Root robots

Did you see the giant wall on the expo hall floor that had robots drawing up and down all over it? That was Root robots and I’m kinda excited about what I saw. These robots are scalable for ECE to high school coders. They move, draw, use sensors, are easy charging, and I will be ordering one within the next few minutes.

Check out more at or stop by booth 635.



DigCit with Garfield

While roaming the vast expo hall at FETC today I was super excited to find the folks behind Safe and Secure Online. They have a new Digital Citizenship lesson featuring Garfield. They have online and offline versions of the lessons. The cartooons, videos, comic, and materials are engaging for kids and thanks to their partnership with The Center for Cyber Safety and Education.

Cyber Safe lessons ready for use include the topics of privacy, safe posting, and cyber bullying. Kids will enjoy cartoons that teach and encourage kids to think carefully about their online adventures. Teachers will appreciate the easy to use content.

For more info visit


FETC Expo hall

Visiting registration today to pick up my badge and ribbons was super exciting! I’ve never been to FETC on Tuesday so seeing all the work that goes on behind the scenes was eye opening. The amount of people, moving parts, and machinery involved in setting up an expo hall floor of this magnitude is truly miraculous! Looking at the expo hall map alone is enough to make your feet ache. So many amazing companies to see and so little time to do it in! Here are some of the folk I am sure to seek out:
Wonder Workshop
National Geographic

These are some of my favorite products and people and I have to stop by and check out their new stuff. But I am also on the look out for new favorites and look forward to checking out some new stuff like Root robotics and this wall they have that robots climb on. I want to look into FEV Tutor and their individualized learning and homework assistance program. My ECE teachers have asked me to check out projectors that are touch based, so I will be stopping by the folks who have these options as well as 3D printers and more amazing stuff that catches my eye.
What are you looking forward to during this amazing conference? Tweet me @ penchevable if you see something I need to check out and look for my showfloor Tweets as well!

FETC time!!!

It is coming upon one of my favorite times of the year! It is like a holiday for the techy teacher in us all….FETC!!!! FETC is one of the premier conferences for educators. The Future of Educational Technology Conference in Orlando is the GO TO place for educators from around the world, and not just because it is in Florida in January! Where else can you meet fellow teachers who are passionate about educating young minds, finding technology to enhance their lessons, and locating all the giveaways to take back to their fellow educators and students?


This year my personal focus for the conference is blended/personalized learning and finding educator sessions. As a school, we are committed to personalize learning for each of our students. We are working with an amazing group of schools and organizations to create a blended learning program that meets the needs of all of our students in our school. While exploring the workshops, concurrent sessions, and posters session, I have looked for offerings that focus on these topics. I have found quite a few and I am excited to learn more.


But what happens if I get into one of these sessions and the material is something that doesn’t work for me? Maybe I know the tools they are sharing or their idea of personalized doesn’t fit what we are doing? Then I have to use the Rule of Two Feet. At EdCamps around the world the Rule of Two Feet is encouraged. If a session doesn’t meet your needs, quietly excuse yourself and find a session that works for you. My time is limited and valuable and if I am not getting what I need, I have to find it elsewhere. Maybe I want to visit three meetings during one session time? Then I go and sit toward the back, get what I can and move on. This isn’t rude if you do it quietly and respectfully. Conferences are an expensive undertaking, so getting as much material as possible during your time is understandable.


The second part of my plan is finding educator sessions. Experts in the field are great, but I prefer to learn with people in the classroom who have recent, personal experience. I have found that the best times for this is during poster sessions. Posters give me the opportunity to speak to presenters about their work and ask questions easier than in a big room session. Vendor sessions are fun, experts give great ideas, but current practicing educators give the best information for practical applications.


Some other tips that may help you:

  1. Bring a jacket because it is cold in many of the session rooms- like frostbite cold.
  2. Wear comfy clothes and shoes. You will be moving around every hour or so.
  3. Don’t overload your bag. You will pick up giveaways from vendors and you don’t want to be loaded down before you start.
  4. Bring business cards and make connections.
  5. Bring an external battery, cords, and possibly an extension cord your device will drain fast!
  6. Make a plan but be flexible. This is a big conference and sometimes sessions fill up fast, have a back up plan.
  7. Put your device down and make personal connections with fellow educators. It can be intimidating, but making connections will help you find people who are trying the same things as you. You can continue the conversations after the conference and build your PLN!

Coding and Hanukkah

Because I work at a Judaic Day School, I am always looking for ways to integrate Judaic content into my technology class. This year for hour of code I wanted to integrate Hanukkah. I found some great pre-made Scratch programs that my students could remix. I also created an offline coding with a chanukiah for my younger kids. During our Hanukah Community Event we will have computers set up and the chanukiah and instructions out so kids can show their parents what they have learned! We are in the middle of the lessons now and they are going great! Here is what I am doing.

K-2 Offline Coding

I wanted to do an offline introduction to coding with my K-2 students to introduce the concept of a code as a direction to follow. So I went to my favorite resource (Amazon) and found this cute Hanukkah foam toy.

For the coding, here are the steps.

  1. Review the code explanations sheet
  2. Send one robot (student) outside so they can’t hear
  3. Pick a color and write the color code in the first box with an up arrow
  4. Decide if the robot will begin on left or right side
  5. Roll the dice
  6. Students use the write a code sheet to write a code for a classmate robot
  7. Robot returns to the class and tries to follow the code
  8. Bugs are explained and fixed

I always model it for the students the first round.

Other notes:
In K I am always the writer, in 1&2 they take over at some point.
In K we don’t do a color code or the right or left side, only code the candles on the spot.



3-5 Scratch and Hanukkah

I searched the Scratch program and found different games and activities. I copied the links and had students create accounts. Then they used the links and watched what others made. Then they selected one and remixed it to make it their own. Below are some of the links I found, but don’t worry there are tons more!

Since it was the first Scratch adventure for some of my kids we focused on just 5 block types: Motion, Look, Sound, Control, and Events. I wanted kids to know how to start the action (events), how to make it happen more than once using the loop (control), and some basic blocks for movement, sound, and appearance. For my advanced students, they changed costumes and backgrounds and added more details. It has been amazing to watch kids teach themselves and their peers how to create and adjust.


So what are you doing for Hour of Code? Ours is more like Months of Code now as we have been doing it since November. Share ideas from your Hour of Code and if you use some of these ideas let me know how they worked!
I am also super excited to explore the Foos Hour of Code materials! We will be using their lessons with my 2nd grade classes in January/February!

Dr Seuss day activities

Dr Seuss Literacy Day

The Shape of Me and Other Stuff Shadows/ silhouettes
Go Dog Go Create a story with kids names Go __ Go and tell what they did
Put Me in the Zoo STEAM: Art and Math counting dots
The Alphabet Book ABCs of our school
The Ear Book Take a Sound Walk around the school
The Tooth Book Happy Teeth Sad Teeth…write/draw things you do/eat to make teeth happy or sad
The Eye Book Monster eyes– roll dice and draw the number eyes on the monster
The Foot Book Who has the biggest foot (trace)
The Nose Book STEAM: Who has the best smeller? Guessing scents
Hop on Pop Rhyming word bingo

Are you my mother Matching baby animals to adult animals

Ten Apples Up on Top STEAM: Draw an apple paste on the cup, put into groups, stack cups the fastest
Balancing beanbags jumping jacks
Mr Brown Can moo STEAM: Science and Arts (drama)

Charades pretending to be animal

There’s a Wocket in Pocket

Sort the characters..those he likes those he doesn’t and why
ABC Class book: Create a new Dr Seuss character with the letter of the alphabet assigned. Name it and draw it.
Come over to My House Houses around the world video
Fox in Socks STEAM: Make blue goo
I’ll Teach My Dog A Lot of Words Learn sign language

The Tooth Book games
Would you rather be a Bullfrog Create a would you rather, ask people, make a graph to show the answers
Big Dog, Little Dog Opposites headband each kid gets a headband card and has to find their partner opposite with clues from the classmates
Oh Thinks You can Think

STEAM: Kids make a riddle about something about math and draw a picture
Use and word cloud chromebook app

Word cloud with words that mean the same as think

Dr Seuss The Great Doodler Sketchnote the story of Dr Seuss
I wish I had duck feet Create mixed up animals, top of one animal add feet/tail of other animal
In a People House
Homes around the world video
Home in many languages

Use, google, and word cloud chromebook app

Word cloud with words that mean the same as house or house in other languages

My attempts at Sketchnotes

I am still learning and practicing sketchnoting. You will notice there are more words than pics sometimes, but I am practicing!

Here are my notes for Nik Chatzopoulos’ session Cool Ed Tech Programming and Robots. If my notes are confusing tweet @chatzopoulousn for more info!


I also attended a great session on K-5 computer science. Here are come of the things I felt were important. Check out their curriculum at science.

My final sketch ISTE from yesterday was  from the Fluid Math demo at the UDT booth. Mind-blown is not a strong enough word! If you teach math you have to check this out!


So there ya go! Thursday’s attempts to sketch note. Can’t wait to share today’s sessions on Greenscreen, Podcasting, and so much more!

STEM Awards and Mike Meechin

Sketch note Mike Meechin

For more info and inspiration follow @mikemeechin on Twitter!

Congratulations Mountain View Elementary!

Congratulations Laing Park School of Science and Tech from Charleston, SC!

Congratulations Enginnering and Science University Magnet School!


So I attempted to sketch note the session.., I highly encourage you to check out Amber McCormick’s sketchnoting class today for great iOS and tricks!



Thursday morning with Mike Meechin and what else I’m excited about today

For a few years at FETC, Mike Meechin was given small or medium sized rooms and people tried to cram themselves into his 60 in 60 sessions. I know because I was one of those people. Then he got a bigger room, then bigger, and today he is keynoting the morning session. Finally everyone can fit into his session! I’m really excited to see what else he has to offer this morning.

Other things I’m excited about today…

  • Sessions on using data for personalization of learning
  • Coding and robotics sessions that are going to help me learn more
  • Florida PBS sessions
  • Poster sessions that give me the chance to see teachers sharing their classroom experiences
  • and of course Ed Tech Karaoke

Vendors who I want to visit or revisit today are

  • Wonder Workshop robots…free robot drawings during the day! Follow the “We want Dash” chants
  • Prowise …I love their interactive board displays! Multi touch and beautiful displays!
  • Best Buy sessions today about expeditions and Makerbit are on my to do list

Whats on your don’t miss list? Comment or tweet me!