What to do with extra time in a day so you don't waste learning opportunities? Here is a flex structure I created for a class class that will meet 3 days a week for 4 weeks, but this can be adapted as a daily class, or other. Thanks to Mr Ciambrone and the 7th grade teachers for the daily theme title inspiration.
I'm going to begin with some class-building discussions the first Tues and Weds and move into external content the first Thursday.
Talk about it Tuesday - Students talk about the previous Thusrday's wonder in a circle facing one another and following socratic seminar rules for discussion.
Write about it Wednesday - Students write plans of action, invention blueprints, private journal entries, advocacy letters, or social media posts about their final musings on what they saw and discussed. They will research if needed and have a share out.
Think about it Thursday- Students view together a video on and then read about a compelling topic in science or social science, Tech, Engineering, Arts or Mathematics (like TEDed, Nature video, video about how to make optical illusions with math, etc) then think about it or do more research for the rest of class or on their own if desired.
Do you know that IQ is a myth? That the test was never meant to be given to neurologically healthy individuals and especially for it not to be used for ranking. Yes, there is such a thing as talent, but IQ is not fixed and everyone is gifted at something. Do your students know this? It's time to tell them because students who believe there is such a thing as "smart" or "dumb" do not try as hard as those who believe that smart can be achieved with effort.
For more on growth mindset google Carol Dweck
Following is a Youtube Playlist of videos that explain growth mindset. I am in a training right now that says we should explicitly teach students growth mindset. The video they used (in the playlist) is called Austin's Butterfly and it shows the butterfly images in the photo below. It illustrates how students can all get better over time with focused effort and constructive feedback. If you take time to show how this first grader improved his butterfly drawings from drawing one to drawing six, students will be more likely to trust that they will improve equally stunningly in your class.
Another growth mindset example students might understand is the video game example. When a student starts out on level one and they die, they are not sad about it, they just keep going knowing full well that they will improve with practice. Help them transfer that surety and confidence to the effort they put into your classroom.
See me if you want to connect this to your actual content lesson in a more direct way or if you want me to come speak as a former psych teacher to your students about neuroplasticity (I can even tell them about the student I taught who LITERALLY had half a brain- and her entire brain rewired so you would never even notice!)
In my crystal ball I see the future of education will be makerspaces. Maybe that prediction my own wishful thinking, but I sure hope it's true. A move from content-driven fact regurgitation to studio, and lab-driven workshops can only be a good thing for our students' futures. At the rate of change in todays world, a skills-based, passion-driven, and failure-tolerant exploratory environment is the way to go!
What is a makerspace?
Jake Standish defines a makerspace as any place or process that provides students the opportunity for creative expression and the pride of feeling "I made something cool!" I see it as a way in school to experience what visionary STEAM educator Seymour Pappert terms "hard fun." Makerspaces are a place to both instill and nurture students' interests organically. If you are ONLY looking for quickest test score increases, maker ed will not be for you (and I feel sad for your students.) However, done well the maker method results are INCOMPARABLY more long lasting and far reaching than traditional instruction.
How did the maker movement in education start?
Makerspaces in school grew out of the hackerspace movement as a way of integrating STEM or STEAM back into schools and a response to the oversanitization of education. If you are curious how they look outside of a school stetting, there is a hackerspace near our school. google "Charlotte Hackerspace" to find where and maybe do a field trip. There are also maker faires in many areas.
Do I need to be an engineer, a tech expert or a scientist to run a makerspace with my students?
Not at all. Students can teach each other, learn from videos or instructions, or get help from adult or high school volunteers. Just provide the supplies and let students decide what to do with them.
Makerspaces do not have to include electronics but there are many creative electronic kits out there that are affordable even for a beginning school. Check the resources question below for a few.
" if you know the right end of a soldering iron , adafruot will get you the rest of the way." - Jake Standish of CMS
I can't abide chaos, should I even try this?
Yes, frustration and false starts will be common, valuable, and instructive, but you can minimize the chaos with rubrics and directed projects and minimize the mess with 3D printed and computer based projects. Ideas are on the Pirate STEAMShip page. I also recommend partnering with a chaos-tolerant co-teacher! Put your classes together!
How can I get started?
Rather than worry about who would use it or how, we got started by gathering anything that could be used into one spot and cataloging it:
When Ms. Newburger came back as our media specialist, she created a permanent makerspace home and improved the vision and -while waiting for the funding for her larger vision, immediately re-created the media center. She
Where can my students and I find ideas?
Makerspaces as an Extention of PBL
PBL - project based learning, also called Passion based learning can be student-driven and creation driven.
This kind of PBL - known as Love of learning, 20% time and Genius hour is creating some great results is based on the idea of flipping blooms (see image) while also giving students a voice in what is created.
It rewards intelligences often ignored in traditonal education and is more motivating that a teacher-driven class. It can also be the bait that drives students to grow their skills as they see the need.
At Piedmont we are one of the first CMS schools to create a makerspace.
Our MakerSpace supplies are the perfect compliment to make-ify your lessons and/or nurture the variety of genius in your classroom! In addition to our extensive collection of multiple intelligences apps, Green Screen, Collaboration Board area, MakerSpace workbench and Makerbot Replicator 2 3Dprinter housed in the media center, we have mobile carts of supplies available for checkout to your room.
Check this link for the full list of offerings http://piratesteamship.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/STEAMshipCarts
See Lisa Gurthie or Lisa Newburger for ideas of how to use these in projects or curriculum.
The full information about STEAM integration at Piedmont via the PirateSTEAMship is here
Photo Gallery Piedmont's Middle School Makers in Action
This post was inspired by CMS's own Malik Richardson's (@mrich1191 on Twitter) tweet of this article:
Ms. Burick (@NerdAlert497 on Twitter) devised a method of using backchannel in class with non-fiction reading that can work with any discipline anytime of the year. It also is a great first step at BYOT integration for teachers who are not sure how to use devices in class to increase learning. She simply opens a backchannel and projects it on her screen as student thumb through books on the topic she has provided. As students encounter facts they want to share, they post them for each other. This can be done even with a textbook chapter, but students love to see a large selection of inviting library books in the room to pick from.
Not only does "Nerdalert Backchannel" allow all voices to be heard, Ms. Burick reports it motivates the students to read more as they challenge each other to come up with the "best" facts. It allows sharing to happen at a convenient time for both the reader and the writer, so the entire class does not have to stop reading when someone wants to share a fact. Students can look up from their reading as they wish and contribute at their own pace. It also forces students to think through their thoughts a bit more than just raising their hands, and gives instant feedback for sharing in the form of "oohs and aaahs" from classmates!
Read this article with your students.
Olympics lesson resources to go with your OLYMPICS DOOR DECOR for our door decorating contest!
--Great PBL - Project based learning Olympics lesson PLan- ready to use! http://www.pblproject.com/page.aspx?pageid=PBL-ww-Winter-Olympics
Good common Core non-fiction article-great discussion starter
UPDATE: SCIENCE VIDEOS http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2014/02/26-videos-about-science-of-winter.html#.Uvpwiyf-0ig
I am Lisa Gurthie the PD facilitator at Piedmont IB Middle School. She specializes in tech and arts integration, interdisciplinary, holistic education, and unschooling school to make it more real and relevant. One day I will modernize my "about" page. Check out the other blogs on this site for Lesson Ideas, Celebration of Good Teaching, and Piedmont PD