This sessions igniter was a Charlie and Lola story “I am too absolutely small for school”. I completely changed the format for these sessions after reflecting on the experience from 2 weeks ago. I set up 4 challenge stations and students spent 15 minutes at each. Although more language experience and developmental based rather than STEAM in its true essence this meant learners were far more focused and engaged. All 4 stations were reflected in the pages of the book....One was Art based, recreating the ‘look’ of the ‘ripped’ page with the outlined drawing of Lola, learners loved the freedom of ripping different textures without scissors. I manned the hot glue gun, using polystyrene to 3D their drawings on their backgrounds. Station 2 was using play dough letter mats and learning letters and words just like Lola (we practiced rolling sausages). Station 3 was hands on making, designing and creating a school for Lola (well plastic Teddy’s actually). Station 4 was a dress up station where learners took a photo of each other dressed up like Lola was in her alligator suit but we had everything from a Dinosaur to high heels, handbag and fireman hat! Classroom Teachers will role modeling using the PiZap app and learners will superimpose themselves onto a photo of the page with Lola in her suit back in class. These sessions were certainly VERY full on but so rewarding. Our students are just buzzing with excitement both when they enter and when they leave (with their hands full of their creations). I’m looking forward to reading their stories they write back in class tomorrow and also listening to their reflections in Seesaw later in the week.
Mea is clearly a thinker and a problem solver, her design was exceptional. If you watch the video you’ll hear how her design changed and evolved, such perseverance and she’s only in Year 4. When she shared with her peers they were overflowing with questions and positive comments. I love the fact that she pauses to consider the problems she was faced with and that she solved them by using only what was in the bag, very clever indeed.
Today’s session, with another group of Year 4’s, was a repeat of yesterday’s ‘Going Places’ challenge stations (each of the 4 classes in the team complete the same challenges so that they can follow up, reflect and embed back in their collaborative ILE spaces). Although I was worried about the potential hazards with Irons, in the Makerspace, the results were stunning and learners were very careful (I did end up using only 1 iron per group and stood beside them when they were turned on, I had taken 4 to school but quickly realized this was potentially too risky). Plan A wasn’t successful - we used baking paper and then framed them, they just weren’t vibrant enough.....so we revisited the design process and ‘improved’ them. Plan B we peeled back one of the wax sheets of paper then flipped it over and pressed it on to a sheet of Duracell. Learners pressed down quite hard all over then very carefully lifted the wax paper off. Simply stunning! They were all so excited and others gathered round to watch. They had lots of wax crayon shavings left and wanted to do more... they came back at lunchtime and made a large one to take back to class and create their own frame for. Another simple but really meaningful task - the conversation, wondering and discussion was exactly what I was hoping for.
21/2/2018 0 Comments
If you’ve never done a ‘Mystery Bag Design Challenge’ you need to......like tomorrow! I am just blown away by the thinking, the diversity, the creativity and the sometimes totally left field awesomeness (that’s gotta be a real thing right?) that our tamariki can come up with when given the opportunity to show it.
Today I had two very different groups of Year 4 learners through the Makerspace, Year 4’s.... first 24 boys, then 30 girls. The igniter was ‘Going Places’ by Peter and Paul Reynolds. A perfect picture book for launching discussion and thinking around creatively, collaboration and what makes us all unique.
We has 3 stations, the Mystery Bag design Challenge, an Art and design challenge and a Robotics Challenge. I had seen the resources online for the mystery bag challenge a while back so aI hunted them down and downloaded them and printed and laminated the cards and stapled the labels to the bags (you can find them here https://buggyandbuddy.com/mystery-bag-stem-challenge/ ). I filled each bag with lots of different materials and had Must Do’s and Can do’s written on the windows (my flip top whiteboard table was in use). The Must Do’s included....taking care around ‘hazards’ (we identified these together eg hot glue guns.) the Can do’s included....you can use anything from the supplies table (masking tape, string, glue, pens, crayons, scissors etc)....you can negotiate swaps but only with Paula (that way learners aren’t pressured to give up the contents of their bag, also I then have the opportunity to challenge their thinking and check in on their progress). You need access to a real variety of materials and some ‘left field’ stuff helps too (I added old cooking utensils, door handles, broken toys etc). I feel like this was one of those activities that I would want to repeat at lots of different age levels (with different cards for juniors) as learners were so self motivated, driven and determined to see their designs completed. Other than using the Stanley knife a couple of times I was surplus to requirements! Which was lucky as the Art challenge was a very different story. I’ll share the art challenge tomorrow. Our tamariki took their designs back to class to share, write about, reflect on and in some cases, perhaps refine and improve. I love that their teacher suggested - photograph your bag, it's contents, your challenge card and then your creation. This means students now have evidence to add into Popplet or Explain Everything or iMovie or Seesaw (whatever their app of choice or purpose once they are back in class).
Today I shared the thought provoking and beautifully written picture book “If I was a Banana”. We talked about what we would be and why and also why the book had the ending it did (I won’t spoil it for you!). Then I offered the opportunity for learners to be four things today.....An Engineer, A Scientist, An Artist and a Robot Wrangler. Learners chose a path.....the Artists created a work to share what it was they wanted to be (shared earlier with a buddy). Engineers built Duplo, Scientists did an experiment and hypothesized......our Robot Wranglers and their teacher were definitely challenged (remember my ultimate goal as well as preparing our learners for their futures is building teacher capacity). A set of DASH Robots also went back to class for the team to rotate around their classes over the next week, this ensures the ‘experts’ from today’s session then get to lead and share back in class. We then also get coverage for all students.
A quick walkthrough movie taken on my phone...
This blog has had over 5000 visitors this week and lots of you have messaged me asking what my planning looks like....well, since a lot of you are in similar places to me, either just starting this journey or 'evolving' as you go I figure there can't be any right or wrong, right? Know doubt there are bigger and better ways of doing it but this is what works for me. Remembering that I teach every class, every age level......I have a planning folder in my Google Drive, I use Google Docs and make a template, then copy my template 5 times (we have 5 teams, Year 0/1, 2,3,4 and 5/6). I am a very visual learner so I use photo prompts for both the stations and the outcomes (which of course is also great evidence for your appraisal document). My planning is directly linked to our school's Skills and Attitudes (which students self-assess and this is shared with whanau via Seesaw). I also reflect on my planning within this document, so that I can always look back and see what worked and what I might want to change next time if I use that challenge station again. I also like to highlight any 'next steps' eg things I have to follow up on. I have uploaded a Year 2 example for you, with the first session completed, I go back to this and complete the next session - so each planning document has the equivalent of 2 sessions for 4 classes. If I feel like a station can be improved or is needs to be revamped (eg up or down in challenge level) I literally change it on the fly and then note this in the planning later (that's what we all do right? It's about differentiation but if you don't get it right why keep going - just because you planned it that way? I welcome any feedback so feel free to comment on this post, or ask any questions because we are all on this journey together, the Makerspace movement is finally taking hold in NZ!
I would love to see anyone else's planning you is happy to share and am particularly interested in any data gathering or research you may be involved in. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org I am currently doing an inquiry and research project around "The Makerspace movement in education in Aotearoa - how can we make a difference? ", so any ideas or sharing would be very useful as it seems global research is focused on high school years and collecting data and evidence at the primary level would be highly valuable.
You can scroll through the pdf below to see what my planning and reflection looks like...
Our Year 6’s love the WEDO robotics kits., some learners had done the build but needed more time to code. I was rapt at clean up time to see them gravitate to the ‘LEGO wall’ without me even suggesting it. The ‘wall evolved’ from originally going to be on a flip top table to ending up being glued onto corflute and just hooks up onto the wall so can be placed on the table, floor, deck or wherever. Our decks shade sail is currently being made and will mean we can double the number of learners which will be great as we are turning kids away. The collaboration and conversations taking place during these sessions, not to mention the problem solving, is well worth the minimal setup.
Today’s igniter was the gorgeous book “Feel a Little” Little poems about big feelings by Jenny Palmer and Evie Kemp. I read several poems but our main focus for today was the book called ‘Curious’. Our schools skills and attitudes include Curiosity and as this team is doing a Ko Au unit and linking to our attitudes it fitted perfectly. We had four stations - Build - which was a table covered in paper rolls small and large that I hole punched at each end and a big plastic container of straws......we also ended up with shiny cardboard and masking tape as our creations evolved and needed a roof or a wall, Make - which was a Duplo kit challenge (8 challenges with each having a different operational function), Create - which was a peg painting challenge, painting with a large variety of different materials, textures and natural materials and Imagine - which was a Science experiment station where we ended up with a colorful caterpillar (not in the original plan as I just saw 7 cups.....they saw a caterpillar! )The first group had an Ice Cream in a bag challenge but I changed this fir the second class as with the humidity only 2 of our 6 lots of ice cream froze enough to eat (they took the rest back to class and put in the freezer to eat later). Our conversations about being curious grew exponentially from pre to post......it’s great when you actually pose a reason to wonder and question in front of them. So often adults give them all the answers. Tomorrow is two more year 2 classes, I love my job!
Our New Entrant team of four classes have been lucky enough to be the first learners to experience our new space. I chose the picture book ‘In my heart - a book of feelings’ by Jo Witek as an igniter. I set up 4 challenge stations - STEAM based. The science station included an iPad and a Magnifying device and a raft of ‘discovery’ objects, the Technolgy/Engineering station was creating paper roll people, the Art challenge station also involved sewing (they learnt blanket stitch) while making puffy paper hearts and the Maths challenge was a Duplo station. Every station had key understandings and a list of words or questions for learners to consider (to develop language and build relationships with peers). Each station had a feelings focus eg make someone that you love and talk about how they make you feel. I changed the 'puffy heart' art activity for this afternoons group as they were a bigger class and I knew I wouldn't have as much time for one on one so I added a 'paper plate' heart sewing activity - when they learnt the concept of up, over, under and through (all great directional language for their next visit when we add a coding station).
Our space is already evolving with use as I realize our littlies just cant reach all the way over our big bench unit. I've aded one more very low table and are using the lily pads so that students can kneel (or stand if they choose to) at it (I'll move this out when I have the seniors as we will need the extra space). Having the furniture on wheels was such a great decision as the space is fluid and can be reset with ease. We had an open session for parents today as part of our ‘meet the teacher’ event, it was great to share with Whanau and celebrate the journey so far. So many lovely thankyous and sharing of stories of how engaged and motivated their children are to spend time in the Makerspace.
Lunchtime Lego and art (chill out sessions) have also started this week.
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.