Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day Two of Floor Plan Challenge

Students continue working on their floor plans. It's amazing to watch them work! (See video below)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Students Begin Floor Plan Challenge

Today the students in my 8th hour Reaction Grid class began their first collaborative project. Groups of four students began work on a real floor plan. They had six choices and although they had a bit of a shaky start placing themselves on the building platforms in groups, once they had their plan, they went right to work. (See video below)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Live From Phoenix! Art Island is a Tourist Attraction!

This past week we have had three sets of visitors to our island! The first group was from the Virtual Pioneers History Conference. We were streamed live into Second Life for those who could not make the grid hop. Then Pathfinder Lester brought his Hypergrid Adventurer Group to tour the sim. Today the 8th hour Jr. High Elective class was working and another group of grad students came to visit and the kids got a chance to see avatars from Canada, North Carolina, and Australia! This has been a very exciting week on Art Island!

Today the Jr. High Students were streamed live on the internet from the Virtual Worlds Conference. Chris Hart of the Reaction Grid team showed the students finishing up their avatar apartments for the Top Design Challenge. Various visitors remarked that the students were sweet and polite, which made me chuckle because I was in the room with them and although they are great kids, they are not always polite to each other. Good to know that their communication skills are improving. Their building skills have come a long way also and I am proud of the work being done. These students are getting a chance to be part of the global community by participating in events like this. (See video below)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Minion Challenge Continues

Another group of students gets to do the Minion Challenge. Since the movie was so popular, it continued to be a fun project dealing with spatial reasoning and proportion. Students were aware of where things were placed in a 3D environment. (See video below)

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Prim Work done by 5th Graders!

Even though I lost my great job as a technology integration specialist at the district, I was happy to have a job as an art teacher at Herrera Elementary. I would not get to work with Mrs. Baron at Lowell anymore but I could at least virtual worlds to my art students in the guise of design and spatial reasoning. This was a small class and very easy to work with. (See videos below)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Welcome to the Art Zone

Since I will no longer be working at the district office as a Technology Integration Specialist, I decided to rework some of my island on the Reaction Grid to reflect the transition as an art room resource. I will be doing short presentations at ISTE2010 in Denver on this and my curriculum skybox at the SIGVE (Special Interest Group Virtual Environments) playground. I hope to meet the people I now count as very important members of my PLN (Personal Learning Network). Some of them live in Oregon, Michigan, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, New York, Florida, the UK, and Thailand! (See video below)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Leaving Teen Second Life

Right now the plan for the coming school year is to begin anew on the Reaction Grid. Since I will be going back to the classroom as an art teacher, I will use my island on the Reaction Grid for teaching art. I have a great student gallery but if I can get computers for a graphic design course, I will also use the space for 3D sculptural student work. Mrs. Rodriguez will be starting an after school club and her school will be purchasing their own RG island. Mrs. Baron would like to start the new school year off with her own space on the Reaction Grid as well. I will continue to support them as much as my schedule will allow. I look forward to working with more students and demonstrating how engaging lessons can be when taught by an avatar!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Floor Plans for Last Project

Students don't have much time left before the end of the school year. Classes will be cut for field trips and other end of the year activities, so these probably won't get finished. It was a first completed, first choice situation and students picked from several new floor plans on which they could collaborate. The choices were: two different types of office buildings, a middle school classroom, a primary classroom, an auditorium, and a 50's diner. There was also a club/restaurant project underway from last trimester. Students who completed the Cartoon Challenge with a high degree of craftsmanship got first choice. Students are realizing that just because they say they are done doesn't mean they are finished to my standards. This kind of project is so easy to grade because the rubric is very simple. Either a student did something or they didn't. I enjoy watching the students interpret the floor plans. Today a student asked another what a certain symbol meant. The other student said that it was the symbol for a Christmas tree, when it was actually just a generic indoor plant symbol. I love it! (See video below)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Grid Hopping Cartoon Characters

Today I moved copies of several student created cartoon characters to my Art Gallery on the Reaction Grid. If you have been watching the photostories I have posted, you have seen some of the progress during the Cartoon Challenge. I am making these part of the permanent gallery as I have done with much of my students' work from past years. In the beginning I put student work on the hallway walls at Holy Family in Whitefish Bay, WI. I then got lucky and was able to display work at the local library. When the internet became available to me, I learned HTML and created a website where I posted digital photos I took with my new Sony Mavica. (It had a disk drive, remember?) Now that I have my own virtual land on the Reaction Grid, I have created a 3D Art Gallery with all the student artwork I have collected over the years I have been teaching including the move from Wisconsin to Arizona. People from all over the world can see what used to hang on a home refrigerator. How cool is that?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fly on the Virtual Wall

Today I watched from my office while Ms. Rodriguez taught her class to rez prims on the musical skybox. (See video below)

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Cartoon Challenge (Final Photostory - May 11)

Students began the Cartoon Challenge which requires that they use prims to build a character of their own choosing. As you can see, student teacher Nik Neximus has done an excellent job while I was away! Kudos Nik! I'm hoping some day Nik becomes an art teacher :) (See video below)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Student Teaches Intro to Prims

Nik Neximus will be taking my class while I go to see my family. Today he continued with beginning prim work and taught the students how to take snapshots and then send them to my epal account. I like to have students get a taste of teaching and perhaps encourage them to consider it as a career. It certainly helps their communication skills! Way to go Nik! (See video below)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trimester Three Begins

A partially new group of students will be working on PESD Island for this final trimester which is disjointed due to state testing and field trips. I like to spend the beginning part of the trimester in the classroom with the kids so that I get to know them well enough to do the class remotely from my office at the district. This time I don't have nearly as many new names to remember since many have decided to either continue or return from a previous trimester. Some will be on my "watch" list as during their first go round they did not live up to my expectations. Just because this is one of the most fun activities, doesn't mean there isn't rigor built in. The first two classes were our Gimp lessons. This week students will be taking their Gimp designed t-shirts and learning how to bring them into Second Life for their avatars to wear. In previous trimesters I did that step but have decided that the students who have been with me for a while now need to learn how to do this for themselves. (See video below)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Map Skills Lead to Exploring New Worlds

Mr. Ross’ 4th graders have been busy doing writing samples but today they were back on the Reaction Grid and learning map skills. They got a chance to explore many of the other wonderful areas which have been created by other schools and teachers. (See video below)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Clean up on Island 5...

Each trimester we have new students on the island because they can sign up for this elective. We get a few who want to continue working on projects as well, so it's difficult during the school year to wipe the slate clean but I still want to give new students that empty canvas I talked about when I began working with students about a year ago. So I save a few samples and make sure I have enough space for new students. This is what PESD Island looks like right now before the third trimester begins. (See video below)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Farm Challenge Continues for Edison

Since the students only get less than 45 minutes three times a week, I didn't expect them to complete the Farm Challenge in one class period. (See video below)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Farm Challenge Final Exam for Edison Students

Since the Lowell group did such a good job with this challenge, I decided it would be a good way of assessing skills for Edison's group also. I will have to look for more things like this in Second Life. I like the idea of building completely from scratch, but I think having specific shapes and sizes presents an opportunity for students to really hone those alignment skills. (See video below)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Students Choose Final Projects

As the trimester winds down, students were required to choose a final project. I suspected some would not finish but it was important that they stay engaged till the end of the grading period. Avatars can't just sit in the back of the room and pretend to work. (See videos below)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More from the Reaction Grid

We have been overloading our sim on the Reaction Grid with too many avatars so we had to cut back and do even more sharing. It seems to have worked because although we get bumped out, we are able to get back in quickly and continue working. New groupings meant ironing out some collaboration kinks but I think you can see things shaping up. We hope that while studying the planets and also building their own solar systems, the students will retain more of the basic information. (See video below)

Farm Challenge Continues

I just had an idea that I think will be fun. The farm challenge was a skill test for the students who had to use specific parts to complete a barn, cow, sheep, and chicken. The spatial skills making the chicken alone would stump many adults! My idea is a State Fair where the kids will judge each other's animals according to craftsmanship. We don't have much time left during this trimester and this might just be a fun culminating event. Maybe someone will make a ride or a game booth. (See videos below)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Farm Challenge

After missing two sessions for other activities, the students in this class were assigned mini-islands where they found the materials for The Farm Challenge. Each student had 4 boxed projects including a barn, cow, sheep, and chicken. They have been having problems seeing the big picture and completing projects of their own choosing, so this was a way to access their skill level. They had to buy each box and find the project folder in their inventories. Then they would drag the pieces to the ground and align them into a finished object. It was so fun to watch and the barns went up quickly. It was more difficult to align the wings and legs of the animals, but the ones that got that far did a great job. One student raised his cow in the air in order to attach the hooves and it was just like a mechanic putting your car up on a rack to get under it! I loved it. (See videos below)

Edison Student Work on Vehicles and House Continues

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Newbies Begin House Challenge

Today some newbies began the floor plan project on the island. They were apprehensive but I assured them that they were up for the challenge. I want to empower more of our female students when it comes to honing their building skills. (See videos below)

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Vehicle Challenge

Although today was supposed to be the Vehicle or Animal Challenge, no one wanted to build an animal. Go figure. I'll see how tomorrow's Farm Challenge at a different school goes. We had some nonsense happen today which resulted in two students losing their Second Life privileges. I'm always sad when that happens because these students so seldom get to use computers to help support their ability to think in three dimensions. Four girls from this group will be moved to the island where they can work on building from the house floor plan. I really want to encourage the girls to think of possible careers in architecture, design, or engineering. (See video below)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Edison Rookies work on Connecting Prims

Unfortunately, the machine I was using in the Edison Computer Lab ran out of virtual memory less than 2 min. into capturing the newest kids working up on the building platform.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Various Social Studies Projects

In the past week or so, 8th graders at Lowell have been working on approved curricular projects. Our main focus is building so we asked students to come up with something related to another class that could be translated into a building project on the island. We have the beginnings of a Native American Village, the Mayflower, a forest, another ecosystem focused on aquatic creatures, Westward movement, and the Plymouth Settlement. Some are more successful than others but everyone is getting building experience. It would be great to be directly working with the classroom teachers but so far that hasn't happened. (See video below)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

4th Graders 1st Prim Practice

I absolutely have to thank Chris Hart for being with us yesterday when we finally got a chance to experience the real wonder of the Reaction Grid; the building! You can't imagine the excitement in a room of about 28 4th graders who are creating prims. It was awesome! Thanks also to Kyle and Felix for their work on the RG. Your team is great!! Mr. Ross and I taught the kids how to take snapshots and save them to their inventories, so I was able to go and retrieve them later. Here is a taste of our first venture with prims. (See video below)

Friday, January 8, 2010

More Work on Hooverville

With the shacks looking fairly authentic with walls that are not perfectly aligned and mismatched materials, today the students added barrels that could have fires in them. (See video below)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The 4th Grade on the RG

It was chaotic, it was exciting, it was fantastic! 4th graders at Lowell School had their first experience with the Reaction Grid today. We went through a lot of basic procedures today such as assigning computers, setting up partners because the class is more than twice the number of computers available, finding the software, and logging in. The classroom teacher, Mr. Ross, and I let the kids have this class period for basic exploration. We wanted to see what they would discover on their own and by the end of the period, they had learned to add friends, chat with each other, fly and walk. This class will be studying the solar system and associated topics. To help, they will have a 3D model of the planets and a virtual moon that goes through the phases. Their first building activity will be to create their own planet. I'm very grateful to Mr. Ross for not only lending me his class, but also for learning very quickly how to take snapshots of the students so we can document as much of this as possible. (See video below)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to Work on PESD Island TSL

Although I'm doing prep work for PESD Island RG, today my Edison students continued working on their Social Studies connection and are getting closer to having a Hooverville on PESD Island TSL. Here's a little video of them working.