30/6/2017 0 Comments
Room 19 (Year 5's and 6's) were absolutely buzzing in the MakerSpace today, truly creative and deep thinkers. Learners created their own unique Whirlygigs (which they will use a Stop Animation App to animate back in class) everything from tiny mythical creatures to a 3 foot jaw chomping great white shark! Several learners went the next step with the Lego WEDO kits today going 'off plan' and designing their own creations that could be coded to complete a set of functions. I particularly like the swing that used a repetitive looped code which the learner related back to the 'I am a Wizard' book learning he had done during his last session with me. One learner also choose to go 'low tech' and create his own Bay Blade style spinner. Two girls chose to create recycled Koru Art, both very different pieces but equally as intricate and detailed. The OSMO Tangram kits were also a hit today with learners having to show real perseverance when the going got tough.
It looks like a wet weekend ahead so the perfect chance to gather ideas, inspiration and resources for the weeks ahead.
I'm presenting a workshop in Melbourne next week on 'Developing a Makerspace in the Primary School Environment - The future belongs to the curious, the ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it and turn it inside out". Crafting my presentation has been a very reflective process.....how to capture it all in 75 minutes (including an 'explore time' with robots too of course). I've submitted to present this workshop at Ulearn this year too so perhaps I'll get the opportunity to share it with a NZ audience too.
This week as well as our 'Antiqued Recycled Art' we've also been exploring OSMO in the Senior school (Tangram - 'hard level' was a hit with Year 5/6's....a challenge they thrived on), making 'how to' videos on using Makey Makey kits to turn everyday objects into a touchpad eg playing music with an apple and a banana, , making 'whirligigs' with at least 4 moving parts, and even constructing 'brains'. Did I mention I LOVE my job!
I watched the 6 o'clock news and had to have a giggle over the 'digital curriculum' piece.....those of us that have been doing it and living it for more years than I can remember are already years ahead of what they're preaching. 40 million dollars to upskill teachers......Money doesn't change attitudes, or set schools and learners up for success, great leaders (who are and who employ transformative educators!) do that. He aha te mea nui o te ao, He Tangata, he tangata, he tangata. If schools aren't teaching with and through digital technologies they're doing their kids a disservice in my opinion. The digital curriculum is definitely a step in the right direction though...
At the very least digital technologies enable students to collaborate, to capture their thinking and their voice and then to share it globally . As educators we should nurture wonderment and awe each and everyday, encouraging students to explore, to problem solve and to tinker both with low tech and high tech.
This gorgeous artwork started off as a boring cardboard box and a pike of 'junk'. I was tagged in on a post on the 'Primary Art Ideas' Facebook page where an NZ Teacher shared her project. I headed to the 'man shed' and collected bits and bobs then put out the call to staff for any donations......in came the buckets of old trampoline springs, spark plugs, old tech gear and loads and loads of nuts and bolts! Pure gold!!!!!! I purchased spray paint (which our local Bunnings had a stash of 'Indian Red' fuoronly $3 a can....the gold and silver was $7) ...I also bought a box of 'linked' screws (I think they are for an electric gun thingy) these were in a bargain bin at Bunnings and were super effective when learners bent and twisted them. I only wished I had more hot glue guns and the space for more learners to have done this station as 20 chose it in the first class! Only a couple of kids spray painted today but they have another session on Tuesday so will do it then. I'll post more pics when they're all finished. Learners were very creative and spent time considering design elements and composition......not making a 'thing' was a challenge for only one student who chose to make a rugby ball and goal posts (it too was very well done!).
The kids loved this book (Beautiful Oops) as much as I did and several classes even clapped when I finished reading! (And they were Year 5's and 6's!) I introduced the concept of 'Miss-Takes' rather than Mistakes and I used the analogy of a film director and the amount of 'takes' they have to get it right......"Right first take....said No Director ever!". I set up 5 challenge stations covering Science, Technology, Art, Maths.....Optical Ilusion Cubes, Construction, I Am (an art and writing station - backgrounds done during this session and writing done next week), Makey Makey and Little Bits. 100 percent engagement and creativity beyond my expectations (love it when that happens). The Little Bits team went the extra mile and designed a 'house' with 3 lights and a fan.....at sharing time I set them the challenge to be real estate agents and 'sell' their house. They did a great job!
We had the Principal and BOT chair drop in for a visit today, the kids just love sharing their learning with others and were delighted to see puzzled faces when they played a piano duet using a banana and a lemon!
I unpacked some new laptops for teachers recently and with my 'Mrs Maker' hat on thought about what we could do with the packaging. I ended up with 2 'frames' and even recycled the black plastic inner. Here's what we did with one half of the box which had a black foam attached liner...the optical illusion cubes were hung with fishing line giving it the illusion that they were suspended in mid air. Some learners chose to stick to the black and white theme while others chose colour - both looked stunning against the black frame.
Tip: Once the cube net template (which I just googled and found a free download and printed out on A3 paper) was designed, learners glued it on to cardboard to strengthen and ensure the shape was structural well defined.
This is was one challenge station of 5 on offer for Year 5's today.
16/6/2017 0 Comments
A busy session in the Makerspace today, the 3rd of our Year 5/6 classes to have explore time learning coding concepts shared in Paul Hamiltons "If I were a Wizard" book. The boys working with the Jimu Robot learnt a lesson on debugging as they found that the person who had built the Robot has put his legs on incorrectly....meaning their code had him ducking and diving instead of moving forward.....great perseverance on their part.
13/6/2017 0 Comments
This week I have Year 5 and 6's in the Makerspace. I've framed their next 2 sessions around creating a 3 minute 'How to' video. They need to introduce their piece of technology and share the basics of it to get their audience 'up and going'. I expect them to be creative and do more than a 'talking head' video. Considering camera angles, sound, music a mix of video and still images and advanced editing is an expectation. What better way to show your understanding of a concept than to teach it to others?
Students had the choice between 10 pieces of technology and 6 apps (interestingly not a single student in the first 2 classes chose any of the apps, it was all about using hands on equipment).
Meccanoid Robot, Sphero, Lego WeDo kits, Makey Makey, Little Bits, EV3, Jimu Robot, Blue Bot, Parrot Drone and Dash were all on offer, with learners working in pairs and no more than 2 pairs on each piece of equipment. Even though we have class sets of some of the Robots, using the same piece of equipment on mass in a classroom space causes havoc with the Bluetooth connections (I have found that more than 5 and your setting yourself up for failure as learners spend more time trying to sort out connections than code or drive their robot).
I used a book by Paul Hamilton "If I were a Wizard' to introduce coding concepts and related the new thinking to our everyday experiences.
On reflection I feel that with this age level my expectations were too high, they would never complete the task in just 2 blocks, in reality they needed more 'exploration' time with the equipment. After speaking with the team leader we need to consider other options e.g. Perhaps front loading with mini sessions using equipment in class or focusing on the equipment in the Makerspace and creating the video back in class. We are going to revisit after the next 2 classes have been through and then will alter the plan to suit in future......I'm expecting students to have a detailed storyboard with their video planning but the actual movie will be completed back in class. I'd love to see some of these videos put together into a multitouch book and perhaps even entered into the MADE Awards.
For today's session with Year 4's I chose another book by Emily Gravett (the author that also wrote the book Meerkat Mail which I used earlier in the term.
We got thinking about, reflecting on and exploring the themes and key messages in this book…
How do our actions impact on others?
Accepting that what we have is enough.
Recognising that difference is something to celebrate and that we are all unique.
Realising that our actions have consequences.
Collaboration and working as a team.
5 Challenge Stations:
1: Water Colour Straw Blowing (an individual task celebrating individuality)
2: Paper Cut Out (Art and Photography - a working with a buddy project)
3: ZooKazam (Augmented Reality - Writing inspiration, an individual challenge)
4: Flextangles (Low Tech Fidget Spinner style - working as a team to problem solve the folding etc)
5: WeDo Lego (Robotics kits - a collaborative project)
The 'straw blowing' station was easy to set up and very successful, the actual process would be easily transferable in to 'trees' or 'monsters' etc to align with other picture books e.g. Oops or Boris Monster.
The ZooKazam app was engaging, informative and has huge potential for using back in the classroom. This team will use the app as a 'Thinking Task' rotation during the rest of the term.
The photography session needed more time so that students could revisit and improve their initial ideas. Their photos definitely had huge potential but many didn't include their hand in the shot so the effect was somewhat lost as it looked more like an app created shot rather than an 'artistic' low tech one. I plan on working with the students that selected this station again so that they can revisit and refine.
Another book by Leo Timmers (the author of Franky, one of my favorite Robot story's) which is just perfect for the Makerspace. Gus collects 'stuff', each of Gus's friends come to visit him at the garage and share their problem, Gus adds a bit of this and a bit of that to 'improve' and solve their problem. A great conversation starter and ignitor for a range of challenge stations. I set up 5 stations today - 'Build an Igloo' (A collaborative project), WeDo Lego kits (Problem solve, build and test), Robot Factory (Design, Create, Improve) a brilliant app which was free to download this week, Dash Robots (Build a track, Code and Test), Explosion Art (A bubbling Science experiment with an artistic twist.....DesignCreate, Improve,
Yet again learners choices surprise me during each session. In session one, 10 students (all boys!) chose the Lego building challenge, whereas in the second session with the next class no one chose the Lego station. The simple science experiment (with a twist) was a HUGE hit and would be very easy to do in a normal classroom environment.
I used trays to contain each students process (they are large xMotel serving trays which I use almost everyday for loads of things e.g. Dough, Lego etc). Students sprinkle Baking Soda, then drops of food colouring.......then using an eye dropper they squirt vinegar on top and stand back and watch the 'explosion'. While the mix is still wet they place a sheet of cartridge paper over top, press lightly and then peel off. The results were a raft of beautiful dyed mixes, some had raised dry edges of baking soda forming craters, whereas some were a very 'tie dyed' effect. It was wonderful watching students experiment with the reactions and effects and listening to them discussing the outcomes. Each of their artworks were unique and equally as beautiful.
Firstly there are lots of things I take into consideration when gathering resources
I almost always start by visiting Pinterest - as a very visual learner Pinterest gives me what I need quickly as I can scan for an image that captures my interest. Sometimes all I need to to see the image to spark an idea! I have a Makerspace Pinterest board where I pin all of my ideas and resources (usually added to daily......any or all of my boards might interest you so check them out). Click HERE to view my Pinterest Page, 'follow me' to see my pins on your feed.
Usually the rotations in the Makerspace are hands on and all creative (STEAM driven) so I design the activities and make any support material, instruction videos etc myself. This week it has been different as the Junior classes were looking for some 'basic building blocks' activities so I accessed pre made resources to save myself time (although in hindsight there was a lot of printing and laminating so it definitely took a lot more time that any previous sessions) it certainly saved me 'reinventing the wheel'.
Here's a few links to the resources I used this week
Year 0/1 ABC rotations
Year 2's Robot Rotations
For the Robot building station I did a Google Search and found a few simple Robot images using cardboard rolls and left them scattered on the table for inspiration. I filled the centre of the table with materials and ensured the learners knew this was a quick fire session. During our initial sharing time of each station I role modelled how to cover a cardboard role in tin foil as a starting point and said the rest was up to them. I know this 'guided' style had a lot less creativity but teachers had mentioned how many of these learners had challenges cutting and gluing and also I noticed that last time they were with me many didn't complete their building task so wanted to see how they coped with 'time pressure'.
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.