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.

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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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August 27

Refreshing Your MakerSpace

Beyond the investments in kits such as Makey-Makey or robotics or Lego, the heart of the MakerSpace is in the consumables. The paper cups, tape, cardboard and straws that not only inspire some serious creativity and ‘outside the box’ thinking but also are the great equalizer – accessible to all students and teachers.

We recently gave the Vanier MakerSpace a makeover by restocking some of those consumable items. Although donations, cardboard and packing materials flow through the space throughout the year, sometimes it is just more efficient to stock up on some of the basics.

With visits to several Dollar Stores we invested $300 in additional MakerSpace consumables for our school of 550 K-7 students. This included more large storage containers. Here’s what we chose:

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Straws: From structures to toys, mazes to stop motion, straws are a must have. There are some great ideas on using straws ideas on using straws and free .stl files for 3D printing connectors. Continue reading

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June 13

Maker Social-Emotional Learning Resources

MakerSpaces can be a great catalyst for the growth of social-emotional learning.  Facilitating a maker culture can give students a venue for the development of the tools they need to recognize, understand and manage emotions and to make the responsible decisions that are critical to being a successful learner. These life long skills must be clearly articulated and deliberately discussed so that they become an intrinsic foundation for the emotional health of the student.

There are many excellent social emotional learning titles that can be used to encourage SEL development. However, a few of these also blend very well with a Maker mentality and build on some important tenants of social and emotional well being.

Take a Chance and Take Pride in Beautiful You

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If I Never Forever Endeavor by Holly Meade. Take a chance, dare yourself, trust yourself, try it…and you can fly. (2011) Continue reading

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