This had the potential to go south......just like the eel in our story. 'Eel Dreaming' by Helen Taylor and Ben Brown......such a stunning book with rich language and mesmerizing drawings was the motivation for our session. We created our very own slithering swamp eels.....some of them sparkled just like the one in the story, basking in the moonlight.
This book is so much better than I ever imagined (no pun intended)....Kobi Yomada has captured the essence of what happens when children have an idea and explores what to do with it. I was given several large bags of heavy duty cardboard rolls and I shared my idea with the class of new entrants. I explained that my idea was 'still in the dark' just like in the book and that they needed to bring it to life. They created stunning musical instruments and ended our session with a class performance! The classroom teacher who stayed for the session shared that the focus on fine motor skills (especially working with the rubber bands!) was an added bonus. Learners will share a photo of themselves and their instruments on their blog and explain the process as well as sharing with their 'buddy' class tomorrow (the other half of their collaborative class built rockets in the first session so they can share their experiences).
At today's first session I shared the picture book 'Ada Twist, Scientist' by Andrea Beatty. This is a fabulous book jam packed with easy to understand explanations of what it means to be curious. Learners were engrossed. Today we were scientists too! We planned, designed and built Rocket Ships. I 'built' a very simplified model and we did an initial test. The short story is much to the children's delight I ended up smelling of vinegar from head to toe for the rest of the day! Interestingly the bottle travelled a huge distance albeit it was sideways. Learners will be testing their designs during next weeks session.
The first of yesterday's sessions were centered around the book 'The Dot' by Peter Reynolds. We worked on a collaborative project which we will finish and share next week. Learners are mastering their fine motor skills as cutting with scissors is an ongoing challenge!
The second session of the day used the picture book 'The Day the Crayons Quit' by Drew Daywalt as a motivator. We discussed expectations, creativity and the 'unexpected'. We worked as a team to produce 7 large 'works of art'. Learners drew pictures of their choice in the crayon of their choice and we displayed them 'popping' off the paper. We chose quotes from the book to link our art together.
Today's first session began with the book "The Most Magnificent Thing" by Ashley Spires, learners completed Duplo and Lego challenges where they had the choice to select from a range of predetermined challenges and outcomes (if they were successful) or to make a choice from a range of picture cards.
The second session began with the book "The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes" by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein. Learners were able to choose a 'STEAM' box or from K'Nex's, a large Marble Run or Duplo and then were offered challenge picture cards (or they could build and adapt from their imaginations).
We learnt a lot about perseverance today! If we chose to work with a buddy, we also learnt about negotiation.
We are focusing on becoming expert problem solvers!
This week was all about 'Design Thinking', yesterday students had a booklet which they could plan, list materials used, draw improves and link to maths concepts (e.g. measure their creation, assess and rational).
After reflecting on yesterday's lessons I realised the 'booklets' were are great idea but in just one block we were never going to do it justice and as these initial lessons didn't relate to what was being taught back in the classroom, without teacher buy in (e.g. they would need to commit to completing the task back in class)I felt this needing refining, so today students just had a one page 'plan, reflect, improve' sheet - this worked much better. On both days, students took a photo (with their iPads) of their creation so that they could reflect, write about and share their experiences on their blogs.
Students were totally engaged in the tasks, no off task behaviours and teachers shared that students that may have experiences 'challenges' in learning back in the classroom exhibited none of these behaviours in this space. This is something I'm thrilled about!
I have the Year 2's this week......much of this term will be about finding what works well and what doesn't.....what materials we will need more of and what haven't we got that we need. Oh as well as having an amazing fun filled session packed with Engineering and design concepts!
We are all set up in our temporary space (Room 2), our new renovated space (previously the schools sport shed) will hopefully be ready next term. This term every class in the school will rotate through this space spending 2 blocks with me. Next term it will be 3, after reflecting on this term and how both the timing and the space works we'll change to what suits our needs based e.g. Seniors a day at a time?
Today's first session was part 2 for the Rocketeers. They began by reflecting on their prior session and we discussed what had worked (or NOT!) with our test launch. After refinement and 'improvement' we assessed our creations. Could they stand unaided (with the cork in)? If not they couldn't be launched (about half of the classes could). Our rockets were certainly better built and dynamics, balance and accessibility to the cork were now considered. We had so much fun setting them off! Great learning, problem solving and perseverance for a class of 5 year olds.
I wonder what the kids will call me, today one said "I'm looking for the Apple Teacher"......and another said "Are you Mrs Maker?" ......funny.