Today I made a few changes in the Makerspace. It was the New Entrant teams turn again and I decided that rather than learners choose one challenge station they would get to rotate around 6 different stations (10 minutes at each). The reality was they managed 5 rotations and it appeared to suit these learners much more. It definitely was a lot more work for me, both in setup and classroom management but I feel the learners were definitely more engaged perhaps more independent (at least once they do this again and realize they will get to do everything......some were 'desperate' to have a turn at certain tables!). The focus was on the alphabet with the ignitor being the book 'Alphabet Rescue', I discussed how important it is for capital and little letters to work together, just like they do in the book. I also reminded them how important they are so their name always needs a capital letter.....I role modeled this on the board and we shook each other's hand telling our partner just how important they are to us and our class.
The 6 stations were 'ABC Dough' using letter mats and play dough., 'ABC QTips' using cotton bud painting dots (for fine motor skills) and letter templates, 'ABC LEGO' but I actually used duplo and upper and lowercase letter cards, 'ABC Build' using A3 letters and laminated 'puzzle pieces, 'ABC Me' where learners chose the first letter of their name, glued in onto card, found the animal that started with that letter then cut and glued it to their letter (vital skills needed for the early years) and lastly 'ABC Clips' where learners use pegs to identify the correct picture that starts with the letter on their strip. I found all the preprinted templates online and almost all were free, the couple I paid for were well worth it as they saved me hours of work and were visually well put together (I'm fussy as I only like real photographs and hate any clip art style resources!)
Learning targeted to the needs of the students...letter recognition, linking upper and lowercase letters, initial word sounds, cutting, gluing.....lots of fine motor skills.
Beaming smiles, letters letters and more letters....
This is worth the watch. I like the part when Pharrell talks about the creative process......if we set out to make music that sounds like a particular genre it ends up sounding like something we've already heard before. Do we recognize singularity in our learners? The things that they do, create and make that are like no other....it should never be about conforming about creating something to a strict criteria but how often do our required outcomes make them all be and act the same. Something to ponder on a rainy Saturday.
The last 2 days have been the Year 4's.......my 'brainwave' plan that I was so excited about worked.......sort of. You never can tell what will spark learners interests and passions......one class had only 2 learners chose the 'ART' station whereas the next day it was crowded with budding artists. I'm looking forward to seeing the follow up back in classes when students photograph their collages to use as the front of their 'Life Cards' (such a brilliant app to support writing and it just fits so wonderfully with the postcard genre style of picture book that was this Year groups spark - Meerkat Mail).
I was surprised with how many learners wanted to build tunnels (out of recycling - bottles and boxes) then navigate their Sphero's through - their Sphero was 'Sunny' the Meerkat and their tunnels were to connect the relatives (I would have rather had them coding them but they need some more explicit teaching around coding first). The science experiment was a HUGE hit - making rain clouds (shaving foam clouds, water and food colouring, they fit some wonderful time lapse videos) o replicate the rainy environment that 'Sunny' visited. I loved that a group of girls worked out how they could make a tornado and used the language of how they would add to the book with visiting a relative in a 'storm country'.......love it when we can spark curiosity and link thought processes too!
The Kmart microscopes were brilliant yet again, they fit across so many curriculum subjects and it doesn't seem to matter what age the learners are they are fascinated by them. A great value add on iPad tool that I now wouldn't want to be without.
Apps used with the Year 4's as well as the hands on 'stuff' - Camera app (photo's, video and time-lapse), iMovie, Pizap, Write About This, Spark Lightning Lab, Life Cards (downloaded for use back in class as follow-up.)
I have a group of Science teachers visiting on Monday so I'm looking forward to sharing what we do in the Makerspace and the thinking, planning and curriculum design behind it.
The last two of the Year 3 classes went through the Makerspace today. It's really interesting reflecting on the dynamics of each class......those that persevere and never give up......those that try the old "I can't do it (with big sad eyes and expect I'm just going to do it for them NOT!). Tomorrow I have the first two of the Year 4 classes, their focus is on rocks, minerals and gems.....then moving onto landforms. I've planned my stations, then thought, rethought and thought again, you know what it's like.....I was just looking for a way to connect all the dots, not only this terms 'theme' but also our school wide goal of writing. Looks like I just may have found it.......watch this space for tomorrows blog post when I reflect on the outcomes.
Todays first sessions in our new space were a big hit. Our igniter was the short animated clip 'Kiwi' (see below), I absolutely love this video for nurturing thinking and sparking great ideas. We discussed the attitudes Kiwi displayed eg Curiousity, Perseverance and Open Mindedness. Then we brainstormed what other ways Kiwi might have navigated the 'jump' eg Paraglider, Bungy Jump, catching a ride on an Eagle (don't you just love kids imaginations...)., it actually was a long list with both of today's classes. Not surprisingly no one said catapult so that was our first learning conversation. What is a catapult? What's the science behind them? Then I role modeled a simple can and rubber band one and pointed learners in the direction of the guiding video with step by step instructions to make an ice block stick catapult then after completing this one and the 3 challenges they designed their own. Today's challenge stations included Catapults, Paper Planes, Egg drop, investigation (microscopes with feathers and more) and Parrot Drones (which morphed into spheros as the drones were unreliable and not holding their charge). Learners used the Year 3 page to support their session
Lots of rich learning today and very excited kids....I learnt that I need to pretest all of the robotics just before each session and not just presume they will work (even when they have the day before!). Spheros are 100 % reliable - Parrot Drones not so much!
A very busy week last week.....on Monday I moved the Makerspace to its next temporary space (due to Roll growth, we are now operating out of what was previously our staffroom but Senior teachers and the Senior leadership team voted for moving to our much smaller hall kitchen as they value this programme and wanted to see the Makerspace continue). We are hoping our new building will be started soon. Tomorrow I have the first two classes from the Year 3 team who have an 'Up in the air' discovery theme.......on the menu we have catapults, paper planes, egg drops, parrot drones and iPad microscope investigations (feathers). Check back tomorrow to view the adventures and outcomes.
The weather was wild outside today but it was bright and bubbling in the Maker space. I ran the final two lessons for the Year 2 team. The feedback from teachers was interesting.....last term I used a different book for each class with a variety of different learning experiences. This time I chose 1 book and repeated the sessions for each class, the dynamics of each group created quiet different outcomes with one class needing 3 space ship building tables! Teachers felt this have them more depth to draw on when groups of learners across the team were working by collaboratively and also they New that all students had had the same opportunities and they could build on that back in class. It certainly was easier planning for me but I would want to do it for larger teams as 2 days doing the same thing was enough for me. The 'We're all Wonders' book could be used across any level and has huge potential to link with a variety of STEAM opportunities. Next week I pack up and move as roll growth has meant we need this space for another class - I'm looking forward to the challenge of making our new space work. Photos to follow next week.
Today's sessions for the Year 2's were centered around the attribute 'Integrity' and I used the book 'We're all Wonders' as an igniter. We had discussions around celebrating differences and how we act around others. Do we use integrity and how might that look? What is special and unique about us and our world? What is a wonder? We decided to explore all the wonderous things around us.....the wonder stations today were.......building a rocket ship like the boy in the story escaped on,. Using our iPad microscopes to explore and wonder (using natural objects from around the school as well as hair, wood, yoghurt, cheese, sugar, and our finger tips)......the wonderment and awe was such a joy to see......when we shared our photos ion the big screen tv everyone was amazed. We had a 'bubble station where learners used wire and pipe cleaners and classroom objects to create and explore bubbles....their challenge was to make a square bubble.....would this work?We had a 'tall tower' station where learners discussed gravity and structure. We had a 3D marble run created on the windows using tubes and angled construction material, so much problem solving. The Makerspace was a hive and buzz of activity!
So much fun and exploring ideas for our 5 year olds during the second day of Oobleck, Sand foam, Designing farms and manning the animal wash station, creating Dinosaur lands and 'hatching' insects from their frozen eggs. Teachers shared their follow up writing with me today and students will record their stories to their blogs tomorrow. Wonderful inspiration for rich writing experiences!
After school holidays and last week away Keynote speaking at a series of Early Years Conferences in Australia I was super excited to be back in the Makerspace. Today was a 'sensory' experience for our new entrants (5 year olds). I used the book 'Hare' by Deborah Hinde as the igniter....it's a delightful story with gorgeous illustrations and is about ideas and how know one else can find your ideas for you. Our learners loved it and were very eager to share their own ideas about the days challenge stations. I did something different today and due to the water and sensory delights eg dirt, sand foam, oobleck etc and the size limitations of our temporary space opted for no iPads. I did take photos and video throughout though so that students would have a photographic reference to use to support their writing back in class tomorrow. We had a 'build a marble run' with tubes and tape, which ended up threading its way all over the side of the building, such great problem solving! The farm animal dirt boxes and wash stations were super popular. I'd have to say though the 'eggs-cavation' station was by far the biggest hit. I had placed a small creature inside a balloon then added water until it was the size of a large fist size egg then froze overnight. I handed learners the balloon asking them to come up with ideas of what might be inside the balloon. I cut the knot from the top then handed them over.......they had to get the treasure inside without smashing or using anything other than a squeezy 'sauce bottle' of water. We discussed freezing and melting and formed endless ideas of what might happen. Lots of 'feels like' discussions. I'll be busy freezing more tonight as word has spread and tomorrow's teachers want a repeat of the session! Did I mention I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!
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.