In the Learning Commons, students have been thinking about diverse families and recognizing that families come in all shapes and sizes. We used our Button Maker to create Be Who You Are buttons that celebrate all the different kinds of families in our school community.
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Many thanks to Clayton Gauthier – Cree/Dakelh Artist who kindly gave us permission to draw inspiration from his wonderful book The Salmon Run.
We are so proud of this collaborative Learning Commons project which included every student at our school. Everyone was able to participate in different ways, from design, sanding, drilling and painting. It was an entirely inclusive project.
Each division looked at the life cycle of the salmon from an Indigenous Perspective and discussed Clayton Gauthier’s powerful images about showing true colours, persevering in the face of struggles, following your heart, honouring your ancestors, protecting the environment and the interconnectedness of life. Safety First from Kindergarten to Grade 7: Sanding the wood and drilling the holes. Thanks to Brian Newbold for the jigs. The painters each did one part of a salmon and were totally engaged in this cooperative, communal project. Over 500 students made 100 fish.The project took one full month to complete, including our discussions and developing an understanding of the perspectives of The Salmon Run. This involved scheduling entire classes as well as small groups into the Learning Commons. The space was taken over by tarps, newspaper, wood and paint cans for the duration of the activity. Our next step is to celebrate this Indigenous project with the school community. We will be hosting a parent tea with The Salmon Run theme and showing a video of images from our learning.
For next time I would remember: Outdoor paint goes a long way – don’t buy too much. Match the drill holes better to the size of the wire. Get very fine sandpaper for the exuberant sanders. Don’t worry about the carpet – we didn’t spill one bit of paint, not one! Regular sweeping keeps the sawdust under control. Wash the brushes immediately. Buy better quality brushes. Most importantly, just jump right in.
Clayton Gauthier. Dakelh translation by Francois Prince.
Penticton, BC: Theytus Books, 2016.
20 pp., stapled pbk., $9.95.
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Students in Grade 2 and 3 used Lego to show their learning about skyscrapers in Tokyo. They cooperatively created a neon-lit street scene in Akihabara. As a group, we used Superimpose App to place our buildings into a Japanese photograph. No green screen required. Here is how we did it:
1. Begin by importing a background from photos using the square icon on the top left.
2. Repeat by importing a foreground from photos, again using the square icon on the top left.
Students created buttons to show their love of reading. We used colourful pages from discarded picture books and pages of text from old paperbacks to create our People Press pins.
Students in Grade 4 have been learning about different styles of Japanese writing. We chose some powerful words to put on display using old DVD cases. Students chose words such as Kindness, Beauty, Truth and Peace. We used calligraphy brushes purchased at an inexpensive Japanese Dollar store (Daiso in Richmond).
We have been exploring the significance of the lotus in Japanese culture. Students were up for the challenge of using a linear tool to create a circular design.
Students shared the ideas in How to Catch Santa by Jean Reagan. We discussed different kinds of traps that might work and students worked in groups of 2 or 3 to build a mini-machine that would trap Santa. Students had to work cooperatively and were able to give detailed explanations as to how their trap worked.
In a collaborative effort, two Grade 3 classes contributed to the making of a set of trees to decorate the Learning Commons. Given time constraints, I hot glued the pine cones into the small dixie cups in advance. Activity linked to Winter Trees by Carole Gerber.
The first class painted the base and the green tree. This allowed the first coat to dry before the next class added the white paint and glitter.
Rather than each student have to leave the room for clean up, or try to squeeze to use the sink in my office, I put out a shallow container of soapy water and a pile of paper towels.
Update: The class that did the painting decided to gift the creations to the class that did the glitter. Great practice on how to wrap presents.
Students learned about holly (ouch) and painted wooden decorations. We created a fireplace mantle from unused textbooks and picked out some themed books to add to fire place.
We like to keep the literature closely linked to our Maker Education activities. Here’s a link to a useful list of books that can easily be linked to a Maker activity. This week we explored Chris Van Dusen’s If I Built a House and designed our own structures with unique features. We have also done this activity with the companion book If I Built a Car.
Like the character in the book, we used a variety of materials to design our structures including Tinker Toys, Lego and K’nex. We will be linking this to our Japan theme next week and some classes will be exploring traditional Japanese home design.