My BreakoutEDU boxes

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Image from BreakoutEDU.com

So I have done BreakoutEDU boxes a couple times.  At edcamps, as well as during a half-day PD where a colleague brought in her set.  I love them.  If you have no idea about BreakoutEDU boxes, check out this video to get you started.

Anyhow, I love the boxes as I said, but I could not figure out how to justify paying $125 per box.  Sorry BreakoutEDU people, that’s a toughy for me.  Apparently they used to have an open source list to build your own, but it has since gone away (see link at the end).  So, in true Jennifer Lagarde style (who unbeknownst to me literally just wrote a blog post about this exact thing!) and  #MacGyverLibrarianship, I searched online, sourced different blogs, and made my own.


My BreakoutEDU Box.png

So, I should mention some things.  First, I love Menards.  Obviously.  Second, I bought several things on sale or for different prices that what I have found as of today.  That will definitely change prices if you choose to go a similar way to me.  Third, my goal was to create 5 boxes.  I have almost 4 sets (reason is because of that one darn 4 digit lock that has failed.)  I have a few things I need to add to make the 5th set, which may or may not cost a bit more overall.  But, I think I did well in doing a little bit of #MacGyverLibrarianship! I’m really looking forward to using these with my students, as soon as I get them to school.

What have your experiences with these boxes been like?  How about when students open them?  Did you add a treat or something other than just the sign?  I’d love to hear what you did!

Other blogs sourced (link goes directly to the post):

Mirror Into Teaching

Hey Mr. Stern

 

An extension to the Google Drawing lesson

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E. B. (6th grader), Santa Claus, 2016

So, during the last week before break, I gave my students a couple of choices.  They could work on coding, on typing practice, or create something (school appropriate) on Google Drawing.  My one student, E.B., completely blew me away.  He is not a student who is usually focused.  But, this time, he was.  I was so amazed and shocked at what he came up with!  I did not help him one bit – he took his time, worked hard, and created this amazing image!  I printed it out for him in color to give to his mom for Christmas.  I mean, how could I not!  This was truly a success from my Google Drawing lesson.

 

Week of Coding

At the beginning of December, my 3rd-6th graders participated in Hour of Code week.

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Student explaining how she is solving the problem.

Each class was given an hour to work on several options from the code.org website.  There were many things that went well, and several that didn’t.

The first was buy-in.  Getting buy-in from my students can be difficult.  That’s another story for another post, though.  My 3rd and 4th graders absolutely loved it.  They loved working on Frozen, Moana, Star Wars, among others.  The favorite was Tynker’s Dragon Dash.  A lot of students really loved that one.  My 5th and 6th, however, were more difficult.  Many from those grades enjoyed it, but others were just not interested.  I have a difficult time doing many things with the 5th and 6th, though, so I don’t look at it as a fail.

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Working together to solve a problem.

Opening students minds.  My students don’t always tend to be challenged, well, as much as we would like at least.  I know teachers in my school work hard to try.  But, some of my students, they just don’t want to use their minds.  However, I was pleasantly surprised in how many were actually trying, especially after an initial difficulty.  Students also worked together too, which was a plus.

I am not sure what I would do differently.  With my students, I’m really just giving introductions to different aspects of computers, the internet, and its capabilities.  Someday I’d like to have a computer club or coding club, for students who would be very interested in it overall.  But for now, I’ll continue to use it as another option for computer free time.img_8879