there as well).

As I stated a LONG time ago, #DBC50Summer is referring to the season of summer, not summer vacation. I’m excited to continue this journey through September! However, I do need some help (LOTS of help) coming up with something to call this after summer is over! I’m not planning to stop with book 50 – I will continue reflecting, blogging, implementing, and sharing every DBC book released as long as they release them. I mean, come on – have you seen the books that were released this summer?! There’s pure gold there, too! No way I can stop at 50!!! So…brainstorm! Share creative names with me! What should we call #DBC50Summer when all 50 books are read and it’s not summer anymore?

Here we go with the next set of 10! Book 31 was written by a POWERHOUSE duo! Matt Miller of Ditch That Textbook and Alice Keeler of 50 Things, 50 Things Further, and Teaching Math with Google Apps teamed up to bring us Ditch That Homework! I’m so excited about reading this one! It’s been on my shelf since September 2017 and I’ve been following the blogs of both of these authors for years! It’s going to be epic!

#DBC50Summer 25/50: Teaching Math with Google Apps

I love the fact that book 24 and book 25 in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line up came out back-to-back! These two books flow well together as they both discuss that the most important thing in math isn’t the answer itself, but is found in the process of finding the answer. When students ask, “when am I ever going to use this” the answer is now clear, no matter what concept being covered…the critical thinking skills developed in math will be used every. single. day.

Book 25 is the third book published by DBC for Alice Keeler. (The first two released were 50 Things and 50 Things Further, both co-authored with Dr. Libbi Miller.) Alice co-authored book 25 with the late Diana Herrington. Sadly, Diana passed away unexpectedly on May 17, 2017, just a few weeks after the release of their book. Diana’s love of teaching math and her passion for making math fun for students lives on in her words in the book. Teaching Math with Google Apps is book 25, and marks the halfway point in #DBC50Summer!

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Choosing from any of the Alice Keeler Google Apps books will result in a beautiful read. These pages are printed completely in color and organized in such a way that the content is easy to navigate and understand. Teaching Math with Google Apps can be used as a cover to cover professional development read, or as a quick reference guide (I’ll be using it as both)! In this book in particular, the sections of reading are color-coded in the top corners. I personally enjoy a good color-coding system, so this immediately spoke to my heart. I also love that Alice & Diana brought in some familiar faces to contribute! We get to hear from Shelley Burgess (co-author of P is for Pirate and co-author of Lead Like A Pirate), John Stevens (Table Talk Math and co-author of The Classroom Chef), and Denis Sheeran (Instant Relevance).

There are so many amazing tips, tools, activities, examples, and templates included in this book! The complete list of links is available when you purchase the book. That list of links alone is worth every penny! There are examples and templates for elementary through high school math classes, so there’s something for everyone here!

Some of my favorite activities within the book are Pixel Art using Google Sheets (I know, right? Genius stuff! It’s like a digital color by number), utilizing all that Google Forms has to offer through the implementation of self-graded quizzes that offer students immediate feedback, and using the Explore feature in Google Apps to make math relevant to students through maps, shopping, and can even be used to complete a scavenger hunt to find math “in the wild”.

Alice and Diana suggest using Discovery activities to learn collaboratively. Another idea they have is to put the beginning of the lesson in the middle. So think about this… typically students come into math class (or any class) and we quickly review (those who got it yesterday are now tuned out while those who didn’t get it yesterday are already frustrated), probably go over homework (waste of time – both the giving it and the going over it), and then start your lesson for the day 10-15 minutes later having wasted valuable class time. Diana challenges us to switch that up? What if we put our beginning in the middle? What if we didn’t go over homework (or give it for that matter) and we start with an extension from the day before? And… wait for it… they do this collaboratively so those that excelled yesterday have the opportunity to refine their knowledge by peer tutoring those who struggled yesterday. Their peers, those that struggled, get to hear the information from a different perspective and will likely have more understanding. Meanwhile, the teacher is monitoring and asking questions. After completing the extension activity and discussing it as a class, you transition into the day’s mini-lesson and allow students to discover the math using activities in Google Apps rather than telling them (Alice & Diana give the example that we typically TELL students the Pythagorean Theorem… why not ask the students what it is? They have Google! Google will tell them!) This shift in teaching and learning even sounds as though it would flow better. Makes much more sense to me anyhow. Great thinking, Diana!

Some of my favorite quotes from this one are listed below. (Y’all, Alice Keeler has a way with quotes, by the way. After meeting her in June, I can hear her saying some of these in my head now. I can hear the conviction behind some of these quotes and even if you aren’t really sure if you agree, you’ll find yourself nodding along, because the passion in her voice makes it so that it’s the gospel truth.)

“No matter the medium, design for student engagement.”

“Teach like YouTube and Google exist.” (one of my favorite favorites) Going hand-in-hand with that one, Alice says, “I have a rule: Do not tell students things they can look up.” [see Pythagorean Theorem statement above]

“Glitter, scissors, and glue should not be abandoned. Sometimes technology is not the best tool. While work can be created on paper…the work can still be submitted digitally…insert an image”

“The conversation becomes a risk-free learning zone – and that’s where the magic happens!”

“It is important for students to approach a problem with strategies rather than procedural steps. Strategies help them make connections when confronted with new situations.”

My implementation for this book is two-fold.  There is an activity (and template, woo hoo, get the book and you have access to the template, too) in the book where students take a selfie and upload into a collaborative Google Slides presentation and share a couple of things about themselves. I want to do this during my first media class with my 6th grade students. It introduces students to Google Classroom, Google Slides, and allows me to get to know the students’ names and faces as well. Secondly, at some point in time this year (and knowing how much Alice loves her spreadsheets, she would recommend sooner rather than later), I want to complete the Google Sheets activity included in the book where students will discover how to input data and manipulate Google Sheets. Using Google Sheets more will only help my students in the long run, so giving them a strong foundation with this template on the basics is a great place to start. I’m excited to see where this takes my students, and the staff! This book is specifically geared toward math teachers, but there’s so many activities here that can be adapted across the curriculum that I would truly recommend this book to anyone! The back of the book even has some Google tutorials for those moments when you’re reading and think, I have no idea what they mean by revision history. Detailed information with a beautiful screenshot is included here as well!

As usual with books co-authored by Alice Keeler, there is a vast world of information on her website. Go to alicekeeler.com and knock yourself out! Check out the hashtag #GoogleMath on Twitter for more. You can also subscribe to the Google Math Newsletter here! Don’t forget that if you want that link with ALL the resources, templates, examples, and other amazingness included in the book, you need to purchase a copy for yourself! You can do that here! Finally, you can always contribute to the flipgrid using the password DBCSummer (if it asks for one). Andrea Paulakovich had the brilliant idea to create a space for global collaboration around each DBC book, and I love it! Please share your thoughts there! We always include a prompt, but that prompt isn’t required. If you have something better in mind, share that! We just want to learn together in that digital space!

***One of Diana’s visions was to create a scholarship fund to encourage students to go into STEM fields. There is a gofundme page here or you can donate directly Fresno State in memory of Diana Herrington. These donations go toward an endowment at California State University Fresno for students who want to teach math! Diana’s passion for math lives on! Any donation is appreciated!***

Well, we’ve reached the halfway point! Next up is a book by one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever “met” (well, met virtually…on Twitter, but I will meet her face-to-face one day, I hope)! If you want to know how to make small changes for a HUGE impact, check out book 26 in #DBC50Summer: Shift This by Joy Kirr!