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 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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August 26

Back-to-School Jitters

With the new school year just around the corner, it’s a good time to highlight some of our favourite books to ease back-to-school jitters. Reading about and discussing a character’s nervousness or anxiety can help ease a  child’s worries during this new and exciting time.

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Back To School Tortoise by Lucy M. George It’s time to go back to school. But Tortoise is worried. What if he falls down? What if he doesn’t like lunch? What if the kids are mean to him?  The perfect back-to-school book about being brave, with a surprise at the end! 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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May 13

Stuff the LC and #KindnessCounts

At Georges Vanier, the Learning Commons is a shared space that is used by staff and students for lots of great activities. We are helping further a sense of ownership by inviting students to bring a plush toy to hang out on the shelves in the LC for a couple of weeks. Please label stuffies with your child’s name and division.  No sentimental favourites, just in case…

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We are continuing to create some wonderful #KindnessCounts buttons. Students and staff are designing a self portrait with a big smile. We will wear them at the Year End Celebration Assembly on June 13th.

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April 23

#KindnessCounts designs

This week in the Learning Commons some classes have begun to experiment with our new button maker. This was purchased with greatly appreciated funds from the GVPAC, the school and with profits from the Book Fair. It has been a great success and we can see lots of possibilities. The students are designing smiling faces to help us remember to smile as we pass each other in the hallways.

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“So Cool!”

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November 7

10 Powerful Mighty Girl Books

The Georges Vanier Learning Commons has a great collection of Mighty Girl books: stories that depict smart, confident and courageous girls. To be sure, our books with male protagonists are equally as varied and powerful. Here’s a selection of titles that may help encourage youth to find their potential and harness some of their own indomitable spirit.

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January 31

Virtual Castles, AppSmashed Anti-Bullying Posters and #KindnessCounts

This week students have been showing their learning about castles and creating their own virtual structures, incorporating the defensive design features of medieval castles. We are using a free app called Castle Builder – Minecraft style – that allows the students to view their creations in 3D.

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We have also begun our Pink Shirt Day promotions. Students in Ms. Dhaliwal’s and Mrs. Lutz’s class created graphics that they will be posting on their student blogs to help spread the word about Anti-Bullying. We created images in Chalkboard App and imported them into Comic Book App to add quotes and pizazz.

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We also had our first #KindnessCounts nomination for a group of students. Check out our Storify of recent nominations.

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