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 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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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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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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December 11

Gathering S.T.E.A.M – Binary Code

This week in the Learning Commons, students got creative by blending Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

img_5123Some classes learned about Binary Code. Binary Code represents computer data using any two-symbol system, often 0 and 1. It is the language of computers. Students used guides to create strings of beads that show their initials in binary code. I used Perler Beads for this science and technology activity as these beads are easy to thread, create a ‘tube’ of code and are inexpensive to purchase.

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October 17

Celebrating Diwali

Cross-curricular explorations and building connections during Diwali. Useful links to information, activities and videos to help your class celebrate the Festival of Lights. Diwali in 2017 is on Thursday, October 19, 2017 and will continue to Monday, October 23, 2017.

STEM ideas and activities which can be linked to Diwali including: investigating shadows, creating shadow puppets, using spectroscopes and colour wheels to study light and colour, exploring electrical circuits and making lava lamps.

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Rangoli

A rangoli is a colourful design made on the floor near the entrance to a house to welcome guests. At Diwali, people draw bright Rangoli patterns to encourage the goddess Lakshmi to enter their homes.

Group Chalk and Sand Project. Social Emotional Learning – cooperation, planning, inclusion, critical thinking. 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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