Thursday, May 29, 2014

Last post on the chairs

     I'm so proud of the process my students used with these chairs.  We drew our designs, measured a LOT of surfaces, built models, and then started building.  We did run into a few design issues, but the students were very adept at "fixing on the fly."  Which quite honestly, I believe is a real life skill.  Flexibility is key to problem solving.  No one stuck with a plan that ultimately didn't work.  HUGE THANKS to Mr. Seeger, a parent at our school, for teaching me to use the skilsaw and helping the students.  The best thing he did was to let the students work through, and followed my example of just asking them questions to help them work through problems.  He let the design be THEIRS and just helped them with the tools, which is another key part of this - adults shouldn't take over. 
The chair crew.  I do have other students, but this was the group that worked on our chair design. 

M. made a two person bench. 

J. and her single seat. 

L., with her design. 

J. was proud of her chair. 

J, strikes a pose on his stool/end table.

D., always the THINKER. 

I don't know that I will take on chairs specifically next year, but I might need to since these were so successful.  Any ideas on switching things up would be appreciated, since I like to rotate ideas, or offer choices. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pitching a Maker Space

I know I've been quiet since my presentation at NSTA (which, can I say, was a MOST SPECTACULAR experience).  Thank you so much for the encouragement and the emails supporting what we are doing in my classroom and our magnet program.  Some of the connections we've made will really impact our program.

     Our district started an "R2 innovates" application group, and today I'm going to pitch our version of the Maker Space.  I have a team consisting of myself, Mrs. Parker (4th grade STEMs) and Mrs. Fink (3rd grade STEMs).  We are invited to bring our passion and explain why we need to begin whatever program we want to try to implement.  Our team wants to create a district Maker Faire (the local Maker Faire is happening after school gets out) and we see an opportunity to bring in more community folks to get to know what we're doing.  Our second proposal is to figure out where we can house a Maker Space on our campus.  We have tools sitting in places I can't access, we have purchased multiples of things, but our biggest issue is space..... and it isn't just my classroom.

     ***Please ignore the quality of these pictures.  My lifeproof case was on and everything is weirdly lit and slightly blurry. ****
Kindergarten has their town stacked up on top of cubbies. I should have thought to grab a picture of them hammering the nails in their cars yesterday, but I couldn't handle the echo in the cafeteria..... of course I could hear it from my room...... 

Ms. A. in 2nd grade had her students build AMAZING bridges as part of their HUGE unit (on the floor under the window)

Mrs. Falco has all sorts of projects stacked up on the back table. 

Mrs. Lever's third graders are building Automotons based on the novel Hugo Cabret.  They had to engineer moving parts and then decorate.  

 J. and his Automoton.   

4th grade's solar cottages.  They designed a learning space that was "off the grid" with solar panels to light them.  They were thinking about the space needed to create amazing work. 
The workroom is housing my class' rollercoasters sitting on top of the manatee mural (which is more complete, but will probably be worked on more next year.  Grey "stuff" is hard to find). The manatee mural is below. 



And of course pictures of us working on our chairs..... of course you don't see the pile of wood outside my window, but those chairs are awesome.  I'll post more tomorrow so you can see how they turned out!

 Bottom line, we have the creative kids, and teachers, we NEED the space to do even cooler things and a place to store our really cool supplies.  We want to store old equipment to take apart and make faux bots, cardboard collection for building (with nuts and bolts, not necessarily makedo), we need a place for the drill press, and other tools, we need a place for kids to design and free up classroom corners. If we can lead by example, more will follow, and then we can find like minded teachers across the district (because I KNOW they are out there) and have one heck of a district Maker Faire.