May 31

How to create digital I Spy puzzles

Students in Grade 3 created their own I Spy pages. The items were gathered from yard sales, usually by the bag full, for a few dollars, and put through the dishwasher. The first class was spent exploring ‘I Spy’ books and arranging the items onto colourful card. I had 9 baskets of items so small groups or pairs each photographed the same designs but did their own clues.

During the second class period, students cropped their photos and used PicCollage App to add clues. Image quality is an issue with closeups with our iPad 2s. Other classes will try to find the items in the images and they were included in a school assembly video.  Continue reading to see more examples.

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May 24

Celebrating a Student Art Gallery using Superimpose App

Students in Grade 4 created digital images that celebrate the work of younger students in the school. Each student used a background, art work from the iPad photos, a frame and their own photo to create a four layer image. This was tricky as each layer had to be exported and re-imported into the Superimpose App. Students are developing techniques in masking, editing and photography. Our goal is to help create pride and community by displaying the Kindergarten and Grade 1 work that was left on the iPads. Read more for the ‘how to’.

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May 20

How to Paint with a Sphero

As our annual Parent Thank You Tea was approaching I decided to try using the Sphero robots to create some artwork for the tabletops and walls. Here are a few ideas that worked for us. The lesson incorporated art in the style of Jackson Pollock, programming and using the Lightening Lab App and big ideas around showing appreciation, and learning and creating cooperatively. Read more for some tips we learned as we worked through this project.

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May 13

The Importance of Tinkering: Robotics and Coding

Spheros, Snap Circuits and Ozobots

We have been exploring a variety of robotics and coding tools in the Learning Commons. Students are highly interested and motivated to ‘play’ with technology that they have not used before. I introduced the tools with only loose guidelines so that the students would have the opportunity to figure them out independently or in their small groups.

The 5/6 class needed to explore the items for two 50 minute blocks before they were ready to start to create programs. By the end of the second block they began to have a better understanding of the potential of the robots and this would not have been possible if they had not had the opportunity to tinker and play before beginning the programming.

Dash, Ozobots, Cubelets

 

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May 13

Making ‘I Am a Maker’ letters

This was a fun and easy to prepare lesson on co-operative learning, pre-plannning and time management. In pairs, students were given a small basket of manipulatives and tasked with making the assigned letter from our Maker message. Students had to decide how to best use both the materials and the allotted time.

I had 9 baskets of manipulatives, mostly picked up by the bagful from yard sales, although any small math counting items would also work. The letters were photographed and placed in Pic Collage App. We will soon be using these same items to build and label our own ‘I Spy’ creations.

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May 13

Binary Coding with Beads

Students were excited to learn more about binary code. After discussing the numbered data language and looking at examples we blended in our ‘I Am a Maker’ theme and created stands of beads with our message in binary code. The activity was completed during one Grade 4/5, 40 minute learning commons prep class. The strands are hanging on display in the LC with a chart and informational sign.

I found an easy to read chart and we used perler beads as they are inexpensive and have large holes. I chose plastic craft string for ease of threading but any slightly stiff thread would work. Students tied a black bead at the beginning. This holds the beads on but also delineates the start of the message so it can be read correctly.

 

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April 29

Keeping the Literature in Maker Education

The Maker Movement can be a great way to approach literature study by using meaningful, high interest problem based and project based learning.   As Teacher-Librarians incorporate Maker Education activities into the Learning Commons, there are endless opportunities to use literature to facilitate this hands-on learning.

Reading can spark interest and provide context for projects in the same way that Maker activities can create enthusiasm for further literature explorations. It is not the case that designated time spent in the elementary Library Learning Commons must be either literature based or have a Maker focus. The two can be complimentary and interwoven.

Here are a few book titles and projects that might help to spark ideas:

 

Wondering if building a clear plastic green house might speed up bean germination? Does the shape or size of the structure affect the rate of growth? Using recycled materials such as clear plastic cartons or create a frame with popsicle sticks and kitchen wrap.

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April 18

Making the Elizabeth Tower and Digital Creation

Students in Grade 4 used popsicle sticks to create their interpretation of the Elizabeth Tower in London. After learning about the tower, they worked in five groups to plan their design and to create their structure using popsicle sticks and hot glue. The towers were painted and clock faces added along with a Union Jack flag.

The grade 4/5 class photographed the towers (with permission) and used Superimpose app to show our connection with countries around the world. Text added using Pic Collage app.

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March 28

Digitally showcasing MakerEd Mighty Women

Students used their learning about their Mighty Woman to place their dolls in a setting. The images showcase the research, costume design and sewing of the clothes. They  photographed the characters on a solid colour and used Superimpose App to layer the images. The digital creation was then imported into PicCollage and text was added. Students then uploaded their work to their FreshGrade digital portfolio. Here’s some of their wonderful work. 

 

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March 4

Exporting Student Work from Supervised iPads using Dropbox

In the Learning Commons, many students are reviewing how to export their digital creations so that we can share their work with the world. The school iPads are necessarily restricted and there is no email associated with the devices. Students are able to upload to their digital portfolio on FreshGrade and we often do this through a stand alone student comment and image. This allows students to reflect on their learning and is a fantastic opportunity. However, given prep period time constraints of a 20 to 40 minute class and the multitude of passwords and user names, this is not always possible with younger students, so we sometimes use DropBox to share our work.

Googily Eyes and Book Covers: Learning photo editing skills, cropping, straightening and colour adjustments.

The iPads stay signed in to my Dropbox account so students do not need to sign into the app. Primary students are able to export their work from a creative app, save to the camera roll and upload to Dropbox.

Sharing creations on the big screen gives us an opportunity to discuss our learning.

Before the class is over we can easily view everyone’s creations and discuss as a group what we learned and what we would do differently next time. I then download the images, import as a whole to iMovie to create a video, add titles and upload to Vanier on Video. This allows the link to be posted on Twitter, on the Learning Commons blog and in the school newsletter. It can also be added to the Freshgrade account of the class. We often will take a look at the video at the beginning of the next library period by way of review and celebration.

Learning photo editing and uploading with GOOGILY eyes. from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

This was a quick and easy activity to practise the skill of creating, editing, saving, exporting and uploading.

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