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 exploring new technologies and utilizing 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 embody the true meaning of unruliness:
1) They know how to have fun and take fun seriously
2) They welcome the many silly sounds and ways of learning
3) They use student roles to find ways for everyone to contribute their unruliness
4) They let students and ideas drive the bus - not Splats!
5) They have high expectations for what their students can create!
Crystal was a member of our latest pilot program for PE teachers. Despite having no previous experience with coding, Crystal was not afraid to dive into coding with Splats. She was an early champion of mixing computer science and physical activity at her school and was up and running with Splats within a week!
Crystal was not afraid to try new things WITH her students and often assigned student jobs so that each student could contribute in a different way. She was also adventurous with ways to play games and experimented with full class play, small group play, and collaborative play! We admire Crystal’s creativity and fearlessness when it comes to trying something new, making mistakes, having fun, and learning!
Here’s her kindergarten class playing whack-a-mole.
Jason Trumble is an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Central Arkansas. Jason is not afraid to break the rules and think of new and creative ways to teach future educators how to approach tough-to-learn subjects. Jason talks all about this in the blog post he wrote for us on his approach to education. Here’s a snippet:
“My goal is to develop teachers that break the same old pattern of teaching and testing, and lead by example. To me, a mold-breaker is someone who does things differently, creates new perspectives, and enacts change in an environment. Mold-breakers create patterns and reinvent themselves”
Jason embodies the spirit of unruliness by not just going through the motions of teaching the way things have been done in the past, but by experimenting with new ways to make learning more fun. Thank you for inspiring a future generation of educators who will continue to innovate and be unruly!
Michael Fricano II is a K-6 Technology Integration Specialist and Computer Science Teacher at Iolani Schools in Hawaii. In true Unruly style, he is using the technology he has to overcome the challenges of teaching from home! Using SeeSaw and the Unruly Splats app, he created a coding challenge for his students by taking a screen recording of his virtual Splats and asking students to reverse engineer the code! You can see his challenge here.
Michael was also one of the first educators to use the new Musical Splats virtual activity pack. His grade 2 class sent in their musical creations for Crash to dance to, and dance he did!
Michael embodies the spirit of Unruliness and student-led learning. He told us about a time where a first grade student asked him how to code a delay in her timer. This is something that they had not covered in the tutorials yet so Michael did not know. He told her he would try to figure it out after class but suggested she try to figure it out first.
“Typically a student will just move on if they can’t figure it out, but five minutes later, I hear ‘Mr. Fricano, I think I figured it out!’. She showed the rest of the class how she did it and then a lot of the other students incorporated it into their programs. She was so proud that she did it herself”.
Learn more about how Michael uses Splats with his elementary school students in our blog.
Kristin Harrington is an EdTech coach for Flagler County Schools in Florida. In addition to delivering devices to students, she continues to support educators in virtual STEM learning. She led an Unruly webinar on teaching STEM virtually where she talked about tips to balance education and student engagement, doing hands-on projects at home, and mixing STEM and movement. Kristin does it all, and more! Seriously!
She is also the co-moderator of a twitter chat #FLEdChat where educators join to discuss topics in education. Kristin is not afraid to try new things and adjust on the fly when things don’t work. When looking for ways to still bring STEM to students at home, her and her colleague created this amazing STEAM Trash to Treasure challenge that students can do with items they find around the house! You keep us inspired Kristin! Here is a classroom Kristin was coaching playing with Splats!
Alexa Sorden is the principal at Concourse Village Elementary School PS359 in the Bronx New York. When we first met Alexa, she was looking for fun and creative ways to integrate STEM as part of the day.
“I saw it as a tool to promote creativity and excitement about learning. I also saw it as a tool to promote teamwork and problem-solving.”
Instead of starting Splats in a STEM class, she advocated for her PE teacher, Coach G, to do the pilot. She identified him as a technology advocate in the school and asked if he would be excited to lead the pilot - which he was!
Although Coach G had no coding experience before using Splats, he picked up the coding quickly and was using Splats in his PE class within a week. To make sure every student participates, he often splits the class into smaller groups for games or uses Splats for full-class play. He started with games that are build-in to the app, and once he felt more confident, he started integrating Splats into his existing sports units, like football. One activity he modified was a football drill where students throw the football to a partner who runs with it to the other end of the gym, stomps on a Splat, and runs back to their team to pass it to the next person.
This is a fantastic example of how teachers can work with their principals to bring new technology into the schools - amazing teamwork Alexa and Coach G!
Stacia Wagers is a Library Media Specialist at Parkway Schools and does professional development in technology instruction for K-12 teachers in her district. Stacia believes libraries are not just a place for reading in silence, but a place for fun, activity, and learning. Stacia is an early champion of Splats in her school and uses them in her library, which is a “no shushing allowed” zone.
Now that she is supporting teachers from home, she has quickly become a pro at navigating the challenges of remote learning and keeping students engaged at home. She led a webinar with us on her tips and tricks for teaching remotely and how to keep students engaged and connected while they’re at home.
One of her tips to keep student attention and engagement is to “chunk” things into smaller, bite-sized activities or lessons.
“Think about breaking things into 10-15 minute [chunks to keep students engaged]. A brain break is also a natural way to break things up so think about how you can incorporate little breaks in between the chunks. Also think about ways you can record the meet so that if a student can’t make it, they can go back and finish it”.
Stacia is full of creative ideas for keeping students excited to learn from home, including student-led learning activities and giving students choice! Learn more in her webinar recording here.
Chris Amundson is a PE teacher in West Des Moines, Iowa. After writing (and receiving) a grant to bring Splats to his school, Chris immediately began coding custom games with his students. Persevering through the challenges of a new coding language, Chris quickly became a scoring and countdown expert.
When his students wanted to code a musical chairs game, Chris reached out for help from the Unruly team. He shared his creation with the Unruly team, which we liked much better than the traditional musical chairs! This variation of musical chairs is one we come back to again and again as one of our favorite games.
When you press run, a countdown from a random number between 10 and 30 seconds will start. A green light will cycle around 6 Splats while the countdown is running. When the countdown stops, all the Splats will light up red and students have to scramble to find a Splat. Each Splat is lit up a random color and each color corresponds to an exercise! Repeat as many times as you need to get a great workout 💪
Know an Unruly educator that we should feature? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!