October 19

Making buttons and cards with our Flower Press

Students experimented with a flower press to see if we would be able to add petals to a design and then create a pin with our button press. We wondered if the petals would dry out and break in the button. So far so good. We also created designs to use as Thank you cards in the future. We are looking forward to the spring when more flower petals will be available.

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October 13

Wabi-Sabi: Celebrating Transience and Imperfection

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, the concept of Wabi-sabi centers on the acceptance and celebration of transience, mindfulness and imperfection.

We have begun to use the concept of Wabi Sabi in the Learning Commons to help influence our thinking around Maker Ed. Whilst some maker projects appear more permanent than others, students are encouraged to remember that their temporary maker creations are all the more valuable because they are to be enjoyed and appreciated for a short time. We celebrated our Indian Banga / Japanese Kimono creations as we made them but remembered wabi-sabi as we broke them apart. What remains is the learning.

Wabi-sabi also encourages students to be mindful, to notice details, to focus on the materials and to think carefully and critically as they work. To find beauty in unexpected places. The celebration of imperfection may encourage students to take risks, challenge themselves and try new ideas. Mark Reibstein’s book Wabi Sabi is a great read aloud for this concept.

We look forward to seeing how this idea pans out as the year progresses.

 

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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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