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Looking at the World with Eyes Wide Open

In Professional Growth by rafranzdavis3 Comments

I have no idea how to go back to normal. Let me rephrase that…I don’t want to. I equate this feeling to many…many years ago after visiting New Tech High and learning about PBL. …finding José Vilson, Melinda Anderson, Sabrina Stephens, Audrey Watters, Chris Lehmann, Diana Laufenberg, Zac Chase Xian Barrett …people who have challenged me to not only talk but act…see what most don’t and use words to stimulate action I thought that I was pretty “woke”, but I realized how much of the world that I have ignored and issues that I dealt with more passively than I should …




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Exposure, Experiences and Speed Dating Ideas with TED

In Professional Growth by rafranzdavis5 Comments

For my entire academic career, aside from Educon, I have only attended events meant for educators only, which until now was perfectly normal. It was the way that we have always done it…which as we all know, is the destroyer of progress. “Idea dating” isn’t new to most of us in education, especially if we are on social media. Someone shares something…a brilliant glimpse into their classroom, a lesson, initiative, project…a moment that has reinvigorated their school. We do this always and because we understand that we are better because of what we share and try in our own environments, it …




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Shortpost: A Few Lingering Thoughts from TEDSummit

In personal by rafranzdavis0 Comments

1. In education, we tend to learn in silos and it was eye opening as we dealt with global topics from multiple lenses and experiences. This should happen more. For a more accessible experience, see Educon in Philly, which is centered entirely on education. 2. I’ve watched TED videos and had tons of discussions about those thought-provoking ideas shared. If you only ever watch videos and never engage in follow up discussions with people, you’re missing out. 3. TED offers all of their content online free but see previous statement. The power of this week was in the people, discussions, …




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A Purpose, Passion and Maker-Driven Life

In Braeden, Uncategorized by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Today I walked into my mom’s house to an excited Braeden sharing his animatronic dinosaur costume design…inspired by YouTube videos from a group of puppet makers from China,  Jurassic Park and the realistic Dinosaur themed show that he saw at the Dallas Zoo about a year ago.  He wanted to know if I knew people that could help him. He wanted students with experience in soldering, auto-mechanics and engineering.  He even promised that if they helped, he would let them be in his video…because that’s what you do when you learn from YouTube…you thrive on sharing the wealth too. I …




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No, Kids…You Can’t Eat a Raspberry Pi and Other Lessons from Camp

In EdTech, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

“I really thought we were going to have pie this week.” – middle school student “I love this much more than I thought I would!” – 3rd grader “Wait, we really get to keep this? All of this? And never give it back?” – middle school student “Can we get one and build and learn too?” – high school student volunteer First, I have to admit that when I expressed a desire to teach kids how to “tinker” with a raspberry pi back in January, I had no idea how this would come to be, especially when my dream was …




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Makercamps, Hackathons and Equity: From Vision to Reality with Support from Microsoft

In Professional Development, Professional Growth, School growth by rafranzdavis2 Comments

About six months ago, my superintendent presented me with the challenge of a lifetime. She asked that I dig into my creative hat and provide some form of innovative summer learning experience for our students. I may have researched and polled students for months before even expressing the first iteration of ideas…which have gone through a cycle of “rethinking” about ten times. Then, I met the Pantherbots, our Lufkin High School First Robotics team and everything changed. I watched them work alongside mentors for months, building and programming a robot from basically a box of scraps. I watched them create parts …




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How to Give Feedback to a Creative Child

In Braeden by rafranzdavis0 Comments

When Braeden started making puppets, I’ll be honest in saying that sometimes we tried to give him “input” on what and how his puppets needed to be made. He needed to show less “thread”, more material, better precision or whatever else anyone could pick out. He immediately fired back on every occasion that these were things created from his imagination and that he made exactly what he wanted. It’s not easy and sometimes we get it wrong but Braeden always reminds us that at the end of the day, his creations are his. In a conversation with an actual professional …




That Moment When Adult Decisions Break A Kid’s Spirit

In Braeden by rafranzdavis4 Comments

Last week, I wrote about Braeden auditioning for his school talent show with a friend and being selected to not only perform but to emcee. In case you missed it…he wrote a script, chose his music and made themed costumes for his puppets as well as himself. He also recruited a friend, requiring him to sign a contract because this time last year, he didn’t even try on the grounds that his other friends backed out. Did I mention that the entire thing was themed after Star Wars?! Braeden wanted to perform so bad and after working for 3 weeks creating his three minute show, …




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Two “Maker Moments”, Fear and Professional Responsibility

In Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Two moments occurred yesterday that I hope to never forget. The first was when our district science specialist came into our office wanting to see what we were creating. She was so excited to see us integrating science into what most people thought was a “tech” camp for kids. We’re hosting maker camps this summer and in doing so will be teaching kids as young as first grade how to create with squishy and paper circuits to producing a hackathon for our secondary students. What made that moment cool was that as much of a self-proclaimed geek that I am, …




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Braeden the Puppet Maker, Artist, Writer and Now Performer

In Braeden, Equity by rafranzdavis2 Comments

A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting and missed a ton of calls from my nephew. He finally sent this message… “I called to see if you could cut one of the songs or basically all of them because we only have 3 minutes & I need the music so I will know how much to I have for each scene. Call me I need to start scripting.” After viewing the three youtube links that he sent, I replied with this… “If you ever need to download a file from youtube to convert to mp3 clipconverter.cc to then combine multiple …