Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Day Bloxels Came To Van Meter For The Big Board Game Jam!

On October 16, we had something very exciting come to Van Meter Elementary.  
The Bloxels Big Board Game Jam came to our community on that day thanks to our friends.... 
 Josh, Caleb and....
...Amber from Bloxels.  
They were there to work with our 60 5th graders for the entire morning.  

To kick off the day, Josh taught them all about....

Bloxels EDU and how they were going to turn their stories into video games.  
With Bloxels, students build interactive stories that become video games.
And one of the best parts, Bloxels is collaborative from the start as they work together and can even share and play the videos games of their own and of their classmates.  
As Josh explained Bloxels, our students hung on to every word as they learned...
....they would be getting into groups to write a story with a game title, hero, enemy/challenge, objective and overall story.  They would first work on the worksheets that Josh provided to write their video game story and use the grid to lay out their backgrounds and characters. 
In Bloxels, all of the different colored cubes....
...have specific functions so as they lay out their video games on the grids, 
they use the different colored markers to specify what function...
...they need to create their video game. 
With the white cube being the Story Block, this was one of the most important things for them to think about as they would have a place to add the objectives and story of their video game. 
When Josh was done explaining how to create their video game, he told them all how to log into their account within Bloxels EDU.  It is so nice, because every student can have their very own login within the class platform.  
Our 5th graders would have most of the morning to collaborate with their team to write, map out and create their video game.  
It was fun to walk around and hear the brainstorming taking place as they.... 
...dreamed up their team name and video game. 
One of my favorites....The Glazed Donuts and they created a game where their main character Sage has to battle Evil Dude to save the world!  
The engagement, excitement and passion we saw the 5th graders put into their video games was inspiring for all of us to see.  
The characters, 
backgrounds and how they put their video games together were amazing!   
As they worked,  
...and Caleb were there to give the kids advice...
...and talk through their video game building.  
We watched them problem solve,  
test things out, 
and work together.  
They played their games as they created them... 
...working within the Bloxels app too.   
The detail and thought they put into their video games was.....

They couldn't wait to share what they were creating.    
At the end of the morning, each group presented their video games and played them for the group.  
This was one of their favorite parts of the morning as they loved sharing and... 
...seeing what their friends had created. 
 They couldn't wait to try every one of the video games out too!  
The Big Board Game Jam was one of the best days!  It not only gave our students an opportunity to work together and communicate to write and create a video game, it also gave them the sense of accomplishment through success, trial and error, testing, playing and presenting with their classmates and teachers.  

Bloxels showed our students that they can do anything!  And just think....there might be future video game creators in this group! 

This is just the start of using Bloxels at Van Meter.  For the next four weeks, all of our elementary students will be writing, creating and playing their own games....and we will be using Bloxels with our secondary students too.  We can't wait to see all of them teach and support one another. 

Thank you Amber, Caleb and Josh!  You guys are awesome.  We love what you and Bloxels have brought to Van Meter!  You made a difference!  

And don't forget to watch the video too. :) 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Traveling Mural Project....Join Us For This Global Art Project, Friends!

As we get ready at Van Meter Community School in Iowa to celebrate Read for the Record on October 25 with the beautiful story Maybe Something Beautiful, we wanted to start something special with others around the world by creating a traveling community mural project.

With the Traveling Mural Project, we will be connecting with other school communities around the world to create murals of peace, friendship, diversity and love. The theme and design of the mural your community create is up to you! That is what will make this project so unique and personal.

Here are the easy steps to get involved and be part of the traveling mural project too.

1. Sign up at where you will connect with a group of 10 other schools, libraries and classrooms.

2. Create a 10 foot mural with your school community on butcher paper.  You can use paints, crayons, markers, pencil, etc.. You can use any color of butcher paper you would like.

It can be as simple as putting up a 10 foot piece of butcher paper and having your students contribute to it over the course of a week or two to having it all drawn out for them to color in too. Anything goes with this mural project....make it personal to your community and students.
3. When the mural is finished, cut the mural into 10, 1 foot long pieces and send them to the 9 other places on your list.  Make sure to include the name and location of your school somewhere on the mural. Keep one of the pieces for your mural. Send the mural pieces by November 15, 2018.

4. Once you have all 10 pieces of the mural, put it together with your students to create your traveling community mural.

5. Make connections throughout this project with the others in your group. This project is about creating global connections and community with others around the world.  We can use Skype, Google Hangout, Kidblog and other forms of communication.

6. Post pictures & videos using #travelingmural on Twitter & Instagram. Let's all post these by the end of 2018.
Here is a Google Slide presentation that our related arts team is using to kick off this project at Van Meter.  You are welcome to use it or make a copy and add your own slides too.
There are lots of wonderful picture and nonfiction books to use when talking about and creating murals.  This is a Padlet with several….please feel free to add more too.

Thank you for being part of the Traveling Mural Project with our students and community.  We hope to connect with all of you as we create our murals and celebrate community with others around the world.  

Halloween Collection by Destiny Filled With Books, Songs, Interactive Sites, Making, Learning and Fun For You and Your Students!

It's October and time to start planning for a month of fun Halloween reading, making, baking, singing, learning, writing and fun.  

And guess what? I have lots of new things to share with you!  

Let me share two new Collections by Destiny that I created.  
You will find the Let's Celebrate Halloween Collection for elementary students here.
Two of my favorite new books for Halloween are the ones at the top of this post....
Halloween and Monster Party...A Song About Drawing With Numbers from Cantata Learning.  These stories are paired with music that you will find online to stream or download.

It is super easy for students to get to the music by scanning the QR codes found throughout each book.
Monster Party...A Song about Drawing and Numbers is from the new Sing and Draw Set by the dynamic team of Blake Hoena, Tim Palin and Emily Arrow.
I remember drawing things from numbers when I was young from Ed Emberley's fantastic books and the six new books in this Cantata Learning series are just as fun!

And they can sing along while drawing and learning about numbers....How cool is that!

I added the Monster Party video to the Let's Celebrate Halloween Collection so it will be super easy for your students to sing and draw monsters too. 
You will find all four of the titles from this series in the Sing and Draw YouTube playlist here.
These two series of Cantata Learning books, along with all Cantata titles, are available on Titlewave from Follett.
In fact, these books and more can be found on the October 31 Happy Halloween Titlewave List that our friends at Follett have put together for us.  

I just love looking through all of the wonderful books available for our readers for Halloween and the fall.  
Also, in the Let's Celebrate Halloween Collection you will find lots of educational and fun websites and activities including ones from PBS Kids,
 several from ABCya!,
 and a link to Buncee, where you and your students can create so many amazing digital stories for...
Halloween too!

Check it out and share this Collection with your students this month too. 
As for the librarians and teachers, I have created the Halloween Collection for Librarians and Teachers that you will find here.
It is filled with amazing learning, teaching, making, reading and sharing Halloween resources. There is definitely something for everyone here.

I will continue to add to both Halloween Collections and please let me know if you'd like to collaborate and share things on them too.  I will make you a collaborator...that would be fun.

Happy October and Halloween, friends....I hope you find lots of ideas in this post and enjoy the month in your library and school too!