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Cardboard Creation Extravaganza!

"Cardboard is the gateway for all makers!" - Adam Savage

On Saturday October 7th, Joe and I took a pallet of cardboard, Makedo connectors, and some markers and crayons and invaded the gymnasium at Lincoln Elementary in St. Joe.  This event was inspired by the Global Cardboard Challenge which stemmed from the inspiration of Caine's Arcade.



We had approximately 40 students and parents show up for this day of creativity. The best part was being able to see the students eyes light up when they saw the pile of cardboard and were told that they could make anything that they wanted.  Even the parents loved this instruction! After about 2 hours, we had a lighthouse, multiple houses, a geodesic dome, and a rocket with launchpad. 

In terms of event planning, this is one of the easiest that you can pull off at your school. Joe and I have a source for cardboard that we can connect you with and help you gather the tools that make the day easier.  Check out some of the photos to see …
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Free Online Resources For Back to School in Michigan (Michigan E-Library)

September 2017

Dear Michigan Teachers, Parents, and Students:

Welcome to the 2017-18 school year! As everyone heads back to school, the Michigan
eLibrary (MeL) wants to remind everyone that MeL is your go-to resource! Students of all ages
can go to MeL.org to find eBooks and articles to read, conduct research, prepare for high
stakes tests like the SAT®, or maintain/improve basic skills. Watch our Back to School video at
https://goo.gl/tXcoii.

MeL provides all Michigan residents free access to quality, vetted subscription databases that
can be used all year. Resources are available 24/7 and are mobile compatible. Quality
resources and weblinks are organized in convenient portals. For children from birth to 5th
grade, MeL Kids (kids.mel.org) has four centers that will help support and build basic skills
such as reading and math. For the older students in grades 6 through 12, MeL Teens
(teens.mel.org) offers a wealth of resources to not only maintain and build basic skills, but also
imp…

Use Google Slides to Create a Digital Notebook

Like many of you I was school shopping this past week and purchasing requested supplies.  One of those requested was a pack of reinforced paper.  Yep, there is such a thing.  I taught for 15 years and did not even realize this was a thing!  

Apparently this is paper that has a reinforced margin surrounding the three hole punch to help it last longer.  This longer life is useful when students take notes throughout the year.  But I think if your school, like many, has devices for students and uses Google Apps for Education then I have a better way - Google Slides.

The key to using Google slides to create a digital notebook is to resize the slide dimensions to 8.5 x 11 to mimic conventional paper.  This can be completed under the 'file' menu and selecting page setup.  The default size of the slides is 'widescreen 16:9' but if you select custom you can resize the slides to any size you would like.


Once completed, the template is set.  Each slide that you add will also be this…

Clear Your Mind and Prepare for the Year

I know it's hard to believe that today is August 1st! It seems just like yesterday that everyone was celebrating the beginning of summer and the sand beneath their toes. While you are wrapping up your vacation and preparing for the year I wanted to share a couple of thoughts and ideas that may help you start on a great note!

First, I would encourage all of you to take a deep breath and realize that while it may be stressful today, the school year will arrive just as it does every year and you will be there to greet it with a smile. The work that you pour into your classroom is always appreciated by your students whether they tell you or not.

Second, remember that we are all in this together! As educators we need to draw on the strengths of our colleagues and share our strengths with each other in order to help all students grow. If you find yourself feeling isolated, jump on Twitter and start talking to the world to ask for ideas. There are many passionate educators who are more …

Student Technology Showcase Post

Each year, student teams and their teachers from around the state participate in the AT&T/MACUL/MVU Student Technology Showcase, an event held at the State of Michigan Capitol Building. This year’s Student Technology Showcase took place on December 7, representing 34 schools across Michigan.  It was an opportunity for teachers and students to present to lawmakers classroom technology projects designed and created by students at all levels of K-12 education.   Through these demonstrations our lawmakers see the importance of technology integration into the classroom firsthand, hearing straight from students themselves.  The event was also a chance for teams to move about the rotunda of the Capitol to explore the work of teams from other districts.  These new connections helped students grow their digital literacy knowledge while discovering the possibilities of other technology integrations into school projects and curriculum. For most students, this was their first experience meetin…

2016 - The Year of Maker Beginnings

As most of us begin our winter break, I thought I would take a minute and reflect on how amazing 2016 has been for the team here at Berrien RESA.

First of all, thank you to every single person that allowed us to work with you this year to help you continue to grow both professionally and personally with skills that will continue to flourish in the new year.  One of the most gratifying parts of our job is seeing the smiles on the student's faces that are impacted by the work that we do with each and every one of you.

Second, thank you to everyone for the support of the SW Michigan Mini Maker Faire! In our second year, we had over 1,500 attendees and continue to increase student involvement in the faire.  Please mark down June 3rd, 2017 for the upcoming faire! The call for makers should open soon after the new year.

Third, as I sit and reflect on all of the amazing activities that we have done with all of you, I thought i best to write it in a short list below:

Brought drones to mid…

FlyBrix Drones for your Classroom

Berrien RESA is excited to bring drones to your classroom!  Through the generosity of the Bosch Corporation, and their partnership with Cornerstone Alliance, we were able to purchase 35 FlyBrix Lego drone kits.  Ten of the kits are RC controlled while the other 25 are controlled via a bluetooth connection to an app enabled device.  The FlyBrix app is free!

On Monday, November 21 we were invited to Upton Middle School.  We were able to work with 20 6-8 graders in one 40 minute block of time.   Most students worked with a partner, but there were some groups of three.  This seemed to work well; any more than three means someone would not have their hands in on the building.  We learned a lot and are ready for the next classroom.  Below are our biggest takeaways.

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1. Kids were super engaged throughout the building process.  They picked which of the three FlyBrix designs they wanted to build and used flybrix.com/build for directions.  Most …