Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bloxel Love!

This is our first year using Bloxels.  We acquired 15 sets through a LSDF grant that involves sharing materials between 3 elementary buildings.  I LOVE what Bloxels have done for my kiddos.  We have worked through our design thinking framework and the thinking is so evident!  I have had to learn right along with and beside the kids.  My kids are planning, problem-solving the basics necessary to create a game (saving, building, failing, fixing), helping one another, watching tutorials to learn, consulting kids who have mastered the game, learning more at home, redesigning where necessary and having fun in the process!  What a great way to end the school year.
Watching a tutorial for the second time.
Mastering the Bloxel app.

Watched tutorials, consulted the pamphlets, plan in front of her, and now ready to begin
learning more at home, redesigning where necessary and having fun in the process!  What a great way to end the school year.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Early release days foster choice, play, fun, and conversation... 

Second and Third Grade Reading Adventure Night

Twenty one years ago, I planned a Reading Adventure Night for 1 credit hour toward my Master's Degree. Every year since I have planned and pulled off a night attended by over 100 kiddos. I have tons of support from Mrs. Haynes and the staff, administration and PTA of Lewis and Clark...couldn't do it without them. From 4:00-7:30pm kids have a snack, travel to four activity rooms, listen to our favorite storyteller, Mr. Haynes, and have pizza for dinner.  Check out our photos from this year's event...


I try to maintain a balance of reading, making, and thinking in our library.  For about 2 weeks earlier this month, we were definitely heavy on reading!  We were getting ready for visiting author Henry Cole to rock our world!  If you are a teacher or librarian, I HIGHLY suggest looking into having him visit your school. He is a true gentleman, extremely entertaining, wonderful with kids and adults, and has so much to say about the writing process. I had several parents comment that their kids came home talking about him and kids are still asking for his books.  This is the second time we have had him at LC and again he amazed us.  In preparation for his visit, we read his books, examined his art, watched video interviews and even tried to recreate chickens in his honor!  

Thank you Lewis and Clark PTA for supporting the love of literature!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Week of Play

Years ago, I showed the video, Caine's Arcade to introduce my students to learning through the Genius Hour philosophy.  The inspiration from that video encouraged my students to make cardboard games as well. We have been designing and making games every year since.  Each year we learn from past mistakes and improve the process and the final products.  Plus we now have a dynamic MakerSpace!

My third graders have finished working through the design process and we are ready to share our games with the entire school.  E-V-E-R-Y student will have time throughout the week to play the games.  This week is obviously a favorite of my students.  Our third graders are so proud to share their games as they put their hearts into making the very best game possible.

Most important are the skills that the kids practice along the entire process.  So many...
  • planning and designing
  • compromise when working in a group
  • submitting ideas with kindness and respect
  • working together with a variety of personalities
  • fixing what doesn't work/problem-solving
  • thinking through and writing directions 
  • working on a deadline
  • putting first things first
  • accepting other's ideas and suggestions
  • knowing when a project is complete
  • time management
  • working in short time segments
  • sharing the workload
  • cleaning up after yourself and others
Below are some photos of this year's games.  I hope you can see the imagination and planning that went into each game.