in Educator of the Month

All Aboard the Polar Express with Educator of the Month Renee White

At Ozobot, the best part of our day is seeing what educators around the world are creating with their Ozobots. A few creative projects from one educator particularly warmed our hearts in this cold, 60-degree California winter.

Renee White is a first grade teacher who is one of those educators! She has come up with Ozobot lessons for almost every subject. Just check out her Twitter feed for all of her amazing ideas! 

We knew that we needed to spotlight her for Educator of the Month, due to all of her success using Ozobots in her classroom! And, because it is December, we asked her specifically about her Polar Express lesson. 

Tell us about yourself! What is your job title and what inspired you to get into the career you have?

I am a first-grade teacher at Herbert Akins Road Elementary School in Fuquay Varina, NC. I have been teaching in elementary education for 18 years and have taught many different grades. I’m AIG certified and I have a Master’s Degree in Reading. I’m originally from Ohio, where I attended Bowling Green State University for both my undergraduate and graduate work.   

I spent three years cheering on the Falcons as a varsity cheerleader at BGSU, and was an assistant cheerleading coach during graduate school. I enjoy seeing children learn, explore, create, and problem solve. I’m a big fan of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) in education, genius hour, makerspace, innovation, and learning from failures. I was inspired to become a teacher due to many great mentor teachers I had in school and because I love seeing children have fun while they learn!

How did you think of creating the project?

This project came about because we were studying time to the hour and half-hour in math and traditions in social studies. First-graders always benefit from retelling stories and considering sequential order of the events in a story as well as character response or feelings too so it was a pretty natural fit. 

Can you share with us an example of how your project combined creativity and coding?

For this project, students listened to the book “The Polar Express”. Then, they numbered the order of events for the story. After that, they considered what time of day/night each major event took place, or may have taken place in the story and assigned a time to each major event. Next, students represented the time of the events on an analog clock and glued both the clock with the time on it and the event down on a large paper in order to retell the story. 

After all the times and events were glued down, they drew out their story road and began to consider appropriate Color Codes for the Ozobot to what matched how the main character was/may have been feeling at that major part in the story. (Example: Students may have made the Ozobot go at snail dose when the little boy realizes he lost the bell from Santa’s sleigh, because he is sad.) Finally, when all coding was complete and Ozobot could go down the road and tell the story by doing tricks in order, students videoed it and retold the story with how they thought the boy was feeling in each main part in Seesaw. 

Besides creating with code, what is your favorite hobby or interest to geek out about in your free time? 

Art (painting, repainting furniture), playing with my kids and learning about science with them, anything techie I can use in my classroom to make learning fun and empower my students. 

In addition to having a blast with Ozobots, what do you want kids who may recreate your project to take away from it? 

Coding can be fun, meaningful, and connect to so much in life and learning. I would hope students could be inspired by it and start to create learning connections using coding and Ozobots on their own.

To check out more of Renee White’s variety of Ozobot projects, follow her on Twitter! And don’t forget…

Coding is Creative!

Tech skills alone don’t spur big ideas—creative visions do. That’s why education at home and in the classroom should span science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (think STEAM, not STEM). Whether you see yourself as a future artist, astronaut, or entrepreneur, our goal at Ozobot is to kick start your creativity and coding skills with playtime that strengthens your whole mind.

To learn more, explore Ozobot’s 2 Ways to Code:

OzoBlockly >

Color Codes >

For Educators and Students:

OzoBlockly Basic Training >

Color Codes Basic Training >

150+ STEAM Lessons >

Educator of the Month – Official Rules