Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

ULearn18: Breakout One - Press play with OMGTech!

After a break from ULearn last year, I am back. Welcome to the first blog post for the 2018 ULearn from me!

This workshop is led by Vivian Chandra, aka @vivster81 ("Tech strategist with a feminism angle" according to her Twitter Bio) from OMG Tech, who you can find out more about at https://omgtech.co.nz/

At the 2016 ULearn I went to another Breakout by OMG Tech, which you can read about here: ULearn16: Breakout Five - Hands on science workshop with NanoGirl and OMGTech!

I choose to come to this workshop because of the new Digital Technology Curriculum and needing some inspiration for how to do this with juniors and not a lot of technical/digital equipment.

The Abstract says:
Plato said “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”. We wholeheartedly agree, which is why we're asking you to press play on an exciting afternoon of interactive hands on fun activities. We will show you the digital technologies curriculum for years 0-4, using colourful characters, easy to follow games and fun stories.

Forget stuffy computer science theory, teaching digital technologies can be as easy as making a vegemite sandwich, and as fun as creating pictures. We'll show you how so you can prepare your class for the future.

First take: teaching digital tech is not teaching kids how to type. And it doesn't necessarily mean being online. It is about fostering creativity.

The first activity involved six people negotiating a maze of arrow with a card each.  They each started sitting in a chair at one end of the room with cards with numbers on them.  When they stood, they followed the arrow in front of them to get to a cross.  At each cross they compared the number on their card with the person they met and then followed the appropriate arrow. At the other end was a chair for each person. When they sat down the numbers were in order, smallest to largest.

Making a sandwich is an example of doing tech offline.

The children give instructions to the teacher  - each instruction is a "code" and the teacher can not do anything unless the "code" is "programmed" by the students.  See this video below for an example:

Off to Mars! was the next activity. Also an offline activity, it involved a chessboard and three objects (in this case a miniture Eiffel Tower, a martian and Jabba the Hutt) and arrow cards to manouvre the objects around the chess board.

Hour of Code is an introduction to coding. It is an hour of coding time, not necessarily with devices, where children are exploring computer science. It does not necessarily involve reading. Scratch Junior is available on i-Pads and Android tablets and can be used on the most up-to-date touch screen Chromebooks

Hello Ruby - books by Linda Liukas and her website: https://www.helloruby.com/play

This is not about giving teachers 15 unit plans that they need to know off heart. It is about learning and exploring with our learners.

OMG Tech! will come to your school to do PLD with teachers and to work with children.  You can find out more about that via their website (link at the top of the page).  Viv also talked about the government paying for PLD for the Digital Technology Curriculum in 2018 and 2019 that schools can apply for.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Invitation to Create - a new addition to my Reading Tumble

This year is my first full year teaching juniors with having a Year 2/3 class.  It has meant I've had to adjust and modify my programmes to cater for the fact these children are so much younger than I've had previously.

One idea that could my eye on Pinterest is "invitation to create" and the Reggio Emilio activity "loose parts play" and "tinker trays".  See these screen shots from Pinterest below to see some of the inspiration.

So I decided to combine these ideas into my version of Invitation to Create for my Reading Tumble.  The purpose was for the students to be creative and challenged.  To learn more about how the Reading Tumble works, click here to go to the post where I explicitly explain how it works.

The next fun part of collecting items that can be reused for different projects and mixed and matched.  And every teacher knows that your first port of call are $2 shops.... and I am trawling through them all!

I already had straws and coloured ice block sticks and match sticks and colourful buttons, but I went hunting for more buttons, coloured glass beads and stones and bottle lids.

The first challenge I set my students was for Anzac Day, to make poppies.

On the lid I stuck these instructions.  The children are also challenged to post their creations on Seesaw (which our school has gone all out on this year) so there is a record of their creations.  Below are some examples of the photos posted on Seesaw by the children with their interpretation of an Anzac poppy.

I've also decided this can be used for my Maths Tumble.  So the first challenge is to create algebraic patterns.  I'll blog about the maths aspect in another blog later in the year.

To give them a space to create within, I went to The Warehouse and purchased A4 photo frames at $2 each.  I removed the glass and replaced it with stiff black paper to be the backdrop.

Then I had to sell it to the students.  It was not a hard sell.  The children love this activity and the parents have responded with lovely comments on the Seesaw posts to their creativity.

After six days of doing the Reading Tumble rotations I did decide to change the challenge though.  Sticking to the Anzac theme, I asked them to do soldier medals.... but many are confused with medals from the Commonwealth Games... so we've had a few interesting pictures.

I also changed some of the materials in there.... but this is what it looks like when children don't put things back in an orderly fashion!!

And here are their interpretations of an Anzac medal....

As we moved into our Matariki theme, I changed the challenge to a planet.

And here are the children's interpretations of their own planet....

And then it changed to a constellation of stars.  And this was their interpretations of their own invented constellations and them copying one off the wall....

What I really love about this activity is that I can change materials in and out, the materials can be used in a variety of ways, they can create many new masterpieces but the materials can be repeatedly used and it unlocks their creativity.  I've also learned to not have it too often, otherwise the novelty wears off, so it is one of fifteen slots in my Tumble and I need to change the theme after they have all had two attempts at the challenge.

For this term (and maybe into the next) I have already brainstormed some Invitation To Create activities as you can see below:

And here is one I am planning for maths to incorporate our Lego into learning.

I will blog about how these challenges have gone later in the year to evaluate the whole of Invitation To Create in my Reading Tumble.