Tag Archives: 3rd Grade

Shree Nayar of @BigshotCamera is presenting to 3rd graders @The_School!

Shree Nayar founder of the DIY digital camera kit, BigshotCamera, is presenting to 3rd graders @TheSchool right now.

Watch his @TEDxColumbiaEng talk here:

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Just had our end-of-year wrap party for the @NewRoarTimes 3rd grade newspaper!

New Roar Times
The crew of the New Roar Times!

When a crew of 3rd graders approached me about helping them start a student-run newspaper, I jumped at the chance. Though I don’t usually work directly with kids in the younger grades, I’ll support anyone who asks for assistance. Especially if the Editor-in-Chief is a feisty future-President named Hope, and her crew is a group of adorable and ambitious classmates with an achievable goal. The third grade teachers (@dorakio, @kinderbanks, @zoepgrade3, @trcs, @franckystc) were all really supportive and enthusiastic about the endeavor too.

So, I carved out a 30-minute time slot during Thursday recess, and over 20 students gathered weekly to write and edit articles. I set up a Google Site where each reporter had their own announcement page and made a new post for every story. Hope wrote her own editorials and did some light editing on the reporters’ stories before I posted their work to our New Roar Times site. We used RebelMouse to power our digital newspaper, and since you need to be 13+ to use the site, I had a conversation with Hope’s mom about that. We share each article/post to our @NewRoarTimes Twitter feed as well.

These weekly work sessions with the New Roar Times crew were equally inspiring, productive, and fun. Children came up with original story ideas or volunteered to write about community events (The Day of Silence, the 8th grade musical, the Book Fair, etc.). At our wrap party today, we talked about continuing with our club next year when they are 4th graders. I also reminded them that Hope and I are available all summer via email if they have any article, book review, movie review that they’d like to publish.

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Today is the official launch of the @NewRoarTimes, the 3rd grade’s digital newspaper!



A few months ago, some 3rd graders approached me about helping them make a newspaper. While I primarily work with middle schoolers and faculty here at The School at Columbia University, I jumped at the chance to support these children. What’s better than helping a kid reach a goal?

As it turned out, the powerhouse behind the project is a pint-sized spitfire named Hope. Clearly a future CEO, Hope dubbed herself the Editor-in-Chief and rounded up classmates to form the Newspaper Club. Many of the participants are in Akio Iida and Harry Banks‘s 3rd grade class, so we meet in their room on Thursdays for 30 minutes while the rest of the grade is at recess. This 30-minute block has become a highlight of my week.

We use a collaborative GoogleSite to organize their articles. The students write, gather images, cite their sources, and comment on each others’ works-in-progress within this shared space. Once an article is complete, Hope is responsible for sitting with me (or her mom) and copying/pasting the text and any media from the GoogleSite to our public site (http://NewRoarTimes.com).

I looked at a lot of other platforms before deciding on Rebelmouse (though WordPress was a close second). Originally, I considered Popplet, Padlet, Glogster, and a bunch of other sites, but nothing sufficed in offering a Flipboard experience that you could control so easily and aggregate your own info with a variety of embedded media. The only issue about  RebelMouse is that unless you pay $9.99 a month to “power” your Rebelmouse site, there is a “featured Rebelmouse users” box in the left sidebar and any of those users could be posting adult-oriented materials. Hence, you need to be 13 to use both Rebelmouse (and WordPress and Twitter) as per their Terms of Service, so I set up the spaces and only shared the password with Hope’s mom. I spoke with Don Buckley (Director of Innovation), Miriam Beyer (Director of Communications), Hope, and her mom before making these decisions.

I invited Hope’s mom to be an editor of our Rebelmouse site, so that she or I can login and monitor/advise Hope as she posts. I taught Hope how to tag, categorize, and tweet each post, so all of our articles are linkable and viewable from our Twitter too (@NewRoarTimes).

Please check out the inaugural New Roar Times!

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Zen and the Art of 3D Printer Maintenance with @dorakio @kinderbanks. #edchat #edtech

7A81DC8B-111B-4B92-8995-605A2C26549AI just experienced one of the nerdiest weeks of my career. Our Bits From Bytes 3DTouch (@BitsFromBytes) wasn’t working well. It’s more gratifying to work with teachers and students on a design project when they know that the 3D structures and prototypes they create in Sketchup and Tinkercad will be printed in plastic. (Last year, Cristina Martinez and I supported a pretty awesome Greek Temple project that culminated in 5th graders literally outsourcing their designs to the East – in our case across the park to Jaymes Dec‘s 5th graders at the Marymount School on the Upper East Side!)

Since then, I tried to support some 3D printing projects, yet the 3D Touch was often frustratingly unable to print my designs fully. Right before we departed for winter break in December 2012, Don Buckley told me to learn out how to maintain the printer. While I consider myself handy, I would never fool myself into describing myself as an engineer, and I really didn’t need to be weighed down with the possibility of breaking a $4000 machine. However, I do what Don tells me, so I went forth unafraid. It took many hours over many days, but I think I know what I’m doing now.

I looked at pages and pages of information and FAQ from the BitsFromBytes resources link. First I learned how replace a delivery tube and load new filament. Then I experimented with raising/lowering the extruder nozzles and level the printer tray in order to print a successful raft. Once I had items printing regularly, I saw that we were running out of ABS filament and only had PLA left in our stash of replacement spools. So, I learned about the difference between ABS and PLA (ABS is more robust, PLA is cheaper), and learned how to change the target print temperature and RPM for each nozzle.

As it turned out, sometime in the 6th hour on the first day of my ministrations,  Akio Iida and Harry Banks noticed my omnipresence at the printer. They told me they had just finished a design project with their 3rd graders where students were tasked with redesigning a commonly used product (tissue box, pencil cup, x-box console, etc.) Watching me at the 3DTouch prompted Akio and Harry to come over and learn what I learned so that we could successfully start printing the children’s designs. The three of us spent much time together last week tweaking the machine, watching it work, and breathing in pastic-y fumes. The cow0rkers that breathe possibly cancerous toxins together, stay together. (Actually, the PLA material is plant-based and environmentally-friendly.)

Don Buckley has already placed the order for a Replicator 2X. Guess I better start reading the manual…
Image the tail end of our red ABS

Image  replacing the delivery tube

Image  inserting a new spool

Image  switching from red ABS to yellow PLA
Image  figuring out how to adjust the target temperature and rpm

Image curious kids watching the printer working

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