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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February 25

How to make a Fun Friendship Video and Random Acts of Kindness Cookies

I found a bag 10 of ‘nose and glasses’ from the Dollar store and used them to get some genuine, unposed smiles from students with their buddies for our Pink Shirt Day assembly. Students thought I was getting ready to take the picture but I actually filmed the students as they put the glasses on and saw each other for the first time, then snapped a quick photo and slowed the video down by 50% in iMovie.

Pink Shirt Day: Friendship from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

We decorated cookies in the Learning Commons and 75 students participated. We discussed Random Acts of Kindness and the idea of how sharing a cookie can be a way to make a connection, start a friendship or show appreciation. The cookies were pre-made from kits bought on sale after Valentine’s Day so were easy to use. Each kit included 12 nut free cookies, icing and decorative candies. We set up a big bucket of hot soapy water for a hand washing station.

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February 25

Upcycle Cigar Boxes to First Nations ‘Cedar Boxes’

We began our project with a great ‘Tree of Life’ kit from Surrey Schools Aboriginal Dept. The kit includes CDs and DVDs as well as books and information on Cedar, Totem Poles and Northwest Native Art. An excellent resource, delivered right to your Surrey school. We also discussed A Journey into Time Immemorial: The Importance of Cedar.

Students added some of the many uses of cedar to a circular tree and coloured a totem for the top.

The cigar boxes came from a Vancouver tobacconist, I paid $20 CAD (cash deal) for 30. Some of the boxes had lots of glossy labels that had to be scraped off before painting. We added Mod Podge to the top surface to seal the picture and add a slight gloss. Students are proud to display their work and excited to take them home. Each time they open the box there will be a little reminder of the importance of the cedar tree to the First Nations peoples.

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February 23

K-2 lesson on hand washing and germs

This week every class K – 2  had a refresher lesson in the Learning Commons about health. Something about story time draws little ones to touch their faces. In an effort to remind students about hygiene we talked about germs, nose picking and hand washing. This is particularly important on the days we use the iPads, although we all share the books, door knobs, railings and table tops. We also took a look at some images of germs under a microscope.



We read ‘Sick Simon’ by Dan Krall which helps children visualize the germs and encourages them to understand how sickness can spread. We also sang along with a catchy little tune in a video called ‘ Picking Your Nose is Nasty’.

Other titles in the Vanier Library collection include:

Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo by E.S. Redmond

Germs are not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick

Sid the Science Kid: The Trouble with Germs

Keeping Clean by Honor Head

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February 19

Why I won’t weed this outdated and unread book

I’m the practical  librarian, not the sentimental archivist, but our collection has one decades old book that’s never checked out and that I will not discard. Our school will be celebrating it’s 50th anniversary in 2019 and this title was presented to the library in 1973. The inscription reads:

To Georges Vanier Elementary School Library

From their first librarian Dorothy Wells (Mrs. L)

Presented Dec. 20, 1973

Something about the note implies a fondness for the position and perhaps reluctance to leave. Librarians build on and shape the book choices that came before us. The library collection morphs to reflect the clients but it is also a mirror to the librarian that selected the books…so we’re keeping this one.  

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February 17

3D Print Love Tokens

To celebrate Valentine’s Day we created Love Tokens on the 3D Printer and learned how to braid yarn. Click here for the stl file. A single print run for nine hearts was only a few minutes. I taped the wool strands to the desks ahead of time. We took a look at part of this video that shows the braiding clearly. Students did a great job and enjoyed the challenge.

Other classes continued to celebrate learning at Vanier using QR Codes and our Mighty Girl Projects are starting to take shape. And, we made a quick video of our wall of What Do You Love?

 

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February 11

First Nations Resource for Social Emotional Learning

In her book Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox, author Danielle Daniel explains the importance of totem animals in Anishinaabe culture and how they can act as animal guides for children seeking to understand themselves and others.

This little book is great resource for exploring SEL. We made connections using Coast Salish designs for our follow-up activity and students made the link between the animals, the text and identifying their own varying emotions, strengths and feelings.

Gr. 3 discussions and art took two 40 minute periods inc. book exchanges.

After exploring Coast Salish mask art, students used their own creativity to complete the activity. We also took the opportunity to use ‘fancy frames’ to offer students a little recognition. Remaining masks were displayed in the hall.

 

 

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February 11

Using QR Codes to Celebrate Student Creations

Students celebrated their learning and the creations of their peers using QR codes.  There are a number of on-line ‘Quick Response’ Code generators available. I used Kaywa – select ‘Static’ for this free service.

Enter the URL of the destination website and click ‘Generate’. Then print the QR Code. Without adjustment, it will be 2″ by 2″.

QR Reader App Icon

I glued the codes onto hearts by way of ‘We Love Learning’ and posted about a dozen or so about the Learning Commons. Following a discussion on Quick Response Codes, we reviewed how to use the free app QR Reader.

The codes directed students to student work on our Vanier on Video site. Students were delighted to see their own work as well as the creations of other students in the school. I often use QR Codes to help spread the word about activities in the Vanier LC: from a footnote on September Kindergarten letters, by Learning Commons doorways and near bulletin boards.

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February 4

How to Build Community

We have been focusing on building and respecting our school community through creative and MakerEd co-operative projects. Three classes worked as a team to create some fantastic wall art based on Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’.

Some classes are helping each other to figure out how to make clothing for their Mighty Girls and others are working together to make First Nations cedar boxes.

Read on for: Love Wall, Todd Parr art, We Are All Linked and Love Hearts bulletin boards Continue reading

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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.

Continue reading

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