Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What Does Success Look Like? Transformation - Chaos to Order

Today, our inquiry group spent time reflecting on our practise and creating rubrics to help guide and direct our progress. I have created a rubric to help keep me on track in my journey towards creating a well equipped, functioning MakerSpace classroom.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

MakerSpace - Looking Back On Term 1

With Term 1 complete, I can confidently say that there is much to celebrate in our MakerSpace classroom. With incredible levels of student engagement, this classroom has been an exciting adventure to be a part of. Excitement and enthusiasm aside, I am using this post to reflect on some of the challenges from the past term.

TIME - Where did it go?
I had four Teams working on four different projects, all of which had terrific learning opportunities for our students.  That said, only one of these projects was truly completed within the timeframe of the term and this concerned me.  I definitely need to carefully consider a more realistic timeline when planning future learning challenges for our students.  I suspect that if I plan to have things completed within 75 - 80% of the term that this will allow for greater levels of completion, even when unforeseen events come into play within the school.  If we do mange to complete things within this new timeline, it would be easy to further extend detailing as time permits.

STORAGE - Now where did we put that?
400 students (approx) with 400 projects...hmmmm!  Is is any wonder that storage has been a challenge.  Lost projects are never a good thing and while there were only a few, the fact that it happened has challenged me to sort out additional, improved storage options.  Initially, we were working with only the shelves under our 8 work benches but have now added an additional 14m of shelving.  This has helped immensely, but it not enough!  If we are able to add another 28m of storage shelving I think we will be able to effectively organise and provide easy access for both students and teachers.  Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a MakerSpace classroom, but I think we are well on our way.

Please enjoy a few of the projects that we were exploring this term.

Team 1 built a house as they explored the various shapes that they might need. The roofing tiles were used to explore patterns.

Team 2 was exploring shapes and angles with special attention to developing an understanding of a pentagon with a very "special" angle (90/Right) that formed the roof of our beautiful bird feeders.

Team 3 took on the challenge of building their own wakas as a means of further celebrating Hokule'a and Hikianalia and their visit to Pt England Beach on March 25, 2015.

Team 4 had the task of deconstructing a wooden crate and then using that material to build something that they could be proud of.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

How The Maker Movement Is Moving Into Classrooms

"A new generation of inventors is surfing the tide of the Maker movement. These classrooms emphasize making, inventing, and creativity." This statement came from Vicki Davis in an article that I recently enjoyed on the topic of the Maker Movement and as I read the article, there were obvious words and phrases that continued to surface...make, invent, build, modify, create and then, a word that I hadn't heard for a while - TINKER. Yes, we are working hard to incorporate these other words into our new learning environment, but tinkering seems to be a better descriptor for where I would like to be heading. Tinkering seems to allow for us to sit down without much of anything other than a few basic ideas and have a play, or shall we say, "A tinker". I like this! Isn't this tinkering stuff what Google has been doing for some time? Twenty percent tinker time...I'm sure that I've heard that this is when great things such as gmail and google maps happened? If it's good enough for Google, then it's good enough for me. As I continue to explore creative opportunities in our MakerSpace classroom, I will be working hard to include "Tinker Time" as a means to challenge and encourage higher level thinking from my students.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Student Engagement! A+

As I reflect on the past week in our Makerspace classroom, I can't help but smile. From my little year 1 students to my older year 6's, the level of engagement is exciting. I think we are onto something great! Nothing profound, just a bit of off-cut lumber, and an opportunity to explore and challenge student learning. Squares, prisms, pentagons, right angles, waka engineering, and design. The de-construction process is underway with my seniors as they square off against wooden crates, intent on up-cycling and giving these old dilapidated wooden structures a new lease on life. Cooperation and problem solving is rampant! With student engagement an obvious presence in this classroom, this year is looking incredibly promising. Bring on week 5!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Team 1 Explores The Concept Of Squares

MakerSpace Classroom..."The Journey Begins"

Hi, and welcome to my blog. My name is Ted Barks and I am currently teaching at Point England School in Glen Innes, Auckland, New Zealand. I have been given the wonderful opportunity of leading our MakerSpace classroom and I am still coming to grips with this space and what it will look like for our school. This blog will work as a journal of my journey as I inquire into my personal teaching practise and explore how I can most effectively use this space with our students. As you can well imagine, this first term has been full of start-up challenges, and I'm sure these will continue for some time yet. This said, each day is better than the one before and I am incredibly excited for the year ahead. I trust that this journal is the beginning a great story. A story of great adventure and amazing learning that is embedded in problem solving projects that allow for cognitive engagement and reflection at all age levels.