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Math Talks with Braeden: Investigations Matter

In Braeden, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Today, I pulled into my parent’s driveway and was immediately met at my car by my nephew smiling ear to ear. He was so excited because he heard something that he did not agree with in school and rushed home to test his theory…(his words) Below is the conversation that we had. B: Guess what Auntie, my teacher wasn’t so perfect today! Me: What happened? B: Well today she was telling us about horizontal symmetry, vertical symmetry and diagonal symmetry and she said that an oval had diagonal symmetry and it doesn’t. Me: Really? How do you know? B: Well, …

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Cultivating Creativity Through Access to Art

In Braeden by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Yesterday, we took a trip to the craft store so that my nephew could pick up supplies to make his new puppet. As much as I detest craft stores, I loved watching his face light up as he encountered random pieces of fabric or even fluffy yarn rolls as they triggered more imaginative thoughts. I could literally sit and watch him all day because I am in awe of how his mind works and how it translates into his fingers. Where our other children were passionate about tumbling, dancing, cheering, basketball and singing, Braeden’s passion is art. I watch as …

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Molding Creativity: Learning With The Kid and His Clay

In Braeden, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

When you walk around my sister’s home, you may just miss the added decorative pieces sitting in random places throughout. There are little clay figures, moldings, drawings and small trinkets in specially chosen places. For years, as my nephew created his art pieces, he didn’t lose them or throw them out. Instead, he found places for them to sit in his home. Some of them, especially the shelf sitters, are so specifically placed that I wonder if he made them with their eventual location in mind. I’ll have to ask him that question. What I love about watching Braeden make …

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Unprescribed and Authentically Learning, Beyond a Test

In Braeden by rafranzdavis2 Comments

On weekends and non-school days, I wait on my nephew’s facetime calls. There is typically a new contraption of some sort that he has designed on his path to creating very intricately designed puppets. Today’s facetime was an “animatronic” hand crafted with foam, wooden sticks and wire. If only I could’ve recorded his excitement as he clicked the wooden sticks between his fingers forcing this fingers of his new foam hand to move! This is the puppet that will also have eye lids that open or close as designed by Braeden too. Braeden is creating things because he is constantly …

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Braeden’s Story: Our “Gifted” Child Isn’t Gifted Says OLSAT

In Braeden by rafranzdavis8 Comments

For the past few years, I’ve watched my nephew thrive in pretty much whatever he set his mind to doing. He’s pretty meticulous about everything and fully commits himself to whatever feat that he is trying to accomplish. If you follow my postings via here on my blog or on instagram, I’m constantly sharing the insanely creative contraptions that he builds. From light up clay figurines and hand sewn professional grade puppets (image at the left) to his new super galactic solar system, this kid literally blows me away.   The Solar System Project Let me explain the contents of …

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Fostering Creativity: Learning Genius Hour Through Braeden

In Braeden by rafranzdavis0 Comments

In the last week, I’ve watched my nephew switch between molding clay figures, designing minecraft worlds and developing a new puppet. Creativity, or “making”,  is a part of who he is. He just loves “doing” and we are fortunate enough to experience the worlds that he creates. I’ve watched him as he uses his ipad to search for ideas, save parts of each idea and develop his own piece. Even when the idea seems “unimaginable”, it’s never out of his reach. He finds a way. Earlier this week, Braeden decided that he was going to make a “pirate goblin”. With clay, …

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Passion Driven Learning and the Technology that Supports It

In Braeden, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis1 Comment

Over the past few months, I’ve shared many of the creations that my nephew has made including his most recent venture into puppetry. Today, I wanted to take a moment to break down some specific examples of how his passions are fueling his learning. I will admit that I did not get the true meanings of “Genius Hour” or “Passion Projects” until they started happening under my own nose. The growth that I’ve witnessed in him has been remarkable. I have to wonder what could be possible for other kids if we allowed more of their passions to fuel their …

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Reflecting on Creative Kids, Adults and Not Ruining Their Creativity

In Braeden, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

It was two years ago when we noticed that Braeden’s childhood drawings were a bit more than typical childhood drawings. The first smurf movie was scheduled to be released that year and we started seeing drawings of smurfs around the house. Of course, we thought that they were tracings. We had no idea that he was looking at pictures either physically or imagined, and drawing what he saw. That was the year that his school pumpkin transformed into a smurf. That’s when we knew that the kid had an eye for art. A few months later, while watching Phineas and …

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Wanted: Puppet Parts and Life with a Maker

In Braeden, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

While most kids are scouring the internet and pages of “black friday” sales for the hottest toys of 2013, our Braeden doesn’t get into that. He doesn’t care for purchased toys at all and insists upon making them himself. We can walk through the toy aisle at any given moment and the kid won’t even flinch. He’s not amused. Last year, the only thing that he asked for was an ipad mini because it served as his immediate window to creativity. It captures the things that he wants to create. He creates with it and lately he’s been blogging his …

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Braeden the Maker Meets Wendell the Wizard

In Braeden, Social Media by rafranzdavis2 Comments

A few weeks ago, we started reading Wendell the World’s Worst Wizard. At the time, Braeden was dead set on building a robot so when he heard of Wendell’s interest in the same, he was stoked to know Wendell a bit better. Then, something happened that I did not expect. He connected with Wendell “the maker”. Yes…an artistic robot making storybook character told my nephew that it was okay to be a maker. He hasn’t stopped “making” since. Every time we met a scenario that correlated to his own life, he’d stop and insist on it being read again. I …