Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2016 Maker Faire & Yoga Festival

Our partner class, Mrs. Caldwell's Kindergarten class in Miniota, hosted a Maker Faire and Yoga Festival yesterday!  Over the last several weeks, we have had video calls with them to help plan this exciting event.  While their class took the lead role in planning and organizing this special day, our class also took responsibility for some jobs and we were excited to travel to their school to participate.

Maker Faire
I first took an interest in the maker movement after hearing about it at Hack the Classroom. Making wasn't new to our grade 1 class - we make art, write books, bake muffins, build with cardboard, create with code, play with lego and more.  However, after I learned more about the maker movement, we did try some new "maker stations" this spring and students really enjoyed the extra opportunities to be creative.  When we discussed our maker activities with the MES Kindergartens, the idea of a Maker Faire seemed like a great way to end the year!

What is a Maker Faire?
The Kindergartens included the following description when designing the event invitations "A Maker Faire is when a whole bunch of people come together to make, create, invent, and solve problems. We use things like cardboard boxes, tape, string, staplers, wool, craft sup-plies, recycled items, and technology. Making is good for kids and grown ups because it helps us be creative, work with others, and solve problems" There is more information on the official Maker Faire website. 

Yoga Festival
Since yesterday (June 21st) was International Day of Yoga, we also celebrated with yoga activities while we were in Miniota. Yoga is a great way for us to exercise, plus it teaches us to focus and calm ourselves which helps us be better learners!  For the yoga festival, students rotated through five different yoga stations including partner poses, individual pick-a-pose, musical mats, breathing practice and mindfulness practice.  Then, a huge group of students and adults gathered in the gym to participate in a yoga class led by Mrs. Caldwell, who is a trained yoga teacher!

What is International Day of Yoga? 
Mrs. Caldwell and the Kindergartens included the following description when designing the event invitations "The United Nations declared June 21st as International Day of Yoga. We practice yoga to help our bodies get strong and flexible and to feel calm and happy. Yoga helps us focus, and this makes it easier to learn at school. Anyone can do yoga!"

It was a wonderful day and we are so glad that we've had a great year of partnering with the Miniota Kindergartens!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Minecraft Animal Homes

This year, a group of Canadian Microsoft Expert Educators have been working on using Minecraft for learning.  I was inspired by the other educators ideas for using Minecraft in the classroom, so I decided to give it a try with my grade 1 students.  One of our science outcomes is that students will be able to design a representation of a habitat/home that meets the needs of a Manitoba animal, so our Minecraft design challenge focused on that.  We learned about the characteristics and needs of living things as we worked on this project.  Below I have outlined the steps we took in this project.

Brainstorming: Our whole class worked together to brainstorm a list of Manitoba animals.

Setting criteria: We worked together to set criteria for what our animal home designs should include. 

Research: Once we set criteria for the task, I put students into small group and they selected an animal from our list to research.  Groups of three students researched what that animal would need for food and shelter and completed the provided template.

Designing:  Next, students used what they learned in their research to design a representation of an animal home for their animal.  As students did this, I was able to walk around the room and have discussions with students about why they were making certain design choices and how their habitats would meet animal needs.  From those conversations, I could tell that my students had already learned a lot.

Sharing: We tried to present our Minecraft worlds on our interactive whiteboard, but that presentation style didn't work well, so we came up with a new plan to share our work.  Each group took a few screenshots to highlight how their habitat design met the basic needs of their animal.  They added short captions to each screenshot and then created short videos which were shared with the whole class.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Frog Princess

We have been studying fairy tales.  We have read many different fairy tales and fractured tales.  This is a fairy tale that our class wrote together.  You can flip through the pages here.