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MIT App inventor


  A few years back, in a powerful TEDx talk, Heidi Hayes Jacobs suggested, I think every student should design an app. I can’t think of a more practical, more challenging way to see if students could solve a specific problem, get it out there and make a difference to help people.  Or don’t. Instead, […]

Making inside the space and outside the box


AASL’s new mission: empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.  I keep thinking about how this mission also applies to learning that is is informal and interest-driven. A couple of days back, Michelle Luhtala, Shannon Miller and I brainstormed informally about informal learning, and makerspaces, and where we are all going. Michelle was preparing for […]

Three things Emily shared

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Among the Valenza family traditions are the little app share sessions I have with my daughter.  Emily, an art teacher in Boston, regularly introduces me to tools and platforms I don’t find elsewhere in my network. Here are some of Emily’s current faves from this Thanksgiving: Koma Koma: Anyone, from kindergarten to adult, can use […]

ds106 Assignment Bank

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For years, I’ve been a fan of Alan Levine’s (@cogdog) 50 Ways to Tell a Digital Story and his groundbreaking, open kick-butt DS106 (digital storytelling) course. I recently rediscovered the DS106 Assignment Bank and I see it as a truly inspiring resource for inspiring K12 creativity. This collection presents an array of options for student […]

The first ever (?) cell phone carnival!


Last week, Tammy Pirmann and our STEM 1 Class hosted, what we think, may be the first ever Cell Phone Carnival. Tammy, K12 Coordinator for Computer Science, is also our high school STEM teacher. The curriculum for her two mixed-grade classes called for a Rube Goldberg-type of machine as the students’ first project.   But […]

Dot Day: Ask your students to make a mark!

My dear, very smart, and seriously good friend Angela Maiers asked me to help spread the news about Dot Day.  I am happy to oblige and I hope that you will join in spreading the word as well about a project that asks students to make their mark. Angela shares: Every year on September 15, […]

Crowdsourcing Fifty (or so) ways to leave your paper:


Every couple of years I attach a list of alternate project ideas to my September faculty newsletter.  As I began to update those ideas this time around, it occurred to me that it would be a much better list if we built it together. So here’s the document I have so far.  I invite you […]

Our own Creative Commons


Right before the end of school we launched a new creative space. The transformation of our reference area to a making space was funded by a very generous gift from a family in our community. This little video gives you a flavor of the change. The Altman family wanted the space to be accessible to […]

Honoring our filmmakers: If you give a kid a camera . . .

It’s not Hollywood, New York, or Cannes, but for a particular group of students, this red carpet will be unforgettable. This time of year we traditionally award students who over the year score the highest on their exams, attend class every day, participate the most in school activities, achieve glory on the field or court. […]

Rules of a creator


Just a brief post to share this poster I discovered on Tanner Christensen’s Creative Something blog. (Lot’s more to explore there.) Tanner explains: Nine simple rules that help propel creatives (that means you) to success. Whether you’re an artist, a writer, a craftsperson, an entrepreneur, a student or a teacher, or anyone in-between: these rules […]