Featured Educator: Kalo Haslem

April 29, 2019
We love the innovative ways that educators (in both formal and informal learning spaces) introduce learners to the concept of physical computing with Makey Makey and coding languages like: Scratch, Processing, and Python. Each month, we will feature an educator and a unique project they've worked on recently. To read more educator posts, simply sign up for our newsletter to get the news first!

    Meet this month's featured educator: Kalo Haslem

    Kalo is the technology foundations and STEAM teacher at The Capitol Encore Academy, a public arts integration charter school that houses K-8 grades. He teaches all grades (K-8) on a rotating schedule throughout the year.  In his class, he teaches everything from basic computer skills to integrating technology tools with core subjects. He meets with the rest of the art’s staff and regular classroom teachers during an integration meeting to brainstorm how they can integrate all of the arts into their curriculum. This results in various learning opportunities from co-teaching, to helping come up with ideas that can be applied in the classroom, assisting in understanding a concept, or reviewing a topic.

    Interactive Arts Night

    Kalo is a very active member in our FB educator group and he's done some amazing projects with his students! We wanted to feature a project that caught our eye last November! His students made really interesting interactive projects with Makey Makey and Scratch



    Tell us a little about your school. 

    The Capitol Encore Academy is a public arts integration charter school. We at TCEA have the goal of developing artists who inspire others with principles of design and artful thinking through the integration of academic excellence, virtuous character and disciplined artistry.

    We just love the concept of kids creating interactive art. What inspired you?

    Children are naturally artistic and creators. From a young age, they want to build stuff and see it work. In schools too often we do not see students working on these skills or even worse these skills being suppressed. They often seem to loose their ability to be creative and solve problems in creative ways. I have seen middle schoolers not being able to solve simple creative problems they seem to run into mental creative stumbling blocks because they are being required to think for themself and create a solution. I want to give students the opportunity to foster these skills in my classroom. When being challenged in my classroom, I want them to be able to think through the issue and have the ability and confidence to solve the problem.

    What was the challenge or instructions you presented to the students?

    For the middle school projects, my students were put in groups. They had to create a Scratch project that could be interacted with by using Makey Makey. I wanted them to create something hand free ( The challenge was to create something where they would not hold the ground and then touch the other key.)

    Wow! That's really open to interpretation and introduces a lot of possibilities! Can you share some of your favorites that the students made?

    The Sunny Flower: This one they made scissors to complete the connection. When the scissors touched each part of the flower, it would triggers recorded responses.

    The Makey Makey guitar: This was less about the creative coding and more about the engineering and creation of a realistic looking guitar from basic materials.


    The skeeball: This had the most creative triggers. These hanging pieces of aluminum foil were triggered as the aluminum ball touched both of them completing the circuit.

    These are really great, Kalo! What other Makey Makey projects have you done with students outside of this?

    Some of my favorites include an "Interactive Christmas Tree" and an "Ozobot and Makey Makey integration map" with copper tape triggers.

    For the Interactive Christmas tree, the kindergarten students made ornaments. Then they were able to come into the hall and trigger them and dance. We talked about how circuits work and what uses electricity.


    Here's a peek inside the tree! 

    We've done a few projects with maps. On this map, the Ozobot triggered Makey Makey inputs.



    We also had students create interactive garden maps as an alternative to PowerPoints and other presentations.  This map has touch plates that play the student's recording from Scratch.


    What will you Makey Next?

    I'd like to convince our 7th-grade science teacher to have students try to engineer timing triggers that can be used in their force and motion unit.  If there is not enough time in the unit, I might introduce her to some ways I have come up with and see if she wants to apply it. Sometimes it is about showing teachers how it works, that can be half the battle.

    Kalo has lots of great ideas for Makey Makey! Check out his Twitter feed to see more how he's integrating Maker concepts with core curriculum at his school! 





    Like these posts? Nominate a Makey Makey teacher you know to be our next Featured Educator by commenting below!

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