Thursday, September 11, 2014

IPad Interview

Simple lesson idea for all grade levels which will cover the following skills:
- Speaking
- Listening
- Questioning
- Initiating a relevant conversation
- Respecting various opinions
and more based upon usage :)

This is best done as a partner activity with one person holding the iPad and carrying on an interview using the inbuilt Camera app. As students get to know each other in the first few weeks of school, interviewer starts by greeting appropriately, asking the interviewee to list three things about himself/herself. Interviewer then picks one of those three things and delves deeper into that topic. Depending upon the grade level, the depth could be determined, more like the length of the video. Upload finished videos to Schoology. Have class discussions on what went well about the process and what can be done better the next time.

This was done very successfully with Grade 1. It was not their first time handling the iPad video camera.

The same process can be applied to any topic, other than "All about me". Enjoy!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Waiting in Line at the Maker Studio

Today's lunch time at the Maker Studio was a little different from days past in that one of our staff members who helps with the sewing machine couldn't make it and we had more than 25 little ones wanting to sew. I have used a sewing machine about thirty five years back when my grandmother had one where one had to spin with one hand and move the cloth with the other. The other adult in the room who normally helps doesn't know how to sew either and a third adult who came in early on doesn't. I do know how to hand sew and used to do a great deal of embroidery. However, I also needed to be available to help with the students who were coding or doing some of the other activities. Most of our customers for the sewing were first and second graders and a few third and fourth graders.

So the staff member who is the instructional aide for the Maker Studio had the students line up and wait their turn to get a needle threaded or fabric selected. One of the students who decided he didn't want to do it that way, took a couple of felt sheets, tied string around it, made it into an airplane and came proudly to show it to me, exclaiming, "Look how the wings flap!", while a few others came to me with the ends of the hand sewn pieces wanting me to knot it or cut some thread or just wanting a pair of scissors. In the meantime, one of our classroom instructional aides got this telepathy that she was wanted. She was on yard duty, knows how to sew and given that there were more than 50 students in the room and the backyard there, she wasn't required as much outside.

She obviously saved the day because she patiently got each student to come and sew. 
Meanwhile, several of them were standing patiently in line.

After the students had left at the end of lunch, the three of us were reflecting upon the situation. My personal opinion was that it was great that the students had learned to wait for their turn, but boy, they were waiting patiently and they didn't mind that they had to wait and they didn't want to give that up for another activity in the Maker Studio. Believe me, they had several other choices. This then lead me to think: What if every activity in the classroom was so compellingly motivating that students were happy to wait their turn, that they were learning to be patient and kind with zero teaching from our side on that front. Just patience and calm from our end too! What a wonderful school day that would be!