Sunday, April 3, 2016

We are makers!


Can you believe it's spring already?! It's been a busy winter and we are winding down for the school year. Because it is testing season, I want to give my students a space and time to explore their passions as a way to close our year. My goal is for my students to get creative and dive into the makerspaces movement- in our own way of course. Here is what we have accomplished so far.


Cardboard Challenge

My 3rd graders have been busy planning and creating their cardboard arcades. They are definitely having a blast making these and can't wait to have our 1st grade classes come to our class arcade. The idea for this challenge was inspired by the documentary Caine's Arcade. While my students did get an opportunity to participate in the global challenge that goes along with this movement- that's not stopping us from joining in the fun! The icing on this maker cake has been our segment in the news. As we were working, I tweeted out our progress and our local station came to interview us. I thought this was perfect in not only sharing our cool creations, but also practicing real-world communication skills. To see the full report, click here. 
Being interviewed about our Cardboard Challenge! 

Maker Centers

 I have also created several bi-weekly maker challenges and tasks as part of center time for both my younger and intermediate learners. My main sources of inspiration have come from instructibles.com and Diana Rendina's blog (@DianaLRendina). So far we've made corner bookmarks and tinkered with Scratch through code.org.  Right now, my 4th graders are working on our Paper City, where they are creating their own 3D city display to reflect their personalities, wishes, or hopes. Our next challenge will focus on using cardboard to solve real-world problems like creating a stand for an electronic reader or device (from renovatedlearning.com). I'm curious to see how the challenges will work out since it will be the first time I try these with my students. 

2nd graders showing off their corner bookmarks. 

video
Tinkering with Scratch & Animation. 

DIY Projects

Our 4th and 5th graders will get an opportunity to explore their passions and interests through their DIY Projects. After conferencing with students, I guided them in choosing a topic or skill they would like to learn or share with the class. Next, they selected a skill/badge from diy.org and a few challenges that relate to their "passion." As a culminating project, they will create products to showcase their learning and research a career that best reflects the badge or skill they selected. Each week, students will be expected to keep a log to reflect on their process and highlight a classmate who was helpful or that went above or beyond in their work. So far, students are planning the following projects: 1) Creating last minute costumes, 2) Exploring music making and creating a theme song for our class, 3) Exploring more advanced animation features in Scratch and create a project or ebook with tips/instructions for computer programming, and 4) Exploring different acting techniques to perform for a class. As students create, they will also document their process by taking pictures to include in their Google Drive and be expected to create a digital display either through Google Slides and or other media (videos, podcasts, etc). The final products for these will depend on the student as he/she will select the best medium to showcase their project. I can't wait to see my students' creations!