S.T.E.A.M. Club PRO

As a way to distinguish between students who had “graduated” from S.T.E.A.M. Club last year and students entering S.T.E.A.M. Club this year, I invented S.T.E.A.M. Club PRO.  In S.T.E.A.M. Club PRO, experienced students are able to decide what projects they would like to work on – this can be done in small groups or on an individual basis.  Students selected pre-made project kits like Little Bits, Tinker Crates, or Leonardo da Vinci Invention boxes.  Here are some highlights from the fall / winter semester.  S.T.E.A.M. Club & S.T.E.A.M. Club PRO will return in April!  Joining them (new this year) will be S.T.E.A.M. Club Junior – also beginning in April!



The art teacher and artist in me could not miss seeing the Rodin Museum, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture while visiting the city this summer.  Here are a few images I’ve taken to remember my first trip to Philadelphia.  I wish I could have seen more.

I passed Benjamin Franklin’s grave and walked through Chinatown to get to the convention each morning – check out those dragons!

On my way to the museum, I noticed many architectural and sculptural marvels – this city is filled with them!  I made it up the “Rocky Steps” and found a huge impressionism show on view!  I couldn’t take photos inside, but was able to capture a Calder…


…and this Chagall.  It’s huge!


I made sure to visit the Rodin Museum, too!


…and did I mention the food???  I highly recommend these restaurants!

Dinic’s (inside the Reading Terminal Market),

Pizzicato (wood fire pizza),

LASCALA’S (Italian),

Red Owl Tavern (tavern grill & amazing deserts)*.



*images from ROT website

I got this yummy avocado & grapefruit salad at National Mechanics (awesome food & steampunk decor!)



Sign image from NM website

Don’t forget to check out the coolest geek chic decor at Happily Ever After (dessert cafe)

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of what Philly has to offer.  I can’t wait to visit again!



I consider myself to be quite lucky to have had the opportunity to attend the 2015 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia.  This was the first time I had ever been to Philadelphia and I was excited to attend as many sessions as I could while at the conference.

The opening keynote was gigantic!


Soledad O’Brien, anchor of CNN’s In America, turned educators’ attention to Google’s newest technology: cardboard!0628151819a

From The Youngest Makers to The Knights of Make-a-Lot, I learned an incredible amount of information about how to design activities for learning and how to apply concepts in a makerspace.0630151139a0630151228

I was most impressed by the students and teachers who travelled far and wide to present their learning.  One group in particular caught  my attention.  The students from El Encino, Mexico combined a variety of arts experiences with technology.  They had painted their faces to represent Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead).  Their booth featured an altar decorated with student-made calacas (plaster skull masks), alfenique calaveras (sugar skulls), and papel picado (cut tissue paper).  The all boys’ school showcased a student-designed technology project: a video game based on this Mexican holiday and its traditions.  The students explained their project in great detail – many were eager to speak with me.  They gave me a mask print-out and some spicy candy to take home!06301511440630151145

Many of the other poster sessions downstairs were quite informative.  Teachers shared their projects and ideas – willing to answer questions, provide handouts and exchange contact information.




I even got to meet Peter and Paul Reynolds (author & illustrator of The Dot, Ish, Full Steam Ahead, and so many more)!  The Reynolds Foundation is a pioneer of art-centered classroom technology products.  They will soon launch software that fully integrates STEM concepts with the all important A = Art!  I was gifted a copy of Going Places & the accompanying creativity can.  The brothers graciously signed my book and posed for photos.  I can’t wait for their FAB@SCHOOL Maker Studio software to hit the market!!!  Check out www.fablevisionlearning.com for more info!



A conference wouldn’t be complete without the cool swag!  Here are some of the goodies I brought home.  I also want to thank the Arts & Technology PLN for their donation to the BF S.T.E.A.M. Club.  The remaining handouts, play doh, copper foil and conductive paint from the Creativity Playground will certainly aid student learning!  Thank you, Jamie Kasper!

0704151948And, finally, this experience wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the conference stipend awarded to me through the Sprout Fund of Pittsburgh.  Thank you, Thank you.  The knowledge I have gained from this conference will benefit my students greatly.  If you are interested in funding for experiences such as this one, visit www.sproutfund.org