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Going Google At Home, A Reflection of my GTA Video Process

For the past week, I’ve been trying to brainstorm my GTA video and thinking about how to best tell a story in 1 minute. I sat down and wrote a script, recorded a movenote and sent it to a colleague. It was still very “vanilla” to me meaning that it sounded more “teacher voice” instead of conversational. It’s like I was reading what I wanted people to hear instead of saying what I believed in my heart…if that makes sense. I hate talking in my “teacher voice” because it can often come across as “plastic” and I’m definitely not fake. …

How We Used TACKK To Share Braeden’s Puppet Story

It may have been two weeks ago when Michelle Baldwin‘s class tweeted that they were inspired by Braeden and making puppets. We’ve shared every bit of his process in doing this across twitter, instagram and facebook. One thing that I did not consider was putting the entire story together in one place to make it accessible to anyone that wanted to read it. So, when I saw the tweet from Michelle’s class, it was a no-brainer that this one last component needed to happen so I created the TACKK below. TACKK is a simple FREE tool for creating digital posters. …

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Math Talks with Braeden: Investigations Matter

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, …

Cultivating Creativity Through Access to Art

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 …

Molding Creativity: Learning With The Kid and His Clay

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

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 …

Fostering Creativity: Learning Genius Hour Through Braeden

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

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 …

Wanted: Puppet Parts and Life with a Maker

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

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 …