Sunday, January 15, 2017

100th Day Prep

It's just about that time - the 100th Day of School!

I've been pregnant this entire school year, which all you Kindergarten teachers know, can be quite the feat at the beginning of the year AND your pregnancy.  Making it to the 100th day is an accomplishment this year for both me and my Kinders!

I just got back from break and started going through the plans my team has had in the past and started thinking about how I wanted to celebrate this year.  I have always used the coloring crowns from Oriental Trading and plan do to so again.

In years past, my kiddos have absolutly LOVED the 100th Day posters, but this year we're going to try something a little different to go with our 100 years old theme for the day.  Which, by the way is the most hilarious day in Kindergarten.

I also have some fun STEM and measurement activitiy up my sleeve for this year.  I'm planning of using these feet to measure our hallways.  We're going to lay out some butcher paper on the floor and use the feet to measure out a ten foot section.  This will be one section of our big ruler. Then, we will repeat the process until we have 10, ten foot sections.  After we gather up all our sections, out to the halls we will go to tape the big rulers down and measure out 100 feet!  I CANNOT wait to show you what it looks like - the kids are going to be so excited!

My kids are also going to use this set, and add on with some of my own marbles, to make a line of 100 standing dominos. I'll have 10 differently colored mat set out so my kids can count out 100 dominos by placing 10 on each mat.  Then they are going to have a blast lining them up and building a structure to run marbles down and watch the dominos fall. Marbles are a class favorite, but I have never added the domino component, so I am so excited to see how they explore the materials, what they build and the eruption of cheers that come!

What are you planning for the 100th day? Check back to see how it all goes down and what other fun activities we have planned.

Oriental Trading provided me with the aforementioned materials in exchange for sharing how I use their materials. Looking for a deal at Oriental Trading? Visit their coupon page for the latest in sales!

Monday, December 12, 2016

D100 Launch!

"There's a power in problem-solving and experimenting and taking things from questions to ideas to authentic products that you launch into the world" (Spencer & Julian).

Their innate ability to imagine, believe, create, learn, and create teaches us many things, so why don't we grow those abilities? Why don't we let our kids LAUNCH themselves?

The D100 book study has been diving into design thinking with our Launch (John Spencer and A.J. Juliani) book study, so in case you missed some of the previous weeks, just hover your mouse over this graphic, click, and get caught up!

As for this week, we are diving into Phase 4 of the LAUNCH cycle: Navigating Ideas.  In order to get to phase four, students need to have a rock solid understanding of all the information surrounding the problem they want to solve so that they can figure out the next steps. This is the planning phase. Taking it from broad to specific and managable. 

Ideas > Problem > Reseach > Info > Plan .... Create > LAUNCH!

Launch has these for brainstorming:
  1. Kids brainstorm isolation FIRST to avoid group think, then in group/s. 
  2. There are NO dumb ideas!
  3. Round robin brainstorming so everyone gets a chance, document ideas.
  4. Be clear in the specific topic 
  5. Be intentional about the space so all participants are present, have norms.
  6. Have breaks for reflection
  7. Have a leader to document ideas
  8. Rotate groups so all ideas are heard
  9. Have multiple visuals
  10. NO timers! Let it be organic!

We want our kids to be divergent thinkers in these brainstorm sessions - meaning they think of options and and solutions in a different way.  They present challenges and questions and find connections where they make not be apparent. 
You know that quote? "Well behaved women rarely make history?" Divergent thinkers make history, they swim upstream and don't always follow the directions - they think for themselves. Which is EXACTLY what we want in design thinking!

Don't get me wrong, we want teammates and powerful, well run partnerships. But, innovation requires thinking OUTSIDE the box!

After a really great brainstorm, next up is: Choosing an Idea

It's time to evaulate which brainstorming ideas would work and why - narrowing the ideas down.
First, students need to add details - where are the holes in the original potential ideas? Next, students need to consolidate ideas.  In the third step, students will have to establish a criteria under which thier ideas will work. Then they will narrow down the best ideas, and last choose an idea!

Once an idea is settled our our little creators will want to start making, building, and creating - but wait! Before anything is made, we need to make sure we have all the PARTS:
The PARTS framework is essential in the LAUNCH process. 

"When students and teachers collaborate to navigate ideas, the product becomes much more than one person's accomplishment. This togetherness takes group work to a new level and when an idea successful, the experience is meaningful to everyone involved" (Spencer & Julian).
All our students are natural creators, but using the LAUNCH process and ideas presented in the book, we can help bring out the individuality of each of our students to create products, solve problems, and be change makers in our world.  Let's facilitate meaning-making and empower our students to think deeper, and LAUNCH further!

Next up in the our #Launchbook study, Miss G Does 5th will be diving into the creating process. Check our #D100BloggerPD for more!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Goldie Blox Coding for Girls

Coding and 1:1 technology in the classroom go hand in hand. There is even an event for coding called the Hour of Code. Last year, was the first year I got my Kinders into coding with both the Scratch Jr. and Lightbot apps. We even documented our coding on a FREE Hour of Code log.

The boys LOVED Lightbot and Scratch, but my girls weren't so into it.  Everyone loved Puzzlets (read more here), but I just couldn't get my girls to actively CHOOSE a coding game on the iPad.

Then I found Goldie Blox...

First I thought it was just an app, but they have a whole slew of toys inspiring girl engineers. 

The app is called the Rocket Cupcake and it is TOTALLY girly.

Kids start out with simple coding. They drag and drop arrows to get the avatar to move. Each level increases with difficulty, adding a step of code each time.

There is also the Sandbox area where kids can explore and solve more advanced coding puzzles.

As much as I would love to buy a set of toys for the classroom, we'll only be able to use the app. I CANNOT wait so show my old Kinders and introduce it to the new class when they are ready. 

If you haven't tried coding with kids before you should.  Many of the coding toys and apps teach sequential steps - "If I put a left facing arrow, my avatar will move left."

I usually play the coding game with a whole group and project it onto the SMART Board. They get to tell me what to do and we see if it works - trial and error.

A few years ago NONE of this stuff was available to the classroom, much less appropriate for five and six year olds. Now, however, you can access coding with one app and really dive deep into some higher level processing!

What coding toys and apps do you use in your class? What am I missing out on?!