Avon Public School Brings Home Award for Their Choral Reading of The Word Collector

Jennifer Yantzi teaches at Avon Public School in Ontario, Canada. Sixth graders at the school recently took home first place in the Kiwanis Festival of the Performing Arts - Stratford for their choral reading of "The Word Collector" by Peter H. Reynolds.

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Jennifer shares: “We had the opportunity to go to the Kiwanis Festival of the Performing Arts - Stratford. Our part of the Kiwanis Festival was choral speaking Grade 6. We could pick a poem, song or book to present and compete against other classes and schools. We chose “The Word Collector,” because of the impact of the story combined with a musical quality. It took us about four weeks to figure out how we were going to say certain words, assign parts, memorize the book and then practice presenting the poem.  Like Jerome, we collected many words and enjoy sharing them with the world.” 

FABClassroom: “Fab” ulous Cars at Augustine F. Maloney Elementary

For this week's FabClassroom we head over to Augustine F. Maloney Elementary in Blackstone, MA. Monica Carty is an elementary technology teacher at Blackstone-Millville Regional School District. She has been using Fab@School Maker Studio in her after school STEM club. It has been so successful she will be launching an after-school club just for Fab@School! Monica shares how her students used FabMaker Studio to design some "Fab" ulous Cars!

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Who says learning has to be dry or boring? Or even end with the school bell? Well I do not think that ever has to be the case! In fact, I run an amazing STEM club after school thanks to my school parent organization and Fab@School Maker Studio that say different.

In the past my STEM clubs were always enjoyed by all the students who attended, but this year I stepped it up by adding the use of Fab@School Maker Studio. In the club’s conclusion project students designed, developed, and created balloon powered cars. Students had a wide range of tools and supplies at their disposal. The only requirement was the car had to move by balloon power!

Students quickly went to work developing a sketch, or basic blueprint, and a supply list. From their printing, cutting and building noises filled the room with laughter and smiles. When testing day came no one was nervous because at that point they felt that failure was their learning opportunity.

I highly recommend trying this with your students as you explore several science and engineering standards in your classrooms. If you want to connect to multiple subject areas you can have students do a formal write piece about their experience, or develop a descriptive writing piece for their design. If you are looking to integrate more math calculate distances, movement times, or building expensives is a great option. The fact of the matter the possibilities are only limited by your own creativity!

Is your classroom a FabClassroom? We would love to feature your school! To be featured in an upcoming post, send an email to andrea@reynoldstlc.org. You can also tweet your photos with the hashtag #FabMakerStudio! For more posts featuring Fab@School Maker Studio, click here.

Peter H. Reynolds Honored with Prestigious 2018 Children’s Literature Award

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FableVision & Reynolds Center founder and New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds was honored on Monday, April 9, with the 2018 Children’s Literature Award from the Massachusetts Reading Association (MRA).

The association remarked that Reynolds' "complete works have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children” and recognizing his "reputation for writing books about protecting and nurturing the creative spirit.”  

Reynolds joins the ranks of previous children’s literature luminaries, which include Marc Brown, Rosemary Wells, Patricia MacLachlan, Jane Yolen, Tomie DePaola, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Lois Lowry, Katherine Paterson, and the Pinkney family.

After Reynolds received the award from the MRA leadership team, he presented a keynote called "The Courage to Create and Make One’s Mark” to hundreds of educators, who gave him a standing ovation.  Reynolds shared how lucky he feels that teachers, librarians and students around the work have embraced his stories about creativity, courage, and compassion - and have put the ideas into action.

Reynolds shares, “When I read my books about creativity to kids in school I will always follow up with discussions about creativity and I often refer to it as a “superpower” they all possess - which, if not used on a regular basis, will disappear from their grasp. It elicits some great gasps from the audience and of course, I am there encourage them NOT to let go of it."

The Massachusetts Reading Association is a professional non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to improve the quality and level of literacy in the state of Massachusetts. The MRA is affiliated with the International Literacy Association (ILA), a worldwide literacy organization with a network of 300,000 educators in 99 countries. The MRA promotes literacy for all learners through professional development, research, publications, and advocacy for the literacy community.

Reynolds books have been translated into more than 25 languages around the globe and are celebrated worldwide. They include the best-selling “Judy Moody” and “Stink” series, “The North Star”, “The Dot”, “Ish”, “Sky Color”, “I Am Peace”, “Someday”, and most recently “The Word Collector”, which hit the New York Times Best Seller List at position #4.

Tudor Elementary Connects the Dots on Dot Day

Michelle Carton is an accomplished global educator and librarian at Tudor Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska. She is known for her innovative curriculum and has taught in many diverse school environments, but her deep passion for making education relevant and empowering for students while building a lifelong love for learning and exploring has remained a constant. To celebrate International Dot Day, 2017 Michelle and her class connected the dots around the world - so we connected with her to learn more about how she inspires students every day to make their mark!

How did you first learn about Dot Day?

We first learned about Dot Day when I was searching out global and international activities for students. Our first year, we simply read the book, talked about international and global activities. We then created our dots. Our next year, we took it further to talk about how we will make our mark on the world, and why that matters. This year, we took it global and connected with schools all over the world, from Pakistan to Sri Lanka, Canada, and the "lower 48," connected it to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and shared how we will make an impact on being good earth citizens and taking care of each other and the planet.

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How does Dot Day tie into your work as a global educator and the mission of Global Education Alaska?

Global Education Alaska initially started out through my Fellowship, Teachers for Global Classrooms sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the International Resources and Exchanges Board. It has now become an opportunity for teachers all over the world to find ideas and resources to take their class global, through workshops, seminars, and simply perusing our website. As a teacher in Alaska, I know our students come from all over the world (we have one the most diverse districts in the country), to a place that is quite isolated and remote, they just need a platform to embrace the world's people, lives, and stories, in a way that will help them embrace their own.

Dot Day is an opportunity for young people to celebrate their marks on a global scale. By connecting with schools around the world, we are making global citizenship more attainable and realizing that young people, no matter where they live, innately want to do good and be a part of the solution. Dot Day does a great job of setting the foundation for International Day of Peace and also United Nations Day, where we delve further into the idea that we are all connected and by learning about the world, understanding the perspectives in the world, and connecting with the world, we are in deed "taking action" which is what it means to be a global citizen. Global Education Alaska provides an opportunity for Alaskan students to learn about the world and for the world to learn about Alaska, the real Alaska (not the one on television).

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Do you have tips for educators looking to take their Dot Day celebrations global?

Taking your Dot Day global can be easy, mostly because I have laid out on our website, just how to do that! Also, a few things I learned along the way. Using a tool such as signup.com, makes managing a calendar really simple. Also, making sure to double check a few days before, as we are busy educators, really helps solidify the process. Having students set goals for connecting creates a strong sense of buy-in as well.

My students' goal for next year is to connect both with Emily Arrow to learn the Dot Day song and the team at FableVision to share how they are making their mark on the world AND how they intend to do that in their future as well. What is being done through Dot Day many do not realize: for students to have a voice and see it be heard and honored builds an incredible foundation for growth, both academic, personal/social.

What is your favorite memory from your Dot Day 2017 celebration?

Taking your Dot Day global can be easy, mostly because I have laid out on our website, just how to do that! Also, a few things I learned along the way. Using a tool such as signup.com, makes managing a calendar really simple. Also, making sure to double check a few days before, as we are busy educators, really helps solidify the process. Having students set goals for connecting creates a strong sense of buy-in as well.

My students' goal for next year is to connect both with Emily Arrow to learn the Dot Day song and the team at FableVision to share how they are making their mark on the world AND how they intend to do that in their future as well. What is being done through Dot Day many do not realize: for students to have a voice and see it be heard and honored builds an incredible foundation for growth, both academic, personal/social.

What is your favorite memory from your Dot Day 2017 celebration?

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Taking your Dot Day global can be easy, mostly because I have laid out on our website, just how to do that! Also, a few things I learned along the way. Using a tool such as signup.com, makes managing a calendar really simple. Also, making sure to double check a few days before, as we are busy educators, really helps solidify the process. Having students set goals for connecting creates a strong sense of buy-in as well.

My students' goal for next year is to connect both with Emily Arrow to learn the Dot Day song and the team at FableVision to share how they are making their mark on the world AND how they intend to do that in their future as well. What is being done through Dot Day many do not realize: for students to have a voice and see it be heard and honored builds an incredible foundation for growth, both academic, personal/social.

What is your favorite memory from your Dot Day 2017 celebration?

My favorite moment from Dot Day 2017 is when my students who normally are quite disengaged, shy, or overwhelmed by their life outside of school, get incredibly excited, and truly become children again, to laugh, and clap, and remember. Students all year will tell me, "Remember when we connected with _____ for Dot Day, that was really cool." They will remember these moments, all the way into their adulthood. For children to be able to have something to grab onto, even in the most challenging times, is incredibly precious!

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How do you inspire students to make their mark and what’s your own inspiration?

Inspiring students to make their mark, care about the world around them, and a desire to be a part of the solution, comes from my own passion for these things. Students want to be engaged and excited; when an educator is, and gently guides students to take suit, they are carving a lane for students to be vulnerable. My own passion comes from being that kid who didn't really engage, teachers just pushed on, struggled in school, went to 9 different elementary schools, was in an out of foster care, and didn't really have something to be passionate about. I had one teacher, in 4th grade, who reached out in a major way and it changed my life. I aim to reach that student, and along the way, bring with me lots of other excitable young people.

I left Corporate America to do something I believed could make an impact on the world, and I haven't stopped yet. Now, I have 350 developing young global citizens who are beginning to see the impact of their dedication and passion. To be a global citizen is to embrace the possible, push past the maybe, and explore the unknown--but to always come out in a much more aware state of being. We are building future peace leaders, one dot at a time.

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Getting "Messy" with Fab@School at the ED Games Expo

In a room filled with amazing virtual reality stations, impressive mobile apps, and science simulations, we were the “messy table.”

On Monday, Jan. 8, FableVision Learning joined hundreds of game developers at 5th annual ED Games Expo hosted by the U.S. Department of Education at the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in DC. The expo was a chance to showcase learning games developed through The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to students from the DC area.

We discovered that in this digital age, youngsters were drawn the tangible. Our table was the busiest of all! Why?  We were there to demo Fab@School Maker Studio, an online tool where students design with 2D shapes to create nets that when fabricated using a digital cutter become 3D objects.

The perk - it is all done with paper.

I was inundated with students all lining up to answer one simple question: “What do you want to make”?  Everytime the answer was different.

  • “What do you mean… make?”
  • “A house.”
  • “A car.”
  • “A Mickey Mouse face that has stars instead of circles for ears”
  • “What can I make?”
  • “I want what she made, only different.”

The challenge was on and it was only 10 a.m.

Students picked a piece of colored cardstock, mounted it on a sticky mat, and patiently waited for their turn.

A fourth-grade girl was excited to create a dodecahedron - she just loves shapes. But wanted two sides to have a cut-out of a star. This was simple - by dragging a star from the shapes pallet onto her design she was able to see her idea come to fruition digitally and after 50 seconds though the digital cutter - she was folding her geometric shape.  

One girl wasn’t impressed with the sunglasses she was wearing and wanted to create her own. As a group of young engineers we examined what shapes were used in the construction of the glasses.

“Maybe two circles with two more circles in the middle to see,” one student suggested.

“Now we need a rectangle to make them connected,” another added.

At the end of the design phase, we had a pretty nifty pair of sunglasses with very long arms. Back in Fab@School, she used the ruler tool to accurately create the perfect pair of sunglasses.

There were oohs and aahs from all folks of ages when the students snapped pulled together six squares and watched as the program’s 3D viewer showed how the shape would fold. One exhibitor remarked that Fab@School was unique because you create 2D nets to create 3D objects instead of building in a 3D environment and having the program flatten it.    

Toward the end of the afternoon, teachers were giving the five-minute-until-the-bus-leaves warning to students that had been there for a good part of the day - designing, creating, and getting messy.

We left tired but excited to know we had inspired a few more future engineers.

Oak Ridge School Students Construct a FAB Paper City

Meet Carly Smith, Art and Technology Teacher at Oak Ridge School. Carly fuses creativity and innovation together every day with her students to program robots, create stop-motion animations, and design in Fab@School Maker Studio.

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Can you share a bit about your school and your teaching journey? 

I am lucky enough to teach in the elementary school that I attended as a child, so working here feels like coming home. I am in my 8th year at this school and have worn many different hats, from special education teacher to technology integrationist and my current role as a specialist teacher teaching both art and technology. A typical day is never typical! Each day is different and that’s what I like most about my role. My technology classes are working on building computational thinking skills by coding robots so my morning is lots of troubleshooting and runaway robots. My art classes are operating on a choice-based curriculum so in the afternoon I feel like a “creativity coach” teaching mini-lessons, managing the space, and meeting with student-artists.

How are your students using Fab@School Maker Studio?

My students used Fab@School Maker Studio to create houses as part of an architecture project we did last year in art class. We looked at different types of buildings and the students designed their own to become part of a “Paper City." They created everything from monuments, to tent camping sites, to skyscrapers and one student even recreated the Eiffel Tower! After the buildings were fabricated the students used LEDs and coin cell batteries to light up the city. After this first project, some students used the software again to create stencils for an apparel design screenprinting project.

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What has been the “aha” moment?

I discovered Fab@School Maker Studio at last year’s MassCUE conference. I was so excited the first time I used it because the options are limited only by the imagination of the designer. The software is the perfect combination of “kid-friendly” without being limiting. I had wanted to bring 3D printing into my classroom, but felt that my students’ experience would be diminished due to the expense of the filament and the time the printing takes for each item. Seeing how fast the paper cutter works combined with the affordability of the paper and cardstock made this so doable for my students and me. My PTA generously purchased the licenses and the paper cutter for my classroom and we began using it with Chromebooks last spring.

How are you integrating Fab@School with your current school curriculum?

This year I am hoping to expand the use of the software by having technology classes fabricate “cars” or “boats” that will be driven by the robots we are learning to program. The robots are waterproof so hopefully students will be able to design and program them to drive on dry land or be propelled through water. Check back with me in a few months and we will see how this grand plan comes to life!

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As an Art/Tech teacher you really put the A in STEAM- can you share a bit about your role at Oak Ridge and how you incorporate arts with technology?

I am always looking for new ways to incorporate technology into the art curriculum and vice versa. The technology and art curriculums overlap in so many ways because creative problem solving and the design process are so critical to both content areas. In addition to the 3D design work they have done with Fab@School Maker Studio, my students have used software to edit photos or create unique compositions, iPads to create digital artwork, and digital cameras to learn about perspective, create illusions in photography as well as stop-motion animation.

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This year we are experimenting with green screens to add interesting effects to our photos and videos. I find that my job is evolving to the point where I am putting students in the driver’s seat and empowering them to come up with ways to creatively use the technology available to them. I try to learn as much as I can about each tool or device so that I can help to guide them and troubleshoot problems. Often students know what they want the technology to do, and just need help getting there. Experimentation can sometimes feel scary because the teacher has to give up control, but the results are usually far beyond what I would have thought of or expected!

What is next?

I am excited to continue to connect with educators who are using this software because the sharing of ideas is so valuable. I would love to add a second printer so that more students can fabricate within a single class period (wish list item!). I am also open to bringing the software to other teachers in my district as part of a possible makerspace to be built. With this and other technology tools I will continue to be inspired by the creativity of my students!

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Get Involved

Is your classroom a FabClassroom? We would love to feature your school in a blog post! To be featured in an upcoming post, send an email to info@fablevisionlearning.com. You can also share your Fab@School Maker Studio creations and ideas on social media with #FabMakerStudio! For more posts featuring Fab@School Maker Studio, click here.

Your Guide to Hands-on Learning at 2017 Christa MacAuliffe Technology Conference 

STEAM-powered maker tools, projects, and inspiration for activated storytelling will transform the Webster Room at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference (Nov. 28-Nov. 30) into a safe, low-stress, high-fun creativity playground.

Join the FableVision Learning and Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning & Creativity teams as they share their tools and tips from the classroom, library, and beyond.

There will be five different sessions to get hands on with the Creativity Maker Suite of products, learn about grant opportunities, and become inspired to create bravely in and out of school! 

Create an Easy, Affordable Makerspace with Fab@School
What: From kindergarten to high school, discover how schools, libraries, and programs around the country have used Fab@School Maker Studio to create practical, affordable makerspaces using paper, cardstock, and inexpensive digital fabricators. Get hands-on with the digital prototyping program and learn more about grant opportunities to fund YOUR makerspace
When: Tuesday 10:30 a.m.; Wednesday 12 p.m. ; Thursday 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Create Bravely: Creative Self-Design for a Purposeful Life
What: Join FableVision/Reynolds Center co-founder, Paul Reynolds, for a session designed for educators of all levels. Paul Reynolds shares approaches to using storytelling to foster both growth mindset and the courage needed to foster self-directed, creative, and purposeful life journeys.

Attendees have a chance to win signed, personalized copies of his 4Cs/STEAM storybooks Going Places and Sydney & Simon, as well as a Create Bravely T-shirt designed by Peter H. Reynolds (The DotIshSky Color). All participants receive a free Create Bravely poster.
When: Tuesday 12 p.m.; Wednesday 10:30 a.m.

Making Makerspaces Meaningful
What: Join Leo Brehm, Reynolds Center board member, as he shares strategies to realize the full potential of your makerspace.  As a career school CIO for public schools in Massachusetts for over 21 years, Leo has supported education in a variety of roles including a technology support specialist, instructional technology specialist, network administrator, director of technology, and adjunct professor in four districts and higher education. Currently he serves as the Learning Evolution Officer for Central Mass Collaborative providing innovative solutions to forty plus districts and 80-100k students.  As the Director of Digital Learning for the Massachusetts Virtual Academy, he is focused on reinventing the virtual program into a personalized experience. Leo shares his experiences on how to shape your makerspace to nurture meaningful learning.
When: Tuesday 1:30 p.m.

Activated Storytelling for Transformational Learning
What: Story remains one of the most powerful technologies for causing learning.  Creative educators are especially adept at leveraging stories for enduring and transformational learning.  Come learn how one teacher in Iowa used The Dot book by Peter H. Reynolds to encourage over 10 million teachers, librarians, and students in 170 countries to “make their mark” on the world using their creativity & bravery.  Attendees explore a host of constructionist edtech tools and learn about inspiring teachers using Peter H. Reynolds’ message books for purpose-based learning, growth mindset, and positive social change.  Along with practical free resources to bring back to one’s school or library, attendees have a chance to win signed, personalized copies of Reynolds books and prints!  
When: Tuesday 3:15; Wednesday 1:30

Paper Prototyping Bootcamp for STEAM-Powered Learning
What: Want to introduce students to digital fabrication and STEAM to your classroom or library? This workshop provides hands-on opportunities for getting comfortable with easy, paper-based digital design and fabrication software tools. Participants experience the benefits of rapid paper prototyping, which allows for quick cycles of testing and iterative design enhancements - especially helpful within limited class periods. Explore research-based best practices, appropriate to get all students (PreK-12) designing and creating.
When: Wednesday 3:15, Thursday 11:30

Peter H. Reynolds to Be Honored with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

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The Boy Scouts of America and National Eagle Scout Association have announced that FableVision founder and renowned children’s book author/Illustrator, Peter H. Reynolds, is being honored with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (DESA)

The award ushers Reynolds into an elite cadre of fellow Distinguished Eagle Scouts, which includes political, business and creative luminaries such as President Gerald R. Ford, Neil Armstrong, Steve Fosset, Gov. Dukakis, James Lovell, Sam Walton, James Brady, William Hanna, J. W. Marriott Jr., and Steven Spielberg.  

Reynolds earned the award for his “extraordinary national eminence in his field, as well as his strong record of voluntary community service.”

In addition to writing and illustrating nearly 50 influential children’s books (his most famous book The Dot has been published in over 30 languages, and is celebrated each year in a global event called International Dot Day, which has reached over 10 million students and teachers in 170 Countries), Peter H. Reynolds also founded FableVision Studios to help fosters creativity and self-expression and move the world to a better place through “stories that matter, stories that move.”

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“As a quirky, creative kid, scouting gave me a safe, supportive environment where I could develop my skills, talents, strengths and leadership,” Peter shared. “I really can credit the Scouting program for giving me the confidence to pursue my dreams, which is why I’m so happy to see so many supporting these critical programs for boy – and now girls. Every child deserves this kind of solid foundation to help them navigate their future success.”

FableVision will proudly cheer our creative champion as The Boy Scout of America Spirit of Adventure Council present the award to Peter at the 41st annual “Salute to Scouting” gala at The Westin Copley Place.

WCVB TV Anchor Randy Price, himself an Eagle Scout, will serve as master of ceremonies.  This signature Boston event attracts hundreds of scouting supporters, including business and civic leaders who aim to expand Boy Scout youth development programs throughout the Greater Boston area.

41st Annual Salute to Scouting

When: Thursday, November 30th at 6 p.m.

Where: The Westin Copley Place

Register to attend!

FableVision Learning Intern Spotlight: Patrick's Fab@School Maker Studio Journey

Hello FableVision Learning friends and fans,

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Allow me to introduce myself - I am Patrick McDonagh, a marketing intern at FableVision Learning studying English Creative Writing at Endicott College. The gamut of work at FVL challenges my formal degree skills in a fun professional learning environment.

Now at the end of my internship, it’s time to put the lessons I’ve learned into action. I have been challenged to create an easy-to-build Fab@School Maker Studio project for kids ages 5-11 for construction in a library setting. The result of this challenge, after many iterations, is a turkey mask designed in Fab@School Maker Studio and ready to debut at the Dedham Public Library.

Make A Mark

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I will be honest, my first iteration of the mask did not resemble a turkey. I set out to work on my laptop early in a Peet’s Coffee tinkering with the software tools for hours trying to find shapes to form my vision. Coffee fueled my design, frustration, and perceived failure - my goal was perfection. I used the oval shape tool for feathers, then dragged and manipulated shapes for the turkey's snood. I asked a neighbor what animal they thought I had made. The response was unflattering.

Create Bravely

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For my next iteration, I focused on what I had done well. In my hours of welding and manipulating shapes in Fab@School Maker Studio I grew more familiar with the tools. I made a first mark in the creative process. I paused to assuage my initial frustration by focusing on what I had learned. These were my notes:

  • I achieved a stylized and symmetrical 2D turkey shape by modifying Shapes with the Reflect, Align, and Weld features.
  • Used the Ruler, Grid, and Magnetize tool to visually interpret dimensions and distance between objects and snap them together.
  • Developed an understanding of each individual piece’s form and assembly across a project with multiple sheets of paper.
  • I saved helpful design elements for later by positioning them on the outer edges of the edit area.
  • Fabricated often and attempted assembly to refine project design across multiple iterations.

The first test mask I fabricated measured five inches in width. Only after I fabricated a mask that barely covered my face did I know it needed resizing. Supplies for Fab@School Maker Studio are inexpensive enough that I was able to incorporate fabrication into my prototyping process. I realized it didn’t need to be perfect right away.

Perfect-Ish

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I felt more at ease creating without the inhibiting goal of perfection, and instead shifted focus to simplifying the design. Each remaining shape needed a critical purpose. Project refinement is a productive exercise for students forming foundational knowledge of iterative design and fabrication with Fab@School Maker Studio. Transitioning from concept to a recognizable design was exciting.

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This is the final product. I am proud to share my mask in Fab@School Maker Studio as a 3D Ready-Made project for students, teachers, and makers to fabricate.

Paul Reynolds to Participate in Universal Children’s Day at Bridgewater State University

Bridgewater State University's College of Education & Allied Studies, in collaboration with the Childhood Studies Minor Program and other academic and administrative departments on campus, is conducting a daylong celebration of the United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day on Friday, Nov. 3. This year’s theme of "Empowering students to improve the world" utilizes the problem/project-based learning of Design Thinking.

Close to 250 regional children will visit campus for an inspirational reading by award-winning picture book author Paul A. Reynolds (Going Places).