The Year 3 team have grasped the maker movement with both hands and are now trialling their own version of the Maker space one day a week across their team. They are in single cell classrooms with students rotating throughout the day...each classroom is set up with a focus eg Coding, Construction, LEGO etc and learners rotate around each space, the learning is ignited by a picture book in the same way as I do. Students are absolutely buzzing and it has become a highlight of their week. I'm looking forward to hearing feedback from teachers and posing questions around how they are assessing this learning and how/if what they are doing is impacting on learning outcomes across the curriculum.
So this week the Year 3 team wanted a Matariki focus in the Maker space and after lengthy discussions we decided to do things differently. Rather than having different challenge stations I ignited a large collaborative team project - building giant kites, art installation style that can be hung from the ceiling.....imagine 'adult' size in height. Each classroom will complete 2 kites and I will take an 'extension' group who will complete another one so that we have 7 in total.
After reading the story, The Seven Kites of Matariki, and pointing out different features of each one, especially the shells and unique materials used eg, fish skin, I used the iPad camera to mirror each kite up onto the TV from within the pages of the book. Learners identified their favourites, putting their hands up and then a few from each 'page' highlighted they favourite feature to the class. We then discussed how the kites would have been made eg the Harakeke used as fastening.
I introduced the project and showed some of the possible materials we could use.....and also shared the vision of having huge amazing handmade kites hanging above us!
Learners then drew a picture of their 'ultimate' kite, including their favourite parts from the kite in the book and then adding their own creative spin. We took our time and added detail, some even labelled the materials they would use. We grouped back together.
We then overviewed the similarities and differences and grouped 'like-minded kites' by shape eg Diamond kite, Rectangles, Circles etc. These 'teams' then sat together and looked at and discussed each others kites. I visited each group and nominated an 'artist' who was the only one allowed a pencil. Team members looked at each others kites then took turns to decide which feature/s they wanted to take from their design and add to the collaborative group design. Team members were able to negotiate and vote on each decision. I really wasn't sure how this would go with Year 3's but was absolutely thrilled with the outcomes.
Every group came up with unique and creative designs, it was great to hear several groups saying "Wow, I could never have done something that amazing on my own, I love our design". If I'm honest this session was a challenge for me as I appreciate the process but it is so reliant on what happens back in class and it definitely meant me stepping back from having more 'control' of the outcomes.......usually a 'project' is started with me and I have set very high expectations and done the ground work. I'm also use to small groups and multiple things happening at once and this felt a lot more like 'whole class teaching' which goes against everything I believe in for catering for individual needs and differences. But when I reflect although learners didn't have 'choice' in the actual project they did have voice throughout the process and each and every learner was 100% committed to the task. I'm keen to talk to learners throughout the project to capture their thinking and reflections, I'll visit their Seesaw learning journals to see this.
The next step back in class is for each group to make a small prototype kite to experiment with and share back to the class. From these prototypes the class will have a whole class discussion and decide what they want to keep in their two final creations. I'll post again later so you can see the progression and the final products.
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.