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Winchester Public Schools Advances METRICs Program with Unruly Splats
June 17, 2021
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Winchester Public Schools is our latest Unruly certified school, and we could not be more thrilled! to integrate computer science and active play throughout the school day. Educators from John Kerr Elementary and Garland Quarles Elementary have been pioneering the initiative to integrate computer science and active play throughout the school day with Unruly Splats.
While some educators and students are looking forward to in-person learning, many are reflecting on lessons learned. And if there is one thing schools have learned in the last year, it’s how to overcome the challenges of integrating technology into the classroom.
Unruly Splats are breaking down the barriers of coding school-wide! When Short Line Elementary School transitioned back to in-person learning this spring, PE teacher Mrs. McSweeney had a new activity planned that combined active play with learning to code.
This week's teacher feature is Cathy Truesdale! She is a Music & Performing Arts Educator at Canterbury School in FL. For almost 30 years, Cathy has brought music and joy to all learners! Now, with some help from Splats, she's bringing computer science into her classroom, too! (That's 🎵 to our 👂👂)
Teaching a classroom full of students with different interests, talents, and strengths, is one of the many challenges every teacher faces. That’s one reason why student-led learning is so valuable; when done properly, it can encourage students to be more self-directed in their learning, freeing up valuable time for their teachers to oversee the class and ensure student success.
Our next teacher feature of the month is Deb Dixon! She is a Library Media Teacher at Winter Hill Community Innovation School in MA. She has been an Unruly Educator from the very beginning and is always stepping up to the plate by looking for new, fun, and engaging ways to incorporate Splats into the school curriculum!
We’re honored that Unruly Studios has been recognized in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards for 2021! Unruly Splats received an honorable mention in the Education category among other amazing organizations like UNICEF, Stanford, Microsoft, Google, Duolingo, and Quizlet.
Our first teacher feature of the month is superstar Splatter, Ashley Fort! She is a digital learning coach at Lexington School District 3 in South Carolina. Ashley is a Splats pioneer who is always creating amazing teacher resources and modifying Splats games that align with the Common Core!
Unruly Studios works alongside educators to help incorporate STEM and computer science into any classroom curriculum. We are proud to announce these efforts have been recognized and we are honored to be the recipients of the Gold Stevie® Award in the Cross-Curricular Solution category in The 19th Annual American Business Awards®!
There is nothing we can say to justify the chaos educators undergo on a daily basis and the constant resiliency that is expected from them. One week is not enough time to praise educators for all that they do so we are making it Teacher Appreciation Month!
As an educator, there is nothing better than seeing a student grow and overcome a challenge. Erin Shadwick, a special education teacher from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, supports student growth by providing and modifying STEM games to meet each student's specific needs. Since introducing her students to STEM, her students' cognitive and critical thinking skills have improved tremendously.
It’s March, the one year anniversary of when schools across North America shut down to prevent the spread of a global pandemic. Teachers, parents, and EdTech providers like ourselves are going to every length to prevent learning loss, a reality that will impact generations of children for years to come. But learning is not the only thing that’s been lost.
The play never stops at Unruly Studios and we are thrilled to announce that we are recipients of the Tech & Learning 2021 Awards for the Best Remote & Blended Learning Tools! When schools moved to remote learning, our team got to work to create content to support teachers and students learning from home.
We at Unruly Studios are very excited to announce our new partnership with Hawaii’s Leilehua Complex Schools to incorporate STEM education across classrooms. The goal is to incorporate cross-curricular STEM and play across their district by having students code their own active games using Unruly Splats.
Finding your new systems to increase student engagement as we round to almost a year of teaching a virtual class has taken some trial and error. If you have not figured out your groove on how to teach a productive virtual class, we got you covered! We asked our Unruly Educators their tips for increasing student engagement while teaching online and here is what they said.
Since the start of the new school year, some schools across the US have transitioned to in-person learning, but many are still fully virtual or hybrid. The challenges of a virtual class are well-documented, but what often goes unmentioned is the importance of physical activity, social and emotional learning, and well… play!
The Unruly Team had a blast at the annual Future of Education Technology Conference this year. FETC was virtual this year and ran from January 26-29. Unruly Studios brought the Unruliness at our virtual booth and presentation about tips on cross-curricular learning involving coding with our special guest and winner of the Unruliest Techie Award, Dr. Cory Gleasman.
2020 has been a wild ride! 😅The year has been throwing curve balls in all directions and our educators have caught them all. As the year comes to an end, we want to celebrate some of our Unruliest Educators with the Unruliest Educators Awards!
As the Fall Fitness Challenge comes to a close, you might be thinking, “Which school won the legendary Golden Splat?” The Unruly Fall Fitness Challenge was a fitness extravaganza that got students coding and moving whether they were virtual, in-person, or hybrid. Five schools definitely brought the fire! 🔥
Every December, classrooms around the globe celebrate the power of scientific inquiry and technology through Computer Science Education Week, also known as Hour of Code! This unique digital event asks teachers to take one hour out of their class to help students discover the joy of coding.
We know winter can be a tough time for teachers, who are feeling exhausted from a semester’s work: Add a pandemic on top of that, and suddenly everything becomes much harder! From the pros at Unruly Splats, here are 4 self-care tips for teachers that will hopefully reduce feelings of stress and burnout, as well as a downloadable checklist to keep you on track.
There is plenty of research out there showing computer science is a really important skill for students to learn early, just like other STEM subjects! The trouble for educators is, there's only so much time in a day to teach all of these important subjects, especially during a pandemic! We gathered the stories of three Unruly educators, each with a unique vision of how to incorporate technology and computer science in their classrooms during virtual or hybrid-learning.
As the weather gets colder and fewer outdoor activities remain available, it is often challenging to stay motivated to do physical activity! This year, Unruly Studios is fighting fall fatigue with the launch of the Unruly Fall Fitness Challenge!
As ballots are cast in the US Presidential election, teachers may be wondering how they can incorporate the importance of voting into the classroom. Unruly Splats is excited to release three new voting activities called “Vote Splats” to introduce students to the different voting methods.
At Unruly, we believe in continuous innovation and improvement, especially when it comes to feature requests from our customers. This week we’re thrilled to announce the launch of the new and improved Unruly Splats App 2.0! Students use our web app or iOS app to code the rules that make physical and virtual Splats light up, make sounds, and sense when they are pressed or stomped on.
Cathy Truesdale is a music teacher based in Florida who’s been using Splats for in-person and remote learning this year. Hear her insights from leveraging Splats to combine coding, music, and play in her hybrid and distance learning classes. Many music teachers are coming up with innovative ways to work with their students, given that in many instances, they aren’t able to sing or play instruments in person or in class.
As one educator said in our 2020 school year study, “learning is itself social.” Hybrid learning is a way to maintain the benefits of in-person collaboration while having a significant portion of the work done remotely. It also serves students’ social-emotional learning to socialize and work together, so providing time for safe, in-class interaction is a bonus for mental health. We have 3 tips for making this form of blended learning the most effective it can be and plenty of resources to help you implement it.
All of our latest activities are designed to be student-facing with step-by-step instructions that work in remote, in-person, or hybrid learning environments. These 4 popular activity packs combine the fun of active, physical play with cool coding and technology concepts. If this sounds like a classroom environment you’re looking forward to creating, read on!
At Unruly, we believe play is the key to connecting students, whether your class will be in-person, virtual, or hybrid. Play encourages students to expand their social emotional learning by demonstrating skills like good sportsmanship and effective communication. We break it all down in our latest blog with insights from administrators and educators planning for the upcoming school year as well as activities to encourage social emotional learning, and finally a new way to prioritize play!
If one thing is certain about the upcoming school year, we know it will look different than anything we have experienced before. Many administrators are exploring the return to school as one of three options: in-person instruction, online instruction, and a mixture of both. The last option is what many are referring to as a hybrid model, part in-person instruction and online learning. As schools debate the best approach to bringing students back in the fall, we’re here to share a few quick resources to make hybrid learning more fun and engaging!
Somerville Public Schools was one of the first school districts to incorporate Splats across their schools and curriculum. Jason Behrens, their District Innovation Specialist, led this program and decided to start at Winter Hill Community Innovation School. Now, Somerville Public Schools use Splats in all eight schools across the district in PE, Computer Science, Library, and some after school STEM programs.
At Unruly Studios, we’re all about seeking new ways to combine physical fitness with playful games that challenge kids to think critically and problem solve on the go. In our latest STEM and Fitness Activity Pack, we’ll explore all these elements and more to get fitness and fun back on track!
The Unruly team stands against the discrimination and violence against Black communities in recent days and throughout history. We affirm Black lives matter, and we must take action against systemic racism. We know that as a company, we are not doing enough to support Black Lives Matter and anti-racism. We want to start by committing to both improving our own internal policies to combat discrimination and to provide external resources for our community of educators and students.
As school breaks for the summer, sunny days are calling students to kick back, relax, and enjoy the nice weather. Along with all that fun in the sun, many students and their families look forward to summer camps as a way to help bridge the gap between school ending for the summer and starting in the fall. While this summer could look very different due to social distancing, research shows that high-quality summer learning programs improve students’ math and reading skills and build critical social emotional skills according to the National Summer Learning Association.
Today we rely largely on cell phones and the internet to communicate, connect with friends and family, and share the latest TikTok dances. Keeping in touch wasn’t always this easy. Take your class on an Unruly adventure back to the turn of the 19th century to learn about the early days of modern communication with the latest Unruly Morse Code Activity Pack!
Educators are masters of innovation and adapting, so when things don’t go as planned we turn to them to see how they are navigating new challenges. We’ve heard from many Unruly educators that are excited to explore new technologies and utilize the ones they have to engage students remotely. Since the month of May is teacher appreciation month, we wanted to highlight some of the Unruly Educators that have inspired us and embody the true meaning of unruliness...
With many schools still closed across the country, we know it’s challenging to connect with students and offer meaningful engagement. This is especially true for those students who rely on music education to get them through the school day. That’s why this week, we released a new set of Musical Splats activities that mix STEM and music for students to get down to the beat at-home.
Educators across the globe are working overtime to figure out new and creative ways to switch to virtual learning and connect with students remotely. To help educators during their transition to virtual classrooms, the Unruly team put together two free initiatives to bring fun STEM activities to students at home!
Over the last few weeks, educators around the world have quickly adjusted their curriculum and assignments for e-learning. Despite the challenge, the education community is coming together online to share ideas and resources so they can continue providing education from wherever their students are. The team at Unruly Studios had a chance to speak to many educators these last few weeks to gather their tips on e-learning and running a virtual class.
When you look back at your childhood, what are some of your fondest early memories? You may remember playing hide and seek in the backyard with your neighbor or relay races with friends from school. These are the moments where kids have complete freedom to use their imagination and creativity. Whether that is saving the world from a fire breathing dragon or escaping an enchanted forest so they can be home in time for Mom’s special spaghetti and meatballs.
Throughout history, kids of all ages and personalities naturally gravitate to playing games. Whether it is creating obstacle courses on the playground or building a magical fort in the living room, creativity and playfulness is something that we are born with. It is a way for kids to connect with each other, work collaboratively, create friendships, and have fun! Today, we call this social emotional learning (SEL). SEL is the ability for kids to manage their emotions, set and achieve goals, feel and show empathy for others, and create strong relationships.
From smart phones and the Cloud to GPS and video streaming, computers and other digital technologies are definitely an ever-growing part of our modern world. As the job market for computer programming continues to grow, elementary and middle schools across America are working to incorporate coding for kids in their curriculum. This can put teachers and educators, who may have little or no prior experience with this subject, in a challenging spot. Luckily, there are a lot of high-quality resources available for educators to draw on, many of which are free to use. To help navigate the many tools and lessons available for computer science for beginners, we put together a list of three of our favorites.
Instead of having a dedicated STEM or coding class, using games as a way to incorporate STEM-related subjects is becoming more common. In particular, teaching coding through games can introduce students to concepts such as computational thinking and collaboration skills. The problem with some coding activities is it has students working alone, sitting behind a computer. At Unruly Studios, we want students to work together and collaborate on active games that get them up and moving around.
When Thomas Girolamo (known as Coach G to his students) first started using Unruly Splats in his PE class, he was admittedly nervous. Coach G is an elementary school PE teacher and had no coding experience before using Splats. Learning to code while integrating a new technology in his class felt intimidating. “I’ve never done coding in my life so at first, I was very nervous” he told us.
It was winter break in snowy western Michigan and I was running wild through my grandparents’ house begging my cousins to chase me. I was a quick witted, boisterous, and maybe slightly obnoxious kid sprinting through the kitchen, and I remember one of my uncles saying, “well they broke the mold with that one”. That stuck with me and now I bring that mold breaking mentality into my teaching practice.
Michael Fricano II is a K-6 Technology Integration Specialist and Computer Science Teacher, so it’s no surprise that he is passionate about integrating new technology into his class. In his curriculum, Michael teaches coding and computational thinking to his energetic K-3 students. Since most learning takes place sitting still at a desk, he is always looking for ways to get his students more physically active.
It may seem unconventional to teach coding in PE class, but many PE teachers are becoming leaders in integrating STEM with physical activity. One of those educators is Kevin Tiller, better known online as PhysEd Review. Read more about how Kevin Tiller is integrating STEM and coding for kids Iinto his PE class in this blog.
Cooperative learning is a popular topic in education and a term we hear a lot at Unruly Splats. While Splats integrate computational thinking and active play into a variety of classroom settings, they are also great for enabling cooperative learning. Here’s a quick look at what cooperative learning is, what the benefits are, and how you can think about incorporating some Unruly cooperative learning strategies into your school or classroom.
We work with educators every day who are excited to integrate STEM into their school and we understand the #1 challenge can be getting the budget. Unruly Splats can be found in schools in 45 states and counting, even states with modest budgets. If you want to get Splats or any other STEM tool in your school, but are concerned about budget, these Unruly strategies are proven to work best
My vision of Unruly from the beginning has been to have kids learning in a fun, interactive, electronic playground where they can experiment and collaborate with each other while gaining problem-solving skills.This is at odds with what I currently see in classrooms; kids stuck behind a computer screen at a desk, trying to memorize rules and facts rather than really understanding how it is applied in context. This led me on a mission to figure out how to build a STEM tool that would enable kids to engage with coding and problem solving in an active way.
Being “Dad” to my two wonderful daughters has been the absolute best time of my life. A particularly fun part of the experience has been the unexpected little life lessons that parenting has taught me along the way. One example of this is the power of playing a game.
As I watched my daughter play with her Unruly Splats recently, my mind was drawn back to a very interesting Forbes Magazine article that I had read earlier this fall, entitled “Girls, If You Want To Change The World*, Try STEM (*and earn a lot while you do it)”.
Our children are being raised in an entirely different era than we were; With the prevalence of technology, social media, and online interactions, our children will soon be teaching us about technology that will seem to blow our minds. As millennials raising Generation Alphas, we like to think that we are in tune with all of the best tech updates, but I secretly love knowing that my 7-year-old daughter Luna could soon bypass my tech knowledge.
The incomparable Mr. Rogers once said: “Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” At Unruly Studios, we think that Mr. Rogers was absolutely right about this crucial link between play and learning in kids. This is why our mission at Unruly focuses on empowering children to learn critical STEM skills through active, social play.
‘I am going to follow the rules’ - said no kid ever. We hated rules as kids. We loathed routines. We disliked coloring within the lines. We didn't want to play regular, old tag or four square. We wanted to design our own creations. Draw up our own plans. Make our own rules. We were unruly.
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Unruly Splats is the only coding for kids educational product that combines coding with physically active play! For coding for kids activities that mix PE and STEM, shop one of Unruly Splats membership plans. Each plan includes Splats, STEM activities and lesson plans, and coding activities for kids grades K-8, as well as unlimited seats in the Splats app and warranty. Unruly School memberships have everything you need to get started with incorporating STEM activities in your school. Splats are great for incorporating coding for kids into any STEM or PE class and are meant to be shared across the school! Use Splats in K-8 STEM classes, computer science classes, library, music, and PE! If you’re looking to take your STEM program to the next level and incorporate coding for kids and play across your school, Splats Memberships have everything you’ll need to get started.