2012 year in review – teaching


The big news in my teaching career this year is that I started my Master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University in the Educational Media and Technology program, completing two courses (“Technology and Student Learning” and an excellent Curriculum Foundations course). This has been a great experience so far, but has required a lot of hard work as I’m pursuing it while working full time.

I also finished my 5th year at Honey Creek and began my 6th year as the school’s Technology Specialist. Lots of good things here – we launched our school’s new Web site, I ran the continually-popular FLL and JrFLL Lego Robotics programs again this fall, and I continue to develop my teaching practices and courses.

Place-Based Education at Honey Creek Community School

Place-Based Education at Honey Creek Community School

I’ve had a great chance to engage in Place-Based Education this year, starting with professional development through SEMIS, the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition. I’ve updated and added some new curriculum in the 4th/5th and middle school courses I teach based on this approach, and am really enjoying it so far.

Summer wrap-up

personal, teaching

In a few short hours, a new school year will start. I just finished reading my last book of the summer, and so now it’s time for a bit of wrap-up about how I spent those 3 fantastic months called summer.

Here’s a quick look at what I did:

-taught a new workshop called Imagine, Design, Build workshop for Honey Creek’s summer camp.

-applied for and won a MACUL grant to get digital cameras into the hands of middle schoolers in Ann Arbor and South Africa.

-attended 2 meetings of GO-Tech, the Ann Arbor area DIY technology group, and presented about Processing at one of them

-did lots of curriculum planning, including starting to work through the Understanding by Design book

-went camping with the family twice and took ’em to Michigan’s Adventure, a great amusement park/water  park.

-played guitar at church a lot (almost every Wednesday) and helped with our Vacation Bible School.

-cleaned & reorganized my music studio

-took lots of photos, including starting to use off camera flash with the purchase of a Wein peanut slave

-worked on planning for updates to the chromedecay site, including wireframing and new WordPress install

-read lots of books:

Work Hard, Be Nice – Jay Mathews
Close Kin – Clare Dunkle
The Hollow Kingdom – Clare Dunkle
Wired for War – P.W. Singer
Here, There Be Dragons – James A. Owen
Churchill – Roy Jenkins
Eagle Day: The Battle of Britain – Richard Collie
DroidMaker: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution – Michael Rubin
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932-1940 – William Manchester
The Right Stuff – Tom Wolfe
Meet the Austins – Madeleine L’Engle
The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

Here’s to a fantastic school year, filled with learning, teaching, and inspiration!

gearing up for ITEA


I’m in the process right now of gearing up for the ITEA national conference next week, which takes place in Louisville, KY. I’ll be co-presenting along with Tom Pachera and Rachel Pokrandt of Beyond Benign, at a pre-conference workshop entitled “Teaching Sustainable Manufacturing in a STEM Lab”. The workshop is Wednesday, March 25.

After that, I get to experience the conference and participate in some great workshops. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Nate Ball of the PBS show Design Squad give his keynote on Friday morning, as well as the chance to catch up with fellow Technology & Design Education professionals. Look for pictures and write-ups starting mid-week next week!

Spring Break is almost over!

personal, teaching

Spring break is almost over, and it was filled with behind-the-scenes work, the kind of stuff you never really think much about but which need to get done. (As an aside, the idea that I get an entire week off for being a teacher is still a little foreign to me, but certainly appreciated).

By way of explanation, I did a lot of laundry, dishwashing, house cleaning, e-mail responding, social networking site updating, kid hanging-out with, photo-taking, and planning for the next few months. My wife and I even got a start on cleaning our garage.

All that to say: spring has certainly started with a lot of refreshing and looking forward to the new seasons.