Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Blog has a New Home

Please visit: http://www.middleschoolmind.com/the-teachers-blog

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Photo Essays: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

The Global Oneness Project is a great resource for photo essays, this one is called “People of the Clouds”. I loved how these photo essays captured the culture of a group of people and told their story. Follow The Global Oneness Project on Twitter @goproject for free multimedia stories and lessons.

*Check the content first, some stories may be too graphic for the age group that you are teaching.

A photo essay would be a great lesson in any class. Visual literacy can be applied to any subject or content area. I would like to have students create and present a photo essay that shares their culture, or tells their story. I thought this would be a great way to get to know students in the early part of the school year. Students could create a slideshow of their photo essay and share it with the class. If you have a class Instagram, blog or website students can share their photo essays, comment and ask each other questions, so they get to know each other better as well. I think this would be a great community building project.  I also like that a photo essay isn’t something that will scare a struggling reader/writer or English language learner.

Some ideas for photo essay topics in every subject area:

  • All: A photo essay about school culture  
  • Math/Science: A photo essay of the real world applications of a math or science concept
  • History: A photo essay on the topic of civil rights in a then vs. now format
  • Science: A photo essay about a local environmental issue or concern
  • Math: A photo essay that illustrates geometric concepts in everyday things that you see
  • All: A photo essay of a class field trip
  • English: A photo essay illustrating a theme from a novel that is being read either as a class or as a book report alternative for independent reading

I will update this post and share some examples from my class once we have completed a project. I would love to hear your ideas for using photo essays in the classroom as well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Back to School...Like a Pirate

"Weigh Anchor!" 
Get the year started right by setting the tone for the kind of journey you are about to embark upon. I want my students to leave my room on that first day, and every day-ideally, filled with excitement and curiosity for what will come next. I want them to go home and start checking stuff out online because they want to learn more. When their parents ask how their first day went, I want them to be gushing with enthusiasm over how much fun school is. I am pretty sure that having a lecture about rules is not going to incite any exuberance about school. I know I don't want to come back to my first day of staff development to listen to a lecture about what I am not allowed to do. Before my first day, I am incredibly excited about the possibilities of all of the new things I am going to do. What better way to crush this hope than sitting through a forty five minute lecture about what you can't do?

Pirate code of conduct: 
"I can't wait to go back to school and learn the rules!" said no kid, ever.

I can't fake excitement about rules during a lecture, so I made a slideshow of memes that illustrate some of my pet peeves. After all, I teach middle school, by this time they have heard the similar versions of essentially the same rules at least six times already. I don't want to beat a dead horse and risk being "that teacher". Speaking of "that teacher", I have them create memes for how they expect me to behave as well...what's good for the captain, is good for the crew, right?

"Walk the Plank!" 
Early in my career, I was advised by a veteran teacher, "It's best to start off 'mean' and get 'nice' later. If you start off 'nice' and the class is out of control you can't change to being 'mean'." I am paraphrasing here because this was about fifteen years ago. I'm sure the teacher didn't say "mean", but that was the gist of it. I am ashamed to admit that I payed it forward and shared that wisdom with a new teacher a year or so later. It's been so many years that I don't remember now who I gave that advice to, so I am publicly walking the plank now. My new advice: go read "Create Culture First...Not Rules" on Don Wettrick's blog. There are so many better ways to start the school year! If you have more than five minutes to spare, go through my Storify of the #tlap (Teach Like A Pirate) chat all about back to school, there are tons of great ideas in there.

"Fire in the hole!"
I'm embracing the nickname given to me by a student, Ms. Marshmallow, and I'm going to kick off our adventures in middle school with a marshmallow challenge. I've got my "Stay Puft" beanie and Ghostbusters marshmallow poppers ready. We do a lot of collaborative work in my class and I want to teach them my expectations for their behavior through experience and discussion.

So scupper that lecture and start your year off right!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Student Groups for PBL

How many of you have had that sinking feeling when your teacher informs you that you are going to be doing a group project?

(Insert collective groan here)
hangover meme.jpg
There are so many benefits to working on a project with a group of people, but it can be a negative experience if you aren't working with the right group of people. I've tried many group making strategies including picking Popsicle sticks, letting students choose their own groups, and this random colored cube strategy:
  All of these strategies have produced very random results. Some groups end up being a great fit and very productive, having a great time coming up with a fantastic result; while others argue, participate in disruptive behavior, and turn in an incomplete project.
In an effort to create harmonious groups that not only work well together, but also complete their project on time, I have come up with an inventory of personality quizzes. Identifying your personality type, as well as your strengths that the group can capitalize on, will make your group experience more positive. After all, if you have a group of four people that are all “performers”, but no one with strong organization or reasoning skills, your presentation may be entertaining, but incomplete or lacking in supportive data. A well rounded group has a performer to present, an organizer that makes sure tasks are completed on time, a researcher that focuses on evidence, and a leader that makes sure everyone is included, doing their part, and disagreeing in a scholarly way.


Jung Typology Test:

There are several other types of tests here in the bar at the top if you want to take other quizzes.

Your own analysis-2 resources for further reflection:

Watch this video and decide for yourself :

Find out which faction you would belong in: http://divergentthemovie.com/aptitudetest

I don’t believe these tests are a complete description of who you are as a person. Most likely, you are sometimes one way and sometimes another. It is a tool for self reflection on where your strengths are, that can allow us to create diversely talented teams for different purposes.
Please take some time to take one (the last one that I made is mandatory) or all of these quizzes and use the data collection sheet to analyze your results. I believe that the more quizzes you take, the more data you will have, and the more accurate your findings will be. I took all of these quizzes and was an INTJ nearly every time. After reflecting on your data, comment on this post with your personality type, your identifying color (this comes from my quiz) and what it says about you. Of course, a shameless Star Wars plug is always acceptable too.

A note to teachers: I worked really hard on making this quiz, and have had friends and family take it and we all have agreed that the result are accurate. That being said, there are many pop culture references in my quiz, ie. Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Divergent, that make this quiz more appropriate for middle/high school students.  

   If you would like to use this, a link to my google doc is here.  To find images similar to the Star Wars chart, google search (topic MBTI) ex: "Lord of the Rings MBTI". I would love to hear from you if you do try this out and you have any suggestions for edits.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Discouraging Genius: Is College Prep Killing Creativity?

"Students know how to play the game, and the current game doesn't reward creativity, risk, or choice."

   When will institutions of higher education support creativity and innovation? The current selection process for admissions emphasizes grades and test scores, while teachers are talking about moving away from grades and standardized testing has never been more unpopular, as evidenced by the opt-out movement this year. What does "college and career ready" really mean? How does a GPA or SAT prove that you have humanity, humility, or leadership skills? It may prove expertise, but according to Google, this is the least important of five attributes they are looking for in a new hire.

   This is my Sasha, and she has been playing this get into college game since middle school. 

   She was identified as "off the charts" gifted early on in school. She was a high-achieving "teacher-pleaser", and a "maker" before it was a movement. In a parent teacher conference, her 3rd grade teacher complained of the garbage she would collect in her desk and all of the creations she would be making out of said garbage. Her room at home was even worse; boxes and containers of castaways waiting to be given new life. When a tool is missing, I go to her room to find it; and it's often accompanied by parts of a dismantled electronic device.

   Now approaching her junior year in high school, she has expressed an interest in coding. With the AP class load that she is taking to get into college, she must choose between continued growth in an area she loves, art, or exploring a new interest in coding, because taking fewer AP courses isn't an option. She does like the AP courses, especially the sciences. I thought I could find her a summer course to learn coding, but these AP courses require a great amount of "homework" during the summer; making exploring learning opportunities, during what was once free time, more difficult. During the school year, after school time is completely consumed with sports and homework-no free time there. 

   I try to discourage "grade chasing" over dream chasing, but I am fighting a losing battle against high school counselors that are pushing this college bound agenda. At times, I also feel like I am fighting my child, as well as a culture that tells her that getting into a good college is the defining moment in her young life. She was worrying over what classes she was taking in middle school to be on track to get into the right classes in high school in order to be college bound. I'm unsure where this comes from, she isn't getting this pressure from me. If anything, I discourage college by sharing resources like these with her. 

   I don't buy into the idea that college is the key to success in life, or even that it's necessary. Yet I feel the pressure for her to attend college, like I have failed as a parent if I can't figure out a way to come up with $40,000 a year to pay for it-on a teacher's salary; while still paying for my own college loans. It's not that I don't want my child to go to college, but at what cost? Set aside the rising cost of books and tuition, is college worth the price of a childhood? Why is she so willing to set aside the things she loves in exchange for a degree that may or may not open some unknown door to future success?

Update: The Cycle Continues

   A few days ago, my two daughters and I were having lunch and Sasha says, "I have to take SATs this year." 
   I said to her, "It's summertime, are you really going to start worrying about that already? Come on." She spent months worrying over the PSAT last year.
   My younger child asks, "What's an SAT?"
   Sasha explains is to her in the simplest terms, "It's a test that tells you if you are smart, and if you get to go to college." I wanted to bang my head on the table. She read this post; I wouldn't publish something about her without her approval. She knows how I fell about it; and now she is passing these ideas to her sister. 
   I came across this video while reading a blog today and it is a better response than anything that I could come up with.

   Her painting is finished now, and I am encouraging her to set up her own Etsy shop and sell her artwork.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Are You A Hero?

While researching and planning for a curriculum unit about social justice, I came across 
The Six Attributes of Courage and it occurred to me that during this time of great change in education, these are the attributes that teachers need to have. These are my reflections on my experience with these attributes of courage this year on my quest to become a "techie":

  1. Feeling fear yet choosing to act: Technology isn't going away, and as an older teacher with very little technological skills I had to make a choice: Act or become obsolete myself. I have always had a profound love for learning, as I think most teachers do, but for some reason, technology is very scary. I have decided to view technology as a learning opportunity, rather than the mysterious thing hiding in the shadows of the closet. In a single school year I am blogging, my class is blogging, we are making cool videos and infographics, and so much more. I've experienced more professional development through the PLN that I have found on Twitter in a single school year than I probably have had in my entire 16 years of teaching. I am also more connected with parents and students. Today a student explained to me on my class Instagram page how to contact Siri, and my coworkers think I'm some kind of a tech guru-boy have I fooled them.
  2. Following your heart: Creating a learning environment where students are valued and want to come to school is very important to me. I have no interest in trying to cram my ideas down someone's throat for them to regurgitate. The best ideas that we come up with are just that, WE come up with them. I enjoy going to school because of the learning. I learn from and with my students every day; we are a team.
  3. Persevering in the face of adversity: Six desktop computers that run off of two brains, and a very strict no cell phone policy is a challenge. I polled my class once and only half have cell phones, even less have a computer with internet access at home. I am not going to let a lack of technology, out-dated technology, or my own lack of knowledge get in the way of progress. We are innovators and we find ways to integrate what we have in such meaningful ways that it doesn't matter that I don't have the coolest technology. I use what I can and the pedagogy is on point.
  4. Standing up for what is right: The digital divide is my current cause. Becoming a connected educator has had many benefits, but has been equally revealing of the disparities that continue to persist in our education system. In a previous post on this topic I explained that when I bought myself an iPad, I thought that meant I had a 1:1 classroom (1 iPad for 1 class). I went to a training and chose a session on 1:1 classrooms and quickly realized my error and how much of an advantage students at other schools had over my students. Another disadvantage I noticed was how much on-going training teachers in other schools were getting. So, I continue to look for ways to get funding for tech and pursue every opportunity for free professional development that I can find and then share with others.
  5. Expanding your horizons and letting go of the familiar: As a teacher, there is nothing that makes me happier than connecting with students and developing a positive relationships with them. Technology has allowed me to connect with them and continue the learning beyond the classroom through our blogs and Instagram posts. Today's students are digital natives and I worry that when teachers embrace the podium over the student voice and choice that utilizing technology can allow, students will view schools as archaic institutions of apathy. I also ditched the textbook, years ago, so glad that's becoming thing.
  6. Facing suffering with dignity or faith: I haven't had to suffer this year thankfully. What had been prophesied to be THE worst year of my teaching career, you know, the class that all the teachers talk about year after year that's finally coming your way, well it ended up being THE best year I have ever had. I felt more connected with students and parents and other educators. I had fun because I listened to the students and let them guide the way. I definitely didn't "cover" everything that I had hoped to, but I feel like what we did together was memorable.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

If You Plant a Seed...Your Students Will Read

How do you get kids to read during the summer?

    This summer I am teaching a 4/5 combo, summer reading class. Since we have a limited amount of time together, and there is an expectation of progress in reading, I am emphasizing "time on text" with my students. I have them for only three hours a day. I have not only managed to keep them engaged with text for the full three hours, but at the end of our day, when I say that it's time to clean up I hear a collective "Awwww!" from my students. What?!?! 
    When I come home from school and I am going about my daily business, I hear "Ding! Ding!" I get a G mail alert that a student has posted a new blog post(the first of several that day) about a book they are reading...at home! Wait a second...I don't give homework assignments, especially not in the summer. These kids are reading, at home, and I didn't tell them they had to? Mind officially blown! I need to figure out what the cause of this phenomenon is so I can repeat it.
    The only answer I can come up with is that students love to blog. They like the voice that blogging gives them and they like interacting with each other. Blogging is different from those marble composition books that they write in. The ones that may or may not be read by a teacher every day. Blogging allows students to instantly share their writing and thinking with the entire class, and get responses from not only the teacher, but their peers as well. They equally enjoy reading other students' posts, and giving feedback as well. I enjoy not having to haul thirty notebooks home to read. With blogging, I get instant notifications that a student has written a post or commented on a post, and I can respond right then. If you would like to see this class blog, you can view it here. We are reading "The One and Only Ivan" and I use the blog to give them thinking prompts from the text, as well as links to videos and other resources that supplement the text.

    Kids are very visual and I think having pictures and embedded links to additional information helps to make this a very interesting tool. We were reading "The Lightning Thief" in English, and learning about Ancient Greece in History when my middle school class was blogging. They enjoyed links to interactive maps, authors' websites, mythology pages, and quizzes to find out which Greek god was their parent. Again, I think that the teacher curating high interest and informative content within their blog posts affect how interested the students will be in the blogging. I also think it is important for the teacher to comment regularly, modeling scholarly talk and questioning. If you look at my class blog, the post titled "Blogging for Beginners: Growing the conversation with follow-up questions" and "Welcome to Kidblog" talk about blogging etiquette, but most of that teaching happens in class through mini lessons before writing, or through comments made by me on their posts, when I see a "teachable moment". I don't think kids would be that interested in reading a post about rules for blogging, unless maybe I could find a cool infographic, or an animated video on the topic. I'm still looking. Edutopia has a nice list of digital citizenship resources.
    In addition to responding to my prompts, they have taken to writing their own posts about books that they read, which I am loving. Blogging does NOT just have to be about writing though. I look at blogging as sharing content and ideas. Content can be shared through imagesword cloudsvideos, infographics (one of my favorites), thinglinks, and so much more, don't limit your students to just writing. Keep it simple if you're introducing students to blogging for the first time. Yesterday I showed a few students how to link text in their blog to a video and they were so excited. Once you're feeling comfortable with it, which won't take long because it's really easy, introduce your students to different content that they can create to communicate their message. Since my current students are brand new to blogging and only 9-10 years old, I am keeping it fairly simple for now. I will introduce them to more when they become my students in the fall. For now, it is 
7 P.M. on a Friday of a 3 day weekend and I have gotten eight G mail notifications while writing this post because my students are at home talking to each other about books. Thank you, technology!

Links to more cool blogging resources:

Buttered Popcorn or Rotten Eggs? An Inferential Brain Break

Whether you call it a "Brain Break" or a "Sponge" Activity, "Bean Boozled" can be a great way to have a little fun with inferences: 

How do you play this game?

I'm not really sure what the official rules are for this game. I think they come with the kit, but we have that kind of classroom where we make up our own rules. What we came up with is: I start by choosing two students randomly. I use the random feature on Class Dojo, but there are many methods for choosing students. Someone spins the spinner. Today I played a round with a student and it landed on buttered popcorn/rotten eggs. We each took the appropriate colored jellybean and popped them in our mouths. The idea is to trick the class, which is watching us very carefully for facial expressions, or any other clues to decide if we got a rotten egg or a buttered popcorn bean. I had rotten egg and failed miserably at keeping a straight face or offering a subtle clue that I had something tasty in my mouth to fool everyone. Two bites in and I'm shaking my head and saying nope as I make a beeline for the garbage can to spit it out. Yuck! The kids are much better at this game than I am.

There is another version similar to this, but with a "face-off" element to it, that another group of students came up with. Two students "face off" against each other and the student who is right gets to go again, choosing the next volunteer. If there is a tie, they keep going until there is a winner. This rarely happens, because it takes a fair amount of composure to act like something is strawberry deliciousness when it really tastes like centipedes-not that I would know what an actual centipede tastes like, but the Jelly Belly version is very gross.

Sometimes a student will opt out, and I really don't blame them. It is equally fun to observe with this game and eating gross stuff isn't for everyone.

Students also have fun coming up with new ideas and recipes for gross Jelly Bellies and sending them to the factory. They can mail them to: 
Headquarters and Visitor's Center: Fairfield, California
  • Jelly Belly Candy Company
  • One Jelly Belly Lane
  • Fairfield, CA 94533

Where can you get this game?

I bought mine at the actual Jelly Belly factory, but I have seen them in grocery stores, candy shoppes, and it is available on amazon.com for about $7.00. Once I had the spinner from this package, I just add to my bean jar with the Bean Boozled jelly beans, because it is cheaper than buying the whole kit.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Class Dojo

Giving Class Dojo Points for Teams:

There are two ways you can go about setting up teams for points in Class Dojo. You can add a team to your class as a student, or you can create another class and just have teams only in that class. I am choosing the latter because the members of the teams in my room change so frequently. This way it is separate from my class and when teams change I can just reset the points and begin again. 

We do a lot of project-based learning and move seats based on team work. Kids never get upset with their position on the seating chart because it really is just a "home base". I use the term "seats" pretty loosely, because my students are often standing, leaning over someone and sharing a desk, or a Chromebook, etc. I like having my students interacting with each other. I think it's important for them to learn to move around, be flexible, and be able to collaborate with different groups of people for different purposes. In the beginning it can be a little crazy, but once movement, talking, and independent decision making become the norm, the initial chaos gives way to collaborative creativity and scholarly discussion. I should add that if the project that teams are working on isn't interesting and doesn't involve student choice there is a likelihood of unproductive chaos. I think adding a Dojo class for teamwork will also help to manage and measure productivity. I'm going to begin with a class discussion of what teamwork looks like and I will add their descriptors as the positive and negative behaviors in Class Dojo.

This team based point system is a new idea, so I am not entirely sure what it is going to look like. I am trying it out with my summer school class. I chose the avatar for each team to match the color of the team name. My team names are colors because everything in my classroom is color coded, so it just seemed logical.

While I was doing my end of the year clean up of my classroom, I came across this little cage. A student had given me a chocolate Easter bunny inside of it and the cage was so cute, I didn't want to throw it away. I had recently purchased a bag of small stuffed monsters to give out to students when reaching point goals in Class Dojo and I thought It would be cute to keep them in a cage as a "class pet". Then I decided that it might be nice to give out points for table groups and let the table that is getting the most points care for these "pets". I wondered if it might be too babyish for 6th graders, so I posted this picture on my class Instagram and asked them. Their response was: "I wish we would've had those!"

Mini Monsters
The links to the monsters and the rabbits are below the photos.

I read somewhere that another teacher changes the student avatars to minions when they get to a certain point goal.  I emphasize scholarly behavior in my class and I was thinking of combining the minion idea with this monster idea.  I am now on the lookout for some "Monsters University" characters that would be the right fit for the "class pet" cage. Teams that reach a point goal can care for the "pets", but individuals could also get a monster upgrade for their avatar.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ending the Year with a Bang

 "Quickies":  Activities that require little to no prep and can be completed in a class period

1.  Tweet to Next Year's Class:  I teach 6th grade and right before the end of the year the 5th graders come for a visit/orientation. Rather than write the traditional friendly letter about how to survive the transition to middle school, I give them sentence strips and have the class write tweets and tape them to the wall outside of our door.

2.  Illustrated Six Word Memoirs: I love using Six Word Memoirs throughout the year as a warm up, a way to collect background knowledge, to summarize, or to reflect on learning. It only seems natural to write them at the end of the year. I don't generally have my students illustrate them, but there is a lovely blog post (with examples) here: Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs by Students from Grade School to Grad School, by Maria Popova

3. Report Card for the Teacher: I know this idea is neither new, nor exciting, but it is a great reflection tool for me. I allow my students to choose anonymity when grading me to get really honest answers and it is always interesting to read and definately helps me to improve on my practice as a teacher. Here is a link to the one that I am using for this year: Report Card.

Some really involved projects that might take a week or more to complete:

1. Teacher for the Day: Here is my google doc on this project to print and use with your class. This one was new to me this year, but I guess it has been around for a while. I heard about it through a twitter chat and then found this article about it on the Teaching Tolerance blog: ‘Teacher for a Day’ Energizes Students, by Jacqueline Yahn. It's new to my class, so we are going to have some fun with it.

2. "We are so Inspired"

Instead of "We Didn't Start the Fire" have students reflect on their year of learning by writing a song, record it and make DVDs for them and you have a great end of the year gift for them as well. I wrote a separate blog post on this one. You can also visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store to purchase this lesson.

3.  Game Based Review: There are so many formats in which you could gamify a little end of the year review.

  • My kids love this one I found from Kara Wilkins' blog, To Engage Them All. She calls it "Grudgeball" and the directions for how to play are on her blog.  
  • I also like to have my class create their own games, and I recently wrote a blog post about a game that we made. That lesson is also available on my Teachers pay Teachers store. 
  • I'm fan of Kahoot and Quizziz, but those require access to the computer lab, which can be difficult to get this time of year. 
  • I have a big pocket chart that we use to play a quiz show type of game and I was able to purchase some cool light up buzzers with my scholastic bonus points this year to add to the fun. 
Regardless of the style of game we are playing, I prefer to have the students come up with the questions-it's a sneaky way to get them to review the material. I have an example page that I use when explaining how to write different styles of questions. Feel free to download it and use it with your class: How to Write a Quiz Question.

4. Orientation Videos: The 5th graders come to the middle school for an orientation/field trip at the end of the year and I teach a Media elective in which we study all forms of persuasion in the media (PSAs, political cartoons, commercials, documentaries, TED talks, etc.). For our end of the year fun in that class we are making commercials for the elective classes and clubs, PSAs on middle school survival tips, and some other videos to add in just for fun. The videos will be shown at the orientation and will be posted on our web page.  I am super excited about "The Locker Games". It is a parody of "The Hunger Games" scene with the cornucopia, but instead of getting survival gear, they must get to their locker, get their materials, and make it to the next class in four minutes while avoiding the hallway obstacles.

Some Stuff I want to try out next year:

1. TED talk: I am hoping to get a TED-ed club started next year and I would like to end the year with TED talks, which we have in the evening so families can attend. If you have an interest in starting a TED-ed club go to: http://ed.ted.com/clubs  and apply. Once you apply, you can download the facilitator materials there.

2. Student Media Festival: I would really love to showcase all of the awesome videos we made and have a film festival with "Academy Awards" rather than the traditional style Open House.

3. Poetry Slam: Poetry Month is in April and it would be great to showcase that work poetry slam style. There's a local cafe that has evening poetry events and it would be a wonderful opportunity to show off our rhymes in the community as well. I can't think of poetry without also thinking about "Epic Rap Battles in History". They are not all classroom appropriate, so don't take this as an endorsement and not preview first. Do check out their website though, the videos are funny. I teach English and History and I try to integrate the two subjects as much as possible, so our epic rap battles might be between historical figures and literary figures or authors.

These last two ideas are awesome, but they would require multiple teachers or an entire school to participate:

Will Kimbley from Tulare County USD shared some photos of their "Night at the 21st Century Museum" on Twitter last week and it looks like an amazing event.  The Tulare County Office of Ed has resources that they are sharing on their website if you have an interest in trying this out next year. If your school has a "Genius Hour" program, this would be a great opportunity to showcase those projects. "Genius Hour" isn't something I know very much about, but I am really interested in exploring the possibilities of getting this started next year too. I found a blog that seems to be mainly focused on "Genius Hour".  If you are reading this and you have additional information to share, I would love to learn more.

We haven't yet adopted the Maker movement at our school, but if we do I am thinking that an end of the year parade with Maker group floats would be so cool. Battlebots are also awesome. What middle school student wouldn't be into an event that involved Battlebots?

If you've got an idea to share please add it in the comments below.