February 28

Using a Buddha Board for Social Emotional Learning and Digital Creation

A Buddha Board is calming way to paint and then watch your creation slowly disappear. The white board is mounted onto a black water tray and you use the brush to paint with the water. The brush strokes show up in black. As the water evaporates, the board becomes white again. We have been experimenting with our new Buddha Board in the Learning Commons and figuring out some ways it could be best utilized.

Our first use of the board in the classroom was as a calm down tool for students. The board worked in much the same way as Mind Up tools. Bubblers or glitter jars can be useful in helping students to self regulate and the board offers one more strategy for this calming activity. Students are able to create an image, for example, a representation of their frustration, and watch it slowly disappear as they practice their mindful breathing techniques. The image can take about 5 minutes to evaporate and the process repeated if necessary.

It was also handy for an impatient or anxious student to look at to help understand how long it would be before the next activity or recess. ‘ When the picture is gone’ was more concrete than ‘in 5 minutes’. The board was also helpful for a student who just needed a break from the current activity.

All of the students who tried the board liked the way the brush felt as they painted. They liked the idea that the creation would slowly disappear. Mistakes were not important and it didn’t matter if they felt themselves to be ‘good artists’ or not as there was no permanence to the painting.

We also video taped some Social Emotional Learning words as they disappeared, reversed the film and sped it up so the words seem to appear. As students create their own videos to show their learning we could imagine using this technique for adding titles, credits, thought balloons etc.

Buddha Board from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

I am wondering about using the board as a ‘End of Day’ tool, i.e. ‘Let’s see if we can pick up all of the lego before the image disappears’. Overall, we are looking forward to experimenting with the board. It is great to be able to create with a brush without the problem of getting actual paint all over the library. We have the larger board but smaller ones are available. The larger one was about $35CAD at Chapters and Amazon .The smaller boards are about $16CAD but at just 5″ square, they looked a little too small to be useful.

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January 27

Alternative Eiffel, Cedar Boxes, Mighty Girls

Figuring out a building plan

Vanier students are Makers. After creating designs last week, students came up with a construction plan and worked cooperatively to build their own interpretations of the Eiffel Tower. They figured out that communication is the most important thing when working together.

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January 21

Reading with Musical Cushions

We had fun in the Learning Commons playing Musical Cushions. Students circled the books until the music stopped and then read the picture book. We practised looking at the details in the illustrations and worked on remembering how to turn the pages carefully so that the book does not get damaged.

Grade 4 classes used Doodle Buddy App to begin our design plans for our giant Eiffel Towers, the 5/6 classes continued with their Mighty Girl projects and the 4/5 class began looking at all of the fantastic ways that First Nations Peoples used Cedar: The Tree of Life. Continue reading

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September 17

Create vs. Consume

Choosing apps for school iPads can be a transformational task that might encourage discussion on learning goals and school missions. There are many great apps available but there are a few things to consider.

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Begin by clarifying your vision for the use of the devices. What are your objectives and goals, the ‘why’. Look at apps that help you meet those goals.

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 7.39.19 AMLook for apps that are used to create rather than consume. Continue reading

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June 5

I Spy, Dreams, Sidewalk Art

Kindergarten students have been exploring I Spy books. We have been using the pictures to search carefully for shapes, colours and items. Students used colourful miniatures to create and photograph their own I Spy pages. We will use these next week to challenge each other’s searching skills.

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Students work cooperatively to design their own I Spy challenge.

Using the green screen, three classes demonstrated how expressive and creative they can be. Some students imagined themselves as future doctors, engineers or pilots. We also re-created some iconic images and put them in a video to share at the Primary Assembly. Lots of fun!

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Even Einstein knew how to have fun.

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Friendly Nemo

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If you can dream it… from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

We decided to advertise some of the great books in the Learning Commons at the front of the school. Students sketched their current favourite book covers including the author’s name and book title and we re-created them on the sidewalk. It was a great way to celebrate our reading.

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Mermaid Tales by D. Daday

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April 8

Author tweets, stop motion, spirograph

This week many classes read ‘Please Open this Book’ by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe. We loved the characters  and the great story sparked lots of discussion. Kindergarten students used the theme of the animals being stuck in the book to help them think about their digital work being stuck in an App. It was a great jumping off point for our lessons on saving our creations to the iPad photo album.

We tweeted our idea and the author wrote back!

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We have also been experimenting with stop motion video using items from the Maker Space.

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Team work, Problem solving, Cooperation, Creativity, Critical Thinking

Boom! Stop Motion in the Learning Commons from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

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Breathing new life into art prints with stop motion video.

Our 3D printed Spirograph worked pretty well!

Check out our 3D printed Spirograph set!

And don’t forget our Monster Book Fair is next week – April 11th – 15th. Classes will have an opportunity to visit the fair during their scheduled Learning Commons period. Student shoppers are welcome to bring their piggy banks at recess and lunch and everyone is welcome to come and check it out after 2:30. Parents and Caregivers are also invited to visit between 8:00 and 8:30 for a quieter browse.

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October 31

Books Take You Places

This week at Georges Vanier we joined schools from across B.C. and Canada to Drop Everything And Read: D.E.A.R.  These photos show the worlds that books can take you. The pictures were snapped in classrooms as students sat down with a good book. I used Superimpose App to change the background.  Attributions below.

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Check out more of the wonderful places a good book has taken some Vanier students and staff…
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